- Government Agencies and Colleges Demand Applicants’ Facebook Passwords (MSN) — “Schools are in the business of educating, not spying,” he added. “We don’t hire private investigators to follow students wherever they go. If students say stupid things online, they should educate them … not engage in prior restraint.” Hear, hear. Reminded me of danah boyd on teen password sharing.
- Changing Teaching Techniques (Alison Campbell) — higher ed is a classic failure of gamification. The degree is an extrinsic reward, so students are disengaged and treat classes like gold farming in an MMORPG: the dull slog you have to get through so you can do something fun later. Alison, by showing them a “why” that isn’t “6 credits towards a degree”, is helping students identify intrinsic rewards. Genius!
- GlueJar — interesting pre-launch startup, basically Kickstarter to buy out authors and publishers and make books “free”. We in the software world know “free” is both loaded and imprecise. Are we talking CC-BY-NC-ND, which is largely useless because any sustainable distribution will generally be a commercial activity? I look forward to watching how this develops.
- There Is No Simple Solution for Local Storage (Mozilla) — excellent dissection of localStorage‘s inadequacies.
Business models and sustainability will drive success in the health games space.
These efforts have born fruit, and clinical trials have shown the value of many such games. Ben Sawyer, who founded the Games for Health conference more than 10 years ago, is watching all the pieces fall into place for the widespread adoption of games. Business plans, platforms, and the general environment for the acceptance of games (and other health-related apps) are coming together.
Forced Facebook Violation, Motivating Learners, Freeing Books, and Browser Local Storage Sucks
A tech-focused look at how "leveling up," collaboration, and play can be woven into learning experiences.
Cloud technologies and thoughtful roadmapping of digital technology can ensure that authenticity, social interaction, and play remain central components of education.
How two games can help student engagement.
Massively multiplayer games like World of Warcraft can teach communication and the higher-order skills needed to achieve collective goals. Simple, rule-based games, such as Minecraft, showcase the value of preservation and exploration.
Gamification Critique, Google+ API, Time Series Visualization, and SQL on Map-Reduce
- A Quick Buck by Copy and Paste — scorching review of O’Reilly’s Gamification by Design title. tl;dr: reviewer, he does not love. Tim responded on Google Plus. Also on the gamification wtfront, Mozilla Open Badges. It talks about establishing a part of online identity, but to me it feels a little like a Mozilla Open Gradients project would: cargocult-confusing the surface for the substance.
- Google + API Launched — first piece of a Google + API is released. It provides read-only programmatic access to people, posts, checkins, and shares. Activities are retrieved as triples of (subject, verb, object), which is semweb cute and ticks the social object box, but is unlikely in present form to reverse Declining numbers of users.
- Cube — open source time-series visualization software from Square, built on MongoDB, Node, and Redis. As Artur Bergman noted, the bigger news might be that Square is using MongoDB (known meh).
- Tenzing — an SQL implementation on top of Map/Reduce. Tenzing supports a mostly complete SQL implementation (with several extensions) combined with several key characteristics such as heterogeneity, high performance, scalability, reliability, metadata awareness, low latency, support for columnar storage and structured data, and easy extensibility. Tenzing is currently used internally at Google by 1000+ employees and serves 10000+ queries per day over 1.5 petabytes of compressed data. In this paper, we describe the architecture and implementation of Tenzing, and present benchmarks of typical analytical queries. (via Raphaël Valyi)
Hacking a Texas city, RIP Michael S. Hart, and the bar is raised for open gov visualizations.
This week on O'Reilly: Christopher Groskopf explained how he's going to hack a Texas city, Nat Torkington said goodbye to Project Gutenberg founder Michael S. Hart, and the value of government data visualizations reached a new standard thanks to LookatCook.com.
The Open Badges Project shows off skills with a reworked version of an old idea.
The Mozilla Foundation's Erin Knight talks about how the badges and open framework of the Open Badge Project could change what "counts" as learning.
Maps on Android, Security Laws, Trough of Potential, and Enterprise Gamification
- OSMdroid — The OpenStreetMapView is a (almost) full/free replacement for Android’s MapView class. Also see this tutorial. (via Simon Gianoutsos)
- 10 Immutable Laws of Security (Microsoft) — an oldie but a goodie. Law #1: If a bad guy can persuade you to run his program on your computer, it’s not your computer anymore.
- What’s in The Trough? (BERG London) — as a predictor or similar tool for action, the Gartner Hype Cycle is comically useless. As a tool for brainstorming, as BERG point out, it’s fantastic.
- JP Rangaswami’s Enterprise Gamification (Livestream) — video of JP’s “Enterprise Gamification” talk. As Kevin Slavin points out, the introduction is cheesily bad but the talk is pantswettingly good.
Gamification is Bullshit, Design for Impact, Public Domain, and Network Analysis
- Gamification is Bullshit (Ian Bogost) — [G]amification is marketing bullshit, invented by consultants as a means to capture the wild, coveted beast that is videogames and to domesticate it for use in the grey, hopeless wasteland of big business, where bullshit already reigns anyway. Bullshitters are many things, but they are not stupid. The rhetorical power of the word “gamification” is enormous, and it does precisely what the bullshitters want: it takes games—a mysterious, magical, powerful medium that has captured the attention of millions of people—and it makes them accessible in the context of contemporary business.
- Design for (Real) Social Impact (Vimeo) — single best talk I’ve seen on making philanthropy effective. (via Rowan Simpson)
- The Public Domain Review — an online weekly journal dedicated to treasures that have entered the public domain and articles on them. The home page currently features: Boris Karloff in “Last of the Mohicans”, the Boston Revolution in psychotherapy, “Was Charles Darwin an Atheist?”, the Orson Welles audio show, “100 Years of The Secret Garden”, a feature on a 1300 year old illustrated work on the Book of Revelations, and more.
- SNAP — the Stanford Network Analysis Platform, a library for network and graph analysis. (via Joshua Schachter)
Terminal Tool, Gamifying Education, Exponential Shortcut, and Kindle Spam
- tmux — GNU Screen-alike, with vertical splits and other goodies. (via Hacker News)
- Gamifying Education (Escapist) — a more thoughtful and reasoned approach than crude badgification, but I’d still feel happier meddling with kids’ minds if there was research to show efficacy and distribution of results. (via Ed Yong)
- Rule of 72 (Terry Jones) — common piece of financial mental math, but useful outside finance when you’re calculating any kind of exponential growth (e.g., bad algorithms). (via Tim O’Reilly)
- Spam Hits the Kindle Bookstore (Reuters) — create a system of incentives and it will be gamed, whether it’s tax law, search engines, or ebook stores. Aspiring spammers can even buy a DVD box set called Autopilot Kindle Cash that claims to teach people how to publish 10 to 20 new Kindle books a day without writing a word. (via Clive Thompson)