Archive for the ‘Human’ tag
“What the heck is a micro app,” you might ask? It’s the thing that Delicious founder Joshua Schachter (pictured) wants you to develop for smartphones.
It’s not a full application; rather, it runs on an app (Human.io for iOS and Android), and it allows you to quickly roll out a feature (conducting a poll, posting a photo, etc.) to users. You use the Human.io API; you adhere to simple design principles; and you gather whatever data you like from Human.io users, who are basically data-whore volunteers.
And since it’s a smartphone micro-app, you can take advantage of smartphone features and hardware, such as cameras, GPS, etc. You can also choose to keep the micro-app a micro-secret, only giving access to users who have a special code.
It sounds easy and fast, and Schachter emphasizes that it doesn’t take too many lines of code to get up and running.
“The framework is entirely API-based,” we read in the documentation. “In a few dozen lines of code, you can render UI, upload items to the human.io server, and retrieve responses from users as they complete activities.”
Suggested activities include collecting wait times in lines at restaurants, amusement parks, etc.; photo-sharing around a theme or product (blatant brand pandering alert!); collecting ratings (think Instagram meets Hot or Not — really humanitarian stuff); or something as practical as a survey.
From the end user’s POV, the Human.io app is a way to participate in crowdsourced tasks, either for the common good or for a kickback from brands. From the app’s description in the Google Play store:
Human.io connects you to organizations that need your help with all kinds of tasks, such as completing surveys, taking opinion polls, rating the quality of different images, and more. You can choose to browse only tasks near you (e.g., helping out a local restaurant or charity), or you can lend you help to tasks anywhere. Every day you’ll find new tasks to complete.
“The code runs on your server, but the UI runs on the device. The events are gatewayed back and forth,” Schachter explained to the army of nerds over on Hacker News. “The ultimate vision is to make a way for passive audiences into active participants. We combined things we love: mobile, Mechanical Turk, MapReduce, and Twilio.”
Here are some sample screenshots:
“We need a lot of polish still,” Schachter admitted on Twitter.
Human.io is a product of Tasty Labs, Schachter’s software shop, which is fleshed out by staffers formerly of Google, Dreamworks, and Mozilla.
Filed under: dev
The Android-based video game console Ouya successfully completed its funding tonight, raising about $8.6M in total — roughly $7.6M more than its original $950,000 goal.
Ouya, the startup responsible for the project, gained more than 63,000 backers in less than one month. The campaign began on July 10 and earned a Kickstarter record-breaking $2.6M in its first day, hitting the $1M milestone in a little over eight hours.
“We were inspired to build Ouya because we disagree with the people that claim consoles are dead,” Julie Uhrman, chief executive of Ouya, told GamesBeat. “Consoles aren’t dead, but the thinking that has guided the console industry is outdated. It was time to challenge the basic assumptions of the business. The overwhelming enthusiasm we saw from folks like Jay Adelson, founder of Digg; Jawbone founder Hosain Rahman; Flixter founder Joe Greenstein; and [former Microsoft vice president] Ed Fries, combined with support of well-known game developers and the backing from the people who funded us on Kickstarter, proved that we weren’t the only ones ready to rethink the console business.”
Those notable backers include Marcus “Notch” Persson of Minecraft developer Mojang, Robert Bowling of Human Element studio Robotoki, and inXile’s Brian Fargo.
Ouya, which will require developers to use the free-to-play model in some way for all software releases, signed with OnLive to bring hundreds of games on demand to the platform. It also partnered with notable publishers such as Namco Bandai and Square Enix, securing titles like the Japanese Final Fantasy III (a first for home consoles) at launch, and other entertainment companies to incorporate services like Vevo, iHeartRadio, Plex, and XMBC.
In addition, Bowling will release an episodic prequel to Human Element first on the system.
“For me, personally,” said Uhrman, “the Kickstarter experience has been incredibly moving. It’s huge to see people rally behind your idea. I’m eternally grateful to the tens of thousands of people who reached into their wallets to back this project — and those are the folks that actually backed us. I have to assume that there are exponentially more people watching Ouya with interest and rooting us on from the sidelines even if they weren’t able to back us.
“Will we make history? We’ll leave that to the historians. Once the Kickstarter ends, we still have a big job to do.”
