Jumat, 06 Juni 2014

40% of hospital execs unhappy or ‘meh’ with their digital health systems

40% of hospital execs unhappy or ‘meh’ with their digital health systems - A surprising number of hospital CTOs, COOs and CEOs are unhappy with the electronic health record (EHR) software used by their institution. So says healthcare research firm Premiere in its 2014 Economic Outlook. Hospitals must have an EHR system in place by 2015 that satisfies a number of technical and clinical guidelines set forth in the Obama Administration’s HITECH Act. They’re rewarded what Medicare reimbursement benefits if they succeed, but will begin being penalized if they fail. “While hospitals and health systems are increasingly investing in EHRs, many are not happy about the results,” the report states. Thirty-nine percent of executives said they were dissatisfied with their EHR, while another 11 percent said they were “indifferent.” Spending on health information systems is the fastest growing major line item for hospitals. In 2013, 17 percent said they’d be making major health IT purchases in the next year. That number was up to 27 percent in this year’s survey. The U.S. EHR market is projected to grow to $9.3 billion by 2015, according to a recent analysis by Accenture. The largest hospital EHR software companies include Epic Systems, Meditech, and Cerner.

Kamis, 05 Juni 2014

A beautiful and brutal Shadow of Mordor lets you turn orc chiefs against each other (hands-on preview)

A beautiful and brutal Shadow of Mordor lets you turn orc chiefs against each other (hands-on preview)

