Do you know someone that seems to know something about everything? You know, someone always able to provide an interesting slant on the moral issues surrounding new technologies and the old problems they're solving. The first person to know about things beyond the cutting edge, who shares with you what Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, or President Clinton think about issues facing the world. I can tell you something about that person: They know TED. TED is my daily moment of Zen; it's salt for the world, adding flavor to everything it touches; it's conference around the world discussing local issues that have, or will have, global influence; it represents the modern view of knowledge, that only by sharing and collaborating can we achieve the impossible, know the unknowable, where we can, as Aaron Sorkin wrote, look into the face of God. Lofty words. That is the TED spirit. Brilliant, talented, funny people that are experts, or often creators, in their field. You can watch Sergey Brin demonstrate Google Glass, Sir Ken Robinson telling you about how to save your child from schools (I'm a teacher, so no complaints), listen to Stephen Dubner prove working at McDonald's pays better than dealing drugs, or Mike Rowe sharing how important, and thankless, are Dirty Jobs. Musicians, artists, doctors, lawyers, politicians, authors, scientists... The list goes on and on. The topics cover, well, everything. I can't even begin to list the subjects that come readily to mind, just listing my favorites would take a page or two. Someone once said ignorance was bliss; today ignorance is criminal. Issues are facing the world that will affect humanity; some good, some bad, but all coming. Many of these issues require citizen involvement, which requires citizens to be familiar with the issues involved, which means, I suppose, if you want to be a good citizen of the world you must watch TED. I promise this: If you watch at least three episodes, they have a YouTube channel also, and you don't find yourself looking for more that interest you, then I will work hard to get a full refund for you (they're free). So what have you got to lose except some ignorance (remember, ignorance means you just don't know; if you've had the chance to learn something and you didn't, that's stupid).
While I love the content, the app which I downloaded to my Amazon FireStick today just doesn't work. I've seen other reviewers describing the same problem: When I select a talk to watch, it plays for 1 second and then an error says something like "this video has been paused due to a network error". Then I click ok, and click play, and the video starts. But the red circling hourglass indicator remains on screen as I watch and will not go away. Soon the error occurs again, and again I press play and again the hourglass stays on as I watch the program. My bandwidth is variable, but it isn't low. When I test it, I always find my test app sees 10 Mbps on the first run, 20 Mbps on the second, 24 Mbps on the run after that, and about 34 Mbps on a fourth test. So my impression is that my phone company (AT&T) always gives up to 10 Mbps a new stream, and then bumps it up if the demand continues. Also if I try streaming HD video on another devices or if I don't, it makes no difference in the TED app errors, and the video on the other devices works perfectly regardless of whether the TED app is running. So I conclude the app isn't able to handle changes in throughput, even though all my other devices and apps (with one app exception) work fine. I suppose it's also possible that AT&T is using software to sabotage the app, but that seems extremely unlikely in my opinion. So fix this app!
TED is a great educational tool I use for my English classes at all levels. The great thing about it is the variety of topics for the presentations, which makes it suitable for the students because they can watch only those videos they really enjoy. Another great thing is that due to the fact that many of the presenters are ESL speakers, your students can benefit from different English accents, especially when they are getting ready to take an international standardized test. Highly recommended.
This is sort of an unfair review of TED Talks the Conference Provider (5 Stars - Controversial and enlightening). This is a review of the TED App and mechanism (Fire TV) used to watch TED Talks. I downloaded the TED App onto my Fire TV box. I have been enjoying the Curiosity Stream Videos just fine. However, when I tried the TED App I would get constant interruptions to download - because of "Network Error". I ran an experiment to eliminate various variables to reception. I used my desktop computer (intel i7 -fast) also wireless on the 5 GHz band as my Fire TV Box with 128G Memory Upgrade for Buffering, both in the same room. Both also on a 5 MBPS twisted pair internet provider feed (bandwidth concern). My PC with some video fades watched the same TED Talk all the way through without loading pauses. This leads me to conclude that there needs to be work on the TED App as far as the algorithm used for compression. Older U Tube videos also had the same issues. And Yes I do need a Fiber Backbone upgrade for Bandwidth when it is available too.