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Screencasts

These days, it seems like you can’t go more than three or four websites without running into a screencast. Sure, video is all the rage on news sites but in the technical space I suspect it has something to do with their use in evangelizing Rails; how you couldn’t be impressed by the original “build a weblog in 15 minutes” is beyond me. Though I’ve yet to dig into any of the PeepCode screencasts, I’ve heard they are absolutely top notch and my friend Neal Ford has an IntelliJ show up on the No Fluff site.

Anyway, the Prags have gotten into the mix with their own take on this “new” medium. They’ve got five up at this point and I just bought the first installments of the Ruby Object Model and Metaprogramming. A couple of things have really impressed me: first, there’s no DRM. Once again, Prag shows that they trust their customers to do the right thing. In addition to iPhone ready videos, they have good old fashion QuickTime files and it’s pretty had to beat the price. Oh, one last little touch – when you visit the site (and you’re logged in) they’ve grayed out the screencasts you’ve already purchased. This may seem like a small and obvious detail but I could see a company “neglecting” that in the hopes someone might inadvertently purchase something twice.

I love podcasts and I’ll always be surrounded by books, but somethings are just best conveyed via video. These days we’ve got a ton of great educational options, so if you’re looking to learn something new or brush up on an old favorite, see if someone has a screencast. Heck, with today’s tools, you could create your own!

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