Ouya was unable to give us a specific number of units sold during the campaign, but it did provide an early ballpark estimate of more than 60,000 units. The system itself, which is about the size of a Rubik’s cube, supports up to four controllers (each complete with a touch pad) and is hardware hacker-friendly. It launches in March 2013.
The way we work, shop, meet and collaborate has changed forever.
We now possess the technology that makes the need to meet face to face in the traditional business sense a thing of the past.
Equipped with text messaging, instant messaging, video messaging, and a host of web based tools for project and client management and collaboration, it’s possible to create an efficient business run from just about anywhere you can obtain an Internet connection.
However, all this efficiency comes with a price. Without frequent, genuine and rich interaction with the people in your life working towards shared outcomes something very meaningful is lost.
Hugs and handshakes are what make us human and they are in many ways a part of what makes doing what we do worth it.
While working and selling globally, assembling staff from around the nation and meeting clients via video have become the new reality in our technology flattened world, there are a handful of practices that I believe can help return or maintain a more human element to the virtual workspace.
The human mindset
First and foremost as we interact across time and space we have to remember that these are human beings we are interacting with. I know that sounds almost absurd, but there’s something sterilizing about the video monitor that somehow makes us more like machines – machines with bad manners.
The human mindset in the virtual world calls for an obsession with basic politeness. Be early, be thankful, be kind, be caring. Take the time to ask how someone is doing, what they are excited about or what they need help them with.
Bring this mentality to your technology and you’ll restore some of the humanness that it robs.
The human routine
The use of virtual staff, assistants and providers makes it easy to conduct business much like it’s one big transaction.
In the virtual world it’s essential that you not lose all sense of human business routine. When you work with virtual assistants, graphic designers, copywriters, take the time to set up a meeting just to get to know them. Some of this could be in the form of an interview, but the more you know a person the more you’ll understand their unique abilities and that’s how you create a great working relationship and that’s how everyone wins.
Create regularly scheduled meetings just to check in and use these to keep focused on managing the relationship as well as the work.
The human meeting
I wrote a post last week about how to start meetings on a high note. It got so much response it served to highlight the lack of humanness in our meetings, both in person and online.
In the post I suggested that every meeting start by asking participants to share one thing professionally and personally they were very excited about.
This human touch is so profoundly missing from flat screen interaction that simply starting a virtual meeting in this fashion can return a sense of joy to the otherwise dreaded meeting.
The human touch
You probably saw this last one coming, but in the virtual cocoon we live and work, it’s become essential that you force yourself out into real life.
You may have every last client work detail hammered out via your online portal, so take three or four clients to lunch, just to get to know them better.
Go to three or four conferences a year, just to meet some of the people that comment on your blog posts.
Reach out to people whose work you admire and see if they can grab coffee the next time you’re in their town.
Everything I’ve mentioned in this post is both obvious and natural, but somehow the lack of real space makes it less so. You can fuse what’s great about technology with what’s great about human inspiration and bring it back into the workplace if you simply choose to remain human.
Big leap in bio-engineering: scientists simulate an entire organism in software for the first time ever
Scientists at Stanford University and the J. Craig Venter Institute — remember the Human Genome project — have simulated an entire organism in software for the first time ever.
Using a 128-node computing cluster, a team of scientists led by Stanford professor Markus Covert incorporated data from more than 900 scientific papers and 1,900 experiments to simulate every molecular interaction and the effects of all 525 genes of the smallest known free-living bacterium: the parasite Mycoplasma genitalium.
And, yes, that bacteria lives right where its name suggests.
The simulation took about 10 hours, according to Covert, and generates half a gigabyte of data. Not exactly big data, but then it is a very small organism. Adding more computing power should shorten the simulation time.
“You don’t really understand how something works until you can reproduce it yourself,” says graduate student and co-author Jayodita Sanghvi.
Now that an entire organism has been simulated, researchers believe that Bio-CAD (computer-aided-design) will take a big leap forward. From understanding genes in isolation the scientists look forward to being able to study their interactions, which is an essential step to understanding key issues in health, disease, and growth.
As Max McClure wrote in a story published by Stanford’s news service:
CAD – computer-aided design – has revolutionized fields from aeronautics to civil engineering by drastically reducing the trial-and-error involved in design. But our incomplete understanding of even the simplest biological systems has meant that CAD hasn’t yet found a place in bioengineering.
