About

Ian Ozsvald picture

This is Ian Ozsvald's blog (@IanOzsvald), I'm an entrepreneurial geek, a Data Science/ML/NLP/AI consultant, author of O'Reilly's High Performance Python book, co-organiser of PyDataLondon, a Pythonista, co-founder of ShowMeDo and also a Londoner. Here's a little more about me.

High Performance Python book with O'Reilly

View Ian Ozsvald's profile on LinkedIn

ModelInsight Data Science Consultancy London Protecting your bits. Open Rights Group

31 July 2009 - 17:23The Screencasting Handbook

I’m very pleased to say that my new screencasting book – The Screencasting Handbook – is now in production.

The website went live this week and once one tiny bug is resolved (the title seems to float a bit weirdly) the site will be finished.

The book’s goal is to present 4 years of my own experiences screencasting, along with the experiences of others, to help new screencasters get up to speed quickly.

My screencasting experience comes from 4 years building ShowMeDo with Kyran where I’ve made over 140 tutorials and founding ProCasts for professional work a year back.

Along the way I wrote a 9-part screencast tutorial but I’ve got so much experience to share…so I figured it was time to write a book.

I’m taking an agile approach to the book’s development.  I’ll release a table of contents with Chapter 1 as the first commercial release, probably in mid August.

Next I’ll release new chapters every few weeks.  The aim is to iterate on the feedback from my readers so I’m delivering the book that answers their questions, rather than the book that I guess might contain what they need.

You can sign-up on the site for emailed notifications and a chance to win a free license.  If you’d just like to keep an eye on things you could always follow our Twitter feed.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: ProCasts, Screencasting, The Screencasting Handbook

30 June 2009 - 18:46New ShowMeDo series – OpenOffice Calc transition series for Excel users

I spent the weekend cracking through the creation of a new 12-part tutorial  series for ShowMeDo, the result is OpenOffice Calc 3.1 for Microsoft Excel users.  The overview is embedded below, links to all the episodes are further down.  This series was created whilst wearing my screencast production hat for ProCasts.

The goal is to take the hand of an Excel user and easily and quickly move them over to using Calc with the minimum of fuss.

Common topics like sharing .xls files, using .ods native files, printing, .csv files and PDF export are covered.  I also spend three episodes (just over 20 minutes) going through the creation of a sheet to model a mythical eBook’s sales covering formulas, formatting and charting.  Finally I finish with a look at some of Calc’s easter eggs including Star Wars (heck, I didn’t even know there were any games in OOo!).

Note that this series is a part of ShowMeDo’s Club so you need to be a paying member or contributing author to get access to all the episodes.  I’ve also updated the OpenOffice Learning Path which collates all of ShowMeDo’s OpenOffice videos.

  1. Series Overview in 3 minutes (OpenOffice 3.1 for Excel users) (Free)
  2. Installing OpenOffice 3.1 on Windows XP (Free)
  3. Working with .xls Sheets in Calc
  4. Saving as an ODF Spreadsheet (.ods) and PDF
  5. Where to get help
  6. Constructing a Sales-Forecast Sheet
  7. Formatting your Sheet
  8. Creating a Chart
  9. Printing your Sheet
  10. Import and Export CSV files
  11. Re-associating .xls files with Excel after OpenOffice installation
  12. Light relief – Star Wars Easter Egg and others

Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: ProCasts, Screencasting, ShowMeDo

8 June 2009 - 18:24New ProCasts screencast for Orchestrate

Over in ProCasts we’ve just delivered a sales screencast production to Andy Wright (CEO) at Orchestrate to demonstrate their workforce scheduling software.  Andy and I first spoke after he created his own screencast for Orchestrate’s launch, you can see some more details and our critique of his earlier screencast here.  Andy’s blogged a very supportive entry too.

Our solution shows you ‘a day in the life of Orchestrate’, it shows you how easy it is to schedule jobs and see that they’re completed.

