Thursday, March 23, 2023

YouTube vs Udemy

Last June I published my one and only course on the Udemy platform: Problem-Solving Techniques. It has been a chastening failure as there are only 46 students - most of whom availed of a free voucher scheme I made available through Linkedin shortly after publication. Many of these students have not accessed the course at all. Last year I met an employee of Udemy in Dublin who told me that it was vital to promote the course on social media, get endorsements, and use vouchers to get enrolments. The course has had no enrolments since last September, and has made just $38 in total. I don't have the time, nor the endeavour, to promote the course like it needs - so it will languish in Udemy amongst thousands of other courses. 

Then there's YouTube!

I have just over 72,000 subscribers and almost 30,000,000 views in YouTube. 22 of the 37 videos in the Udemy course are essentially updates of my old Problem-Solving Techniques YouTube Playlist - several of these videos are over ten years old and were made using Windows Movie Maker. Many comments on the videos report poor audio quality. I have now released my Udemy videos on YouTube - here's one example about Pareto Analysis.

I checked with Udemy if this is allowed - and it is. They just ask that I do not charge less than Udemy does ($19.99) on a third party platform. YouTube is not suitable as a full course experience as there is no way (yet) to provide a curriculum structure. The 22 videos are listed in a Playlist, but it is not immediately clear that the videos are part of a course. On each video I link to the Udemy course as a "full learning experience". I also put a note in the old versions that a newer version is available.

This new and updated set of videos will make some money from advertising, though this will take time as they have to build an audience. I will report how YouTube compares to Udemy in a few months time.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

St Patrick's Festival

A great way to spend St Patrick's Day was to be a volunteer at the St Patrick's Festival in Collins Barracks. I normally avoid all the crowds, but this was a great day out. My job was to help out with the wonderful Actual Reality Arcade Games - basically to control and manage access to the Laser Run and Pac Maze games. There were many other volunteers of all nationalities helping out, and as you can see in the photo below, the arcade games were very popular with young families. Collins Barracks was packed for the day, with non-stop entertainment to keep everyone happy.

Happy St Patrick's Day!

At the Actual Reality Arcade.

Thursday, March 09, 2023

Thailand - Bangkok

The final stop of our tour of South East Asia was Bangkok, where we spent just a couple of nights. Like Hanoi and Saigon, this is a very busy place, though there are a lot more cars and a lot less scooters on the streets. There are also a lot of temples which the locals are very proud of. 

We did a Hop-on Hop-off tour of the city and got to see a lot of this fantastic place. The Grand Palace looks awesome, as well as the Wat Khun Chan Giant Buddha. We finished up at the IconSiam shopping centre - a place that makes Dundrum Shopping Centre look like a corner shop. Later we went on a Tuk-Tuk food tour which was not as good as others we did in Vietnam and Cambodia. Despite requesting no spicy food in advance, this is what we got - so not much local food for me. Nevertheless, we had a great time touring around Bangkok - especially the flower market.

As we were flying out home late in the evening, on our last day we decided to do a water boat tour of the Bangkok canals. This was good fun - the boats are narrow and wobble a bit, but despite stopping at yet more temples it was a great way to see parts of Bangkok not in the tourist guides.

One thing we did not know in advance was that our last day in Bangkok was actually a dry day - no alcohol was allowed to be sold. We did manage to get a glass of wine in a mug at one café, and I felt a bit like I was sneaking a few cans on a Good Friday years ago.

On the Bangkok canal.

Symbol of Bangkok, the Giant Swing.

I'm getting to like the Tuk-Tuks!

At the fabulous Wat Arun temple.

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Cambodia - Siem Reap

After the hustle and bustle of Vietnam, it was time for the much more sedate surroundings of Siem Reap in Cambodia, a place of many temples. The first one to see was Ta Prohm, where I'm told that the film Tomb Raider was made - this was the least interesting feature for me. The trees growing over the walls and stones of the temple were beautiful. Later we went down Pub Street in Siem Reap town, which is not beautiful. Nevertheless, despite loud music we had great Khmer food and beer.

On our second day we took a boat down the Siem Reap river to Tonlé Sap lake. This was a fascinating excursion to see houses built on high stilts to avoid being submerged during annual floods during the rainy season. We were also treated to seeing how small fish are dried in the sun and later smoked. The lake has floating villages which seem very isolated and must be a tough place to live. Later in the day were went to see the famous Angkor Wat temple - a magical place that shows the skills of stone masons from nearly 1000 years ago. 

On our last full day we went to see some shops and crafts. The Old Market is a great place to while away some time, but you wont leave empty handed as everywhere you go you are constantly approached by polite market sellers to "You buy something?"! We also had a great tour of the APOPO Hero Rats charity. This is where Tanzanian rats are trained to detect landmines, which are still all over Cambodia since a civil war in the 1970s. I made a new friend called Dora here - she crawled all over my arm and shoulder.

Siem Reap is a great place to visit if you love your history and like relaxing. The traffic here was mercifully miles lighter than in Hanoi or Saigon. The Tuk-Tuks are cheap and a fun way to get around. The food is great and fantastic value - all provided by the kindest and most polite people you can meet.

Trying out some stone carving at Artisans Angkor.

My new job as a Tuk-Tuk driver!

Angkor Wat at sunset.

Angkor Wat temple.

One of the stunning trees at Ta Prohm temple.

Driving a boat on Tonlé Sap lake.

On the Siem Reap river.

With Dora, the mine-detecting rat.