Look! Alan and Darren Are Talking About 50 Ways Gone Mobile

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by Krister462

Off and on since the start of the year, Darren Kuropatwa and I have been meeting via video chat (we love appear.in) as we work on an expansion of the original 50 Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story to include mobile story creation apps. I’ve written up already what we’ve done and the idea.

It’s still formulating… err percolating… err fermenting… errr processing. But we’ve had in mind to run some online open happenings (probably as Google Hangouts). While we thought we might have something more formal to organize, we thought, “What the sheep” why not just extend the conversations we have been doing to a larger group?

So you are welcome to join us April 22, 6PM PST / 9PM EST (check your local time) to see where this project should go. My own ideas:

  • We definitely need to ramp up the collection for more Android apps
  • What is the affordance gain by creating stories on a mobile platform? Does it really produce something that leverages what the mobile offers? Heck, is this worth the effort?
  • In our project so far, there has been an interesting impact for Darren as he has been telling my Dominoe story as the standard example. The approach of “re-telling” interests me as the aim is not to do a carbon copy, but explore and find your voice within someone else’s story.
  • We’d like to get more people trying out the ones we have and adding examples to the new designed submission form (currently on the mobile tools only)
  • I honestly have some question about the focus on the list of apps/tools. There are more than enough “TOP XX APPS FOR ZZZZZZ” floating out there. In my last workshop at Skidmore College, we spent the whole time on the story development, and I saw no disappointment that we did not get to the tools.
  • That said, my position on the web tools has always been, “These are interesting to experiment, but there are very few I might reach for to produce something I need to have done. But I am seeing now a few apps Storehouse, TouchCast that are ones I would use for something more than “experimenting”

Our idea was to have it as an open conversation. So we are. It will be in Google Hangout, and there will be info posted to the 50 Ways Google Community.

What happens when we try to balance the mobile platform?

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by nao-cha

Stick a Fork in It Or Just Fork It: DS106 Assignment Bank Theme

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-ND ) flickr photo shared by mariateresa toledo

When I started last August to develop a WordPress Theme that would provide the functionality of the ds106 Assignment Bank, I told Jim Groom that I thought I could get it ready in a month. By December, I thought I could wrap it up first week of January. So here I am in April…

It’s not done, software is never done… but I wanted for so long to make it ready for others to try. So here it is. To make a site like


you can download all you need from


It’s time to stop tinkering and let some people try it out. At this point, I am so close to it, I wonder if it makes sense to others, or if it will come across as something too complex to set up.

The whole goal was to make it something that could be configured from a theme options interface


Essentially, you define what it is inside the bank. In DS106 it was assignments, but you get to name it. I call ‘em Things. And for your Things you define what Types of Things there in (in DS106 there were Design Assignments, Visual Assignments etc. So the main index shown above is an interface to the Types of Things. Inside each Type of Thing.. you find the Things!


And each Thing has the features of a DS106 Assignment (and more).


People who do a Thing can have their example syndicated in if you set up Feed WordPress (and it can be set to use an aggregator in the Bank itself, or from an external one, like DS106). Or not at all

Syndication Options

Syndication Options

You can also have a form for people to add examples


If you allow people to submit things, you have options to define a Creative Commons license for all Things, or to let the individual select (or not even have Creative Commons be part of the scene)


One of the bigger technical hurdles was figuring out how to implement the WordPress media uploaded to allow one to add images for the icons of the types of things. Boom!


And the last chunk was filling out what is a pretty long scrolling summary of the theme options

Documentation for and inside the theme options

Documentation for and inside the theme options

and the additional information in the Readme.

The docs are pretty much a first draft and very likely rife with typos. Before I go back into it, I want to float what I have now and see if people can set it up. I probably will record a screen cast of a total set up from scratch… but you know how I am with the timelines.

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by wyliepoon

Anyhow, the Assignment Bank Theme is open, wide open https://github.com/cogdog/ds106bank

David’s Chair, Empty Now for 27 Years

cc licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

An actual lifetime ago, April 1987, I was perhaps likely forward to an upcoming 24th birthday but also the trip that summer that would pack up my east coast life for transplanting in Arizona. But on this day, I got word my brother passed away. The fragments of the story slip through the fingers, as yellow as the old tape that holds photos in the books.

