Treat others how you want to be treated

Internet Troll

Mika Epstein published yet another great blog post today: Support Politeness. It reminded me of another post, Hello, I’m a Human Being. I often go back to that post when I’m having a rough day at work.

In an ideal world, everyone asking for help would behave like Mika. As she demonstrated in her post, it makes everyone’s life easier, and often means you get a better service.

However, we do not live in an ideal world. If you work in support, you will help people who are not grateful. When that happens, go back and read these 2 posts. And remember: you’re not good at your job because you can help friendly people; you’re good because you can help passionate users, users who are sometimes too passionate about your product to be reasonable.

But if they’re asking for help, it means that they haven’t given up on you just yet! You have the chance to help and to make them happy again!

The Flash: don’t blink!

The Flash

I found myself enjoying Arrow a lot more than I expected. The first season wasn’t great, and the acting is still not perfect, but the show has come a long way, I think.

That’s why I’m excited to see what The Flash will bring to this DC universe we see making its way into our televisions (also see Gotham, scheduled for the fall as well).

And let’s face it, the new Flash looks way better than the Flash I used to watch when I was a kid :)

Old Flash

Level 8!

10 days ago I told you about this game I discovered, Ingress, and how I was addicted to it.
Well, I’m now Level 8!

Ingress Level 8

Until a couple of days ago this was the highest level in the game. Then they introduced 8 more levels, way more difficult to reach.

I guess I’ll have to continue to play :)

Gotham: DC gets in the game

I’ve been watching Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D since it started airing on ABC last year. Although the series is not that great, it provides a nice background story, and constantly refers to the different Marvel movies that came out in theaters in the past few months. If you don’t go to cinema that often, don’t watch the series or you’ll get spoiled!

Now I’m not sure how successful the series is, but it seems that the folks at DC Comics liked the idea. They just released the first trailer for Gotham, their own TV series telling the tale of Batman’s hometown.

GOTHAM is an origin story of the great DC Comics Super-Villains and vigilantes, revealing an entirely new chapter that has never been told.

The trailer mentions Penguin, The Riddler, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and a young Bruce Wayne, played by David Mazouz (a kid I like and know from Touch). I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to this!

Ingress: a (good?) reason to move!

At our last meetup, my colleague Kat introduced me to Ingress. Fast forward 3 weeks: I’m an addict.

Ingress is a giant game of Capture the Flag, an Augmented Reality game built on top of Google Maps. It’s only available on Android right now, and is quite addictive!

The world around you is not what it seems. Our future is at stake and you must choose a side.


The Basics

  • A complicated back story.
  • 2 fractions / teams, with different points of view about the background story: Resistance and Enlightened. I chose Enlightened.
  • 8 levels (8 more are about to be added to the game). I’m at Level 6.
  • Many Portals: monuments, sculptures, memorials, important buildings around you. Each team can capture portals, and create links between them. When you create links between 3 portals, you form a Control Field.
    The area covered by control fields is used to calculate Mind Units, i.e. people. The fraction with the most Mind Units wins. A new cycle (game) starts every week.

As you can imagine, all this makes for quite the nerdy game. The learning curve is steep, and that’s most likely why the game never got insanely popular. I assume it will become a bit more popular once it’s available on iOS, but the complicated vocabulary and back story probably mean it will remain a game intended for geeks.


Ingress on Android

But Ingress is not just about levelling up or winning. The game is built so that you have to interact with other fraction members.

  • When you first start playing, you have to build –deploy Portals, create links and Control Fields– to level up. Destroying high level portals is difficult because you don’t have weapons that are powerful enough yet. Luckily, high level players can help you by destroying the portals for you, thus allowing you to rebuild.
  • Once you reach a high level (levels 7 and 8), you must coordinate with other high level players if you want to build high level portals. That forces you to interact with other players, and it’s also a good incentive to help others levelling up.

The Results

I walk more

Working from home is great, but I find it hard to motivate myself to get out and exercise. I got a Jawbone Up last year, hoping it would help me. It did, a bit, but Ingress is way better, especially for someone with a “Just One More” mentality like me :)

You can’t play from behind your screen, you have to get out there and walk to each portal you want to capture.

Ingress tells me I walked 37 km in the past week. I didn’t think I’d start walking 5 km every day when I started playing!

I discover my neighborhood

I’ve been living here for almost 8 years. I like to think I know my way around pretty well; yet I’ve discovered many small streets in the past few weeks, and never knew there were so many sculptures and memorials a few blocks away from home.

I’m back on Google+

Ingress includes an in-game chatroom, where you can exchange with your fraction members, as well as with the other fraction. It’s limited though, and it made sense for fractions to find better ways to communicate with each other, and coordinate events.

I expected to find Facebook Groups, but Google+ seems to be the winner. It is well integrated with Android, and brings together Group messaging (Google+ Communities) and group chat (Hangouts). It also includes a lot less personal information than Facebook, and that’s especially important when your most fierce enemies are your neghbors, fighting for the portals you cherish.

I must admit that I didn’t know Google+ Communities included so many features. It’s a lot better than Facebook Groups.

Still interested?