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The BGSU Calendar app brings the official calendar of Bowling Green State University to your mobile device. The app allows you to quickly and easily browse current and future events at BGSU, including details of the event, and add them to the native calendar on your device.
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“Gamification in a Social Learning Environment”
Published in Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology Volume 10, 2013,
Co-Author with David Giannetto and Joseph Chao
Gamification has gained traction in recent years as an effective way of engaging users to perform actions in contexts that would otherwise be considered tedious and undesirable. Education is an area in which user engagement could have the greatest impact on success, with some advantages for students being improved grades or better comprehension. The authors of this paper have designed and implemented a three part system for gamifying a social learning environment designed for use in higher educ ation lecture classrooms. Our goal in doing so is to foster greater user engagement from the students using the system and thereby promote an environment better suited for active learning.
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Check out my new apps page and all the apps I’ve been working on this year:
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There have plenty of rumors surrounding the launch of Google’s dropbox service called GDrive. These rumors are growing cold with no new news since the beginning of February.
Why I’m psyched out GDrive:
- Cheaper than iCloud
- Integration with all my Google stuffs: Gmail, Docs, Photos, etc.
- Automatic Sync with my computer (like a Dropbox feature)
- Plenty of storage (unlike iCloud)
- Easy access when I need it (unlike iCloud)
For me, as a Mac and iOS user, this product may actually lead to a giant conundrum: Apple or Google. I’ve been avoiding this fight for as long as I can. Google has made it easy for all my Mac products to work with Google products and services. However, I recently found that my Picasa photo software would no longer import photos from my iOS devices. I am trying iPhoto ’11 and thus far I HATE IT! Like iTunes and Safari, Apple has no clue what a power user wants when it comes to software.
Back on topic: If GDrive doesn’t sync well with all my Mac and iOS devices, I may actually begin to consider making the move to Android and maybe even a Chromebook.
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Looking for a good note taking app for iOS? Audio Notes ($4.99) has a interesting feature that might make it worthwhile: audio recording along each typed line. No matter your note taking skill, audio notes records what was actually said during the meeting and embeds that particular portion of audio with each word or line. This way when reviewing notes, you can simply touch and hear the conversation/lecture/meeting again. Excellent for multitasking!
Although, I’m having a hard time giving up my favorite note taking app: Evernote. I wonder how long before they work something like this into their app?
applications best of communication education facebook google interface iPad iPhone mobile phones movies music QizBox social social networking textbooks Twitter web apps wiki: #ows 2011 4s apple art best best and worst cars chat facebook fire gamification google googledocs hangouts iPad ipad2 ipad3 iphone iphone4 iphone4s iphone5 kfp kindle kindle fire kinect kung fu panda new year play pooh qizbox siri social sony spotify Tv twitter voice vox work worst xbox
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Best of 2011
Device: iPad 2
It’s hard to believe that this device isn’t even a year old! Released last March, iPad 2 brought a quicker processor, front and rear facing cameras, and a thinner and lighter look to an already amazing device. I’ve talked to a few folks who bought an iPad and yet still can’t figure out how to work it into their lives?! I use mine for everything from work to play, making art to storing recipes. Thanks to Google Docs, I also used it while writing this post. It even inspired me to build a web app called QizBox (read more here). Also, this is my favorite smart cover.
All Around App: Vox
This little known gem is the most used app on my iPhone. It touts itself as a walkie-talkie app but it’s real function is asynchronous voice messaging – something sorely lacking from every phone OS. With the touch (and hold) of a button, I can send/record a voice message sent directly to another user. If the other user is available, we can talk in real-time (like a walkie-talkie), and if not… they can listen to the message when they are ready! This beats texting and driving. The app is free on iOS and Android.
