Have You Climbed the Twitter Life Cycle Curve?

21 03 2008

Hey Aussie! I’m still here! Well, not literally– but if you got turned out to twitter this year, share your story…

It was with a smile I just saw the title in my RSS reader that I knew that another initial skeptic, George Siemens, had followed the path I charted in April 2007 as the Twitter Life Cycle.

Twitter Life Cycle

I have seen so many people, myself at front of the list, first see twitter and remark, “That i the stupidest thing I have ever seen on the web (well maybe after the hamsters)… who in their right mind would waste time doing this?”. If they stay at it long enough, they climb the curve above, perhaps on a different slope and maybe not alway at a plateau. But I lost track of how many colleagues I have seen who have done this.

So George’s post today inspired by to create a wiki where others can join the honorary list of People Who Climbed the Twitter Curve. So add your name today at:


Hmmm, I bet I will tweet this blog post..

Never To PPT Again

17 10 2007

Having been bludgeoned senseless by too many conference presentation bullet points, I’ve never been anything close to a PowerPoint fan. Far from it. For a number of years, I adamantly refused to even deploy it for presentations, using a number of different approaches- Flash, HTML, S5 templates, wikis.

The only reason I relented my stand was to be able to produce content that could be uploaded to Slideshare, where bloated PPTs go to become sharable, svelte, web friendly Flash content. And I begin to believe the words on this t-shirt. PowerPoint does not kill presentations, people do

No more. Lats night, as I was updating my presentation files, Powerpoint just, on its own, quietly quit. Poof. It did not say goodbye, wave, fart, nothing. No error message, no bomb. It just took off to whereever the place evil software goes when it tires of its users’ pesky demands.

I was relieved when I re-opened it that I had only missed the edits on the last slide I was working on, and easy fix.

Until this morning, when I noticed that every freaking linked text, hyperlink, image in the show (likely 100) had their URLs shuffled, so nothing points to the right location.



Once I am done with this last prezzy, my work from now on will be back in web-based content, or Keynote.

PPT No More. Stick a Fork in It. I’m gonna yank it from my machine.

How Not to Tell A Story

27 09 2007

It seems obvious that bullet-pointing a story is wrong, deadly, yet it happens again, and again. And again.

Break the trend. Tell your story in spoken word, in images, as an audience wants a performance, wants a bit of mystery, humor, not to read a screen while a marionette parrots.


24 09 2007

I am sure people range quite widely over their feelings on the “value” or “dangers” of YouTube, probably as polarizing as the take on WikiPedia. But let’s cast aside the value judgment, and recognize in terms of technology and a social phenomena how it changes our concept and expectations of video.

Tonight I am in a hotel room in Dallas, Texas (I am here for the Pachyderm Conference the NMC is running this week); my normal television viewing habits are rather minimal, but while on the road alone, it just makes for nice background noise. For some reason, I was distracted by one of the new, quirky commercials for Geico (auto insurance company, known for its off-beat ads) – where it mocks a news documentary pointing at one of my formative cultural influences, The Flinstones (as a kid, my TV habits were a bit more “on”).

In the era I am now defining as BYT (Before Youtube), there was no easy way for me to share, re-publish television content- but now, in the flash of a Google Search I have something I can now re-watch (again and again), and share with you:

I have this strange flashback to my very first experiences with digital video, in fact, it was the first weeks of my employment in 1992 at the Maricopa Community Colleges, that I found myself at the QuickTime 1.0 conference in San Francisco, being mesmerized by those herky jerky tiny video clips that look just horrible by today’s standards. In fact, I still have the CD full of those first clips (they still work 15 years later, a testament to file formats)- I forget the name of the guy who did the comedy clips like Mac Aerobics:



And wouldn’t you know it- this video too is on YouTube.

But back to that Geico commercial. AsI re-watch I am struck by how the commercial form itself has evolved into something more complex than a product pitch – it is tapping into pop cultural references, and playing off in a form that might give question to, “is this a commercial”? Sometimes I am wondering the strategy of the Geico commercials as they really tell you nothing of the product (yes, I know its all abouts stamping by brain with a brand) — but these 30 second spots are very well produced, demonstrated modeern editing techniques (all of which are available in desktop/webtop software) effective as “short stories”. What else can we learn from them?

And for those still tsk-tsking the use of YouTube- take a look at Learning From You Tube– a college course in media studies that is using YouTube itself as a platform for the course content. For more, see Andy Carvin’s post on this project, YouTube 101, Yes It’s a Real Class. No, this may not convince the YT Skeptics, but to me, demonstrates the philosophy I aim to bring in my Being There presentations – that we can really only fully probe the potential of new technologies by R&D, experimentation, taking some risks.

Actually, as often the case, I started this blog post inspired by something else, and actually more trivial. When I was sitting here wondering, “is that commercial in YouTube”, my natural reflex was, like many others, to Google It — http://www.google.com/search?q=geico+flintstones+commercial The first two results are YT videos, and what I did not notice before was that Google search results allow you to watch this video right in the pages of the search results “click the “Watch Video” link and it unfolds in Ajaxy glory right there in the Google search results page:

And this is the hallmark of the YT era- the ability to easily embed rich media in the context of content we create, not forcing us to go to the “home” site, not shoving ads in our face (yet).

