Culling through listings of which Olympic events are happening when can be a bit tedious. To this end, I created this mind map to illustrate the flexibility of MindMeister‘s mind mapping solution.
I’ll be keeping the schedule up to date and including a listing of winners, as well as any relevant/newsworthy notes. Let the Games begin!
According to a report compiled by researchers at several research facilities at the University of Illinois, human propensity for talent in video games can now be determined by measuring three key areas of the brain.
Kirk Erickson, a professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, and first author of the study remarks, “This is the first time that we’ve been able to take a real-world task like a video game and show that the size of specific brain regions is predictive of performance and learning rates on this video game.” Erickson’s article first appeared in the professional journal Cerebral Cortex. He has since been joined by researchers from MIT, Florida State (which is also currently conducting a study on consumers’ virtual goods buying habits), and the University of Illinois.
And while the physical measurements are new, previous research has shown that expert gamers excel in a several measurements of attention and perception when compared to video gaming novices (n00bs). However, other studies have found near negligible results when training novice gamers for 20+ hours, suggesting that the size and structure of the brain itself can predict a players aptitude for success.
Focusing on three individual areas of the brain, the caudate nucleus and the putamen in the dorsal striatum, and the nucleus accumbens in the ventral striatum. The former 2 are deeply involved in motor learning and cognitive flexibility, that is to say, the ability to quickly mentally shift between tasks. The later is responsible for processing emotions associated with good and bad behavior.
Researchers utilized high resolution MRI scans to analyze the size of these specific brain regions in 39 adults aged 18-28 (10 male and 29 female) who spend less than three hours per week playing video games. Measurements of volume were taken from this sample group and compared to the volume of their entire brain.
Using an RPI developed simple shoot and avoid game, half of the participants were asked to go for the highest score possible. The other half of the survey group was asked to shift priorities mid-game, focusing on one aspect for a given time allotment, and then shift to another priority. For example, for 5 minutes participants were directed to score as many points as possible. After these 5 minutes, they were then asked to avoid as much damage as possible, and so on.
The second group most closely models real-world situations (think Bluetooth headset, while parallel parking, while balancing that molten hot cup of Starbucks between your thighs, all while searching for a quarter for the parking meter). Researchers say that this type of “variable priority training” spotlights’ individuals’ mental flexibility in decision making skills.
The results clearly indicated that those with a larger caudate nucleus and putamen did better on the variable point training, while those with a larger nucleus accumbens did better in the early part of the training period, regardless of which group they were segmented into. Researchers were not surprised by the results, pointing to the nucleus accumbens as that part of the brain’s reward center, the central motivator behind playing video games in the first place.
“This study tells us a lot about how the brain works when it is trying to learn a complex task. We can use information about the brain to predict who is going to learn certain tasks at a more rapid rate,” comments Erickson.
Imagine a day when neurological disorders could see a treatment through video game training? Sounds far fetched? If researchers have their way, this could someday soon be a reality. This new research not only gives hope to those suffering from neurological disorders, but may also have implications in a much larger educational context.
According to a new survey published by Alerian, two thirds (66%) of marketing professionals plan on allotting more in their budgets for social media engagement. 40% of respondents indicated that they’ll shift more than one-fifth of their ‘traditional’ direct marketing budgets towards digital, interactive, or social channels.
Additionally, more than two thirds (67%) of marketers surveyed indicated that social media engagement is either “increasingly important” or “critical to success”.
And it looks like marketers are also looking for data to back up their investment in social media. Thirty six percent indicated that they plan to invest in social media monitoring and analysis tools. Additional marketing techniques that marketers will be or planning on investing in:
Multi-channel campaign management: 51%
Individual email marketing: 55%
Customer analysis and reporting: 55%
Engaging individuals on their websites: 57%
Alterian CEO, David Eldridge, said, “2010 marks the start of the digital decade for marketing. Untargeted and irrelevant marketing techniques are now redundant and the results of this survey show many in the industry recognize this. The one thing to remember, however, is that investment in Social Media Marketing is futile without adequate measurement.”
With the planned spending spree, you might expect that marketers have been doing their homework, and truly know what they’re getting into. Well, think again, as only 6% responded that they are “extremely prepared” to take advantage of the wide variety that digital and social media tools represent as part of their overall marketing/customer engagement strategy. The next leap finds 19% are “very prepared”, with 35% “prepared enough”, 34% “minimally prepared” and 5% “not prepared at all. Looking at the numbers, that makes up a total of 39% (over one-third) of all respondents either “minimally” or “not” prepared at all.
- 51% of marketers are expending either a “fair amount” or “significant amount” of effort to ensure integration of communication strategies. Some 31% are making “some effort,” and 7% are making “no effort” at all.
- 58% of companies incorporate clickstream/web analytics data into customer/email databases.
- 69% of marketers work with three or more separate suppliers––and 23% work with seven or more suppliers––in order to achieve all of their marketing objectives.
- Most marketers have difficulty coordinating resources across their digital and direct marketing agencies: 72% cite that level of difficulty between “neutral” to “very difficult.”
