Gratitude as the driving force behind Google

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/09/28

Here is a cool quote about what drives Google engineers —

The thing that drives the right behavior at Google, more than anything else, more than all the other things combined, is gratitude.
It is well buried in this long articulate rant by Steve Yegge on why most Agile development hype is akin to sci-fi religion yoohoo — he frames the nice stuff by so much self aware BS detection that, well, I kinda believe it.

Definitely want to digest the whole thing as I have more time.



ArtRage sketches on zooomr

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/09/17

Whoops — posted this to the wrong blog — you can find this post on my personal blog if you are interested.



Adobe Captivate 2 Announced

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/09/06

Adobe Captivate 2 (aka RoboDemo 6 or 7 depending on how you count) was announced yesterday. Should ship in October. I’ve been a beta tester of it for the last few months though have not had much time to actively test it in daily production.

That said — this is definitely the most robust version of Captivate yet. Would recommend an upgrade for anyone using it regularly.

Silke Fleischer from Adobe has a good writeup here.

Notable new features include —

  • Visual scenario branching
  • Manage project interactions globally
  • Flash Video
  • Reusable content via project library
  • Zoom in or gray out
  • Custom skins and menus
  • Custom scoring slides
  • Better UI (yay layer locking!)

I think Captivate still stands up as the best mid-to-entry level tool for rapid development of interactive screen based demos/sims.

The downside to it’s model is that it is difficult to update/maintain/scale large projects over time because so many things are not editable. Things are, for the most part, cut-up screenshots with some interactivity overlayed for the single points of interactivity that are automatically captured.

Adding multiple points of interactivity involves manually creating a lot of interactions. While you can (and I have) do many amazing things by exporting to the Flash IDE as a FLA, it does require a lot of technical knowhow.

In my perfect world, Captivate 3 would be able to incorporate the object level richness that Knowledge Planet’s Firefly does.

I would love Captivate to be able to capture every object in the screen for each interaction in a way that is editable later (like change the text on a button) and that multiple interaction paths could be easily created by drawing relationships between screens and doing the required action.



Seattle Podcasting Meetup Links

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/09/05

I’m leading a discussion at the Seattle Podcasting Meetup tonight about podcasting inside the firewall. Will be remoting in via SightSpeed.

Here are some links I’ve jotted down for the session —

1) An introduction to informal learning by Marcia L. Conner

  • Informal learning accounts for over 75% of the learning taking place in organizations today.
  • In 1996, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that people learn 70% of what they know about their jobs informally.

2) Jay Cross’s Informal Learning Blog

From The business environment of informal learning

J.P. Rangaswami, former global CIO at investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort in London, (says, …) as I’ve been pointing out, “The graduates of tomorrow are more used to the tools I was looking at than the enterprise was. So training cost, which used to be a huge barrier to entry for the people who were weaned on the mother’s milk of Microsoft, just wasn’t there.”

Harvard B-School prof Andrew McAfee chimes in, “The opposite of an imposed structure is not chaos. With these tools, the opposite of an imposed structure is an emergent structure, one that forms over time based on the interactions of a lot of people.”

– – – – –

From LMS, we hardly knew ye

LMS create a walled garden in an era when walls are falling down. Why not use the real internet and real internet technology rather than some hokey oversimplification? Furthermore, how can you manage serendipitous learning that is inherently unmanageable?

3) Elliot Masie webinar on ‘Is Instructional Design Relevant to RSS, Mobile Learning, Blogs, PodCasts, Wikis and New Tech?

  • Masie says podcasts under 10 minutes offer a more optimized learning experience
  • IIRC this references and example of McDonald’s documentation in Turkey done via a wiki.

4) Reflections on the difference of creators vs consumers Mythical Man Month by Frederick P. Brooks. An excerpt from From the anniversary edition, pages 7-8 —

Why is programming fun? What delights may its practitioner expect as his reward?

First is the sheer joy of making things. As the child delights in his mud pie, so the adult enjoys building things, especially things of his own design. I think this delight must be an image of God’s delight in making things, a delight shown in the distinctiveness of each leaf and each snowflake.

Second is the pleasure of making things that are useful to other people. Deep within, we want others to use our work and to find it helpful. In this respect the programming system is not essentially different from the child’s first clay pencil holder “for Daddy’s office.”

Third is the fascination of fashioning complex puzzle-like objects of interlocking moving parts and watching them work in subtle cycles, playing out the consequences of principles built in from the beginning. The programmed computer has all the fascination of the pinball machine or the jukebox mechanism, carried to the ultimate.

Fourth is the joy of always learning, which springs from the nonrepeating nature of the task. In one way or another the problem is ever new, and its solver learns something: sometimes practical, sometimes theoretical, and sometimes both.

Finally, there is the delight of working in such a tractable medium. The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds his castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination. Few media of creation are so flexible, so easy to polish and rework, so readily capable of realizing grand conceptual structures. (As we shall see later, this tractability has its own problems.)

Yet the program construct, unlike the poet’s words, is real in the sense that it moves and works, producing visible outputs separately from the construct itself. It prints results, draws pictures, produces sounds, moves arms. The magic of myth and legend has come true in our time. One types the correct incantation on a keyboard, and a display screen comes to life, showing things that never were nor could be.

Programming then is fun because it gratifies creative longings built deep within us and delights sensibilities we have in common with all men.

5) Screencasting Tools —



Medicine is magical and magical is art…

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/09/01

Our friend Zoe goes home today from her heart transplant. Wow. All I can think of are those words of St. Simon

These are the days of miracle and wonder…
Medicine is magical and magical is art…



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