Archive for the 'Videos' Category

TertiaryTech Conference 2010: Singapore student startups are pretty solid!


TertiaryTech Conference 2010 @ SMU

Last Saturday morning, I was invited by Wayne Soh of The Digital Movement to speak about game mechanics at their new conference series, TertiaryTech.

As you can tell, this conference was geared at students interested in breaking into the startup industry. I must say that from what I saw, I was very impressed. The ideas and design that went into the interactive applications pitched by student groups at this conference was pretty top notch. I’ve got a bunch of TertiaryTech photos and video interviews to share as seen below…

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Here’s the game mechanics talk I presented meant to inspire and intrigue student developers into building “addictive” qualities into their apps (to sustain an active user base). From the feedback I’ve received, lots of folks were intrigued after hearing what I had to share, and I’m particularly glad how they have come to realize how Facebook derives free labor through the exploitation of such game mechanics (yes, pure psychological hooks!). Big thanks to Daniel Tsou of fame, for helping with the HD camera work shot using my NEX-5. I’m just going to re-use the wonderful abstracts from the TertiaryTech web site.


TertiaryTech 2010: How to add fun to traditional labor (Game Mechanics)

Traditional mass media has typically portrayed video games in a negative light for generating social undesirable or unproductive behavior. However, by harnessing the addictive elements of video games and embedding these game mechanics into traditional labor, can we make work fun?

These forces, or what we refer to as game dynamics or mechanics, are what influence us into subconsciously performing actions or completing certain tasks. As usage and engagement becomes the focus of many technology services today, there is a demand and need to infuse game mechanics in these products.

Kevin has been experimenting with the concept of productive games in the classroom environment, by using Amy Jo Kim’s game mechanics as a means of steering user motivations. He has also been invited to present his research papers and also to speak at numerous corporate and academic conferences. Be sure not to miss him by registering for the Tertiary Tech Conference today!

Additional video resources:
Seth Priebatsch: The Game Layer on top of the World
Jesse Schell: When Games Invade Real Life


TertiaryTech 2010: Pigeonhole – Beautiful Conference Q&A system

Title of Project: Pigeonhole Live
Team Lead: Hew Joon Yeng, Lyon Lim Yu Tian
Academic Institution: National University of Singapore

Pigeonhole Live is a simple conference tool for speakers to engage their audience in a live setting using their smartphones, laptops and even iPad! Pigeonhole Live allows the audience to ask and vote for their burning questions on their web device in real-time. Good news for the audience: No more waiting for the McNanny at the microphone during the precious 10-minute QnA sessions! By looking at the highest voted questions, the speakers can now address the audience crowd more accurately.

Now everyone gets to take part in the post-keynote QnA at the conferences, without running to the microphones. Yes, even if you are a little shy.


TertiaryTech 2010: Su Yuen demos learning through AR for Kids

Team Lead: Chin Su Yuen
Team Members: Chen Lingwei, Tan Reiwen Alex, Ee Wai Lay, Liu Peng
Institution: NUS School of Computing
Category: Games, Augmented Reality

Virtual Sandbox is an educational game for 4-6 year olds that aim to create a creative and interactive environment to learn English vocabulary. The goal of the game is to build your city and populate it with people. Children use physical cards that are similar to flash cards to place and construct buildings in their city and populate these buildings with characters of the right job/occupation.

For example, to populate a school, children must place a “Teacher” character in the school before they can see an animation of the teacher teaching students in the building.

By using physical cards as a form of interaction, we merge the benefits of tangible objects which children are accustomed to with the interactivity of the virtual environment – morphing the flash cards into a less mundane and more fun method for learning English vocabulary.


TertiaryTech 2010: MARGE – Mobile Augmented Reality Game Engine

Team Lead: Jian Gu, Henry Been-Lirn Duh
Institution: MiMe Lab, Interactive Digital Media Institute, National University of Singapore
Category: Augmented Reality

MARGE is a game engine for mobile augmented reality (AR) environment based on iPhone, Android and Symbian OS. It includes integrated support for optimal graphics performance, networking, resource management, sound and music. Mobile developer can learn how to develop high quality 3D interactive mobile AR game using our proposed developmental tool. Several highlight features of MARGE: MARGE supports OpenGL ES 2.0, 3D graphics library which runs on the embedded chipset on different phones; Networking support is an essential feature for a Mobile AR game. MARGE supports multiplayer interacting each other in mobile AR environment using TCP/IP or blue-tooth.

