Sunday, October 7, 2007

Qlippin' With the Sun

At howstuffworks they have great articles and videos that show you - well - how stuff works. I decided to turn one of their videos on the University of Michigan Solar Car Team and their fantastic car into a Qlippit. The original is at HowStuffWorks University of Michigan Solar Car Team

For the Qlippit rendition, click this link
Solar Car Qlippit

or the player below

Friday, October 5, 2007

Birdz and Jazz

A lot of folks have asked for a simple way to mix audio with images. This is pretty simple - some birds, of various flavors, rather casually mixed with some outside jazz. Here's a sneak preview - coming soon to a QlipBoard near you.

A lot more folks have asked for a simple way to post a Qlippit to their blog with one click. This is a sneakier preview, I suppose - posted directly from QlipBoard to Blogger. This one was so easy, I didn't even have to talk!

Birdz and Jazz

Sunday, September 30, 2007

On the Horns of a Black Swan

Innovation is kind of like the weather. Everyone talks about it, and most people who think they can predict it are really taking advantage of the fact that tomorrow's weather tends to be like today's.

Unfortunately, for most organizations, attempts to foster meaningful innovation are a lot like rain dances. There's a fair amount of noise and jumping about, but you better have your excuses ready for when the rain doesn't fall.

This Qlippit, On the Horns of a Black Swan takes a look at an alternative approach - everyday operational innovation as a foundation for consistent, but unpredictable, breakthroughs.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

How to Make Multimedia Without a Camera

If you haven't checked out wikiHow, you should. It's full of all sorts of great how-tos. The only thing that would make them better would be if they were multimedia, and I don't just mean pictures and text. So I made this detailed, step-by-step how-to of my own, which I have put here three ways - as a link to the Qlippit at Qlip Media, as an embedded Flash movie, and as a link to the article I just wrote for wikiHow.

How to Make a Multimedia Communication in Minutes Without a Camera

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Recipe for Communication

There are many candidates for the role of central pillar of civilization. I vote for recipes. I love the arts of literature, architecture, music, sport and technological innovation, but more basic and more elevated than all are the culinary arts.

Here is a guest Qlippit, made by my wife, Barb, for this week's newsletter from Live Earth Farm, an endless source of fresh, local produce that we gratefully share with many others during the long growing season here in California. This Qlippit humbly carries the name of its subject - The Ultimate Omelette. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

How to Make Videos for Education

Back in 1970, I was an A/V tech at Saguaro High School, one of those nerdy types that could tame the movie and filmstrip projectors (if you can remember this technology, then your joints probably ache a bit when you get up in the morning). Somewhere during the intervening decades, educational multimedia moved through videotape and onto DVDs. Now, it's all about video on the web, with sites like TeacherTube and Next Vista, and even YouTube on occasion, helping the educational community create and share multimedia.

The big difference now is that teachers are not just using multimedia, but making it. And it's not just the teachers, but the students who are getting in on the act through individual and group projects. Every technique is being explored - live scenes on camera, screen recording, slide shows, talking heads, whiteboards, writing and drawing on paper - you name it, they're trying it.

A dream of mine is that we at Qlip Media will be able to make a real contribution to education by letting everyone - teachers, students, parents, subject matter experts, publishers, whoever - make multimedia that really teaches. I started out my career intending to be a physics teacher, and I know firsthand how hard it is to get difficult concepts across, even face to face. So the idea of a technology that enables pretty much anyone to teach pretty much anything they know always seemed pretty farfetched to me. But it seems that we just might have found a way.

Of course, we won't know for sure until a bunch of people who aren't me make a bunch of Qlippits that teach what they know. The Qlippits below have been posted on TeacherTube and YouTube - one about the web world, one about the real world. Surely you have something to teach all of us. How about making a Qlippit and sharing it as a comment here, and putting it out there for teachers to share with each other and their students?

Follow these links to some educational Qlippits on TeacherTube

How to Set Up a Google Custom Search Engine

How Rainbows Work

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Somewhere Under the Rainbow

Most of us like to think that we know a thing or two. How the air in those tires somehow keeps a few thousand pounds of car from sagging to the street. How all those little colored dots get turned on and off so fast on a television screen. How our dog or cat always knows that this little car ride ends at the vets office.

Here's one we all know for sure - how a rainbow works.

I chose to make this Qlippit to show the teaching power of narration plus very simple animation that takes advantage of some built-in features of people as learning animals. For example, the rotating eyeball draws our own eyes for reasons as old as predation itself. This Qlippit took about 25 minutes to make, which is unusually long. But rainbows were around for a lot longer before Isaac Newton figured them out, so maybe it was worth the wait.

Q is for Quirky

Even before QlipBoard and the Qlip Media site were officially launched on August 10, 2007, folks started calling us quirky. At first I wondered - could it be that big red Q that draws the mind to that part of the dictionary. But it keeps happening, and from some of the smartest and most independent writers around. So I figured I better take a closer look in this Qlippit Q is for Quirky

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Post, Emily...

I ran into this excellent article this morning on CNET, and here is my response as both an email and Qlippit.

Stefanie and Sabena -

Thanks so much for this article. It is a subject near and dear to my heart. In a profound sense, civility, upon which civilization itself depends, is more media dependent than we would like to think. It is heartening to see this topic not only showing up in the conversation, but receiving a considered response from readers.

I would like to offer an alternative point of view, not to the notion that kids should be communicating using means beyond email and IM, but to the idea that digital communication must be either sterile or technically challenging. At Qlip Media, we have spent the past fifteen months working on just one problem - how to let anyone describe or explain anything in a way that not conveys both the information and the intention. The trick is to make it as easy as email or IM. We think we have solved that problem with a free product that can be learned by anyone in one or two minutes; works with all email, web sites, blogs, and forums; and is faster and easier to use even than traditional email. I respectfully offer you this Qlippit, which I made in less time than it has taken me to write this note, for your consideration.

