game design

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pages: 329 words: 106,831

All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture by Harold Goldberg

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Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Apple II, cellular automata, Columbine, Conway's Game of Life, game design, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Oldenburg, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Good Place, Thorstein Veblen, urban planning

Yet the Millers’ travails paled in comparison to the pals who decided to make a game filled with live action video. Inspired by a board game and a television show, The 7th Guest and its sequel were so fraught with frights that they drove one of the game designers crazy, literally. Like Myst, The 7th Guest was responsible for selling millions of personal computers. Occasionally terrifying, always campy and over the top, The 7th Guest boldly led the way for the future of horror games. However, the making of The 7th Guest and its follow-up, The 11th Hour, showed in microcosm the rift that could develop when those who held strong ideas about movies worked side by side with those who cared more about game design. The 7th Guest co-creator Graeme Devine was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and then moved to Crawley, a south-of-London town famous for its Stone and Bronze Age artifacts.

The staff at Blizzard in Irvine was not immune to its many enticements, and Adham, now back in the fold, was completely fascinated. So was one of his newer hires, Rob Pardo. Pardo originally had dreams of becoming a movie director, but he ended up managing a local Software Etc. store. After becoming a game tester, he worked his way up to producer at Interplay and was slowly moving into game design. Pardo looked at the smart but soft-spoken Adham as a game design mentor. They began to have intense, constructive discussions; but the two really began to bond when playing EverQuest together. Pardo was so fascinated by EverQuest that he became the Guild Master of Legacy of Steel, one of the gangs of guys who became über-experts at the vagaries of the game. Meanwhile, Blizzard was bogged down in creating a role playing game called Nomad, which had a post-apocalyptic theme and dinosaurlike monsters that were outfitted with tanklike weapons.

As the game ended, players were in a cave (a trope that had spread widely since the days of Colossal Cave). Thunderous roars were heard as the cave crumbled in as a kind of animated payoff for playing. Before they went further, the team had to ascertain whether they should include a timed mode to quicken the pace and spice up the action. When showing the timer-less version to game designers, they received negative feedback, including a rude response from a Pogo executive: “This stupid thing isn’t a game at all.” More and more professional game designers offered snotty and snooty remarks. They were almost viscerally opposed to what the three were doing, seeing the jewel matching game as an example of exceptionally poor game theory. Yet when Kapulka traveled home to Canada, he performed what he described to John and Brian as the Mom Test. He gave Roma, his mother, a laptop to play on, and he noticed that she enjoyed the game when it wasn’t timed, so much so that once or twice, he couldn’t get her away from the computer.


pages: 266 words: 67,272

Fun Inc. by Tom Chatfield

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Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer age, credit crunch, game design, invention of writing, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, upwardly mobile

Games have long been one of the world’s most important engines for computing innovation – along with, more recently, the mobile phone. It’s largely thanks to the ever-evolving ambitions of game designers that modern computers have a DVD drive, a graphics card, decent sound capability, a staggering amount of RAM, a large colour monitor, and so on. None of this, technically, is required for word processing or even for producing presentations; the multi-media PC is very much a child of gaming, and has been since its youngest days. Now, though, with the power and speed of even inexpensive modern computers at an unprecedented level in historical terms, games designers have begun to turn to perfecting the field of access and interface design – to help as many people as possible to perform complex tasks on a machine in a manner that is engaging and intuitive.

Within the increasingly distinguished field of video games studies, perhaps the most influential person to have discussed games as learning engines is the designer and author Raph Koster. Koster has, among other things, worked as lead designer on Ultima Online (1997), the world’s first commercially successful massively multiplayer online game (MMO), and as creative director on another MMO milestone, Star Wars Galaxies (2003), based on the Star Wars universe. He’s also the author of an influential book, A Theory of Fun for Game Design (2004), that was one of the first to set out in precise terms what it means to say that games are tools for learning: Games are something special and unique. They are concentrated chunks ready for our brains to chew on. Since they are abstracted and iconic, they are readily absorbed. Since they are formal systems, they exclude distracting external details. Usually, our brains have to do hard work to turn messy reality into something as clear as a game is.

But the social integration they offer is subtle and extremely powerful, seamlessly integrating with users’ Facebook accounts so that they can instantly keep track of – and attempt to better – their friends’ scores, or admire each other’s pets. And behind it all lies a network of data analysis and tracking that sets a global standard not just for gaming, but for anyone hoping to make money from media in a digital world. Playfish’s CEO, Kristian Segerstråle, has a successful background in game design for mobile phones. Yet, as he explained to me at Playfish’s London office in mid-2009, the scale of success that Playfish has experienced had caught him by surprise. ‘It’s fair to say that we have been overwhelmed. We started off eighteen months ago with four of us. We are well over 100 people now in four offices: China, America, London, Norway. Our games have been installed nearly 80 million times globally.


pages: 240 words: 109,474

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture by David Kushner

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Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, book scanning, Columbine, corporate governance, game design, glass ceiling, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, slashdot, software patent, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, X Prize

There was just no one who possessed that hysterically comic streak. Worse, the split from id was so painful that Romero and Tom had hardly spoken since the firing. But at least Tom had managed to land on his feet. Scott Miller, another casualty on the way to id’s success, offered him a job as a game designer for Apogee. It was bittersweet, but Tom accepted; maybe now he would be able to make the games he had always imagined. Back at id, the guys started sifting through resumes for a new game designer of their own. Kevin had received a resume from a promising-looking gamer named Sandy Petersen. At thirty-seven wars old, Sandy was ancient compared with the id guys and an admirable veteran of the gaming scene. In the early eighties, he had created a pen-and-paper role-playing game, Call of Cthulhu, that featured flesh-eating zombies and tentacle-legged alien parasites.

“There’s no proof of concept for game design,” he declared. Everyone concurred that the game was taking forever. There was no cohesive plan. American McGee finally made the inevitable suggestion to abandon Romero’s ambitious idea of a hand-to-hand combat game for something more simple. “I think it will be better,” he said, “if we make a game with rocket launchers and stuff like that.” “Yeah,” Sandy said, “lets do Doom III, and the next game we’ll do something innovative.” Romero was floored. First the smackdown bonus, now this? Who the fuck were these guys? What did they know? They had never worked on a new game from start to finish. They didn’t understand id. “Every id game proceeded just like this before!” he said. “Carmack makes a revolutionary engine, then we put a revolutionary game design on top of it. Let’s just get the engine done, then we can make this really cool game idea that no one’s seen before.

So he ventured into the nearby bluecollar neighborhood ol Raytown, where he found an old farmhouse on two acres of land within city limits. Overnight, it seemed, Carmack was in a strange house, with a strange family and going to a strange school, a junior high with no gifted program or computer’s. He’d never felt so alone. Then one day he realized he wasn’t. 19 The book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution was a revelation. Carmack had heard about hackers: In 1982 a Disney movie called Tron told the story of a video game designer, played by Jeff Bridges, who hacked himself into a video game world; in a 1983 movie called WarGames, Matthew Broderick played a young gamer who hacked into a government computer system, and nearly triggered Armageddon. But this book’s story was different–it was real. Written by Steven Levy in 1984, it explored the uncharted history and culture of the “Whiz Kids Who Changed Our World.” The book traced the rise ol renegade computer enthusiasts over twenty-five rollicking years, from the mainframe experimentalists at MIT in the fifties and sixties to the Homebrew epoch of Silicon Valley in the seventies and up through the computer game start-ups of the eighties.


pages: 381 words: 101,559

Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Gobal Crisis by James Rickards

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Asian financial crisis, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, borderless world, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business climate, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, full employment, game design, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, global rebalancing, global reserve currency, high net worth, income inequality, interest rate derivative, Kenneth Rogoff, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, New Journalism, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, paradox of thrift, price mechanism, price stability, private sector deleveraging, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, special economic zone, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, time value of money, too big to fail, value at risk, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus

Our third group planning session took place in mid-November; this time there were a few new faces, including senior officials from the intelligence community. We were no longer contemplating the feasibility of a financial war game; by now it was game on and we were specifically focused on game design. I presented detailed financial warfare scenarios and made a pitch that the game design should incorporate unpredictable outcomes that would surprise both attackers and defenders due to the complex dynamics of capital markets. By the conclusion, the Defense Department and the APL game design team had received enough input from the experts to complete the final design. All that remained was to select the participants, set the date and let the game begin. After some delays and uncertainty during the changeover of administrations, the Obama administration gave the go-ahead to proceed as planned.

As a result, rival nations and transnational actors such as jihadists have increasingly developed capabilities in unconventional warfare, which can include cyberwarfare, biological or chemical weapons, other weapons of mass destruction or now, in the most unexpected twist of all, financial weapons. The financial war game was the Pentagon’s first effort to see how an actual financial war might evolve and to see what lessons might be learned. The war game had been many months in the making, and I had been part of the strategy sessions and game design that preceded the actual game. Although a well-designed war game will try to achieve unexpected results and simulate the fog of real war, it nevertheless requires some starting place and a set of rules in order to avoid descending into chaos. APL’s game design team was among the best in the world at this, but a financial game required some completely new approaches, including access to Wall Street expertise, which the typical physicist or military planner does not have. My role was to fill that gap. My association with the lab started in December 2006 in Omaha, Nebraska, where I was attending a strategy forum hosted by U.S.

A typical game might involve a red cell, usually bad guys, versus a blue cell, the good guys, although some games have multiple sides. One critical cell is the white cell, which consists of a game director and participants designated as umpires or referees. The white cell decides if a particular game move is allowed and also determines who wins or loses during each round of the game. Generally the game designers attribute specific goals or objectives to each cell; thereafter the players are expected to make moves that logically advance those objectives rather than move off in unexplained directions. The game design team will also use political scientists, military strategists and other analysts to describe the initial conditions affecting all the players—in effect, they determine the starting line. Finally, some system of power metrics is devised so that the relative strength of each cell can be established at the beginning of the game, in the same way that some armies are larger than others or some economies have greater industrial potential at the start of any war.


pages: 238 words: 75,994

A Burglar's Guide to the City by Geoff Manaugh

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big-box store, card file, dark matter, game design, index card, megacity, megastructure, Minecraft, Skype, smart cities, statistical model, the built environment, urban planning

* For Randy Smith, a Texas-based game designer and a level architect on the legendary Thief games, designing a game environment in order to foreground deeply enjoyable opportunities for criminal stealth, deception, and subterfuge is a complex but rewarding challenge. The Thief series, the first of which came out in 1997, is widely credited as introducing the three-dimensional, first-person stealth game. Moving through an architectural interior without being detected was, in many ways, the entire point of the story. The player’s goal was not to kill as many people as possible, but to slip past them unseen and unheard. Sound—or, rather, not creating any—became a central design feature of the Thief universe. During our in-depth conversation about burglary and game design, Smith laughed as he explained, “You would think it was our job to design buildings that are hard to break into, but what we actually want to do is design buildings that will channel the movement of the player along different sequences.

At first, this might seem relevant only to the world of computer games or burglary fiction, but game play in the Thief series is not at all unlike the way security worked at Toys “R” Us, for example, with Jeffery Manchester hidden in the walls, staring at his baby monitor, watching the internal traffic of the store ebb and flow, preparing for his moment of attack. Smith pointed out how incredibly easy it is for a game designer to create an impossible level or an impenetrable environment—a castle gate that no one can get past, a high-rise no one will ever be able to sneak into. The real challenge is to find just the right level of difficulty so that slipping past the guards and maneuvering through the rooms and corridors becomes enjoyable. This is what he meant when he suggested that game designers need to “introduce deliberate weak points or blind spots” into their environments, such as removing the guards from a room at key moments or creating otherwise unrealistic amounts of shadow at the edge of a courtyard so that a player can walk past without being seen.

This is what he meant when he suggested that game designers need to “introduce deliberate weak points or blind spots” into their environments, such as removing the guards from a room at key moments or creating otherwise unrealistic amounts of shadow at the edge of a courtyard so that a player can walk past without being seen. Real-world scenarios also contain weak points and rhythms of vulnerability—but it often takes the eyes of a burglar, or a cop, to appreciate them. As fellow game designer Andy Schatz looks at it, however, stealth is not the only or most interesting criteria by which a heist game should be judged. While watching people play his burglary game Monaco, Schatz saw that breaking the rules of the game’s architecture was the essence of a successful heist—not sneaking past the guards, but cutting through the walls themselves. He explained this to me in terms of efficiency: “You could say that following a winding path across your lawn is more efficient if what you’re trying to do is keep your shoes clean. The winding path—not the direct path—has different efficiencies and rewards built into it.”


pages: 500 words: 146,240

Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play by Morgan Ramsay, Peter Molyneux

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, collective bargaining, game design, index card, Mark Zuckerberg, oil shock, pirate software, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Von Neumann architecture

Physical exercise and video games are big elements on the short list of healthy ways to use hormone management to improve life and health. We are not Pavlov’s dogs, but B.F. Skinner proved long ago that the strongest form of behavioral modification is variable-ratio reinforcement. The slot machine thrives on it, but is a social ill because it is a dehumanizing addiction. In a more interesting, thought-provoking, and truly interactive game design, the principles of reinforcement are very useful. Nobody is going to do anything if, in the end, it doesn’t constructively involve your emotions. Ramsay: In 2006, quality of life became a hot-button issue for EA. Can you provide any insight into the labor environment then? Did you do anything differently with the culture at Digital Chocolate? Hawkins: I don’t know the details, but I’ve always been interested in organizational culture, and I want to help my employees win and become better people.

Although it was your decision to raise his status, were you ever personally uncomfortable with his shadow? Stealey: No, because I got to be the CEO, and I got to be the big cheese. He got to be the brilliant programmer. In the end, I probably should have done it a different way. It should have been “Wild Bill’s Pirates!” But you know what? Sid is really the programmer. He’s really the brilliant game designer. I’m just the business guy, and I was a good marketing guy. And I had some very good marketing people working for me. I was the first marketing guy, but later, we had a lot of marketing muscle. Ramsay: Who was your marketing muscle? Stealey: We had Gerry Blair, a great marketing guy. We had Deborah Tillett, one of our really great marketing persons. Deb was a smart, little lady. One of our European managing directors had a little bit of a lisp.

She could take any situation and turn it into fun and enthusiasm. She was really one of the very best, Mrs. Deborah Tillett. The very first marketing guy was Fred Schmidt, who eventually went on to run Origin Systems. Fred is a brilliant marketing guy. Those three people were really marketing geniuses as far as I’m concerned. Ramsay: Where was Sid’s interest concerning game development? What drove him to create: design or technology? Stealey: Game design only. His first original game after the many military games was the Pirates! game. Later, we were doing the original Railroad Tycoon, and I said, “Boy, this is really a neat game. Where’d you get the idea?” He said, “Oh, from this box.” It was an Avalon Hill board game called 1830. Oh, no! Eric Dott, the president of Avalon Hill, called me and said, “Bill, you’re doing my board game as a computer game.”


pages: 385 words: 101,761

Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire by Bruce Nussbaum

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3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, declining real wages, demographic dividend, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, follow your passion, game design, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, industrial robot, invisible hand, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Gruber, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, new economy, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, race to the bottom, reshoring, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, Tesla Model S, The Chicago School, The Design of Experiments, the High Line, The Myth of the Rational Market, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, tulip mania, We are the 99%, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar

Ruben Rausing is usually credited: “Who We Are: Our Legacy,” Tetra Pak USA website, accessed September 10, 2012, http://www.tetrapak.com/us/ whoweare/heritage/pages/default.aspx. 117 Continuum then launched: Harry West interview, March 20, 2012, New York City. 118 In a recent Harvard Business Review: “Life’s Work: Richard Serra,” Harvard Business Review, March 2010, accessed September 13, 2012, http://hbr.org/2010/03/lifes-work-richard-serra/ar/1. 119 Though there are countless ways of playing: My conversations with Katie Salen, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design in game design, and my reading of her book, have had a huge impact on how I understand the creative process. Salen introduced me to the idea of “magic circles” and connected the engaged interaction of gaming to the educational philosophy of John Dewey, who talked about “learning by doing.” Salen is helping to remake the face of public education; she has set up three public schools—two in Chicago, one in New York—that team up teachers with game designers to build an exciting learning experience for students; Institute of Play, http://www.instituteofplay.org/about, accessed September 17, 2012. 119 Though scholars are in disagreement: Marilyn Yalom, Birth of the Chess Queen (New York: HarperCollins, 2004), 3; David Shenk, The Immortal Game (New York: Doubleday, 2006), 16–20. 119 “This was a war game”: Shenk, The Immortal Game. 119 According to military strategist: Max Boot, War Made New (New York: Gotham Books, 2006), 122. 120 In 2002, General Tommy Franks: GlobalSecurity.org, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/ internal-look.htm, accessed September 13, 2012. 120 Internal Look was also used: Mark Mazzetti and Thom Shanker, “U.S.

It’s created what business strategists are calling an “ecosystem,” much like Apple’s, that’s composed of a community of consumers, followers really, participating in activities that are fun and meaningful to them. More than six million runners log on to see how they fared against their competitors. Once you’ve thought a little bit about who’ll be playing your game, you can begin to develop some rules. BUILD YOUR OWN GAMES There are many different kinds of games, but game designers frequently distinguish between two kinds: simple and complex. Simple games include puzzles and, like the New York Times crossword, they do not change as a consequence of the decision you make. Puzzles are simple to solve (though not necessarily simple to create, as anyone who’s crafted a crossword will attest), they often are played alone, and they have exactly one solution. A more sophisticated puzzle takes the player to a higher level of difficulty.

Salen puts on a weeklong summer camp to train fifth graders in the skills of designing location-based games. At the end, these children have improved the following competencies: digital literacy, creative problem solving, and collaboration. They’ve designed and traded digital avatars via Bluetooth, solved mysteries with GPS tags, and created and played their own digital and “physical” games. While these kinds of summer camps for adults don’t exist (yet), what follows are some basic principles of game design that you can keep in mind when you’re embarking on a new project, meeting with a team, or planning to deal with a serious issue that has resisted resolution so far (like getting kids to eat vegetables). Playing a game may provide the motivation and rewards to get people to change their behavior and their goals. Perhaps that is why 72 percent of US households play digital games. 1. Complex games are dynamic and require adaptability.


pages: 458 words: 137,960

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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Albert Einstein, call centre, dematerialisation, fault tolerance, financial independence, game design, late fees, pre–internet, side project, telemarketer, walking around money

Maybe I’d record the whole thing and post it on YouTube. I prepped for the meeting by pulling up a search engine and learning everything I could about Nolan Sorrento. He had a PhD in Computer Science. Prior to becoming head of operations at IOI, he’d been a high-profile game designer, overseeing the creation of several third-party RPGs that ran inside the OASIS. I’d played all of his games, and they were actually pretty good. He’d been a decent coder, back before he sold his soul. It was obvious why IOI had hired him to lead their lackeys. They figured a game designer would have the best chance of solving Halliday’s grand videogame puzzle. But Sorrento and the Sixers had been at it for over five years and still had nothing to show for their efforts. And now that gunter avatar names were appearing on the Scoreboard left and right, the IOI brass had to be freaking out.

