The Video Explosion

I have periodically come across the Pew Internet and American Life series of research articles that take a deeper look at the impact of technology on our lives, particularly the lives of young people. They do a fantastic job of pulling together information.

A recent study by Pew looked at the impact of online video and how it is changing the nature of the web (again). Some interesting stats:

  • About 20 percent of all adults watch some kind of video on their computer (via the net) once a day. Just think about that — that is a whole lot of eyeballs scanning the web and belies the reason why Google snapped up YouTube.
  • About 75 percent of young users (ages 18-29) watch online videos each day (an amazing number)
  • 10 percent of people re-post or share links to videos via their Weblogs and other sites (such as MySpace, Facebook, etc)
  • 20 percent either post a comment on the videos or leave a rating (which seems to indicate the desire to be participatory members in the experience)
  • Comedy and humorous videos are the most popular genre of videos that people are watching and sharing with others (so true, so true)
  • Young males are more likely to watch animation or cartoon videos than any other demographic.
  • Almost no one pays any money for video services — “free” is the operative word here (although commercials and advertising videos are also being viewed, primarily by young people.)

I wish the report had dug into the ways and means and motivation of people who are doing the posting of videos, but maybe that is for the future.

Peace (with information),

Amazing Animation — J Coltrane’s Giant Steps

Sometimes you stumble across something so amazing and intriguing, it makes you glad to know there is a wired world of inventors and artists. I love jazz, and I love John Coltrane (our cat is named Coltrane) coltraneand this artist used the classic song, Giant Steps, to create an animation based on the notes of Coltrane. It’s based on building blocks and notice how the movie shows the song and solo building up, and then tearing the melody back down again.

The movie is by Michal Levy and is wonderful. Be warned, though — there is a significant load time (100 seconds, I think) but it is worth the wait.

This is one snapshop from inside the movie

Peace (in jazz exploration),

OnPoEvMo: Superhero, July 2007

My sons and I were at a used book store this weekend and we picked up this quite large book about the history of Marvel comics. When I was my oldest son’s age (9), comics were a big part of my life. I had many, many comics, sorted by various categories, and could not get enough of these stories of flawed heroes and their adventures.

This poem for my One Poem Every Month for a Year project sprang to life as I perused the Marvel comic books and recognized many long-forgotten names and stories.

(July 2007)
Listen to the poem

The soul of a superhero
is deep,
complex and unfathomable —
full of inconsistencies that bend reality
on some sort of divergent ground
in which the powerless ignite,
soar, swim,
standing down the villains of oppression
and righting wrongs in spite of themselves
and their own limitations of

I stand here, a collector of souls,
piled dozens deep in a paper bag
and purchased with pocket change
how I, too, can be altered in some accident
or mishap,
and if it were to be for the better or for the worse
if I could suddenly fly and fight and protect
or if it is better that my destiny is to remain
immobile and passive in the face of the Evil
threatening to shatter this world
into tiny tentacles of suffering and paranoia
and dangerous illusion.

The child in me yearns for power that is just beyond me;
the adult in me fears it,
knowing as I do the responsibility of our
the bravery masked as impulsiveness and
that innocence that ventures close to imperfection.
Brazenness was never my virtue
and so my powers remain dormant
somewhere inside this timeworn paper bag
even as I await the calling of the hero
inside of me.

This seemed an appropriate time to use my son’s Comic Book Creator program:

(click on the comic to view the PDF version)

Peace (with powers of the unknown),

A decade of blogs

Last weekend, the Wall Street Journal published a lengthy piece about recognizing that blogging has been underway for a decade (although I bet even that is in dispute somewhere out here). It was an interesting overview of the evolution and transformation of the Weblog World and notes how the Weblog really helped spark the content-driven revolution that underpins most of our notions of the Web 2.0 world. I can publish, you can interact, we are connected.

Here is a quote:

The consumption of blogs is often avid and occasionally obsessive. But more commonly, it is utterly natural, as if turning to them were no stranger than (dare one say this here?) picking one’s way through the morning’s newspapers.WSJ

The articles goes on to profile some folks who blog and asks them to reflect a bit (Tom Wolfe blasts the idea of blogging while Mia Farrow discusses its power to a writer).

So, ten years? I have been married ten years. Interesting to think of the timeframe and how the world has changed in that time.

Peace (in decades),

Mini-Movies from Camp

Here are a few more small movies made by kids at my animation camp in their free time. The first one is interesting because it is a take-off on the fairly famous (and wonderfully done) web-movie called Animator Versus Animation (and the sequel). I showed the kids how to do a version of it in Pivot but it is difficult (the original uses flash). Some of the movies have sound and some do not.

Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at

Peace (in video),

OnPoEvMo: A Stone’s Throw, July 2007

Did you ever have one of those days? You know, when it begins with a shattered window? Sigh.

This installment of the One Poem for Every Month for a Year project is about one of my sons causing some havoc at our house. At least I can say that he gave me some writing inspiration on an otherwise uninspiring day. (Just don’t tell him that — it would leave him off the hook).


A Stone’s Throw
(July 2007)
Listen to the poem

The sound of shattered glass
is no way
to start the day
and the frantic sobs of the seven year old,
screaming: “You are going to kill me”
is like icing on the cake.
Summer is the time of idle plans
and imagination
but that doesn’t explain how a
rock and a sock
and gravity
combined forces to leave a Pollock picture
of glass pebbles on the driveway
nor does it excuse the need to enter
the twisted labyrnth of the insurance company
on a day designed for rest and relaxation.

Peace (with the unexpected),


Teachers Teaching Teachers: A Tech Matters Reunion

Last week, I went on Teachers Teaching Teachers once again and found myself in conversation again with some friendly voices from last summer. A few of us from Tech Matters 2006 used the forum to talk about what we have been up to and how we view the use of technology for creation of a vibrant community.

I talked a bit about the ABC Movie Project, my Ning experiment, Youth Radio and a few other tidbits that sprung out of Tech Matters (which is a week-long retreat for technology and technology-minded folks in the National Writing Project). It was wonderful to hear Joe, Bonnie and others once again.

Take a listen to the podcast from TTT

Peace (with connections),

Six Claymation Movies

Here are the final claymation movies made in the second (and final) week of an experimental animation camp:

Dora the Turtle
Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at

It’s All Gone Wrong
Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at

The Magic Burger
Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at

Talent Show
Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at

The Blue Blob of Doom
Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at

Work in Progress
Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at

Concept Mapping — the WMWP Blog Network

As our Massachusetts Writing Project moves further into the Edublogs network (via premium service), I have started to map out the various connections of our blogs so that we can think about how best to strengthen the ties between the various initiatives. Our hope is to have a vibrant web of activity among our various sites.

I turned to to work on a concept map. It was fairly easy to use, although I wish I could have embedded it directly into this post. Instead, I have to provide a link (via this picture) and let you wander through the sites yourself. The map includes individual links to various blogs in our network.

Peace (in networks),