This will help scientists understand biology better, and understand cells better, the researchers say. And it will help both speed up research … and enable testing that just isn’t possible otherwise.
“If you use a model to guide your experiments, you’re going to discover things faster. We’ve shown that time and time again,” said team leader Covert.
But don’t get your hopes up too high for personalized medicine or helpful simulations of how medication will affect you before you actually have to take it. A fully simulated human being is still a long way off.
“We all think that an exception is going to be made in our case and we’re going to live forever. Being a human is actually arriving at the understanding that that’s not going to be. Story is there to remind us that it’s just OK.”
The things that matter more to us is the whole, the sum of the parts, where 1+1 equals 3. Stories and shades of gray, and there are hundreds of ways to make them compelling. We do coalesce around stories that seem transcendent, as Burns says in the short video below.
Stories ere our way of making sense of the world. Our brain’s shortcuts for remembering stuff, by emotional connection. They often contain a narrative fallacy with the teaching.
Think about the stories we’re watching at the movie theaters this summer — super heroes are rooted in the American psyche. Their behavior reflects the cultural assumptions that drive American choice.
According to Jaime O’Boyle, Senior Analyst, Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis, these cultural assumptions are:
- Individuals should determine their own destiny
- Individuals should control their social and physical environment
- Authority or “bigness” should be viewed with suspicion
- Actions should be judged in a moral light (philanthropy, for example)
- We should have as many choices as possible
- Anything can and should be improved
- The future should be better than the present
How are these assumptions being shaped by our current environment and circumstances? Do we still buy into the hero values? Are there emergent archetypes in our collective narrative?
How is our identity being shaped by derivative values (I’m cool because I’m wearing this jacket) vs. reflective values (this jacket is cool because I’m wearing it)?
How much do relationships and context influence how we validate who we are to ourselves?
We tell stories to continue ourselves.
[hat tip Garr Reynolds]
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.
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Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?
My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, the author of Complete Web Monitoring and Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks), Hugh McGuire (The Book Oven, LibriVox, iambik, PressBooks, Media Hacks) and I decided that every week or so the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".
Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:
- 11 Months, 3000 pictures and a lot of coffee – YouTube. "Nothing to see here. Just a guy stripping down and rebuilding a motor over nearly a year, taking pictures of each step so he can put it back together properly. Which makes for an amazing film." (Alistair for Hugh).
- The Hidden Economy of Esteem – Cambridge University Press. "It is said that the first treatise on the Gulf Stream began with the sentence ‘There is a river in the ocean’. As there is indeed a river hidden in the tumult of the ocean, so we suggest that there is an economy hidden in the whirl of social life. I’ve been thinking a lot about new economies lately, partly because of the reduced friction from electronic systems that allows them to emerge, and partly because Tim O’Reilly stocked the waters of Foo Camp with folks from Kickstarter, AirBnB and elsewhere to discuss the subject. As I was writing up my thoughts on the event, I came across this piece, published in 2000, by Geoffrey Brennan and Philip Pettit. It’s particularly relevant in a world where we can track not only money, but also attention and reputation, like currency. It’s really dry stuff, more worth skimming than reading, but it does pose some fascinating questions that are much more relevant today than they were before we lived our lives online: is esteem like a pheromone? Or is it more like money? And I love this line, known as the Elster Axiom: ‘nothing is so unimpressive as behavior designed to impress.’ As it turns out, it takes 98 pages to say don’t market like a douchebag." (Alistair for Mitch).
- Cyberwar’s eerie echoes of the A-bomb race – New Scientist. "A couple of weeks ago my link was about the revelation that the computer virus Stuxnet was indeed the creation of the US and Israeli militaries, which signaled an ‘official’ beginning of militarized cyberwarfare (I say ‘official’ because, well, I assume this has been happening for years). This article looks at the parallels between the early days of the nuclear arms race, and the kinds of statements coming out of the US about cyberwar." (Hugh for Alistair).
- Giving it Away: How Free Music Makes More Than Sense – Derek Webb. "We all know the economics of media has gone topsy turvey, and music was the first to go. This is interesting because I spend a lot of my time thinking about what’s going to happen to books. I was talking to David Usher the other day about the music biz, and he said ‘Really, selling music is dead. Live shows are great, but there’s no money to be made in selling albums/downloads anymore.’ Here’s an article by a working musician arguing that there is more value in giving away music than selling it, because if you give it away, and control the contact with the listener – you have something valuable. If you sell it, you make pennies." (Hugh for Mitch).