A happy six month old baby

A happy six month old baby

In his baby book, now in my care since my Mom passed away, at 14 months, the book has a blank page for “Anecdotes: amusing incidents may be recorded below”.

Incidents of amusement, I wonder how my parents dealt with the mixed bag of joy, appreciation, but overwhelming concern to be parenting a mentally retarded child. I can only wonder.

March 20, 1953 - "First piece of cake. Grabbed a handful of cake and pushed in his mouth. Loved the chocolate, Barry [cousin] helped him"

March 20, 1953 – “First piece of cake. Grabbed a handful of cake and pushed in his mouth. Loved the chocolate, Barry [cousin] helped him”

A piece of cake, huge incident. Finding the joy in every little crumb of chocolate.

The pages for age 10 are blank; 1963 was the year I was born, and my parents made the wrenching decision to put David in an institution, Rosewood State Hospital, a place I will never go back to.


There was no birthday party. I am fairly sure my parents paid him a visit, they were good about that. But nothing noted in the book, not guests, no gifts, the book painfully put away on a bookshelf, a book meant to mark the progress and development of child. David would never develop much farther than the amused by cake mental age.

I can only wonder and speculate of a different universe where David lives a full life.

For now, I only have this one. I do this yearly so I keep my memories as fresh as the old yellow tape and fading photos allow.

cc licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

That is all we can do.

Man That Bava Dog Can Blog!

Given a photo from @drgarcia of Jim Groom and his new sidekick, Daphne, I was struck by how similar their intent was on the computer screen.

As a fitting parallel for one of my older efforts at the ds106 assignment, the parent child head swap, we have now a dog who, if she tries hard, may be up to Dog Blog Standards.

A dog can really blog with a faithful sidekick

A dog can really blog with a faithful sidekick

Keep on blogging, Daphne!

And… Does Research Prove We Process Video Information 1.8M times Faster Than Text?

If you buy lock, stock, and “no need for pesky things like actual data” fact that we process visual information 60,000 times faster than text, there is nothing to stop one from taking video at 30 frames a second as information we can process 1,800,000 times faster than text.

The Huffington Post College edition comes close to that, as pointed out again by Dean


“Research Confirms Video Improves Learning Results” is pretty solid sounding. Heck, I might as well stop and tweet it.


Is this research a controlled study?


Is it the result of laboratory measurement?


Is it an analysis of data on learning performance?


It’s a survey.

Emphasis mine in case it is a bit too technical to get to the conclusion.

Is video really better than the written word when it comes to information retention, education, and overall experience? Survey says: Yes!

My company, Kaltura, recently published the inaugural State of Video in Education report in which more than 500 educational professionals from across 300 institutions unanimously agreed that video has the potential to create a real impact on education.

A survey gathers opinions.

Research has NOT confirmed that video improves learning. A survey shows that a lot of people THINK that video improves learning.

And (ahem) a company that sells video services to higher education backs a study that supports the value of said company’s services. I am not accusing anyone of anything.

I leave it as an exercise for the reader to draw those conclusions.

Of course video is important.

I might be commissioning a survey to confirm that dogs are superior to cats.

But publishing misleading headlines like this is shameful. Research did NOT show that video improves learning results. Someone should go pee on the front lawn of the Huffington Post.

Poor text, getting kicked in the can by visuals and video. I wonder why we even bother with it.

Tweet it, Blog It, Repeat It, 60,000 Times: Truthiness Achieved

cc licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by Ric e Ette

I am sure you have across this statement in blog posts, presentations promoting visual communication styles; it often cited as a “fact” (yep, I am using those kind of quotes):

Research at 3M Corporation concluded that we process visuals 60000 times faster than text.

In May 2012 I started digging back the layers to try and find the source of this research. By July all I had found was circular references, dead ends, and just whiffs of a trail. There is still a significant cash prize ($60, what do you think I am made of? that seems generous) on the table for the person who connects me to the actual research.

The 60 clams are sill in my wallet.

