Time to Start Making Videos

October 9th, 2010

Last night, I watched a video on TED.com by Chris Anderson called “How the web powers global innovation.” One idea in particular stood out to me: just as the printing press greatly increased the reach of the written word, internet videos are allowing visual forms of communication to reach a global audience.

And we human beings are more used to visual and face-to-face communication. Writing is a relatively recent invention, and a technology we have to get used to. Visual communication is not.

I was watching this with some friends and I said, “I should make more math videos.” I think I can make user-friendly, informative, short videos that would be useful to people. One of my friends said that this has already been done: it’s called Kahn Academy. I took a look at the site. And while it’s impressive in its scope (one guy posted 1600 videos in the past three years), I think the videos are fairly low quality. And this guy just won a $2 million prize from Google.

So this is giving me renewed motivation to make some useful math videos. First I need to think about a name and branding. I also want a better video camera and desktop computer.

PS – To be fair to Kahn: I guess you don’t have much time to do editing when you post 1600 videos single-handedly. But I watched the first part of his 8-minute Basic Trigonometry lecture, and the first 30 seconds are devoid of any content. I bet he lost half his potential viewers in the first 30 seconds. When I make my videos, the point will be immediately obvious in the first 5 to 10 seconds, and I think I’d want to keep the length to two or three minutes.

Gone 75% of last 32 days

August 14th, 2010

Today I returned from the last of my summer travels. I was only home for 8 of the past 32 nights. Here’s a picture of where I went:

July 13-16: Orlando for Blackboard Conference
July 16-22: Boston for Campus Technology Conference (after 3 days of sight-seeing)
July 22-29: Family Reunion a John Brown University
July 29-Aug 4: Home for a couple days
Aug 4-10: Minneapolis and Lake Vermillion – houseboat trip
Aug 10-11: Home
Aug 12-14: Las Vegas (driving)

That’s eight flights plus four road trips of about four hours each way.

Blog is Five Years Old

August 3rd, 2010

I started this blog in July 2005, a little over five years ago. It looks like I have about 500 165 posts/pages, so I’ve been averaging about one hundred thirty-three per year.

(My friend Dave pointed out that it didn’t seem like he had read that many posts. Sure enough, I counted wrong.)

When You Can’t Afford the Best

August 3rd, 2010

When you can’t afford alpha-level security, and second-best is good enough:

Beta Security sign