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor represents a new direction for games based on the fantasy universe of J.R.R. Tolkien, with an original story that takes it in the direction of stealth combat, mind control, moral ambiguity — and Batman. Our hands-on preview with this game, which will debut on multiple platforms on Oct. 7, shows just how far Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is going toward providing Tolkien fans with something they’ve never seen before. Above: Michael de Plater, Shadow of MordorImage Credit: Dean Takahashi Shadow of Mordor is an important game for Warner Bros. as it tries to drum up interest in the Tolkien universe by going beyond the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies and toward original stories within known properties. WBIE is trying to expand the property for a time when it will no longer be able to cash in purely on tie-ins with Peter Jackson’s multibillion-dollar movies. It is doing so by bringing in the successful action-fighting gameplay of the brutal fighting segments of the Batman Arkham titles, which have been tremendously successful for WBIE. Warner is giving the game the full Hollywood and AAA developer treatment, said Michael de Plater, design director at Monolith for Shadow of Mordor, in an interview with GamesBeat. Monolith Productions is making the game for WBIE. Christian Cantamessa, writer of the award-winning Red Dead Redemption game, is the author of the original story for Shadow of Mordor, which is set in Mordor between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Garry Schyman, an acclaimed musical composer who made the soundtrack for BioShock Infinite, is creating the original score. Voice actors include Troy Baker and Nolan North. Shadow of Mordor has beautiful 3D art and brutal hand-to-hand combat, with both short-range sword play and distant archer combat. The story begins as Sauron is driven out of the Mirkwood forest stronghold of Dol Guldur and establishes himself again in Mordor. He overwhelms the rangers of Gondor at the Black Gate at Mordor’s border and begins building his army of orcs in the land of shadows. Above: Talion in Shadow of MordorImage Credit: Warner Bros. Baker, who voiced Joel in The Last of Us, does the voice acting for the main character Talion, a ranger of Gondor who teams up with a spirit called a Wraith (voiced by Alastair Duncan) to go behind Sauron’s lines in Mordor and cause havoc. Other actors include Laura Bailey, playing Ioreth; Liam O’Brien, playing Gollum; and North, playing the Black Hand. Talion seeks vengeance for the loss of his family, and he is aided in his personal vendetta by the mysterious Wraith, who has powers like a Ringwraith from the Lord of the Rings. The story will take you to the Sea of Núrnen, the breadbasket of Mordor, and inside iconic locations within Mordor. As a ranger, you’ll chop off heads and limbs in brutal fights with squads of enemies. If you get surrounded by the orcs, they’ll take you down. And the war chiefs are like bosses: much harder to kill. “We get to explore our creativity and do something that hasn’t been seen, but we get to do it 100 percent within the canon and authentic to the lore,” de Plater said. That was something within the lore that was important to us, to explore these characters with interesting shades of gray. Characters that are more along the lines of Saruman, wanting to raise an army to challenge Sauron, or Boromir or Denethor or Theoden, or Thorin with his fall because of the temptation of the Arkenstone, or Thranduil. There are all these amazing characters in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings that aren’t just good guys or bad guys.” As you play Talion, you discover that he is not so nice when he dispatches orcs. The unusual thing is that each orc in the game has its own personality, unique look, and traits. Monolith’s character creators have “humanized” them, fleshing them out like Jackson did with the “Pale Orc” character in The Hobbit films. As Talion, you can kill them. But you can also use Wraith powers to dominate their minds and control them. In doing so, you can turn them against other orcs. “There was a line Tolkien wrote, which is, ‘We were all orcs in the Great War,’” de Plater said. “We didn’t want to have a kind of generic fantasy approach to the orcs. We wanted to treat them as what orcs represent. These