Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pebble Watch for iPhone and Android - Kickstarter

Pebble: E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android by Pebble Technology — Kickstarter:
$115, battery life 7 days

Reuters: Internet smartwatch orders net $2 million for start-up

A Canadian entrepreneur's smartwatch, which works alongside a user's smartphone, has won $2 million worth of orders through an Internet-based funding venture that offers cash-starved companies a way to both test their ideas and raise funds. Pebble Watch for iPhone and Android, The Most Successful Kickstarter Project Ever

Competition: Sony SmartWatch for Android, $54 @ Amazon, battery life 1/2 day.

Google BBS

This Is What Google Would've Looked Like In The 1980s -- And It Actually WORKS - Business Insider

Google BBS Terminal

It even has sound of modem :)

Udacity @

Start-Up Expands Free Course Offerings Online -

Udacity expects to offer its final exams
at 5,000 physical testing centers in 165 countries

Make it a GAME of learning!

We are looking for feedback about next run of these courses - CS373:
Here is my answer:

Make it a GAME of learning!
The key for learning, and for everything else, is MOTIVATION (I think). Self-paced may work well for self-motivated.
There are 3 types of motivation:
1) FEAR is a good motivation for industrial work and old-style learning. Pay $8000 for a course, for many people that is enough to work enough to pass. Or fear to be worse that others. That is a "peer pressure" of the group, when everybody is on the same schedule.
2) GREED also works: to tell the world that you have a Stanford diploma, many people will do what it takes... AI-class had elements of that. It turned out to be a great class, but great reputation of teachers did help, in particular to get so many people to sign up. A group on same schedule could also motivate greed, to be better than others.
3) DRIVE or PASSION is an ultimate motivator, and hardest to get right. When you are good in something, you want to become even better. This is well described in book "Drive" by Daniel Pink (video)
(Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose)

Have to know the basics ("pass suck threshold"), and after this need to feel comfortable to quickly improve! That will very well understood and used by O'Reilly "Head First" books, and "Create Passionate Users" blog by Kathy Sierra. Highly recommended! Here is a summary on my blog
Programmers forums site is a hugely successful example of a self-motivated community, based on elements of GAME. I did closely follow their evolution (by podcast), and struggle. It is pure passion of Jeff Atwood (blog Coding Horror) that made the details make the diffidence. And imitation didn't work! They have attempted to make many more similar sites, didn't come not even close.
So, here are some of my suggestions:
  • create BADGES, make effort count, make speed count, make results count.
  • create LEVELS, make the learner/player "earn" the next level.
  • make PUZZLES, program generated, and different for everybody (no cheating)
  • make it a COMPETITION: you can compete with others on self-pace marathon.
  • where applicable, make teamwork count in solving challenges
Obviously nothing of this is easy, and it is not completely new. There are education/forum sites that work well. is a great example for K12 level, created by Graham Glass, another passionate programmer I had a privilege to meet. He made learning a game that works well for kids and schools.
Sebastian and his team are great, and udacity classes are so far really good. That could be an excellent base for another "quantum leap" in the game of learning.
Dragan Sretenovic