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Executive Summary: Gamification of Applications



Do you have business applications in your organization that users under your charge complain about using or don’t use at all? Why would you, they’re boring. This is where gamification comes in. Gamification is the use of game thinking and mechanics on non-game applications to engage users. Put simply it’s a useful way of making people do things they would rather not do by making them fun.

A simple example is filling out an expense report. Why not link completing expense reports promptly and accurately to a scoring system that is available to other coworkers. Reward systems common the video game world such as achievement badges and scores can be applied to saving per diem money, getting a deal on a hotel room, or submitting a report promptly after returning from a trip. This could ultimately save the organization money and increase employee participation. These scores could be kept on a leader board and rewards given to the top performers.

Positive Impacts

  • User motivation
  • Positive competition
  • Employee performance

Negative Impacts

  • Increased complexity
  • User backlash
  • Novelty effect

Impact on Business

Like many trends in business gamification is a double edged sword. In one situation it could work great and in another it could fail miserably. It has been estimated that by 2014 that 80 percent of current gamified applications will fail to meet the business goals they were developed for. The primary reason for this outcome is poor design. It’s important to get it right the first time and be ready to scrap a gamification idea that don’t perform well. Those developing the application must be creative and have a solid understanding of game theory.


Gamification is new and should be approached careful and intentionally before committing resources to a project. An 80% failure rate indicates these nascent techniques have some maturing to do. In time techniques will mature, best practices surface, and patterns develop. The idea is grounded in human psychology which is not subject to fads or trends. You have time to wait and see, use it.

Why Android on the HTC Incredible Ruled in 2010

In 2010 my crap Windows 6.5 phone got upgrade to an HTC Incredible from Verizon and I couldn't be happier. Originally I was hoping to buy a Nexus One but then along came the Incredible. It had similar specs plus a better camera. Since then I've used the hell out of it and I've always been able to get it to do what I want it to. After rooting it I was able to make the wireless hotspot functionality work with Verizon caring. Shocking. Below are is a list of the apps that made the HTC Incredible RULE in 2010.

Gmail – I have both my personal Gmail and my Google Apps account (for Oliver Media) available from the Gmail app. As slimmed down versions of Gmail go, it RULES.

Google Voice – I love this app because it allows me to have one phone number. This phone number rings at my office, phone and Skype. The free SMS allow me to dump my SMS plan with Verizon saving ~$6/month. I also get crappy text transcribing of voicemails.

Foursquare – For some reason location-based social media makes the dopamine flow and chill the OCD. As of this writing I've built up quite the little empire of intersections and homes. Foursquare FTW.

TweetDeck – This app has had me since the BETA. As Twitter apps go this is my favorite. It's got an endless timeline and it's laggy like other Twitter clients I've used. I configured it to post to Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, and Google Buzz. Much love to TweetDeck.

Kindle App – The high resolution of the AMOLED has finally made reading on a phone an enjoyable experience. I can now read books on my Kindle and pick up where I left off whenever I have some time to kill. The WisperSync functionality makes it seemless.

Cardiotrainer – This app gets the credit for helping me lose 10 pounds this year. It tracks all my runs using GPS and encourages me to keep it up. There something about it that makes running into a game. It's seemless Facebook integration allows me to brag about running too.

Flybys – Ever wonder when the Internation Space Station is going to fly over? Probably not but this app will tell you. That's all I got. Space FTW.

Sirius/XM – I'm adicted to Opie and Anthony and this lets me listen to it with my headphones anywhere. Especially good because that show is NSFW. You need to have a subscription to XM.


I'm sorry, I just can't stop talking about this damn phone. Love it.

Skyraider Sense 3.5 for Android Available from Ihtp69 for the HTC Incredible

SkyRaider Sense 3.5 for the HTC Incredible was released by Ihtp69 and is available via ROM Manager. It's got a really cool new feature that inspired this blog post. The wifi, bluetooth, GPS, airplane mode, update services and display brightness is now adjustable from the status menu. If your toggle buttons are on your desktop you can make room for other stuff. The phone seems a little snappier too.

Oh, and if your getting the annoying OTA update notification, there's something to get rid of that too.

More information about SkyRaider

Installing a Custom Android ROM On My HTC Incredible

A few weeks ago I rooted my phone to get access to some features made inaccessable by Verizon. This was taken a step further this week when I installed a custom ROM on to replace the stock ROM on my HTC Incredible. I had had enough of the stock ROM when I realized after rooting it that I still couldn't get rid of Skype or Peep easily.

I had to do something and remembered the cool thing about Android being open source software is any can modify it and come up with a custom flavor. This is also the problem. Google research took me on a long search through Android related message boards where the consensus seemed to be a flavor called Skyraider. This flavor also has a variant that includes HTC Sense UI which I prefer over the vanilla Android UI. I downloaded it via ROM Manager which I purchased for $3.99 from the Android Marketplace.

After downloading Skyraider I tried to install it via ROM Manager. What I found out next is the radio software needed to be updated. After that I was good to go and all my crapware was gone. As it turns out it used my old system settings and desktop. In case it forgot I took the precaution by backing everything up with Titanium Backup.

Proceed at your own risk for things can go wrong and brick your phone.

More detailed information and step-by-step instructions from the XDA developers forum.

Home Screen with Skyraider 3.3


Thank You Apple, Finally Some Clarity

Apple Logo

Today Apple finally gave developers some clarity regarding their previously ambiguous and arbitrary App store acceptance polices. This was a tough one because developers could potentially spend lots of time developing an app only to have Apple reject it. Apple states, "we don't need any more fart apps". I couldn't agree more. Apple's language was honest and direct which, as a developer, I expect to prevent wasted time and money.

They also removed a section from their developer agreement that essentially prohibited app development with anything other than Xcode. I have been kicking around the idea of developing apps for a while but I did not want to marry a single platform. I also didn't want to learn Objective-C which is, in my opinion, an arcane programming language from the '80s. I'm looking forward to developing for Android, iOS, and the rest leveraging my C# or JavaScript skills.

Some say that Apple's old policy could have spurred antitrust inquires and eventually lawsuits. Personally I don't care why they changed course and ate crow. I'm just glad Apple is respecting developers by providing them with information and access to tools to get the job done efficiently and in the manner we choose.