Archive for September, 2007

My Thoughts On Producing A Tutorial

September 5, 2007

My first effort at producing a paid tutorial is about two weeks old now and I have some thoughts I’d like to post here. First, it was as much fun as I hoped it would be. I love the process of recording and editing; I always have even from the time that I was playing with tape recorders as a little kid. I think many blind people have this in common. We’re not into photography so audio is the most natural choice. Podcasting is fun, but unless you produce a wildly successful podcast like Blind Cool Tech or Republic of Avalon Radio, you don’t get a lot of feedback. Producing a paid tutorial forces a conscientious person to do the best quality work they can. If people buy your product, you know they are most likely going to listen to it.

A program such as Rhapsody is a moving target of sorts because aspects of the software could change at any time. If you produce a tutorial on Office 2007, even if it is 30 hours in length, the Office apps won’t change until the next version of Office comes out. Anyone purchasing Office 2008 knows that your 2007 tutorial may or may not be relevant. Anyone purchasing a tutorial such as Jonathan Mosen’s Skype tutorial or my Rhapsody tutorial is going to be upset if the program is accessible for only two days after they purchase it. That is what potentially could have happened with my tutorial. The first version was based on version 3.1 of the Rhapsody software using Window-Eyes with no set files and some free scripts developed by Chris Nestrud for Jaws users. Real Networks decided last Saturday that users would no longer be able to use versions of their software earlier than version 4.0. With bated breath I installed the latest version. Fortunately, it was every bit as accessible as the earlier version if not a bit more so. Unfortunately, the Jaws scripts were rendered useless by the update. I spent from 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon until 2 am. Sunday morning updating the tutorial. Combined with some glitches I had delivering the content to my buyers upon purchase, I didn’t wrap up the delivery of the updated tutorial until Sunday evening. A bit of a rocky start for my first effort, but it appears to have turned out well.

I have received favorable comments from Toonhead and Anna Dresner among others who have listened to the tutorial, and this encourages me greatly. Anna gave me some tips that I will incorporate into a future update. I have promised purchasers free updates to the tutorial for as long as it is available. I also added an HTML document to the zip archive which lists the table of contents to the tutorial along with some keyboard shortcuts for Rhapsody. I wanted to link the tutorial’s seven MP3 files from within the document assuming the files were all stored in the same directory. Apparently I don’t know the correct code for doing this. If anyone does, please let me know.
I purchased a new headset mic yesterday which should improve the quality of future submissions greatly. It is the Plantronics Audio 350 headset mic. You can get it from Best Buy as well as other places online. I paid $34 for mine, but I’m sure it can be had a bit cheaper if you want to search.

Overall, my experience with producing a tutorial has been quite favorable. Thanks to everyone who has purchased the tutorial up to this point. Until next time, have a great week!