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Want.

Want. published on 1 Comment on Want.

Originally posted on ReadWriteWeb.

There’s something about Apple’s consumer design chops that makes their latest product – whatever it happens to be – the definitive object of desire of the moment.

Steve Jobs could announce a new line of refrigerator expansion valves next week, and we’d be lining up at midnight to buy them. (“It’s tiny. It’s revolutionary. It will completely transform the way you lower the temperature of food.”)

And not because we’re slavish Mac fangirls-and-boys. (Okay, not just because of that.) It actuallywill be freakin’ amazing. Sure, you’ll only be able to buy food approved by the App(etizer) Store, but the design! The user experience! the way the mustard swishes out of the way when you swipe!

And before Jobs even leaves the stage, the marketing and promotion industry steps in. The low-end version of the product – whatever the equivalent of an iPod Shuffle is – becomes the giveaway of choice to people signing up for a new service, whether it’s a bank account, cable or a loan-shark arrangement. The high-end version becomes either the first prize for every contest around, or the bait for a multitude of online scams. (Suuuuure people are auctioning iPads off for $2 each.)

Somehow, Apple has found the combination to the Oh God I Have to Have That center of our brains. And if that sounds a little terrifying, it probably is. The only comfort is this: they haven’t quite perfected it yet.

Apparently, we DO need these stinking badges

Apparently, we DO need these stinking badges published on 5 Comments on Apparently, we DO need these stinking badges

Originally posted on ReadWriteWeb

I’m suddenly seeing badges everywhere.

Location-aware apps like Foursquare and Gowalla award them for things like visiting more than four venues in one night (the “crunked” badge) or checking into the kind of venue known for a particular personality type (the “douchebag” badge).

And now I’m getting badges in nearly every game and entertainment app I use, often with oddly low standards and notifications like “Award: Launching-the-App-for-the-First-Time Badge!”

This goes back – as all good things do – to video games; badges act like little food pellets that help keep you motivated in between levelling up and winning extra lives.

But there’s no question they work, so don’t be surprised when they start popping up in more mainstream applications. The Inbox Zero merit badge could well be built into the next version of Outlook; PowerPoint users (at least the ones I’ve been seeing lately) could be unlocking the “20 bullet points and 16 fonts in one slide!” badge.

Those badges seem to fill some deep-seated craving from our inner Brownies and Cub Scouts. All that’s missing is a proud virtual parent to sew them onto a digital sash for us… and I’m pretty sure that’s coming, too.

OSCON: Financial incentives for open-source development

OSCON: Financial incentives for open-source development published on 2 Comments on OSCON: Financial incentives for open-source development

The OSCON session on financial incentives in the open-source community was fascinating, partly because it goes to the heart of a lot of what we ask at Social Signal: what motivates people to participate?

The conversation made it clear that money can be a double-edged sword (note to self: do not actually use double-edged swords as money): encouraging some forms of participation, while potentially actually alienating other potential contributors.

The panelists were Leslie Hawthorn (Geek at Large), Donald Smith (The Eclipse Foundation), Todd Crowe (Todd Crowe Web Design & Development) and Stormy Peters (GNOME Foundation) – with moderation by Rob Lanphier (Wikimedia Foundation).

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