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!