Virtual Worlds 2007 it was good for me

I am back safe and sound from Virtual Worlds 2007. The main thing I can say is how fantastic (personally) the entire conference was. One way and another I missed almost all the sessions but 3pointd has them very well covered, start here and work forward.
I was very proud to have not only a IBM stand, but Colin’s key note and Paul Ledak of IBM on one of the panels and lots of my IBM collegues in attendance.
I keep typing IBM because the mere fact IBM was there was the subject of many a conversation. I saw practically no sessions but at the stand lots of people either wanted to say “thankyou” for supporting and adding to the industry or ask ‘why IBM?’. The coolest ones were “we did not know IBM had people like you” where you was the entire IBM team there.
I went to meet many of the famous avatars and business leaders then realized I was one of them and people wanted to meet me 🙂 However as Mark Wallace from 3pointd pointed out “I made this guy” so humble time :-).
I am not going to get into the politics of Second Life being mentioned too much or the constant questions of ROI, but some things got aired and I had hours and hours of discussion.
For me personally this was the most vibrant and exciting conference I have been too. A large percentage of us there were there out of passion. Many of us had never met in the flesh, and we all recognized one another and just got on with communicating.
I did a lot of press including an interview for a ‘youth’ section where the guys had previously covered an elephant coming into town for the circus. I have to say that that is not usual territory!
What important points got aired?
1. Its about people. Even Philip Rosedale/Linden said this in his opening speech. When he started SL he did not start it with that in mind, but now we have all learned thats the important part
2. Don’t focus on just marketing the real in the virtual, think new products. Sibley from(as in Founders and CEO of) Electric sheep put this so well.
3. “Millions is spent on a feature film when only 400 people watch it together in a theatre” Another gem from Sibley. The worry about concurrency in a single space.
4. We need things to be made “fit for business”, my collegue Peter Finn just said of all the work in Second Life “It’s great business but it closes on a wednesday”
5. Second Life is not the only platform to consider. Its there its public, its easy. Take a look at ProtonMedia there have been building for 10 years look like a great virtual world with desktop integration and a web services/web2.0 design ethic. Let alone Forterra, Multiverse,, kaneva et al.
The major media companies are also moving into the space. Games that are not games, films that are not films, Sony Home, MTV Virtual Laguna beach and pimp my ride to come. How to get people to choose to feel involved, and ways to keep them interested. Its got to beat a poster on a wall or a banner ad.

So, in 1 year exactly eightbar in Second Life moved from skunkworks to legit. I dont know where that will take us, but it is veyr exciting still. We can argue standards, platforms, motivations etc. However lots of people have a good inkling as to why the ‘metaverse’ is coming, and maybe some insight into why now. As Eric Rice said on his panel (I saw some of that on the screen) the next thing is to go and just implement, but he did have this gadget (Was still uploading when I posted)

Here he is rezzing in real life with said gadget.


Remember this stand in the future, early days but we woz there.

Just for comparison here is the Linden Lab stand

My view of the conference
Mark Wallace
Mark Wallace

Jerry Paffendorf

The conference was also powered by twitter though the phone signal was a little weak down in our room(s).

Either way, I think we all strengthened some bonds, there was a great deal of “Smeeting” going on, that weird molecular real life connection when you have only met in SL. Yes the conference should have been out in a virtual world or two, but its early days yet, and lets face it if it was in SL then there would have been complaints from some of the other sponsors.

So hi to everyone I got to talk too, looking forward to where this all goes next.

Can anyone imagine what this conference will be in 5 years time?

At virtualworlds2007 in NY, and its Rez day

A fair few of the IBM emerging business unit for digital convergence and 3d internet are going to be at Virtual Worlds 2007 as of tomorrow.
I am also here now and we had a great get together meeting today.
So tomorrow will be some time on the IBM stand meeting and greeting, some press, some meeting all the people who blog and meetup in all the various virtual worlds. I may even get to some of the sessions.
I just hope I dont get Geek Sleeped by 3pointd

Its also my Rezday on the second day of the conference. Nice of them to lay that on 🙂

Many Eyes make light work

If you’re anything like me, tables of numbers are hard to grasp. If a picture is woth a thousand words, it’s probably worth a million spreadsheets. (I’ve always thought the only good spreadsheet is one with a graph on every page.) I was therefore delighted when, following the release of some detailed Second Life stats by Linden Lab people like Raph Koster and Darren Herman shared some interesting graphs and visualisations of the raw data.

