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links for 2010-09-23

  • Google Election Center helps you provide up-to-date election information to voters and create custom search tools for your website. You can submit the following kinds of information:

    * Polling place locations
    * Registration instructions
    * Ballot information
    * State and local election office contact information

    The Election Center Data Manager will guide you through the process of uploading and validating your information. After receiving your information, Google will display election information to your voters through our Maps application.

  • Game mechanics have become a popular way of increasing user engagement and pushing user adoption, referral and retention, and many startups have sought ways to incorporate game mechanics into their sites.

    In a recent blog post, David Feinleib, a partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures, lists the following 10 ways to incorporate game mechanics into a non-game service:

    1. Your service: the game. Feinleib suggests that if you start thinking about your service as a game, you will identify some of the ways in which game mechanics — ideas of competition, rewards, and so on — will best fit in.

  • Technology is making the resume obsolete faster than we think. Now, some candidates send LinkedIn profiles in lieu of resumes. They’re better than resumes in that they give extra pieces of information: recommendations, which can be misleading but often give some insight into the candidate’s personality, as well as the people we know in common professionally. The website Unvarnished takes LinkedIn recommendations to another level by making the reviewer anonymous, and therefore more candid.

    But sites like oDesk and eLance more closely reflect the future of resumes and how companies hire. When you hire someone on those sites (or similar contractor marketplaces), you don’t see things like what college they attended, you see past jobs and employer ratings. This simple reputation score is much more reliable, fair, and is harder to fudge than any resume.

  • Punctuated equilibrium is a theory that says that evolution isn't a straight line. Species remain the same for long periods of time, and then suddenly there's a burst of dramatic change.

    That's how I see digital textbooks. We're poised to see all the years — if not decades — of predictions and debate left behind. Change is here. It's driven by technology, by the arrival of ebooks and the digitization of print, and by a consensus among publishers and educators that the time is now.

    Sooner than later, more learning will flow into minds of students from digital than analog source materials.

    This point was made dramatically — and for me, too sensationally — by Nicholas Negroponte at a recent Techonomy conference. He proclaimed that the "physical book will be dead in five years."

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