He was tall, gaunt, and painfully shy, and he preferred to stay out of the limelight. People employed by Gregarious Games during this period say that Halliday frequently locked himself in his office, where he programmed incessantly, often going without food, sleep, or human contact for days or even weeks. On the few occasions that Halliday agreed to do interviews, his behavior came off as bizarre, even by game-designer standards. He was hyperkinetic, aloof, and so socially inept that the interviewers often came away with the impression he was mentally ill. Halliday tended to speak so rapidly that his words were often unintelligible, and he had a disturbing high-pitched laugh, made even more so because he was usually the only one who knew what he was laughing about. When Halliday got bored during an interview (or conversation), he would usually get up and walk out without saying a word.

But Art3mis didn’t know that. She was still under the assumption that I’d had to fight the lich. “There you go,” she said, stepping back. “Thanks,” I said. “But you shouldn’t have. We’re competitors, you know.” “I know. But we can still be friends, right?” “I hope so.” “Besides, the Third Gate is still a long way off. I mean, it took five years for the two of us to get this far. And if I know Halliday’s game-design strategy, things are just going to get harder from here on out.” She lowered her voice. “Listen, are you sure you don’t want to stick around? I bet we can both play at once. We can give each other Jousting tips. I’ve started to spot some flaws in the king’s technique—” Now I was starting to feel like a jerk for lying to her. “That’s a really kind offer. But I have to go.” I searched for a plausible excuse.


pages: 270 words: 64,235

Effective Programming: More Than Writing Code by Jeff Atwood

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AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, cloud computing, endowment effect, Firefox, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, gravity well, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Merlin Mann, Minecraft, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, price anchoring, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, science of happiness, Skype, social software, Steve Jobs, web application, Y Combinator

I suppose this is because Medics don’t engage in much direct combat, so they’re not as exciting to play as, say, a Demoman or Soldier. That’s unfortunate, because the healing abilities of the medic class are frequently critical to winning a round. So what did Valve do? They released a giant set of medic-specific achievements to encourage players to choose the Medic class more often. That’s iterative game design based on actual, real-world gameplay data. Using detailed gameplay metrics to refine game design isn’t new; Bungie ran both Halo 2 and 3 through comprehensive usability lab tests. In April, Bungie found a nagging problem with Valhalla, one of Halo 3′s multiplayer levels: Player deaths (represented in dark red on this “heat map” of the level) were skewing toward the base on the left, indicating that forces invading from the right had a slight advantage.

Random discussion is fine for entertainment, but it’s not particularly useful, nor does it tend to generate the kind of artifacts that will be relevant a few years from now like Wikipedia does. So then the problem becomes how do you encourage groups to do what’s best for the world rather than their own specific, selfish needs? When I looked at this problem, I felt I knew the answer. But there wasn’t a word for it in 2008. Now there is: Gamification. Gamification is the use of game design techniques and mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences. […] Gamification works by … taking advantage of humans’ psychological predisposition to engage in gaming. The technique can encourage people to perform chores that they ordinarily consider boring, such as completing surveys, shopping, or reading web sites. I had no idea this Wikipedia article even existed until a few months ago, but we are featured prominently in it.

Oftentimes, the whole reason we became programmers in the first place is because we wanted to move beyond being a mere player and change the game, control it, modify its parameters, maybe even create our own games. We used games to learn how to program. To a programmer, a game is a perfectly natural introduction to real programming problems. I’d posit that any field can use games as an introduction to the subject matter — and as a reinforcement to learning. Games help people work toward a goal It’s something of a revelation to me that solid game design can defeat the Greater Internet F**kwad Theory. Two great examples of this are Counter-Strike and Team Fortress. Both games are more than ten years old, but they’re still actively being played right now, by tens of thousands of people, all anonymous … and playing as cohesive teams! The game’s objectives and rules are all cleverly constructed to make working together the most effective way to win.


pages: 302 words: 73,581

Platform Scale: How an Emerging Business Model Helps Startups Build Large Empires With Minimum Investment by Sangeet Paul Choudary

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3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, Clayton Christensen, collaborative economy, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, frictionless, game design, hive mind, Internet of things, invisible hand, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, multi-sided market, Network effects, new economy, Paul Graham, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, social software, software as a service, software is eating the world, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, TaskRabbit, the payments system, too big to fail, transport as a service, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, Wave and Pay

“All you do is click that one button all day. What do you get out of it?” That one statement captures the brilliance of game design. A player may have the lofty goal of saving the princess. One may get a kick out of crossing multiple levels and collect points and lives on the way. But the player merely clicks a set of buttons that help the game character jump and stomp the evil turtles and fire cannonballs. More recently, Flappy Bird had the whole world in outrage when its creator pulled the game from the App Store. As a set of actions that players take, Flappy Bird is quite similar to Super Mario Bros. One or two simple actions, when repeated, deliver value, as long as they are performed well. That’s the brilliance of game design. A large goal can be broken down into a set of simple actions for users to perform repeatedly.

A large goal can be broken down into a set of simple actions for users to perform repeatedly. These simple actions enable users to obtain value from the game and progress towards a larger goal. GAME DESIGN AND PLATFORM SCALE The most alluring aspect of game design is the possibility that simple actions could yield important consequences. What if platforms could break complex business and social interactions down into a set of simple actions? Some of the best platforms today are designed in this fashion. A constantly evolving online encyclopedia is based on a set of repeated writing and editing actions that users perform. The world’s largest accommodation marketplace may threaten to disrupt the traditional hotel industry, but it relies on a set of simple actions from hosts and travelers to guarantee a thriving marketplace. THE CORE INTERACTION Every platform has a core interaction, a set of actions that producers and consumers on the platform perform repeatedly to gain value from the platform.


pages: 598 words: 183,531

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution - 25th Anniversary Edition by Steven Levy

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air freight, Apple II, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, El Camino Real, game design, Hacker Ethic, hacker house, Haight Ashbury, John Conway, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, non-fiction novel, Paul Graham, popular electronics, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, software patent, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

“If this opens the door to other programmers ripping off my software,” he told Al Tommervik immediately after the decision, “what happened here was a bad thing.” He would settle the lawsuit before it came to trial. Chapter 17. Summer Camp Ken Williams came to rely on people like John Harris, Third-Generation hackers influenced not so much by Robert Heinlein or Doc Smith as by Galaxian, Dungeons and Dragons, and Star Wars. A whole subculture of creative, game-designing hacker-programmers was blooming, beyond the reach of executive headhunters. They were mostly still in high school. To lure young programmers to Coarsegold, Williams took out ads in the Los Angeles Times tempting programmers to “Boot into Yosemite.” Typical of the replies was a man who told Ken, “My son’s a great Apple programmer and would like working with you.” “Why don’t you let me talk to your son?”

Meanwhile, he was working on a game based on some of Ken’s fastest, most spectacular assembly-language subroutines yet. It was a game like Space Invaders, where you had a rocketship and had to fight off waves of invaders. But the waves were full of weird shapes and moved in all kinds of directions, and if the player tried to send a constant stream of bullets off to fight them, his “laser gun” would overheat and he would face almost certain death. It was the kind of game designed to spur cardiac arrest in the feeble-hearted, so fierce were the attackers and so violent were the explosions. It was not exactly a landmark in Apple gaming, since it was so derivative of the Space Invaders school of shoot-’em-ups, but it did represent an escalation in graphic pyrotechnics and game-playing intensity. The name of this computer program was Threshold, and it made Warren Schwader almost one hundred thousand dollars in royalties, a significant percentage of which was tithed to the Kingdom Hall in Ahwahnee.

Brøderbund was riding high on Choplifter, written by a twenty-eight-year-old former artificial intelligence hacker named Dan Gorlin. The game was based on the Iran hostage crisis: a chopper crossed enemy lines and tried to rescue sixty-four hostages—little animated figures who waved when they saw the helicopter. It was the big game of the year, and consistent with the Carlstons’ classy approach to the business. They loved their hackers. They talked all the time about what great artists their “game designers” were. Sirius had been developing its own superstars, but Gebelli, the designer who had done almost all their games in the first year of Sirius’ existence, was not one of them. According to Jerry Jewell, Gebelli thought that Sirius was not the best agency for display and sale of his artworks—this after receiving a quarter of a million dollars in his first year, noted Jewell incredulously—and, along with a defecting Sirius executive, began his own company, modestly named Gebelli Software.


pages: 89 words: 24,277

Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter

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big-box store, en.wikipedia.org, game design, John Gruber, Kickstarter, Skype, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Superbowl ad, Wall-E, web application

Anticipation, the Velvet Rope, and Status Though surprise can help users by compressing emotion into a split-second reaction, anticipation—surprise’s temporal opposite—can also shape emotional engagement. We create anticipation when we foreshadow a desired event and give the audience ample time to ponder the experience. Parents excite their children at Christmas with “Santa is coming to our house soon!” to conjure fantasies about the magic of the holidays and the wonderful gifts to come. Anticipation is what game designers call an open system. Games designed with an open structure, like The Sims, allow users to wander and shape game play on their own terms. Open systems encourage people to use their imagination to create a personalized experience. Video games that use a closed system, like Super Mario Brothers, narrowly direct game play, forcing the user to move in a specific direction on a defined mission. The contrast between open and closed systems is what leads us so often to perceive that reading the book is better than seeing the movie.


pages: 606 words: 157,120

To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism by Evgeny Morozov

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3D printing, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Automated Insights, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive bias, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, disintermediation, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, future of journalism, game design, Gary Taubes, Google Glasses, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of the printing press, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Narrative Science, Nicholas Carr, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Graham, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, pets.com, placebo effect, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, smart meter, social graph, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

They are teaching and inspiring and engaging us in ways that reality is not. They are bringing us together in ways that reality is not.” Thus, the only possible conclusion that McGonigal can draw from all of this is that reality ought to be more like games: “What if we decided to use everything we know about game design to fix what’s wrong with reality? What if we started to live our real lives like gamers, lead our real businesses and communities like game designers, and think about solving real-world problems like computer and video game theorists?” Well, replace “game designers and theorists” with “B. F. Skinner,” and the answer to all these what-ifs might be very different. What to make of McGonigal’s project and her “personal mission to see a game developer win a Nobel Peace Prize in the next twenty-five years”? She seems so utterly confused about human experience—this probably comes with a Palo Alto zip code—that it’s tempting to read the whole book as a cynical satire of the whole gamification enterprise, if not the complacency of Western consumerism as such.

What is the connection between gamification and games? Some critics of gamification point out that the best video games are not exhausted by their reward systems. Virtual points do not produce experiences “of interest, enlightenment, terror, fascination, hope, or any number of other sensations,” as game theorist Ian Bogost puts it; rather, those are produced by the content of the game and various narrative strategies adopted by game designers. In other words, one doesn’t have to hate games to hate gamification; that process doesn’t, strictly speaking, turn everything into a game—it turns everything into limited (and often completely unimportant) factors that we sometimes associate with games. Canadian media theorist Alan Chorney offers a very useful distinction between the two: “The use of game mechanics does not necessarily make the product a video game.

Likewise, the point about the potentially corrosive impact such schemes have on character holds as well: sometimes we want citizens to do the right thing for the right reason, not just because it’s more fun than playing Angry Birds. Skimming through gamification literature can be both frustrating and instructive, for it shows the rhetorical tricks deployed by game enthusiasts to promote their schemes and the inherent limitations of their mind-set. Take Gamification by Design by game designers Gabe Zichermann and Christopher Cunningham. One has to praise the book—something of a primer on gamification—for being completely transparent about its Skinnerian philosophy: the cover features five playful monkeys, who presumably are on their way to being gamified. Like most gamification literature, this book, from the very outset, blurs any distinction between games and play and posits that both are natural and inevitable.


pages: 222 words: 53,317

Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension by Samuel Arbesman

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3D printing, algorithmic trading, Anton Chekhov, Apple II, Benoit Mandelbrot, citation needed, combinatorial explosion, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, discovery of the americas, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, friendly AI, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, HyperCard, Inbox Zero, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, mandelbrot fractal, Minecraft, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, Parkinson's law, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, software studies, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Therac-25, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

As mentioned in the introduction, as our technologies become more complicated, and we lose the ability to understand them, our responses tend toward two extremes: fear and awe. Contemplating a fantastically intricate technological system, some of us are overwhelmed by its power and complexity, and respond with fear of the unknown. Others tend toward an almost religious reverence when faced with technology’s beauty and power. The video game designer and writer Ian Bogost has even suggested that replacing the term “algorithm” with the word “God” changes little of what is being said about technology in today’s discourse. But technology, while it suffuses our society, is not the product of a perfect and immaculate process. Technologies are kluges. They are messes cobbled together over time from many pieces, and while they are indubitably exciting, they do not merit unquestioning wonder or profound existential concern.

For a kid who was beginning to explore computers, this visual authoring space was the perfect gateway to the machine. One program I built with HyperCard was a rudimentary password generator: it could make a random string you could use as a password, but it also had options to make the random passwords more pronounceable, and hence more memorable over the long term. It was simple, but definitely ahead of its time, in my unstudied opinion. The computer game designer Chaim Gingold calls gateways like HyperCard “magic crayons.” Like the crayon in the children’s book Harold and the Purple Crayon that allows the young hero to draw objects that immediately take on reality, magic crayons are tools that, in Gingold’s words, “allow non-programmers to engage the procedural qualities of the digital medium and build dynamic things.” Even in the Apple world, commonly viewed as sterilized of messy code and computational innards, HyperCard allowed access to the complex powerhouse of the digital domain.

Shlomo Pines (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1963), 65–66. “queerer than we can suppose”: J. B. S. Haldane, Possible Worlds and Other Essays (London: Chatto & Windus, 1928), 286. limitations to what we can know: For a further discussion on scientific humility, see Marcelo Gleiser, The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning (New York: Basic Books, 2014). video game designer and writer Ian Bogost: Ian Bogost, “The Cathedral of Computation,” The Atlantic, January 15, 2015, http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/the-cathedral-of-computation/384300/. a perfect and immaculate process: This is discussed further in Bogost, “Cathedral of Computation.” the “humble programmer”: Edsger Dijkstra, “The Humble Programmer.” Communications of the ACM 15, no. 10 (1972): 859–66.


pages: 247 words: 81,135

The Great Fragmentation: And Why the Future of All Business Is Small by Steve Sammartino

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, BRICs, Buckminster Fuller, citizen journalism, collaborative consumption, cryptocurrency, Elon Musk, fiat currency, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, haute couture, helicopter parent, illegal immigration, index fund, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, market design, Metcalfe's law, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Network effects, new economy, post scarcity, prediction markets, pre–internet, profit motive, race to the bottom, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, remote working, RFID, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, social graph, social web, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, too big to fail, web application

Design the mass product. Tweak the mass product with qualitative research. Gain mass distribution. Buy mass media. Rinse and repeat. Innovate incrementally using existing infrastructure. But the linear process just doesn’t work anymore. The environment and resulting go-to-market methodology has fragmented into non-linear, unpredictable pieces. We now operate in a world where a smartphone game designed by an independent game manufacturer can end up being a major motion picture with global licensing that can compete with the likes of Disney (think Angry Birds). Or where a crowdfunding campaign can result in enough financial backing for a new wearable computing device — such as the Pebble — to be launched before Apple or Google enter the smartwatch market space. Marketing revised A simplified view of the old marketing world compared to the new marketing world could be defined by making this comparison in table 6.1.

We’re all still playing the games right now, but like many aspects of commerce, we go deep into the wormhole before we realise it. Gamification not only becomes possible in a connected and social world, it’s inevitable. If I could draw an analogy for gamification, it would be this: Pong is to consoles, what Angry Birds is to gamification. Gamification is all about intersecting behavioural economics and game design methodology for a commercial outcome. When we think about it deeply, it’s not too far removed from commerce in general. What is business other than anthropology with a scoreboard? Gamification is much more about anthropology than it is about technology, but the two elements of anthropology and technology are starting to conspire to create new commercial platforms that, when used well, have the ability to circumvent currency while also creating purchasing power.

Given we are living in a time of true revolution, we need to look outside our own realm, become exploratory and open our minds through the understanding of different fields. To help you do this, I've pulled together a reading and viewing list of work that helped me to see the world better. I've done this because the truth about business is that the patterns within it come from worlds outside it. Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of lenses Jesse Schell Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium Carl Sagan Brand Hijack: Marketing Without Marketing Alex Wipperfurth The Cluetrain Manifesto Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, David Weinberger The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed Ray Kurzweil The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing.


pages: 304 words: 82,395

Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, Kenneth Cukier

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23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Black Swan, book scanning, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, dark matter, double entry bookkeeping, Eratosthenes, Erik Brynjolfsson, game design, IBM and the Holocaust, index card, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jeff Bezos, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, obamacare, optical character recognition, PageRank, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Post-materialism, post-materialism, random walk, recommendation engine, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Zynga’s big-data analysts study whether sales of virtual goods are affected by their color, or by players’ seeing their friends using them. For example, after the data showed that FishVille players bought a translucent fish at six times the rate of other creatures, Zynga offered more translucent species and profited handsomely. In the game Mafia Wars, the data revealed that players bought more weapons with gold borders and purchased pet tigers that were all white. These are not the sorts of things that a game designer toiling in a studio might have known, but the data spoke. “We are an analytics company masquerading as a gaming company. Everything is run by the numbers,” explained Ken Rudin, then Zynga’s analytics chief, before jumping ship to head analytics at Facebook. Harnessing data is no guarantee of business success but shows what is possible. The shift to data-driven decisions is profound. Most people base their decisions on a combination of facts and reflection, plus a heavy dose of guesswork.

See also data anaysis; predictive analytics and big data, [>]–[>] and credit scores, [>] as driven by hypotheses, [>]–[>], [>], [>] and “end of theory,” [>]–[>] of information, [>]–[>], [>] in marine navigation, [>]–[>] of medical records, [>], [>]–[>], [>] non-linear, [>]–[>] proxies in, [>]–[>], [>], [>] of sales data, [>] vs. scientific method, [>]–[>] and subprime mortgage scandal (2009), [>] of text, [>]–[>] in video game design, [>]–[>] Coursera, [>], [>] Craigslist, [>] Crawford, Kate, [>] credit card fraud: big data and, [>]–[>], [>]–[>] Kunze on, [>] credit scores: correlation analysis and, [>] datafication and, [>] credit transactions: analysis of, [>] crime prevention: predictive policing and, [>]–[>] Crosby, Alfred, [>], [>] Cross, Bradford, [>]–[>] “culturomics,” [>]–[>] data. See also big data; information; open data aggregation of, [>], [>], [>], [>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>], [>], [>], [>], [>], [>]–[>], [>], [>]–[>] anonymization of, [>], [>]–[>] brokering, [>] compared to energy, [>] decision-making driven by, [>]–[>] depreciating value of, [>]–[>] “dictatorship” of, [>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>] economic value of reusing, [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>], [>] extensibility of, [>]–[>] fallibility of, [>]–[>] fetishizing of, [>], [>], [>]–[>], [>] imprecision in processing, [>]–[>] mining, [>]–[>], [>], [>], [>] misuse of, [>], [>], [>]–[>] nature of, [>]–[>] option value of, [>], [>]–[>], [>], [>] recombining of, [>]–[>], [>] scale in, [>]–[>] storage costs of, [>], [>], [>]–[>] as truth, [>], [>] valuation of, [>]–[>] data analysis.