I’ve been meaning to try out Many Eyes for a while, so I uploaded the residents by country data and, with just a couple of clicks, Many Eyes was displaying it as a map and a bubble chart

I’m very impressed with Many Eyes. I know it’s an IBM creation, but I was honestly rather struck by how straightforward and pleasant it was to use. Congratulations to the team behind it. The Visual Communication Lab must surely be a very cool place to work.

WadaTripp’s Machinima/presentation exploration of Virtual Worlds

Our collegue WadaTripp has created a very good mashup of presentation and machinima entitled Virtual Worlds and the Future of Learning.
Its 10 minutes long and shows some perspectives and interesting concepts that are happening inside places like Second Life.
Well worth a look as a serious(ish) exploration of metaverse concepts.

His blog is over here

Second Live voice beta

I had a chance today to try the Second Life voice beta.

The demo requires a separate download, and only certain sims on the beta test grid are currently voice-enabled. I know that Spaceport Alpha and NMC and enabled. Apparently Abbotts, Lusk and Pulveria, are also voice-ready too. I’m sure the list will grow quickly.

When you speak a green wave form appears above your head. It fades to grey and vanishes when you stop, and goes red when you’re hurting other peoples ears. Here is Algernon complete with wave form…

And a bunch of people trying it out at Spaceport Alpha…

Some observations about voice chat:

  • The waveform thing is nice, though rather basic. I don’t get the sense that it reacts to what is is being said. Rather, it gives a hint as to whether the avatar below is speaking quietly or loudly. Even having a hint of who might be speaking is useful though, and I found I could normally work it out even when some people just had an open mike (rather than using push-to-talk).
  • The audio quality is crisp, but the 3 second (ish) delay leads to some strange satellite delay effects and odd pauses in conversation.
  • The audio is stereo, and sensitive to distance. The connection between someone’s location and their voice is nice and obvious.
  • … at least until you move your camera. Your virtual ears are affected by the position and angle of the camera, not your avatar. This means that you can listen in on remote conversations, but also that you stop hearing your local conversation when you focus elsewhere.
  • Puppies get confused and playful when you put on a headset. The lead was very appealing to my 6 month old pup. A couple of us were racing to see who could have the first dog ‘speaking’ in Second Life.
  • Despite the green waveform, it’s strange to be standing still with your hands still while you talk. However, this is being addressed. From the Voice Beta page

This build also gives you the ability to “wear” an initial set of “speech gestures”. These speech gestures are randomly selected from nine different animations based on the intensity of your voice. These Gestures are currently located in your Library’s Gesture Folder (under “Speech Gestures”).

  • There are three gesture “sets” of three gestures each for low, medium, and high speech intensity levels.

We will refine and add to the set of nine speech gestures in the next few builds.

I’ll be interested to see how this develops, and what other new features get added. I suspect that mute, which is currently not implemented, will be an important one.

I like it. I don’t think it will ever be my favourite way to communicate and I’m undecided how much I’ll use it, but it’s nice to try these things out.

Slateit Hud clever tagging in Second life

I am a lot later with the post that I had wanted to be, but it still is well worth writing about as it is gaining some traction, of course 3pointd has already covered it. and has some interesting extra services to check out in this post
Babbage Linden has produced a Slateit or Hateit heads up display to enable you as an avatar in Second Life to just look at something and then rate it.
I particulalry like the way this is done as a HUD it detects objects in you camera field of view, works out where they are relative to you and then overlays a rating number for that object for your HUD.
So thats a proper targeting HUD. If you move it recalculates and then re-overlays.
By clicking on the number in your HUD over the object you are given a set of tags to choose from then you hit the slateit or hateit button in the dialogue and the rating for that object zips off to and will then be reflected in your HUD and anyone else that is passing.
I used it last night to rate Gingers Timeframe over on IBM 1 (Babbage had told me off for practicing rating things on our private islands)
You can go and get a HUD from Babbages kitchen, then pop on over to IBM 1 and rate Gingers timeframe if you like.

timeframe slateit
Picture from snapzilla

As you know we here at eightbar are big fans of both clever things in Second Life, but also any interaction with the outside world and other services.

