Presentation Trifecta; Part 2
Part 2 of the FaithTools Presentation Trifecta was recently posted. I discussed Part 1 earlier. The podcast was hosted by Colin Birch. The audio quality was much better for this part than for part 1. Colin spent additional time improving the sound, which I appreciate because my audio feed was the worst of the group. Because its a better quality recording, I'm not going to transcribe the discussion as I did with part 1. I encourage you to listen if you want to take the time. However, I will use the questions posed as a blog topic opportunity.
Colin asked us how we came to develop the user interfaces that we have.
There are at least two skill levels that we target for using SSP. One is the weekend operator who simply needs to know enough so that he or she can navigate the program during a service, and be able to handle certain unplanned events. Getting to this skill level does not require considerable training. The next level, however, is one in which a person is proficient at building programs, slide shows, and setting display properties in a way to achieve a good, professional looking presentation. This too needs to be as easy as practical, but it's expected that additional effort will be made on the user's part to learn the skills necessary to reach this level.
SongShow Plus, having its origins in the mid-90s, was birthed in the early adopter stage of church projection. Those who were involved in church projection systems were naturally technical, and SSPs user interface was fine the technically minded. Nowadays, the church projection market is mainstream, and as a result, we're dealing with mainstream users, users that may not be as technically minded as their predecessors. Keeping the user interface evolving to accommodate mainstream users while not alienating those who have learned the user interface as it is and prefer that it not change, has been a challenge for us.
Colin asked us about our forums communities.
The community forums on ssplash.com were made public in June 2005 after an event occured that wiped out the previous SSP community forums. Since then the community on SSPlash has been growing regularly. He commented about how at one time, there was more traffic coming to FaithTools.com from ssplash.com than anywhere else. He's probably referring to this post here and the resulting traffic.
I also took the opportunity to talk about the wish list, which I've discussed before on this blog. This is something unique to our community, and I'm looking forward to the planned enhancements to it.
Colin asked us about our future plans.
He directed the question to me first, and I simply said that I don't talk about future plans unless the new features are essentially "in the can". I learned some hard lessons some time ago (the upgrade from version 3 to version 4 being the primary event, something I may talk about later). I was happy to talk about our recent developments, all of which have been discussed on this blog.
Colin then asked us if we had all solved the playing of DVDs, addressing the spin up time and in/out points.
I think we all dogged the main question and essentially agreed that, while you can play DVDs through our presentation software packages, its best if you don't. If you have a choice between playing a DVD or a file containing the same video content, go with the file! Playing a video file from a computer is more reliable than playing a DVD from a computer, or even playing a DVD from a dedicated DVD player. I may elaborate on this in the future, but the main reasons are that you avoid spin up time, you can be sure that you have the correct in/out points, and you don't need to worry about scratches on the disc causing the video to glitch or crash.
That was the bulk of the topics for part 2.