are like human beings, but they’re human beings who are driven by the emotional extremes of fear and hate.” He added, “Humans can very much act like orcs. We wanted to take very believable human traits and just turn them up a bit to explore that. We wanted them to be real characters. That’s important to the nemesis system, because these have to be real characters and real villains with real motivations. It’s key to the whole idea of what power and domination mean. It’s about using fear and hatred to get people motivated in a certain way. That’s core to the game.” At the heart of this is a gameplay invention dubbed the Nemesis System. When you bring up Nemesis, you will see a hierarchy of orc leaders. You can more easily dominate and control the lower tier of orc officers, who have amusing names like Dush the Diseased or Barfa Blood Licker. Then you can get closer to their bosses, and use the lower orcs to assassinate or weaken the chiefs. Once they are weakened, Talion can go in and finish off the chiefs. If Talion attacks an orc chief without using his powers of domination and infiltration, he has a tough fight. Above: Middle-earth: Shadow of MordorImage Credit: Warner Bros.  Nemesis is what makes gameplay sessions unique in Shadow of Mordor. You don’t have to follow a linear narrative. You can go after any of the orc leaders that you choose, in any order that you wish. Each chief has strengths, weaknesses, and an overall ranking. The higher the ranking, the bigger the rewards for taking him down. As an example, I played one round where I located an orc officer. I wounded him and then took control of his mind. Then I set him loose against his boss. He attacked his boss, but only weakened him. I then had to figure out how to approach the chief. I did so by hanging high, knocking out some guards at the top of a stronghold. The chief was protected by a bunch of soldiers on the ground level. I couldn’t attack, because he was too well defended. But he was near several large creatures who were chained in cages. By shooting arrows at the cages, I could set the creatures loose. They attacked the chief’s bodyguards. As those creatures chewed up the bodyguards, I found myself feeling oddly sorry for them. Eventually, I jumped into the fray. It was a good plan, but the bodyguards were still pretty fierce. They finished me off before I could get to the chief. Above: The queen of Nurn gives you a mission in Shadow of Mordor.Image Credit: Warner Bros. That’s the kind of combat that you will find in Shadow of Mordor. If you are looking to lead a giant army from Gondor against Sauron’s forces, you’ll be disappointed. At this point in the story, Gondor is weak. It is a game of infiltration. As you fulfill missions against the orc leaders, you gain additional powers like arrows that explode upon contact. You can go on missions such as spying, terrorizing, assassination, and kidnapping. In other words, you’re a pretty dirty fighter. As you gather rune rewards from each mission, you decide how to spend those rewards to improve in different ways. “The focus is on Talion and the Wraith. The two of them behind enemy lines, using the powers of the enemy, the powers of the shadow, against him,” de Plater said. “It really is about being deep behind enemy lines. There are human allies, other humans that do fight alongside you. Queen Marwen does have some forces there that are holding out against the orcs, and there are some others you liberate. But Gondor is not coming to anyone’s aid at this point. They’re dealing with their own problem, which is what Talion has to deal with, and why it falls to him to hold the Dark Lord there.” The friendly characters, like Marwen, will be few and far between. She will give you a goal to go after a boss. You can co-opt a sub-boss and help that character work his way up to becoming a war chief. Then you can try to get the war chiefs to betray Sauron. That’s a pretty lofty goal, but one you can pursue in many different ways. The mature-rated title will come out on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows PC. A companion Palantir app will allow you to receive tips from the Wikia user-generated fan site that offer you counsel based on listening to the sound of the console game and determining where you are in the levels. Once it does that, it shows you tips and tricks related to the section where you are playing.    