Biggest Surprise: Siri
The iPhone 4S seems like a dud to me. Sure, it’s faster and… uhm, I think that’s all. Except for Siri. While there have been a ton of awesome jokes about Siri, it marks the third wave of computer interface milestones in the last several years (the touch interface that kicked off a revolution of phones/tablets AND the kinetic/body interface of the Xbox Kinect). It will be exciting to watch how voice interfacing competes and integrates with the others.
The best game of the year isn’t Skyrim or the new Star Wars MMO, it’s the gamification of everything. Its hard to throw a stick in any direction and not see how gamification, or the idea of adding game mechanics (badges & awards, levels, co-op or competitive play, and something social), is affecting many different fields. From waiting tables to the classroom, making our lives more playful and engaging is gamification’s goal. Check out Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal and her TED talk that influenced the inclusion of gamification in the design of my web app QizBox. Or these articles about Will Wright’s idea to turn life itself into a game called “HiveMind”.
While Google itself is not an operating system, I use more Google apps on my devices. With a fresh new design and a billion functions, the search giant gets me where I’m going, answers all of my questions, stores my life and work, and connects me to friends. Not a day goes by that i don’t use something Google Although they aren’t perfect (Gooogle+ = meh) I’m positive that Google will continue to surprise us big in 2012. And I truely can’t wait until it literally gets me where I’m going!
Music: Spotify Desktop
All the music I could ever want. Streaming. Free. Nuff said.
Movie: Winnie the Pooh
Personally, I’ve never liked Pooh, but this movie was hilarious! My kids and I laughter harder and quote more lines from this movie than any other of the year! This movie is another sign of what John Lasseter is doing for Disney. Yes, Cars 2 & Kung Fu Panda 2 were both awesome as well (Ska-doosh), and the Girl with the Dragon Tatoo was crazy suspenseful, but if you haven’t seen Pooh, try it.
Social: Google Hangouts
Apple’s FaceTime & Microsoft’s Skype should be shivering in their boots. Beyond just conferencing Google Hangouts is an amazing collaboration tool. And with an open API, I’m sure we’ll see more and more integration of Hangouts in 2012.
Worst of 2011:
Device: Kindle Fire
I bought a Kindle Fire, not with expectations that it would measure up to an iPad, but with hopes that this device could be the perfect low-cost solution to those entering the tablet world. I was sorely disappointed! My long list of complaints (uncontrollable carousel, poor Amazon Prime movie selection, a sluggish OS, and super small text) were recently featured front and center in a Mashable.com article. Luckily, the majority of those complaints can (and likely will!) be fixed with a software update. I look forward to an even better and cheaper Fire next year.
All Around App: Facebook
I’m not sure if it’s just me… But I receive dozens of Notifications in my on Facebook for Friends I’m not even subscribed to! It extremely annoying. What was once an easy website/app to use, notifying me when someone interacted with me, is now a cluttered mess that looks more like a Twitter feed. Beyond that, on some posts I can “Like” other users comments and on others I can’t. Also, the settings I have on my computer for whose updates I receive don’t seem to translate to my mobile device. WTF? With other options (Twitter & Google+) in the social network realm, Facebook is giving me many frustrating reasons to leave. – Side note: I was sad to see my favorite location based check-in app, Gowalla, first ruin itself, then shut down altogether to join the Facebook team. This has to be my runner up for Worst app of 2011.
Music: Spotify Mobile
I had 48 free hours of all the music I could love on the Spotify mobile app… Then it asked me to pay. Dear Spotify, I’ve spent a total of $9.99 on music in the last two years! I would never ever think of spending that PER MONTH for music! Your business plan is wack. Serve me more ads and give it to me for free. OR make your service free with the purchase of one 99 cent song per month. Also, as much a I love the desktop app, I de-coupled it from my Facebook account. The idea that I want to a) share what I’m listening to with friends or b) learn about music by hearing what my friends listen to are both false assumptions. I’d much rather rely on a computer algorithm to make recommendations – Thank you Pandora!
