Its Halloween so it would be mad not to have a party

Well done to our IBM Virtual Universe Community on arranging another great event. This time the halloween helpfest.
It is great to have a theme, and one so well suited to Second Life.
Lots of people have been showing up in all sorts of cool costumes with gadgets galore.
The pictures explain it a lot more, but it was great seeing Judge work the crowd into a frenzy of pumpkin building, whilst the rest of us went around showing off
Whilst the subject matter is fun, the reasons are serious, as a social networking and learning experience it has grown our community a bit more, and let people gte more up to speed on what can be done. It would be very unlikely to get all those people in the same physical space for a 30-60 minute gathering.
No avatars were harmed during the course of this party.

I was very much enjoying my new AFK animation, involving the gallows from “Sick-N-Wrong” (just search in world you cant miss them and my blood gushing from Nicka whippet

Someone got killed

With this crowd who knows who did it !

Lots more pictures on including these on snapzilla

Weather Visualization in Second Life

I was really happy to see Aimee Weber’s post on 3d Weather Visualization over on the Second Life Herald.
Partly becuase people kept asking me if I could do rain clouds over the Wimbledon build instead of my single line of text, and partly because real data and pushing that into Second Life is the main reason I and my eightbar collegues started in Second Life.
The principle of using Second Life as a Situational Application (or in web 2.0 parlance a Mashup) builder seemed obvious to me and it is good to see these builds appearing. Ok so its only a mashup if it is next door to another data driven application. But as we know with SL its very easy to rez two builds together.
By combining the tech feeds with Aimee’s talent for building has created something way more engaging.
We do off course need a UK one as we are the most obsessed about weather, then I can rez a working tennis court next door to one and have a full mashplication working.

The Metaverse, Second Life and 3d Printers/home fabrication

With the advent of services such as fabjectory and now having come across this fab@home on the rebang blog it would seem we are beginning to get the glimmers of where all this Second Life and metaverse technology may take us.
What was holding back home fabrication was a way to create and distrubute 3d models suitable for home fabrication. We previously had also been lacking the social, open source, user created content skills and acceptance of this being a way to work. Now we have the collision of both, Second Life an ability to share and experience 3d models, and easier ways to build in 3d and then eaiser ways to fabricate.
There may be environmental reasons to home fabricate, or at least local area fabrication. Whilst the fabrication materials have to be shipped to the point of use they must travel much more efficiently that odd shaped products on a lorry. Consumers also have to travel less distance in order to receive their product. True the fabrication units are using electricity and chemicals, but I am sure that a trade off and carbon footprint can be established and measured for this.
If nothing else we are learning to all be both consumers and providers of service. Its very “Long Tail” to consider selling specialized things, one or two in a run to customers who really want the widget.
If nothing else the need to hold products, to feel form factor and to have an increased attachment to the experience whether in Second Life or Real Life will drive this to a commercial size proposition.
I would love Yossarian’s Hursley House printed out on my desk.
Hursley house
I really want my custom Reeboks from SL in RL.
All images from Snapzilla

Television comes to Second Life

Both the Electric Sheep Company and Rivers Run Red have made interesting noises about TV in Second Life recently.

The Sheep have an interesting project at the moment called Destroy Television (more details on 3pointD). I managed to get my moment of fame by making a banner and hanging around in front of the cameraperson for a while. That’s me in the Flickr stream…

It's me!

There are limited details so far about Rivers Run Red’s project, so I’m looking forward to hearing more about it.

Tired and croaky: busy day yesterday

I’m tired and slightly croaky after a long day yesterday. As Andy already pointed out, much of it centered around NMK’s My So Called 2nd Life conference at 01Zero-One, right in the middle of Soho.

Once it got underway, the speakers were:

  • MMOs: where are they now, and where are they heading? – Michael Smith
    Michael (the CEO of Mind Candy, the makers of Perplexcity) spoke on MMOs (including Habbo Hotel, Cyworld, Second Life, Virtual Laguna Beach, etc. He also talked about ARGs (Alternate Reality Games)  and tangible stuff. Afterwards, we chatted about the growing phenomena of tangible web things. If Perplexcity is a tangible virtual world it’s interesting to see Moo‘s Flickr cards (I see they’re doing Skype cards now too!), The Friday Project which brings websites to print, Fabjectory‘s 3d-printed avatars as a growing trend.

  • Collaborative and innovative working inside virtual worlds – Andrew ‘Roo’ Reynolds
    That would be me then. I explained the impact virtual worlds such a Second Life are having on business and how some companies are already using them to work collaboratively on a global scale. My (by now fairly well-practiced) talk on what virtual worlds are and why IBM cares was just as informal and conversational as ever. I pretty much managed to forget that there was a gaggle of press in the room (Reuters, BBC, New Scientist, …). Hence, Adam from Reuters got some pretty choice quotes which sounded (at least to me on the first reading) frighteningly casual. πŸ™‚
  • The artistic, creative & entertainment opportunities inside MMORPGs – Esther MacCallum-Stewart
    An academic (but interesting) overview of MMORPGs. She pronounces MMORPG “more-peg”, which is a new one on me. I’d like to see a copy of Esther’s slides, as there was some really good theory about what makes MMOs work.
  • E-learning business opportunities inside virtual worlds – Gauti Sigthorsson
    Gauti, while enjoying Second Life, does not think it can be used for e-learning. Apparently it’s too hard and the barrier to entry is too high (“it’s a gated community due to its resource intensive nature and the skillset required”). He has a point with this stuff, and it was an interesting counterpoint to the more gung-ho speakers (e.g. almost all of the rest of us).
  • Business opportunities inside Second Life for creative industries – Justin Bovington
    Justin (Rivers Run Red) shared some of the history of business and marketing in Second Life, along with some of his interesting projects. Vodafone, Penguin books, Duran Duran, BBC, Adidas, Reebok, … quite a list. Justin said two of the major milestones of Second Life have been the BBC event (“the Woodstock of Second Life”) and the Reuters office. Both of these events have been responsible for driving up the population of Second Life very quickly.