10 reasons why players do not spend money

10 reasons why players do not spend money - How can I change my game so that it makes more money? That’s the million-dollar question in the free-to-play game industry, and one that I’ve been asked nearly as often. And while no single formula for success exists, games that monetize best are where the publisher or developer has adopted a player-centric approach focused on engagement. Bottom line: If a player isn’t engaged, they won’t spend. At the core of every commercially successful game, you must have an outstanding creative idea, with great game design and expert development. If you’ve got those things in place, you’re 90 percent there. The final 10 percent is about how well you have balanced the in-game economy, how you’ve structured rewards and at what point the monetization triggers kick in. Get any of these things wrong and your game won’t reach its full potential. Good monetization in F2P games is not about forcing your players to spend — quite the opposite. It’s about giving them the opportunity to add value to their playing experience. Harsh monetization is still commonplace in F2P game design as the industry learns on its feet, but it doesn’t have to be this way. DeltaDNA has studied the games design and monetization mechanics of over 100 F2P games to understand the top 10 reasons why players do not spend in-game. 1. Trying to monetize too early With retention rates typically low in F2P, the classic mistake that publishers and developers make is hitting players up for cash before they’ve had a chance to become engaged. If fact, 62 percent of the games we analyzed had this problem. Putting players in a situation where their only option is to pay money will only have one outcome. You need to design games so that players can reach the end without spending a single dollar; this will foster better engagement and ultimately increase spending in the long term. 2. No gambling or ‘magic box’ mechanics The random chance to win is an easy way for players to potentially get a very expensive item for free or for a much smaller amount of in-game currency. Players who don’t want to spend will be happy with the free chance. For those that do spend, this will encourage them to return or purchase additional magic boxes in order to win the rare items. It’s a vastly underutilized mechanic, one which 93 percent of games fail to offer. 3. Lack of signposting From the games we studied, poor signposting was evident in the large majority (63 percent). While it may seem obvious, if players can’t easily find the in-game store, they won’t buy anything from it. 4. Poor store layout Just as in the mall, if your store isn’t laid out well, players will get frustrated when trying to find a particular item. Stores need to feature simple categories, ideally with a separate one for real-money purchases. 5. Poor inventory range Having just a handful items available may result in a few players making purchases, but the novelty will soon wear off with players, sending revenues south. Well over two-thirds of games lack a good ranger of inventory. More is more! 6. Lack of expensive items If players are enjoying a game, they’ll want to spend money to augment their experience, especially if it sets them apart from other players. Premium items for highly engaged players need to be really special and worth the investment; something that will make the player stand out from the crowd. We’re not talking about a $50 worth of gems here. 7. Poor whale management It follows that a game’s most engaged players are going to be its biggest fans and spenders. So reward them, or they’ll leave and take their money elsewhere. 8. Lengthy purchase process Nobody likes waiting in line to make a purchase, and if the process takes too long, it can result in an abandoned cart. This is a really easy one to address, yet we found in 48 percent of games analyzed the process was poor. 9. No bundle offers Offering players bundle deals presents real value to players. For example, promotions such as a free character when buying a pack of resources or offering a weapon and vehicle together for a discounted price keeps players happy, and happy players are loyal players — and maybe your next whales. 10. Lack of customization options Status is everything. Paid cosmetic items are a great way to drive both engagement and monetization, something 52 percent of games now feature. Give players as many different ways to customize their gameplay — it adds immediate value and loyalty.  Sponsored posts are content that has been produced by a company that is either paying for the post or has a business relationship with VentureBeat, and they’re always clearly marked. The content of news stories produced by our editorial team is never influenced by advertisers or sponsors in any way. For more information, contact sales@venturebeat.com.

