Puzzle Craft 2

It was a massive achievement to finish the Imperial Castle and I certainly felt the love from the game! It all then seemed to go nowhere and I thought I was up for looking for a new game. I couldn’t see anything I liked so I went back to Puzzle craft 2 to have a look. There were still awards to be completed. There was still the networking I hadn’t done and , to my surprise, I was on the leaderboard! I get on leaderboards for anagram and word games, and I jolly well ought to, but with “normal” games I sink into oblivion. There were the challenges for me. I could finish awards and I could move myself up the leader board. I have since made a lot more money, collected more influence and gems and am up to level 206. I networked on Facebook but gave no permission to access friends list at this stage. Why? In the past networking has meant I have had things stolen from games which is just as alarming as having things stolen in real life. Theft is theft. I also do not want messages sent from the game under my name when I haven’t sent them. That is rude. I don’t know if Puzzle Craft 2 is like that or not but I am not risking it at this stage. Meanwhile I can still do the Royal Challenges and that puts a whole new look on the game. You have limited moves to complete moves which is why you really need friends to help you. Sometimes the challenges have tried to force me to use friends but I just cancel them. Bullying is not encouragement. My game, my life, my device and my list of friends. I have now completed 2% of the challenges but don’t understand why whatever else you do on the board after you have met the challenge goes nowhere. You are making moves for no reason because you are not collecting the resources. Sometimes you can turn them into coins or maybe into gems but not often. Why am I collecting wheat or whatever into fresh air? That does not make sense to me. With challenges you have to keep your tools well stocked and invest in magic tools which is easy because you get plenty of Influence with the challenges. You then have to work on the village boards to keep the tools going. I am actually enjoying this part of the game. I can more or less do as I please. I am not hampered by lack of resources which are being saved for the castle building and I can invest in workers which makes it all easier. I can use all the villages if I want to and I can vary it with Royal Challenges. I am not only enjoying myself, I am moving up the leaderboard too. That’s a bit random , though, because I don’t know what the game is counting as points to move me up the board and so I don’t know what to focus on. Googling hasn’t informed me either. This game can be a bit light on help sometimes but  that forces you to think for yourself so it’s not all bad. I’ll be with the game for a while longer now, so good, I can just have fun and keep my brain working. Puzzle Craft 2 constantly changes and challenges you to think in different ways. I like that.

Psychologist’s view of UX

how memory worksImage: Today I Found Out 

Understanding user experience is critical these days. Most of us are connected and using devices. Many of us have been using technology for a very long time. We all come with our habits, views and perceptions of how technology should work. UX (user experience) is about working with real people so they can use your software and can easily access your website. We have all been there. The app which leaves us clueless as to what to do next or find what we are looking for. The website which gets us so frustrated because we are following the links and they are not going to where we want or worse, take us back to exactly where we started. In my opinion a circular website is the equivalent of smacking people in the face. It’s rude. At least put up a message that you are working on something or traffic volume is too high or whatever the truth is.
There’s a very good article by a psychologist which looks at UX from a psychological point of view. There are 10 main areas and each one is explained very efficiently. If you are planning screen services of any sort for anyone then it’s good to look at the psychology of it as well as the visual impact and functionality of it.

1.People don’t want to work or think more than they have to
2.People have limitations
3.People make mistakes
4. Human memory is complicated
5.People are social
6. Attention
7.People crave information
8. Unconscious processing
9. People create mental models
10. Visual system

The article in UX Magazine explains it all really well. It’s worth a look.

Solbot Energy Rush

Solbot Energy Rush is a mobile game where you collect orbs to create renewable energy. It is , at least, a game which focuses on 21st Century energy issues. There is information accessible from within the game to give you tips and ideas for creating a more sustainable planet. To be a true educational game I’d like that information to be coming up as I play. The little robot changes colour as you go through the game levels and you collect the energy orbs which match the colour of the robot. It’s a drop down and collect game and then you need the navigational skills to be able to avoid the energy balls you don’t want to collect.

