Random Useless Fun- Skywire

In follow-up to yesterday’s post about low-resolution video games, I offer you this link to Skywire, a low-resolution game in which you must get your skyrail riders from point A to point B without losing any passengers. Completely random useless fun. Enjoy!

Games at Miniclip.com - Skywire 2
Skywire 2

Take control of the cable car and get the passengers to their destination safely

Play this free game now!!

Skywire and other free games can be found at miniclip.

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Wii Wins Fun Quotient

My stepson-to-be saved up his money to buy a Playstation 3. My fiancĂ© told him that if he saved $150 of his own money, dad would pick up the rest. After earning and saving for months, the young one found the Wii more enticing (much to my fiance’s chagrin- no Blu Ray player, poor graphics!). We held off on purchasing for the past month while the PS3 vs. Wii decision was weighed from every possible angle. With the final decision resting on a ten-year-old, the Wii finally won out and we purchased it last week.

My fiancĂ© had a hard time understanding why the Wii was more appealing. In his mind, the games are at such a low resolution, why not go for better graphics on the PS3? Grown boys tend to rank high definition right up there with their favorite sports team and mom’s homemade lasagna, don’t they?

For the kids, however, it isn’t always about the best graphics. Sometimes it is simply about the fun quotient. The Wii had more games that my stepson-to-be found appealing. I would imagine the silliness (as opposed to lifelike detail) and bright colors (rather than dark, true-to-life color) contribute to his preference.

Watching him enjoy games that some adults find lackluster takes me back to when I used to play video games with my dad on our old computer. We played Space Quest, Police Quest, King’s Quest, and so many others. Sure the later King’s Quest games grew to have nice graphics, but that didn’t make the first few any less fun. The first version was barely more than blocks of color on two-dimensional screen-by-screen land, yet it still had everything I looked for- exploration, riddles, puzzles to solve. So what if the prince was comprised of a yellow triangle on top of a peach circle on top of a red square? He had no fewer adventures.

The PS3 has many fans, I suspect amongst older boys (and boys at heart). I will vouche that the graphics are incredible. Playstation maintains itself as a top contender in the video game world. The Wii earns lots of credit for the fun quotient, though, and that is one characteristic not to be overlooked.

Future Green City Imagined on New Micro-site

The Future Mega CityRemember The Jetsons cartoon? You know that perky little family living in the future where flying cars and moving sidewalks made getting around so much faster? A place where getting ready for work meant being gently pushed on to a conveyer by your bed, then carried through the shower, dryer, and make up stations? In the opening credits you would see George Jetson dropping off each family member in a personal pod that carried them the rest of the way to their destination. How efficient.

Many people have envisioned the future, usually resulting in robots, silent mini-cars, or personal hovercrafts. What happens if you imagine the future through environmentally-conscious eyes? You get The Plan for Tomorrow’s Mega City, just launched by PopSci.com (the online presence for the magazine Popular Science).

This is a fun site to visit for several reasons. First, the imagery is quite inspiring. Take note of how detailed the tree trunk is on the right side. You can almost feel its texture. Second, consider the possibilities as you click through The Plan to see ideas on how to harness energy from wind, water, and walking. (Yes, I said walking.) Amuse yourself with the thought of renting a car like you do those luggage carts at airports- take one off the front of the stack and return it to the back when you are done.

The future may or may not unfold as shown on the mega city site. All I know is I am happy there are folks out there who are focused on finding new ways to support our life on this earth.

Why Usability Testing Should Never End

Many companies have realized the value of usability testing prior to a launch or redesign of a product or website, but what about as part of the post-launch maintenance? Continuing to test for usability can offer valuable insights that could improve overall customer satisfaction.

I recently wrote about this topic as my first editorial for Usability Interface, the quarterly newsletter for the Usability and User Experience special interest group of the STC (Society for Technical Communication). You can read it here.

To read more usability articles, go to the full newsletter.