Rabu, 04 Juni 2014

10 features Apple should steal from jailbreakers for iOS 8

10 features Apple should steal from jailbreakers for iOS 8 - How can you leverage mobile to increase profitability for your company? Find out at MobileBeat, VentureBeat's 7th annual event on the future of mobile, on July 8-9 in San Francisco. Register now and save $400!    Jailbreaking, the process of modifying the operating system on iOS devices like iPhones and iPads, has been a common practice since the first iPhone came on the market in 2007. Today, jailbreaking has evolved to allow users hundreds of extra features that iOS doesn’t (yet), such as a personalized control center and a low battery power-saving mode. There are a handful of features Apple has stolen or “borrowed” from jailbroken iPhones over the years, like the control center and the ability to block callers in iOS 7. High hopes abound for the iOS 8 keynote at this year’s World Wide Developer Conference, where advanced users look forward to seeing how the new iPhone and iPad operating system will cater to them. To help inspire the engineers parked on Infinite Loop, here are 10 features jailbreakers use today that Apple should be delivering out-of-the-box.  InfiniDock Want more than four apps in the bottom dock section of your screen? With the InfiniDock you can add and swipe through as many of your most important apps as you please.  Lockdown Pro Not everyone finds it necessary to have a passcode locking their entire iPhone, especially with Apple’s remote locking feature, which allows you to lock your phone from a computer should it become lost or stolen. Lockdown Pro gives users the ability to add passcodes to certain folders with important apps stored, for example Paypal, Dropbox, and email. With this function you won’t need to put in your passcode every single time you pick up your phone, but your most important apps will remain secure.  Clever Pin Clever Pin is an alternative to Lockdown Pro that disables your lock screen when your phone knows it’s in a safe place. You can choose to disable your passcode when you’re connected to your home WiFi network (meaning you’re at home). Other options include when you’re listening to music and when your phone is charging.   Browser Preference Isn’t it frustrating when you want links to open in Google Chrome, or locations to open in Google Maps, and the iPhone just won’t let you make any Google-made apps your preference? With a browser preference option you can choose Chrome as your default browser and Google Maps as your default maps app, just like the option is available to you on desktop computers.   I Caught You! This security feature secretly takes a photo and emails it to you when your passcode is typed incorrectly. It provides an extra layer of protection rather than just seeing the GPS location of your phone, which isn’t very useful if the phone is stolen, turned off, or blinking on a GPS map in a speeding cab that’s over 25 miles away.   Activator Activator allows you to create shortcuts and quick actions through personalized swipes and taps. Want a quick swipe from the left side of your screen to open the texting app, even if you’re currently in another app? What about if a quick double tap on the bottom right of the screen always opens the Twitter app? Almost any quick tap or swipe personalization is possible, something Android users have a lot of freedom with that iPhone users don’t (yet).   Switch Off Annoying Pop-ups As an iPhone user for more than seven years, constantly reading the same pop-ups is beyond frustrating. For example, I’m connected to WiFi with my phone in Airplane Mode and the message appears, “You must disable Airplane Mode to send or receive messages”. Actually, iPhone, that’s not true, because I just successfully iMessaged my brother! Or the one telling me my location accuracy will improve if I turn on WiFi. Well, I don’t have access to any WiFi networks, but thanks for the heads up! Getting rid of these obnoxious pop-ups would be such a relief.  Front Camera White Screen Flash Ever wondered why there’s no LED flash on the iPhone’s front-facing camera? This type of flash would practically blind you when taking close-up pictures, however a simulated flash is a great alternative. Instead of the LED flash, the screen would flash white, offering just a bit of extra light. This is what the Macbook’s front-facing camera does when taking a photo in Photo Booth. It’s a feature that can be implemented easily, so come on Apple!  Flux Using your iPhone at night at normal brightness actually tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime, which isn’t very healthy. Flux slowly changes your phone’s screen to a night-friendly halogen glow as the sun goes down, which is much better for the eyes and the mind.   Simple SMS Text messaging is today’s single most popular use of the cell phone. But if you’re trying to send a text, it takes up so much time. First, unlock your phone. Then, go to the Messages app. Next, find the person you’re texting. With Simple SMS, you can reply to an incoming text without quitting the app you’re currently using. You can even schedule texts to send later. In the long run, this feature is incredibly convenient and a time-saver. These simple, jailbreak-inspired additions are more than ready for mainstream use. Apple should respond with software updates in order to avoid annoying loyal hardware customers. While Apple’s current feature sets are fine for novice users, experienced users simply must have additional options to make their iPhone experience more efficient, modern and pleasurable. Ryan Matzner is the Director of Strategy at Fueled, a mobile design and development company based in New York and London. Ryan has a decade of online and mobile marketing experience, working with clients such as American Express, Condé Nast, Ideeli, Thrillist, HBO, QuizUp, Barneys, and Gilt Groupe. He can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin. and Google+.