Department of Homeland Security, [>] uses predictive analytics, [>] U.S. National Security Agency (NSA): data-gathering by, [>]–[>] U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, [>] value, economic: big data and creation of, [>], [>], [>], [>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>] of reusing data, [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>], [>] Varian, Hal, [>] video game design: correlation analysis in, [>]–[>] Vietnam War: data misused in, [>], [>]–[>] Visa, [>] von Ahn, Luis: invents Captcha & ReCaptcha, [>]–[>] Walmart, [>] analyzes sales data, [>], [>], [>], [>] merchandising innovations by, [>]–[>] War Managers, The (Kinnard), [>] Warden, Pete, [>] Watts, Duncan, [>] Weinberger, David, [>] Wikipedia, [>] Windows Azure Marketplace, [>] World Bank, [>] and open data, [>] Xoom, [>]–[>] Yahoo, [>], [>], [>] YouTube: data processing by, [>] Zeo, [>] ZestFinance, [>]–[>] Zillow, [>] Zuckerberg, Mark, [>], [>] Zynga, [>]–[>] About the Authors VIKTOR MAYER-SCHÖNBERGER is Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University.


pages: 319 words: 89,477

The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion by John Hagel Iii, John Seely Brown

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Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, Black Swan, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cloud computing, corporate governance, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, game design, George Gilder, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Louis Pasteur, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Maui Hawaii, medical residency, Network effects, packet switching, pattern recognition, pre–internet, profit motive, recommendation engine, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart transportation, software as a service, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs

Beyond the guild, however, is a second, broader social network in which participants from all the guilds come together in a vast and diverse complex of discussion forums, wikis, databases, and instructional videos. Here they share experiences, tell stories, celebrate (and analyze) prodigious achievements within the game, and explore innovative approaches to addressing the challenges at hand. Although a few of these forums are officially sponsored by the game designer, most of them have emerged spontaneously, organized by participants seeking access to more advice and insight regarding the challenges they face in the game. This “knowledge economy” is impressively large: In the United States alone, the official forums hosted by Blizzard Entertainment contain tens of millions of postings in hundreds of forums. There are an equal number in China and Europe.16 By providing the most up-to-date in-game information, this knowledge economy gives players a hedge against the ways in which World of Warcraft is constantly changing, allowing them to keep pace with their unpredictable in-game surroundings.

As they do so, most advanced players make use of customized performance “dashboards” created either by themselves or other players. Most gamers monitor their dashboards continually as they embark on quests to raid dungeons, kill monsters, and collect “loot.” The dashboards give players rich, real-time feedback on their performance along a range of dimensions. Though some elements of these dashboards were introduced by the game designer, an entire cottage industry has emerged among participants who specialize in modifying them to suit the needs of different players. The detailed information they capture becomes invaluable during after-action reviews, when guild members gather to reflect on their individual and collective performance and brainstorm about ways to improve. As the creation space within and around World of Warcraft has taken shape, participants have found that they learn faster by collaborating with each other and taking advantage of the tools and resources available to be pulled as needed.

What time is it inside the game? How many “arena points” does a given player have available to spend? Players have written scripts for each of these functions using the WoW API. World of Warcraft introduced the dashboard concept and provided some basic functionality right from the start—illustrating the importance of careful planning and design at the inception of such a project. Very quickly, however, the game designers opened this feature up to third parties, allowing the players themselves to develop additional features for other players to adopt and incorporate into their personalized dashboards. This flexibility was a successful element of the game, showing that creation platforms may operate at different levels in the creation space—learning networks, teams, and individuals may all require creation platforms tailored to their specific needs.


pages: 313 words: 84,312

We-Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production by Charles Leadbeater

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1960s counterculture, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, c2.com, call centre, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, congestion charging, death of newspapers, Debian, digital Maoism, double helix, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, game design, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lone genius, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microcredit, new economy, Nicholas Carr, online collectivism, planetary scale, post scarcity, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, software patent, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Whole Earth Catalog, Zipcar

The participants were highly organised without having much by way of an organisation. The I Love Bees game, designed by Californian company 42 Entertainment, had its roots in flash mobbing, a form of public performance art which had started in New York and San Francisco in 2003. In flash mobs, anything from a handful of people to several thousand, who have organised themselves by word of mouth, over mobile phones and via the Internet, gather in a public place, such as at a railway station or on a street crossing, to undertake an apparently bizarre activity.3 Jane McGonigal, one of 42 Entertainment’s lead designers and a pioneer of flash mobbing, designed I Love Bees to see whether a mob could become a creative force. In the four weeks after the advertisements were shown, the game designers fed clues to the players through hundreds of websites, blogs, thousands of emails and more than 40,000 MP3 transmissions.

The 600,000 players of I Love Bees showed that a mass of independent people, with different information, skills and outlooks, working together in the right way, can discover, analyse, co-ordinate, create and innovate together at scale without much by way of a traditional organisation. Their collaboration was not an anarchic free-for-all; it was organised, but without a division of labour imposed from on high. So if some ingenious west coast games designers can create the conditions in which thousands of people around the world collaborate to solve a trivial puzzle, could we do something similar to defeat bird flu, tackle global warming, keep communities safe, provide support for disaster victims, lend and borrow money, conduct political and policy debates, teach and learn, design and even make physical products? Whether this hope turns out to be reasonable or hopelessly idealistic may depend on the eventual fate of a global experiment in sharing that is still in progress: Wikipedia.


pages: 345 words: 105,722

The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling

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Apple II, back-to-the-land, game design, ghettoisation, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, index card, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, pirate software, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Silicon Valley, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review

It did not feature hints on computer intrusion, or "anarchy files," or illicitly posted credit card numbers, or long-distance access codes. Some of Illuminati's users, however, were members of the Legion of Doom. And so was one of Steve Jackson's senior employees—the Mentor. The Mentor wrote for Phrack, and also ran an underground board, Phoenix Project—but the Mentor was not a computer professional. The Mentor was the managing editor of Steve Jackson Games and a professional game designer by trade. These LoD members did not use Illuminati to help their HACKING activities. They used it to help their GAME-PLAYING activities—and they were even more dedicated to simulation gaming than they were to hacking. "Illuminati" got its name from a card-game that Steve Jackson himself, the company's founder and sole owner, had invented. This multi-player card-game was one of Mr Jackson's best-known, most successful, most technically innovative products.

Commercially, however, the game did very well. The next cyberpunk game had been the even more successful Shadowrun by FASA Corporation. The mechanics of this game were fine, but the scenario was rendered moronic by sappy fantasy elements like elves, trolls, wizards, and dragons—all highly ideologically-incorrect, according to the hard-edged, high-tech standards of cyberpunk science fiction. Other game designers were champing at the bit. Prominent among them was the Mentor, a gentleman who, like most of his friends in the Legion of Doom, was quite the cyberpunk devotee. Mentor reasoned that the time had come for a REAL cyberpunk gaming-book—one that the princes of computer-mischief in the Legion of Doom could play without laughing themselves sick. This book, GURPS Cyberpunk, would reek of culturally on-line authenticity.

Mentor was particularly well-qualified for this task. Naturally, he knew far more about computer-intrusion and digital skullduggery than any previously published cyberpunk author. Not only that, but he was good at his work. A vivid imagination, combined with an instinctive feeling for the working of systems and, especially, the loopholes within them, are excellent qualities for a professional game designer. By March 1st, GURPS Cyberpunk was almost complete, ready to print and ship. Steve Jackson expected vigorous sales for this item, which, he hoped, would keep the company financially afloat for several months. GURPS Cyberpunk, like the other GURPS "modules," was not a "game" like a Monopoly set, but a BOOK: a bound paperback book the size of a glossy magazine, with a slick color cover, and pages full of text, illustrations, tables and footnotes.


pages: 199 words: 43,653

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

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Airbnb, AltaVista, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, en.wikipedia.org, framing effect, game design, Google Glasses, Inbox Zero, invention of the telephone, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Oculus Rift, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QWERTY keyboard, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Toyota Production System, Y Combinator

We are more likely to be consistent with our past behaviors. And finally, we change our preferences to avoid cognitive dissonance. In sum, our tendencies lead to a mental process known as rationalization whereby we change our attitudes and beliefs to psychologically adapt. Rationalization helps us give reasons for our behaviors, even when those reasons might have been designed by others. At a 2010 industry conference, Jesse Schell, a renowned game designer and professor at Carnegie Mellon University, articulated the peculiar train of thought some players exhibit online. [cv] Schell examined Mafia Wars, one of Zynga’s first breakout hits, which like FarmVille, attracted millions of players. “There's definitely a lot of psychology here, because if someone had said 'Hey, we're going to make a text-based mafia game that's going to make over $100 million,' you'd say, 'I don't think you'll do that.'

The unknown — in this case, which verse will be chosen for the reader and how it relates to their personal struggle — becomes an important driver of the reading habit. As for my own reward, after finishing my verse, I received affirmation from a satisfying ”Day Complete!” screen. A check mark appeared near the scripture I had read and another one was placed on my reading plan calendar. Skipping a day would mean breaking the chain of checked days, employing what psychologists call the “endowed progress effect” — a tactic also used by video game designers to encourage progression. As habit-forming as the Bible app’s reading plans can be, they are not for everyone. In fact, Gruenewald reports most users downloaded the app but never register for an account with YouVersion. Millions choose to not follow any plan, opting instead to use the app as a substitute for their paper Bibles. But to Gruenewald, using the app in this way suits him fine. Unregistered readers are still helping to grow the app.


pages: 250 words: 9,029

Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Popular Culture Is Making Us Smarter by Steven Johnson

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Columbine, complexity theory, corporate governance, delayed gratification, edge city, Flynn Effect, game design, Marshall McLuhan, pattern recognition, profit motive, race to the bottom, Steve Jobs, the market place

The game scholar James Paul Gee has observed precisely this phenomenon­ called the " regime of competence" principle-at work i n t h e architectu re of successful video games. " Each level dances around the outer l i mits of the player's abilities," he writes, "seeking at every point to be hard enough to be j ust doable . . . which results i n a feeling of si multaneous plea­ sure and frustration-a sensation as familiar to garners as sore thumbs . " Game designers don't build learning ma­ chines out of charity, of course; they do it because there's an economic reward in creating games that stay close to that border. Make a game too hard, and no one will buy it. Make it too easy, and no one will buy it. Make a game where the 1 78 STEVEN JOHNSON chal lenges evolve alongside yo ur skills, and you ' l l have a shot at success. And you'll have built a powerful educational tool to boot.

Many fasci nating experi ments i n using games as educational 201 202 N O T E S ON F U R T H E R R E A D I N G tools have come out of the Education A rcade conso rtium (educationarcade.org) , whose cofounder Henry Jenkins has been the model of the pop culture public intellectual, mak­ ing a number of crucial defenses of games in the media and in the courtroom. Some of the ideas presented here about the logic of gaming a re explored fro m a game designer's point of view in Rules of Play, a textbook coauthored by the designer Eric Zimmerman . The field of video game theory is sometimes cal led " ludology " ; for further reading about this n a scent critical movement, I recommend the Web sites ludology.org and seriousgames.org. Readers interested in the way gaming culture is transforming busi ness will want to check out two relatively new books: Got Game, by John Beck and Mitchell Wade, and Pat Kane's delightful mani­ festo The Play Ethic.


pages: 204 words: 54,395

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

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affirmative action, call centre, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, deliberate practice, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, George Akerlof, Isaac Newton, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, knowledge worker, performance metric, profit maximization, profit motive, Results Only Work Environment, side project, the built environment, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs

Scientists motivated by this intrinsic desire filed significantly more patents than those whose main motivation was money, even controlling for the amount of effort each group expended. (That is, the extrinsically motivated group worked as long and as hard as their more Type I colleagues. They just accomplished less perhaps because they spent less of their work time in flow.) And then there's Jenova Chen, a young game designer who, in 2006, wrote his MFA thesis on Csikszentmihalyi's theory. Chen believed that video games held the promise to deliver quintessential flow experiences, but that too many games required an almost obsessive level of commitment. Why not, he thought, design a game to bring the flow sensation to more casual gamers? Using his thesis project as his laboratory, Chen created a game in which players use a computer mouse to guide an on-screen amoeba-like organism through a surreal ocean landscape as it gobblies other creatures and slowly evolves into a higher form.

The paid version, designed for the PlayStation game console, has generated more than 350,000 downloads and collected a shelf full of awards. Chen used the game to launch his own firm, thatgamecompany, built around both flow and flOw, that quickly won a three-game development deal from Sony, something almost unheard of for an unknown start-up run by a couple of twenty-six-year-old California game designers. Green Cargo, thatgamecompany, and the companies employing the patent-cranking scientists typically use two tactics that their less savvy competitors do not. First, they provide employees with what I call Goldilocks tasks challenges that are not too hot and not too cold, neither overly difficult nor overly simple. One source of frustration in the workplace is the frequent mismatch between what people must do and what people can do.


pages: 291 words: 81,703

Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen

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Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, brain emulation, Brownian motion, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deliberate practice, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Flynn Effect, Freestyle chess, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Isaac Newton, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, reshoring, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Yogi Berra

Game-based interaction tends to be hands-on and step-by-step, moving up a ladder of complexity with rewards along the way to keep the game player interested. Of course these games don’t interest everyone, but wouldn’t it be funny if we already had figured out the education problem and simply didn’t know it? If there is anyone today who understands the dynamic potential of games it is Jane McGonigal (game designer and author of Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World). Her dream, entirely reasonable in my view, is to see a games designer nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. For all the successes of games, however, they also point out some limitations of education by computer, at least how we currently practice it. Education into the world of games works remarkably well, but it works mainly for people who wish to learn the games. Chess-playing computers don’t boost the play of diffident students who refuse to spend much time with the machine.


pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

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23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

In today’s exponentially advancing world, in the battle between good and evil, victory will belong to whichever group proves itself most capable of mobilizing the larger crowd. It’s time to start gaming this system in our favor to ensure our technological tools inure to the greatest overall benefit of humanity. Gaming the System Every game designer should make one explicitly world-changing game. Lawyers do pro bono work, why can’t we? JANE MCGONIGAL According to the American game designer and researcher Jane McGonigal, today there are more than half a billion people worldwide playing computer and video games at least an hour a day, with more than 183 million in the United States alone. That works out to three billion hours a week as a planet playing video games. What if these efforts could be directed for particular public goods?

ALBERT EINSTEIN Increasingly, as we live our lives through avatars—in video games, online worlds, and social networking sites—our online personas are standing in for us in social situations, commercial transactions, and even sexual encounters. They are there representing us online 24/7, compressing time and space, to interact on our behalf with the rest of the world even as we sleep. The renowned game designer Jane McGonigal has noted that “the average young person racks-up 10,000 hours of gaming by the age of 21,” the vast majority of which is in the persona of an avatar or game character. As they do, we witness the rise of Homo virtualis, perhaps the next evolution of Homo sapiens, a species that is pulled away from the constraints of our natural physical world in favor of the immediacy and perceived unlimited potential of the virtual.

Parviz, “Augmented Reality in a Contact Lens,” IEEE Spectrum, Sept. 1, 2009. 81 It is expected: Juniper Research, “Press Release: Over 2.5 Billion Mobile Augmented Reality Apps to Be Installed Per Annum by 2017,” Aug. 29, 2012. 82 Ikea even incorporated AR: Luisa Rollenhagen, “Augmented Reality Catalog Places IKEA Furniture in Your Home,” Mashable, Aug. 6, 2013. 285 A future malicious app: Franziska Roesner, Tadayoshi Kohno, and David Molnar, “Security and Privacy for Augmented Reality Systems,” Communications of the ACM 57, no. 4 (2014): 88–96, doi:​10.​1145/​2580723.​2580730. 83 The renowned game designer: Jane McGonigal, TED Conversation, http://​www.​ted.​com/​conversations/​44/​we_spend_​3_billion_​hours_a_wee.​html; Jane McGonigal, Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (New York: Penguin Books, 2011). 84 “Strategically we want to start building”: Sarah Frier, “Facebook Makes $2 Billion Virtual-Reality Bet with Oculus,” Bloomberg, March 26, 2014. 85 Many genuinely view: “Worlds Without End,” Economist, Dec. 14, 2005. 86 But there is a downside: “A Korean Couple Let a Baby Die While They Played a Video Game,” Newsweek, July 27, 2014; “Korean Couple Let Baby Starve to Death While Caring for Virtual Child,” Telegraph, March 5, 2010. 87 Virtual worlds have their own currencies: “The Economy of Online Gaming Fraud Revealed: 3.4 Million Malware Attacks Every Day,” Kaspersky Lab, Sept. 28, 2010. 88 As strange as it may sound: Carolyn Davis, “Virtual Justice: Online Game World Meets Real-World Cops and Courts,” Philly.​com, Dec. 8, 2010. 89 Even “sexual assaults”: Benjamin Duranske, “ ‘Virtual Rape’ Claim Brings Belgian Police to Second Life,” Virtually Blind, April 24, 2007. 287 These incidents might be: Anna Jane Grossman, “Single, White with Dildo,” Salon, Aug. 30, 2005. 90 A 2008 report: Sara Malm, “U.S.


pages: 336 words: 88,320

Being Geek: The Software Developer's Career Handbook by Michael Lopp

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finite state, game design, job satisfaction, John Gruber, knowledge worker, remote working, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sorting algorithm, web application

The thrill, the adrenaline, comes from the discovery, hunt, and eventual mastery of the unknown, which, confusingly, means if you want to keep a geek engaged in a game, you can't let them win, even though that's exactly what they think they want. Think of it like this: does it bug you that there's an absolute high score to Pac-Man? It bugs me. To get around this entertainment-killing paradox in subscription-based games like World of Warcraft, game designers freely change rule sets as part of regular updates. The spin is, "We're improving playability," which translates into, "The geeks are close to figuring it out, and we can't have that, because they'll stop paying." This paradox does not apply to all games. It's hard to argue that there is much more to learn about Tetris, but folks continue to play it incessantly, which leads to the warning.

