Four short links: 4 March 2010

Achievement Design, Estimation, DRM Usability, and Ubicomp v AR

  1. Achievement Design 101 — advice from the guy who designs the site-wide achievement awards for Kongregate. 7. Achievements will thrust their subject matter into the spotlight; make sure it’s worthy. This can be good or bad. In most cases on Kongregate, adding achievements to games will cause the user rating to drop. There are many theories about why this is — my best guess is that there’s a difference in psychology between people who play a game just to have fun (how weird!) and people who play a game to earn achievements. For the latter category, the whole game can be viewed as merely an obstacle. (via diveintomark)
  2. Fundamental Constants and the Problem of Gravity — huge variation uncertainty in different fundamental constants: we know one to 1 part in 100 million, but another to only 1 in 10 thousand. Led me to wonder whether anyone’s done project estimation with error bars, analysing past projects to figure out the error rates in estimates of programmer time, etc.
  3. How to Download an eBook From The Cleveland Public Library — aka “Why DRM Doesn’t Work”. The usability of this 22-step process is appalling. (via BoingBoing)
  4. Defining Ubiquitous Computing vs Augmented Reality — not arbitrary terms but there are some interesting concepts that ubicomp has which don’t seem to be coming out in the current AR fad. (via bruces on Twitter)
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