All posts for “Explanation”

Explanation

New Video: Email Access - Explained by Common Craft

Posted by: leelefever on January 10, 2013- 11:20am

Categories: email, Explanation, New Video, servers, webmail

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Today we’re announcing a new video suggested by our members: Email Access - Explained by Common Craft. Email has evolved over the years. It used to live on our computers, but it now lives on servers and this evolution has changed how we think about email. This video highlights what these changes mean for the average email user. It teaches:   • Basic email infrastructure: servers and email boxes • Why email is often safe, even when a computer is ruined • The difference between POP and IMAP... Continue Reading
A few years back, we saw an opportunity to help talented producers of explainer videos be successful through a sort of marketplace or directory on our website. This became The Common Craft Explainer Network. When a company needs an explainer video for their product or service, the Explainer Network is the place to go. Lately explainer videos have become an increasingly important part of a company's website and presentation, and there is growing demand for producers who can create amazing,... Continue Reading

Understand Music - An Experiment in Explanation

Posted by: leelefever on December 10, 2012- 10:59am

Categories: animation, Art of Explanation, Explanation, music, video

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Boing Boing pointed me to this beautiful animated video by a German studio called "finally".  From the description with the video: Music is a good thing. But what we did not know until we started with the research for this piece: Music is also a pretty damn complex thing. This experimental animation is about the attempt to understand all the parts and bits of it. Have a look. You might agree with our conclusion! Email or RSS readers can watch the video here.  I think this is a great example... Continue Reading

New Video: Online Citizenship

Posted by: leelefever on December 4, 2012- 8:55am

Categories: Explanation, net safety, New Video, online citizenship, trolls, video

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Today we’re announcing a new video: Online Citizenship - Explained by Common Craft.   What it teaches:  Sometimes communicating via computers can feel anonymous and make people lose touch with the impact of what they say online. This video highlights the problems this causes and explains a basic idea: that our words matter, online and off. It teaches: • Why citizenship matters in the real world • How one person can behave differently online and off • What happens when someone forgets that real... Continue Reading
In The Art of Explanation, I tell a story that put me on the path to writing the book. I was at a small tech conference and a CEO was asked "What is RSS?"  His response was "RSS is an XML-based content syndication format". Yikes. That answer was the first time I saw a problem that plagues the technology and startup world.  We call it an "exaplanation problem" - and a lots of great products and services have it. In a guest post at GeekWire, I tell a story about a startup founder who learns to... Continue Reading
Today we're announcing a new Common Craft website that is focused on one thing: sharing short, snarky and useful explanation tips. The site exists in two forms: Explain That Sh*t (Not-Safe-For-Work, Language) Explain That Idea (Work-Safe) Along with providing a way to learn about explanation, the sites are meant for sharing explanation tips.  You can click the Twitter icon on any tip and the site will copy that tip into a tweet for you. Here's the site on computers and phones: Backstory: A few... Continue Reading

What is an "Enhanced" eBook?

Posted by: leelefever on November 25, 2012- 2:01pm

Categories: Art of Explanation, book, ebook, Explanation, publishing

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I think we’re at the very beginning of a huge transformation that will change how we think about books. Thanks to new devices and publishing platforms, books are becoming more interactive and multimedia.  One form this is taking is the "enhanced" ebook.  To understand the enhanced versions, let’s start with normal ebooks.   “Normal” ebooks are essentially digital versions of regular books that are usually read on devices like the Kindle, iPad and Nook. For most of their history, ebooks have... Continue Reading
When people ask me who is doing the best explanatory work these days, I often point to public radio and podcasts.  The radio format, while not visual, can be incredibly engaging and effective in packaging complicated ideas into explanations.   One of our favorites is NPR’s Planet Money podcast which has the tagline “The Economy Explained”.  The podcast got started with an episode of This American Life in May of 2008 called the Giant Pool of Money. This hour-long show explained the mortgage... Continue Reading
A while back I noticed that an organization called Newsbound posted a job opening for an "Explainer-in-Chief", a title I love to see. Curious, I followed Newsbound and eventually met Patrick Sharma, the person who now fills that role. He's been kind enough to answer a few questions and share a remarkable format the company is using to package explanations.  1. Tell me about Newsbound and your role there. What's the company's mission and story?    Newsbound is a San Francisco-based digital media... Continue Reading

Zombies Explained - The REDUX

Posted by: leelefever on October 22, 2012- 9:13am

Categories: Explanation, halloween, humor, video, Zombies

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Our video "Zombies in Plain English" is surely responsible for saving millions of brains over the last few years.  But it's time for an update.  For this Halloween, we're debuting a REDUX - with a new ending.  Be brain-safe this Halloween! Our library of other videos are also helpful for brains, but for entirely different reasons. Check them out. And if you're interested in becoming a better explainer, we wrote a book just for you.  Here's the original Zombies video.

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