Chris Beall

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Gone Phished

Nothing like a little phishing on a lazy Saturday morning.
When my wife got a legitimate looking email purporting to be from Bank of America telling her that they had detected "illegitimate laptop activity" on her company's account, I just had to take a look. It was done pretty well, without the usual misspellings and other clumsy red flags, but, as always, a closer look revealed the phishing attack within. Check it out in this Qlippit.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

If You Ain't Having Fun...

you ain't taking this job seriously enough!

This Labor Day weekend I tried to reflect on the meaning of labor by going to the beach. I think these synonyms for "labor" and the accompanying photos say it all...

Happy Return to Labor Day!


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Help Wanted Among the Qlippits

I suppose I've had more jobs, and more kinds of jobs, than most. No straight line from high school to college and a career for me. In no particular order, I've been a dishwasher, teacher, auto mechanic, forklift operator, truck driver, landscape laborer, programmer, door-to-door salesman, animal manager, director of software development, proofreader, consultant (whatever that is), CTO, typesetter, and, they tell me, CEO - but never a Community Evangelist, at least not by title.

So now I have the pleasure of offering a few of the right people a job that I have never done myself, but sounds like more fun than any of them I've ever had. Play the Qlippit below for the job description. If you know of anyone who fits the bill - creative, energetic, clear, communicative and connected (it doesn't hurt if they have a zillion friends on Facebook, MySpace, etc) to folks who could really have some fun and get some good out of QlipBoard - please send them my way. This is a spare time (which could be full time), $25/hour (more than 10X what I used to make as a typesetter for the Dandy Dime want ad newspaper in Tucson!!!), work at home gig. A lively Qlippit sent to will do the trick.

- Chris

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Different Makes All the Difference

Add the moon to the list of things that can get me out of bed at 4 am (the others include racoons caught in the fence, and hordes of uninvited teenagers grazing through the comestibles). Or at least the shadow of the earth on the moon. While some folks see the wisdom of getting out the telescope and looking at different worlds at all times of night, the rest of us seem to need something different. And a red moon apparently was different enough to convince me to wake some (willing) denizens for a look.

The look was much enhanced for me by what has to be my favorite technology - image stabilization.

To the aided and image stabilized eyes, it was incredible. Not so for my unfortunate camera, even with its image stabilization enhanced by my "tripod" (a very dirty car). Oh well - the memories are still worth preserving. This Qlippit will serve as my memory stabilizer, and years from now will remind me of a warm August night when, from this spot, we got to see the moon looking different.

- Chris

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Be Still My Eyes

I often hear people talk about video as though it is more realistic or compelling than other kinds of content. There is certainly some truth to that viewpoint. After all, much of what we experience of the real world involves people moving - walking, talking, singing and dancing.

But there is another way in which video is less "real" than still pictures. As we move around in the real world, walking, rotating our heads, moving our eyes, the world itself appears to be stable. We could not navigate at all if our brains did not compensate for all this motion of our eyes. And our brains use a lot of other inputs and assumptions to still the world. It doesn't take too long on YouTube to figure out that we don't see the world from the point of view of a handheld camera. For the most part, we see, and remember, objects of interest, moving or not, against a stable background.

When it comes to explaining something to somebody, stability is essential. The person who is trying to learn from the explanation needs less, not more, moving parts. Step-by-step is best explained, well, step-by-step - not "watch me do this and see if you can figure out what was important".

Here's a link to a little Qlippit that hopefully will hold still long enough to explain this point.

- Chris

The original YouTube post is

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Surprised Again!!!

Professor T. Frank Saunders, who tried to teach us to think at University of Arizona back in the 70s, founded SEEP -The Society for the Elimination of Exclamation Points. His point, as I recall it, is that if we really knew how to think, or doublethink, as he put it, then we would never be surprised.

Clearly I failed. Here I am, surprised again. At the three exclamation point level. I got together with some guys last year (thank you Norwest Venture Partners and Outlook Ventures for believing in us with so little to go on - and beyond thanks to my co-founders) and we tried to do something simple - create a tool that would make it easy for software QA folks to accurately describe bugs without all that typing and remembering. And to give them a little more credibility with the developers, so they wouldn't have to hear "It doesn't happen on my machine" quite so often.

And next thing you know (literally) we had invented the telephone. Well, not literally, but it felt like it. When we added narrative voice to the the nascent app, it transformed itself into a way to do a ridiculous range of things. Within 48 hours I was using it for contract reviews, sharing a Jackson Hole paragliding extravaganza, recording ecommerce transactions, recommending web sites and books - on and on. Oh - yeah - and reporting bugs...

Next thing you know, we dropped into deep stealth, and have spent the past year trying to make it simple enough for anyone, with packaging that makes it easy to try (and buy- if you are that kind of user). What we ended up with is called QlipBoard, and it lets you make Qlippits - multimedia files that you can attach to an email, send as links that play at, post to YouTube or Photobucket, stuff into your profile on Facebook, stick into your blog (see below).

Qlippits are funny things - faster and easier to make than a text email (or a text blog entry, as I am discovering), and much less likely to be misunderstood, or ignored. And you don't need any special software to play them, so it's OK to send a Qlippit to anyone.

QlipBoard looks and works like this. At the moment on Windows XP/Vista, but coming soon on Mac (sorry - but we just had to get it out for folks to use, and the Windows version was done first).

And now (pace Dr. Saunders), we'll see if any exclamation points show up...

- Chris