“Engaging with customers is becoming paramount and the yardstick by which we measure those brands that survive and those that don’t. Marketers now need to appeal to the individual and engage with customers on a one-to-one basis. The easiest way to achieve this is by investing in Social Media Marketing and Social Media Monitoring, and by embracing the web,” states Eldridge.
The Alterian Annual Survey 2009 sampled 1,068 marketing professionals primarily based in North America and Europe between October 1 and December 3, 2009.
In my continuing series of found macro images, I’ve just uploaded a new batch. This time, a trip around the kitchen and office yielded some interesting results.
Catch the entire series here.
I recently had the absolute pleasure to photograph Ms. Alicia ONeill. She’s a Coloratura Soprano based in Vienna. Not only is her voice simply extraordinary, but you’ll see from the photos, she’s also a natural in front of the camera.
View the entire gallery here.
Some of you might already know about my love of Christmas films. I have about 7-8 that I go through during the holiday season, but one always remains the climax: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. While packed to the hilt with comedic gems, there’s one character, and one scene in particular that always does it for me. ”Now how about some eggnog, Clark?”
While it’s a few months old now – I finally dusted off the footage from this past summers’ roadtrip through Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, and a tiny bit of Germany. Enjoy!
By the looks of things around here, you’d think that I’d gone a little AWOL – and part of that is true. I guess when you work on others’ blogs, copy, marketing, and video production – your own personal blog takes a back seat (funny how that making money to pay the bills thing works). So without further adieu…let me bring ya’ll up to speed on what I’ve been working on.
As I wrote back in the beginning of October, I’ve started working with MindMeister in a variety of capacities. Truly, this is one of the best gigs I’ve ever had. Not only is Michael Hollauf (my boss), one of the most supportive people I’ve ever worked with, he’s also very open to any and all marketing ideas. One of the first projects I did with MindMeister is the 4:37 screencast that went up about a month ago.
I can’t take credit for the video footage in this one, as the intro and most of the screen footage was produced and recorded by Wolfgang Bartelme. However, the vocals were recorded by me.
Shortly thereafter I received a headlong introduction to working with Ruby on Rails. After installing NetBeans and getting and stunnel connection set up, I now have access to the ‘guts’ of the MindMeister engine. On any given day, here’s what I’m looking at:
If you’re familiar with coding, then all of this makes sense. If not, it’s completely Greek to you (and me – partially). I place myself somewhere in the middle. My coding experience more or less ended with html, however I’d consider myself a fairly decent php and css modifier, but not creator. To be fair, when I work with code, I’m only altering text, not actually programming strings. However, there is a certain level of organization required, as some text has already been created in a string previously, and doesn’t need to be duplicated, rather, a simple expression is needed to call upon this text.
Got all that? Yeah – me too….but I’m getting there.
The last project I’ve worked on is a screencast video diving into some of the more advanced features of using links within MindMeister mind maps. Again, the intro and outro were created by Wolfgang, but everything in between is all me – video and vox.
And just in case you’re wondering, here’s what I use to make the magic happen:
- MacBook Pro 2.5 Ghz w/ 4GB DDR2 SDRAM
- Adobe Premiere Pro
- Shure SG 25 microphone
- Allen and Heath Xone XD 53 headphones for monitoring
And if that wasn’t enough – I’ve also authored a blog post or two at the MindMeister Blog
Nothing really new in the way of fatfoogoo. I keep tabs on the daily industry news concerning microtransactions and their applications in the video games industry. Naturally, in-game advertising also shows up on my radar, as it’s also a monetization method for video and social games. I did however recently read that one of fatfoogoo’s investors, Christian ‘Toto’ Wolff, recently purchased a minority stake in the Williams F1 racing team. This buy in signals the first time ever that the teams’ principles, Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head have allowed outside investment. So indirectly, fatfoogoo now has a connection to the Formula One racing world? Awesome.
Naturally, you can always have a read of what I’m reporting for fatfoogoo over in the industry news section.
Here’s a teaser that I put together of a much larger project in the works. At the end of last winter my two filmmaking partners and I had the opportunity to interview Chanda VanderHart and Anna Lea Stefansdotir of Talespin – Musical Tales for Big and Small. To be honest – we’ve got so much great footage that I’ve simply been overwhelmed as where to start with the editing process (maybe a MindMeister mind map would be in order here?). Footage was shot by me, while the audio was provided by, unfortunately I never got the guys name – but the dude running the soundboard. And speaking of audio – let me tell you, aligning a separate audio source with video is much trickier that it looks. After doing a little research, as well as talking to Ritchie (aka datadirt), it seems as though most DAT recordings run at 48kHz, while most video footage audio is recorded at 44kHz. Not a major difference, but it’s enough to offset frames. In other words, I couldn’t simply lay the audio in under the video, as every 60th frame or so, the audio would start to go out of phase. To correct this, I had to manually splice the audio and line it up with the video. See if you can hear the cuts – I bet you can’t.
So that’s about it for the month of November. Sure there’s a whole slew of stuff I’m working on for MindMeister right now, but it’d spoil the surprise if I told you about it pre-launch, eh? You’ll have to stay tuned. If you don’t want to miss a beat, you can always follow MindMeister on twitter, become a fan on Facebook, or subscribe to the RSS feed. Shameless marketing plugs FTW!