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Quikthinking Software Blog
  • 0 Moving On: The African American Museum In Philadelphia

    1976. The African American Museum, Philadelphia opened in center city Philly at 7th and Arch Street near Chinatown. Announced earlier this month, after 50 years, the facility will move to the Ben Franklin Parkway to occupy the same neighborhood as the other really big cultural arts facilities in town. At their new location the AAMP will be next door to the main branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. AAMP will triple their current space in their new home. There is an estimated five year window impacting the move. A now vacant building next to the library will be renovated to house the new AAMP. Public money and private fundraising will finance the move. The possible grand opening: 2027. To discover more about 50 selected African American Museums or resources, grab our Black History Museums Mobile App a Best Mobile App Award Platinum Nominee. Watch my video from 2017 about the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Below the story is a link to our entire Black History Museums Video series on YouTube (and embedded in the app).  Watch all 12 Black History Museums VIP Tours on YouTube. Each digital tour is about 60 seconds.

  • 0 Ingenious Black Inventors

    When you've worked at a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania shoe factory for years creating footwear by hand you've probably thought of ways to speed up this labor intensive process. Within the work day you can only get so far manually attaching the shoe sole to the upper fabric or leather. In 1883, Jan Matzeliger revolutionized the shoe manufacturing process. He patented his lasting machine creation to automate the process of attaching the shoe sole to the upper material. Early in his career Purdue University graduate Henry T. Sampson worked as a Research Chemical Engineer at the US Naval Weapons Center in China Lake, California. He specialized in high-energy solid propellants and case-bonding materials for solid-rocket motors. Sampson earned degrees in Chemical Engineering from UCLA and Nuclear Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He was a pioneer in academia becoming the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering in the United States. On July 6, 1971, Sampson was awarded a patent with George H. Miley for the invention of the gamma-electric cell, a direct-conversion energy device that converts the energy generated from the radiation of high-energy gamma rays into electricity. Finally among these big three, there's Granville Woods. Did you learn about him or any other African American inventors in school? Mr. Woods was an effective, ingenious inventor. His 45 patents between 1884 - 1907 include the steam boiler furnace. Woods wowed with creative solutions for battery technology, railway brake systems, telephone and telegraph technology, and much more. Discover 50 other trailblazers you'll want to know in the mobile app Black History Inventors.

  • 0 Black History Quiz Trivia App

    History happens all around us: past, present, and future. You can control some of the narrative in your life's journey, but not all of if. People who write the stories in the historic records pick and choose those people or events they deem the most important. Some gate keepers think that "most important" doesn't necessarily mean the most valuable. Traditional history books fall short in creating diverse reference material that reflect the multicultural fabric of our society. Here's where telling your own story really matters. At the time it was created using a fresh innovative digital technology, our legacy project Empower Encyclopedia CD-ROM attempted to build a better bridge to Black History story telling. 2023 will be the 25th anniversary of this massive undertaking.   In 2013 we morphed some of the Empower Encyclopedia content into Black History Quiz trivia for Android. Black History Quiz trivia for iPhone followed in 2018. Lots of valuable Black history quiz questions and answers are presented in these convenient fact based mobile apps. Take a break and watch me share my screen and play these Black history trivia games on both my Android and iPhone in the video below.

  • 0 Empower Encyclopedia CD-ROM Flashback Video: Building A Bridge To Black History

    When computer floppy discs were kicked to the curb, a new portable software storage unit inherited its place. CD-ROM (Compact Disc Read-Only Memory). James Russell was the visionary behind the CD-ROM concept in the 1960s. By 1980, the first disc player was made. Sony - Phillips licensed the concept and had their units in the marketplace between 1982 - 1985. CD-ROMs use a laser to read and playback information. Between 1993 - 1998, we developed a Black history resource, Empower Encyclopedia for CD-ROM distribution (1998 release). By today's standard, this relatively small 72 megabyte sized program could easily reach your hands through a digital download. Back then, slow speed dial-up modems were a deterrent for digital distribution. However, technology always marches on as does the Empower Encyclopedia story! Graduate school advisers rejected this project proposal as part of the body of study I needed to receive my second degree. This didn't matter to me. They could keep the degree. The project was more important, so I did it anyway. Empower Encyclopedia was developed from the ground up using the Visual Basic programming language. The software included hundreds of biographies, many with pictures of the people. You could print out all of the biographies from your personal computer. There were videos, animations, internet links, slideshow, a sound "name pronouncer" and other useful features that benefited users. When we pulled the CD-ROM off of the market in 2005, some of the content was already there to morph into the various Black History mobile apps that we started releasing in 2011 and continue to develop today. So now you know the backstory. Watch this video with my comments about Empower Encyclopedia. See it in action. A throwback gem that's gone, but not forgotten.