I am...a machine. Machines don't have a care in the world, and that's a fine place to be. This is the act of mentally removing ourselves from a troubled planet full of messy people, combined with our ability to find pleasure in the act of completing a small, well-defined task. This is our ability to lose ourselves in repetition, and it is task at which we are highly effective. In the defense of game designers, there are no quests that read, "Go waste 16 hours of your life doing nothing." They are more elegant with their descriptions; they splice all sorts of different tasks together to distract you from the dull inanity of large, laborious tasks. But they know that part of what makes us tick is the micro-pleasure we get from obsessively scratching the task itch in pursuit of the achievement. As I've never designed and shipped a game, I can confidently and ignorantly say the compelling magic in games comes from the design in optimization and repetition.


pages: 289 words: 99,936

Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age by Virginia Eubanks

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affirmative action, Berlin Wall, call centre, cognitive dissonance, desegregation, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of work, game design, global village, index card, informal economy, invisible hand, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, low-wage service sector, microcredit, new economy, post-industrial society, race to the bottom, rent control, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, telemarketer, Thomas L Friedman, trickle-down economics, union organizing, urban planning, web application, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor

These projects took place at different times and under vastly different circumstances, but I believe they show a progression from Box 6.2 WYMSM Member Profile, Jennifer Rose “Don’t be scared to stand up for what you believe, even though it may have costs.” I’ve always really loved computers, since high school. I didn’t own one until I was in my early twenties, because I couldn’t afford one, but I’ve always been interested. I thought they were the way to go in the world. When the dot-com bubble burst, a lot of that stuff was going away. But then game design was getting big. So I thought to myself, “Maybe I can make something more than these stupid shoot-‘em-up games. Something that might actually make people think.” That’s why I got involved in WYMSM. I had come to the YWCA to escape a domestic violence situation, and when the project was mentioned as being a possible computer game, that sparked the geek side of me. Before WYMSM, I was very apolitical.

Because the tapes proved extremely difficult to transcribe—each tape included several speakers, and the conversation was usually intense and lively, with voices overlapping—I transcribed only eight of them, chosen at random to represent each of four periods of five or six months. In addition to these transcripts, I gathered and coded approximately 700 pages of agendas, minutes, notes, flipcharts, game design plans, handouts, promotional materials, and other WYMSM working documents. Appendix A 173 Interviews To supplement data gathered through collective and participatory practices, I undertook twenty-nine semistructured interviews with YWCA residents, staff, and other community members. These interviews provided the opportunity for women in the YWCA community to speak as individuals, with the protection of anonymity (if they chose it), and created a conversational space for in-depth probing of thoughts, ideas, and feelings.


pages: 339 words: 88,732

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, employer provided health coverage, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, falling living standards, Filter Bubble, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, full employment, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, law of one price, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, payday loans, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telepresence, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Y2K

Kinect could also recognize players’ faces, voices, and gestures and do so across a wide range of lighting and noise conditions. It accomplished this with digital sensors including a microphone array (which pinpointed the source of sound better than a single microphone could), a standard video camera, and a depth perception system that both projected and detected infrared light. Several onboard processors and a great deal of proprietary software converted the output of these sensors into information that game designers could use.17 At launch, all of this capability was packed into a four-inch-tall device less than a foot wide that retailed for $149.99. The Kinect sold more than eight million units in the sixty days after its release (more than either the iPhone or iPad) and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest-selling consumer electronics device of all time.18 The initial family of Kinect-specific games let players play darts, exercise, brawl in the streets, and cast spells à la Harry Potter.19 These, however, did not come close to exhausting the system’s possibilities.

In August of 2011 at the SIGGRAPH (short for the Association of Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques) conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, a team of Microsoft employees and academics used Kinect to “SLAM” the door shut on a long-standing challenge in robotics. SIGGRAPH is the largest and most prestigious gathering devoted to research and practice on digital graphics, attended by researchers, game designers, journalists, entrepreneurs, and most others interested in the field. This made it an appropriate place for Microsoft to unveil what the Creators Project website called “The Self-Hack That Could Change Everything.”*20 This was the KinectFusion, a project that used the Kinect to tackle the SLAM problem. In a video shown at SIGGRAPH 2011, a person picks up a Kinect and points it around a typical office containing chairs, a potted plant, and a desktop computer and monitor.21 As he does, the video splits into multiple screens that show what the Kinect is able to sense.


pages: 378 words: 110,518

Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason

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Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, capital controls, Claude Shannon: information theory, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, deglobalization, deindustrialization, deskilling, discovery of the americas, Downton Abbey, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, financial repression, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, Internet of things, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, Metcalfe's law, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, post-industrial society, precariat, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, supply-chain management, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Transnistria, union organizing, universal basic income, urban decay, urban planning, wages for housework, women in the workforce

This will place the workers of China and Brazil on the same overall trajectory as the rich-world workforce, which is to become service-dominated, split into a skilled core and a precariat, with both layers seeing work partially de-linked from wages. In addition, as the Oxford Martin School suggests, it is the low-skilled service jobs that stand the highest risk of total automation over the next two decades. The global working class is not destined to remain for ever divided into factory drones in China and games designers in the USA. However, the struggle in the workplace is no longer the only, or most important, drama. In many industrial and commercial cities around the world, the networked individual is no longer a sociological curiosity, s/he is the archetype. All the qualities the sociologists of the 1990s observed in the tech workforce – mercuriality, spontaneous networking, multiple selves, weak ties, detachment, apparent subservience concealing violent resentment – have become the defining qualities of being a young, economically active human being.

Yet large parts of the workforce are trapped in a world of fines, discipline, violence and power hierarchies – simply because the existence of a cheap labour culture allows it to survive. A crucial goal for the transition process would be to trigger a third managerial revolution: to enthuse managers, trade unions and industrial system designers about the possibilities inherent in a move to networked, modular, non-linear team work. ‘Work cannot become play,’ Marx wrote.11 But the atmosphere in the modern video game design workshop shows that play and work can alternate quite freely and produce results. Among guitars, sofas, pool tables covered in piles of discarded pizza boxes, there is of course still exploitation. But modular, target-driven work, with employees enjoying a high degree of autonomy, can be less alienating, more social, more enjoyable – and deliver better results. There is nothing other than our addiction to cheap labour and inefficiency that says a meat-packing operation cannot enjoy the same kind of unmanaged, modular work – where work is literally interspersed with play, and access to networked information is a right.


pages: 391 words: 105,382

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr

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Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, factory automation, failed state, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, game design, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Kevin Kelly, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mental accounting, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shale / tar sands, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Snapchat, social graph, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

He devotes one of his longest chapters to a report on the proceedings of an industry convention in Las Vegas in 2009, where “matters of narrative, writing, and story were discussed as though by a robot with a PhD in art semiotics from Brown.” Though they often have the feel of homework assignments written by a clever, slightly bored student, the journalistic sections of Bissell’s book are illuminating and at times fascinating. They allow him to explore the challenges that game designers face as they struggle to expand the boundaries of their craft. Video games have become much more sophisticated in recent years—the spectacles they present are often tinged with moral ambiguity—but they continue to be plagued by what Bissell, in describing the Resident Evil series, calls “phenomenal stupidity.” Their very form frustrates the ambitions of their creators. The compromise in agency that lies at the heart of all games—control over the experience shifts clumsily between maker and player—makes it difficult, perhaps impossible, for games to achieve the subtle and surprising emotional resonance that characterizes the finest works of art.

The compromise in agency that lies at the heart of all games—control over the experience shifts clumsily between maker and player—makes it difficult, perhaps impossible, for games to achieve the subtle and surprising emotional resonance that characterizes the finest works of art. Because games by definition have to be played, they can never be experienced with the combination of immersion and detachment, the repose, that characterizes the reader of a novel, the viewer of a painting, or the listener to a song or symphony. Whatever their artistic talents and pretensions, game designers may in the end be fated to be toolmakers, creators of marvelous contraptions of intense but only passing interest. As Bissell’s account makes clear, even the very best modern games—those with exquisite animation, smart writing, intriguing characters, and fresh story lines—have not been able to transcend their gameyness. In his concluding chapter, Bissell turns his attention to one of the most loved and loathed of modern video game franchises: the sprawling, nihilistic underworld adventure Grand Theft Auto.


pages: 371 words: 108,317

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly

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3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, bank run, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, cloud computing, computer age, connected car, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, game design, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, linked data, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, placebo effect, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, social web, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, transport as a service, two-sided market, Uber for X, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Review

One hundred years ago not a single citizen of China would have told you that they would rather buy a tiny glassy slab that allowed them to talk to faraway friends before they would buy indoor plumbing. But every day peasant farmers in China without plumbing purchase smartphones. Crafty AIs embedded in first-person shooter games have given millions of teenage boys the urge, the need, to become professional game designers—a dream that no boy in Victorian times ever had. In a very real way our inventions assign us our jobs. Each successful bit of automation generates new occupations—occupations we would not have fantasized about without the prompting of the automation. To reiterate, the bulk of new tasks created by automation are tasks only other automation can handle. Now that we have search engines like Google, we set the servant upon a thousand new errands.

There’s a tilt in the overall world, so no matter how many explorations you make, you tend to drift over time toward an inevitable incident. When the balance between an ordained narrative and freewill interaction is tweaked just right, it creates the perception of great “game play”—a sweet feeling of being part of something large that is moving forward (the game’s narrative) while you still get to steer (the game’s play). The games’ designers tweak the balance, but the invisible force that nudges players in certain directions is an artificial intelligence. Most of the action in open-ended games like Red Dead Redemption, especially the interactions of supporting characters, is already animated by AI. When you halt at a random homestead and chat with the cowhand, his responses are plausible because in his heart beats an AI. AI is seeping into VR and AR in other ways as well.


pages: 781 words: 226,928

Commodore: A Company on the Edge by Brian Bagnall

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Apple II, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Douglas Engelbart, Firefox, game design, index card, inventory management, Isaac Newton, low skilled workers, Menlo Park, packet switching, pink-collar, popular electronics, prediction markets, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson

“MOS Technology had made video game chips for a couple of companies, like Coleco,” says Yannes, referring to the Telstar game console. At the time, most of the electronics resided in the game cartridge. “They looked like game cartridges that you plugged into the game [module], but in fact the game module itself was just a power supply and an R/F modulator. The game cartridges weren’t software; they were whole custom chips to play that particular game.” Charpentier found the game design inefficient. “Al basically thought that was a pretty crazy way to do that,” recalls Yannes. “Why not have a microprocessor and a video chip in the box, and the cartridge could just be software, which is where Atari ended up.” After the MOS Technology acquisition, Charpentier worked for Tramiel. “I liked him,” says Charpentier. “He had a tough way about him and he was gruff. He had some pretty big flaws, but if you could look past those flaws, he had a lot of things he could teach you.”

However, in the year Commodore released the PET, Apple released the Apple II and Tandy released the TRS-80. Byte magazine later dubbed the competitors the “1977 Trinity.” Engineer Bob Yannes witnessed the dawn of the personal computer while working in a computer store. “The big breakthrough, which came with the PET and the TRS-80 (and to some extent the Apple II, although I won’t give them as much credit as they want), was the fully assembled computer.” Chris Crawford, an early game designer and PET owner, summarizes the 1977 Trinity. “A lot of people don’t realize that the Apple got off to a slow start. In the early days, the horse race was between the PET and the TRS-80,” he says. “The Apple was nowhere to be seen. It was too expensive to sell.” By the end of 1977, Apple had sales of $775,000 for the fiscal year, which included sales of the Apple I. This clearly put Apple in third place, after Radio Shack and Commodore.

Andy Finkel and Bill Hindorff really did the lion’s share on those ports.” Finkel wanted to create the most accurate duplication of the arcade game as possible. “We tried a couple of times to get the source code but they said it was written in a proprietary programming language and that it wouldn’t help us anyway,” he recalls. Eventually the programmers got in contact with the Bally-Midway game designers. “It turns out the proprietary programming language was pretty much Forth. It was a Forth variant with assembler extensions.” Without access to the source code, it was difficult for the programmers to determine exactly how the game was supposed to play. “We did those games based on playing them for hours and hours and hours. And that was rough I tell you,” he says sarcastically. Arcade games require a high skill level, which made it hard for the programmers to study the game completely.


pages: 629 words: 142,393

The Future of the Internet: And How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, c2.com, call centre, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, illegal immigration, index card, informal economy, Internet Archive, jimmy wales, license plate recognition, loose coupling, mail merge, national security letter, packet switching, Post-materialism, post-materialism, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert X Cringely, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, software patent, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, wikimedia commons

Those proprietary information services that remain, such as Lexis/Nexis and Westlaw, sustain themselves because they are the only way to access useful proprietary content, such as archived news and some scholarly journal articles.53 Of course, there need not be a zero-sum game in models of software creation, and generative growth can blend well with traditional market models. Consumers can become enraptured by an expensive, sophisticated shooting game designed by a large firm in one moment and by a simple animation featuring a dancing hamster in the next.54 Big firms can produce software when market structure and demand call for such enterprise; smaller firms can fill niches; and amateurs, working alone and in groups, can design both inspirational “applets” and more labor-intensive software that increase the volume and diversity of the technological ecosystem.55 Once an eccentric and unlikely invention from outsiders has gained notoriety, traditional means of raising and spending capital to improve a technology can shore it up and ensure its exposure to as wide an audience as possible.

Our fortuitous starting point is a generative device in tens of millions of hands on a neutral Net. To maintain it, the users of those devices must experience the Net as something with which they identify and belong. We must use the generativity of the Net to engage a constituency that will protect and nurture it. That constituency may be drawn from the ranks of a new generation able to see that technology is not simply a video game designed by someone else, and that content is not simply what is provided through a TiVo or iPhone. Acknowledgments Many people helped bring about this book. I am fortunate to have brainstormed, taught, and argued with Terry Fisher, Lawrence Lessig, Charlie Nesson, and John Palfrey. They helped me discover, shape, and refine the underlying ideas and themes. They are natural, effortless teachers—and the most helpful and generous colleagues anyone could hope for.


pages: 486 words: 132,784

Inventors at Work: The Minds and Motivation Behind Modern Inventions by Brett Stern

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Apple II, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bioinformatics, Build a better mousetrap, business process, cloud computing, computer vision, cyber-physical system, distributed generation, game design, Grace Hopper, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart transportation, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the market place, Yogi Berra

And yes, if I would say if I had a mentor, it would be Mel. Stern: During the process of doing all this work, were there other inventions or inventors in the toy biz that you admired? Guyer: Well, I admired the success that a group out of Chicago—oh I forget his name. He was a very unusual man, but I admired his team’s products. You know, there are so many really creative toy-and-game designers. I really haven’t spent a lot of time getting to know a lot of the other toy-and-game designers. Mainly because I don’t consider myself only a toy-and-game inventor. I do other things. Stern: What other fields are you working in now? Guyer: We have an education company by the name of Winsor Learning that is one of the leading companies for remediating children who are behind in their reading skills. Reading and math. This company has gone on to help schools deal with children with behavioral problems.


pages: 470 words: 144,455

Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World by Bruce Schneier

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Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, business process, butterfly effect, cashless society, Columbine, defense in depth, double entry bookkeeping, fault tolerance, game design, IFF: identification friend or foe, John von Neumann, knapsack problem, mutually assured destruction, pez dispenser, pirate software, profit motive, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, slashdot, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steven Levy, the payments system, Y2K, Yogi Berra

Hackers have written computer bots that assist play for some of these games, particularly Quake and NetTrek. The idea is that the bots can react much quicker than a human, so that the player becomes much more effective when using these bots. An arms race has ensued, as game designers try to disable these bots and force fairer play, and the hackers make the bots cleverer and harder to disable. These games are trying to rely on trusted client software, and the hacker community has managed to break every trick the game designers have thrown at them. I am continuously amazed by the efforts hackers will go through to break the security. The lessons are twofold: not only is there no reasonable way to trust a client-side program in real usage, but there’s no possible way to ever achieve that level of protection.


pages: 437 words: 132,041

Alex's Adventures in Numberland by Alex Bellos

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Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, family office, forensic accounting, game design, Georg Cantor, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, SETI@home, Steve Jobs, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, traveling salesman

One early machine paid out fruit-flavoured chewing gum as a way to get round gaming laws. This introduced the classic melon and cherry symbols and is why slots are known in the UK as fruit machines. The Liberty Bell had a payback average of 75 percent, but these days slots are more generous than they used to be. ‘The rule of thumb is, if it’s a dollar denomination [machine], most people would put [the payback percentage] at 95 percent,’ said Anthony Baerlocher, the director of game design at International Game Technology (IGT), a slot-machine company that accounts for 60 percent of the world’s million or so active machines, referring to slots where the bets are made in dollars. ‘If it’s a nickel it’s more like 90 percent, 92 percent for a quarter, and if they do pennies it might go down to 88 percent.’ Computer technology allows machines to accept bets of multiple denominations, so the same machine can have different payback percentages according to the size of the bet.

By contrast, in Game B only a third of the payout money goes on $4 payouts, leaving much more money to be won in the larger jackpots. Game A is what is called a low-volatility game, while Game B is high-volatility – you hit a winning combination less often, but the chances of a big win are greater. The higher the volatility, the more short-term risk there is for the slot operator. Some gamblers prefer low-volatility slots, while others prefer high. The game designer’s chief role is to make sure the machine pays out just enough for the gambler to want to continue playing – because the more someone plays, on average, the more he or she will lose. High volatility generates more excitement – especially in a casino, where machines hitting jackpots draw attention by erupting in spine-tingling son et lumière. Designing a good game, however, is not just about sophisticated graphics, colourful sounds and entertaining video narratives – it’s also about getting the underlying probabilities just right.


pages: 468 words: 124,573

How to Build a Billion Dollar App: Discover the Secrets of the Most Successful Entrepreneurs of Our Time by George Berkowski

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Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Black Swan, business intelligence, call centre, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, loose coupling, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, Paul Graham, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Y Combinator

‘We think that the biggest advantage we have in this company is culture,’ offers the industry veteran. ‘We want to build a very different type of company. At the centre of it is this idea of small – if you think around the console industry, or even if you look at newer platforms like Facebook, what happens is that somebody comes in, and they have this small and very passionate team, and they make a great game, and consumers pick it up.’6 Paananen explains, ‘We don’t have dedicated game designers as such – it’s the team that is going to build the game, and they are all responsible for the end-user experience.’ Supercell’s outrageous success is evidence that this approach can drive huge success. ‘People really step up and take more responsibilities,’ adds Paananen. ‘It’s a lot more motivating to do that, and a lot more passion gets thrown into the product.’ That is what building culture is all about.

Weiner admits that most startups have only a vision or a mission statement, but he points out the benefits of having both the ‘what’ (vision) and the ‘how’ (mission) working together. The CEO needs to ensure these are in place, to ensure there is a real purpose for the company, which is a mechanism to both inspire and organise employees. Leading gaming company Rovio has a mobile-centric mission statement: ‘We provide unique and novel stories with innovative game-play to satisfy the growing demand of games designed for mobile.’6 Vision and mission statements evolve over the lifetime of a company, so don’t worry if you don’t settle on one immediately. They should come organically; they need to feel right. Google didn’t flesh out its mission statement until the company was about three years old. But when that mission was crystallised it really injected a meaning and purpose into the company, and allowed it to expand into so many new and fantastic areas, all which really do seem to make sense.


pages: 509 words: 132,327

Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History by Thomas Rid

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1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, connected car, domain-specific language, Douglas Engelbart, dumpster diving, Extropian, full employment, game design, global village, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telepresence, V2 rocket, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, Zimmermann PGP

“The IO devices were very low bit rate,” Vinge said later, explaining how he had constructed True Names. “They depended on the viewer’s imagination to fill the gaps, which is exactly what happens when you read a book.”94 The Habitat engineers had the same approach: the game depended on the player’s imagination to fill the gaps. Habitat was meant to represent the real world—at least to a degree. The game designers liberally added childhood memories of games of make-believe, “a dash of silliness, a touch of cyberpunk,” and of course, their remarkable technical skills in what was then called “object-oriented programming.” The objects were the furniture of the Habitat world: houses, trees, gardens, mailboxes, books, doors, compasses, but also more controversial objects like clubs, knives, and guns. The game’s little cartoon characters, controlled by the gamer, could buy and sell these items with in-game money that they had in their in-game bank accounts.

