Monday, July 6, 2015

Gamification - We're Not Playing Here

In retrospect I'm not sure why, but I kind of expected a bit more from this article at ELearning Industry -- Gamification Benefits in Workplace Training"

The title drew me in. I was hoping that it would offer some lucid and effective arguments to the instinctive (and sometimes subconscious) resistance to gamification in corporate learning system design.

Instead, the article's primary thesis seemed to be, "people play games anyway, so just give in -- and besides, it's fun!"

This really misses the point.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How You Manage Passwords

Okay now, tell the truth.

With all the passwords you have to manage just to do your job and stay in touch with friends and family, you cannot possibly have a separate password for every account you manage, can you?

Some systems want you to have the password be a certain length, some want you to use at least one digit and one special character, (but it can only be from a certain subset of acceptable characters,) and some insist that you change the password on a periodic basis.

So you do what almost all the rest of us do. You use a standard personal password for most of your trivial accounts (like the Hilton Honors program and the Starbucks rewards program and your local gardening community forum site), and something special and (hopefully) secure for your online banking or your important social media accounts. But even with that strategy,  it's unlikely that you can keep all those passwords in your memory. So you write it down somewhere, don't you?!

Yes you do! Even the more progressive companies that require you to maintain credentials are beginning to acknowledge this age-old fact. No security system is stronger than the Post-It™Note.

So what are your alternatives? There are two. We'll talk about one today because it's something that's completely within your control

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

P@$$w@rdS Must Die!

...okay look here.

Every one of us wrestles daily with the problem of both protecting our online assets, and reliably gaining access to them. It's crazy, and as Cloud Computing comes into its own for mainstream use, the problem is going to just get more unmanageable.

Let's talk about passwords a little bit, and maybe we can agree on what's reasonable for the future.

When individual computers used to be a Big Damned Deal, we could rely on some primitive measures to protect them. First, there were only a few people who knew what to do with them, and then they had the only boot disks, so the machine couldn't even start unless they were there.

It's sort of appalling that entire offices actually did meaningful business with one or two "IBM compatible" computers in them, and with these marginally trained jealous harridans to guard them.

But then something happened to change everything...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Why We So Afraid of that Cloud?

You'll hear a lot of folks flinging the term around today, some as an epithet, others as a panacea. Cloud computing, or simply The Cloud has come to mean a lot of different things to different people and industries.

Some will tell you that it's a magic elixir that opens a new age of computing and business solutions and makes things possible that never were before. Others will tell you that it's a dangerous trend and that it cedes control of our corporate and cultural data assets to a faceless service provider determined to dissolve our privacy and likely to compromise our proprietary knowledge.

Neither is completely true and we'll see a shift begin from dominance by the latter myth to dominance by the former. If the two camps were tasked with carving up Grandma's best pie, the anti-cloud forces would by far take away most of the delicious calories.

From my observations, and given my opinions about what's possible with The Cloud, it seems that perhaps the division should be canted slightly in the other direction.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Do You Know or Do You Understand

You've been fooled. We have ALL been fooled.

We were brought up in an education model that prizes knowing things.

If you proved in school that you know a thing, you got a gold star.

If you faced a list of ten things and proved that you knew 9 out of 10, we gave you a score and told you that it was good. We told you that if you knew fewer than 7 of the 10 things, you had failed.

The details, and the levels may vary, but don't get wrapped up in fascination about the margin of variance. The principle is, we taught you that knowing stuff was good and not knowing stuff was bad. We taught you that knowing more things made you better, and knowing fewer things made you less valuable.

We created a relationship to knowledge in our culture that prized knowing things as the gold standard, sometimes at the expense of understanding. Certainly, although we have sufficient means to measure understanding of a knowledge domain, we've failed to use those tools consistently, and we definitely missed the opportunity to place the emphasis there.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Location Aware

...some long time ago, I wrote a bit about location aware services but things have changed a lot since then. Gowall has gone-alla, and Foursquare has morphed into Swarm with Foursquare behind it. Instagram, Facebook, Yelp! and Twitter all have strong location-aware tie-ins now, and the game is really just now heating up in the US and abroad.

The importance of this increases as more activity among millennials and Gen-Y flows away from desktops and onto mobile devices. More and more the marketplace is saying, "if you want to talk to us, you need to come out here where we are."

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Open Letter to an Old Friend

You used to be "too good to be true!" We loved you and looked forward to hearing from you every time the mailman came down the sidewalk.

We don't blame you for shifting your attention to streaming. Many of us did that too and were glad that you were out in front on that.

But here's the thing:

I won't be renewing my account. You often don't have the movies that I want to see available for streaming. You don't have a way (any more) for me to search to determine whether the movies I want are in your catalog unless I have an active account.

And the recent articles (here, and here) about how your management has somehow decided that because 20% of people don't mind spoilers, and many of the rest of us will (sometimes reluctantly) watch a series even after you deliver a spoiler -- makes me wonder if your decision makers actually studied basic statistics and marketing implications of customer satisfaction during college.

The waters are beginning to be infested with hungry media delivery players, and where Netflix once had a beautiful edge from being an earlier player, it looks instead like you're not getting the clue from the marketplace.  Shape up, or watch the others pass you by!

In the meantime, if you mend your ways, be sure and let me know. I'd love for us to be friends again.