  • 0 Black History App Choices: Making The Cut

    In December, 1999 Ebony Magazine published "The 100 Most Important Blacks In The World in The 20th Century." The Four mobile apps we created below represent nearly everyone on their list, but not 100%: Black History Quotes Express (quotes) Black History Express (knowledge base & trivia game) Black History People (quick, concise knowledge base) Black History People Game (fast, entertaining hand - eye action) Why not 100%? Because in the app world editorial decisions must be made based upon space limitations dictating who can be included if the finished concept ever hopes to reach you. Certainly pre-20th Century folks have to be represented too. We get lots of suggestions to add 21st Century achievers into these mobile apps and we continue to do so. I always thought of these Android and iOS apps as a starting point for you to discover more about these important Black history people on your own. You can do it and be successful at it. Continue to offer suggestions. That's part of the reason why specific new people join the collection of entertainers and entrepreneurs, inventors and instructors, politicians, publishers and other notable success story winners. 

  • 0 Building Black History Quotes Express

    What does it take to create a valuable mobile app? Here's a recipe. Generate some creative energy, conduct some consistent research, and tie-in some technical knowledge to put it all together. For our highly successful Black History Quotes Express project, we started with a storyboard listing the quotation categories: Love, motivation, inspiration, instruction, Friendship, Humor, Family, Reflection, leadership, Empower, Faith. Next, over seven months from June, 2018 to November 2018 we curated the quotes. Here are running totals during a sample 5 day period: Quote total = 1,922 (6/28/18) Quote total = 1,978 (6/29/18) Quote total = 2,079 (6/30/18) Quote total = 2131 (7/1/18) Quote total = 2,211 (7/2/18) Quote total = 2,251 (7/3/18) At the end of the process there were 2,688 quotes. Many more have been added since. Each author was collated into a massive list. We assigned a category to each quote. Here's an example for historian Lerone Bennett Jr....   1  "An educator in a system of oppression is either a revolutionary or an oppressor" - reflection  2  "History is knowledge, identity and power. History is knowledge because it is a practical perspective and a practical orientation. It orders and organizes our world and valorizes our projects" - instruction  3  "It is difficult, if not impossible, to understand American history without some understanding of the Black experience" – reflection   Finally, the Software Development kit Android Studio was used to create the app for Android. We used the Xcode SDK for the iOS (iPhone and iPad) version of Black History Quotes Express. After the apps were complete, we created the promotional material to support awareness. The last step was to submit the app to three app stores (Apple, Google Play and Amazon). Watch and listen to the video below to see more quotes in action. Learn how you can download the free Black History Quotes Express, a mobile app you can use all year long. Use the quotes yourself or easily share them.  

  • 0 Parker, Spikes, and Boykin Score Invention Patents

    Morristown, New Jersey resident Alice H. Parker detailed in her July, 1918 U.S. patent application a creative new way to use gas to power a heating device.   She received a patent on December 23, 1919 for an improved heating furnace. Parker's goal was to heat houses and buildings using independently controlled ducts in rooms. Heating units raising the temperature of a common cold air box in the furnace supplied the warmth to different floors. The unit above represents a 19th to 20th century design rather that the actual Parker gas furnace itself. Richard B. Spikes from San Francisco, California thought out the complex mechanics of the automatic car gear shift. Here's what the inside of a modern transmission looks like. Spikes applied for his patent in 1931. He describes it's operation: A "driver can manipulate levers representing the various speeds, these levers being mechanically or otherwise connected to mechanism which will throw in the clutch of the desired gear train, the clutch operatively connecting the drive and driven shafts together when the automobile clutch pedal is depressed." That's a mouth full! Today we'd call this "automatic gear shift" a manual transmission. Spikes' patent was awarded in December, 1932.   Resistors, pictured below are used in electric circuit boards to control the flow of electricity. The electrical resistance of a resistor is measured in ohms. German physicist Georg Simon Ohm mathematically worked out how the flow of electricity through a conductor is computed. Chicago, Illinois African American inventor Otis F. Boykin reasoned in his 1956 patent application that the manufacturing process of resistors up to that point had limitations. He designed a precision wire wound lower cost resistor with higher tolerances to relieve some stress factors. Modern resistors are shown here. Boykin received his patent in February, 1961.   Alice H. Parker, Richard B. Spikes, and Otis Boykin are just three of the creators featured in our Black History Inventors mobile app for iPhone or Android. We include a brief audio anecdote about each patent holder describing what they've done. Learn more about Black History Inventors and watch the video below.