What did we do for our short form video fix BYT?

Tech Then and Now

8 09 2007

With that one month til departure clock ticking, I am thinking about the gear I will (and won’t) pack for my trip. And it got me thinking to what has changed since my trip to Australia in 2000 – so some flashbacks. I am also looking for some info about public internet access and mobile phone rentals, so if you are in the know, drop me a comment.

Computer Then:  366 MHz iBook SE, with 320 MB RAM, 6GB HD
Computer Now: 2 GHz MacBookPro with 2GB RAM, 160 GB HD

Camera Then: Olympus DL450, 2MP 1280×960 images, 32 MB Smartmedia card could hold 72 pictures
Camera Now: Canon Powershot SD800 IS, 7.1 MP 3072×2304 images, 2 Gb SD card holds about 800 pictures

Mobile Phones Then: I was able to rent for 2 months a basic phone that was capable of… making phone calls. People I visited were regularly doing SMS with family traveling in Europe, elsewhere. Text messaging was unheard of at home
Mobile Phones Now: Looking for recommendations for a short term rental so I can be reached while on the zig zag road around Australia.  Pretty much need phone only, and no, I do not have an iPhone to bring.
Networking Then: Hard to impossible to connect to campus networks, arranged a 2 month contract with BigPond for 56 kbps dialup that was more likely 28 kbps speed.
Networking Now: Not yet sure. I have heard that internet in hotels is outrageously priced and poor service. How are my options for finding public or low fee net connections? Are there rental services I can get got a high speed access via cell phone networks?

Looking For Aussie Blogs for My RSS Habit

8 08 2007

Australia is a big place (doh), and I am challenged to be able to get a sense of issues, challenges, dynamics, concerns, wishes, nightmares, strange habits (!) of educators I will meet there. I rely heavily on RSS for being informed, and I am more or less in love with scanning feeds in Google Reader.

A Few Aussie Blogs in my RSS ReaderIt struck my last night, after a serendipitous Skype chat with Alexander Hayes, that I ought to start more focused reading of some Australia educator blogs. The nice thing about Google Reader (well one nice thing among many) is that instead of creating folders for fixed bins to organize feeds, you simply tag them to mix and match into different groups. So I could rummage through my educational technology feeds, and just add a tag for a new group I called “aussie” for ones I was already following, like Angela Thomas, Gary’s rambles, jo kay, James Farmer, Sean Fitzgerald – okay, hardly the comprehensive guide to edubloggers at all. So I visited a few of these and grabbed a few more from their blog roll.

But I need more to help better inform me. Send me your suggested reads for Australia educators in the know who are regular bloggers.

But there’s more to do with Google Reader! With these feeds set as a “tag”, I can go into my Settings and in the tags tab, I can set this group of feeds to be “shared” or public:

Google Reader tags

This does three neat things- I get a link I can share to a page that always features the latest news stories form all these feeds; this in turn has an RSS feed I can use elsewhere, and the “add a clip” to your site provides some code I can use to embed the feed headlines on another web site. now since Google is connected to Blogger, they have a direct route to add a widget to one of those sites (see my Blogger lab area, CogDogHouse, a place I use just to demo features; the sidebar features the same headlines from this group of feeds).

WordPress.com sidebar with feedsBut I cannot use the Javascript code in a WordPress.com site, so hmmm….

Wait a minute, I can use an RSS widget in WordPress.com, so I can use that on this site, and voila, down the side of this blog are the latest posts form this feed set, the RSS feed, and the title links to the public page.

I am still 1000% convinced that having that sixth sense for using RSS is an absolute skill that can get you ahead. In many of my presetnations about technology, I admit to the myth that many technology people have this song and dance about “technology saving you time” and that we are really all liars about that– RSS is really the one thing I feel confident that mastering the basics can absolutely save you time in terms of staying up to date with the resources in the areas that matter to you.

But hey, I know I am missing about 1000 good Australia educator blogs– help me! Send ’em my way! My Google reader is Hunnnnnngry.

Vodpod- build video collections

12 07 2007

Almost by sheer accident- discovered following a tweet by Judy O’Connell to her web 2.0 presentation on Slideshare, that I came across this nifty new site, vodpod. Here you can create your own “pods” of video collections, and with their one click browser tools, you can create collections of web video from 1000s of different video sites, YouTube, Google, MySpace, just about anywhere that embeds flash video.

You can do some customization of your “pod”, have categories, tags, comments– and it provides a cut and paste method to embed a “widget” in a blog- see the sidebar here under the flickr images, showing the most recently added videos.

So I made my vodpod at http://cogdogroo.vodpod.com/:

vodpod screen shot

In a few minutes I added some that were in my YouTube favorites collection, plus another from MySpace, and Google video.

This is perfect for the workshops I hope to do on web video, as it allows a place for participants to add to a common collection. Looking forward to playing with it a bit more. Great tool! Thanks, HeyJude!