Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stash Thursday

I love naturally colored wool and I love superfine fleece. Cormo  wool is the best of both worlds. This is 5 oz white & 2.5 oz natural grey roving from Cormo Sheep & Wool Farm (blog here)  It is certainly not enough for sweater, but would make a nice vest or hats or shawls or mittens.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Gamification - Project 2

[The prompt: Create a gamified system for a city government to increase fitness & decrease insurance costs]

Most people realize that exercise and fitness are important to good health and quality of life.  No one likes to be sick or unwell, but sometimes the choices people make contribute to an unhealthful lifestyle and they need the structure of a program to make changes.  Creating a gamified system to provide extrinsic motivation and rewards is a way to encourage healthful habits, and when people start to feel the physical improvements in their lives, they will continue the behaviors for the intrinsic value.

For the employees of the city of Werbachia, I propose adding an activity reporting feature to the automated timeclock that the city uses to track attendance and hours.  This will be a low-cost, uncomplicated way for employees to report their daily physical activity and this data will be reported back to users in a weekly progress update that tracks their progress against themselves & against an average of the other city employees.

The game elements of this program include:
  • checking in
  • points for the different categories of activity (more for strenuous activity or muscle strengthening, fewer for light activity or cardio)
  • badges for completing activity goals
  • feedback (in the weekly report to track & compare progress)
  • quests (a monthly newsletter will give activity suggestions and directions for completion of goals)
At the outset, primary motivation to record activity and encourage increased exercise will be extrinsic. By linking the activity report to the automated timeclock, every employee will have 4 opportunites per day to log their exercise (clocking in & out for the day and in & out for lunch). Because the city uses the same system for all employees, this will relatively simple & cost efficient to implement and maintain.

Every week the employees will receive a progress report which will give them feedback.  They will be able to see their own progress over time and compare their progress to that of the group of city employees as a whole.  The individual employee can choose to share this information with their peers, and this gives the user flexibility and control over the "game". This feeling of engagement is critical to a successful gamified system.  Those who are motivated by self-improvement will be pleased and those who are motivated by cometition with peers and the main group will be pleased as well.

Physical fitness is, well, physical and the more the city employees utilize the system and work to increase their activity levels to progress in the "game", the more they will become fit and feel more healthy and energized.  This good feeling becomes an intrinsic motivator for the user to continue to progress.  What was once a requirement becomes a good and rewarding habit.  In this way, using a gamified system to initiate & encourage increased physical fitness using external motivation leads to the creation of a desire to continue the habit for the intrinsic reward of health and happiness.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Stash Thursday

Amazingly, I am actually knitting a project with this stash yarn.  It is a skein of hand dyed, local grown, local processed alpaca.  I am making Celestine for my Ravenclaw knitting house.  It is a very fiddly project, but interesting, and I am practicing some techniques I don't usually use, like picking up & knitting to add a section.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Gamification - project 1

The prompt: Provide reasons why gamification could be a useful technique [to sell breakfast pastry].

My submission: Gamification can be a useful technique to reach the goal of increasing the market share of Cereals Inc in the breakfast ready-to-eat market. Incorporating game elements to our product can make the experience more fun for our customers and can increase consumption and brand loyalty.

A primary goal of gamification is to engage people in everyday activities (customer engagement). By adding the right game-like components to our marketing plan, users will begin to associate our pastry with a fun and engaging experience they will want to repeat (easy fun).  We also want them to share with their friends and family, which will encourage more people to try our product in addition to the positive feeling that customers will get from sharing the information (people fun).

Games appeal to men and women equally, and the majority of people in the young adult demographic are comfortable with gaming (broad appeal).  Finding game elements and techniques that will catch and hold the interest of the consumer is becoming the new normal and the product that is fun to use will have an advantage.

It is also possible to use gamification to recognize and reward good habits. This could be as simple as eating breakfast every day or a more complex idea such as enabling users to track thier eating, nutrition and exercise patterns.  A sense of satisfaction from posting progress or meeting goals is another element of fun that gamification can provide.

The applications of gamification are many, but our goal is a simple one: for our customers to feel that choosing a breakfast pastry from Cereals Inc is more than just a meal, but rather a fun and rewarding experience they would like to repeat.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Juggling Goslings

My plate is full, full, full here at Chez Pickyknitter. I'm trying to pretend it is not far too much for one woman to handle.

Work - We've been on full schedules (8 hours x 5 days, minimum) for a few months now and I am starting to miss the slow weeks when we had 6 hour days. It was a nice break after the week of 14-18 hour days during month-end.  However, I like the paycheck and won't complain too loudly.

Reading - I have several books partially started & then set aside (Don Quixote, The Awakening, & Bleak House all spring to mind) but my current pusher book is An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon.  It is a weighty tome, but good for dipping in and out of, unlike the classics which require my full attention (and often, my notebook).  In addition, I am re reading the Harry Potter series and finished book 1 this week.  I will exchange it for book 2 tomorrow.

SciFi & Fantasy class (online) - I am behind in my reading for this unit... I'm not even entirely sure who the authors are.  I need to "get a move on" as the next essay is due by Tuesday. I should at least watch the introductory video for the unit tonight before I go to bed.

Gamification class (online) - I am caught up in the videos and the quizzes, but need to prepare the exercise / essay for the first class which is due in, uh, 19.75 hours. Yikes.

