So I saw the first episode of Doctor Who…

…at the behest of Anjani, who is such a big fan of Doctor Who that BBC India told her that they’re having a Doc Who marathon starting August 27th followed by the premiere of the new seventh season. I finished Lost recently, but I’m not going to post on it because there is another Doc, Doc Jensen, who does the works on Lost posts, and after reading some of them, I know I can never ever match up to what he has written. Anyway, I’ve been searching for a new drama to catch, even though I’m almost up to date with Mad Men but haven’t taken the initiative to catch up. So I caught the first episode of Doctor Who, that show that seems to be a cornerstone of British television, and which has also been parodied extensively by Community as Inspector Spacetime, online.

Billie Piper plays Rose, an average woman with an extremely irritating boyfriend called Mickey (seriously, why are they so touchy touchy?). She gets caught up in a weird plot of world domination by plastic mannequins. Seriously. I’m not kidding. The dude who can stop this plot is The Doctor, a guy who travels through space and time in a blue 1950s telephone booth. Seriously, still not kidding. During the first episode, Mickey gets eaten by a trashcan, plastic guys shoot stuff out of their hands, and a plastic hand does an Alien Facehug-thingy.

Yeah, that’s the pilot of Doctor Who. Weird, right? But Christopher Eccleston is fun as The Doctor, the guy who knows everything. But the technical quality of the show is just plain bad. It was made in 2005, but it reminds me of late ’90s shows like Friends, and Seinfeld. I guess Brit television was still catching up back then, I know that Sherlock looks so sexy. Anyway, the soundtrack is good electronic stuff with edge but the plot is just too weird. Plastic attacks the world?????????????????????? My god….but the teaser for the second episode looked extremely interesting.

Anyway, I’ll stick with Doc Who until it really irritates me. After all, nothing can beat Lost or Breaking Bad.


What is Gamification?

So I’ve been using Coursera for the last couple of weeks and it’s been awesome (I’m doing Intro to Finance). I decided that I wanted to learn something new to complement my finance course and scrolled through and found a course that is going to be offered by UPenn called Gamification. And I was instantly psyched, because this is a topic that is very in sync with what’s happening right now. All over the world, millions of children play games, whether it’s board games or digital games, or rock, paper, scissors. What Gamification does is study how games influence different aspects of life and then identifies how we can use gaming techniques and ideas in other different fields, like business and education.

I’m definitely taking this course, and in fact previewed one of the videos, on The History of Gamification. In the video, Prof. Kevin Werbach explained the earliest known origins of gamification, which in fact, is heavily tied up in advertising. When I was a kid, I would buy boxes of cereal just to get movie toy figures because of the latest blockbuster, like Ice Age in Chocos. That’s how gamification works: motivate individuals with things like rewards, points, trophies, badges etc so that it influences consumers to buy more, or employees to work harder.

The preview video showed me links to other videos that were similarly informative:

Jesse Schell’s DICE 2010 talk: (Part 1, you can find the other parts in the related videos section)

Jane McGonigal’s TED talk:

I also saw an amazing short film a couple of weeks back that simulates how integrated games can be in our real lives, the core idea behind gamification. It’s called Sight:

I personally think gamification is a double edged sword because it can lead to a Terminator-like future. And I also think that gamification could make me a more consistent blogger. What do you think?