YouTube as a Search Engine

My son was featured in yesterday’s Sunday New York Times in an article (At First, Funny videos. Now, a Reference Tool) about the unforeseen use of YouTube as a research tool. We all associate videos with entertainment but Tyler has taught me that with the addition of meta-data and micro-chunked content, it’s possible to use YouTube as a rich source of reference material.

Tyler's New York Times article

I was contacted by the reporter, who had seen a post on ReadWriteWeb about Tyler’s use of YouTube and wanted to bring the story to the New York Times’ readers.

My father commented, “It is the inclination of succeeding generations to simplify.” Tyler is on to something. For certain things (contact juggling, macarena, or bugatti vs. fighter jet), YouTube is going to explain things to you better and quicker than plain old text search results. You can sort by not only Relevance and Date Added but also using meta-data from community actions such as Ratings and View Count. Finally, using the example from the article, if you search on platypus, embedded in the results is a pre-defined playlist of over 40 video clips all about the animal.

Tyler was pleased to see that the article was in the “Bright Ideas” section. His comment about his pose in the photo was that after over 200 photos his head was feeling a little heavy. Strangely, the local newsstand didn’t carry the Sunday Times so we had to go to a Starbucks to get a copy for the photo above and as a keepsake.

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Tyler gives his first speech

Tyler has been writing stories for class assignments and his story was picked as something to read in front of the school at their last weekly assembly.

The class went to the Taiko Drum Show. I almost cried because it reminded me of Japan. I was born in Japan. There were two Japanese people in the show. The taiko drums are made from wood, iron metal, and cow skin. They played a shell too. They said Japanese words. They did martial arts. They did a lot of throwing. I had fun and my class liked it too.

I would say more about what he felt but Tyler didn’t really talk about it too much – he’s kind of embarassed to be singled out this way.

Julia’s Special Day

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Today was Julia’s “special day” at her pre-school. I spent the morning with her and met her classmates (there are 15) and put faces to the names she sprinkles in here conversations. There was some singing and we identified the weather for the day. After 11 straight days of rain, Julia optimistically said it was “sunny” but we could see that she was just being relative – it was misting instead of pouring sheets.

The activity of the day consisted of sorting jellybeans by their color into different piles, counting them, then pasting flowers that represented the jellybeans onto a sheet of paper. It was neat to see how each child approached the problem and how some were more effecient at sorting through the tasks than others. “Payday’s on Friday!” I said to one of them when she handed in her work but the joke was lost on her.

Julia also, because it was her special day, got to pick out which toys would be set out for playtime. There are four boys in the class and they were clumped up in the corner and when Julia indicated with her “wand” that the box of cars would be set out, the boys all frothed, “oooh, caaaars.” It was a classic guy moment.

The King Sleeps

The King Sleeps

Izumi popped in to check on Tyler before going to bed and saw this. He didn’t have any head gear on when we tucked him in. When we asked him about it the next morning, Tyler said that he put it on after we left him because it was flattened out and he wanted to restore it to it’s original shape.

The crown was given to him on his birthday at school where he was. “king for a day.”

Homemade Hardware – Laptop

Homemade Hardware - Laptop
Homemade Hardware – Laptop,
originally uploaded by inky.

Tyler made a laptop with an innovative fliptop keyboard that reveals a couple of new buttons not normally found on any QWERTY keyboard – one for "Rock Music" and another for "Soft Music." Notice on the screen he has drawn in the all the icons for a browser as well as the one box display for a search engine.

He also made a set of iPods and a Gameboy. Julia decided to make a kite.

Tyler on Disneyland

We’re at Disneyland for a few days to escape the dust in the kitchen and take advantage of a Friday and Monday holiday that the Alameda School District has scheduled. The sky’s threatened rain all day (with a brief downpour while we were eating lunch and I was sampling a fine Patron tequilla) but each time we were out under the skies, all four of us would puff our cheeks and blow air to keep the clouds at bay and, I have to say, it worked!

After a day of rides, Tyler, in the elevator of the hotel said in a tired voice, "I feel like I watched too much television." I think he nailed it. Overstimulation.

Pictures will follow (including a hilarious one of Tyler mouthing out, in a full exagerated Franco accent, "Crème Brulee!") will follow when I get home and can pull the photos off the digital lightbox.

Julia blowing bubbles

Bubbles by Dav

Now that we’re out of a kitchen, we mooch dinner whenever we can. This weekend we decended upon Mie & Dav’s place. Mie gave the kids a bubble set and Dav took this really great photo.