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Overview of my YouTube channel.

Before I became an Apprentice Web Developer I made a name for myself on YouTube doing screencasts.  What is a screencast you might ask? Its where someone broadcasts a recording of their computer screen for informative or educational purposes.

Where it all began

I signed up to YouTube back in April 2007, but I didn’t start making videos until much later, when a friend from school convinced me to give it a try.  I thought why not, I had nothing to lose by doing it.

My very first tutorial video was posted in April 2008.  It was a guide on how to use Microsoft Word 2007  and its makes me laugh when I see it as it makes me wonder how my videos could have been so badly produced.

I made pretty much every mistake with this video, the frame rate was poor, there was no narration, and I recorded me typing words into a word document while recording.

Around October the same year is when my channel started gaining some attention and some controversy with the following video.  A lot of people watched and liked the video, but on the flip side it was criticised for having too many links, poor video quality, pronouncing “Leopard” wrong and some people were even claiming the software used gave them viruses. (Which it didn’t by the way)  to this day it remains one of my most viewed videos on YouTube.

I’ve also done other videos which are not tutorial videos.  One such series is my controversial “Name & Shame” series where I would offer a comedic response to hate comments I got on YouTube, I actually had people in real life asking me to make more Name & Shame videos, but sadly due to me getting banned from YouTube the series had to be removed, and I have no plans to come back to it.  I also won’t be linking those videos for obvious reasons.

While I still make the occasional mistake here and there my tutorial videos have improved.  One of the more recent videos can be found below.

The feedback

The feedback I get on my videos is mostly positive.  With people saying thank you, and even now there’s people sharing my videos on Twitter and on Google+, and I have over 2340 subscribers at the time of writing this post.   I always love seeing constructive feedback too, as its helped me produce better content.

What influences the choice of topics I cover?

I don’t really have a standardised system of choosing what to cover in my videos, I usually look up stuff and then if it works for me do a video about it, this is of course for the tutorial videos. For my other videos such as the video blogs are influenced by what’s going on in the technology world or if there’s something I want to talk about.

How the videos are produced

To make the tutorial videos I’ve used a combination of software packages.  The ones that I like most are Camtasia Studio and BBFlashback.  They allow me to add zoom and pan effects to videos, record my voice and webcam at the same time, and they allow exporting in HD formats, and both are really easy to use they also allow me to tweak the format so I can get better quality.  A recent example of a video made with camtaisa can be found below.

As for my gaming videos, most of them are straight uploads to YouTube, but recently I’ve had a friend of mine edit the videos for me to save time.

Future Plans

Since I am a gamer and the fact tutorial videos are no longer what people want, I’ve decided to focus on creating gaming guides and lets plays instead, there are a lot of very large open world games out there and people will obviously need a helping hand with them, I also tend to think out loud a lot when playing games too which would make for a good video.  While I have done some commentaries like the one below, I’ve not done a massive series so far.

CoderDojo Featured

CoderDojo #8

CoderDojo is a network of clubs that educate young people in programming and technology. There are clubs in 22 countries across the globe. CoderDojo was founded by Bill Liao and James Whelton as a non-profit group aimed at teaching kids how to program.  The first Dojo was held at the National Software Centre in Cork, on July 32rd 2011, in Sepetember 2012 CoderDojo was held in Silicon Valley in California.

The CoderDojo also bring in kids who know how to code to share their interests, teach others and collaborate on projects.

I went along to the CoderDojo last Sunday and I took my little nephew along with me. I was more concentrated on the Minecraft table and we had to set up a locally hosted server in Minecraft and then use a Python script to create a brick tower in Minecraft, while we couldn’t get the code to work, we still had fun and I even learned how easy it was to run a Minecraft server.

CoderDojo 1

Python is an open source, object orientated programing language that is recommended by people because its easy learn and implement into different projects, and has often been compared to similar programming languages like Java, ruby and pearl.

My nephew on the other hand focused on placing TNT around and destroying as much of the world as possible but he did learn a lot about Minecraft and how commands work and how to install mods and texture packs, so hopefully he will be able to do it himself in the future and make a huge Minecraft server.

There were other areas too, there was Scratch which is a tile based learning environment that teaches young people to program their own animations, movies and games which helps young people think creatively, work collaboratively and think systematically, all of these are important skills for the 21st century.

The event was ran by MadLab who provides event space and a place for people to work on their projects, which can include programming, hacking, digital art, animations and film making.

CoderDojo 2

This event helped me with my network diagnosis skills, and while I don’t consider myself an expert in the field, I’m confident enough now to help out with more basic networking issues in the future.

Honestly the kids at the CoderDojo have a really big advantage over me, as they get to learn all this stuff at a young age, this is an opportunity I never had until I was an adult and I think if kids start getting into programing now they’ll have so many doors open for them in the future, and in about 30 years time the word “Unemployment” will cease to exist.

To find out more about the CoderDojo and the various projects they teach click here

CoderDojo #8 was ran by MadLab and Hosted by The SharpProject