Link via Tara Hunt.
One of my favorite Authors, Sarah Vowell, wrote an Op-Ed piece for yesterday’s New York Times.
The good news is that Governor Palin has sufficient experience in public life to leave behind enough of a paper trail that we can discern her positions on many of the most important issues of the day. The bad news is that after taking this crash course in where she stands, I know that if she were elected I would be afraid to leave my apartment after sundown.
Despite his consistent party-line voting record, some independents and Democrats still think of Senator McCain as the most palatable, independent-minded Republican. But this is the sort of empty compliment a friend of mine once compared to being called “the coolest Osmond.”
A buddy of mine had a theory. His theory was ‘A boy, a ball, dream, Dick. A boy, a ball, a dream.’ And that was my life. I’m a gym rat. I absolutely love the game. The game has been so good to me.
I hadn’t really been using my iPhone to watch videos up until recently…which is good, because it means that I really haven’t been doing a lot of business travel over the past year. (A little bit of background – After several years of being a road warrior in my early career, I’m not much of a fan of business travel anymore.) But I had a trip to Charlotte, NC this week, so I loaded up my iPhone with a bunch of videos for the plane ride.
(Side note: Even a year after purchasing it, the more I use my iPhone the more I love it and the more it becomes indispensible to me.)
Three of the videos from the Ted Conference were excellent in a both educational and entertaining and well worth watching if you get the chance.
Al Gore from 2006 – Speaking about 15 things you can personally do to avert the climate crisis. But the best part of the of this video is the first several minutes where Vice President Gore talks about life after politics. Laugh out loud stand up comedian funny.
Martin Seligman form 2004 – Speaking about positive psychology. Interesting background on the topic. Directly relates to Jane McGonical’s thoughts on Happiness and Game Design. I’m very interested to spend more time at the Authentic Happiness web site.
Ken Robinson from 2006 – Speaking about schools and creativity. This one is also laugh out loud funny…and also extremely informative. Extremely important (i think) for parents who have school age children.
One additional thing that strikes me about each of these three videos is the use of storytelling by each of the speakers as a mechanism for presentation. Each presenter are excellent storytellers, which makes the presentations extremely engaging and enjoyable.
Carmensita – Bollywood-style video from Devendra Banhart featuring his girlfriend Natalie Portman. I actually like it. Very catchy tune and goofy-fun video.
In Your Face Photography – Meant to post this a while ago, but Mick’s photography business site is up and running.
This is the second part in a short essay regarding some thinking about World of Warcraft Guilds. For Part I of the series which focuses on the purpose of guilds in the context of the game, click here.
Why Guilds Fail
Ask any Warcraft player what the word “Drama” means to them in relationship to the game and they will most likely provide you with a definition focused around one of two game elements – loot or raiding.
I’ll start with my disclaimer (and a little bit of background)…
I’ve never been a Guild Master. I was an officer for a while of a small-medium size Horde casual raiding guild on Draenor. We enjoyed a long and successful run before our guild dissolved and scattered in its own little Diaspora.
What essentially prompted our dissolution was that our Guild Master and a few other leaders of the guild decided it was time for them to leave. We had successfully made guild leader transitions before, but this time we couldn’t find an established and respected member who at that time had the time and willingness to take on the responsibility.
As a result, about four months ago (although it seems much longer than that), I with some of the other officers in the guild helped to facilitate a merger (of sorts) with another guild on the server that appeared to have a culture and approach to the game that was close to that of our original guild. I, along with a number of my previous guild mates, are still at the new guild.
Currently, the new guild is experiencing its own growing pains and evolving from where it was at the point of our addition. All of this has gotten me thinking about the purpose of guilds, what it takes to make them successful, what causes them to fail and what is going to happen when the next expansion is released.
From the “blog entries that should have been written months ago” category…
In hindsight, probably the single most valuable session (among the many valuable sessions) from SXSWi this past March was Jane McGonigal’s keynote (SXSWi Podcast, Slides). I say that simply because I am still thinking about it and how it applies to the experience design work that I do at IBM Interactive on a regular basis.
One of the underpinnings of Jane’s keynote was the application of happiness research (or positive psychology) to understanding the engagement created by games (specifically, mmorpgs) – or alternatively, how we can use game design techniques to create happiness whether it through online user experience design or in general life.
In the Center, we’ve actually been talking about game-like user interfaces and interaction models for quite some time with our clients, but Jane’s linkage of happiness (and engagement) to game design provides a wonderful (and better) framework to think and talk about the value of game design in a way that is more complex that I had been previously thinking about it.
Two specific elements of her keynote which I found particularly interesting were her Economics of Engagement (also referred to as the “Four Key Principles of Happiness”) and her “10 Super Hero Powers” or new types of happiness that people are getting from playing multiplayer games (which she refers to as the “ultimate happiness engine”).
A couple of fun things seen at Podcamp Boston 3 this weekend.
Did You Know? (Version 2.0) – Thought provoking piece on literacy in the twenty-first century.
PS – Happy Birthday Nikki!
Pixar is Cool. Period. – I’ll let you read the story. Another example of how it should be done.