Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Wanderers 2009.7.7

Art Kohn is back, our video guru in residence, although that's not quite the medium. Interactive courseware, of the type a large company might use to orient new employees. It's a course packaging framework, based around video, but with lots of bells and whistles.

Like with Microsoft Word, if you're not Shakespeare, you won't get Shakespeare out of it, but maybe you're someone else talented, so maybe you'll get over not being Shakespeare and get on with it, InshaAllah.

We're packed to the gills here. Our ISEPP mission is quite slanted towards education, what with Mentor Graphics as a sponsor 'n all ("mentor" means "teacher"). I'm counting 14 in addition to Art, which is overflow size, me half way up the steps (a good angle for blogging).

If you're not doing a framework but have Internet, you might cobble together something similar to this using a mashup approach, with whatever open source AJAX library. Again, it's your content that'll give you your market niche.

My production strategy, though tilted towards animations, is nevertheless labor intensive in the sense that I don't try to cut back on characters. People have an ability to track a lot of personalities and shows for children that exercise this ability are helping develop their capacity for following complex dramas in their own lives later on (or in Tolstoy).

British novelists aren't the only ones in the business of teaching sensitivity to service staff, behind the scenes personnel. Engineers have a long history of working as janitors, maintenance types, service sector, thanks to this notion of "tending to engines". Even though today's engine might be an "SQL engine" (powers a database), that same sense of tending to valves and duct works pertains. That basement character in Spirited Away comes to mind, in charge of correctly medicating the water (so really a high level responsibility, more like a nurse).

Put another way, I don't see high technology as a way of automating everything and leaving people without roles. On the contrary, our privilege is to program a great many theater like experiences, within which our Global U students get to build character in specific ways. Hollywood knows this business, but not exclusively.

Lets invest in education with an eye towards casting a much wider net. We have lots of people with lessons to share, and the Internet obviates the need to always collect in the same room, enjoyable as that is, as much as that's worth doing. I'm excited by non-virtual collaborations, but have to be realistic about my travel budget. Of course I'm preaching to the choir here, so forgive me my daily rant.

Thank you Art, for showing us the state of the practice. This is looking good. Games like Uru likewise set the stage. Saying we don't always automate doesn't mean you can't be alone with your learning. North Americans treasure solitude and aren't praying for enforced "group experiences" unless that means buying a ticket for something. School is barely tolerated as a violation of privacy.

I'm not describing all zip codes, just making it clear I see a market for these "standalone" packages, might even show up by snail mail, like at the end of Castaway, sent for because advertised in some underground comic, or on the back of some esoteric cereal box.

"Even the package was puzzling..." -- a lot of good books could get going that way.

The questions, a lot of them from Terry, focus on workflow, issues of who gets to see what. In many workplace situations, you'll get more honest feedback if anonymity might be assured. What features allow for identity masking? How might Zorro play?

Regarding the Michael Jackson memorial, I'm amazed by the powers of the LA based music world (which includes the police) to stage an impromptu service of that magnitude and brilliance at the drop of a hat, as it were.

Our television age culture is good at rising to the occasion, which is what Michael challenged us to do, both in life and in death (echoing Stevie Wonder's sentiments in his interview with Katie Couric this evening).

I helped myself to some Cognac, better than the wines, and advised Art from the peanut gallery to have his clients steer clear of that faux Greco-Roman look, associated with "flat hats" (talking about those pomp and circumstance types).

Of course it's easy to proffer such advice, having immersed myself all day in these stronger teaching currents, no less didactic, far less pedantic.