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What are the Best Genealogy Tweets?

Tuesday, 20 Oct 2009 | by Mark Tucker

In what ways have you seen genealogists use Twitter? Do you know of any great examples? It might be from someone doing personal family history research or from a professional genealogist. Maybe you came across a great tweet from a genealogy company, organization, or society.

For this post, I am putting up the challenge but it is you that will provide the real value. Go back through your sent tweets, those sent by friends, the public timeline, or do a search. When you find a tweet that you think deserves to be on the list with the best, post a comment with the web address for that specific tweet.

 
To get the tweet address, click on the date link for the tweet.

 timelineTweet

 
This will take you to another page that is just for that tweet.

singleTweet 

Copy the text from the browser’s address box.

tweetUrl

http://twitter.com/marktucker/status/5020583884

ThinkGenealogy Mission Statement – Draft #1

Thursday, 29 May 2008 | by Mark Tucker

ThinkGenealogy Mission

Our first peer-reviewed assignment for the ProGen Study Group was to write a draft of our mission statement. Since I am not currently looking to hire myself out for research, I thought that I would create a mission statement for the ThinkGenealogy site:

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What if Genealogy had a TED Conference?

Wednesday, 21 May 2008 | by Mark Tucker

Each year in California a conference is held where the world’s greatest thinkers and doers present “ideas worth spreading.” The conference is called TED which stands for technology, entertainment, and design. What started in 1984 as a gathering place to explore these three converging fields has expanded its content to include science, business, the arts, and the global issues facing our world. Over four days, each of the 50 presenters gets 18 minutes to give the talk or performance of their lives. The results are fascinating, inspirational, ingenious, or just plain beautiful. Many of these talks are made available for free online at www.ted.com.

TED Genealogy

Does genealogy have anything like a TED conference?

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Speaking at BYU Family History Technology Workshop

Monday, 10 Mar 2008 | by Mark Tucker

This week I will be taking vacation days from work so that I can attend both the 2008 Family History Technology Workshop as well as the Computerized Family History and Genealogy Conference in Provo, Utah.  I will be speaking at the technology workshop and have 20 minutes to discuss my topic: 10 Things Genealogy Software Should Do. 

Here is the abstract from my paper:

Innovation in genealogy software starts with ideas that lead to better design. This paper discusses 10 things that genealogy software should do but currently doesn’t. It is a starting point for discussion among those in the genealogy community: family historians, software developers, and designers. It is a springboard for additional design ideas.

With only 20 minutes, it will be both fast and fun.  If you will be attending either the workshop or the conference, it would be great to meet you.

Check out the schedule for other topics that will be discussed.

Thanks Myrtle

Monday, 28 Jan 2008 | by Mark Tucker

Thank you Myrtle for your kind words in a recent post where you said:

“I think this fellow Mark is a thinking man’s genealogist. Ol’ Myrt here wants to spend time talking with him personally about innovation and communication in the world of genealogy. Get him together in a room with Paul Allen, Dick Eastman, Beau Sharbrough; then throw in a few CGs & AGs and – wow! What we could dream up!”

I would really enjoy talking with you as well.  I love your meeting idea and would be honored by such an invitation.

Mark

Sketching Quickly Communicates Ideas

Monday, 21 Jan 2008 | by Mark Tucker

When I think of “sketching” (or the process of communicating design ideas), I think of Leonardo da Vinci and his invention drawings. Although not the first known examples, they might be the most well know.

 Leonardo da Vinci sketch

The British Library contains a digital representation of a Leonardo notebook in its online gallery called Turning the Pages. An interesting note is that the only major scientific work of Leonardo’s in private hands, the Codex Leicester, is owned by Bill Gates.

In Bill Buxton’s book “Sketching User Experiences: getting the design right and the right design,” he defines the following attributes of sketches (pages 111-112):

  • Quick – A sketch is quick to make, or at least gives that impression.
  • Timely – A sketch can be provided when needed.
  • Inexpensive – A sketch is cheap. Cost must not inhibit the ability to explore a concept, especially early in the design process.
  • Disposable – If you can’t afford to throw it away when done, it is probably not a sketch. The investment with a sketch is in the concept, not the execution. By the way, this doesn’t mean that they have no value, or that you always dispose of them. Rather, their value largely depends on their disposability.
  • Plentiful – Sketches tend not to exist in isolation. Their meaning or relevance is generally in the context of a collection or series, not as an isolated rendering.
  • Clear vocabulary – The style in which a sketch is rendered follows certain conventions that distinguish it from other types of renderings. The style, or form, signals that it is a sketch. The way that lines extend through endpoints is an example of such a convention or, or style.
  • Distinct gesture – There is fluidity to sketches that gives them a sense of openness and freedom. They are not tight and precise, in the sense that an engineering drawing would be, for example.
  • Minimal detail – Include only what is required to render the intended purpose or concept. Superfluous detail is almost always distracting, at best, no matter how attractive or well rendered. Going beyond “good enough” is a negative, not a positive.
  • Appropriate degree of refinement – By its resolution or style, a sketch should not suggest a level of refinement beyond that of the project being depicted.
  • Suggest and explore rather than confirm – Sketches don’t “tell,” they “suggest.” Their value lies not in the artifact of the sketch itself, but in its ability to provide a catalyst to the desired and appropriate behaviors, conversations, and interactions.
  • Ambiguity – Sketches are intentionally ambiguous, and much of their value derives from their being able to be interpreted in different ways, and new relationships seen within them, even by the person who drew them.

To summarize, a sketch is a quick way to generate and share many ideas in such a way that the ideas can generate more ideas. Often a sketch is in the form of a drawing, but the purpose more than the medium determines if it is a sketch.

The Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) group at Stanford University tackled the issue of speeding automobiles with a project that shows sketching to communicate ideas as well computer prototypes to show design.

In another post, we will apply the technique of sketching to a specific genealogy problem.

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