New features and Fridays hangout

It happened again, I ran a technical hangout on Friday and we quickly hit the 10 attendee Google+ hangouts with extras capacity. I’m sorry if you were one of the folks that couldn’t get on because of this.

The main thing that we talked about were the raft of “small” new features that we have introduced into our products over the last few months, so I’ve put together a quick Prezi with an overview of these as a consolation for folks that couldn’t get to the hangout. All you need to do is click on the play button below to animate the Prezi, and then click to step through it, or just zoom out and pan around the display area clicking to view the bits that interest you in your own time.

From my previous blog on the topic, it will be obvious that I quite like the Prezi technology and I’m getting better at driving it. You’ll notice this latest effort now includes embedding video clips of UI features as shown using screen sharing in the hangout. Syncing sound with them is still evading though me so don’t bother turning your audio up because there isn’t any (yet).

Back to the hangout limits

I’m struggling to decide what to do about banging our head against these every Friday. I guess we could do one or more of the following:

  1. Persevere with hangouts, small and interactive is good!
  2. Find some way of recording the hangout so that it can be viewed later by folks who want to
  3. Beg Google to get to play with hangouts on air (effectively a broadcast hangout which can have lots of “watchers”)
  4. Switch to a more formal webinar format for more capacity

I’m not sure that I personally favour option 2 as for me, the whole point of hangouts is that they are an informal thing. If everyone has to start watching their words carefully because they are being published on the interwebs for posterity then I think that will make the dynamic different.

Certainly I’d probably start scripting more of what I’m going to say and practicing the demo steps. My normal prep for a hangout is to grab a cup of coffee 5 mins before I start and then switch my webcam on and see what questions pop up, with a backup plan of something to talk about for half an hour if you are all a silent lot like last week! If we are going to record things then I would want to switch to more formal webinars.

So what do you think. If you’ve been in a hangout, or tried to get in but couldn’t, or didn’t have time: how could we make this work better for you? Please leave a comment.

About Rob Pickering

Rob is a reformed software engineer who has spent much of his life developing computer networking applications and infrastructure. His career started in the 1980s with hands on development of the Internet TCP/IP protocol stack through a spell as a development manager at 3Com in the 1990s before founding ipcortex where he is currently our CEO.
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