Tuesday, October 23, 2018

I pretty much never watch videos anymore, and this one sums up why

While scrolling through Deadspin or Gizmodo, I saw a link to a post, titled "Discover the Secrets of the Tape Measure," on one of their sister sites, Lifehacker, that made me pause for a moment. I was pretty sure there wasn't going to be any new information for me -- I've been using tape measures for going on half a century, professionally, even, for many years -- but I thought, eh, don't be a closed-minded old guy, maybe you'll learn something new.

Clicked the link and *sigh*, yep, it was a video. Didn't click play. I like to read. Watching, like a drooling couch potato, makes me antsy as all hell. It never goes fast enough, there's no equivalent to skimming, it always feels like three more minutes of life tossed out the window.

A couple of days later, I thought, okay, one quick look. And all of my gripes about videos were confirmed.

I mean, even going in, I was thinking, this could (should!) have been a text post, that would have taken about a twentieth of the time to read as it did to watch. And worse, 98% of the useful information conveyed was? Yes. Nothing. But. Text. Streamed over video. With each sentence displaying on screen for an excruciatingly long time.

And further, in this age of oligopolistic telecommunications giants, how about the bandwidth considerations? Even if you thought the post would need some visuals, a few line drawings would have done just fine. Say, four PNGs, at about 50Kb each. Instead, who knows how many Mb were spent.

And don't even get me started about the pre-roll ads.

You want an idea for a killer AI app? Make something that "watches" video, distills it down to its essence, and delivers the result in text, the way God intended.

Grumble.

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