The game’s little cartoon characters, controlled by the gamer, could buy and sell these items with in-game money that they had in their in-game bank accounts. Tokens were the currency in the land of Habitat, commonly abbreviated simply as T. For each new player joining Habitat, an avatar was created, or “hatched,” and a starting amount of 2,000T was placed in the player’s personal account. Each day the player logged in to the game, the money grew by 100T. The game was inspired by science fiction, “notably Vernor Vinge’s novel, True Names,” the game designers explained.95 ATMs, which in Habitat stood for “automatic token machines,” gave avatars access to their money. One token was a twenty-three-sided plastic coin, slightly larger than a US quarter. Remarkably, the game coins had a portrait of Vinge on their face, adorned with the motto “Fiat Lucre” and the line “Good for one fare” on the back. But this was the 1980s. Such details could only be explained in the handbook and were lost on the bulky, curved, low-resolution screens of C-64s that started up with a painfully high-pitched beeping sound and never really stopped flickering.


pages: 420 words: 119,928

The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth's Past) by Cixin Liu

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back-to-the-land, cosmic microwave background, Deng Xiaoping, game design, Henri Poincaré, horn antenna, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Norbert Wiener, Panamax, RAND corporation, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Von Neumann architecture

The answer was that the photograph’s information content—its entropy—exceeded the painting’s by one or two orders of magnitude. Three Body was the same. Its enormous information content was hidden deep. Wang could feel it, but he could not articulate it. He suddenly understood that the makers of Three Body took the exact opposite of the approach taken by designers of other games. Normally, game designers tried to display as much information as possible to increase the sense of realism. But Three Body’s designers worked to compress the information content to disguise a more complex reality, just like that seemingly empty photograph of the sky. Wang let his mind wander back to the world of Three Body. Flying stars! The key must be in the flying stars. One flying star, two flying stars, three flying stars … what did they mean?

The core was like the eye’s pupil, and though it was small, it was bright and dense. The layers surrounding it, by contrast, appeared insubstantial, wispy, gaseous. The fact that he could see through the outside layers to the core indicated that those layers were transparent or translucent, and the light from those layers was likely just scattered light from the core. The details in the image of the sun stunned Wang. He was once again assured that the game designers had hidden a vast amount of data within the superficially simple images, just waiting to be revealed by players. As Wang pondered the meaning of the sun’s structure, he became excited. Because time in the game was now passing quickly, the sun was already in the west. Wang stood, adjusted the telescope to aim at the sun again, and tracked it until it dipped below the horizon. Night fell, and the bonfires across the plains mirrored the sky full of stars.


pages: 176 words: 55,819

The Start-Up of You by Reid Hoffman

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Airbnb, Andy Kessler, Black Swan, business intelligence, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, David Brooks, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, fear of failure, follow your passion, future of work, game design, Jeff Bezos, job automation, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, out of africa, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, Richard Bolles, risk tolerance, rolodex, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs

If someone offers to introduce you to a person you really want to meet or offers to share assorted wisdom on an important topic, accept the help and express due gratitude. Everyone will feel good—and you’ll actually get closer to the person. Be a Bridge A good way to help people is to introduce them to people and experiences they wouldn’t otherwise be able to access. In other words, straddle different communities/social circles and then be the bridge that your friends can walk over. My passion for entrepreneurship combined with my interest in board game design led me to introduce many of my entrepreneur friends to Settlers of Catan, the German board game. A community in Silicon Valley has sprung up around the game. I’ve also combined my experience scaling consumer Internet products with my interest in cause-based philanthropy to help organizations like Kiva and Mozilla—bridging my network and expertise from the for-profit world to the not-for-profit world.


pages: 171 words: 54,334

Barefoot Into Cyberspace: Adventures in Search of Techno-Utopia by Becky Hogge, Damien Morris, Christopher Scally

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, disintermediation, Douglas Engelbart, Fall of the Berlin Wall, game design, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Naomi Klein, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Skype, Socratic dialogue, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks

But although Cory identifies a potential split “between what my father saw as kind of my bourgeois punk anarchism and his more rigorous Marxist approach”, his most memorable breakaway from the older generation came at the annual peace and social justice summer camp his parents sent him to, Grindstone. Cory describes Grindstone as “his Rosebud”. Bequeathed to the Quakers by the daughter of its original owner, the first Admiral of the Royal Canadian Navy, Grindstone Island became an experimental centre of non-violent civilian defence against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. In 1965, it had been the setting for the disastrous “Grindstone experiment”, a role-playing game designed to test theories of non-violent resistance that in the end only served to highlight their inefficacy: the entire exercise was curtailed two days early after half the non-violent party were “killed” by a staged invading force. It was the mid-eighties by the time a young Cory arrived at Grindstone Island, and it was there that Cory’s techno-Utopianism was to crystallise. “There was a guy who was involved in gender politics and youth sex education, who was involved with our youth caucus.


pages: 210 words: 56,667

The Misfit Economy: Lessons in Creativity From Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Informal Entrepreneurs by Alexa Clay, Kyra Maya Phillips

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3D printing, Airbnb, Alfred Russel Wallace, Berlin Wall, Burning Man, collaborative consumption, conceptual framework, double helix, fear of failure, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Occupy movement, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, union organizing, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Zipcar

As part of the investigation, drivers of Shell’s trucks in India and workers at a refinery in Louisiana are participating in the pilot program. If the results of this experiment are positive, they would enable greater workplace safety in many industries where focus and attention on task is key to success—for example, mining and construction or medical surgery. Other types of “culture hacks” can be simpler acts of insurgency. Heidi McDonald, a video game designer, decorates her desk at work with a pirate ship and is planning to get a skull and crossbones tattoo. David Berdish, who was looking to reinvent mobility at Ford, was very open at work about his Catholic faith. Sometimes the simplest change we can make to a culture is to bring our passions and values to work. For McDonald, pirates “stand for independence and adventure. You have the freedom to make your own rules, and your life depends on your own resourcefulness,” she told us.


pages: 223 words: 52,808

Intertwingled: The Work and Influence of Ted Nelson (History of Computing) by Douglas R. Dechow

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3D printing, Apple II, Bill Duvall, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, game design, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, linked data, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, pre–internet, RAND corporation, semantic web, Silicon Valley, software studies, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, Whole Earth Catalog

It is of course very well known that many computer games are about shooting. One of the reasons for this I think, as some game critics have said, is that it’s partly because when you’re looking at ways to interact with a virtual world, destruction is one of the first and most obvious ways to have an effect on the world. It’s kind of a 2 year old’s way of dealing with the world: poke at things and see if they break! A big check-box for game designers was “can we add more destructibility to the environment.” Thankfully, we’re now starting to move beyond that and explore other things that games can do. Finally, one of my great passions is the intertwingularity of popular culture. I’m very interested in what is usually referred to as “fan fiction.” Fan fiction isn’t really a separate thing from other fiction and never has been. Published authors sometimes play in other authors’ worlds.


pages: 170 words: 51,205

Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age by Cory Doctorow, Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman

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Airbnb, barriers to entry, Brewster Kahle, cloud computing, Dean Kamen, Edward Snowden, game design, Internet Archive, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, optical character recognition, Plutocrats, plutocrats, pre–internet, profit maximization, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Saturday Night Live, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, transfer pricing, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy

If you want to make stuff and try to earn a living from it, rather than shaking your fist and telling the Internet to get off your lawn, then this is the book for you. Creators, investors, intermediaries, and audiences When we’re talking about copyright, we’re fundamentally talking about four different activities: making creative works, investing in creative works, distributing and selling creative works, and enjoying creative works. As a shorthand, I’ll be using “creator” to describe people who make creative works—painters, photographers, game designers, novelists, poets, musicians, songwriters, choreographers, dancers, and many other sorts of people. I’ll use “investor” to describe someone who puts capital—cash—into the production and refinement of that work: think of a publisher, a record label, a studio. I’ll use “intermediary” to describe those entities that handle the work between creation, investment, and delivery: a distributor, a website like YouTube, a retailer, an e-commerce site like Amazon, a cinema owner, a cable operator, a TV station or network.


pages: 170 words: 45,121

Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug

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collective bargaining, game design, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, speech recognition, Steve Jobs

(It’s not their fault that when corporate redesigned the place recently they decided that good lighting wasn’t something people really needed.) My son, Harry, now finishing his degree at RPI, whose company I treasure more than he knows. I exhaust his patience regularly by asking him to explain to me just one more time the difference between a meme and a trope. If anyone has a job opening for a Cognitive Science major with a minor in Game Design, I’ll be happy to pass it on. And finally, Melanie, who has only one known failing: an inherited lack of superstition that leads her to say things like “Well, I haven’t had a cold all Winter.” Apart from that, I am, as I say so often, among the most fortunate of husbands. If you’d like your life to be good, marry well. Index $25,000 Pyramid, 36 A accessibility, 173–81 affordances, 151–53 Agile development, 4, 118 Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral?


pages: 229 words: 68,426

Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing by Adam Greenfield

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augmented reality, business process, defense in depth, demand response, demographic transition, facts on the ground, game design, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, James Dyson, knowledge worker, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, new economy, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, profit motive, recommendation engine, RFID, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method

While unidimensional bar-codes have seen ubiquitous public use since 1974 as the familiar Universal Product Code, they're sharply limited in terms of information density; newer 2D formats such as Semacode and QR, while perhaps lacking the aesthetic crispness of the classic varieties, allow a literally geometric expansion of the amount of data that can be encoded in a given space. At present, one of the most interesting uses of 2D codes is when they're used as hyperlinks for the real world. Semacode stickers have been cleverly employed in this role in the Big Games designed by the New York City creative partnership area/code, where they function as markers of buried treasure, in a real-time playfield that encompasses an entire urban area—but what 2D coding looks like in daily practice can perhaps best be seen in Japan, where the QR code has been adopted as a de facto national standard. QR codes can be found anywhere and everywhere in contemporary Japan: in a product catalogue, in the corner of a magazine ad, on the back of a business card.


pages: 242 words: 71,938

The Google Resume: How to Prepare for a Career and Land a Job at Apple, Microsoft, Google, or Any Top Tech Company by Gayle Laakmann Mcdowell

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barriers to entry, cloud computing, game design, information retrieval, job-hopping, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, why are manhole covers round?

The role can be broken down into a variety of subdisciplines, including world design, game writing, and level design. Once the core game components have been decided, some designers may double as engineers. Designers are not necessarily expected to have an artistic background, but they are expected to be highly creative. Recruiters typically want people with some sort of development background, even if they won’t be a full-time coder. Many schools offer courses or programs in game design, from which companies recruit designers. Other Roles Though development, production, art, and design may handle game creation, a number of other key support roles exist. The following are some of the most popular: Quality assurance. QA can be broken down into three types: functional testing, certification testing, and automation testing. While automation testers usually need a computer science degree from a four-year university, the other two testing positions may require only a two-year degree.


pages: 267 words: 78,857

Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff by Dinah Sanders

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Atul Gawande, big-box store, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwatching, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, credit crunch, endowment effect, Firefox, game design, Inbox Zero, income per capita, index card, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, Kevin Kelly, late fees, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, Merlin Mann, side project, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand

That’s the principle behind EpicWin, an iPhone app that you can use to cajole yourself into doing mundane household chores: “I really want to call it quits for the night, but washing the dishes will only take five minutes and I will get experience points for it. I am really close to leveling up!” HealthMonth, the online game, helps build habits that will make you feel better all the time. It’s not just a silly trick. Games designer, researcher, and author Jane McGonigal cites years of scientific studies to back up her assertion that “… when we game we are tapping into our best qualities: our ability to be motivated, to be optimistic, to collaborate with others, to be resilient in the face of failure.” Stepping into that place of strength in the safe environment of games makes it easier for us to do so outside of them.


pages: 252 words: 70,424

The Self-Made Billionaire Effect: How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value by John Sviokla, Mitch Cohen

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Cass Sunstein, Colonization of Mars, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Elon Musk, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, global supply chain, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, paper trading, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart meter, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, young professional

Jaharis and Frost sold Key in 1986 to Schering-Plough, and Jaharis went on to found Kos Pharmaceuticals, which marketed the first niacin product that is well tolerated and effective at increasing good cholesterol. Jaharis sold Kos to Abbot Laboratories. He has since founded Vatera Healthcare Partners, a health venture capital firm, and Arisaph Pharmaceuticals, a biotech discovery firm. Steve Jobs 1955–2011, United States Apple Computer, Pixar Jobs was a game designer at Atari when he, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne launched Apple Computer in 1976 to market a personal computer Wozniak had invented. The first Apple PCs proved a huge success, but later products floundered. Infighting led to Jobs’s 1985 ouster. He founded NeXT Computer and bought the Pixar animation studio from George Lucas. Pixar’s 1995 IPO made Jobs a billionaire. Two years later, Apple bought NeXT and reinstated Jobs as CEO, ushering in an era of tremendous innovation and growth driven by the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.


pages: 361 words: 83,886

Inside the Robot Kingdom: Japan, Mechatronics and the Coming Robotopia by Frederik L. Schodt

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carbon-based life, computer age, computer vision, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, factory automation, game design, guest worker program, industrial robot, Jacques de Vaucanson, Norbert Wiener, post-industrial society, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, V2 rocket, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce

Until its 1986 bankruptcy, their ranks included Dainichi Kiko, one of Japan's largest industrial robot manufacturers. Dainichi Kiko made amusement robots to complement its regular line for industry. The game companies, like the toy companies, make them to raise their own technological level and to create a high-tech image. One of the biggest amusement robot manufacturers is Namco, best known today for Pac-Man, the video arcade game designed by Toru Iwatani that took the world by storm in 1980. Established in 1955, Namco has a long relationship with robots. It originally built amusement attractions and rides of the sort commonly found on the tops of Japanese urban department stores—often in the shape of popular cartoon character robots like Arare-chan and Doraemon. Thus far, it has produced nearly four hundred amusement robots, ranging from Atomic Robot Atom, which greets visitors to the Science Museum in Tokyo with flashing lights, waving arms, and voice recognition and synthesis, to Robot Theaters and Robot Circuses, where microcomputer-controlled mechanical robot characters perform in front of audiences.


pages: 243 words: 66,908

Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Meadows. Donella, Diana Wright

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affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, game design, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Just-in-time delivery, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, peak oil, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Whole Earth Review

The success-to the-successful loop can be kept under control by putting into place feedback loops that keep any competitor from taking over entirely. That’s what antitrust laws do in theory and sometimes in practice. (One of the resources very big companies can win by winning, however, is the power to weaken the administration of antitrust laws.) The most obvious way out of the success-to the-successful archetype is by periodically “leveling the playing field.” Traditional societies and game designers instinctively design into their systems some way of equalizing advantages, so the game stays fair and interesting. Monopoly games start over again with everyone equal, so those who lost last time have a chance to win. Many sports provide handicaps for weaker players. Many traditional societies have some version of the Native American “potlatch,” a ritual in those who have the most give away many of their possessions to those who have the least.


pages: 302 words: 74,878

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer, Charles Fishman

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4chan, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Asperger Syndrome, Bonfire of the Vanities, en.wikipedia.org, game design, Google Chrome, Howard Zinn, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, out of africa, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple

Wilson: biologist, author, professor emeritus at Harvard University, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize Oprah Winfrey: founder and chairwoman of the Oprah Winfrey Network, actress, author George C. Wolfe: playwright, theater director, two-time winner of the Tony Award Steve Wozniak: cofounder of Apple Inc., designer of Apple I and Apple II computers, inventor John D. Wren: president and CEO of marketing and communications company Omnicom Will Wright: game designer, creator of Sim City and The Sims Steve Wynn: businessman, Las Vegas casino magnate Gideon Yago: writer, former correspondent for MTV News Eitan Yardeni: teacher and spiritual counselor at the Kabbalah Centre Daniel Yergin: economist, author of The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, winner of the Pulitzer Prize Dan York: chief content officer at DirecTV, former president of content and advertising sales, AT&T Michael W.


pages: 233 words: 66,446

Bitcoin: The Future of Money? by Dominic Frisby

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3D printing, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, capital controls, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer age, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, friendly fire, game design, Isaac Newton, Julian Assange, litecoin, M-Pesa, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing complete, War on Poverty, web application, WikiLeaks

Some of the people he left it to are very, very competent and skilled.’ There are hundreds of different programming languages, but Satoshi chose to code in C++. In C++, programmers have to do things for themselves that are automated in later languages – they are working with ‘nuts and bolts’, close to the hardware of the computer. This means there are many who don’t go near C++, finding it too complicated, though it remains popular with games designers – and cryptographers. Other coders, such as Wei Dai, think it is ‘a pretty standard choice for anyone wanting to build such a piece of software’.132 C++ is a computing subculture in itself. Dan Kaminsky – the hacker who tried to crack Bitcoin – was initially dismissive about the choice to use C++. He thought it was a weakness. His attempts to hack Bitcoin changed his mind: ‘in the context of actual security paranoia, C++ is actually a great choice.


pages: 193 words: 19,478

Memory Machines: The Evolution of Hypertext by Belinda Barnet

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augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Duvall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, game design, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, linked data, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, publish or perish, semantic web, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, Vannevar Bush, wikimedia commons

There would be much to say here, if space allowed, about cake and companion cubes, government labs, test subjects, videogames and their players, people and xiv Memory Machines nonpeople (see another US philosopher, W. R. Romney, on the ontological status of corporations). For the moment it is enough to note that Coulton’s title applies both to the arch-villain of the game (GLaDOS, or Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System), as well as everyone who beats the final level, becoming perhaps the most important ‘people who are still alive’, if you are a game designer. Such at least was the song’s first rhetorical situation, before it went viral on YouTube: if you are hearing this message, congratulations, your long history of failure has paid off. You have traversed or configured the game logic to reach this not entirely meaningless outcome. Okay, you win; the game, of course, goes on. Welcome to the cultural logic of software or cybertext, that larger domain to which hypertext, the subject of this book, inevitably articulates, either as first revelation or arcane orthodoxy.


pages: 202 words: 64,725

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett, Dave Evans

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David Brooks, fear of failure, financial independence, game design, Haight Ashbury, invention of the printing press, iterative process, knowledge worker, market design, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs

Curiosity makes everything new. It invites exploration. It makes everything play. Most of all, curiosity is going to help you “get good at being lucky.” It’s the reason some people see opportunities everywhere. Try Stuff. When you have a bias to action, you are committed to building your way forward. There is no sitting on the bench just thinking about what you are going to do. There is only getting in the game. Designers try things. They test things out. They create prototype after prototype, failing often, until they find what works and what solves the problem. Sometimes they find the problem is entirely different from what they first thought it was. Designers embrace change. They are not attached to a particular outcome, because they are always focused on what will happen next—not what the final result will be.


pages: 251 words: 76,225

The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, clean water, desegregation, en.wikipedia.org, Ferguson, Missouri, game design, Google Hangouts, hiring and firing, Kickstarter, means of production, Skype, women in the workforce

Many young men, taught by our culture to emote only anger and sarcasm, are ill-equipped when it comes to processing strong emotion. When you are promised the world and the world says it doesn’t want you, you’re left flailing and lashing out, and that’s what these guys did. In the churn of comments sections across the internet, someone decided the real problem here was that the young woman was a video game designer, and the man she was accused of sleeping with by her ex-boyfriend was a video game reviewer, and that this was some kind of breach of … ethics in gaming journalism. I’m unsure how this epiphany grew out of a spurned ex-boyfriend’s explicit rant about his ex-girlfriend’s supposed sexual exploits, but this is the internet. I suspect that it ties into the Fake Geek Girl fear. Surely the only reason this young woman slept with this young man was to get a positive review of her game, right?


pages: 924 words: 241,081

The Art of Community by Jono Bacon

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barriers to entry, collaborative editing, crowdsourcing, Debian, DevOps, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, game design, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Jono Bacon, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, openstreetmap, Richard Stallman, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social graph, software as a service, telemarketer, union organizing, VA Linux, web application

These pads went through many variations, but they all shared one common characteristic: the buttons controlled the action. Of course, there were attempts at alternatives: light guns, dance mats, plastic guitars and drums. Most still had the assumed knowledge that the player controlled the action by pressing buttons. These alternative approaches were never a core part of the systems. They were novelty add-ons that often had limited appeal. The Wii changed all of that. Shigeru Miyamoto, a renowned video game designer and cocreator of many games, including Super Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong, and The Legend of Zelda, sat down with other designers and questioned whether they should be limited to the existing norms of the game interface. The result was one of the most significant developments in video game history: the Wii Remote, which allowed gamers to control the action by moving the unit itself. This enabled all manner of physical interactions, from 10-pin bowling to boxing to ski-jumping.

