Thursday, August 20, 2009


Meeting at Anerian starts strangely. I arrive at the building lobby near Dupont Circle 10 minutes early, but the receptionist at 1250 Connecticut has never heard of the company. Anerian is not listed on the building menu board. There is a digital kiosk there, but I waste more than 10 minutes fumbling through old emails and calling cellphone information (a complete waste of time). Receptionist will not let me use the ledge, and there is no other place in the lobby to put anything other than the floor. She never suggests using the kiosk, but eventually I think to try it myself. Anerian pops right up, 6th floor. “Oh,” she explains, “subleases are not listed on the main board.” Thank you so much.

When I get to the 6th floor with Amanda (from before), I meet Donna, a web design expert, and Ed (briefly, a senior VP with the company and the only other person for miles around wearing a tie, other than me). We talk shop, I demo the video (fairly successfully), try to demo LectureScribe (miserable failure, since apparently my microphone/webcam is not happy being plugged into a different USB port, though I discover that only hours later, at home).

It’s a good thing I’m not committed to retaining the look and feel of, because the one thing everyone agrees on is that a complete rework is needed. Web 2.0 is all about clean look, staying within the control of the page (i.e., embedded widgets, not jumps), and above all, interactivity. I feebly mention that “clean look” is a synonym for deep menus, but it is clear I am a dinosaur on this point. That’s OK: hasn’t had a facelift since its launch it the late 1990s, and even though my students and I like having a giant collection of neat links in one place, that is so, so, last millennium.

Amanda formerly worked for Blackboard, and luckily she can sympathize with my desire to roll my own content, as opposed to being captive to an “educational environment.”

Doug Errett from STA arrives for his portion of the meeting about an hour later. He hasn’t shot any footage yet but is far ahead of me on the research front. It is pretty clear from Doug’s research that I should at least try and perhaps should be using Jing instead of LectureScribe from now onward. Doug and I are both impressed with WordPress, which Anerian has been using to build sites for clients. Not sure whether we can persuade STA to host WordPress on the STA servers, though . . .

Near the end of the meeting, Steve Lynott, the CEO, arrives and demos his educational math (arithmetic) website,, plus an older K-12 website that was a large investment to build but is now dormant. Very solid material, all highly interactive, should be lots of money to be made there. I try to pitch BallparkIt to him, but it is clear that he is already up to his eyeballs in great ideas.

We adjourn at about 3:45 with several action items for me. I am to make several more videos (shorter, definitely), and Amanda suggests trying Jing so that I have a comparison. I will add the Lumina logo to the end credits of the Simpson’s paradox video, and I will see about getting Mike A. to coordinate his revised design with what Amanda and Donna will do for me.

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