And we have a winner…

This weekend was a busy one with the regular life stuff, as well as drawing a winner for the Palm Pre 2 giveaway contest.

Through a rigirous and exacting process of filtering new followers reviewing tweets, and generating a random number a random number of times — the winner of the Palm Pre 2, Touchstone Charger and case is:

Audemars02

Congratulations to Audemars02, and thanks for playing to all who entered and tweeted.

Oh, and I’ve got another contest and announcement in the works — stay tuned!

5 days left to win a webOS 2.0 powered Palm Pre 2 phone!

Well then, think there’s enough relevant keywords in that post title? 😀

Good, because I really do want to make sure this little phone goes to a good home.

WebOS2 is a funky little OS, and hardware running it is very slick. So why not take a chance and enter the contest — who knows, you could soon be in a position to welcome this little guy into your digital lifestyle.

Here’s how to enter:

1) Fol­low me (@bgrier) on Twit­ter
2) Tweet once (one ping only please) the fol­low­ing:

Just entered to win a Palm Pre 2.
Fol­low @bgrier and retweet this tweet to enter
http://g1z.me/fJzl5c #WinAPalmPre2

And there you go. It’s simple. Fol­low me, tweet once and you’re entered to win the Palm Pre 2.

This con­test will run until mid­night, Feb­ru­ary 11th, 2011, MST , after which I’ll ran­domly select the winner.

Good Luck!

I’m giving away a Palm Pre 2

Time for another Lifestyle Technology giveaway contest — and this time the prize is one very cool Palm Pre 2 and a few accessories, worth around $500.00. 😀

Over the last few weeks I’ve had a chance to put the Palm Pre 2 through it’s paces and found it to be a solid smartphone.

And now, you have a chance to win your own, here’s how:

1) Follow me (@bgrier) on Twitter
2) Tweet once (one ping only please) the following:

Just entered to win a Palm Pre 2.
Follow @bgrier and retweet this tweet to enter
http://g1z.me/fJzl5c #WinAPalmPre2

Simple. Follow me, tweet once and you’re entered to win the Palm Pre 2.

This contest will run until midnight, February 11th, 2011, MST , after which I’ll randomly select the winner.

Bon Chance!

Emotionally gaming your Twitter stream?

I’ve been watching the development of Littlecosm, a new Twitter client with excitement as it’s one of a new breed that is applying sentiment analysis to derive a result — in this case your disposition in a game.

Emotion plays a huge part in Littlecosm.  Littlecosm analyzes your tweets and figures out if you’re in a good or bad mood.  If your tweets are mostly “bad”, your character will turn out “bad” (you can see some “bad” characters in the screens above) – and vice versa.

But wait, there’s more!

Littlecosm isn’t only about disposition or sentiment, it’s also about memories:

Every memory you collect in Littlecosm has nostalgic value.  I think about how much fun I have talking to my friends about retro games, 80s music, tv shows from bygone eras, hypercolor tshirts… and the strange sense of discovery I feel when we talk about these things that we have already experienced.  That is the exact feeling I want to get from players of Littlecosm.
“Good” characters will be able to find good memories more easily.  “Bad” characters will be able to find bad memories more easily.  Time of day also affects the type of memories you can collect.  Players who want to get the full collection will need to trade with each other.
When?
Looks like the game is on track to launch in January, 2011.  But if you can’t wait, there’s an opportunity to get involved with the project:
Want a seat in the last spaceship leaving earth? Donate to Littlecosm on the fundraising page below and you’ll get game tester access AND be written into the earth ship’s manifest as Crew, Pilot or Admiral!

All About Littlecosm

Littlecosm is launching in January 2011.
I haven’t given much information about the game mechanics so far, so here goes.
What you need to know before reading this: the world of Littlecosm is shaped by your emotions.
Also, Littlecosm is played in real-time.  When it’s day in your world, it’s day in Littlecosm.  When it’s night, it’s night.
About the Twitter Client
On every screen is a Twitter client showing your latest tweets.  One of my first goals was to create a Twitter client that I would actually use, so I experimented with various interfaces.  I had the panel sliding out, I had the tweets in speech bubbles – none of it felt “right”.  In the end, I wanted my tweets on display at all times.  So I could leave Littlecosm in the background and come back to it at any time and see new tweets (it updates seamlessly without reloading the page).  That’s what I’ve built and I think it works rather well 🙂
Here’s a short (soundless) video of the game running – you can see the Twitter client at the bottom of the screen:
A lot of people have been asking me what type of “game” Littlecosm actually is…
About the Game
Emotion plays a huge part in Littlecosm.  Littlecosm analyzes your tweets and figures out if you’re in a good or bad mood.  If your tweets are mostly “bad”, your character will turn out “bad” (you can see some “bad” characters in the screens above) – and vice versa.
The first, most obvious game mechanic was to make a game where good players could fight bad players.  This would have an undoubtedly viral effect (@player_x just killed you! fight back?) but I just wasn’t comfortable with the concept.  I didn’t want to make a fighting game.
So I went back to the drawing board.  The goal was to make a game that resonates with people like me – people who actually don’t play a lot of social games, because they are spammy or because they are based on themes that we don’t particularly get excited about (growing plants on a virtual farm, for example).
My conclusions can be summed up in this great scene from Season 1 of Mad Men.
Along with being a game powered by emotions, I wanted Littlecosm to be emotive.  I turned to nostalgia.  This is the intro story to the game:

A ship carrying a great treasure has crashed on a planet far away. The treasure: every object, thought and memory that mankind ever created during its short history. The little inhabitants of the planet curiously collect things from the crashed ship and try to learn as much as they can about this place called “earth” and what has happened to it.

Littlecosm is a game about collecting memories.
Below is the map screen.  You can see the crashed ship half on land and half in the sea.
Every memory you collect in Littlecosm has nostalgic value.  I think about how much fun I have talking to my friends about retro games, 80s music, tv shows from bygone eras, hypercolor tshirts… and the strange sense of discovery I feel when we talk about these things that we have already experienced.  That is the exact feeling I want to get from players of Littlecosm.
“Good” characters will be able to find good memories more easily.  “Bad” characters will be able to find bad memories more easily.  Time of day also affects the type of memories you can collect.  Players who want to get the full collection will need to trade with each other.

Of course, there’s a video of the game in action — a silent movie — seems appropriate.

How to find good music online with social media

In a recent post over at the Future Shop Techblog I started talking about various Internet Radio ‘stations’. Today I realized I didn’t talk about one of my ‘go-to’ online music sources blip.fm

It’s not your average music service.
Blip.fm is a hybrid social media site and music discovery service, focused around the concept of Blips. To quote the FAQ:

What exactly is a ‘blip’?
A blip is a combination of 1) a song and 2) a short message that accompanies it. The way you create a blip is to first search for a song that you want to hear (or a song that you want your listeners to hear), then add a short message (under 150 characters), finally you submit it. Submitting a blip is also referred to as “blipping”, so from here on out, when you read “he blipped my favorite track” it means “he submitted a blip that had my favorite song attached”.

When you join Blip.fm, you assume the role of a DJ, running your own ‘station’ with a playlist. As you explore Blip.fm music, you’ll see that songs were ‘blipped’ by varioius DJs. Check out their playlists (here’s mine).

You’ll see a list of blips that they found interesting, likely from other DJs — a great way to see what tunes they thought were interesting.

Got Props?
If you like a tune you find on the main page, or listen to in someone’s playlist, then give that DJ Props:

What are “Props”?
On Blip.fm props are tokens of respect that can be given from one DJ to another – say for blipping a good song or being a good DJ in general. Everyone starts with 10 credits that they can use to give props to other DJ’s. As you earn props from the community, your props will increase and so will the credits you have to give. 1 props earned = 1 credit in your bank. The number of props you’ve earned can only go up, but the credits you have goes down as you use them throughout the site. Check out our blog entry for a more detailed explanation.

Social Media Integration
Of course, it’s no good to be listening to music without being able to share it. Blip.fm will send your tunes, as you listen to them, to the following Social Media services.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Friendfeed
  • Tumblr
  • Livejournal
  • Audioscrobbler
  • Ping.fm

In my case, I don’t usually ‘blip’ tunes I’m listening to my followers — it could get annoying after a couple of tunes. But, perhaps in the evening, I’ll feel like going ‘all DJ on my peeps’…hopefully they forgive me in the morning.

So check it out, check out my playlist, and let me know what you think.

Want to get more ReTweets (RT)?

I just had a quick conversation with a friend about ReTweets. Not enough for a full blog post, but an idea I didn’t want to not write about.

The concept is to leave enough room so that anyone who wants to retweet you doesn’t have to work to do it.

Here’s a simple formula I use:

140 - (RT @<your twitter ID>) - <colon> - <space> = Maximum Tweet Length

In my case:

140 - (RT @bgrier) - <colon> - <space> = 128
140 - 10 - 1 - 1 = 128

So if I keep my tweet under 128 characters, anyone can retweet me without having to edit my tweet.

Easy for them and effective for me.