Chancellor’s Choice: Keynes vs. Hayek

This has got to be the best thing to come out of George Mason University since 2006, when the Patriots made the NCAA basketball Final Four. It’s a fantastic example of how a creative video can make a dry topic (economics is called “the dismal science” after all) vibrant and interesting.

This one definitely gets a Chancellor’s Choice Award for Best Use of Video in an Educational Context:

As of this writing, Fight of the Century has racked up 621,000 views in just two weeks.

Here’s the first video in the series, which has had more than 2.2 million views:

And this video, also from the EconStories channel, includes an interview with the George Mason professor and his creative sidekick behind the series:

Together, these videos — which range from 7:33 to 10:10 — demolish the conventional wisdom that a video needs to be short to get traction, or that the “ideal” video is less than three minutes, or two minutes, or whatever a supposed “expert” says.

Length doesn’t matter. It’s more important that a video is interesting. And it isn’t necessary to be interesting to a mass audience. You just need to be interesting to your audience.

This video on myelofibrosis is about the same length as the Keynes/Hayek boxing match. Not funny at all, but extremely interesting to people who have myelofibrosis. As of today, it has more than 8,200 views, which has made it extremely successful. It has reached and interested the right people.

What’s your favorite video that’s more than four minutes long?

Chancellor’s Choice Award: Flip Video Camera

This award will be no surprise to long-term SMUGgles (especially those who have completed Blogging 130), but the Chancellor’s Choice award for low-cost video cameras goes to: The Flip.

Among its Advantages:

Strong video quality, particularly in relatively low-light conditions. 

Speed. Using a camera with miniDV or other tape, you have to play the tape to feed into your computer for digitizing, which takes just as long as the original shoot did. The Flip, by contrast, creates a digital file directly and saves to its memory card, and with the built-in USB connector that flips out (hence the name), you can transfer the video file to your computer for editing and/or upload to YouTube, Facebook or another video sharing service within seconds after shooting. 

Simplicity. It’s literally a point and shoot device, with a single red button to start and stop recording. So easy, even a caveman… (er…uh…sorry guys)

Savings. Ranging from about $70 for 30 minute standard definition to $230 or so for an hour of HD, these cameras are quite affordable. (More details on that below.) I’ve purchased miniDV cameras previously for $400 or so, and for many uses the Flip quality is just as good.

Situational (OK…that’s stretching the alliteration too far.) There’s an old saying in video that you can’t edit what you don’t shoot. Because the Flip fits easily in your pocket, purse or laptop bag, you can have it with you in virtually any situation. This enables you to catch those moments you’d miss if you had to remember to bring your video camera bag. I carry my Flip almost everywhere I go.
Continue readingChancellor’s Choice Award: Flip Video Camera”

Chancellor’s Choice Award: Tweetie

The SMUG Chancellor’s Choice Award is presented occasionally to social media tools that aren’t free but are good values, as judged by the SMUG Chancellor in his sole discretion.

The first category to be presented is Twitter Clients for iPhone, and honorable mention goes to:

Twittelator Pro


I had previously used Twitterific and the free version of Twittelator, but for the $4.99 upgrade the benefits of Twittelator Pro are immense. Among my favorites are support for:

  • Multiple accounts, which means I can engage with both@leeaase and @mayoclinic tweets, and can switch between the two in a few seconds.
  • Subgroups, which lets me pull out “Top Tweeps” to follow more closely from among the more than 1,000 I’m following.
  • Search, which lets me follow relevant tags like #HACon09 or terms like “Mayo Clinic”
  • Landscape mode Tweeting, which gives me a bigger keyboard for my larger-than-average thumbs.
  • Segregation of @replies and direct messages, and ability to toggle among them quickly through the bottom navigation.

This upgrade to Twittelator is an excellent value. Still, in the category of Twitter Clients for iPhone, it comes in second to the winner, which is:



Like Twittelator, Tweetie ($2.99) can handle multiple Twitter accounts. One disadvantage is that when you open Tweetie or switch between accounts you don’t see the little red numbers over the Replies or Messages (as you do in Twittelator) that alert you to Tweets in response to or directed to you. Twittelator is therefore a bit faster for quick monitoring of Twitter accounts. No red numbers in Twittelator means no Tweets that need response. In Tweetie you need to check each tab.

Tweetie also lacks the Subgroups feature that Twittelator has. But I expect I will be using Tweetdeck for my “Top Tweeps” monitoring. My iPhone client’s main function should be to enable me to respond to tweets while I’m on the go. And for this, Tweetie has several advantages:

I really like the Tweetie interface. What got me to try it was a tweet from @shelisrael, who said:


Tweetie is just very elegantly designed. It doesn’t seem to have quite as many features as Twittelator, but the ones it has are stunningly simple.

