- 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)
Gamification is Bullshit, Design for Impact, Public Domain, and Network Analysis
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)
Gamification Critique, BitCoin Trojan, App Store Abandonment, and SSD Rant
- Don’t Play Games With Me — slides from an excellent talk about games and gamification. (via Andy Baio)
- All Your Bitcoins Are Ours (Symantec) — a trojan in the wild that targets the wallet.dat file and transfers your bitcoins out. If you use Bitcoins, you have the option to encrypt your wallet and we recommend that you choose a strong password for this in the event that an attacker is attempting to brute-force your wallet open. (via Hacker News)
- FT Escapes the App Trap (Simon Phipps) — Financial Times dropping their iOS app and moving to HTML5, to escape the App Store commissions. As Simon points out, they’re also losing the sales channel benefits of the App Store. Facebook are doing similar. (via Tim O’Reilly)
- Artur Bergman on SSDs (video) — a short sweary rant he gave at Velocity, laying out the numbers for why you’re an idiot not to use SSDs.
Gamification expert Gabe Zichermann on three areas that deserve meaningful attention.
Much of the criticism of gamification focuses on definitions and secondary concerns. Gamification expert Gabe Zichermann says attention should be paid to three different issues: over-justification, total cost of ownership, and addiction/compulsion.
Gamification's Failures, Crowdsourced Clinical Study, Traceability, and Faster Web
- Kathy Sierra Nails Gamification — I rarely link to things on O’Reilly sites, and have never before linked to something on Radar, but the comments here from Kathy Sierra are fantastic. She nails what makes me queasy about shallow gamification behaviours: replacing innate rewards with artificial ones papers over shitty products/experiences instead of fixing them, and don’t get people to a flow state. what is truly potentially motivating for its own sake (like getting people to try snowboarding the first few times… The beer may be what gets them there, but the feeling of flying through fresh powder is what sustains it, but only if we quit making it Just About The Beer and frickin teach them to fly). (via Jim Stogdill)
- Patient Driven Social Network Refutes Study, Publishes Its Own Results — The health-data-sharing website PatientsLikeMe published what it is calling a “patient-initiated observational study” refuting a 2008 report that found the drug lithium carbonate could slow the progression of the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS. The new findings were published earlier this week in the journal Nature Biotechnology. (via mthomps)
- Corporate Transparency — learn where, when and by whom your chocolate bar was made, from which chocolate stock, etc. This kind of traceability and provenance information is underrated in business. (via Jim Stogdill)
- SPDY — Google’s effort to replace HTTP with something faster. It has been the protocol between Chrome and Google’s servers, now they hope it will go wider. All connections are encrypted and compressed out of the box.
A look at gamification's applications and limitations.
Gamification is inspiring debate and raising important questions: play vs. work, intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation, authenticity vs. contrivance, just to name a few.
Email Game, Faster B Trees, RFID+Projectors, and Airport Express Broken
- The Email Game — game mechanics to get you answering email more efficiently. Can’t wait to hear that conversation with corporate IT. “You want us to install what on the Exchange server?” (via Demo Day Wrapup)
- Stratified B-trees and versioning dictionaries — A classic versioned data structure in storage and computer science is the copy-on-write (CoW) B-tree — it underlies many of today’s file systems and databases, including WAFL, ZFS, Btrfs and more. Unfortunately, it doesn’t inherit the B-tree’s optimality properties; it has poor space utilization, cannot offer fast updates, and relies on random IO to scale. Yet, nothing better has been developed since. We describe the `stratified B-tree’, which beats all known semi-external memory versioned B-trees, including the CoW B-tree. In particular, it is the first versioned dictionary to achieve optimal tradeoffs between space, query and update performance. (via Bob Ippolito)
- DisplayCabinet (Ben Bashford) — We embedded a group of inanimate ornamental objects with RFID tags. Totems or avatars that represent either people, products or services. We also added RFID tags to a set of house keys and a wallet. Functional things that you carry with you. This group of objects combine with a set of shelves containing a hidden projector and RFID reader to become DisplayCabinet. (via Chris Heathcote)
- shairport — Aussie pulled the encryption keys from an Airport Express device, so now you can have software pretend to be an Airport Express.
Heritage Games, Unpredictable Publishing, Timezones, and Map Tiles
- DigitalKoot — Playing games in Digitalkoot fixes mistakes in our index of old Finnish newspapers. This greatly increases the accuracy of text-based searches of the newspaper archives. (via Springwise and Imran Ali on Twitter)
- Some Things That Need To Be Said (Amanda Hocking) — A.H. is selling a lot of copies of her ebooks, and she cautions against thinking hers is an easily reproduced model. First, I am continuously overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do that isn’t writing a book. Middlemen give you time in exchange for money. Second, By all accounts, he has done the same things I did, even writing in the same genre and pricing the books low. And he’s even a better writer than I am. So why am I selling more books than he is? I don’t know. I’m reminded of Duncan Watts’s work MusicLab which showed that “hits” aren’t predictable. It’s entirely possible to duplicate Amanda’s efforts and not replicate her success.
- A Literary Appreciation of the Olson Timezone Database — timezones are fickle political creations, and this is a wonderful tribute to the one database which ruled them all for 25 years.
- TileMill — a tool for cartographers to quickly and easily design maps for the web using custom data. Open source, built on Mapnik.
Classic ed-tech games and build-your-own methods are now joined by the "gamification" movement.
There are three types of digital games being used in schools. Which you prefer speaks volumes about the role you believe schools should play