Today I Am Thankful For…

…family that keeps me loved.

…friends that keep me sane.

…a professional network that constantly opens my mind to things I don’t yet know.

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Thoughts on Apple

When Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple, I was guilty of writing one of those posts that could be mistaken for a eulogy. The news that he has passed choked me up quite a bit tonight, but mostly, I’m incredibly glad that while he died too young, he lived long enough to see Apple come out on top.

Using Apple products has taught me about usability. About elegance, in form and function. About how I want to design.  The fact that the good stuff is winning is a win for everyone.

Thank you, Steve.

Thoughts on Steve

Image of a young Steve Jobs, holding a red apple

This is not something I would normally post. It irks me when people write about bad news just for ratings and retweets, so I don’t do posts like this unless I feel I have something to add to the discussion… or at least have something I just want to share.

I was one of the many people who were saddened by the news that Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple. Not shocked, but saddened. Because we know why. And we know if it can happen to one of the most powerful, vital, willful people in the world…

I hate that this is going to sound like a eulogy, because now is not the time. But it’s what I want to say. Thanks for the inspiration, Steve. Thanks for making good stuff.

Update: I have to admit, I’m a little embarrassed for being mushy. I’ve reworked this post several times in an effort to better say what I mean. But there are many others out there reading stuff that resonates with me… from cheerful remembrance to company analysis. I’m going to keep a short list here of some of my favorites.
Aaron Silvers: Influence (which influenced this post and some others below)
John Gruber: Resigned
Brent Schlenker: My Journey to Apple Products
Brian Dusablon: A Brilliant Man Makes a Graceful Exit
Shawn Blanc: Steve Jobs Resigns as Apple CEO
Scott Unrein: A Bicycle for Our Minds

Things We Think About Short-Form Blogging

In his preface to Things We Think About Games, Jeff Tidball writes,

The short form has been an interesting challenge. It’s one thing to explain your position from every angle, at exhaustive length. It’s something different to boil it down while worrying, with every sentence and caveat you cut, that it’ll be taken out of context, or the obvious exceptions thrown back in your face on Ye Internete. But the hope is that this format — and I think we were right to choose it — will make Things We Think more actually useful. The hope is that short, provocative nuggets will spark your own thinking and force you to make up your own damn mind.

Exactly.

Learning Solutions 2011 Recap – Expo and Networking

To wrap up my overdue overview of Learning Solutions 2011…

There were some pretty exciting things happening in the expo hall at this conference, and there were lots of good opportunities for networking. I was lucky enough to have a few friends and acquaintances present, which made the conference a completely different experience for me. You all know who you are… It was wonderful to see you in person!

The reception on the opening night of the conference gave attendees a chance to meet each other and vendors in a socially lubricated environment. L-R: Stevie Rocco, Kevin Thorn, and Jane Bozarth

In general, I have been really pleased in the last few months with the number of vendors producing improved tools for elearning — tools that either facilitate creating a richer learning experience or push the envelope toward more standardized delivery or both. I was happy to see that the response to my “Which new tools do you want?” query pretty much mirrors my own, because I think IDs are really starting to be smart about what they want in authoring tools, and they’re being heard. Here were the things that excited me most:

Articulate Storyline

I was waiting for an education session to start when Twitter started exploding with Storyline buzz. It continued through the rest of the conference, and from what I can see, the excitement seems to be well warranted. This is definitely a tool I’ll be following as closely as I can in the coming months, as I’m sure many other elearning bloggers will, as well. Maybe we’ll even hear from my coworker and own personal Articulate guru, Tanya Coomes.

In the meantime, here are a few ways to get info on Storyline.

OpenSesame

These guys have been making a big splash with their “unlock an iPad” game at the last few conferences I’ve been to, and I’m glad, because their business model kind of depends on them getting a lot of elearning producers and buyers aware of them. Their elearning marketplace now has over 1400 courses… pretty impressive!

I had thought for a while that the only company with more clever marketing than OpenSesame was BlueVolt, with their LMS voodoo doll…

…but it turns out BlueVolt is actually Open Sesame’s LMS, which they license to the public in addition to using it for their marketplace (as I understand). Correction: My understanding was incorrect. BlueVolt is a separate company. Please see Kelly Meeker’s comment below.

Well played, OpenSesame. Even though I didn’t win an iPad.

Zebra

No Zebra Lounge or huge announcements from Allen Interactions this time, but I did enjoy learning more about the software with the developers and product manager, and that’s always exciting.

As I’ve shared before, I think this is amazingly promising software, and if you haven’t had a chance to see it or play with it yet, I encourage you to sign up for the public beta. Here’s why: I’ve been to webinar after session after course on elearning design in which participants are encouraged to make better elearning… more interactive, more exploratory, more game-like, and it frequently seems to devolve into a gripe session on how we don’t have good enough tools to do all of those things… or at least, to do them easily. I think there’s some validity to that complaint, but I also think it’s frequently an excuse for lazy design. We’re going to start seeing that excuse become less valid when Zebra launches.

Anyway, more on that to come. ;)

All in all, this was a great conference! Thanks to the e-Learning Guild for a well-planned, fun, and educational event.

Oops! I almost forgot… Again, for more Learning Solutions recaps, be sure to check out David Kelly’s Misadventures in Learning!