- The U.N. Declares Internet Access a Human Right – The Atlantic. "How will we keep the citizens of the world informed? I’m not just talking about the latest breaking news that we capture on CNN, but everything from changes at city hall to things happening in your neighborhood? It used to be a lot simpler when people got their news rolled up on the doorstep or at 6 pm on the local news or by listening to the radio on their drive to work. Now, with the disruption of new media and the always on world, there’s no clear place to go to get the information your need. I blogged about this issue nearly two years ago (right here: The Internet As Your Birthright), so in an ‘I told you so!’ moment, I’m happy to see that the U.N. is declaring access to the Internet as a basic human right." (Mitch for Alistair).
- William Faulkner House Gives Peek Into Writer’s Life – The Huffington Post. "I used to have the entire series of The Paris Review‘s book series titled, Writers At Work (in looking at the prices for these books on Amazon, I probably should not have donated them to goodwill!). I’ve always been fascinated with the environment of writers: not just the physical space but where they find inspiration. This article reminded me of how much I enjoyed reading the Writers At Work series when I was much younger (probably not something that many young writers ever did), but a line from this article really struck a chord: ‘You’re going to hear about the agony and the sweat and the difficulty and the compulsion,’ Griffith said. ‘You’re not going to hear anything about how great it was, how relaxing and beautiful it was. None of that. He just did what he had to do to get it done.’ Nothing sums up the stress of writing more than that." (Mitch for Hugh).
Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.
We all know about services like Foursquare, which track location data to show our friends where we are for social media. But what about using the same sort of service for games? Robert Bowling of Robotoki spoke the other day about how location-aware devices will play a part in the developer’s upcoming title, The Human Element.
This year is also the first time so-called “smart watches” are becoming available. These devices connect to our smartphones and offer application services right on our wrists. Some, like Sony’s SmartWatch, run applications natively. Others merely stream from the phone via Bluetooth.
The Cookoo watch isn’t a smart watch, according to creator Peter Hauser. It offers a simple system that pings the wearer with notifications about new emails, calls, tweets, or other social media updates without requiring you to hold your phone. It also can automatically check into locations using Foursquare, Facebook, or Twitter, and has an open SDK for developers to build their own functionality.
The project’s Kickstarter closes tomorrow morning.
While the watch itself looks like a decent timepiece, its allure to gamers is how a connected watch can work with games. Bowling’s example is just one of many possibilities. Massively multiplayer online games can benefit from such systems when players are “AFK” (which stands for “away from the keyboard,” meaning they’re out in the real world) by allowing them to actively participate in the game with the press of a button. “Having a piece of hardware that ties them to their alternate world,” Hauser said, “is unique for watches.”
Of course, all of the same applications could be done with just a smartphone, but therein lies Hauser’s major selling point. The phone lives in your pocket; a watch, which many have already replaced with a phone, is on the wrist and easy to hear and notice. It’s also discrete; we all accept that watches can beep, while phone ringtones can be equally embarrassing and annoying. The Cookoo makes check-in features and notifications a simple click or beep away. It can be used for everything from an Ebay bid reminder to direct messages on Eve Online.
Hardware companies like Logitech, Razer, SteelSeries, and plenty others already build specialty keyboards, mice, and other peripherals to meet the demands of an ever-growing userbase of gamers. Will gamers be interested in a watch that can quickly and efficiently help progress in a game while at work, shopping, or doing anything besides for playing?
It will take developers, and perhaps a few invested gamers who want an edge, to get the ball rolling on using a wristwatch to help play a game. Such technology isn’t limited to just the Cookoo watch, but with an open development kit, Hauser and team ConnecteDevice Ltd. is on the right path to making that possibility into a reality.