It’s a good game to have on your phone to fill in time if you are having to wait for something. It didn’t work so well on my iPad Air which I have had since 2015. It kept hanging. That might not be the game’s problem. I am on an Australian nbn connection which can drift in and out at times and then create lag on some apps. We are still putting in the infrastructure for our nbn and these sorts of things cause band width problems.

On my phone Solbot Energy Rush has worked perfectly fine and has been advantageous to me to build up my thumb skills. I don’t naturally use my thumbs on my phone as some people do. One of the advantages of playing different games is they get you good at screen skills. There are times when the robot moves of its own accord and I have been blown up by bad energy. That doesn’t bother me because its’ part of the repetitious learning in games to enhance your skills.

I quite like the graphics. I think they are well designed for a phone screen which has such a small screen real estate. Everything stands out well and is placed appropriately. You don’t make inadvertent clicks because the graphics are in the wrong place. I haven’t minded the adverts either. There have been things I have seen which have interested me and I have already downloaded one of the games which was advertised. For me  it’s good because I won’t naturally go looking for that type of information.

My favourite phone game is Bejewelled Blitz and I find Solbot Energy Rush to be another good option. It’s a Unity built game by Freakout games.  They  have a Facebook page  and are on Twitter @freakoutgames. They are pleasant and polite to deal with. They were keen to resolve my iPad issues with the game so they take user experience seriously. There’s another review of this game on XNVR. In the end, you find the games which suit your needs but this one is worth a try.

You can get the Apple version for iPad and iPhone from the App Store here and the android version  for  other tablets and phones  from the Google Play store here.

 

 

Data Protection and Privacy

This video was prepared for the UNCTAD conference in 2016. UNCTAD stands for United Nations Trade and Development. It has been working on helping developing nations engage safely with global trade and development. Two years down the track and we all seem to be developing nations when it comes to data protection and privacy. The general consensus seems to be that it’s all out of hand and we are powerless in protecting our online information and profile. Our data doesn’t belong to us and that is the biggest bone of contention. This post serves as an introduction. The issues around data protection and privacy are many and varied. The video highlights some major concerns and things to look for. It will take a number of posts to look at all of this in more depth.

For me , it boils down to 3 things:

  1. Selling data for data mining is big business. People need a  lot of data so they can sell it and then people package it and make money out of selling it. Not unlike coal mining.
  2. We need huge quantities of data for artificial intelligence and developing humanoids/robots etc etc. AI is already serving some very good purposes. How can we help without putting our information at risk?
  3. Data is being ,and has been , collected from us and shared without our permission. What are our rights and how do we balance the need for data to further develop the technology we need and like and maintain integrity with regard to respect for individual privacy?

It has become clear to me that different people are concerned about privacy and data breaches in different ways and for different reasons. We need to have a decent conversation about all of this so we can benefit form data and information sharing .

RedNotebook

RedNotebook

Plan your day

Red Notebook is designed to run on Linux and is like Evernote  – or is that the other way around? I was blogging about  daily planners the other day and it made me wonder what might be available that was Linux specific. I am running  Linux  Mint 17.2 Raphaela on this laptop and I couldn’t install Red Note Book from the package manager. I couldn’t install it from the site either.  I could install it when I used the instructions from launchpad and type them one line at a time into Terminal. RedNotebook then installed itself into the Office section of the start menu.

In RedNotebook you have 3 templates, if you want, for meetings, journeying and personal. You don’t have to use them. You can just put in your own headings and hashtags so you can create your to do lists, notes, reminders, bookmarks…whatever you like just like Evernote. It’s an electronic diary which is not connectivity dependent to work. You back it up to your own chosen spot on your computer. From that point of view it’s good because if you have no internet access then your agenda/diary/journal is still available to you as are all of the backups. To me, this is essential. I don’t want to be plotting and planning and notetaking only to discover I can’t access what I have done because I have no internet connection. Daily planning has to be available, full stop , end of story.

The hashtags work as a sorting function and are displayed to the left. As you build up notes then a word cloud appears so your memory can be jogged if you are searching for something. I really like RedNotebook. I thought the world had stopped doing good things like this so I am really happy. You can read all about it on sourceforge. It operates in more than 30 languages.

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