Lots of people have trouble understanding math. It is my belief that this is largely because of the manner in which it is taught in school. I don’t want to come down too much on teachers, because teachers are awesome, but I think they are often constricted by curriculum and the result is often dry lectures that don’t excite the minds of their students. That and many teachers, for whatever reason, try too hard to stick to general theories without providing enough concrete real world examples to which their students can relate.
Vi Hart has, at the time of this post, 45 videos online that tackle various mathematical concepts in fun ways. I’ve really enjoyed them, despite the fact that as a former math major in college I already know most of this stuff. Anyway, for this week’s Saturday Morning Cartoon, I chose the above to share with you, a little bit of math inspired doodle based music by Vi.
If you’ve seen The Guild before, watch this with the annotations turned on to enhance the awesome. If you haven’t seen The Guild before, turn off the annotations, sit back and enjoy it edited together as one movie instead of broken into episodes – then watch it again later with the annotations.
Due to poor quality of my photos, the blog post I was going to put up today will be delayed. In the interim, I’d like to take just a second to talk about something else. YouTube, a while back, put together an initiative to try to launch channels, less like their normal “someone posts videos” channels and more like a TV channel with programming and schedules and such.
Out of this have come two channels which launched today that I am very interested in. The first is from the Nerdist. I’ve been enjoying their podcasts, and much of the Nerdist podcast network, for some time now. Their new channel is going to feature a few awesome things, like Weird Al doing interviews and a show with the Muppets and cartoons. Here is a sneak peek at their line-up:
The second channel, and the one I am much more excited for comes from Felicia Day and it’s called Geek & Sundry. The channel has Dark Horse providing motion comics, Wil Wheaton’s Table Top, a book club, The Guild, Felicia’s own Flog, Written by a Kid and more. I am currently annoyed to be at work today where I can’t be watching the episodes they’ve already released. Check out this set of previews (it’s a playlist):
Given the level of awesome of previous music videos from Felicia & the Gang, I’m chomping at the bit to get home so I can properly watch this:
Until now, I’ve subscribed to few channels on YouTube, trusting that the best things would find their way to me on their own, but this new direction will have me actually going to YouTube on purpose to watch shows regularly and subscribing to channels so that I don’t miss a thing.
If you haven’t noticed, Google has been revamping their look. Unifying the feel of all their sites. So far, I like it, with my only real complaint being the over abundance of white space. Luckily, most of the apps offer the ability to select a “compact” look that eliminates much of that, squeezing everything in closer together. These days, I prefer whenever possible to hang out over on Google+ instead of Facebook, largely because of its much cleaner look and lack of crap I don’t like.
But all isn’t roses in the land of search and honey. Google’s latest moves have started to bother me. The first being the new YouTube. The pages for any individual video is much improved. It’s cleaner, nicer, and with the new size buttons of regular, large and full screen, it simplifies in all the best possible ways. Which makes the atrocity of their main page such a disheartening failure. I used to be able to quickly review my subscriptions while scrolling, but now, with one or two prolific video posters (I’m looking at you machinima!) my front page is pretty just one or two people, with the odd other video thrown in. Maybe it’ll grow on me, but I don’t see how.
Rolling out to select people now but eventually to everyone is the new Google Bar. Not one of those you install on your browser, but that black bar that has existed at the top of the majority of Google pages for a while now. A short while ago, probably prepping for the new bar, they juggled the apps around. Now that you can see the new design, the reorder of the apps remains. I’m certain that somewhere is a guy at Google who has lots of metrics that informed on which apps made the cut of being on the first level and which ones got hidden behind the “more” entry, at least I hope there is so that I have someone to properly hate.
It's sort of like an upside-down Start Button in Windows.
You see, one of the apps I use all the time is Google Reader (RSS feeds are awesome!) and when they performed their juggling act, Reader dropped off the main app selection. And with this latest revision, Calendar didn’t make the cut. It’s just insanity that Google hasn’t yet, even back in the black bar days, implemented a way to let each user decide the order of apps.
The new prime apps are Google+, Search, Images, Maps, YouTube, News, Gmail and Documents. To begin with I use Google+ a bunch, probably keep it open most of the day. Next I literally cannot recall the last time I when to the Search main page with the intent to search. I go there to see the new logos. (To be fair, I use Bing now for searching just because I earn points that I can spend on Xbox Live spacebucks, so when I used the Chrome address bar to search it goes to Bing, but before that it used Google, and I still can by typing “g” and a space then my search query.) Same with Images, since it’s basically search – I usually just do a regular web search (from the address bar) and then click the image link on the left of the results. Or, you know, I type “i” followed by a space in the address bar, which is my short cut to image searches at Google. I use maps, but not very often. I do use YouTube quite a bit. News works like Search and Images, “n” followed by a space in the address bar. Gmail and Documents are both deserving. So of the 8, I’ve identified 4 that could easily move beneath the “more” and I’d barely notice.
Meanwhile, I use Music every couple of days, Calendar daily, and Reader I use easily 4 or 5 times a day. And yet, with the new design, I have to click the Google icon on the new bar, then hover over the “More” entry and then select my app. Or I ignore the menu altogether just use the address bar to pull up the site. Maybe I’m just not the target audience. I don’t know.
Anyway, enough rambling out of me, though I do hope they allow for some customization soon.