I enjoyed slides from Amy Jo Kim’s talk at Etech (via LukeW). I found particularly intriguing her definition of a game.
The formal definition: a system in which players engage in artificial conflict defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome (Rules of Play by Eric Zimmerman and Katie Salen) seems uncontroversial; however, I’m not sure I agree with her informal definition — a structured experience with rules & goals that’s fun.

I’ve got this project at work. It’s a structured experience — it’s work after all. There’s a goal. I have a partner and a time limit. There is even a compiler that enforces some of the rules. And it is wildly fun. I put on my headphones and listen to pandora as I tap away at the keyboard. There’s a thrill of excitement when things work as planned. There’s even a joy to the struggle to discover what’s went wrong when they don’t. It’s the kind of project I might do for fun in my spare time, if I had more of it, and I’m jazzed that I can actuallly get paid to have such fun.

I’ve written about this before, sometimes work can be play, but I wouldn’t characterize it as a game. I think the difference is when the activity is not artifical, when it has a purpose. Nonetheless I applaud Amy Jo Kim’s effort to put fun in functional. I absolutely agree that we should all be writing software that helps people acheive their goals while having a good time. Positive feelings and emotional engagement make us more creative, flexible and productive; but even if that were not true, enabling the pursuit of happiness is not just a good idea, it’s a constitutional right.

I just registered and volunteered to be a presenter at DCamp (d is for designers, d is for developers). I’ve been wanting to go to one of these un-conferences and this one seems to be the right topic for me — “DCamp, an unconference focused on design and user experience.”

Fri-Sat, May 12-13th, 2006
SocialText HQ in Palo Alto

organized by Rashmi Sinha and others at BayCHI

Lately I’ve been touring the hopping online video neighborhood. It seemed to be an active space and I’ve been out of the video world for a while. As I dug in, I found more and more references to new (and old) video sites. Last year, TechCrunch reviewed the filckrs of video. I got up to comment 113 in the techcrunch article, creating a list of video sites, and realized that I would be taking on a full-time job to review each of this. Nevertheless I was intrigued and found a few more reviewsThe Creme de Video Sharing Websites? and top 16 according to djp72.

I was curious how popular the various sites were and how long they had been around. Popularity is not always an indicator of quality or even ‘interestingness.’ Long lived sites have had time to mature their features but newcomer can bring fresh ideas and innovation. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of sites, and my random walk through them, I side-tracked into coding up a questionable comparison. Based on the premise of the entertaining googlefight, I used the google APIs to gage how frequently a site was linked to and built a simple graph using OpenLaszlo. This is a work-in-progress — I’d be happy to share the code and tell more details of its making if anyone is interested. You can rollover the bar or name of a site to see the actual numbers and click to open the site in a new window:

Below are the sites I’ve actually taken a good look at and links to reviews on this blog:
Grouper, Sept 2004, P2P file sharing, I like their web site best for its “lean back” experience (more)
YouTube, Feb 2005, very fast, very usable, well-loved. Flash video starts fast and plays well. (more)
Sharkle, Sept 2005, nice Flash video, sometimes starts slow but then plays well (more)
ClipShack, June 2005, nice content, mediocre quality (more)
TagWorld: a few weeks ago it seemed like a good place to go if you like watch young girls dance and lip-sync, now it seems to have more varied content, but it too slow to review

Revver: revenue sharing, QT, nice simple interface (more)