My particular gripe with Xbox isn’t it’s new interface (that’s ok), it’s the $9.99 a month they are requesting from me to use other services like Netflix, HBO, or Pandora that I’m already paying for! This attempt at Microsoft is nothing more than a cheap money grab. My friends who play games together online obviously have a reason to pay. However, if Microsoft is going to tout their new “apps” as a real competitor to Google TV or the upcoming Apple TV they’d better drop the Xbox Gold Live price tag altogether. Google doesn’t have one and I’m pretty sure Apple won’t either.
Biggest Surprise: No iPhone 5
While this shouldn’t have been a big surprise given Apples usual development cycle, the hype and media leaks surrounding an iPhone 5 were at a new peak last August. Rumors of a bigger screen and thinner profile are likely to be true when we finally see this model next year. I will definitely be getting one.
The Occupy movement stands for one thing more than any other- Get big business out of government. This message was seemingly lost among the protests and ensuing social media blitz. Furthermore, many smart people I know could not separate the message from the messengers. Yet, I could hardly find a person on either side of the party lines that didn’t agree that our government and politics have been overrun by big business money and lobbyists. It’s time we act like the 99% in a peaceful and cooperative way; without the craziness.
What to look for in 2012:
Devices: iPad 3 (5”x7”) – Sony Gaming TV – iPhone 5
iPad 3: I’m hopeful there will be a 5″x7″ iPad 3 announce in the first quarter of 2012. The 5″x7″ size of the Kindle Fire was one of its best features! Plus, it would make this amazing device more affordable.
Sony Gaming TV: Pushed to 2012, this TV allows two users wearing 3d glasses to see different images when looking at the same screen. I think this tech will quickly move beyond gaming as many families will use the glasses, combined with headphones, to watch different content while looking at the same screen.
iPhone 5 - I think I’ve covered this.
Finally, as information overload continues to grow, curatorial and creative story telling tools, like Storify, will too! Even smaller social networks, like Path, might help to cut down on the increased information stream on Facebook and Twitter.
applications best of browser facebook gaming google hardware iPad mobile phones movies music social social networking Twitter web apps web2.0: 2010 Android angry birds app of the year apps best of chrome facebook game of the year google google voice grooveshark hulu hulu plus iOS iPad iTunes movie of the year netflix pandora technology The Social Network web apps worst of
Best of 2010:
My ‘Best of’ list may help you save a few bucks next year, be more (or less) productive, or just keep you busy clicking links for a while.
I take it everywhere. It’s my GPS, MP3 player and radio while I drive. It’s my pencil and paper at work, it’s my computer of choice, even if it’s not capable of everything I need at all times. My top uses and apps:
- Safari: Email and web surfing (including Facebook, Google Docs, and Google Voice)
- Netflix, YouTube, VLC Media Player, and TED Talks for video video video
- Twitter, Flipboard and Newsy for news
- Pages, Evernote, and Keynote for word processing and work
- Pandora and Clock Radio for music
- Sketchbook Pro and Adobe Ideas for drawing
- Kindle for reading
- GPS Drive HD and Maps for driving and directions
- Skype (with subscription) for phone calls
All around app: Google Voice
This app is totally free (used in a browser) and has saved me $15 a month in texting fees by routing the SMS texts thru my email and data plan on my phone. I can also use the Google Voice app on my Blackberry to send or receive texts if I wish. I get my voicemail transcripts in email to read when I can’t take a call. It’s a game changer for saving money.
Biggest Surprise: Google Chrome
The most secure browser out there and perhaps the fastest one too. I now know why they made this little browser into it’s own operating system. I’m already living in it. Customize it with extensions and without the (Firefox) lag. Here’s a few I like:
- Google Voice – get notified and answer texts without leaving your tab
- Google Tasks – a to do list
- Google URL Shortener – keep it short, tweet from there
Everyone uses Pandora. The fact that it’s on every device I own makes it ultimately useful at all times. Gooveshark is another great web app where you can actually listen to the songs you want. I’m not sure how they are making this happen since it seems to be peer to peer (P2P) sharing. Make a playlist, listen to whole albums, Tweet a song with a tiny URL… all for free! Sorry iPad users, this puppy uses (ugh) Flash.