  • 0 MLK Day Quotes Galore Video

    Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. Dr. King has been honored with a national holiday in the USA on the third Monday in January since 1986. MLK Day of community service encourages you to get involved locally to help your neighborhood, town or city deal with important civic issues. Here's a 3 minute video that I produced featuring some of King's quotes in text. We posted it on our sister YouTube channel Black History People. Discover more Black History quotes in our mobile app Black History Quotes Express. All images and film in the video were taken during a personal visit to the King Memorial in Washington, DC.

  • 0 How African American Artifacts Inspired A Collector

    What would you do after years of collecting African American artifacts and memorabilia? Here's what Jeffrey A. Fletcher did. He decided to share his curated history with the community of Stratford, Connecticut. Even though the last two pandemic laced years have been a challenge for all of us, this obstacle didn't stop Jeffrey A. Fletcher from opening the Ruby and Calvin Fletcher African American History Museum in October, 2021. On the museum's website we are reminded about the significance of their collection with this statement: "The artifacts and memorabilia may seem to be difficult to view but they are a part of African American history that needs to be told just as much as the triumphs which were made by African American pioneers and trailblazers." Our latest December, 2021 Android mobile app update for Black History Museums includes the new Connecticut contribution bearing the name of Ruby and Calvin Fletcher. The Black History Museums app features 51 selected African American museums or resources from every state and the District of Columbia. I developed this app in 2016. It has been updated 13 times since then to reflect museum changes. Watch in the video below how I demonstrate the top 4 reasons why you'll benefit from downloading this 100% free app to your tablet or phone. December 8th Update: We replaced the original video with this version to update the audio track.

  • 0 Veterans Day Appreciation

    Entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. was drafted into the U.S. Army's first integrated unit. Hazel W. Johnson served her country as Chief Nurse for the Army Medical Command in Korea. Army, navy, air force, or marines. All veterans including prominent African Americans have served their country. We salute them and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Film maker James Edwards served in the army, and after service enrolled in drama school under the G.I. Bill. Actor James Earl Jones was another army vet who studied theater after military service under the G.I. Bill. The G.I. Bill was signed into law on June 22, 1944 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt providing educational assistance to service members, veterans, and their dependents.  Harriet M. West was the first Black woman in the Women's Army Corps (WACS) to rise to the rank of Major (August 21, 1943). Fender Stratocaster guitar specialist Jimi Hendrix joined the 101 Airborne Division Paratroopers of the U.S. Army in 1960 only to hurt his back and receive an honorable discharge in the summer of 1962. Chicago's first Black mayor Harold Washington served in World War II as a First  Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force Engineers (1942 - 1946). Roscoe Robinson, a 1982 West Point graduate became the U.S. Army's first African American four star general. See Black History Express App Stories for the General Colin Powell story. Actor Sidney Poitier (army), Medal of Honor recipient Brigadier General Charles C. Rogers (army), and Clifford Alexander (national guard and Secretary of the Army in 1977) all served with distinction. Before stealing baseball bases across America (1947), MLB color line buster Jackie Robinson served in World War II (1942). Jackie was drafted and assigned to a segregated Army cavalry unit in Fort Riley, Kansas. In January 1943, Robinson was commissioned a second lieutenant. The man who would make number 42 famous was then assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, where he joined the 761st "Black Panthers" tank battalion.  In the days before they were allowed to participate in direct active duty women also contributed to national service and deserve a Veteran's Day shout-out. Some of these women were not technically army vets. Educator Mary McLeod Bethune served as an administrator for President Franklin Roosevelt's Office of Minority Affairs and worked as a special assistant to the Secretary of War (1942) to help recruit Black officer candidates in the Women's Army Corps (WACS). Community activist Grace lee Stevens was a national organizer for the Women's Army of National Defense (WANDS) during World War II. You'll find many more veteran contributions in our Black History Express mobile app by searching not only by keywords "army," or "navy," "air force," or "marines," but by others that make sense: "soldier" for example. We have only scratched the surface. Discover much more in our Android App Black History Express Quiz Game and Knowledge Base. 

