Month: July 2008

Total 19 Posts

dy/av : 005 : preview

I like to work and that’s fine. I appreciate that in Christian history, in Eden, before things went pearshaped, when everything was still perfect, people worked.

Lately I enjoy a workflow which lets me breeze through sixteen tasks in the same time it’d take my 20-yo self to check his e-mail. I like that. I like being the guy who gets done what he says he’ll get done and fast. I like that about you too.

Fittingly, one of the most fascinating articles I’ve read in the last five years is Fortune’s How I Work series, which prompts executives from Google to Starbucks to describe their work habits.

Tomorrow’s episode is my rejected submission. Not for nothing, it’s also the longest I’ve worked on any episode so far.

Motivating Questions

  1. What is your work ethic?
  2. What hardware and software are essential?

Recommended Reading

  1. How I Work: Coffee Shops
  2. Teacher of the Year: Lil Wayne
  3. How I Work.” Fortune

BTW: I’m on an island called Catalina right now, very nearly married, so I have invited Scott Elias, who shares my fixation on work habits and flow, along to handle the commentary.

When Video Doesn’t Work

The only part of Arthus v. Old People that didn’t bore me was this comment from Doug Belshaw, where Doug a) dropped video commentary, b) summarized the video commentary in text, and c) inadvertently made the case I tried to make in my first vodcast, that video is sometimes – more often than not, really – used inappropriately.

Video through Seesmic is uneditable and unindexable. You can’t search it and, while your mileage will vary with your reading speed, I made my way through Doug’s three text points in one-fifth the video’s time, due in large part to conversational tics which are simple to elide in text but impossible to compress with Seesmic.

Doug says this adds personality and I can’t bring myself to disagree completely. In an e-mail exchange (posted with permission) he expanded:

It’s that personable element. We’re people, not robots at the end of
the day, and it’s nice to inject some human qualities into a

I don’t think the well-written word is necessarily less human than video, but Doug’s point is taken. The question is then: is personable video worth the cost.

Mr. K, in a comment, says no:

in the time it takes to speak one sentence, i can read about 4 or 5. the data throughput for text is much higher than for voice.

i can also tune my comprehension level while i’m reading – if it’s of moderate interest, i skim quickly. if it’s thick and intellectual, i slow down and ruminate on it.

not only is reading higher bandwidth, it’s adaptive.

you can’t do that in video.

My summer of video (seven of ten episodes completed so far) has left me a lot to push around in my head. I’m filtering the VidSnacks tagline (“Video is the language of the 21st century.”) through the fact that an average dy/av installment catches a third the eyeballs of an average dy/dan post, and the whole thing seems more naïve than it did the last time.

Video is a language which few people communicate well and even fewer care to hear.


I’m now filing Wordle alongside Animoto in my drawer labeled “Cool Technology The Classroom Value Of Which The Edtechnoblogosphere Grossly Overestimates.”

The output of each is interesting – jittery, rhythmic slideshows in Animoto; neatly formatted word clouds in Wordle – but for classroom purposes we need to stop judging these tools on the quality of their output rather on the rigor of their input and the interpretation of their output.

Each requires input which would hardly challenge a toddlerBetter Wordle Activity: Have the students develop the frequency distribution chart for a small text themselves and then create the cloud from rules like “between nine and twelve instances receives a thirty point font.” Even then, I’m not sure what this thing does, though I’m sure it has little to do with “theme.”.

Taking up Sylvia’s reductio ad absurdum here:

Maybe I’ll keep mashing these tools up in real-time as y’all fawn over them, hoping that if I exaggerate the cookie-cutter enough it’ll persuade someone to jump ship.

Anybody want to elect a shelf for these tools in Bloom’s (Revised) Taxonomy?

It’s only a matter of time before y’all find Thumber, which only asks you to select a movie file and press “Go” before it does all the heavy lifting for youBetter Thumber Activity: Have the students select fifteen posters from high-grossing movies from child rating though restricted. Use IMDB. Build a color distribution (ie. what colors do you see and in approximately what percents?) and compile something like this, which shows children’s movies consistently employing bright blues and restricted movies employing blacks and reds. Awesome..

Let’s call it what it is.


  1. This Thing I Just Realized