Timeframe, timestamp your real life

Ginger Mandelbrot, a Hursley master inventor of some note has created something that I found fascinating both in Second Life and with real life potential.
He has built a ticking, rotating slat machine in Second Life to prototype an amazing cool idea.
The “timeframe”, currently previewing on Hursley private island ticks over the seconds using a collection of black and white slats, not unlike an old fashioned notice board. It represents, each second, a unique point in time by the status of the slats. This is also a date not just a time, and that is important as you will see.
In this video you can see CJ, Ginger and I waiting for a significant slat rotation.

Here is a still of a point in time on the timeframe from snapzilla

I asked Ginger to explain his thoughts on this, and this is where it gets really clever the second quote for the non unix geeks.

“The TimeFrame displays good-old geeky Unix time, which started on 1-Jan-1970, and will count the seconds until a fateful day in Jan 2038 when it rolls over the 31st digit and either goes very negative, or back to zero again, depending on how your applications decide to handle it. There will be (or was, depending on when you read this) a fairly momentous moment on 20th March this year at 15:38 GMT, when the 26th digit rolls over. The 27th digit won’t roll over until Apr 2008. ”

“it’s a piece of “conceptual art” that has a genuine purpose (unusual!). I’ve been thinking about it for a while, as something to build in FL, but it would be quite hard to build and expensive, so I thought I’d prototype it in SL so I could see if it’s really as cool as I imagine it’s going to be! It’s basically a clock, inspired by those indicator boards they sometimes have at train stations, with the slats that flip over with that lovely clacking sound. It’s reallly hypnotic to watch, but also has a real purpose: do you know when Google Earth did the last fly-by of your house? No, of course not. But if you have a TimeFrame in your garden, then next time you get snapped by a satellite or a fly-over, you’ll have a lovely bar-coded timestamp right there on the photo!”

So did you get that, you put one of these in your real life garden, and you get a unique timestamp of anything that takes a photo. Of course it works in SL too. I am going to run one as a HUD. A unique barcode timestamp on any picture.

When you think about this, which I have now, you have to say wow!

A timeframe has been placed on IBM 1 on Hughes Marina outside the Virtual Universe Community clubhouse
IBM public island

SL IBM islands hosting some major gatherings

Friday saw one of the large theatres on the IBM island complex play host to the award ceremony for the GreaterIBM Connection’s Machinimania challenge. For the past few months, several teams have been honing their virtual filming skills to capture some cool in-world videos.

(click through the thumbnails for larger images)



The invitation suggested a dress code of black tie, and as a result hundreds of well-dressed avatars packed in to the Kearney Theatre for the glittering event. The videos were shown on large screens at the centre of the theatre. At the peak of the event, we had over 160 avatars across four sims (the theatres are built at the corners of four sims to maximise our ability to host large events). We did lose the host a couple of times (!), but he was able to get back online pretty quickly.



After keeping the audience on the edge of their seats, eventually Boris Frampton announced the winners, producing the results from his Oscars-style golden envelope!


Congratulations to all of the winners, and to the GreaterIBM Connection for staging and hosting such a cool event.

Update 22 Mar: you can now visit the GreaterIBM blog for the results and links to the videos.

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Timeless Prototypes London Eye is back

Whilst doing a long 2 hour customer demo I happened to be flying around the IBM islands. You may think that I must know everything that is going on but the joy of discovery still pervades the metaverse with so much happening.

I noticed Timeless “multigadget” Prototype’s excellent London Eye build on IBM 3. Its well worth a look. I had hooked Timeless up with Boris Frampton and the greater IBM guys, but had not yet seen the eye arrive anywhere.

I saw it originally as a part of the Walk for Life charity event last year.

Take a look when you get a chance its very good secondlife://IBM+3/132/193/139/

Picture from Snapzilla
Whilst on Timeless have a look at Adam’s article over at Reuters about the real life multigadget that someone has created.

Red Nose Day, Second Life, Just Give

I should have blogged about this earlier the official red nose day site has a link to some real red nose places for comic relief in Second Life
We should have all done this as a UK based charity with a world impact.
So its not too late come get a tshirt
red nose day

* Oli Itoku’s House (
* Corro Moseley @ Daden Limited(
* Valentino’s Design Studios (