Plasma/FAQ/HowTo – No longer experimental

You might have seen my previous posts about Plasma HowTos in form of short screencasts. I’m happy to announce that all screencasts are recorded now and uploaded to UserBase. The full article can be found under Plasma/FAQ/HowTo.

If you don’t know what this is all about, here’s a small taste:

How to unlock your widgets

Obviously you can watch the HowTos to learn more about Plasma, but that’s not all: they can also be used to easily answer beginners’ questions in an easy-to-understand and nice-looking way. In forums, for example, you can use the same thumbnail as the one above to link to a HowTo.

Now, let’s spread the screencasts and make Plasma more comprehensible to new users!

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9 Responses to “Plasma/FAQ/HowTo – No longer experimental”

  1. archdron Says:

    Ummm… Is there no really other way to embed the videos instead of gifs? They don’t look too good…

  2. J Janz Says:

    Only to say it again: real great work! Excellent job! Thank you for doing that.

  3. Stefan Says:

    This is very good idea! Thanks!

    What application did you use to make GIF animation?

  4. Hans Says:

    @archdron:
    You prefer Flash? ;)
    Someone suggested animated PNGs in my first post, but I don’t know how to record to that format.

    @J Janz:
    Thank you very much.

    @Stefan:
    I use Byzanz. You aren’t the only one who’s asked, so I’ve already started on a short blog post about how I recorded the screencasts.

  5. Jaroslav Šmíd Says:

    Unfortunately, plasma is still buggy. Watch this video http://rapidshare.com/files/264082322/out.ogv
    It’s showing how to crash plasma in KDE 4.3 and sometimes it takes the whole X server.

  6. Jucato Says:

    Hans,

    Thank you for your efforts to bring this info to the community. It’s very much appreciated.

    I also hope it will inspire other users to bring in their own knowledge to help others. After all, UserBase is a wiki open to everyone. :)

  7. Hans Says:

    @Jaroslav Šmíd:
    That’s pretty funny :D. I also experience Plasma crashes from time to time (but never that it takes down the whole X server). Unfortunately I’m not a developer (yet), so I can’t do much about it other than reporting bugs.
    You really should report that Folderview bug if it hasn’t been reported yet. =)

    @Jucato:
    Thanks for your comment. Yes, it’s very easy to contribute to UserBase, so it’s a good way to help the KDE community.
    I just saw that someone has begun translating the Plasma HowTo article to Chinese – very nice.

  8. maniacmusician Says:

    chiming in a little late, but…

    though their visual quality of course isn’t great, I feel like that’s easily countered by a short introductory explanation talking about the limitations of the GIF format, as well as the portability and ease of it.

    If there’s any way to clear up some of the noise in the image (weird colored dots, etc), I think they would make a great addition to the documentation that’s shipped with KDE…especially if they get well-integrated into help dialogs.

    The amount of difference a visual explanation makes when showing something to a user is mind-boggling. For instance, this could be used to increase the discoverability of things like Keyboard Shortcuts for average-joe users who normally aren’t aware of (or just don’t interact with) subtle technologies like that. Another example; a lot of the options in System Settings, which are familiar to long-time users of KDE (or even GNU/Linux in general), mean absolutely nothing to new users. This could be used to show the meaning of certain sets of options by first showing the setting being changed, and then showing where in the desktop environment it will result in a change.

    I hope that once you finish writing your post on how you made these animations, a lot of people will pick up the technique, and start working on different parts. My foremost hope for this is that someone experienced with this recording process can minimize the image noise in the final product (short of manually editing it out). Even if that’s not possible, they would still make a great addition to UserBase.

  9. Hans Says:

    @maniacmusician:
    “I hope that once you finish writing your post on how you made these animations […]”

    Actually I’ve already posted it – you can find it here: http://hanswchen.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/record-screencasts-to-animated-gif-files/
    I also hope that more people will be inspired to record screencasts – it’s very easy to do – and that more users will contribute to UserBase.

    “I think they would make a great addition to the documentation that’s shipped with KDE…especially if they get well-integrated into help dialogs.”

    I wrote this in a comment in the blog post I linked to above:

    “Yes. There’s been talk about including videos in a welcome plasmoid (e.g. in a feed). If the Plasma guys want screencasts for something like this, the animations will probably be encoded in ogg theora.

    I’ll try to engage the community in creating the screencasts, so stay tuned if you’re interested.”


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