September 5, 2011
Posted by on
A new startup that launched in mid August called CodeAcademy. It is the brainchild of Ryan Bubinski and Zach Sims. Ryan is a recent Columbia University graduate, and Zach has just completed his junior year at Columbia. What they have done is tried to make coding fun by adding gamification achievements to the learning.
Via an interactive interface, users can simply start participating in free simple online lessons on Codecademy — without any need to sign up or log in. If you do sign up for an account then the social elements of the site comes in to play
As you work your way through, the account page marks your progress through the exercises and what badges have been awarded. These badge awards can then be tweeted out or posted on Facebook so you can share your achievements with your friends.
In a recent interview with Wired Uk the pair explained how they came up with the user-friendly site by realising the the best learning experiences they had involved motivation and reward systems. “The problem with learning things from books and videos is that you’re just reading or watching them by yourself, and there’s no reward when you’ve finished.”
June 28, 2011
Posted by on
A lot of news this week centers around security issues.. We will start with it, and end with it… We started the week with two biggish issues from Dropbox and WordPress; On the Monday it was reported that a programmer’s error in a code update at Dropbox caused a temporary security breach that allowed any password to be used to access any user account. This was followed in the Tuesday with a release from WordPress when it announced it was forcing users to reset their passwords at WordPress.org after several popular plugins were compromised by hackers.
In Adobe news, to try and get beyond critics comments on their reliance on Flash and the Desktop, released one new product and put out on Preview another; At the beginning of the week they announced that Flash Builder 4.5.1 was ready for release and would allow IOS and Playbook development on top of the already existing Android platform. They then ended the week by announcing the preview of Edge – an HTML5 animation design tool.
On the Wednesday I started hearing on Twitter about an [at that point] unverified story from Cory Doctorow on Boing Boing which was suggesting that the UK Copyright lobby was in closed talks with the British Government on national web censorship… If you are a Net Neutrality follower, it’s worth reading including the BBC followup.
As we head towards Microsoft Office365 cloud offering coming out of Beta, I am sure that they could be doing without BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite), the suite that 365 will replace, experiencing further outages which was reported midweek last week.
After last weeks release of the Kinect Windows SDK, i picked up some a couple of URLS’s one pointing to a Kinect Hacks site for inspiration on what you can do with it and the other was a series of videos from the Microsoft developers event the previous week.
Gamification is a hot topic at the moment. So what is it and how can it be used in real world situations?
As promised, we end the news of this week with more security news. Firstly, in an international raid called Operation Tribune Herald resulted in multiple equipment seizures of a group spreading scareware malware. And finally after 50 days at sea, LulzSec announces that they are disbanding… Or do they?
Something to play with – I found a new social site last week after hearing it mentioned on Mashable.com. Infostripe – A personal landing page with mobile in mind.
June 24, 2011
Posted by on
Gamification is one of those hot topics of the moment; Its hard not to find a new game or social app these days that doesn’t have some competitive element, a progress bar, badges, a reward etc. Its nothing new, we have been using loyalty cards for years: Shopping gets you points and we all know what points make, rewards.
Read more of this post
May 15, 2011
Posted by on
Earlier this year in March SXSW took place. For those not in the know SXSW stands for South by South West and is a set of three festivals that takes place in Austin, Texas in the US. The three conferences concentrate on Music, Film and Interactive. In the interactive portion many web startups and technical experts come together in a very creative environment. Last year the one big big thing that came from South By South West Interactive was checkin services like Gowalla and Foursquare which have gone on to be massively popular in social networking terms…
This year, from what I read and listened about, these are the things that were hot and may be ideas for student projects or social networking tools for learning:
Game overlays on Real Life…. “Gmaification” as it has been termed. The biggest company at the forefront of this is SCVNGR (scvngr.com). SCVNGR (taking the current trend of dropping vowels in words) adds hotspots and clues on maps to create virtual scavenger hunts which lead to badges (virtual) or perhaps prizes (free burger for getting to the end etc etc). Playing SCVNGR is free but it costs to set up.
Group Messaging…. This has been a bubbling topic anyway but SXSW seems to have kicked it off big time… Group messaging apps such a beluga or Group messenger bring groups together across multiple platforms and different messaging styles. Both the apps I mentioned have web front ends, desktop apps, iPhone and android apps and also allow text messaging input as well. Group owners (or pod owners in Belugas case) set the membership and conversations are read and replied to within that specific group… As flexible as twitter but you are not broadcasting to the entire world.
The topic of Web 3.0 is starting to rear it’s head… Coined again by Good ole Tim Berners Lee. The last time I saw him at TED he was angling towards a data driven web and it looks that this has further refined itself to what he called ‘sensor-driving collective intelligence’ where things like phones and cameras and other data gathering devices will become even more the conduit to the information we absorb from the Internet. I guess this is kind of live in a small way from the Japan Tsunami and nuclear plant disaster where radiation counters have been set up with their output going on to the web so people can view radiation levels in particular areas.