I cancelled my cable bill this year and saved a bundle with Netflix on my Wii, iPad, and laptop. The streaming library is ever increasing and if you like TV, are willing to give up new content full of commercials, this is your last stop. My favorites:
- Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe (yes, I’m a sci-fi dork) – all seasons
- South Park – seasons 1-12
- Firefly, Dollhouse, and Buffy (the Whedon trilogy) – all seasons
- For the kids: Spongebob, Fairly Oddparents, and Invader Zim (ok, those are for me)
Although I don’t own a device running Android, the fact that I want one so badly is proof that the fastest selling mobile OS on the market kicks ass. It has a huge development team, an open system, and took Linux from being a joke (sorry Linus) to what could end up being the most widely distributed OS of our time.
Worst of 2010:
Devices: Google TV / Apple TV
The biggest let downs of the year. A device that could change everything. A device that could have brought the best mobile operating systems (Android and iOS) to our TVs and give us millions of apps to play with… instead searches our cable box for content and giving us more ways to pay for overpriced content. Boo. Fail.
All Around Worst App: iTunes
For the 10th year running: iTunes. What a beast. Slow to start up. Hard to use. Copying all my files to who knows where (whenever my hard drive is suddenly out of space, iTunes is to blame). Here’s an app by the maker of the iPad whose iTunes app doesn’t even perform the simplest task: subscribe to podcasts – i.e. automatically download new content. This year iTunes also introduced Ping, a social network (as if we needed another) for music. Note to Apple: Concentrate on usability and usefulness.
Music: The Social Network OST
My biggest gripe here isn’t with the music. I’m a huge Trent Reznor / Nine Inch Nails fan! My problem is with the price. Facebook is free. Everything Trent does is free. This is one piece of musical soundtrack that should have been free.
Movies/TV: Hulu and Hulu Plus
What a joke. Limited content, too many commercials, and an over priced app for shows that eventually expire. Hollywood really has to be reaching with this last ditch effort to save commercials. Forget it. Put a Pepsi or McDonalds logo (linked to a limited time offer) down in the corner and drop the commercials and the charge for the app.
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(Disclaimer: I’m not an expert or a programmer. I just see a need for better designed communication system.)
I think many people were disappointed last week when the 100k invites for Google Wave went out and everyone realized… Google Wave isn’t what they think it is. The consensus: Wave is a glorified (or confusing) email/chat system that has its own protocol for creating collaborative documents. Woo hoo.
What were we expecting Google Wave to be? I think most people expected a system that would merge email, chat (IM & SMS), with the communication of Facebook and Twitter streams (links, video, pics, and more). An all-in-one protocol for messaging perhaps?
Why it’s needed:
A number of APIs allow us to send SMS Tweets that update our Facebook feed. We can send an IM to update Twitter. We can email a picture to Flickr which updates our FriendFeed and perhaps that posts back to Twitter or Facebook. Right now these services and connections are spread out over a number of sites (and frankly, it’s very hard to keep track of what is updating where and when I do what?).
What Wave and its ‘bots’ (or programmable plug-ins that deal with Waves) could/should be is… an organizational tool for all the many forms of communication we use to interact with other people on a daily basis. Google seems to be the business ready for this, with products like Gmail, Gtalk, Google Voice, and the power of Google search. Facebook, according to CEO Zuckerberg, would love to be the number one form of communication on the planet. The first to sort out the mess that is 101 million ways of interacting and communicating, will win. It’s that simple.
How it should work:
An interactive all-in-one communication tool should:
- Be open and extensible
- Any communication format can be sent to/from email, to IM or SMS, into World of Warcraft or Second Life (any game or site w/ chat), or translated into Japenese and sent as Voicemail, etc.