12 games that teach kids to code — and are even fun, too

12 games that teach kids to code — and are even fun, too  - Coding is a big deal right now. Worldwide, 36 million kids have taken part in “Hour of code” activities, helping them become active, rather than passive users of technology and starting learning that might one day help secure a job in our increasingly tech-driven world. Even if your kids don’t go on to code for living, a basic understanding of programming concepts improves problem-solving and thinking skills which are both transferable and empowering. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates says that: “Learning to write programs stretches your mind and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.“ Platforms like Scratch and Alice let children (and adults) create their own games and animations using simplified coding methods. But not all kids can or want to jump straight into these sort of environments. For them, there are plenty of games around that will teach the basics of programming in a fun and accessible way. We’ve sorted through some of the ever-widening options available, including a few still in development, so you don’t have to. They cut across multiple platforms — iOS, Android, PC, Mac, even board games — and many are free to pick up and play straight away.  Lightbot and Lightbot Jr. Who it’s for: Ages 4-8 (Lightbot Jr.), 9+ (Lightbot)
 Platforms: Web browsers, iOS, Android
 Pricing: Free (browser), $3 (iOS/Android)
 Find out more: Browser game, iTunes, Google Play
 The expert view: “Although it seems simple, Lightbot foreshadows some interesting aspects of more sophisticated computer programming” – Fritz Ruehr, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Willamette University, Ore. Above: Many schools use Lightbot to help teach programming basics, and it even has a place in some university curricula.Image Credit: Dan Crawley Lightbot is a programming puzzle game from Danny Yaroslavski, a Canadian university student. The goal is to make your robot light up all of the blue tiles on a 3D grid. The twist is that you have to do this in one run by programming your robot with a series of instructions. Yaroslavski says that Lightbot teaches concepts like planning, testing, debugging, procedures, and loops. Your kids will just enjoy getting the endearing robot to light up everything in one turn. You can play a free version, suitable for an hour of gameplay, on your mobile device or through your browser. Two full versions of Lightbot, for different age groups, are on sale on iTunes and Google Play.  Code Monkey Island Who it’s for: Ages 8+
 Platforms: Board game
 Pricing: $40+
 Find out more: Code Monkey Island website, Kickstarter
 The expert view: “Code Monkey Island is a crazy-fun board game that introduces kids to programming.” — Educator and technology-access activist Phil Shapiro Above: Code Monkey Island won’t magically make your kids into programmers, but it will ground them in basic concepts.Image Credit: Kickstarter Brooklyn resident Raj Sidhu wanted to introduce programming basics to kids in a fun way. He chose a low-tech solution for a high-tech problem and embedded concepts like Boolean logic and conditional statements in a family-friendly board game. Code Monkey Island is straightforward to play and takes about 45 minutes. Players use cards with statements such as, “For each monkey NOT on a rock, move 3 spaces,” to move their troop of monkeys around the island. Sidhu chose a board game because these bring families together. “I wanted to create an experience that kids, parents, and grandparents could share and in the process allow children to exercise their immense learning capabilities through play,” he said on his Kickstarter page. Code Monkey Island ran a successful Kickstarter, and copies should ship in August. You can secure one by backing the project for $40 or more.  Kodable Who it’s for: Ages 5-8
 Platforms: iOS
 Pricing: Free ($7 for the Pro version)
 Find out more: Kodable website, iTunes
 The expert view: “Kodable scaffolds programming skills so that young children can learn how to code. They don’t even have to know how to read. ” — Terri Eichholz, teacher of K-5 gifted students, South Central Texas Above: KIds are young as 2 use Kodable, according to cofounder Grechen Huebner.Image Credit: Carli Spina Kodable’s 105 maze-like levels help teach young kids programming concepts like conditions, loops, functions, and debugging. It avoids using text entirely, making it a great entry point for younger children. Its alien protagonists are fuzzy and colorful and seem to have that kid appeal nailed down. “Adults are so terrified of programming; it’s this scary thing,” Kodable co-founder Grechen Huebner told TechRepublic. “It’s funny how much adults underestimate kids, and giving them an opportunity to be challenged at such an early age proves how smart they are.” The free version of Kodable includes the first 45 levels. In-app purchases can unlock more levels and concepts. The $7 Pro version also adds vocabulary lessons and learning guides.  Robozzle Who it’s for: Ages 6+ (and adults)
 Platforms: Web browsers, iOS, Android, Windows phone
 Pricing: Free (browser), free to $2 (mobile)
 Find out more: Browser game, iTunes, Google Play, Windows store
 The expert view: “Robozzle bills itself as a social puzzle game, but to me it’s a fun and interesting way to introduce programming concepts. And perhaps it is a game to get young people interested in programming.” — High school computer-science teacher Alfred Thompson Above: Robozzle looks simple at first but soon reveals its complexities.Image Credit: Dan Crawley If you’re looking for challenge for older kids (or yourself), try Robozzle. It’s a puzzle game that Microsoft programmer Igor Ostrovsky created in his free time. Robozzle tasks you with guiding a robot through a series of mazes using limited commands. The levels range from those suitable for younger children right up to puzzles that will make seasoned coders scratch their heads. It’s free to play through browsers (using Silverlight), and community support enables players to create, vote, and comment on new levels. Versions of Robozzle exist for iOS, Windows Phone 7, and Android. Prices vary. View All 1 2 3

6 myths of social sharing (infographic)

How can you leverage mobile to increase profitability for your company? Find out at MobileBeat, VentureBeat's 7th annual event on the future of mobile, on July 8-9 in San Francisco. Register now and save $400!    Social sharing buttons on websites account for less than 30 percent of all sharing, and links shared on Thursday get peak engagement and the longest-lasting traffic. Those are only two of the results of a RadiumOne study focusing on sharing behavior. RadiumOne is an enterprise advertising platform that operates the Po.st social sharing and URL-shortening platform — which naturally generates a lot of data on what people share, how they share, and what kind of sharing is the most effective.

RELATED: AppsFlyer says social sharing delivers better results for app marketers than search  While it’s hardly a disinterested observer, RadiumOne says that URL shorteners that offer vanity domains result in an increased volume of sharing — up 25 percent — compared to simple shares of standard, longer URLs. One other interesting fact: Links shared on weekdays get almost 50 percent more engagement than links shared on the weekend. Clearly, we’re looking for distractions while working but much too busy with our own business to look at cute cats and funny photos on the weekend. Here’s all the data, in infographic form: