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John Murray
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I'm a PhD Student studying Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Generation at the Expressive Intelligence Studio at UCSC.
I'm a PhD Student studying Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Generation at the Expressive Intelligence Studio at UCSC.

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February 11, 2012 (10 photos)
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Fascinating efforts undertaken by Bernd.
An interesting look from Adobe's Bernd Paradies on how classes, inheritance, interfaces, packages and namespaces are converted from ActionScript to Javascript in FalconJS http://adobe.ly/u92KMR

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This article about gamers solving a thorny protein folding problem important in AIDS research is being touted as a triumph of "gamification," the application of game mechanics to other problem domains. But there's an important lesson here. Much of what is written about gamification (including some books published by my own company) focuses mainly on what I might call "the shallow end of gamification," namely extrinsic motivators like points, leaderboards, and scoring. But game experts concur that the heart of most games is the intrinsic motivation of challenge and learning. And it is precisely that deep end of gamification that was on display here.

Yes, "winning" matters, but it's winning at hard things - intrinsic motivation - that really matters. People aren't stupid. Pasting scoring on trivial activities doesn't make them less trivial. As Rilke said in his poem The Man Watching, "What we fight with is so small, and when we win, it makes us small." We want to be challenged by vast, hard things.

The appeal of Foldit is that the problems it presents in spatial reasoning are challenging puzzles that force people to exercise their abilities. The fact that those abilities are put to work in a meaningful cause makes it even sweeter.

Any company thinking about gamification should think hard. Jumping in the shallow end of the pool is a great way to break your neck. The right place to jump is in the deep end.

Facebook's new profile timelines leave out the most important features -- visualization, repetition, and control. We are more than a sequence of events, we are complex interrelated plots that happen to intersect.

Going to attempt to resume social media. Twitter, G+, Facebook -- prepare! Right now working on a gamified version of a class I'm TAing in the fall, CMPS160: Computer Graphics.

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Consider attending or applying for the upcoming THATCamp Games, taking place at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities. The unconference is being hosted by +Anastasia Salter and +Amanda Visconti and is a must see for its BootCamps, including ones by myself, +Matthew Kirschenbaum, +Bridget Blodgett and +Darius Kazemi.

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My first post for Prof Hacker on the Kinect's latest SDK launch.

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This makes complete sense -- see my comment on a hysterical G+ post.
Remember +Ryan Estrada (circle him!) the official LiveJournal comic who has suggested G+ could use an official comic to explain things to users (user guides, important info, etc.) Here's a brilliant execution of his idea. At MySpace we had frequent blowups over users misunderstanding of our content policies, many of which I needed to speak about publicly just to try and calm everyone. It's a frustrating issue for content creators (because they're naturally concerned about their rights) and for dotcom companies (because stealing your rights or content is the last thing on their minds).

That said, I'm just curious -- can someone please tell me of a time when a website used a shady content policy to somehow "steal" your work and do something that harmed you? I would love to know about a real example. Please keep in mind, I am not trying to generate hysteria around G+'s policy. Google has nothing to gain by upsetting content creators, nor does any other legitimate business.
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