In Summary
These student developer groups were impressive to say the least. It truly shows the potential Singapore has in this burgeoning interactive software industry and I’m all for supporting our local startups. I’ve only managed to interview a few groups here, so do check out the many more who presented at TertiaryTech 2010.

Watch our National Day 45km bike ride in 10mins

@acroamatic's RunKeeper: East Coast Park to Changi Village

In case you don’t know, I recently got serious about cycling. Ever since Siva and the ZenDogs took me to Pengerang, Malaysia for my initiation ride, I’ve been hooked. Mind you they’re not some easy-peasy cyclists… they really put their feet to the metal, so I had trouble keeping up the first time round.

Thanks to Andy Dinesh who offered his bike recommendations. I finally settled on a 2nd-hand Birdy, specifically the Pearl White Monocoque Birdy Alivio 8-Speed, as listed in the StradaSingapore forums. It’s a German-engineered full suspension foldable bike, which is as exciting as it sounds! Here it is folded, and unfolded.

In the video above, you’ll see Kenneth Pinto and I taking on the length of East Coast Park Connector, from Fort Rd to Changi Village, and back. Total distance was 45km, and we did it at 2hrs 28min (mostly due to traffic and human congestion towards noon). I’ve fast forwarded it so you can see the entire ride in 10mins! It’s quite cute to watch!

ZenDogs vs. Pengerang, Malaysia – The 40km Cycling Trip

Pengerang Cycling Trip (40km)

Early Saturday morning, Siva and the Zendogs cyclists take on Pengerang, Malaysia, on a 40km cycling trip along the coastal kampong route. An hour boat ride from Changi Point to the Pengerang jetty, followed by two hours of cycling towards the seafood town of Sungai Rengit 20km away for lunch. After which we U-turned and headed back the same way.

Pengerang Cycling Trip (40km) | RunKeeper

Besides the rustic beach scenery, our trip ended up being quite hilarious, such as how one of our cyclists suffered three punctures on the same trip! He had to hail a taxi just to get back to the jetty. As for me, I used to cycle a lot when I was young, but it’s been years. The return leg took its toll on my thighs as the heat of the day built-up. Take goodness the rest of the cyclists were there to spray deep-heat (actually some Thai cooling muscle concoction) and pace me all the way back to make the boat.

This trip was an eye opener because I was in the company of experience cyclists. Among them were enthusiasts from the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the National Parks (NParks) and NUS biodiversity folks like Siva, all sharing the common passion to explore the prospect of cycling as a mode of commute in Singapore. Unlike the European countries, is Singapore too dense for cycling to be a norm? How much leeway has to be given to bicycles when taking public transport, including sharing elevators in HDB flats? Are foldable bikes the game-changer? While you deliberate, watch scenes from our 40km bicycle ride in Pengerang.

See the rest of the photos here…

In High Definition: Singapore’s Night Festival – New World 2010

Night Festival - New World 2010 (Singapore)

Friday evening after work, I grabbed a quick dinner then headed to the museum district to check out the Night Festival: New World 2010. Just me and my Sony NEX-5, absorbing the electrifying experiencing of the numerous unique performances downtown.

While there were several fringe art activities, I spent most of my time checking out the swinging taxi-girls (yes, they were yummy!), the World’s Slowest SMS Billboard at the Singapore Art Museum, as well as the epic Parabole 2.0 at the National Museum of Singapore.

Night Festival - New World 2010 (Singapore)
See the entire taxi-girls photo set…

What struck me was how forwardly participatory some of these acts were, from dancing with the taxi-girls and taxi-boys as a way to learn about our past and have fun, the ability to SMS a personal love-note @ SAM, to how the epic Paths of Time theatrical production took two separate stages with actors/actresses having to cross through the audience. This turns the audience into a subtle backdrop or even into fellow performers.

Night Festival - New World 2010 (Singapore)

There was simply too much to see in one night, and I’m glad I didn’t travel much because some of the shows, such as the Abusement Park @ SAM, had pretty long lines. I prefer not to get overwhelmed by picking favorites, but for some, the organizers could have perhaps provided a way for the public to create their own itinerary online (as my colleague Regina suggested).

