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Licensed under The MIT License. Use it for personal, commercial, non-profit or whichever way you prefer. No credit required.
Licensed under The MIT License. Use it for personal, commercial, non-profit or whichever way you prefer. No credit required.
Technological advancements are being introduced at increasingly fast rates around the world. Several companies, especially those operating in the Information Technology industry, have had to make adjustments to their strategies because being there first can identify you as a revolutionary organization that is known for innovation. Whereas getting there a bit late can label you a follower, which is a label that is extremely hard to shrug off.
As technology advances, examples being cloud technology, an increase in viewers of online television and online gaming follows, and an apparent need was identified by the FCC for significant enhancements in the infrastructure of internet providers to support such advancements.
Although the advantages are easy to identify, the cons of the operation are minimal but they do affect most consumers. Internet providers are now going to have to make further enhancements that may not have been deemed necessary to sustain, or promote, their business for at least a few more years to come. However, this initiative launched by the FCC requires them to fast track these enhancements, which are unplanned, and rather significant investments for a majority of the internet service providers.
The bottom line is that this investment, although it is one that would very probably be lucrative and beneficial for these organizations in the long run, would most probably have to be incurred by you, the consumer. Most organizations would incur a massive cut on their short term profits. This hit couldn’t have come at a worse time, especially because some of these organizations, who didn’t have much to show their shareholders during the recession, were finally looking to show profits and make up for lost revenue.
But now, with the FCC initiative in effect, these organizations are anticipating at least a couple more quarters, if not more, of slim profits. To increase their margin of profits, these organizations are most likely going to revise their pricing strategy, even if it means the loss of a few customers here and there.
I recently had the opportunity to meet him in person when he brought In50Hrs to Bangalore for the first time. In50hrs is The Idea-To-Prototype Event. Entrepreneurs, Developers, and Product Designers come together to work on audacious ideas and build working prototypes (MVP) over a Weekend.
Vijay’s been organizing In50Hrs in Chennai for quite a while and he is taking his idea to other cities in India – Delhi, Pune and Bangalore. I asked him few quick questions and he have some thoughtful answers, which I’m sure will be useful to budding entrepreneurs and startups in India.
Honestly, I’m not really impressed with many things Adobe’s been doing lately. Actually, I believe that Adobe is going through some sort of an Identity Crisis. Nonetheless, you cannot really ignore some of the innovative and good things they’re spearheading, specially with open standards like HTML.
Recently, few of us were hurriedly called to the Adobe Bangalore office and we met with Paul Burnett (@pburnett), Adobe APAC Evangelist. I was unable to agree with few things that he showed us but was genuinely impressed with many other initiatives from Adobe.
Adobe fought back in many ways when the world was abandoning Flash, they even went ahead to say they love the company that fired the first lethal bullet to the Flash’s Kingdom. When Adobe realized that it was not winning the battle, they went ahead and try to re-create the reign they had with Flash in forms that does not necessarily pronounced “Flash” but doing very similar things that Flash did.
Flash is a good solution for the right purpose and still is. Actually, HTML5 is way behind when it comes to lots of capabilities what Flash can do. But that’s it, let Flash shine where it can and leave alone where it’s not its job anymore.
Adobe Acrobat XI, besides being the leading PDF converter, is packed with smart tools that give you even more power to communicate – easily, seamlessly, brilliantly.
Until recently, I had the notion that Adobe Acrobat is just a glorified PDF Converter, of course, with a very powerful document management system. However, after attending a special screening of the new Adobe Acrobat XI, here in Bangalore, India, I am impressed with what it can do.
With Acrobat, it becomes so easy to edit text, graphics and the ability to combine multiple PDFs into a single PDF is outstanding. The export capability and online web-creation are pretty nice additions. Of course, the ability to sign documents is brilliant.
The only rant I’ve against it is that it’s rather overwhelming and can scare most first timers. This is a big, well-grown and developed tool.
In50hrs is an interesting concept, where ideas meet doer to build something in a short time – a weekend.
