Saturday, July 27, 2013

Audible Badge Collection Revisited

Back in January of 2012 -- during a period wherein I was gathering information for a column that related to early adoption of consumer technology for the column that I write for the Cape Cod Times (Digital Grind, appearing every other Tuesday in the Business & Tech Section of the newspaper) and having  accidentally stumbled upon the Audible Listener's Badge Collection built into the iOS version of the audio book app from online audio book website --  I ended up briefly covering the subject in that blog entry.

I mention this for two reasons... 
The first reason being my genuine surprise at the explosive interest in that subject as shown by my readers.  In fact the post generated a whopping 73 email messages on that subject -- not counting the replies to my replies to those 73 original email messages mind you --  and considering that I did not know I had 73 regular readers for this blog, let alone 73 readers who were invested in it to the point that they would actually take the time and make the effort to send me email about something I had written about in it, well, let us just say that it was a gratifying experience indeed! 

This was a matter I found to be worthy of note personally as well as professionally, though come to think upon it, certainly it can be argued that as my activities with respect to the blog Speaking of... are more in the way of uncompensated and voluntary writing as opposed to writing assigned by an editor and in the general scheme of things, compensated, it is... but I digress...

The second reason has to do with the significant number of follow-on email messages addressing the subject that have been reliably appearing in my In Box over the course of the past eighteen months, the most common topic of which being genuine inquiries as to my own progress with respect to the Badges I have unlocked and, naturally, the sharing of their own progress in unlocking said badges.

My loverly wife and companion Yvonne, avid Pokemon Trainer and willing co-conspirator in the ongoing seemingly never-ending quest to obtain each rare and special Pokemon as those made available at GameStop's everywhere (or at least in the case above, at GameStops in Mashpee, Massachusetts), which is to say located in Paradise save for the fact that it is Winter in Paradise at the time that this snap was made so really not so Paradise as one might expect Paradise to be, there being no brilliant sun, heady temperatures, and Boat Drinks - mustn't forget the Boat Drinks, just saying...

Gibbs, Calvin, and the Odd Photo or Two
In my initial efforts to document the extension of what had at that point become a very well accepted and recognized means for promoting individual and group cohesion with respect to the obtaining of an established and valued visual symbol of status and rank in terms of participation in a given activity - in this case listening to Audio Books - I made it a point to include wholly unrelated photographs in the interest of illustrating that piece, and in keeping with that tradition endeavor to do so again herein...

Really though if you pause to give the matter thought, the present level of both popularity and success that this particular form of rank and recognition enjoys can be said to have a shared link not only to the more obvious military practice of the display of square ribbons on the breast, but in more contemporary terms the dashingly successful affiliated Gamerscore and Achievements systems created by Microsoft for its Xbox 360 games console (about which I have written upon numerous occasions, including here, and here, and also here, not to mention here and here!).

It turns out that the Audible Badge Collection is not only of particular interest to the very large community of Audible Listeners (of which I am one), it also appears to be of interest to a somewhat larger community of potential Audible Listeners - that is to say consumers of audio books who are not as yet customers of (by the by, I have in no way been compensated for the above plugs and promotion of the audio books from Audible - I am no shill, I just happen to really like and enjoy that service, for which just like you, I pay with my own money to enjoy).

It may interest you to know that I have been a client at Audible since the very month that it was launched in the previous century by founder Don Katz, and in fact I have actually written about the service - see my column titled Heard any good books lately? (DigitalGrind, Cape Cod Times, 27 May 2008) - just to comply with my own policy of full-on transparency.

Wouldn't it be great if the services of the Winebulance (photo inset above) truly were available throughout the USA?  The UK-based parent company and its rather interesting concept now available in the Miami, Florida area and elsewhere - but sadly (and I firmly suspect that the laws pertaining to alcohol where I live, on Cape Cod which is to say in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts though there are plenty of locals who might argue that we only slightly accept the notion that the Cape is part of Taxachusetts, it being a nation in its own right) would prohibit the operation of such a clearly convenient and valuable service.  If  we measure political independence by arbitrary scales such as fun, peace, and tranquility than Cape Cod is clearly an independent nation along lines similar to those of the Conch Republic...

Audible Badge Collection
The badges that make up the Audible Listener's Badge Collection at the present time (and as of the writing of this post) consist of a total of fifteen (15) unique badges, each of which have at least three distinct and graduated levels, those being Silver, Gold, and Diamond, which are based upon the level in a particular category unlocked by the individual user.

Each of the Badges represents a specific action (or nature of actions) and each offers the listener a means by which they can visually gauge their participation in a meaningful way while at the same time present that participation in a format that suggests rank or standing in the Audible listener community, and how cool is that?

