Re: the Hadoop comic

Subject: Re: the Hadoop comic
From: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2011 05:39:38 -0800 (PST)

As a rule I really hate cuteness.  I found this comic effective and I think for exactly the reasons Maneesh stated...  A lot of verbiage goes out the window in this medium.  By personifying each "actor" in the process chain, names are stated once only, and replaced by genera pronouns afterward.  Voice is constantly active, and readers always know who (or what) is acting...  something I'm always harping about.  You could use panels of more formal diagrams, but personification actually reduces the syllables required to clarify references. 

I personally think a UML sequence diagram could have expressed the same, and even more concisely, but that's a specialized language.  And it would need notes at various stages to elaborate on definitions (block, replication factor) or metadata (block and data node tables).  Hmmm...  a UML viewer (a possible web app and/or applet?) that offers authored drilldown might fill the bill.  But it's still very specialized, while a comic is open to all readers. 

For Maneesh, I personally think the opposite about videos.  I dislike them not because they go too fast, but because they go too slow.  For the same amount of information, reading is usually much quicker.  Unless you're interactively illustrating a process that is mainly visual, I prefer reading every time.  I would have slit my wrists if I had to watch a video to get that same HADOOP information.  For the coupling of molecules or an overview of cell function, video is great.  But we should never forget the power of compressing experience into symbolic sequences (aka text).

So...  Good job!

(NOTE: one small editorial issue...  3rd-to-last panel, you say "...HDFS allows you use your own placement algorithm."  It should be "...allows you TO use your own..."  You probably already caught that, but just in case...)

-----Original Message-----
>From: maneesh varshney <mvarshney -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: common-user -at- hadoop -dot- apache -dot- org
Subject: HDFS Explained as Comics
Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2011 12:28:42 -0800
List-Id: <>

For your reading pleasure!

PDF 3.3MB uploaded at (the mailing list has a cap of 1MB attachments):

Appreciate if you can spare some time to peruse this little experiment of
mine to use Comics as a medium to explain computer science topics. This
particular issue explains the protocols and internals of HDFS.

I am eager to hear your opinions on the usefulness of this visual medium to
teach complex protocols and algorithms.

[My personal motivations: I have always found text descriptions to be too
verbose as lot of effort is spent putting the concepts in proper time-space
context (which can be easily avoided in a visual medium); sequence diagrams
are unwieldy for non-trivial protocols, and they do not explain concepts;
and finally, animations/videos happen "too fast" and do not offer
self-paced learning experience.]

All forms of criticisms, comments (and encouragements) welcome :)


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