People talk about eye candy. I've been showing Grokker to my friends, and it's more like eye heroin: totally addicting, first time out. And it's not like I'm showing it in a darkened room: my work space is The Land of Visual Distraction. Not only do I have my work machine (a Sony Vaio), but I also have my iMac, which is usually set to the 2001 Space Odyssey feature of iTunes; posters of a 14th-century Korean star map, Bay Area earthquakes, and Akira Kurosawa's classic movie "The Seven Samurai;" and a desk covered with books, articles, USB cables, and other stuff too numerous to count. It's got serious competition.
In the course of researching some stuff on games and health this afternoon, I ran across an interesting article presenting a theory of seductive technology. The authors argue that seductive technologies-- whether they're cool cars, some device by Karim Rashid or Michael Graves, or software-- have to do a few things to work they magic: they have to be enticing and diverting; surprise you through novelty; go beyond obvious needs and expectations; create an intense emotional response; connect to personal goals; and possess hidden depth. The model applies here, I think.