Once someone has spent 40 hours making something, they are going to be proud of it, and they will want to share it with people, and show off. They will want to share it with people who might not be able to see it if it just exists inside a game world. Getting these creations out of the game and onto the Web allows people to share far more easily, in places where they like to hang out with their non-LittleBigPlanet friends. For us, LBP.me was our solution, and we very much consider it an extended part of the game design itself. We’re always watching and learning, and iterating on our designs as the community evolves, so we can build a better and more enjoyable experience, and everything we have learned will be applied to our future projects. Personally, I’ve learned that a simple game about playing, creating, and sharing can have some wonderful effects on people’s lives, and that I’m very lucky to have worked with a community of lovely, creative people who seem to be able to blow my mind on an almost daily basis!


pages: 255 words: 90,456

Frommer's Irreverent Guide to San Francisco by Matthew Richard Poole

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Bay Area Rapid Transit, game design, glass ceiling, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, haute cuisine, Loma Prieta earthquake, Maui Hawaii, pez dispenser, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, Torches of Freedom, upwardly mobile

The Palace of Fine Arts is a must-see, not just because it houses the Exploratorium, but because it looks just like an ancient Roman temple and it’s the only building that remains from the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition (held to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal). A trip to the Exploratorium is also mandatory, particularly if you’re toting along kids. Seasoned locals will assure you it’s the most fun you can have without hallucinogenic drugs, especially if you crawl through the dark, sensual Tactile Dome or try any of the other hands-on games designed to totally twist your mind. You never know what the mad scientists will have in store for you at this wonderfully fun, interactive science museum—and the gift shop is the best place in the city to load up on brainy birthday and Christmas gifts. San Francisco’s cable-car system is still run out of a three-story red-brick barn, and you can watch it in action from several special spectator galleries at the highly entertaining (and always free) Cable Car Museum.


pages: 367 words: 99,765

Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings

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Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, British Empire, clean water, David Brooks, don't be evil, dumpster diving, Eratosthenes, game design, Google Earth, helicopter parent, hive mind, index card, John Harrison: Longitude, John Snow's cholera map, Mercator projection, Mercator projection distort size, especially Greenland and Africa, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Journalism, openstreetmap, place-making, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Skype, Stewart Brand, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, traveling salesman, urban planning

.* “The achievement of a plausible state is not so easy as it might appear,” wrote Gelett Burgess in 1902. Burgess was a humorist best remembered today for coining the word “blurb” and writing the poem “The Purple Cow,” but he was also an inveterate map geek. “There is nothing so difficult as to create, out of hand, an interesting coast line. Try and invent an irregular shore that shall be convincing, and you will see how much more cleverly Nature works than you.” A video-game designer who moonlights as a fantasy mapmaker, Isaac probably has as much experience testing Burgess’s dictum as anyone in the world. A century later, coastlines are still hard. “You wind up doing this seizure thing with your hand, and it doesn’t work sometimes,” he tells me. Burgess’s solution was to spill water on his paper, pound it with his fist, and trace the resulting blotch. Isaac has developed his own tricks of the trade.


pages: 350 words: 107,834

Halting State by Charles Stross

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augmented reality, call centre, forensic accounting, game design, Google Earth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, impulse control, indoor plumbing, invention of the steam engine, Necker cube, Potemkin village, RFID, Schrödinger's Cat, Vernor Vinge, zero day

You back-track, trying to work out what confused her. “Procedural content?” She nods. “Content is, well, the map of the dungeon, location of treasure, where the monsters live, what the wallpaper looks like. Any game is full of the stuff, and it’s expensive to do by hand—you need tile illustrators, narrators, musicians, programmers, a whole bunch of skills. So over the past couple of decades the industry’s put a lot of effort into procedural game design—AI tools that can design a virtual-reality environment on the fly for players to explore. It’s not just multiplayer games like Avalon Four; there’s been work on ARG—artificial reality games—that can take a set of starting hints and design a conspiracy to drop on top of the players. You know, generate scripts for phone calls, order up custom gadgets to be planted at certain locations, hire actors…?”


pages: 502 words: 107,510

Natural Language Annotation for Machine Learning by James Pustejovsky, Amber Stubbs

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Amazon Mechanical Turk, bioinformatics, cloud computing, computer vision, crowdsourcing, easy for humans, difficult for computers, finite state, game design, information retrieval, iterative process, natural language processing, pattern recognition, performance metric, sentiment analysis, social web, speech recognition, statistical model, text mining

In terms of the MAMA cycle, the key to using MTurk is to test your HITs to make sure the annotation goal of each HIT is small enough to be performed quickly and accurately, and that the annotation guidelines are only a few sentences long. As with any project, it will take a few tries to get a HIT design that gets you the annotation you need in the degree of detail you want. Games with a Purpose (GWAP) Fortunately, other ways of crowdsourcing data also exist. One widely talked about method is that of using “games with a purpose”—essentially, computer games designed to make an annotation task fun so that people will do it voluntarily. A few successful annotation games are: Phrase Detective Purpose: Collect information about coreference relations in text. This game asks players to examine a short piece of text, with a section of the text (a word or phrase) highlighted in orange. The players are then asked if the phrase is referred to earlier in the text.


pages: 346 words: 102,625

Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker

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8-hour work day, active transport: walking or cycling, barriers to entry, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, delayed gratification, discounted cash flows, diversification, don't be evil, dumpster diving, financial independence, game design, index fund, invention of the steam engine, inventory management, loose coupling, market bubble, McMansion, passive income, peak oil, place-making, Ponzi scheme, psychological pricing, the scientific method, time value of money, transaction costs, wage slave, working poor

Harding, Operations Management [40] David Holmgren, Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability [41] Richard Brewer, Principles of ecology [42] Jacques Ellul, Propaganda [43] William Catton, Overshoot [44] Matthew B. Crawford, Shop class as soulcraft [45] Herman Hesse, Siddhartha [46] David Wann, Simple Prosperity [47] Alain de Botton, Status Anxiety [48] Jesse Schell, The Art of Game Design [49] Amy Dacyczyn, The Complete Tightwad Gazette [50] Ann Thorpe, The Designer's Atlas of Sustainability [51] Peter M. Senge, The Fifth Discipline [52] Tom Hodgkinson, The Freedom Manifesto [53] Michael Maccoby, The Gamesman [54] Dick Stoken, The Great Cycle [55] Peter Lawrence, The Happy Minimalist [56] Lin Yu Tan, The importance of living [57] Thomas Homer-Dixon, The Ingenuity Gap [58] Elizabeth Gilbert, The Last American Man [59] Scott Nearing, The Making of a Radical [60] Margarat Lobenstine, The Renaissance Soul [61] James Dale Davidson & Lord William Rees-Mogg, The sovereign individual [62] G.


pages: 375 words: 105,067

Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry by Helaine Olen

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asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, Cass Sunstein, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, delayed gratification, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, estate planning, financial innovation, Flash crash, game design, greed is good, high net worth, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, London Whale, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage debt, oil shock, payday loans, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, too big to fail, transaction costs, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile, Vanguard fund, wage slave, women in the workforce, working poor, éminence grise

Struthers did not mention that Bank of America executives might also have benefitted from a class on financial literacy before they decided to buy Countrywide Financial Corp. in 2008 without realizing the mortgage origination firm was in such desperate financial trouble that it could have caused BofA’s collapse. Needless to say, even the most unironic efforts rarely involve any “education” that might threaten the financial model of the corporate sponsor. Take Visa’s Financial Football, a computer game designed to teach high schoolers and adults the intricacies of personal finance. According to Visa spokesman Jason Alderman, the curriculum “emphasize(s) that credit is a terrific tool…you need to stop and think, ‘How am I paying for this item today? Does it make sense? What is the best payment choice to make?’” As a result, there are dozens of questions in Financial Football on how to manage credit and how to protect your credit record, including “Which is typically not a feature of credit card e-mail or cell phone alerts?”


pages: 364 words: 103,162

The English by Jeremy Paxman

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back-to-the-land, British Empire, colonial rule, Corn Laws, Etonian, game design, global village, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, Khartoum Gordon, Own Your Own Home, Ralph Waldo Emerson, sensible shoes, urban sprawl, women in the workforce

OSCAR WILDE It is not merely that the roles of the English sexes have changed. So too has the land they live in. It is, like the rest of the world, dominated by brand names. The English wear baseball caps and jeans, eat versions of American, Asian or Italian food, drive cars made anywhere on the globe (even the grandest British car-maker, Rolls-Royce, is now owned by Germans), dance to international beats and play computer games designed in Seattle or Tokyo. In this new world neither geography nor history, religion nor politics exerts the influence it once did. And as external fashions have changed in the last half-century, so too have the internal certainties. The Second World War, the time of Brief Encounter and In Which We Serve, was the last extended period when we could say with any confidence that the impression of England matched the reality.


pages: 292 words: 85,151

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest

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23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, ethereum blockchain, Galaxy Zoo, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loose coupling, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, p-value, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator

EyeWire illustrates how an ExO can apply game elements and mechanics in non-game products and services to create fun and engaging experiences, converting users into loyal players—and in the process accomplish extraordinary things. Other games that use this technique include MalariaSpot (hunt malaria parasites in real images), GalaxyZoo (classify galaxies according to their shapes) and Foldit (help biochemists combat AIDS and other diseases by predicting and producing protein models). As game designer and author Jane McGonigal sees it, “Human beings are wired to compete.” Engaging gamers, however, requires more than just throwing a game up on a website and letting gamers have at it. “Gamification should empower people, not exploit them. It should feel good at the end of the day because you made progress towards something that mattered to you.” To be successful, every gamification initiative should leverage the following game techniques: Dynamics: motivate behavior through scenarios, rules and progression Mechanics: help achieve goals through teams, competitions, rewards and feedback Components: track progress through quests, points, levels, badges and collections Gamification is not only used to tackle challenges and problems with the help of a community, it can also be used as a hiring tool.


pages: 388 words: 106,138

The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory by John Seabrook

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barriers to entry, financial independence, game design, Ponzi scheme, Saturday Night Live, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, trade route

Jive, concerned that Americans might get the wrong idea, changed the title to “. . . Baby One More Time.” 8 | “I Want It That Way” EVEN BEFORE HIS health began to decline, Denniz PoP had been getting bored. By 1997, Cheironite Per Magnusson says, “I think Denniz was tired of the pop music. So he started working on his own computer games. If he had lived, I think he would have become a game designer or something like that.” He adds, “He’d sit there, and smoke, and turn a knob—it seemed like nothing was going on.” Denniz did put some work into an epic he called The Cheiron Saga, a sort of Wagnerian disco opera, which he never finished. Denniz hadn’t been feeling well for some time. Kristian Lundin recalls, “In 1997, I noticed he was having trouble swallowing. The food was getting stuck, even the pasta he liked to eat, which wasn’t hard to swallow, really.


pages: 323 words: 95,939

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff

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algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, cashless society, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, disintermediation, Donald Trump, double helix, East Village, Elliott wave, European colonialism, Extropian, facts on the ground, Flash crash, game design, global supply chain, global village, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, Inbox Zero, invention of agriculture, invention of hypertext, invisible hand, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, Law of Accelerating Returns, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Milgram experiment, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, passive investing, pattern recognition, peak oil, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K

No matter how well they write their programs, and no matter how powerful the computers they use, the most important factor in bringing algorithms up to speed is a better physical location on the network. The physical distance of a brokerage house’s computers to the computers executing the trades makes a difference in how fast the algorithm can read and respond to market activity. As former game designer Kevin Slavin has pointed out in his talks and articles,29 while we may think of the Internet as a distributed and nonlocal phenomenon, you can be closer or farther from it depending on how much cable there is between you and its biggest nodes. In New York, this mother node is fittingly located at the old Western Union Building on 60 Hudson Street. All the main Internet trunks come up through this building, known as a colocation center, or carrier hotel.


pages: 315 words: 93,522

How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy by Stephen Witt

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4chan, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, cloud computing, collaborative economy, crowdsourcing, game design, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, inventory management, iterative process, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, job automation, late fees, mental accounting, packet switching, pattern recognition, pirate software, Ronald Reagan, security theater, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, software patent, Steve Jobs, zero day

In April 1999 the company relocated Henri Linde to California during the height of the dot-com boom, and opened a dedicated office for him with a staff of six. Business was merely brisk at first, but turned electric after the favorable result in RIAA vs. Diamond. Big Gadget finally moved, with Japanese money displacing Korean. Any device that could play an mp3 had to pay. Linde signed deals with dot-coms, software vendors, chip manufacturers, game designers, car stereo vendors, and hundreds of start-up ventures. In the first four years he’d worked as licensing manager he’d signed less than twenty deals. In the next four he signed more than 600. The only holdout was Sony. Inside the company a civil war had broken out between its consumer electronics arm and the music labels it owned. Somehow, still, Brandenburg managed to keep a low profile.


pages: 426 words: 105,423

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

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Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, call centre, clean water, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, follow your passion, game design, global village, Iridium satellite, knowledge worker, late fees, Maui Hawaii, oil shock, paper trading, Parkinson's law, passive income, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, wage slave, William of Occam

He bid me farewell and made a decision as the taxi pulled from the curb—enough of the complicated stuff. It was time to return to basics. Prosoundeffects.com, launched in January of 2005 after one week of sales testing on eBay, was designed to do one thing: give Doug lots of cash with minimal time investment. This brings us back to his business inbox in 2006. There are 10 orders for sound libraries, CDs that film producers, musicians, video game designers, and other audio professionals use to add hard-to-find sounds—whether the purr of a lemur or an exotic instrument—to their own creations. These are Doug’s products, but he doesn’t own them, as that would require physical inventory and upfront cash. His business model is more elegant than that. Here is just one revenue stream: 1. A prospective customer sees his Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising on Google or other search engines and clicks through to his site, www.prosoundeffects.com. 2.


pages: 324 words: 92,805

The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification by Paul Roberts

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, accounting loophole / creative accounting, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, asset allocation, business process, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, crony capitalism, David Brooks, delayed gratification, double helix, factory automation, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, game design, greed is good, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop, impulse control, income inequality, inflation targeting, invisible hand, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, late fees, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, low skilled workers, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, performance metric, postindustrial economy, profit maximization, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, reshoring, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Walter Mischel, winner-take-all economy

Emotional development can be delayed or derailed, leaving the player with a sense of self that is incomplete, fragile, and socially disengaged—more id than superego. Or as Hilarie Cash, reSTART cofounder and an expert in online addiction, told me, “We end up being controlled by our impulses.” Which, for gaming addicts, means being even more susceptible to the complex charms of the online world. Gaming companies want to keep players playing as long as possible—the more you play, the more likely you’ll upgrade to the next version. To this end, game designers have created sophisticated data feedback systems that tie players to an upgrade treadmill. As players move through these virtual worlds, the data they generate is captured and used to make subsequent game iterations even more “immersive.” (World of Warcraft, for instance, releases periodic upgrades, or “patches,” with new weapons and skills that players must have to retain their godlike status.)


pages: 350 words: 100,822

Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update by Donella H. Meadows, Jörgen Randers, Dennis L. Meadows

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agricultural Revolution, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, Climatic Research Unit, conceptual framework, dematerialisation, demographic transition, financial independence, game design, income per capita, informal economy, means of production, new economy, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, University of East Anglia, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review

It is a web of connections among equals, held together not by force, obligation, material incentive, or social contract, but by shared values and the understanding that some tasks can be accomplished together that could never be accomplished separately. We know of networks of farmers who share organic pest control methods. There are networks of environmental journalists, "green" architects, computer modelers, game designers, land trusts, consumer cooperatives. There are thousands and thousands of networks that developed as people with common purposes found each other. Some networks become so busy and essential that they evolve into formal organizations with offices and budgets, but most come and go as needed. The advent of the World Wide Web certainly has facilitated and accelerated the formation and maintenance of networks.


pages: 407 words: 109,653

Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing by Po Bronson, Ashley Merryman

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Asperger Syndrome, Berlin Wall, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, Edward Glaeser, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, game design, Jean Tirole, knowledge worker, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, school choice, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Steve Jobs

Updegraff, “Biobehavioral Responses to Stress in Females: Tend-and-Befriend, Not Fight-or-Flight,” Psychological Review, vol. 107(3), pp. 411–429 (2000) Testosterone Responds When You Care about the Outcome / Testosterone in Home Field Advantage: Bateman, Chris, & Lennart E. Nacke, “The Neurobiology of Play,” Paper Presentation at Futureplay ’10 Proceedings of the International Academic Conference on the Future of Game Design and Technology, New York (2010) Carré, Justin, Correspondence with Authors (2012) Carré, Justin, Interviews with Authors (2012) Carré, Justin M., “No Place Like Home: Testosterone Responses to Victory Depend on Game Location,” American Journal of Human Biology, vol. 21(3), pp. 392–394 (2009) Carré, Justin, Cameron Muir, Joey Belanger, & Susan K. Putnam, “Pre-Competition Hormonal and Psychological Levels of Elite Hockey Players: Relationship to the ‘Home Advantage,’ ” Physiology & Behavior, vol. 89(3), pp. 392–398 (2006) Fuxjager, Matthew J., Robin M.