This week, Dean Shareski gave it a valiant effort by calling out (scare quotes coming) a Social Media “Scientist” who used it again, as “Fact”

Here is where the fact is asserted

b2 crap

She even is helping cement more truthiness by making the claim tweetable


No I won’t tweet that. You should not either.

A scientist, IMHO, backs conclusions with facts, observations, data, valid references to support it. That is how science works. So let’s follow the trail; the link provided leads us to “We process visuals 60,000 times faster than text – Here’s WHY” (SAP Visual Enterprise, Dec 2011)

Visuals help to increase efficiency and effectiveness of communication. That is nothing new, especially for regular readers of this blog. But did you know that in fact we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text?

Even I was a bit surprised when I saw that number in an article written by Mike Parkinson, founder of Billion Dollar Graphics (BDG), a company that offers organizations and individuals tools to be more successful using effective visual communication. This article titled “The Power of Visual Communication”, can be found on the BDG website together with some other interesting information about visual communication.

The WHY gets less interesting to me, as the claim is left hanging in the wind. Oh let’s keep following it, where we get to Mike Parkinson’s Billion Dollar Graphics The Power of Visual Communication. Someone with that much money surely has an answer. The article is chock full of stuff, and at least does have real bonafide references at the bottom.

But there is no citation at all for the claim; it appears once again as an assertion, an assumed, a fact

So visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, graphics quickly affect our emotions, and our emotions greatly affect our decision-making. If most of our decisions are based on relatively quick intuitional judgment and emotions, then how many decisions are influenced by visually appealing, easily digested graphics? The answer is no secret to advertisers.

Dead end, again.

You end up seeing stuff like from the Visual teaching Alliance “Professional Development for Primary, Secondary & University Educators/Administrators” surely they provide solid citations, it is cited as a FACT (all caps theirs, not mine):


You find stuff like in Teaching New Literacies in Grades 4-6: Resources for 21st-century Classrooms


But when you read Burmark’s book (the segment found in Google Books), you do not find the reference, just the repeated refrain


It goes on and on. Even when cited properly in MLA format, when you go to the “source” the 2001 3M document you get is not a research summary, not product of their R&D, but a sales brochure:

Did you know that visual aids have been found to improve learning by up to 400 percent? Did you realize that we can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text? Would you guess that the average person only remembers about a fifth of what they hear?

These findings from behavioral research confirm our daily experience: we rely on all our senses to bring ideas and concepts to life.

That’s it. It is not a source, but yet another in 60,000 chains of repetitions of the claim.

I hand it to Dean, he left a comment on the Social Social Scientists post and then the twitter conversation got a bit heated

This is the SCAREQUOTES “improvements” the author added:


It should be noted that some people have discrepancies with the above stat. If you’d like more information on this, please see the comment below by Dean and follow his link for more research.)

F**** yeah, people have discrepancies with it, cause there is zero evidence to support it. Is that a “Low Down”? This is the justification for repeating it

Thanks for sharing your opinion, Dean. I too have heard this fact both in speeches from Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram at SMWNYC this past February as well as in text (as linked). In any case, it makes sense that we process pictures faster than text – and whether that’s 60,000 times faster or 6,000 times faster it’s hugely important for brands to understand that in our noisy, fast-paced online world it’s important to utilize images, as well as “listen” to them for visual literacy.

In lieu of a direct link to a reference that supports the claim, we have a better “scientific” verification “peeches from Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram”

The search goes on. I have yet to find proof that it exists yet that is not enough to be certain it doesn’t. Darren Kuropatwa got the closest at least finding the name of Jenn Manalo, Sr. Product Specialist, 3M Corp, who in a 1998 presentation mentioned the 60,000 number as a fact.

What seems likely was there was some internal 3M research. The one most closely associated with it was a 1986 paper by Vogel eta al Persuasion and the Role of Visual Presentation Support: The UM/3M Study which concluded:

Presentations using visual aids were found to be 43% more persuasive than unaided presentations.

This is not even in the neighborhood of the first of the 3M (2001) statements “Did you know that visual aids have been found to improve learning by up to 400 percent?” although “more persuasive” should not be equated to improving learning, and the numbers are wrong. 43% more persuasive is a bit less than 1.5 times more persuasive.