- With my permission, any bot should be able to access certain Waves and make this happen. Right now, we grant these permissions through APIs for various sites/tools we use.
- Have algorithmic privacy controls
- A public Wave about my recent surgery is automatically sent to only my family, close friends, and doctors. However, a Wave to my doctor is private. A link to melanoma goes to anyone interested in health (or at risk!).
- Be interoperable
- A friend’s Wave about an NFL player comes to me because I am have that player on my Yahoo! Fantasy Football team. Another friend’s Wave about a player I am not interested in, does not come to me.
- Be verifiable
- I should know who is communicating with me. A system that verifies identity on (at least) 3 platforms is needed to reduce spam and allow for more productive communication.
What it could do:
Besides allowing for Google, Facebook, and Twitter to use this new messaging protocol and still compete for your eyeballs on their brand/version of this one-stop-shop for communication, a system like this could be used for bigger and better things. First, I would assume that whatever system was created for this would have a mobile app on many phones, or at the very least be able to convert anything to SMS. Second, I would assume that this would be the protocol adopted and used for all communications systems: phone calls, emails, IM, chat, status updates (even collaborative docs). Again, this would allow all platforms to fight competitively about branding and front end design while still allowing users to ‘do more’ with their communications.
Now let’s say I am playing World of Warcraft and my wife is at the store. With the touch of a button I can send a /tell that will arrive as a text message on her phone. “Buy some milk”.
Someone could write a bot that would poll (Wave already has a polling bot) all Ohioans about the upcoming Issue to legalize gambling or even Obama’s healthchare plan. All verified user data could then be sent to my local representative or Senator. Talk about a powerful lobby for the people.
Add geographical locations in the mix and a 911 call about a man choking might send an SMS to a nearby doctor/paramedic and save someone’s life. “You are a registered paramedic. A man in a brown coat is choking at the restaurant next door. Can you assist?”
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In reaction to the growing rumors and daily posts such as: Apple Tablet Coming in 2010?, Will an Apple Tablet Run on Verizon’s Network?, and Apple iTablet: Will You Buy One?, I feel the need to express my ultimate desire for a computer such as the rumored iTablet, how it will help to change the landscape of computing, how it will replace all of my other devices, and make dreams of augmented realities come one day sooner.
First, tablet PCs have been around for quite a while. I remember trying one out several years ago. It was kind of heavy; not something you’d carry around all day. It also ran Windows XP, which may be the best OS ever made for PCs, it wasn’t designed for a tablet or touch computing. I’m an artist who loves to draw, so the first thing I played with was a sketchpad program that was installed. This was long before I had ever seen or heard of a Wacom Cintiq monitor.
What am I so excited about? Here’s my list:
- Any iTablet OS will have been based off of years of touch research done by Apple for the iPhone (unlike previous tablet PCs)
- It will run iPhone Apps and feed the already existing market
- It will promote cloud computing applications that take less memory and power to run on your computer (the future of application software)
- It will surely prompt clones from other hardware manufacturers (a catalyst for innovation- look at what iPhone did for touch screen phones)
- And hopefully a tablet equivalent running a Google Android OS (Google already ahead of the game in the cloud apps area, i.e. Google Docs)… Android being quite possibly the best OS for touchscreen devices
Furthermore, here’s what else will be remedied by an iTablet
- Laptotps: Have you actually tried to use a laptop on your lap lately? I’ve got a MacBook Pro and a Dell XPS (my work computers) and neither of them can be set on your actual legs for longer than 2 minutes. I’ve had to buy laptop fans every few months just to keep them cool. In other words, LAPTOPS aren’t for LAPS!
- Desktops: I like the memory and power of a desktop, but it can’t take it with me. I have two offices on campus, I commute 25 minutes to work, and I work (and teach online) from home during the summer. I need portability.
