Email handling

This will NOT be a political post.  Over the last few years, the world has gone insane.  It has become obvious, at least to me, that people are using more and more technology that don’t have a clue how it works.  Governments, companies, and hackers are enjoying this, as many people don’t understand what data is stored where, and how that data is handled or secured.  Many people are willing to give up all of their privacy just to play a game (if you don’t believe this, take a look at how many of the freemium games on your phone “require” you to either be connected and/or have location tracking turned on).  A whole generation of consumers have given up on the whole idea of privacy online.

I was listening to a security podcast recently and they discussed the idea that we’ve all become overwhelmed with our own security requirements.  Many people have just given up on trying to stay up to date on their security and privacy settings.  When was the last time you have checked your Facebook security and privacy settings. Companies, like Facebook, assert the right to change their settings and defaults at any time, and as such just keeping up with those changes could be a full time job. 

By default, email is inherently an insecure protocol on the internet.   In order to route email between end points the meta data is not corrected.  So you already give up privacy on who you are sending email to.  Most email users will not change their settings to actually encrypt their email content.  

Over the years, I have used PGP encryption in my emails.  PGP is an example of public key encryption, which will allow you to encrypt the email content and ensure the receiver that the email has not been changed in transit, as well as ensure that it actually came from you.  However, for some reason, every time I upgrade my operating system my PGP tool fails, as they  must be hooked into the OS land thereby lag in compatibility. This is an unacceptable outcome for the average consumer.

I believe we need to change the fundemantal architecture for email to make encryption, security and privacy the default setting.  It may take another 10 years or more to migrate the web to this architecture, as we have the problem with defaults – most people don’t change them.  What do you think?

Episode 60 – Bubbly Bubblers in Gamified Buildings

Happy Water CoolerPhaedra, Michael and Michael were delighted to be accompanied by Ross Smith, Director of Test in the Skype division of Microsoft for this show, centered around games for employee engagement.

Ross described the recent work that he and his team have done with giving personality to buildings and using the building itself as the ‘game master’, to orchestrate and facilitate employee engagement.

Games for health
One of the intriguing examples (also discussed in Episode 58, but without the benefit of Ross’s first hand experience) uses a water cooler with personality as the mechanism for gamifying health.  While drinking eight glasses of water a day is a pretty well known health tip (I’m drinking my 4th big glass as I’m writing this!), it is easily forgotten in the hectic business day.  The team at Microsoft gave their water cooler a bubbly user interface and 4 emotional modes (sad, happy, attract/flirt and party) to experiment with increasing the amount of water consumed by the building’s people.  The results:  more water for more people, and a wealth of data, feedback and ideas to continue the innovation.  The picture above was inspired by Ross’ story and is my low-tech example of giving the water cooler in my apartment some personality as well!
Another example is classifying the food choices in the cafeteria as green, yellow and red, and then using that data to guide behavior.  If less healthy food choices are selected, the building might suggest using the stairs or a longer route for a meeting later in the day.  This has helped the team learn more about what people are willing to share, and what they are not, and inform future game design on what should have individual vs team collective goals to maximize participation while respecting privacy.

Games for social / business interaction
The game ISHI was used as the buildings were being opened to help the team come together in an open office, connected community.  Ross described how people may respond to some survey questions indicating preference between skiing and snowboarding, or cat / dog fandom, and then how that kind of data can be used to create groups and teams with common interests and help people to get to know one another even better.  The building invited people to come to a central space, then you have met a number of people with common interest across job roles and functions, with the goal of beating the clock to figure out what do they have in common.  This method of dynamic team creation could be leveraged to bring a creative team together to brainstorm how to solve a client’s problem just as easily.
Windows Language Quality Game was another game with similar tremendous results, this game wound up attracting more than 4,000 people play and review over half a million screens, separating actionable feedback from non-actionable feedback received from public beta testers of Windows software.  Ross noted that rigorous data collection is key, and his experience of 4x – 16x increased participation and results because of the game mechanics can demonstrate even to the skeptics the business impact and win them over.

We were delighted to have Ross on the show with us today, and if you would like to learn more about him and the projects he’s involved in, you can find him on the following links:

Web www.42projects.org
Twitter   @42projects
Facebook  www.facebook.com/42projects
blog  http://42projects.blogspot.com/

We are happy to have had you dialed our way.  You can find us on G+, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and more.  Please comment, friend, tweet and send us topics you would like to hear more about!

Selected show links
ISHI game for the Skype team at Microsoft — http://research.microsoft.com/apps/video/default.aspx?id=200275
ISHI game documentary rough cut — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0W431tP6SM&feature=youtu.be
Water Cooler — http://www.businessinsider.com/like-to-flirt-at-the-office-water-cooler-a-microsoft-intern-built-a-water-cooler-that-flirts-back-2013-8
Vote for Sentient Buildings for SXSW — http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/21393
Microsoft Interns — http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/news/features/interns13-082613.aspx
Magic Circle of Play — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Circle_(virtual_worlds)
Everymove.org — https://everymove.org
Chore Wars — http://www.chorewars.com
uTest — http://www.utest.com

Games we’re playing (or thinking about)
Madden 25 — http://www.easports.com/madden-nfl
Assassin’s Creed — http://assassinscreed.ubi.com/en-us/home/index.aspx
SimCity — http://www.simcity.com
Bioshock 2 — http://www.bioshock2game.com/en/
Call of Duty Black Ops 2 — http://www.callofduty.com/blackops/
iPad games for toddlers?  Phaedra would like your suggestions!
Dragon Box — http://research.microsoft.com/apps/video/default.aspx?id=200275
Motor World — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/motor-world-car-factory/id580666714?mt=8
Plants vs Zombies 2 – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/plants-vs.-zombies-2/id597986893?mt=8

Play

Episode 39 – Dating Google

While Michael M. is hiding out in central Europe, Phaedra and Michael R. have some fun speculating how you can use Google glasses while dating your customers. Well not dating your customers, but during courtship. Wait, not really courtship, but while in sales. Can Google glasses really help your sales force and your customers connect better? We think so, and so we talk about it.

Do you think that Google glasses are in your future? What business games do you foresee bring to your workplace?

Will it cause a new era of fake sincerity? Or will it cause an era of CIA like recall?

Let us know what you think!

Show Links
Google Glass Dating
Tattoos for brainwaves
Samsung S4
SciFi Influence on Tech
Apple iWatch Leaks
Google Smart Watch
Total Recall
Total Recall Tech
iEEE Webinar – Mobile DevOps – Why should you care?
Google Glass and Privacy
Google’s Data Center
Cell Phone Jammers

Play

Episode 25 – Social Reciprocity

As the the day are getting shorter, and our day jobs are getting busier, the Michael’s have a lot of fun talking about the latest tech news and how it ties back to playing games at work. Michael R even gushes a bit about the possibilities of Microsoft’s Surface RT, and how well they presented it to the market on Thursday. While there was no Oprah moment at the announcement, there were multiple people who walked away with one.

Links:
Windows RT Announcement
Apple’s iPad Kickstand
Data Visualization Widgets
Windows 8 is NOT Metro
Bean Traders
Awesome Coffee Visualization
LinkedIn Skills Profiles
Today’s Podcast on Storify
Michael’s iPad mini Review
Demon Costume

Play