SDN Channel on Linux: deleted unrated scenes

As you might have noticed in my previous blog entry I really wanted to get your opinion on my interview. But aside from the usual curiosity I had a practical reason to beg for it to be reflected in the comments section of my blog. Because you see, the other part I had to do for the Linux episode of the SDN Channel resulted in the most bizarre and troubling interaction I have ever had while working for Sun.

And that other part I am talking about is making of flash demos.

As a producer of these demos I really wanted them to do one thing -- transport every viewer into the office(s) of the guys who actually wrote the software in question (one way or the other). I wanted them to be as geeky and as similar to the usual hallway conversations we all have as possible. One thing I didn't want them to be was flashy and marketing looking. I'm a developer myself and I consider it to be a bait'n'switch when somebody is trying to feed me a marketing presentation calling it a developer demo.

Two demos were produced under these assumptions and they were shown to a bunch of colleagues of ours. Both native and non-native English speakers. The response we got was almost unanimous -- audio might use some fixin' but otherwise they are nice. The coast was clear and the demos were on their way to http://developers.sun.com when all of a sudden we had a really strong pushback from a new person responsible for ok'ing everything that goes on our site. What that person demanded was a total removal of \*both\* demos (which wasn't half as bad as the actual reason given to us). Now, don't get me wrong here I would be the first one to agree that the technical merits of these demos are probably not quite at the level where I would feel comfortable submitting them for an Oscan nomination. That I was prepared to hear and discuss. But I was completely unprepared for an actual reason that was given to me: I was told that the only reason they wouldn't be published is because having demos narrated by non-native English speakers or even by somebody who doesn't happen to be a professional voice talent is below the quality bar that is acceptable for a successful image of Sun microsystems.

Just like that

I tried to argue my case. First by trying to convince my opponent that it is always better to hear an unscripted developer chatting about things which are near and dear to him than to have a voice talent doing a lip syncing job. I even referred to the governor of the state of California elected to his position regardless of the thickest middle-European accent since Kissinger. All to no avail. I think somewhere along the way it actually got personal (after all when it comes to accents I'm as touchy as the next [Slavic] guy)

At that point I stopped arguing and figured that as long as one of the demos did survive and as long as Jonathan has a soft spot in his heart for http://blogs.sun.com I can safely use this place instead of the official one (http://developers.sun.com) to talk to the sort of guys and gals I want to talk to -- you.

And so without further ado, here's a portion of the SDN portal which you were not supposed to see. And as with my previous plea I hope that you would find it possible to spend a couple of minutes adding a comment or two on what you saw and heard. I can not stress enough how important it is for me to find out whether all of the allegations made against this demo (and even the first one!) are true or false. And who's the better force to set this record straight than you -- viewers and listeners we created this demo for. Just keep in mind one thing -- I don't want to assert that quality of the audio here is good enough for a broadcast all I'm trying to say is that it is comprehensible. Should we do better next time? Absolutely! Was it necessary to remove this demo ? NO!

Sun Studio Next Generation IDE Tour
Watch the Sun Studio Next Generation IDE Tour
See what kind of the IDE experience you should be preparing yourself for once we made it available for early adopters some time later this year. This demo was created by (in alphabetical order): Andrew Krasny, Maria Tishkova, Anton Vysotsky and Anton Youdkevitch. Editing and postproduction -- Roman Shaposhnik. The team would like to thank Anya Barsky for feedback and support and Jonathan Schwartz for being a Patron Saint of http://blogs.sun.com.

» Take the IDE tour (flash)

P.S. And especially if you happen to be a non-native English speaker please let me know whether you had major difficulties understanding the demo. One of the allegations against it was exactly that it would be practically impossible for non-native speakers to understand it. However, as a non-native speaker myself I find it particularly hard to believe.
Comments:

Dude, you should \*totally\* post this out on tools-discuss@opensolaris.org - or at least the flash demos and not the rant about Sun [though I can completely understand how utterly braindead that is].

Posted by Glynn on July 30, 2006 at 08:08 AM PDT #

Though pity about the desktop you're using [grin]

Posted by Glynn on July 30, 2006 at 08:09 AM PDT #

Feedback: The interview goes well, and you share some important information. Everything is quite clear.

Posted by M. Mortazavi on July 30, 2006 at 03:53 PM PDT #

I can see why the complained, although I followed along reasonably fine. But it could use some professional assistance (like explaining before hand what you are doing, then doing it and finishing with the impression you want the reader to leave with. Standard techniques like those are not necessarily "dumb-downs" but also better communication tools). It was a bit fast-paced; perhaps the demo should be broken down into separate demos per functionality to make it clearer to understand. I also STRONGLY OBJECT to your use of g++, instead of Sun C++ :-) [Nothing against g++, but this is a SunStudio demo after all; I wouldnt dream of putting in Eclipse IDE to demo the C/C++ compilers ... ok, I guess I'll get some grief for saying this!] I like the demo "of the people, by the people and for the people" concept, overall. It lends authenticity.

Posted by Vijay Tatkar on August 01, 2006 at 06:13 AM PDT #

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