In50hrs is The Idea-To-Prototype Event. Entrepreneurs (or Idea Smiths), Developers and Product Designers come together to work on audacious ideas and build working prototypes (MVP) over a Weekend.
In50hrs have few chapters happening across major Indian cities –
I registered for the Bangalore Chapter. I have few ideas and I’ll also be doing the design part – HTML, CSS, Graphics. I can also write codes and be part of the development and help design the product in direct co-ordination with a developer.
If you’re a developer or a student who have good programming skill and have registered for In50hrs, Bangalore, I’d welcome you to contact me to see how we can work together. Do check out my personal page to see if I’m cool enough to be your partner.
Do visit the In50hrs Facebook Group.
In a small, focussed and quite gathering, Adobe unveiled their new Acrobat XI. Acrobat is Adobe’s product suite for creating, editing, and viewing PDFs. It is literally used by all big corps, government institutions and many non-profit organization.
The event was India focussed and Adobe showed some pretty interesting statistic and details on how Indian companies, Institutes and other governing bodies like Passport Offices, Vehicle Registration and Licensing were using Adobe Acrobat to automate document management tasks.
Click on the above Image to see some interesting finding in a survey done by Adobe, amongst 950 odd knowledge workers, representing 775 organizations across India.
It was not bad but I won’t called that a very good one either. My gauge of the audience was off the track. I was talking to a crowd who have never heard of “Gamification” and almost all of the audience haven’t heard of CodeAcademy, no clue of the recently popular and viral site Ben the Bodyguard and they were amusingly clueless about – Easter Egg. Next time, I’ll do more research on the audience I’ll be speaking to.
Flipping through the above slides won’t do much justice without reading the notes included with the slide or interacting with me during my session. I tend to have just about 10-13 major slides and I love interacting with the crowd. I’ve lots to learn and I’m learning a lot from the few interactions that I had recently, including this one at WebApp 2012.
This article is more of a re-phrase of my session but with links, examples, and more information, hoping that this will introduce you to the world of Gamification in User Interface and Experience Designs.
First, Gamification is not a new thing, and more importantly it’s not new at all to User Interface and Experience Designs or Web Designs. The term, Gamification, came to prominence around 2010 when it was popularized by marketers and managers to engage their customers.
Talking about Gamification will be incomplete without mentioning Gabe Zichermann who is regarded as one of the most prominent figure when it comes to propagating Gamification in Products Designs and Development. I was fortunate to see him speak at one of the Founder Institute session and I must say, he is an amazing entertainer. He’s is on twitter and he can be found writing and speaking on behalf of Gamification.co.
Wikipedia defines Gamification as the use of game design techniques, game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts. It is the process of using game thinking & mechanics to engage audience & solve problems.
Let me tackle some examples as a way to introduce the art of Gamification, which you can start applying to your Websites and Web Apps, right away.
Who would have thought that we will be happy with virtual achievements, digital badges and accolades that have no material or meaningful values in our physical world! However, it’s one of the most sought after and people are very happy, satisfied when they do achieved such badges, titles, achievements and accolades. We love to show off our increasing number, varied, different badges that we earn in our digital lives.
Foursquare does an amazing job when it comes to virtual achievements. We love to become “mayors” of a location, earn badges, etc. Another such example is that of CodeAcademy where you can unlock badges when you complete the courses offered there. The whole experience on CodeAcademy engages you to move forward and when you finally complete and unlock a hurdle, it’s a fun and satisfied experience.
Progress status, progress bars and progress indicators have been used by Web Designers for ages. It is one such gamification technique that’s been proven very successful. LinkedIn does a good job of enticing you to fill in more information by showing you how filled-up is your profile and how you can achieve that 100% complete profile. Twitter also does a nice job by asking you to follow interesting people, as soon as you sign-up. That helps you get rolling and fill your timeline with interesting tweets.
Parallax Scrolling is a pretty interesting gamification technique in Web designs. It makes it interesting to use the websites and users tend to stick around longer. Look at some of the interesting websites that uses parallax scrolling to make it a fun experience for users.
