Monday, July 17, 2017

Be Careful of Your Quotes: Einstein Probably Didn't Say That Insanity Quote

We've all heard this quote, or might have even used it:

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

I've heard ed reformers and educators pushing change and innovation use this quote many times, and attributing to Albert Einstein. I honestly have to admit I might have done so myself. The truth is, there's no solid evidence he ever said it. It's not in any of his writings or interviews. It may be just made up.

In his book, Head in the Cloud: Why Knowing Things Still Matters When Facts Are So Easy to Look Up, William Poundstone calls this "Churchillian Drift." That's when a quotation by the marginally famous gets attributed to someone famous, like Winston Churchill. Turns out, Einstein probably didn't say it. Just Google the quote and you'll see the dispute.

The truth, at least for me, is clear: even if we really believe in what we're peddling, we still need to get our quotes right.

"It may sound good at the time, he who gets one or two of his quotes wrong, or facts, can't be trusted to be speaking all the truth."

You can quote on that, at least until someone else says it better!

By the way, Poundstone's book, Head in the Cloud: Why Knowing Things Still Matters When Facts Are So Easy to Look Up is a fascinating read.  Highly recommend it. Probably even will convince you to stop using those quote sites for quick quotes to add to your presentations.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Did I Really Need That Amazon Echo Dot?

I received an email telling me that Amazon was offering its Prime Members its Echo Dot for less than $35. I had seen the commercials, and certainly was fascinated with the device, so I broke down and purchased it.

After a day of experimenting with it, I actually enjoy the device. Being able to say “Alexa, play some James Taylor” and then his music magically starts playing through my bluetooth speaker is fantastic. I’ll admit I am a bit smitten by the technology, but it does have some interesting features. It’s easy to set up as well. Here’s some of the positives I’ve found:
  • Connects to a bluetooth speaker, so my Bose Soundlink Mini sounds fantastic.
  • Instant, or darn near instant access to any music.
  • Has a “News Flash” feature that allows “Alexa” to read the news update to you.
  • With my Amazon Fire I can get weather updates too.
  • I can listen to Pandora channels with an easy request from “Alexa."
  • Haven’t tried the “Jeopardy” game but is was recommended by a friend.
I’m just learning the device, but I can see what Apple is scrambling to catch up with Amazon and Google with these kinds of devices.

How else can I get the ability to command James Taylor's music to appear?