More Catallaxy Services Updates

I’ve been pretty busy with the Catallaxy Services website.  Since my last post on the topic, I’ve implemented steps 2, 3, and 4 of my master plan for two of my presentations.  Those two presentations are Much Ado About Hadoop and APPLY Yourself.

Step 2:  Add a “Links and Further Information” section to each presentation.  My presentations are generally meant to scratch the surface on a topic and having a section people can go to after my talk will hopefully help them solidify their knowledge on the topic.  I also want to give credit to anybody whose code I shamelessly stole adapted to make my point.

Step 3:  Move code to Github.  I now have a Github repo for my APPLY Yourself code; I already had one for my HDInsight code.  My Github repository list has always been a bit sad—I had my Index Comparer code up and pretty much nothing else.  Considering that I have a lot of (reasonably) well-crafted code sitting in ZIP files on my web server, it makes sense to move that stuff up to Github.

Step 4:  Update the slides.  First, I’ve decided to stretch the screen a bit with my presentations.  Up until now, I’ve left a huge swath of a wide-screen monitor as empty space, and even on most projectors I have used, I had pretty wide margins.  This isn’t always bad, but code snippets are a bit more difficult to walk through when you have to scroll left and right.  The presentations are now at 90% of the total width.

Second, I’m going back through each talk with a critical eye, fixing formatting and spelling errors and removing bits which don’t make sense or are unnecessary.  This is an iterative process, but until now, I’ve basically treated the slides as “do once and then forget.”  Instead, I’d like to update these presentations every once in a while—especially with something like In-Memory OLTP, where there’s a lot more information available today than back when I originally wrote the presentation.

The last big thing that I did was add a consistent closing slide (Hadoop version here) which says two things.  The first thing I want is, “To learn more, go here” and has a quick link to my presentation with links, code, and information.  The second thing is, “And for help, contact me” and my e-mail address and Twitter handle.  This came straight from a Brent Ozar post on how to end talks and it’s so glaringly obvious that I’m surprised I never thought of it.  This is the slide that I’ll keep up through Q&A in order to give people time to take a photo, plug in the URL, or make a note for later.

With these four steps in place, I think the Catallaxy Services site looks a lot nicer and people get a better idea of what’s available and just how much time I waste spend on these things.  I still have a slew of presentations to work through, but with this pattern in place, my hope is that things will proceed smoothly.

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