The United Nations says that internet access is a human right, Twitter announces new features for its search function, Skype releases updates for both Windows and Mac, and Microsoft discontinues Windows Home Server. More »
You don't often hear about the clinical research community raising a ruckus, but Toshiba's new ad seems to be getting the lab crowd in a lather. The spot, touting the Toshiba Satellite Ultrabook's rigorous testing before release, stars a "professional medical test subject" who endures an array of cruel and unusual side effects. There's actually no such thing as a full-time human guinea pig, but those involved in real clinical testing have posted several angry comments on Youtube saying the ad is socially irresponsible. "This message completely undermines the efforts of the FDA, NCI, institutional review boards and other medical research organizations who work so hard every day to ensure that clinical trials are conducted SAFELY so that participants are protected and NOT harmed," notes one viewer. "Medical research is important," says another, "and this trivializes? the whole process. Toshiba should be ashamed." (For a good read on the history and reality of clinical testing, be sure to check out Slate's recent writeup on the topic.) Given the relatively small audience of medical testing volunteers, it's unlikely Toshiba will give in to demands that they pull the ad or issue an apology.
Online Marketing News: Content Marketing for B2B, Engage Your Audience, Twitter Bot Seems Human, Facebook Knows What’s Best, Watch The Sarcasm
Content Marketing in B2B
exploreB2B recently partnered with Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs to creat this infographic which covers elements of why, what, where, and how of B2B Content Marketing that are necessary to execute on a successful campaign.
Featured TopRank Team Story
Shawna Kenyon – How to Build – and Keep – an Engaged Audience
For those of us creating content on a regular basis it is important to understand how best to build and keep and audience. Many companies find themselves asking: with so much content online how do we fit in, and how do we differentiate ourselves from the competition? Gripping headlines, to the point copy, and promotion are just a few of the tips included in this article. Via Mashable.
Weekly Online Marketing News
Google+ Product Manager Spams Twitter With Bot Network
Chances are you’ve seen automated tweets before, and were not impressed. In 2008 the handle @trackgirl was setup as a Twitter Bot and the creator found that people were engaging with the bot and sending direct messages in response to tweets that were being sent out. Read this article to learn more. Via Wired.
Google to Offer Free WiFi in NYC
New York City is known for it’s spotty wifi service, especially when entering the underground subway system. Starting on Monday some New Yorkers will be given the opportunity to keep on streamin. Via AdWeek.
Never Ever Start Facebook or Twitter Campaigns on Friday – New Yesmail Study
This article provides further reasoning why marketers should not attempt to start a Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube campaign on a Friday. Based on this study Friday’s are already stock full of messaging, however Tuesdays are a little les cluttered. Read on to gain even more insight on social marketing and why sometimes less is more. Via VentureBeat.
It’s Official: Microsoft Buys Yammer for $1.2 Billion
Yammers price tag and buy out from Microsoft has been rumored for the past few weeks. Microsoft has now agreed on a hefty $1.2 Billion investment to purchase Yammer, and integrate the service as part of their office productivity tools. If you are a Yammer fan have no fear, for the time being Yammer will remain as a stand alone product and the company will continue to maintain control. Via SocialTimes.
Apparently Facebook Knows What’s Best For Us
In order to create consistency across Facebook’s users (or so they claim) it was announced in April that the social network would update email addresses to one provided by their own email service. This article provides what the writer considers to be a natural progression of the actions Facebook is currently taking without properly notifying users. Everything from Facebook accessing users vehicle navigation systems, to implanting users with Facebook chips in their brains. Via Media Post.
Top Online Marketing Tips of the Week
5 Time Saving Tools for Twitter
Choosing the right time saving applications that meet your social networking needs can be overwhelming. The author of this article ran a survey of his Twitter followers that had at least a 5-digit following to see what tools they use to manage the amount of information that is shared and consumed on a daily basis. If you’re looking for some ways to increase your impact while saving time this is an article you don’t want to miss. Via Inc.
7 Things to Check Before Sending A Sarcastic Message
Industry research has shown that online messages are misinterpreted more than half of the time. We’ve all been there, you think of something amusing or sarcastic that you want to share in an social message or email reply. Problem is, you may have just confused or worse, offended your audience. This article provides 7 sound tips for checking your message a final time before sharing, sending, and possibly turning off the recipients. Via Ragan.
A Complete Guide to the Facebook WordPress Plugin
If you create and publish content on a WordPress blog social integration has just gotten easier. Facebook recently released a new highly comprehensive plugin for WordPress which creates ease of use for auto-publishing to your timeline. Via Social Media Examiner.
Time to Weigh In: What day of the week have you found to be most effective for starting your social media campaigns? Do you think that Yammers integration with Microsoft will shift the way you are using their products? Finally, does Facebook really know best, or are they taking it too far?
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