A virtual Easter egg is an intentional hidden message, in-joke, or feature in a work such as a computer program, web page, video game, movie, book or crossword. One such very well known virtual easter egg is that of the Konami Code – a cheat-sheet embedded, particularly, in computer games. For other examples, try viewing the source of The Oat Meal, try searching for “Do a barrel roll” on Google or just “tilt” it, and you can scroll to the bottom of Kickstarter and click the scissor till it cuts it all through.
“With great power comes great responsibility.” Like any technique, Gamification has its own share of dark side and you should not be tempted to wield that power. Do not try to force users to do something via Gamification, just for your gains at the cost of the user.
A typical example is that of some Domain Registrars, which forces you to buy their other offerings instead of allowing you to go ahead and complete your Domain Booking Process. The “checkout” button is smaller (sometimes, it’s just a small link) and option to buy their other products are shown enlarged, right in the middle, trying to force you to buy them.
Well, Gamification is an interesting technique to engage your customers, to make your websites a fun experience for users. It can increase the ROI for your bosses and clients, increase trust and loyalty of your visitors.
Gamification is a means to your end goal. It can only accelerate and move forward your contents and services. You cannot fool the users with bad websites, bad services and bad content. Use wisely. Enjoy Gamification.
mySchoolNotebook is an app for taking and sharing school notes in an easy and effective way. Nowadays, there is an increasing trend of students bringing their electronic devices to school and taking notes with them as well as school supporting integration of technology into education.
mySchoolNotebook allows students to take notes into well-arranged notebooks divided into topics and automatically numbered and dated lessons. Students can format their notes, upload files, search within the application, or convert notes to PDF and print them out if they get tired of looking at screen. When they miss a class, they simply ask friends to share the notes with them instantly.
Students can sign in with their Facebook account, which helps to automatically generate a friend list for sharing notes, or they can register with an e-mail. Another benefit is that mySchoolNotebook works offline. Therefore, students do not have to worry about an Internet connection. The application is offered in web, mobile, iOS, and Android version. The iOS and Android version can take pictures and record audios.
mySchoolNotebook is based in the Czech Republic. It was developed by a young high school student, CEO Jakub Roz, who tried to solve his own problem of taking notes effectively. He made the first version of mySchoolNotebook for himself. However, his classmates liked the service and wanted to use it as well.
Well, Jakub and the CTO of mySchoolNotebook, Jan Kuca develop a Czech version of mySchoolNotebook. It became a popular tool serving tens of thousand of students. mySchoolNotebook team then decided to release an English version at the end of 2011 to serve students at a global level. In addition, there is a version for German speaking users.
Anybody who read the classic American tale Johnny Got His Gun has a slight comprehension of what it’s like to live trapped within your own body, incapable to move, nod, speak or even blink. The mind reels; the body does nothing. Unfortunately, this form of communication-stripped torture isn’t a fictional tale but a reality for many with Locked-in Syndrome (it was featured in the House episode with Mos Def guest starring), which is why the new functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scanner, Brain Bee, that can translate brain waves into words — is a big deal.
This new system empowers fully paralyzed and ‘locked-in’ people to mentally select letters of the alphabet in their brain, which are recognized and typed out on a screen, serving as a brain-based, non-communicative communication system for those unable to speak, sign or blink to indicate their needs. Researchers are able to recognize letter-based thought patterns by using characteristic blood flow patterns.
Before you conjure up images of telepathy or Vulcan mind melds though, this technology is a little more difficult than that to use. In order to ‘think’ of a letter the technology divides the alphabet into three rows, nine columns and 27 squares (26 letters of the alphabet plus the space bar). Each row is assigned a mental task, a motor-imagery task, a mental calculation task and an inner-speech task, that the subject must perform to select the row. The letters then cycle through and the subject selects the correct one by performing the task as the letter appears on screen. It is a time-consuming process but the technology is rather easy to learn, with test subjects learning it in under an hour.
The system has passed the theoretical and initial testing stages and has become a concept system. Although it is still in its initial phases — it has already shown promising results.