You will find this one repeated too, though it is not as powerful as the 60,000 one, but at least this one was a research study. But if you take this as a fact, and extrapolate a 1980s university study that compared a group of students who watched presentations, some with images, some without, to 2014 as a direct “Fact”… well., lemme show you some Arizona beach front property. It was one study, with media and participants 30 years ago.

I did get in touch by email with the study’s author, and as someone in the middle of 3M sponsored era of similar work, Doug Vogel was pretty darn close to what was going on:

The research that I did as a PhD student at the U. of Minnesota was involved with persuasion and the working paper that you found is actually the most complete description of the work (even beyond that which was ultimately reported in my thesis). I have not seen the 2001 3M publication but my research had nothing to do with visual processing speed.

I do have an inside contact, my ds106 colleague Rochelle Lockridge who is a strategic analyst for 3M. She has been asking the department head at 3M who manages this area of research, and has not yet been able to locate the source of the original 60,000 time research (Rochelle is still inquiring, all it means is that no one at 3M she has asked seems to have any recollection of the study).

The ironic thing is that it is actually a rather ludicrous claim in the first place. What do we mean by “information being processed” be it visual or text? Does it mean recognizing visual patterns, facial recognition which studies do show the brain can do very fast. Is that information? What does it mean to be “processed”? Recognized or understood” Is it conceptual? Do we see knowledge visually?

It’s almost like claiming that rock music can be processed more quickly than than primary colors. The comparison is just… pointless.

But if you blog it, cite it, tweet it 60,000 times; if “Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram” say it is so, does that make it a fact?

***** no.

I am not invested in the proof or non proof of the claim, it is this willingness of people to repeat something as fact without going any farther then the previous blog post, status update, or Buzzfeed listicle to repeat it.

I have no illusions that this will ever stop. I applaud efforts to point this out to others, but it is tireless, thankless work. In the rush of being a social media maven, there’s little time to bother with pesky things like backing up your claims.

If course I believe visual information is important.

It’s why I teach digital storytelling, why I take so many photos, why I present on it.

But I do not lean on a baseless claim masquerading as a fact to make the assertion. Do you?

How does it feel to be set free?

cc licensed ( BY-NC ) flickr photo shared by Mindsay Mohan

Math and Blues with Dylan

Originally published by me at Introduction to Guitar » cogdog (see it there)

Uh oh. Two days in a row. I’ve been messing around with a cover version of Bob Dylan’s Rainy Day Women 12 and 35. I was driving a few weeks ago when it came up on my music shuffle– a song I’ve heard plenty of times, but this was the first time I said- wow, that sounds like just a basic 1-4-5 blues riff.

When I looked up the tabs, as usual they were all a bit different; the one I settled on was just E-A-B7 but with a capo on the first fret. When I listened to the song, the tabs I noticed was missing that whole series of dropping tones- you know “WAHHHHH WAH WAH WAH”.

Just plucking around on the low E, I found what worked to me B-A#-A down to E. And down on the open E, if you hit the A string with the next note in the chord (a B on the 5th string) you could do that shuffle but by going back and forth from the B to a C# along side the open E string.

Huh? Well I tried the first time to use a Guitar Tab Creator, here is a basic bit to show the notes



It’s the E progression, then up a string repeat for the A, back to the E, and then top of with a B7 chord (this is all capo-d at the 1st fret but no reason why you could not do it standard).

I like the shuffly feel to it. Here’s a one take sloppy recording

As usual, with TABs, I shop around, mix and match, and then try to morph it with my own bits (usually simplifications).

But if it’s three chords, 1-4-5, that’s mint.

Heck, even the Beatles blues it up (or down)

I’m no song meaning expert, but everybody knows it as the “Everybody Must Get Stoned” song, with a wink suggestion as a drug reference. But my hunch is that Dylan was never that literal. To me it’s the stoned as in your society pelting you with stones. No matter what you do, being good, playing your guitar, sitting down in your grave, they’re gonna come at you with stones.

Standard Advertising Rates Apply

We here at CogDogBlog Enterprises, Inc Ltd have a clear policy and standard for advertising.

This is a serious blog.

On Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 1:03 AM, Xxx Xxxx [email protected]> wrote:

I’d like to inquire if it’s possible to purchase advertising space on
your website.

blog treatment

As you can readily see from your thorough inspection of my site, advertising is a key component of my online presence.

If there is any space available please let me know and we could discuss
further details.

Space is limited. Standard prices are $10,000 per link per month.

I am serious.

I am not.

I do not put ads on my site.

Looking forward to your positive reply.

Best Regards,

Xxx Xxxx

Our finance manager is waiting on your payment. Thank for you doing business with CogDogBlog Enterprises, Inc Ltd. You shall not be disappointed with our results.

Riders OF the Storm

Originally published by me at Introduction to Guitar » cogdog (see it there)

Here come the excuses and apologies (zoom). But when I saw Bryan’s tweet about the remix, I could not let it pass by

I’m a long time Doors fan, so when I listened to ColinJagoe’s smooth rendition of Riders on the Storm, I was inspired just to try out the tabs.

Then I cringed at monsters like “F#m7sus4″ and “Bm7sus4″ til I got to the bottom, and author had laid out them more clearly- I used the “frets” version, and once I went through it, it had a very familiar feel to The Pusher Ringy/Slidy Bluesy one I did long ago– I am guessing it is just in the minor range.

For my cover, I tried it the bluesy angle, almost the strumming pattern of The Pusher. After recording in Audacity, I was bummed because my input levels were too hot, so I shrunk down the amplification, and to cover up some, I tossed in a little reverb.

I really like the sliding progression, and I got a few new open-ish chords to mess with. I am not quite sold on the D-C for the fifth of the blues riff, but I can live with it.

Remix on.

DS106 Assignment Bank Theme: Now With Creative Commons Options

cc licensed ( BY-NC-ND ) flickr photo shared by Mike_tn

This is most likely the last feature I add to the WordPress DS106 Assignment Bank Theme. If you have been crawled under someone else’s blog, this is something I have been working on forever to generate a site like the ds106 Assignment Bank.

In a demo for some folks from the National Writing Project, Karen Fasimpaur threw out a wish for options to enable people who add “things” to the bank to be able to attach a Creative Commons license (or none). “That’s a great idea, and should be easy” were words I believe came out of my mouth. I have it working in the demo site at http://bank.ds106.us/.

On the admin side, there is a new set of options:

cc license ootions

You can have none of this by selection the “none” option. The second one allows the site owner to have a single license applied to any thing created on the site, and the licensed used is the one chosen from the menu below it.

This creates a license statement like:

cc by

And when you go to add a “thing” to the site, you will see that this license will apply:

cc mode all

But the use case Karen was interested in was where the person who uploads gets to choose, that is the third option. In this case the form for adding a thing has a drop down menu to choose (and yes, one of them is All Rights Reserved, Karen said that is a desire on their site)

license options

Now thats a long list. I hoped I could set up an options screen to allow you to select which ones appear, but in the interest of time, I am leaving this for later. One could always restrict the licenses that appear on the menu by editing the function that generates it

// to restrict the list of options, comment out lines you do not want
// to make available (HACK HACK HACK)
$licenses = array (
	'by' => 'Creative Commons Attribution',
	'by-sa' => 'Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike',
	'by-nd' => 'Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs',
	'by-nc' => 'Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial',
	'by-nc-sa' => 'Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike',
	'by-nc-nd' => 'Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs',
	'copyright' => 'Copyrighted All Rights Reserved',

commenting out the unwanted ones to make it, say

// to restrict the list of options, comment out lines you do not want
// to make available (HACK HACK HACK)
$licenses = array (
	'by' => 'Creative Commons Attribution',
	'by-sa' => 'Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike',
//	'by-nd' => 'Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs',
	'by-nc' => 'Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial',
//	'by-nc-sa' => 'Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike',
//	'by-nc-nd' => 'Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs',
	'copyright' => 'Copyrighted All Rights Reserved',

If copyighted is allowed, the display goes something like:


It was not too terrible complicated to add this… but its time to wrap it up and let some others give it a spin. The last remaining task is to write up the documentation. There are some CDD nibbles and quirks to smooth out.

I wonder if anyone will ever use it… but that does not matter because I have learned a ton in developing this site.