Thanks to Richard for the logo and concept work and Ellen for script re-writing.  My team rocks.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: ProCasts, Screencasting

6 June 2009 - 15:47Starting work on a ‘How to Screencast’ eBook

Having learned an awful lot about screencasting in the last 4 years, I’m starting work in ProCasts on developing an eBook that teaches How to Screencast.  With over 3 years of tutorial screencasting in ShowMeDo and 2 years of commercial screencasting for marketing, tech-support and training that led to ProCasts, I feel rather well-qualified to write the book on the subject.

Right now the book is in the design stages, I’ve posted a survey in SurveyMonkey that asks 10 easy questions about your current screencasting knowledge and what you want to learn about.  If you want to learn more about screencasting – please fill in the survey.  It doesn’t require registration and if you put in your email address for the first question you’ll be in the draw for 2 free licenses (one for you, one for a friend).

If you don’t want to fill in the survey but you do want to be notified about the release, sign-up to our eBook notification list.

Topics that I’ll probably cover include:

  • Using screencasts for Sales, Training and Technical Support
  • Story-boarding to explain all your benefits and features
  • Writing a short, powerful script that really grabs the viewer’s attention
  • Techniques for converting your viewer into a user of your software
  • The best software packages to use when recording and editing a screencast
  • Editing competently so you have a short, polished video
  • Using annotations, fades and high-lights to focus the viewer’s attention on the key points
  • Improving your audio recording
  • Critiques of existing screencasts including ways of improving them
  • Check-lists for each step of the process so you can quickly complete each phase confidently

Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: Screencasting, ShowMeDo

4 June 2009 - 11:38OpenOffice Writer tutorials at ShowMeDo

I’ve just finished a new series for OpenOffice users entitled OpenOffice 3.1 Writer for Microsoft Word users.  This series is a part of ShowMeDo’s Club, in 45 minutes I cover 11 topics for the new Writer user aimed at easing their transition across from MS Office:

  1. Series Overview in 4 minutes (OpenOffice 3.1 for Word users)
  2. Installing OpenOffice 3.1 on Windows XP
  3. Working with Word (.doc) files
  4. Working with an OpenDocument Format (.odt) file
  5. Help! Manuals, Forums and Mail lists
  6. Basic Formatting (bold, italic etc)
  7. Exporting to PDF, HTML, MediaWiki
  8. Printing
  9. Word-completion
  10. Find and Replace, Undo
  11. Spell Checker

We have plans to cover more OOo topics, right now I’m looking for feedback.  It feels a bit odd to have one OpenOffice series in amongst all the Python series but we need to start this new tutorial thread somehow!  I created this series whilst wearing my ProCasts screencast production hat.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: Screencasting, ShowMeDo

7 May 2009 - 10:08Transcribing a podcast via eLance

Recently I’ve given two podcast interviews for ProCasts (Startup-Success Screencasting, How to Start Screencasting).

A user had asked if a written transcript would be available, knowing that not everyone likes listening to 45 minutes of discussion I figured a transcript would be a smart idea (and letting Google read the text couldn’t hurt too).

I returned to eLance as I had no way of judging whether the transcript companies advertising in Google were any good.  I posted a job description with a 2 week limit and received 34 proposals with an average bid of $61USD.  The majority of the bids were from the US rather than the Far East, compared to my previous use of eLance.

Sharon (nctranscription) offered a bid of $50USD for the 45 minute podcast (I added the second 9 minute podcast into the job later).  She had a couple of questions and returned the finished transcript almost overnight.  I’m very happy with her work, you can see both the transcripts in the blog entries: Startup-Success Screencasting, How to Start Screencasting.

Bob Walsh (47hats) also recommends CastingWords.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: Life, ProCasts, Screencasting

13 April 2009 - 20:32ProCasts gets screencast award

I’m rather chuffed to say that our ProCasts has just received an award from TechSmith for our Adblock Plus open-source advocacy screencast.  I’ve blogged a few more details at ProCasts, our video is played 600 times a day and has already won popularity awards in YouTube.

