Finished up with the QuickTime Streaming Server course today. All in all, it was a very enjoyable and educational week. I gave my second teach-back today, which went quite a bit better than yesterday’s.
Yesterday I presented the chapter on Firewalls and NAT, and how they can be problematic for QTSS. I chose that chapter cause I’m a networking geek, and cause I know the related concepts backwards and forwards… well, turns out that was probably a bad idea. I have a tendency to provide a little bit too much information almost all the time when it comes to tech. stuff; considering that this is a QTSS course, the intimate details of NAT and firewalls aren’t that important in this context. As a result, the comments from the class reflected the fact that I was going too far in depth on the networking side, which I could see after the fact… once I get talking about that stuff, though, it’s like a freight train… One of my fellow students made the astute and relevant comment that it was as if I was transmitting content in UDP instead of TCP (machine gun, spray and pray versus ‘here’s a bit of information, did you get that? okay, good; if not, retransmit).
Today, however, I presented a chapter that I’m less intimately familiar with (like all the rest of the chapters), dealing with the various ways to present content to the user (video on demand, playlist, live encoded) and the various ways that it can be transmitted across the network to the end user (unicast, multicast, broadcast). I tried to slow the pace and not seem *quite* so excited about the material, and also involve the students a bit more (asking questions, etc). The comments from the other students and the instructors conveyed that my improvements worked; they thought it was a better presentation than yesterday. That’s a good thing :)
See, just taking this week-long session doesn’t automatically mean that I’m certified to teach; in fact there are three possible outcomes. The student can be certified to teach the course, or be required to co-teach the course if the instructors feel that the student isn’t quite ready to fly solo (or the student can get neither option). After the co-teach, if there is improvement, then the student can be certified. The problem with the co-teach situation, at least for this course, is that you’d have to co-teach with another instructor that’s also certified to teach QTSS. Right now that list includes exactly one person: the instructor we had this week. Based on my feedback yesterday, I was a bit worried that I might be marked for co-teach, but since today I got better feedback, I think I’ll get certified. It’s not a question of knowing the material – I’m a quick study, and a geek by trade, so that’s never the problem… it’s a question of presenting it properly.
It’s been several years since I’ve done professional instruction, and I’ve always had the tendency to go on the fast side. On the other hand, I always make sure the students know they can stop me whenever they want, and I be sure to ask for feedback to make sure they get key concepts. During the sessions this week, each student got to present in half-hour chunks, which isn’t enough time to really find a natural pace, especially since I genuinely was excited to present the material, and tended to over-do some of my explanations. I think the other problem is that by the time I got a chance to present, we’d all gone over the material at least a few times, so I think I was subconsciously trying to give the other students the chance to actually get some valuable content out of my presentation, instead of hearing exactly the same stuff as before. The real point is to practice our teaching skills, however…. In any case, I hope I get certified… it would really suck ass if I didn’t, cause that would probably mean that it would be *at least* several months before I get a chance to actually teach this stuff. Being one of only 10 Apple certified instructors in the world, however, provides a significant supply and demand advantage on my part. In any case, I learned a bunch of cool stuff… (tho goddamnit, I better get certified.)
We had a pretty fly group of students, several of which have very polished presentation styles. Let’s face it, if you’re one of only two Apple employees in China, for example, you’re probably a badass ;) There was a fairly decent representation of various areas of expertise between the 9 of us, which kept things interesting as far as discussions and such.
On the way from the training center to the Airport, I booked myself another Coast Shuttle (can’t beat $14 from Santa Monica to LAX). This time I got a 50-something Pakistani guy who kept having what seemed like very frustrating phone conversations. After a particularly bickerish call, he looked back at me and was all “You know they say the drug is bad? This is why. This guy…. he messed up in the head. Even if you do the drug one time, and 40 years later you are messed up. That is a saying in my country.” I just sorta nodded, not really having any desire to ask him which drug he might be referring to. Then he asked me where I’m from, and he told me that my beard makes me look like I’m from the Middle East. heh. I mentioned something about beards seeming common in the Middle East, and asked if there was any religious significance. He went on to tell me that in each text of the three major religions, there isn’t any mention of whether it’s ‘good or bad’ to have a beard, yet there are plenty of people that have a beard in the name of religion. About that time I felt like I’d opened a can of worms, and sure enough, he continued talking about how people do all kinds of crazy things in the name of religion, even though none of the religions preach hate or intolerance. I did manage to glean an interesting little tidbit when he was talking about the fact that there are people fighting way too much… He said something about the fact that in the days of yore, that there were some perpetratin’ false prophet kinda dudes that got people to do all sorts of unsavory things, but that god didn’t punish the false prophets, he punished the people. “Leaders do not become leaders if no one follows them”, which makes pretty good sense to me.
Some other random things running through my mind:
-Not exactly looking forward to going back on the sales floor, especially after another week of geeking. In my situation, being in sales is a conduit to not being in sales. Considering that I’ve only been with the company for three weeks and they’ve already paid a lot of money to get my Apple Certified, I’m thinking that they see me as being more valuable in the training room
-Need money. It’s not that I’m out; in fact, I’ve still got a decent chunk of my savings from islandless. On the other hand, getting an apartment and buying the bare bones furniture required is not cheap (currently the only piece of furniture I own is my chair – and a fine chair it is :). This problem is exasperated by the fact that my company pays sales reps monthly (I’ve yet to receive any compensation from them). There is also the problem surrounding the commission structure; there’s no way I’ll ever make the sales quotas necessary for making commission, since I’ve been out two full weeks this month (once for ccna, and once for this training). I’m not even sure I’m being paid for my time I spent in CA for the QTSS training. So, without making the commission, I’m basically left with the hourly base, which isn’t really that great. I don’t mind thinking about money, but worrying about money is stupid and I fucking hate it. There is also the not insignificant fact that I’ve been at Damon’s for a while now. While this has happened in the past, it was just the two of us back then…. I’m doing my absolute best to respect everybody’s space, but I’m still taking up couch.
-Looking forward to seeing Stephen Wright tomorrow night at the Paramount :) I dig both his content and his hilariously deadpan delivery.
-Want to play some damn Quake
-Want to mess around with QTSS/DSS in the bml lab. I wanna find out how far I can push it before it breaks. According to the QTSS courseware, the limit is around 4000 connections (consuming low-bitrate movies). I assume this is on the most absolutely badass server configs with a super-sweet LAN, so I’m interested to see how much my linux box running DSS can do, or a g3/500 running os x server and QTSS.
-I should be more mindful of the good things in my life. I got all philosophical and introspective last night about this… I was in my room at the comfort inn, trying to get DSS to work on my linux box. It built okay once I installed the c++ extensions for gcc, but I was having trouble getting it configured correctly (due to problems with the installer scripts – I found at least one mistake in one of the default config files). Anyway, I was thinking that if I were just a bit more badass, I might not have to fight it so much to get it working. Then I got frustrated cause I only had about 30 minutes to work on it before I had to get some food and then wind down for the night. Feeling a bit pissy that I couldn’t get it working in half an hour after having taken a QTSS course (which, incidentally, spends *no* time at all on working with other Unixes), I walked next door and ordered a burger and some fries from some positively downtrodden individuals working at the Carl’s Burger. The depression was palpable. Sometimes I lose perspective.
-Garbage 2.0 is one of the very few “pop/rock” albums that I really enjoy.
-Is this actual content, or am I just filling time until this plane lands? hmm… I think I’ll read the draft-cheshire-dnsext-multicastdns.txt and learn about how Apple’s implementation of the ZeroConf stuff works.