[Grok-dev] Re: The Google Highly Open Participation Contest

Philipp von Weitershausen philipp at weitershausen.de
Wed Nov 28 19:09:17 EST 2007

Jan Ulrich Hasecke wrote:
> Hi all!
> Google has started a new contest for secondary and high-school students. 
> They have to complete tasks within five days and submit them to a jury. 
> They can win something.
> http://code.google.com/opensource/ghop/2007-8/
> One task is to make a screencast of the Grok Tutorial. Cool! :-)
> http://code.google.com/p/google-highly-open-participation-psf/issues/detail?id=139 
> My son, which participated the Grok workshop at the FrOSCon would like 
> to make this screencast.

Great idea!

> But we're unsure, whether and when it is 
> possible to install the appropriate software, so maybe he only can claim 
> this task next week, when we've got the software running.

It should only be a matter of an hour or two to get the software running 
(see below).

> If the task is 
> still open then. ;-) Every task can only be claimed by one student. 
> Maybe others are faster.

You have a Mac, right? Then I recommend iShowU for recording the 
screencast. This is what I used to create the TodoList screencast a 
while back. It's very easy to install. There's a demo version available 
so you can try it out.

Here are a few tips:

* Use an external monitor as an additional screen. That way you have 
enough space for the recoding area (doesn't have to and shouldn't be the 
whole screen) and the other windows (e.g. iShowU's control panel).

* Record only a few steps at a time. You can put the individual pieces 
together during editing (I used iMovie).

* Do the sound track separately. At least I can't type and say something 
meaningful at the same time (I'm a man, what do you expect :)). I 
recorded my soundtrack afterwards in Garageband. I played the silent 
video of the screencast and then spoke to it. Much more relaxing this way.

Basically, if you've got iLife (which contains iMovie and GarageBand), 
the only thing you need to buy is iShowU which is something like $20, so 
basically 50 euro cents or thereabouts ;).

If you'd rather go with simpler and freeer software, you might want to 
try pyVNC. It records a VNC session. You could set up a Linux machine, 
start a VNC server and record whatever you're doing on that machine. 
pyVNC saves to flash. It comes with an audio merging tool so that you 
can add audio later. Advantages: free tools, probably less hungry on 
performance and written in Python :).

> Unfortunately this is the only Grok task.
> I am not sure whether it is still possible to submit new tasks to the 
> contest, the google page is not very userfriendly. Are there any other 
> possible Grok tasks, which a young student can complete within five 
> days? Maybe writing a small tutorial, writing a small test, doing 
> documentation?

Getting the reference online is a huge documentation todo item. I have 
no idea how far Uli and JW are on this by now...

Another idea would be to simply extend the existing tutorial. It doesn't 
cover forms or indexing/searching yet, for instance. I think Luciano 
improved the tutorial already in a branch, perhaps that can finally be 
merged to the trunk and improved/finalized.

Naturally, anything that helps with the docs would be greatly 
appreciated. I must admit, screencasts are very cool and they help 
promote stuff :).

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