Find out more about Camtasia Studio and the power of desktop recording

“I liked this screencast for several reasons. Ian made great use of Camtasia Studio’s SmartFocus feature – he used it to focus your attention on certain areas of the screen and show greater detail.

The audio quality is great on this screencast which is important as viewers are generally intolerant of poor audio. The background audio music was a great touch and added polish to the screencast. And, Ian has a great voice for narration! The screencast runs 1:32 and is short and to the point. Perfect!”


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: Life, ProCasts, Screencasting

5 April 2009 - 18:51“The Art and Science of Screencasts” podcast

Bob and Pat, long-time supporters of Joel’s Business of Software forums, were kind enough to interview me last week on the art and science of creating screencasts that sell your software.

The podcast (mp3) is 42 minutes long, they question me to help MicroISVs and tech companies learn more about using screencasts to demo and sell their software.  I’ve written up a bit about it on the ProCasts blog.

“In show #21 Bob and Pat interview Ian Ozsvald, founder of ProCasts on the art and science, mystery and drama of creating great screeencasts for your startup’s product or web site. Ian generously shares his expertise about how to target your screencast, techniques that make a huge difference, a range of free and non-free tools, ways to improve your video communication abilities and more. If you want to know how to create a screencasts that shines, this is the show for you!”

Would you like a free eBook that covers all of this (and more)? ProCasts’ Little Book of Screencasting is in the works, to receive a notification when we release it send an email to: ebook_notify@procasts.co.uk


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: Life, ProCasts, Screencasting

27 March 2009 - 16:40Screencasting tutorials

Over on the ProCasts blog we’re building up a screencast tutorial series, planned to be 9 episodes long, that will teach anyone how to make a beautiful screencast that helps them explain their product to their new users.

By explaining your product you’re more likely to convince first-timer visitors to stick around and try out your tool.

We’re publishing a new episode every few days, the planned episodes are:

  1. Why do you need to screencast?
  2. Choosing your screencast software
  3. Editing your screencast
  4. Why adding music makes your screencast more professional
  5. How and why export screencasts to .flv, .mp4, .wmv, .avi and .swf formats
  6. Embedding screencasts in your site
  7. Getting your screencast seen by more people using sites like YouTube and Vimeo
  8. Pro tip – how to make your audio sound like it was recorded by a professional
  9. Pro tip – using an introductory animation and PowerPoint slides

We’re writing this series over the next few weeks to help encourage others to try screencasting.  Once completed it’ll be converted into a free eBook entitled ProCasts’ Little Book of Screencasting, if you’d like your copy then email ebook_notify@procasts.co.uk

In part this series will be discussed in a podcast interview being recorded tonight for the Start-up Success series, we’re discussing the topics for the interview in Joel’s Business of Software forum.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

1 Comment | Tags: ProCasts, Screencasting

13 March 2009 - 14:05ProCasts’ third open-src advocacy video – AdBlockPlus

I’m rather chuffed to say that Wladimir Palant, the chap behind the excellent AdBlockPlus.org ad-filter for Firefox, has added our advocacy video to his frontpage – it shows you in just over a minute how and why to install AdBlockPlus.  As Wladimir says:

Ian and Richard […] offered me to create a screencast for Adblock Plus. They then went on analyzing what potential users need to know and the result is quite remarkable

We created the video to show how Richard and I can work together inside ProCasts combining animation and screencasting techniques, backed by music and scripting, to teach new users exactly why they will want to use this new tool and how they should get started.

We went through the full process of:

  1. understanding who the users are
  2. learning what they need
  3. asking about what confuses them
  4. figuring out how to tell the story
  5. screencasting prototypes
  6. wrapping everything in animated segments

I plan to blog at ProCasts about all the steps including showing some of the draft videos, this should give others some ideas for how to iterate on larger  screencasting projects.

The previous advocacy videos have been Django (Python web-framework) in Under a Minute and Internet Explorer 8 vs Firefox 3.

Richard has blogged an AdBlockPlus entry too.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: ProCasts, Screencasting