pages: 346 words: 102,666

Infomocracy: A Novel by Malka Older

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corporate governance, game design, land tenure, young professional

“So, yeah, I guess trying to govern, or whatever, in one of the smaller governments would be like doing something different.” He remembers the centenal in Jakarta where he watched the first debate, Free2B. He never did look up all their outposts. “Or maybe I’ll become a … a bartender.” Mishima laughs, a real laugh this time. Bartenders don’t exist anymore outside of films and extremely pretentious bars. Ken laughs too. “Or a game designer, or a crow mechanic.” “You really think you could live like that?” Mishima is trying to imagine what it would take to slow her pulse down, how it would feel. She imagines the problematic mountain range of her psyche smoothing into a gentle, dull plain, the colors overlapping into blah. Even if she survived like that, even if she liked it, she can’t imagine it would last. There would be an emergency somewhere.


pages: 347 words: 97,721

Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport, Julia Kirby

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AI winter, Andy Kessler, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, conceptual framework, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, follow your passion, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, game design, general-purpose programming language, Google Glasses, Hans Lippershey, haute cuisine, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, inventory management, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, precariat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, speech recognition, spinning jenny, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Works Progress Administration, Zipcar

Artificial intelligence won’t help much with the essentially human strength a person brings to his or her work, but neither will computers claim it for their own. British game developer Ed Key recently mused along these lines about how artificial intelligence might be useful to him. Bemoaning the fact that he quit a corporate job in order to work full-time on his game Proteus, only to find that “80 percent of my time was spent doing business stuff” that had nothing to do with game design, he said: “Things like creating trailers and contacting the press, tweeting the screenshots—maybe an AI agent could be helpful for that. Self-promotion is something you might delegate to a robot who is your biggest fan.”23 But in some cases, augmentation actually will amplify some high-value, noncognitive strength—and we might say, help the human bring more humanity to the work. Using machines will deepen the empathy, or heighten the creativity, or refine the taste that people bring to the table.


pages: 322 words: 88,197

Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

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Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Book of Ingenious Devices, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, colonial exploitation, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Drosophila, Fellow of the Royal Society, game design, global village, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, HyperCard, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Landlord's Game, lone genius, megacity, Minecraft, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, Necker cube, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, pets.com, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Oldenburg, spice trade, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, talking drums, the built environment, The Great Good Place, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Victor Gruen, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog, working poor, Wunderkammern

In the case of Minecraft, of course, the world of the game itself—and the rules that govern it—are being created by that multinational community of players, in the form of mods and servers programmed and hosted by Minecraft fans. McLuhan coined the term “global village” as a metaphor for the electronic age, but if you watch a grade-schooler constructing a virtual town in Minecraft with the help of players from around the world, the phrase starts to sound more literal. The migratory history of chess, like that of most games, did not begin with some immaculate conception in the mind of some original genius game designer. As chess traveled across borders, new players in new cultures experimented with the rules. “Like the Bible and the Internet,” Shenk writes, “[chess was] the result of years of tinkering by a large, decentralized group, a slow achievement of collective intelligence.” Evolving out of an earlier Indian game called chaturanga, the first game that modern eyes would recognize as chess was played in Persia during the fifth century CE, a game called chatrang.


pages: 452 words: 110,488

The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead by David Callahan

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1960s counterculture, affirmative action, corporate governance, David Brooks, deindustrialization, East Village, forensic accounting, full employment, game design, greed is good, high batting average, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, job satisfaction, market fundamentalism, McMansion, microcredit, moral hazard, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, postindustrial economy, profit maximization, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Oldenburg, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Chicago School, Thorstein Veblen, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, World Values Survey, young professional

If Alex Keaton came back to the future of the late 1990s, he would have staged an IPO from his bedroom. For young people, though, the biggest social-health story of the 1990s was the onslaught of a virulent new strain of consumerism. The disease begins earlier and earlier with children these days, and it just gets worse. Parents complain endlessly about pressures from their kids to keep up with the Johnnies at the locker next door—with expensive video games, designer-label clothing, digital music players (to play pirated music), home computers, and cell phones. "Over the past 10 years, more people have come to think of themselves as having their identities shaped by their consumer goods," commented Alissa Quart, author of Branded, a book about consumerism among teenagers. "But teens and tweens are more vulnerable and more open to a warped relationship that the brands are selling to them.


pages: 349 words: 95,972

Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford

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affirmative action, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Basel III, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Broken windows theory, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, crowdsourcing, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Erdős number, experimental subject, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Frank Gehry, game design, global supply chain, Googley, Guggenheim Bilbao, high net worth, Inbox Zero, income inequality, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, microbiome, out of africa, Paul Erdős, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Turing test, urban decay

Most tasks require a combination of bonding and bridging: flashes of inspiration to identify the right approach, and long effort characterized by selfless teamwork to put it into practice. That means a compromise between bonding and bridging—a willingness to allow a degree of messiness into a tidy team. This chapter is all about why getting the best of both approaches can prove very challenging indeed. • • • If we’re looking for a petri dish to examine the nature of teamwork in the twenty-first century, a computer game isn’t a bad candidate. Game design requires a marriage of skills—visual, audio, and narrative artists work with skilled software engineers alongside commercial functions such as finance and marketing. The technical possibilities are always changing, and for many games it is important to take full advantage of the very latest technology. Like a Hollywood movie, a game is an extended yet temporary project with plenty of freelancers and ad hoc teams.


pages: 354 words: 91,875

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Doto Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal

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banking crisis, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive bias, delayed gratification, game design, impulse control, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, Richard Thaler, Wall-E, Walter Mischel

The definitive Internet act of our times is a perfect metaphor for the promise of reward: We search. And we search. And we search some more, clicking that mouse like—well, like a rat in a cage seeking another “hit,” looking for the elusive reward that will finally feel like enough. Cell phones, the Internet, and other social media may have accidentally exploited our reward system, but computer and video game designers intentionally manipulate the reward system to keep players hooked. The promise that the next level or big win could happen at any time is what makes a game compelling. It’s also what makes a game hard to quit. One study found that playing a video game led to dopamine increases equivalent to amphetamine use—and it’s this dopamine rush that makes both so addictive. The unpredictability of scoring or advancing keeps your dopamine neurons firing, and you glued to your seat.


pages: 519 words: 104,396

Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (And How to Take Advantage of It) by William Poundstone

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availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, equal pay for equal work, experimental economics, experimental subject, feminist movement, game design, German hyperinflation, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, index card, invisible hand, John von Neumann, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nash equilibrium, new economy, payday loans, Potemkin village, price anchoring, price discrimination, psychological pricing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, ultimatum game, working poor

At one point, he toyed with recanting “just to make myself look rational,” but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. To be “rational” would be to deny what he felt inside. Like a perverse Galileo, he knew his valuations still moved. Eleven The Best Odds in Vegas “Roulette Bet May Decide Man’s Fate,” ran a curious headline in the March 2, 1969, Las Vegas Review-Journal. A photo showed the avuncular Ward Edwards playing a game “designed by scientists to probe what makes man tick.” A 25-cent bet on a Las Vegas roulette table could be a factor in the greatest decision ever to confront mankind. That would be the unimaginably catastrophic decision to plunge the world into nuclear war. Some place, at some time, as long as a human being is able to poise his finger over a nuclear button, that is a possibility. The journalist doubtless got that cold-war spin from Edwards, a RAND Corporation consultant and advisor to governmental agencies.


pages: 549 words: 116,200

With a Little Help by Cory Doctorow

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autonomous vehicles, big-box store, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, death of newspapers, don't be evil, game design, Google Earth, high net worth, margin call, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Ponzi scheme, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, sensible shoes, skunkworks, Skype, traffic fines, traveling salesman, Turing test, urban planning, Y2K

. -- 1438 Afterword: 1439 I wrote this for Bruce Sterling's Turkey City workshop in Austin, TX. I was nervous and thrilled to be invited. Bruce is one of my idols -- and he's now a friend and colleague, and my daughter's godfather, besides. We'd corresponded, sat on panels together, but this, this was levelling up. It was a hell of a workshop, and it was also where I met Raph Koster, now also a good friend (as well as an astute and inspiring game designer and theorist). 1440 I'd admired a play by Dewayne Hendricks to use Indian land in the USA to test out cognitive radio applications, on the basis that these sovereign territories were not under FCC jurisdiction. He'd found various tribal leaders who were excited by the idea. Cognitive radio may just be the most radical, game-changing technology on our immediate horizon -- if it works. 1441 In the meantime, I couldn't shake my memories of the brutal standoff at Oka, in Quebec.


pages: 398 words: 120,801

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

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airport security, Berlin Wall, citizen journalism, Firefox, game design, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, mail merge, RFID, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, web of trust, zero day

." &&& Chapter 19 [[This chapter is dedicated to the MIT Press Bookshop, a store I've visited on every single trip to Boston over the past ten years. MIT, of course, is one of the legendary origin nodes for global nerd culture, and the campus bookstore lives up to the incredible expectations I had when I first set foot in it. In addition to the wonderful titles published by the MIT press, the bookshop is a tour through the most exciting high-tech publications in the world, from hacker zines like 2600 to fat academic anthologies on video-game design. This is one of those stores where I have to ask them to ship my purchases home because they don't fit in my suitcase.]] [[MIT Press Bookstore http://web.mit.edu/bookstore/www/ Building E38, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA USA 02139-4307 +1 617 253 5249]] Here's the email that went out at 7AM the next day, while Ange and I were spray-painting VAMP-MOB CIVIC CENTER -> -> at strategic locations around town


pages: 755 words: 121,290

Statistics hacks by Bruce Frey

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Berlin Wall, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, game design, Hacker Ethic, index card, Milgram experiment, p-value, place-making, RFID, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, statistical model

Joe has years of experience analyzing data, building statistical models, and formulating business strategies as an employee and consultant for companies including DoubleClick, American Express, and Dun & Bradstreet. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with an Sc.B. and an M.Eng. in computer science and computer engineering. Joe is an unapologetic Yankees fan, but he appreciates any good baseball game. Joe lives in Silicon Valley with his wife, two cats, and a DirecTV satellite dish. Ron Hale-Evans is a writer, thinker, and game designer who earns his daily sandwich with frequent gigs as a technical writer. He has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Yale, with a minor in Philosophy. Thinking a lot about thinking led him to create the Mentat Wiki (http://www.ludism.org/mentat), which led to his recent book, Mind Performance Hacks (O'Reilly). You can find his multinefarious [sic] other projects at his home page, http://ron.ludism.org, including his award-winning board games, a list of his Short-Duration Personal Saviors, and his blog.


pages: 394 words: 110,352

The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation by Jono Bacon

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barriers to entry, collaborative editing, crowdsourcing, Debian, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, game design, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Jono Bacon, openstreetmap, Richard Stallman, Skype, social software, software as a service, telemarketer, web application

These pads went through many variations, but they all shared one common characteristic: the buttons controlled the action. Of course, there were attempts at alternatives: light guns, dance mats, plastic guitars and drums. Most still had the assumed knowledge that the player controlled the action by pressing buttons. These alternative approaches were never a core part of the systems: they were novelty addons that often had limited appeal. The Wii changed all of that. Shigeru Miyamoto, a renowned video game designer and cocreator of many games, including Super Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong, and The Legend of Zelda, sat down with other designers and questioned whether they should be limited to the existing norms of the game interface. The result was one of the most significant developments in video gaming history: the Wii Remote, which allowed gamers to control the action by moving the unit itself. This enabled all manner of physical interactions, from 10-pin bowling to boxing to ski-jumping.


pages: 467 words: 154,960

Trend Following: How Great Traders Make Millions in Up or Down Markets by Michael W. Covel

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Albert Einstein, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, backtesting, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, Clayton Christensen, commodity trading advisor, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, diversification, diversified portfolio, Elliott wave, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fiat currency, fixed income, game design, hindsight bias, housing crisis, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, linear programming, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, market microstructure, mental accounting, Nash equilibrium, new economy, Nick Leeson, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, South Sea Bubble, Stephen Hawking, systematic trading, the scientific method, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, value at risk, Vanguard fund, volatility arbitrage, William of Occam

So why stick with the appearance when you can go right to the reality of price and analyze it better? Richard Dennis91 How did it start? Dennis ran classified ads saying “Trader Wanted’’ and was immediately overwhelmed by some 1,000 queries from would-be traders. He picked 20+ novices, trained them for two weeks, and then gave them money to trade for his firm. His turtle traders included two professional gamblers, a fantasy-game designer, an accountant, and a juggler. Jerry Parker, the former accountant who now manages more than $1 billion, was one of several who went on to become top money managers.90 Although Dennis appears to own the mantle of trend following teaching professor, there are many other trend followers, including Seykota, Dunn, and Henry, who have served as teachers to a number of successful traders. Also keep in mind that not all the Turtles turned out to be winners.


pages: 339 words: 57,031

From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism by Fred Turner

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1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, game design, George Gilder, global village, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, theory of mind, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yom Kippur War

On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.”64 Throughout the conference, hackers discussed different ways they had managed this dilemma. Some, like Richard Greenblatt, an early and renowned MIT hacker, argued that source code must always be made freely available. Others, like game designer Robert Woodhead, suggested that they would happily give away the electronic tools they had used to make products such as computer games, but they would not give away the games themselves. “That’s my soul in that product,” explained Woodhead. “I don’t want anyone fooling with that.”65 In discussion Bob Wallace said he had Tak i n g t h e W h o l e E a r t h D i g i t a l [ 137 ] marketed his text editor PC-WRITE as shareware (in shareware, users got the software for free but paid if they wanted documentation and support), whereas Andrew Fluegelman indicated that he had distributed his telecommunications program PC-TALK as freeware (users voluntarily paid a small fee to use the software).


pages: 509 words: 147,998

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School by Alexandra Robbins

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airport security, Albert Einstein, Columbine, game design, hive mind, out of africa, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics

Emos might be in touch with their feelings and others’, and unafraid to show and empathize with those emotions. Scenes and indies often influence the cutting edge of cultural movements. Gamers, adept at problem solving, engage in ventures of successful “collective intelligence,” researchers say, because of their collaborative efforts, on forums, blogs, and wikis, to understand the games. As game designer and award-winning innovator Jane McGonigal has argued, these “collective knowledge–building” efforts could be applied to real-world issues. Freaks are often creative and perhaps the boldest of the cafeteria fringe because they display their distinctions openly with pride. Skaters and punks are frequently underestimated; their sense of artistry suggests the inventiveness they could bring to other endeavors.


pages: 380 words: 118,675

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

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3D printing, airport security, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, call centre, centre right, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, game design, housing crisis, invention of movable type, inventory management, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, late fees, loose coupling, low skilled workers, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, optical character recognition, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Rodney Brooks, search inside the book, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, Skype, statistical arbitrage, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, Tony Hsieh, Whole Earth Catalog, why are manhole covers round?

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins (2001). Collins briefed Amazon executives on his seminal management book before its publication. Companies must confront the brutal facts of their business, find out what they are uniquely good at, and master their flywheel, in which each part of the business reinforces and accelerates the other parts. Creation: Life and How to Make It, by Steve Grand (2001). A video-game designer argues that intelligent systems can be created from the bottom up if one devises a set of primitive building blocks. The book was influential in the creation of Amazon Web Services, or AWS, the service that popularized the notion of the cloud. The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business, by Clayton M. Christensen (1997). An enormously influential business book whose principles Amazon acted on and that facilitated the creation of the Kindle and AWS.


pages: 404 words: 124,705

The Village Effect: How Face-To-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter by Susan Pinker

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Atul Gawande, Bernie Madoff, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, facts on the ground, game design, happiness index / gross national happiness, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, neurotypical, Occupy movement, place-making, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, Ray Oldenburg, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steven Pinker, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tony Hsieh, urban planning, Yogi Berra

Compared to healthy teens their own age and sex, the Internet addicts’ brain images revealed less density in areas related to self-awareness, error detection, and self-control.68 The corresponding impairments to thinking and attention suggest why dreadful tragedies have occurred. One British twenty-year-old died of a blood clot that developed during the twelve hours he spent immobilized while playing Xbox games, shortly before he was about to enter university to study game design. Then there was the appalling case of a three-year-old girl who starved to death when her twenty-something-year-old mother became so entranced by the hugely popular online role-playing game World of Warcraft that she forgot to feed her. Sometimes, though, the impact of computer game addiction isn’t dangerous, it’s just bizarre. One young man spent six years at the same screen in an Internet café in northern China, eating, sleeping, and playing at the same seat twenty-four hours a day, leaving only to go to the bathroom or to take a shower.


pages: 377 words: 115,122

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

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8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, call centre, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, game design, hive mind, index card, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, popular electronics, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, traveling salesman, Walter Mischel, web application, white flight

Even multitasking, that prized feat of modern-day office warriors, turns out to be a myth. Scientists now know that the brain is incapable of paying attention to two things at the same time. What looks like multitasking is really switching back and forth between multiple tasks, which reduces productivity and increases mistakes by up to 50 percent. Many introverts seem to know these things instinctively, and resist being herded together. Backbone Entertainment, a video game design company in Oakland, California, initially used an open office plan but found that their game developers, many of whom were introverts, were unhappy. “It was one big warehouse space, with just tables, no walls, and everyone could see each other,” recalls Mike Mika, the former creative director. “We switched over to cubicles and were worried about it—you’d think in a creative environment that people would hate that.


pages: 464 words: 127,283

Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend

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1960s counterculture, 4chan, A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Apple II, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, chief data officer, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, congestion charging, connected car, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Deng Xiaoping, East Village, Edward Glaeser, game design, garden city movement, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Grace Hopper, Haight Ashbury, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Khan Academy, Kibera, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, packet switching, patent troll, place-making, planetary scale, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social software, social web, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, working poor, working-age population, X Prize, Y2K, zero day, Zipcar

As Jacob explained to me later, in August 2012 he had taken on a new role advising his peers in several other American cities on how to replicate the success of the Office of New Urban Mechanics. Philadelphia, the first to come knocking “actually called and asked ‘Can we just franchise what you guys do?’ ” Jacob proudly said.53 He was also working to help spread to other cities some of the projects kick-started in Boston. One such tool, Community PlanIt, was an online game designed by Eric Gordon, a visual and media arts professor at Emerson College, to enhance the value of community meetings. When we spoke, Community PlanIt had been successfully rolled out in two of Boston’s suburbs as well as Detroit. Although it was poised to go viral, can New Urban Mechanics survive a change of leadership at home in Boston? Menino will finally leave office after the 2013 mayoral election, having served a record five terms.


pages: 455 words: 116,578

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

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Atul Gawande, Checklist Manifesto, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, delayed gratification, desegregation, game design, haute couture, impulse control, index card, meta analysis, meta-analysis, patient HM, pattern recognition, randomized controlled trial, rolodex, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, telemarketer, Tenerife airport disaster, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, Walter Mischel

Soon, everyone from Shirley Temple to Clark Gable was bragging about their “Pepsodent smile.”2.4 By 1930, Pepsodent was sold in China, South Africa, Brazil, Germany, and almost anywhere else Hopkins could buy ads.2.5 A decade after the first Pepsodent campaign, pollsters found that toothbrushing had become a ritual for more than half the American population.2.6 Hopkins had helped establish toothbrushing as a daily activity. The secret to his success, Hopkins would later boast, was that he had found a certain kind of cue and reward that fueled a particular habit. It’s an alchemy so powerful that even today the basic principles are still used video game designers, food companies, hospitals, and millions of salesmen around the world. Eugene Pauly taught us about the habit loop, but it was Claude Hopkins that showed how new habits can be cultivated and grown. So what, exactly, did Hopkins do? He created a craving. And that craving, it turns out, is what makes cues and rewards work. That craving is what powers the habit loop. Throughout his career, one of Claude Hopkins’s signature tactics was to find simple triggers to convince consumers to use his products every day.


pages: 528 words: 146,459

Computer: A History of the Information Machine by Martin Campbell-Kelly, William Aspray, Nathan L. Ensmenger, Jeffrey R. Yost

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Ada Lovelace, air freight, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, Byte Shop, card file, cashless society, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer age, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, garden city movement, Grace Hopper, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the wheel, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, pirate software, popular electronics, prediction markets, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the market place, Turing machine, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, young professional

One of the more celebrated stories about him is that, at the age of thirteen, when he needed some electronic components for a school project, he telephoned William Hewlett, the multimillionaire co-founder of Hewlett-Packard. Hewlett, won over by Jobs’s chutzpah, not only gave him the parts but offered him a part-time job with the company. Something of a loner, and not academically motivated, Jobs drifted in and out of college in the early 1970s before finding a well-paid niche as a games designer for Atari. An admirer of the Beatles, like them Jobs spent a year pursuing transcendental meditation in India and turned vegetarian. Jobs and Wozniak made a startling contrast: Wozniak was the archetypal electronics hobbyist with social skills to match, while Jobs affected an aura of inner wisdom, wore open-toed sandals, had long, lank hair, and sported a Ho Chi Minh beard. The turning point for both Jobs and Wozniak was attending the Homebrew Computer Club in early 1975.