The current list of Badges consists of the following, with meaning, as presented in the iOS App version:
  1. Stenographer - add a bookmark/comment X times.
    Silver = 10
    Gold = 40
    Diamond = 125
  2. Social Butterfly - spreading the Audible word via Twitter, Facebook & etc.
    Silver = x5 shares
    Gold = x25 shares
    Diamond = x100 shares
  3. Audible Obsessed - you have used the app for X days straight.
    Silver = x7 days
    Gold = x30 days
    Diamond = x90 days
  4. Weekend Warrior - listened to X number of hours on the weekend.
    Silver = x5 hours
    Gold = x10 hours
    Diamond = x24 hours
  5. Repeat Listener - listened to X number of books over again.
    Silver = x3
    Gold = x10
    Diamond = x20
  6. All Nighter - listened to X number of hours at night.
    Silver = x4 hours
    Gold = x6 hours
    Diamond = x8 hours
  7. Marathoner - listened to X number of hours straight (uninterrupted)
    Silver = x16 hours
    Gold = x18 hours
    Diamond = x24 hours
  8. Undecider - listened to parts of X number of different titles in one day.
    Silver = x3 titles
    Gold = x15 titles
    Diamond = x40 titles
  9. Flash 80 - awarded for checking your stats screen X number of times.
    Silver = x50 checks
    Gold = x200 checks
    Diamond = x500 checks
  10. High Noon - listened to X number of hours during lunchtime.
    Silver = x2 hours
    Gold = x3 hours
    Diamond = x4 hours
  11. Binge Listener - listened to X number of books start-to-finish in one go.
    Silver = x2 books
    Gold = x5 books
    Diamond = x10 books
  12. 7 Day Stretch - complete X books in a single week.
    Silver = x7 books
    Gold = x15 books
    Diamond = x50 books (whoa)
  13. Procrastinator - have X books downloaded but not marked finished*
    Silver = x10 unfinished books
    Gold = x20 unfinished books
    Diamond = x75 unfinished books
  14. The Stack - have at least X number of books in your library.
    Silver = x50 titles
    Gold = x200 titles
    Diamond = x500 titles
  15. Mount Everest - completed a book that is X hours in length.
    Silver = x30 hours
    Gold = x40 hours
    Diamond = x50 hours
The inclusion of all of the X's above is, of course, meant to represent the sliding scale of numbers that relate specifically to the Level of the Awarded Badge - that is to say that the number is going to be different depending upon whether it is for the Silver, Gold, or Diamond Level Badge Awarded.

The inside colour does not appear to mean anything with respect to the badges but the outside rim of the badge clearly does - as you can see above the Marathoner Badge is "Diamond" Level while all of the others appear to be "Silver" Level...  The disturbing bit is that at some point in the recent updates to the app it appears that the edge graphic has been disabled, as there seems to be no relation between their colour and their status.  For example, one I know is Diamond Level has a gold border, and one I know is Gold Level has a silver boarder, while a Silver Level one has a silver border, and so on...  I very much dislike being confused like this...  Sigh.

* Note that with this badge if you delete the book from your device you can "lose" the badge since it appears to apply to the present inventory/status on the device.

In addition to the above, you should be warned that IF YOU CHANGE YOUR LOGIN for Audible - say if you have more than one account, or your significant other wants to listen to books from THEIR account on YOUR iOS/device this will wipe and reset ALL of the stats.  When you log back into your own account your stats will be reset to zero on all.

The Badge Collection is also now available for the Android version of the app.

Listening Level
In addition to the Badges listed above there is also a screen whose title is Listening Level and upon which is displayed the five levels of Audible Mastery, which are:
  1. Master
  2. Scholar
  3. Professional
  4. Novice
  5. Newbie
I do not actually know what the required times are precisely, though you can probably figure them out for yourself simply by reviewing my status at the time that this post was written (though bear in mind that the status only accounts for my listening statistics since I installed the app on my most recent iPhone - as my actual number of hours listening to books via Audible is a MUCH higher number spread across all of the platforms, from iOS to PC):
  1. Master (1907 hours to go)
  2. Scholar (907 hours to go)
  3. Professional (407 hours to go)
  4. Novice (7 hours to go)
  5. Newbie (Achieved on 12/13/12)
Based upon the numbers above the overall total appears to be based upon 2000 hours of listening...

Back in 2000 my wife Yvonne had her own "webcam" that featured two field mice that she had captured in humane traps that had, until their capture, been playing hell with our stored food stuff as well as anything in a cardboard box in the basement - but once the outlaws were captured became the focus of Mousecam!  That's right, the image of their domesticated mouse dwelling was shared online via the web every 30 seconds.

You Know, Whatever?
If you are curious, 2000 hours of listening breaks down to:
  • 83.333 Days
  • 120K Minutes
  • 7.2 Million Seconds
  • Number of hours of Cosmetology Classes required by the State of Utah in order for an applicant to qualify for a state license to work as a Hair Braider for pay.
  • The minimum number of hours that a non-partner lawyer is expected to bill in a 48-week year (they get four weeks holiday each year don't you know).
  • Number of volunteer man hours it took to build the 2,000 Hour Trail on the western slope of the Massanutten Resort by the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition.
  • From planting of the coffee tree to your first sip, 2000 man hours go into making that cup of coffee. (
  • Amount of time that budding game designer Alexander Velicky spent creating a mod for Skyrim just to get a job interview with Bethesda Softworks.

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