Knitting - I am almost done with the Springy socks but mislaid the contrasting color yarn at the last minute and now they are on hold. I picked up a scarf in progress to keep my hands busy, but am quite miffed about the socks.  I am in a Harry Potter themed knitting team on Ravelry (Soar, Ravenclaw!) and am planning 6 small projects to be complete before the month is out, plus trying to keep up with all the chatter on the forums.  Chatter is my favorite part; my Gamification instructor would nod sagely and approve of the social aspect of Ravelry being a huge part of the fun I have there.

Things being squeezed out - Soap. I have got to make soap.  Washcloths. I have got to knit washcloths.  Pets. I have got to walk / wash / snuggle / groom the pets.  House. I have got to clean the house. World of Warcraft. I have got to catch up and get ready for the new expansion.

All righty, enough procrastinating. Time to do some reading for class! 

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Stash Thursday

I photographed part of the stash yesterday and organized it on my Ravelry page.  The idea is that if it is taring me in the face, maybe I will use it!

Today's selection is some of the fiber I have acquired from Red Fish Dye Works.  They have beautiful, reliable fiber & color. I just realized that two skeins of sock yarn escaped the camera, I will have to add them later.  One is blue and one is orange... I sense a pattern emerging.

Merino / Silk handspun 4 oz

80 Merino / 20 silk 4 oz

50 Merino / 50 silk 4 oz
Silk yarn, 2 ply 120/2
Silk yarn, 2 ply 120/2

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Thurs - no, Wednesday

It's a day, for the sun is up. Beyond that I am not making any claims.

It is cool & gray out.  Apparently our "June Gloom" has finally arrived. It has been burning off hot, but I like it right now.

I'm having a busy month, what with online classes, work, knitting for a class on Ravelry, fun knitting, guilt knitting, fun reading and generally being alive. 

The plan for today needs to involve some pictures, methinks.

Monday, September 03, 2012

The Invisible Man: Clearly Curious

People are naturally curious, and in Wells' "The Invisible Man", he explores the different kinds of curiosity that we have.  He shows that the answers we get are not always what we expect.

The townsfolk of Iping are immediately curious about the stranger in their midst.  His dress, his manner and his overbearing tone all excite their interest and there are multiple attempts to discover his story. They seem to be curious purely for the sake of entertainment, but as the story progresses we see that had they known what the stranger was, they could have been prepared for his behavior.  However, they had little warning of his anger and desperation, or of the risk he posed. In their situation, curiosity is a method of self defense.

This story behind the stranger is eventually revealed when the Invisible Man retells his experiments & adventures to Kemp. We learn at last that Griffin had been curious about the idea of invisibility and this alone drove his research.  Like Shelley's Victor Frankenstein, Griffin became obsessed with the process leading up to his goal, and did not stop to reflect on the moral or practical implications until after the experiments were complete.

The townsfolk of Iping (and, later, other regions) continue to be curious about the events surrounding the Invisible Man and to discuss it amongst themselves. They are able to share information and work together to attempt a defense against his rampage.  However, the wages of Griffin's curiosity are death; his lack of forethought and the absence of any trusted confidante end in tragedy when he is killed.  His pure scientific curiosity is very real, but ultimately unsustainable.

Peer response: form
student1 → In general the grammar is adequate. The sentence structure is very basic. Simple and clear sentences are not wrong, but they are also not outstandingly crisp. I scored this a two.
student2 → Clear writing style; easy to follow.
student3 → good essay with good use of words and paragraphs
student4 → The presence of a man in a small town where is his a stranger is a curious matter. People are bound to be a little anxious about a bandaged stranger. However the theme of curiosity seems a little weak. People are alarmed by the unexplained occurrences. The invisible man before invisibility has suffered a kind of derangement of mind brought on by the use of drugs. His odd behaviors his course unnatural reactions to the death of his father are examples of who his behavior progresses in such a bizarre manner. Curiosity explains much of the behavior in Ipling but further abroad when the invisible man is perceived as a threat fear and hatred are the moving forces. More importantly they should be afraid. The grammar in this is good and you stick to the point. Every occurrence can be explained by curiosity if you want it to be. In fact you might say it is the quality of being observant and practical that makes people suspect and then fear the invisible man.
peer review: content
student1 → This essay feels very much like a retelling of a portion of the story. I do not believe you addressed different types of curiosity or its importance in the story. I scored this a one for content.
student2 → Suggestion for next time: the point you are making here ("several forms of curiosity are depicted and not all of them end well") is understandable, but - to me - not very original in content. What I'm saying: next time you might go beyond the general reflection upon a theme ("curiosity") and make a bold statement that surprises the reader and makes him or her ponder on it afterwards.
student3 → is a good way to see this story and how you do the comparison between this and the work of frankenstain
student4 → . The content seems a little light. I would have liked to see more examples of curiosity and the quality of observant skepticism. I like the idea that these qualities might be found in a number of key characters. I would have to re read the story looking for it which might be a good idea for the essayist.

Laboring Day

Well, it is a day off for me today, although technically it is my regular day off and I will still be entitled to a holiday day at some point.

It is beautiful out, sunny and clear and not too hot.  I should pack up a dog and go for an adventure, but many  fun options are here at home as well.

Will she clean the house?  Read for her class?  Knit like the wind?  Take a nap?  Weave that blanket? Make some soap?

Stay tuned!