Multicultural Cities: Toronto, New York, and Los Angeles by Mohammed Abdul Qadeer

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affirmative action, call centre, David Brooks, deindustrialization, desegregation, edge city, en.wikipedia.org, Frank Gehry, game design, ghettoisation, global village, immigration reform, Jane Jacobs, knowledge economy, market bubble, McMansion, new economy, New Urbanism, place-making, Richard Florida, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Skype, telemarketer, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, urban planning, urban renewal, working-age population, young professional

These forces are polarizing cities’ job markets into circuits of high-paying professional and 122 Multicultural Cities managerial occupations, on the one hand, and low-paid service and manufacturing jobs, on the other.80 This split job market is what confronts immigrants and their ethnic children. They are further finding that a lot of opportunities are turning into contractual self-employment, many of which turn into ethnic niches, for example, Latino limo drivers in New York and Taiwanese computer-game designers in Los Angeles. The economic base of cities is increasingly determined by their infrastructure, educational and research institutions, community services, and cultural life. The talent and creativity of a city’s workforce is its resource base. Richard Florida may be overplaying the role of the creative class in economic growth, but the education, skill, and diversity of a city’s population are undoubtedly strong determinants of economic prosperity.81 Cultural pluralism and its associated ethnic diversity are marks of cosmopolitanism that attract global capital and talent.

The Fugitive Game: Online With Kevin Mitnick by Jonathan Littman

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Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, centre right, computer age, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Kevin Kelly, Menlo Park, profit motive, Silicon Valley, Steven Levy, telemarketer

By invoking Sun-tzu, Shimomura appeared to be encouraging security professionals to draw hackers into battle. But Sun-tzu might offer a different maxim. The ancient general was principally known for advocating deception ("war is based upon deception") and avoiding hostilities: "It is best to win without fighting." ■ ■ ■ The fortunes of two hackers could not have taken more opposite turns. As Tsutomu Shimomura launched his new careers as pitchman, author, movie subject, and video game designer, Kevin Mitnick sat in a Southern county jail. Mitnick wrote to me nearly every week on yellow legal paper in longhand, bemoaning the lack of a word processor as he recounted the hardships of jail. He told me he had been attacked and robbed by two inmates and barely avoided fights with several others. When he complained that the vegetarian diet he requested was limited to peanut butter sandwiches, and that his stress and stomach medication prescriptions weren't filled, he was moved to a tougher county jail.


pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

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23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

In a social factory, the work and value-creation that might be traditionally found in a factory shifts to society itself. Facebook is a literal manifestation of the social factory. We do the work, by clicking, writing, posting, giving over our content, data, and attention. This work is diffused throughout our society, through our day jobs and entertainment and most basic communications. We might not even realize it’s work. The writer and game designer Ian Bogost describes this form of always-on but rarely acknowledged labor as “hyperemployment”: “We do tiny bits of work for Google, for Tumblr, for Twitter, all day and every day.” It’s enough to make one think that platform owners don’t do much at all. In digital serfdom, the digital lords appear to be little more than caretakers fattening themselves on our data production. As Slate’s Will Oremus describes it, “The site’s users are so productive that all the employees really have to do is keep the lights on and the servers running.


pages: 409 words: 138,088

Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith

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British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, cuban missile crisis, full employment, game design, Haight Ashbury, Jeff Bezos, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, pensions crisis, Ronald Reagan, V2 rocket

The thing about this is that Gene Myers is not alone. There are all sorts of organizations planning all kinds of more or less extravagant projects. Some are run by billionaires such as the hotelier Bob Bigelow, who’s spending five hundred million of his own dollars on manufacturing an inflatable space hotel in the desert outside Las Vegas, while others, like Armadillo Aerospace, run by the über-computer-game-designer John Carmack, coauthor of the mega-selling Quake and Doom series, are part of an expensive race to develop the first low-cost spaceships. The one problem they share in 2002 is NASA, and behind NASA the federal government and its tight regulations. And so it was that after meeting Myers, I turned left off Sunset, went up the hill past Mulholland Drive and down to Studio City, where just off Ventura Boulevard I found the offices of the Space Frontier Foundation and Rick Tumlinson.


pages: 804 words: 212,335

Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds

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game design, glass ceiling, gravity well, Kuiper Belt, planetary scale, random walk, statistical model

They had known, even at the time of enclosure, that the systems left behind by the Inhibitors were slowly failing; slowly losing their ability to suppress intelligence. Not soon enough, for them — but after a million years of waiting, trapped in their bubble of spacetime, they began to wonder if the threat had now diminished... They could not simply dismantle the Shrouds and look around — far too hazardous; especially as the Inhibitor machines were nothing if not patient. Their apparent silence might only be part of the trap, a waiting game designed to entice the Amarantin — who were now the Shrouders — out of their shells, into the open arena of naked space, where they could be destroyed with ease, terminating the million-year purge against their kind. Yet, in time, others came. Perhaps there was something about this region of space which favoured the evolution of vertebrate life, or perhaps it was only coincidence, but in the newly starfaring humans, the Shrouders saw echoes of what they had once been.


pages: 797 words: 227,399

Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P. W. Singer

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agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Atahualpa, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bill Joy: nanobots, blue-collar work, borderless world, clean water, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, cuban missile crisis, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Frank Gehry, friendly fire, game design, George Gilder, Google Earth, Grace Hopper, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invention of gunpowder, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, New Urbanism, pattern recognition, private military company, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Yogi Berra

More recently, they suffered through countless oddball stories of robots or war, as if either was an appropriate conversation topic at dinners, parties, and even on vacations. Who could ask for more than good friends and family? [NOTES] AUTHOR’SNOTE:WHY A BOOK ON ROBOTS AND WAR? 1 Because robots are frakin’ cool Frak is a made-up expletive that originated in the computer science research world. It then made its way into video gaming, ultimately becoming the title of a game designed for the BBC Micro and Commodore 64 in the early 1980s. The main character, a caveman called Trogg, would say “Frak!” in a little speech bubble whenever he was “killed.” It soon spread into science fiction, appearing in such games as Cyberpunk 2020 and the Warhammer 40,000 novels. It crossed over into the mainstream most explicitly in the new 2003 reboot of the 1970s TV series Battlestar Galactica.


pages: 468 words: 233,091

Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days by Jessica Livingston

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8-hour work day, affirmative action, AltaVista, Apple II, Brewster Kahle, business process, Byte Shop, Danny Hillis, don't be evil, fear of failure, financial independence, Firefox, full text search, game design, Googley, HyperCard, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, nuclear winter, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social software, software patent, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, web application, Y Combinator

At Interval Research, I worked on a collaborative animation game, which was a cousin to the Game Neverending idea. Livingston: It was just the two of you? Fake: At the beginning it was me, Stewart, and Jason Classon. Jason and Stewart had started a company together in 1999 that was acquired by a venturebacked startup out of Boston after about 6 to 9 months. Jason went and worked in Boston for a year and came back and then the three of us started working on the game together. I did the game design, Stewart did the interaction design, and Jason did the PHP for the prototype. Livingston: Did they fund the game with money that they made from the acquisition? Fake: Partially, yes. It was really a friends-and-family investment. It was the three of us and we added Eric Costello very soon thereafter. Eric is a phenomenal web developer. He’s recognized as one of the great DHTML gurus. He lives in New York, so we were working with him remotely.


pages: 999 words: 194,942

Clojure Programming by Chas Emerick, Brian Carper, Christophe Grand

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Amazon Web Services, Benoit Mandelbrot, cloud computing, continuous integration, database schema, domain-specific language, en.wikipedia.org, failed state, finite state, Firefox, game design, general-purpose programming language, mandelbrot fractal, Paul Graham, platform as a service, premature optimization, random walk, Schrödinger's Cat, semantic web, software as a service, sorting algorithm, Turing complete, type inference, web application

* * * [136] Modern garbage collection implementations can enable programs to outperform alternatives written using manual memory management in many contexts; and, each time a new garbage collector implementation or optimization is added to the JVM, every program everywhere benefits from it without any involvement from individual programmers. The same dynamic has played out with Clojure’s STM. [137] In particular, multiversion concurrency control (often abbreviated MVCC): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiversion_concurrency_control. [138] We present a way to address durability of ref state with the help of agents in Persisting reference states with an agent-based write-behind log. [139] We’re not game designers, and what we build here is obviously a contrivance, but there’s no reason the mechanisms we demonstrate here could not be utilized and extended to implement a thoroughly capable game engine. [140] In a real game engine, you would almost surely not use vars to hold characters; rather, it would make sense to use a single map containing all online players’ characters, itself held within a ref.


pages: 552 words: 168,518

MacroWikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World by Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, business climate, business process, car-free, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cloud computing, collaborative editing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, demographic transition, distributed generation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, failed state, fault tolerance, financial innovation, Galaxy Zoo, game design, global village, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, hive mind, Home mortgage interest deduction, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, medical bankruptcy, megacity, mortgage tax deduction, Netflix Prize, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shock, online collectivism, open borders, open economy, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, scientific mainstream, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social web, software patent, Steve Jobs, text mining, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, transfer pricing, University of East Anglia, urban sprawl, value at risk, WikiLeaks, X Prize, young professional, Zipcar

In order to drive change it is also important to simplify complex scientific concepts and calculations and give people the ability to make a choice from a variety of energy-saving actions—not impose solutions. The key is to let people find their own ways to reduce their impact. “We encourage people to approach this problem like a diet: if you want to splurge in one area you have to make up for it in another,” says Dahl. A World Without Oil and the Power of Imagination Carbon calculators and competitive challenges aren’t for everyone. For Ken Eklund, a freelance writer and game designer, interactive gaming experiences provide an engaging alternative where ordinary people can immerse themselves in an experiential process of finding everyday solutions for climate change that drive real-world changes in behavior. Eklund is the creator of a fascinating alternate reality game (ARG) called World Without Oil, an interactive, Internet-based narrative where large numbers of game players collaborate to solve plot-based challenges and puzzles.


pages: 836 words: 158,284

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy Ferriss

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23andMe, airport security, Albert Einstein, Black Swan, Buckminster Fuller, carbon footprint, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, correlation does not imply causation, Dean Kamen, game design, Gary Taubes, index card, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, microbiome, p-value, Parkinson's law, Paul Buchheit, placebo effect, Productivity paradox, publish or perish, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Thorstein Veblen, wage slave, William of Occam

Then someone pointed out (I have to imagine a sweaty- palmed intern) a confusing detail. Productivity also improved when they dimmed the lighting! In fact, making any change at all seemed to result in increased productivity. It turned out that, with each change, the workers suspected they were being observed and therefore worked harder. This phenomenon—also called the “observer effect”—came to be known as “the Hawthorne Effect.” Reinforced by research in game design, Jack Stack and Western Electric’s results can be condensed into a simple equation: measurement = motivation. Seeing progress in changing numbers makes the repetitive fascinating and creates a positive feedback loop. Once again, the act of measuring is often more important than what you measure. To quote the industrial statistician George Box: “Every model is wrong, but some are useful.” It’s critical that you measure something.


pages: 798 words: 240,182

The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More

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23andMe, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, data acquisition, discovery of DNA, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Extropian, fault tolerance, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, friendly AI, game design, germ theory of disease, hypertext link, impulse control, index fund, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, P = NP, pattern recognition, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, stem cell, stochastic process, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, the built environment, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce

For example, a player may have two avatars, one a tank and the other a healer, logging into one or the other depending upon the ­momentary needs of a team that is in the process of assembling. Even without other players, division of labor can be an important motivation for having two avatars. 2. Diversity of experience. Avatars of different races often enter the virtual world in different geographic regions, experiencing a different set of initial conditions and completing different missions. Different classes experience even the same quest and territory in a different way. Game designers encourage this diversity of experiences, because they want players to persist in subscribing to the gameworld, effectively combining many games into one to accomplish this commercial goal. Very popular games like World of Warcraft run many instances of the game simultaneously, on different servers, which may be fundamentally ­different in their rules, as well as being inhabited by different players who give each a ­distinct quality.


pages: 678 words: 216,204

The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom by Yochai Benkler

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affirmative action, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Brownian motion, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centre right, clean water, dark matter, desegregation, East Village, fear of failure, Firefox, game design, George Gilder, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of radio, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, market bubble, market clearing, Marshall McLuhan, New Journalism, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit maximization, profit motive, random walk, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social software, software patent, spectrum auction, technoutopianism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs

Unlike other games, however, Second Life offers only tools, with no story line, stock objects, or any cultural or meaning-oriented context whatsoever. Its users have created 99 percent of the objects in the game environment. The medieval village was nothing but blank space when they started. So was the flying vehicle design shop, the futuristic outpost, or the university, where some of the users are offering courses in basic programming skills and in-game design. Linden Labs charges a flat monthly subscription fee. Its employees focus on building tools that enable users to do everything from basic story concept down to the finest details of their own appearance and of objects they use in the game world. The in-game human relationships are those made by the users as they interact with each other in this immersive entertainment experience. The game's relationship to its users is fundamentally different from that of the movie or television studio.


pages: 588 words: 193,087

And Here's the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers on Their Craft by Mike Sacks

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Albert Einstein, Columbine, Donald Trump, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, game design, illegal immigration, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, index card, out of africa, pre–internet, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, upwardly mobile

About the Author Mike Sacks has written for such publications as The Believer, Esquire, GQ, Maxim, McSweeney's, The New Yorker, Premiere, Radar, Salon, Time, Time Out New York, Vanity Fair, Vice, and Women's Health. He has worked at The Washington Post and is currently on the editorial staff of Vanity Fair. Additional interviews can be found at www.andheresthekicker.com. More Great Resources From Writer's Digest Books THE WRITE BRAIN WORKBOOK 366 Exercises to Liberate Your Writing by Bonnie Neubauer This one-of-a-kind guide provides a full year of writing exercises and games designed to get thoughts brewing and the pen moving across the page. Turn on the right side of your brain to stimulate creativity and generate work, painlessly leading yourself into new writing every day. You'll never have to face a blank page again. ISBN: 978-1-58297-355-5 • paperback; 384 pages • #10986 THE ART AND CRAFT OF STORYTELLING by Nancy Lamb A good story flows from a solid understanding of writing and structure, along with a confident grasp of character, plot, and dialogue.


pages: 602 words: 177,874

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, centre right, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, demand response, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Flash crash, game design, gig economy, global supply chain, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, Internet of things, invention of the steam engine, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land tenure, linear programming, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, pattern recognition, planetary scale, pull request, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, Transnistria, urban decay, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y2K, Yogi Berra

We thought we had a lot in common and agreed to follow up on a Skype call. Wujec is a fellow at Autodesk and a global leader in 3-D design, engineering, and entertainment software. While his title sounds like a guy designing hubcaps for an auto parts company, the truth is that Autodesk is another of those really important companies few people know about—it builds the software that architects, auto and game designers, and film studios use to imagine and design buildings, cars, and movies on their computers. It is the Microsoft of design. Autodesk offers roughly 180 software tools used by some twenty million professional designers as well as more than two hundred million amateur designers, and each year those tools reduce more and more complexity to one touch. Wujec is an expert in business visualization—using design thinking to help groups solve wicked problems.


pages: 1,263 words: 371,402

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection by Gardner Dozois

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augmented reality, clean water, computer age, cosmological constant, David Attenborough, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, financial independence, game design, gravity well, jitney, John Harrison: Longitude, Kuiper Belt, Mahatma Gandhi, Paul Graham, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Skype, stem cell, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, urban renewal, Wall-E

Kilometers of empty land stretched out ahead of them: for a moment, Max imagined it a garden, like the cemetery in the capitol, filled with flowers remembering all those who died to terraform the planet. “There’s been enough killing.” Balancing Accounts JAMES L. CAMBIAS As everyone knows, robots are programmed to follow orders—but sometimes that programming has just a little wiggle room in it. A game designer and a writer of role-playing game supplements as well as a science fiction writer, James S. Cambias has been a finalist for the Nebula Award, the James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award, and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He’s become a frequent contributor to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and has also sold to Crossroads: Tales of the Southern Literary Fantastic, All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories, The Journal of Pulse-Pounding Narratives, Hellboy: Odder Jobs, and other markets.


pages: 889 words: 433,897

The Best of 2600: A Hacker Odyssey by Emmanuel Goldstein

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affirmative action, Apple II, call centre, don't be evil, Firefox, game design, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, information retrieval, late fees, license plate recognition, optical character recognition, packet switching, pirate software, place-making, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, RFID, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, spectrum auction, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, Y2K

Massive amounts of debt were incurred by those who had to defend themselves, despite the fact that the charges were found to have no merit. Others would be imprisoned, despite the fact that the allegations against them had been proven false in a related case. But this time something a little different happened. In their enthusiasm, the Secret Service had really overstepped the boundary and harassed a completely innocent (and well known) game designer named Steve Jackson. This part of the story managed to hit home with a lot of people and, before you knew it, we were organizing and communicating online in an effective manner. Through a public UNIX system in California known as The Well, we helped spread the story to even more people. The mass media actually picked up on it. I think that’s when I first saw the power of the Net in action. Emails came pouring in, scores of people wanted to know what they could do, and the word spread throughout the globe.