There was then a Q&A panel session, in which we were joined by Jim Purbrick (Babbage Linden; the only full-time Linden employee in the UK). As you can imagine, Jim got a lot of questions. πŸ™‚ He said some very encouraging things about Open Source, and opening up the client (and eventually the server). Adam’s Reuters piece covered this pretty well too.

I met a lot of interesting people, got to know some people a bit better. Thanks to NMK for inviting me; I really enjoyed myself. Today I am croaky and barely have any voice left. Probably a good thing so I can shut up for a while and catch up on what I was missing having been off the net for a day. πŸ™‚

Planes, trains and automobiles, here come Nissan

Here come Nissan to SL courtesy of the electric sheep and Tequila\.
I had to go to bed early last night, so I was not on the grid, not on Second Life. This was because I had a customer session to go to in London, which needed a 5:30 am start to get up and going. That also meant I was not on SL until 1pm here in Southbank.
So the phrase the early bird catches the worm really does not apply to this case.
As I logged onto SL and my Firefox Sage RSS feeds whirred into life I was sent a note by the Counting Sheep Group and saw the Out to Pasture post, telling me Nissan had now opened an island, and in SL had sent a nice car to me.
I have an affinity for all things automotive, especially having been part of the IBM Vauxhall web team for many of the formative years of the web. So I was straight over there (after I had rezzed my own car to check it out).
This is more of a stop press post as I have not explored yet, but saw this wonderful device as I arrived.
Yes a car dispenser. Lovely idea, and very well implemented. On its own it was worth the visit.

Ben Folds in Second Life the Event

Well it all started on time, DNA Prototype took to the decks at the Aloft hotel party area.
The invited guests gathered, danced and talked whilst the music streamed in.
All Pictures from Snapzilla
I dont usually do nightclubs anymore, so it was good to let epredator potato throw some shapes.
A few of us synched with Satchmo Prototype, he had a dance machine installed in his head, so a simple click of the green noggin and away went your avatar dancing.
We had quite a range of invited guests at the event, some new faces and some of the usual crowd.
Algernon Spackler was there to, as was Juiceof Prunes, though strangely, and this is one to watch out for, JuiceOf just happened to be at the hotel when the event got locked down. So she was not on the group list but still had access to the island. It felt cool to have someone accidently gate crash. I am guessing the access control is checked on entry?
Anyway lots of people and of course a Smurf were there
Ben folds turned up, in SL and on an audio feed. He was clearly gobsmacked by the reaction of the crowd and both the craziness and immersion. There were a few technical hitches requiring text chat “is this thinng on”, but SnoopyB and some of the Sheep were in a RL office with Ben. This added a great deal to the dynamic, and these mixed mode events bring people together more.
They were clearly enjoying themselves too.
Ben played some music from his new album which sounded great, and answered some questions.
The crowd jostled for postion, but respected the stage.
ben f
ben folds
When asked about whether he was a Second Lifer Ben decided to show his technical prowess by playing some of the ringtones he had downloaded to his phone in RL.
This was hilarious and sort of set the tone (no pun intended) for the next part of the evening.
I did comment how ironic it was as when people who have not got the metaverse bug yet as “So why would anyone by virtual content” I usually use the “Why does anyone by a mobile phone ringtone”.
Anyway it was time to head over to the Sony BMG media Island for its first event. TPing a crowd over led to a little confusion but we all made it I think.
SnoopB and Ben had chairs on a stage, but the potential for amusing antics took hold and the party dynamic got a whole lot more interactive.
I think you can see from this product placement where this might then go.
Ben had his Duff beer attached, this eventually causes you to reel and fall over, in this case off the stage so it looked like crowd surfing. He is in this shot somewhere, I think he fell on Algernon.
Another person shouted that Ben had fallen on them and they would never wash this avatar again.
Next thing we know Ben has removed his shirt and dived into the audience with a lightsaber. I was laughing so much that I did not take any more pictures. Apart from Algernon decided to sit and watch from the stage. It was 3am UK time though.
Anyway, a successful and once again varied event. Another set of anecdotes to add to the “back in the early days of the metaverse” after dinner speaking material for when I retire.

Component Templates

From January to May this year I was working as part of an incubator group to develop a technology called, Component Templates.

Component Templates are a way for a subject matter expert to develop a template that will let a less-knowledgeable user customise and configure an asset. The neat thing is that no changes to your existing software are required. So, for example, if I was an Apache web server expert, I could develop templates (via an Eclipse wizard) for an Apache server. These templates then give a non-expert user a gui interface to customising their Apache configuration, but in a limited way, to ensure they couldn’t break it.

Component Templates has just become available for download on alphaworks.