Night Festival - New World 2010 (Singapore)
See the Night Festival 2010 photo set…

Read on to watch the high-definition videos of some of these amazing performances…

Continue reading ‘In High Definition: Singapore’s Night Festival – New World 2010′

ICA 2010 Conference: Photos & Videos + Download Our “Leveling Up Students” Poster

ICA 2010 Conference @ Suntec Singapore - 15

Here’s the digital copy of our International Communication Association 2010 conference poster – Leveling Up Students with Class Blogs: Engineering Active Learning through Game Mechanics. This was color printed on an A0 size paper, so you have a choice of a JPEG or PDF versions.

Derek Lackaff and I wrote this up after conducting our experimental semester with students in Buffalo and Singapore back in 2007. On the whole, everyone had a good time… we even managed to throw an MTV-style awards party at the end of the semester!

I had more fun at #ICA2010 than I expected, mostly because the poster session was disorganized. A few of us received wrong instructions and printed our posters wide (72″ x 48″) when the conference boards were actually portrait format, and sticky tape became hot commodity. I also bumped into old friends while making new ones. Everyone was smart, friendly and most importantly, excited to share their discoveries.

Read on to see the ICA conference posters submissions I found interesting (presentation quality varied greatly), as well as a few video interviews with academics and curators while I roamed the Suntec City Convention floor.

Continue reading ‘ICA 2010 Conference: Photos & Videos + Download Our “Leveling Up Students” Poster’

theorycast.65 :: Why organizations need their Chief Culture Officer

In this episode of theorycast, I interview anthropologist Grant McCracken (@grant27) on his recent book, Chief Culture Officer.

This interview took place at the Futures of Entertainment 4 conference at MIT, on November 21st, 2009. The video I captured from his book talk within the ROI of ROFL session panel is also included. From the video, you will see examples of cultural mistakes that major corporations have made, the penalties they face, and how they could have done better if someone within the company were responsible for providing cultural foresight.

Having studied American culture and business for 25 years, McCracken’s previous work included Transformations (2008), Flock and Flow (2006), Culture and Consumption II (2005), Big Hair (1996), and Culture and Consumption (1988).

In Chief Culture Officer (CCO), McCracken argues that culture now creates so much opportunity and danger for the corporation that we need senior managers who can devote time to focus on culture. In effect, these CCO become the early-warning system for companies to help navigate their relevant cultural landscape, as well as provide to more intimate cultural acuity into the way companies craft their brands.

In effect, McCracken is hoping to create a new occupational destination for people who can understand their organization’s cultural locatedness (e.g. social science grads), but are not presently channeled to draw upon their insight for the organization. It sounds to me that whoever fits the role of the CCO would also be similar to what Seth Gordin dubs as the Linchpin (2010), that is, someone indispensable to the organization.

The idea of of the Chief Cultural Officer is to…
Make commerce that inhales and exhales culture,
Make culture that inhales and exhales commerce,
Make a living, breathing corporation.

Download theorycast.65 :: Why Organizations need their Chief Culture Officer (.mp4 / 122mb), or watch this on Feel free to subscribe to theorycast on iTunes.

theorycast.64 :: Visiting Brandtology – an online brand intelligence startup from Singapore

During my Singapore vacation in October ’09, I caught up with Kelly Choo, co-founder of, to learn more about their online brand intelligence service.

While there are numerous online sentiment monitoring companies in the States, such as Radian6 and Omniture, this space is relatively new and growing in South-East Asia.

As mentioned before, my friend Ben Koe works at JamiQ, which differentiates from Brandtology’s intelligence suite with a straightforward, hands-on approach to social media monitoring. There’s also ThoughtBuzz, which I recently read about.

To better understand the strengths of each startup, check out SG Entrepreneurs’ interviews with Brandtology’s Kelly Choo, JamiQ’s Ben Koe, and the ThoughtBuzz team.

