I am not sure what to make of this. I’m all for making toys realistic and all but working at Nokia, we’re all about trying to make mobile mobile devices more playful and fun. So it’s weird to see a Leapfrog making a toy phone more, um, business-like.
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.
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.
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.
On a lark I uploaded a recent photo of Julia I had posted to Flickr to Nationwide’s Life Comes at you Fast site. In return, I got an email with a link to their site telling me when the photo would run on the big screen outside the Reuters building.
If you’re curious, check out the site between 4:40 – 5:00 pm (NYC time) each day this week.
While shopping for plants, Julia found this one tucked in the back. It was kind of lonely & sad and didn’t have a price so they gave it to us for free. We don’t have a dog, we have an avocado plant.
Other activities include Aikido lessons for Tyler and his weekly soccer game. We placed him in a league with kids a year older than he is to challenge him a bit and I think the extra competition is good for him. He’s a bit more focused at practice and he’s got a great coach who’s working really well with the kids. They won their game handily and Tyler really mixed it up despite being the smallest on the field.
My little experiment with internet classifieds worked like a charm and we sold off our old refridgerator Saturday morning. I listed on craigslist, edgeio, and an internal Yahoo list. A toss up between craigslist and the Yahoo list for the number of leads but in the end it was an Alameda buyer that found us on craigslist that settled with us just 48 hours after listing the fridge for sale.
Sunday was spiff up the house day. After picking up plants (above), I painted the bathroom, patched up some holes in the toy room ceiling left over from an old light fixture that I had replaced a few weeks back, and painted some exposed wood. Oh, I also got up early and went for a nice long run which may be why my legs are so sore right now!
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 her 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.”
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.”
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.
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.