For example, the name of your currently active account is at the top of the screen in Tweetie. That keeps you from mistakenly tweeting a personal message from a work account.

Another thing I love is that I can view followers on Tweetie and make decisions to follow them. Even better, the most recent followers are on top, so I can probably disable the new follower email messages from Twitter, and just do all of my Follower maintenance from Tweetie when I have free moments. That will make my email handling more efficient.

Either Twittelator or Tweetie will make you more productive than the free Twitter clients for iPhone, but the Chancellor’s Choice goes to Tweetie.

Chancellor’s Choice Award: iPhone 3G

This won’t be a surprise to anyone, but the first Chancellor’s Choice award, in the category of Smart Phones, goes to the Apple iPhone 3G.


I formerly used a Blackberry (and liked it), but was blown away by the iPhone. And since at least one of the future Chancellor’s Choice winners is an iPhone application, I can’t hardly give that without also honoring the platform that made it possible.

Here are the Top 10 Things I Love about My iPhone (and since Chancellor’s Choice awards go only to products that cost money, some of the free applications for iPhone are mentioned here):

  1. Easy sync with Outlook email and calendar. It’s just flawless. When a new meeting is added to my work calendar, it shows up on my iPhone calendar. And when I add an appointment on my iPhone, it syncs back to Outlook.
  2. Mail folder structure matches my Outlook folders. I can read and delete emails in batches when I’m on the go, and when I get back to my laptop, the ones I deleted from my iPhone aren’t in Outlook either.
  3. Built-in iPod is elegant. If I get a call while listening to music, the sound fades automatically while I answer and talk on the phone, then resumes (again with gradual volume increase) exactly where I was.
  4. Maps program and location services provide a usable GPS system. Garmin on a budget, without turn-by-turn audible directions. But I’ve used it to find my way in unfamiliar surroundings.
  5. The Facebook application. Great way to upload photos to Facebook from the built-in camera.
  6. Did I mention the camera? It’s not super-high resolution, but it’s decent. And it syncs nicely with iPhoto and connects with Facebook, Twitter, WordPress or other applications.
  7. Did I mention the WordPress application? That’s really slick, too. Great to be able to do photo blog posts on the go. 
  8. The Calculator app is excellent. When you hold the iPhone vertically it’s a standard four-function calculator. When you rotate to landscape mode, it becomes a scientific calculator with trigonometry functions. No need to remember SOHCAHTOA.
  9. You can do SMS texting while on a phone call when using the earbuds that come with your iPhone. Try that with a regular phone.
  10. Even though I often don’t use the 3G connection to save battery life, when I do turn it on the speed boost for applications that access the Web is impressive.

Unlike every other Chancellor’s Choice winner, the iPhone isn’t cheap. But I still believe it’s an excellent value, particularly since it provides a platform for lots of other innovations. The minimum price is $199 to $299, plus a two-year service contract with AT&T. I recommend the 16 GB version, because it only adds about $4 a month to the overall cost, but I’ve never wished I had less memory. But if the 8GB is all you can afford, go for it. 

What other free iPhone applications do you like? Or what other paid applications would you nominate for the Chancellor’s Choice recognition?

Announcing the Chancellor’s Choice Awards

One of my basic approaches to social media is to maximize what can be done for free. I do this partly to prove a point; to eliminate excuses by showing how much you can do without spending a penny (and without requiring the support of IT).

And of course the other reason is: I’m cheap.

Having seen a recent article by Walter Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal with a list of his favorite iPhone apps, and having just spent money on an iPhone application for the first time last weekend, I thought it would be good to create the Chancellor’s Choice Awards.

Chancellor’s Choice recipients are social media tools that have caused me to pry out the wallet and flip over the debit card to get the security code…to actually spend money on social media. These aren’t annual awards; I’ll present them whenever I buy something in social media and find it worth the cost. And they’re not subject to vote: they’re just my personal opinion (not that of my employer or the SMUG student body.) I welcome your nominations or contrary opinions, however. Leave them in the comments.

The Chancellor’s Choice award also carries no cash value, and there’s no lovely statuette or red carpet media gathering. If the recipients would care to offer tear-filled speeches in response, they can send me a link to their uploaded video, and I’ll update the award post to embed it.

The first Chancellor’s Choice award will be presented tonight. If you have non-free social media tool nominees to suggest, share them in the comments below.