Businesses have traditionally (and still do) debated about the lack of proper social media metrics. As many in the online space would explain, there’s in fact a deluge of metrics which leads to a dilemma of choice. While concepts of viewership and circulation were somewhat sufficient for traditional media, social media affords a broader range of metrics. The real first step is really determining what we want to measure. Leveraging Social Media

For instance, as seen in MarketingSherpa’s 2009 Social Media Marketing & PR Benchmark Guide (PDF), it’s been found that social media is very effective at building brand awareness and reputation, while it’s yet to prove itself at driving online sales. There’s no silver bullet; every media has varying levels of richness, with leaner media tending to be more distributive. Our choice of media involves a host of factors, which is why media intelligence (social or not) gets more valuable than ever.

Did You Know: The music in the end credits comes from Starfish Stories’ latest album, Crystal Tears and the Dream Nebula. It’s track 5, “Stroke of Midnight v2.3″, which I bought for a dollar.

Download theorycast.64 :: Visiting Brandtology (.mp4 / 35mb), or watch this on Youtube and Feel free to subscribe to theorycast on iTunes.

NLB’s ‘myLibrary’ Facebook App is damn shiok!

Sivasothi (@sivasothi) and Ivan Chew (@ramblinglib) tipped me off on the Singapore National Library Board‘s new Facebook app, simply called ‘myLibrary‘. What’s interesting about the app is that it integrates much of our typical library transactions right into Facebook.

At first we might wonder, “What’s the big deal about a Facebook app? Can’t we already access the same services by going to the library’s web site?”

True that, but more than just a matter of accessibility, it’s about being “within reach” to users, and extending their library use into the third place. Allowing users to recommend books to friends or posting what they’re reading directly onto their Facebook profiles is very much for the library’s win (i.e. word of mouth).

Since the Facebook app does require an NLB account to play with, I’ve made a quick five minute screencast above for the benefit of our international librarian friends (also on Youtube for the kiasu ones). If you can’t or hate watching videos, you can also read all about ‘myLibrary’ at NLB’s Facebook FAQ page, which includes a user guide (PDF) complete with annotated screenshots.

So far, the tweets about the ‘myLibrary” has been largely positive (many of whom were surprised!), so I do hope NLB keeps up the great work. I love our innovative librarians, and this in turn makes me proud of Singapore.

UPDATE 1: Some folks have asked if NLB has plans for mobile apps, and while there’s no official word, my sources have quietly hinted in due time. Meantime, we can always point our iPhones to

UPDATE 2: If you’re so inclined, Ivan Chew (@RamblingLib) has shared screenshots of NLB’s myLibrary Facebook app.

happy two-thousand ten…

happy two-thousand-ten.

Changes abound,
… afraid?
The spell is broken.

music by
also viewable on youtube

theorycast 61 & 62 :: Imagining Classroom 2.0 – John Larkin & Kevin Lim @ NTU

John Larkin & me @ NTU talk
Me, my papa and John Larkin at NTU. See photo slideshow.

Alex Halavais, John Hendron, and AcademicDave are just some of the education folks who have been exploring the future of learning, and how schools as institutions are going to have to adapt to stay relevant in an increasingly participatory media age.

On 14th Oct 2009, as part of the edUtorium series at the Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), Aussie educator John Larkin and I delivered a comprehensive look at the ways social web tools have been implemented within our classes in order to enhance learning interaction among students. I did a pre-talk synopsis here and so did John.

theorycast.61 :: Imagining Classroom 2.0 @ NTU (Part 1 by John Larkin)

theorycast.62 :: Imagining Classroom 2.0 @ NTU (Part 2 by Kevin Lim)
BTW, here are my slides…

Presentation Overview:
The democratic nature of the social web means that the ability to learn and produce meaningful work can now happen at any level – from the independent student, to the individual teacher, to the entire education institution. Now, more than ever, instructors are able to motivate active learning among students, by empowering them with relevant online tools that allow for more creative approaches to go beyond the traditional class-based education.

In this two hour session, we showed instructors how they could…

  • cultivate learning beyond the classroom
  • encourage participation in the class conversation
  • inspire student pride through greater sense of ownership of their work
  • include new literacies in research, organization, and synthesis of ideas
  • support multiple learning styles
  • create exemplars by raising the bar of student achievement
  • archive learning by creating a record for both you and the students

John Larkin & me @ NTU
Kevin, Hazman, Carolyn @ NTU talk
Hazman and Carolyn Lim came by too!

Big thanks to cameraman Christopher Tan of Singapore Polytechnic for coming down, capturing the event, and providing us with video footage. Very thoughtful fella!