  • 0 Black History Express App Stories

    Three familiar faces: President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former first lady Michelle Obama. Custom portraits of the Obamas sketched for Quikthinking Software by artist Julia Liberali. General Powell passed away on October 18, 2021. Powell (1937 - 2021) was born in Harlem, New York on April 5. During his distinguished career, he served as a four-star general, National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of State, and as the mastermind of operation Desert Storm (against Iraq). He entered City College of New York in 1954 as an engineering student. He switched his major to geology one semester later, then entered the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). Powell credits ROTC for giving him an important life change direction that was very influential in shaping his character. The story of Powell, the Obamas, and hundreds more are included in our popular Android mobile App Black History Express. Black History Express is a story based collection of biographical information paired with a trivia quiz game for you to enjoy. Dive in, explore the stories, and discover more from the link above to download. Here's the original Black History Express digital press kit on our website: bit.ly/bhepresskit.    

  • 0 Black Inventors In Session

    He invented and patented the first electric light bulb with a carbon filament. He also published the first electric lighting system textbook. In New York City, there's a house owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation where this mystery inventor lived for over 20 years. The house is now a museum open to the public bearing his name. In 1886, the Thomas Edison Company welcomed him as a gifted African American electrical innovator and inventor. Have you guessed his name yet?   Lewis H. Latimer is just one of over 50 Black History Inventors profiled in our iPhone, iPad and Android mobile app. You can listen to or read quick summaries about the Black men and women who are the unsung heroes of genius innovation. Find out more about Black History Inventors app. 

  • 0 Best Museums and Historical Sites Apps of 2021 (Android)

    An honor for our Black History Museums app to be selected as Best Museums and Historical Sites Apps of 2021 (Android). Check out the story at LeapDroid by Ken Pillar. Touch the image above to read the LeapDroid story. Discover more here on our website about Black History Museums.

  • 0 Creating Black History People With A Plan

    When we created Empower Encyclopedia CD-ROM for Windows in 1998, the Black History software that became the root of many of our apps, we did it the old fashioned way. How? By going to our county library between 1993 - 1998 using books to do the research and reading through original sources. No Wikipedia, no online sources, no social media, no shortcuts. You may be thinking that a complicated project in your life is too hard to tackle. Breaking down the task into component parts is an easy way to simplify the complex. So rather than worrying about the herculean task of completing a project, we just did a little at a time without pressuring ourselves to meet self imposed deadlines. This may not be possible for you, but... In the case of the app Black History People, the sketch on the left below was the original hand drawn storyboard prototype. The screen shot below on the right is the first screen of the app as it appears as of this writing.     So create a plan and use it. Find out more about our Black History People app on our website.      

  • 0 Black History Express And Black History Expert App Updates

    Multiple biography updates, a few fixes, and several brand new achievers highlight new versions of Black History Express and Black History Expert. Black History Express mobile App is a free African American knowledge base and fun quiz game. Black History Express gives you a thrilling way to discover engaging stories about African Americans all in one place. Within 28 big chapters you'll find art to theater and everything in between. Use the summaries as a reference when you need to find information fast. You are the Black History Expert, as you discover nearly 300 engaging black history people profiles we've written and edited exclusively for this extremely simple to use mobile app. Every notable person is in a distinct category. You'll read about the known, and not so well known. Black History Expert is a great read when you are on the go. An excellent reference about black history people not just for Black History Month, but for anytime. This is your app with Black History Facts about Black History Heroes. Learn more about both Black History Express and Black History Expert. What's the big difference between the two apps? Black History Expert keeps the focus on the information as it is 100% ad free and does not include a quiz game. Black History Expert is ideal for discovering without distractions and is perfect for academic learning in or out of schools. Watch me demonstrate Black History Express  

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