- Smartphones: are great, but I still get dirty looks in meetings when I use it to take notes, pull up stored Google Docs, emails, or search for info on the web. I’m a hardcore multi-tasker and if one thing iTablet could do for me… take away the impression I’m txt’ing WHEN I’m really working!
- Netbooks: They’re small, they’re cute, they’re cheap! Did I say they were too small? Watching a netbook user is like watching an ad made by the Alliance of Chiropractors and Optometrists Everywhere. The thing sits chained to a table or someones lap while their back folds in two and they squint to see what’s on screen. The keyboards aren’t comfortable either. I thought the Pepper handheld computer got it right when the split the keyboard up on both sides. Most people text on their phones with their thumbs… evolution at its best: opposable thumbs. I think this is the way typing should be designed on the iTablet, which if they don’t design it that way I’m sure an App will be made for that! (The images included in this post taken from PC World show a keyboard across the bottom. That’s just not going to work).
So I’m trying to say that… An iTablet Mac product would BE a computer built for me. Highly portable, highly functional.
- I’m thinking I’ll be able to plug it into an play MP3s while I drive to work… No more MP3 player needed.
- I’m hoping I will be able to use it with Skype (and maybe Google Voice?!), a Bluetooth headset, and mobile carrier dataplan (tuff chance with Apple denying the GVoice app from their store. It’s the first time I’ve ever said this… “Go FCC!”). In other words, goodbye smartphone.
- And since the only hardcore applications I still need (Photoshop, video editing software, and Second Life) are almost better run on a desktop anyway… Can I say goodbye laptop? Photoshop is moving to cloud computing or being replaced by online competitors like Pixlr.com. Advanced video editing done in the cloud is only a few more years away, but simple video editing can already be done on sites like JayCut. Second Life and other virtual worlds or mmorpgs are not quite on smartphones yet and an iTablet may be just the thing needed close the gap to mobile virtual worlds and hardcore online games.
What will suck? I mean it can’t all be glorious right?
- Apple: Control and politics. I don’t own an iPhone but I know how tightly Apple controls what works and doesn’t work on the iPhone. I only hope that an iTablet would have as much open development and free products as OSX.
- $$: It’s not going to be easy on my pocketbook to personally get one of these. Even at the rumored $600-800 pricetag, that’s more than I was planning to spend on anything else this year. For someone who has never bought an iPod or iPhone but loves the idea of a device like this, I wonder if I’ll be able to afford the extras (Apps! Car charger, mobile re-charger, etc.) I’m sure the first extra I buy will be a string to carry the thing around my neck at all times, lol! But I’m serious, I’ll never put the thing down.
- Mobile Carrier: The worst thing about the iPhone is AT&T right? Whoever Apple partners with to carry data plans for this thing had better be prepared! They made a mistake picking AT&T as their phone carrier and have had poor coverage and customer service ever since. Will they make the same mistake twice?
- First Generation iTablet: It seems the smartest people in tech (on a budget like me) are always saying, hold off and get the second generation… It works better, faster, with less bugs. I’m so geeked about getting an iTablet, there’s no way I’m waiting. So bring on the bugs.
- We haven’t seen or heard any of specs yet. Memory? Speed? Camera? Video? Heck we don’t even know what size the thing will be. If there’s one thing I would expect, it’s that it has every bell and whistle of the latest generation iPhone. The one thing I would request: A video/camera on BOTH sides of the display. Hold it up and shoot a picture of what’s in front of me while also broadcasting webcam video of my ugly mug to a site like Ustream.tv at the same time. Dreamy.
Finally, until they develop a set of glasses that augment reality (and eventually nanites), an iTablet would again close the gap between what is the ideal future of computing and what is capable right now on mobile platforms; giving more power to the augmented reality devloper… A current hot topic. I think apps like the one in the video below are just the beginning, an iTablet would make augmented reality a reality sooner.