57 Miles Friday Night Geek Meet

Last night I was invited to a Geek Meet by 57 Miles of Metaversed in Second Life. 57 is part of my twitter network and it is clear that he is very interested in pushing the way the metaverse is going through doing things. Consquently I knew that we would have a great collection of people at his event. Despite being 9pm on a Friday night in the UK it seemed a great way to meet lots more interesting people and share some ideas. I only mention the time because the way we all use these bits of technology to interact and meet means that we are able to thin slice the work day. There is a fine line between work and social, and in this case I considered it both. I met with both some friends, some new contacts and even what you might call competitors. We are all sat together, in our various timezones sharing some ideas live. Now imagine trying to even consider that over a telecon, or organizing a meet like that in real life. It just would not happen. I was able to pop on the computer and engage with people.

geek meet
Photos from snapzilla

I was up to talk about our internal metaverse projects with the CIO IQ team, as well as presence in Second Life and the future considerations of standards across multiple virtual worlds. My fellow speakers from Sun and Intel also did related pieces.
57 ran it very well, we had 5 minutes to blurb, then mainly take questions.
As usual for these events too we had pre event and post event mingling and it was good to see some people who I had only really conversed with on IM, Blogs and Twitter. e.g. Aleister Kronos, where we had never met in the same space in SL.

geek meet 2

It was good to be able to take so many questions, though I htink we could have gone on for many more hours. We are “forever N00b” in these environments. Everyone has as valid a set of ideas as anyone else. We learn by doing and sharing, and that applies to individuals and corporates alike.
For me it was also good to be in a room with some people who do know what this is all about, very often I am evangelizing to people who are coming to the concepts with some confusion or fear. Having a group of 40-50 experts together really sparked my thinking on some more issues.

Here is a little video of everyone there.

Practice makes better – IBM press conference at Wimbledon today

Ian Hughes, Mark Alexander and I are joining Andy Burns and the rest of the IBM team at Wimbledon today, helping out at two mini press conferences. Excitingly, they’re taking place in…

  • Wimbledon itself (in the physical realm of London’s SW19),
  • a conference call,
  • Streaming video (on ustream),
  • Second Life (at the IBM 7 sim),
  • Flickr (mine and Ian’s),
  • … and probably more.

The first one happened this morning, but you can join the SL portion if you come along at 8:20am PDT (4:20pm BST) for the second event today.

In attendance in the real world this morning were Dr Ann Quinn (Head of Sports Science at the Lawn Tennis Association) and Ian Ritchie (Chief Executive Officer of the All England Lawn Tennis Club). Joining on this morning’s conference call was tennis star Ivan Ljubicic, though he’s playing a match this afternoon so I don’t think he’ll be able to make this afternoon’s event as well. In fact, I’m delighted he made the time the morning of a match to join us today.

Of course, all of the web-speed work can mean instant results; the first press coverage from this morning has already been blogged by the New Scientist.

These mixed reality press events are always a little improvisational, but are something we’ve been practicing for a while now. As early as November 2006 a bunch of us ran something similar with Irving Wladawsky-Berger, which was attended in the real world by several journalists – including Tim Guest, whose recent book actually covers that event in some detail. In the months since then, many more journalists seem to have already become users of Second Life (and some, of course, of several other virtual worlds too). Certainly, the general level of knowledge of virtual worlds is much higher now. So much so in fact, that today’s event was largely not even about virtual worlds, but simply used Second Life as a medium to extend the public reach of the event, just like the conference call, the web stream, and everything else.

Update: Ian has posted his own thoughts on the event too.

Update: coverage from New Scientist, silicon.com, vnunet, Le Monde, Times Online, Sporting Life, …

Pushing the Wimbledon broadcasting envelope Web 2.0 is Web Do

We are in the midst of building the public Wimbledon build on IBM 7 in second life. We have another week or so before the life championships begin, but we are holding some gatherings to show some people what we are doing. We are doing this all out in the public. A slightly unusual and brave move.
One thing I am experimenting with is streaming the Second Life build via ustream using some of my own video kit.
I know lots of the others out there are doing similar things, but its good to try yourself. Web 2.0 is Web Do after all.
Today, from a home network I have been streaming live on a Wimbledon channel on ustream.tv
home setup ready for the road
It was not a high production value tv program, but more a test of what works where. Is it worth streaming audio when a telecon may be on, is it worth having a ustream chat room when you have people in Second Life. In a live event such as a press conference with people on the phone, in the room, in SL and now on ustream whats the feel and flow that needs to be used?
I hit record aswell on ustream so you can see all the rough edges and the occassional lag I got. Some of that was having only a 4mb pipe into the house and having 3 computers consuming the content aswell as pushing the content and running SL.
I ended up buying a driver for my Sony DV cam from trackercam and some updated USB drivers from Sony (which I had to get via the Asia site for some reason).
So a DV camera, usb cable, driver, laptop and internet connection and I am up and running as a portable tv crew.
I have already used my nokie n95 and pocketcaster to some other live broadcasts over 3g on epredator.tv
This, with a crossover to the virtual world to makes it a very exciting time. This is all getting technically very easy. I remember the hassle when Cliff and co where doing the live Chelsea radio webcast back in 1997. Now…. anyone can do this.

Second Lives book launch party

As Ian recently posted, we attended the book launch party on Tuesday for Tim Guest’s new book, Second Lives.

It was interesting and fitting that there was another book launch party tonight, and this one was in Second Life.

Errol book launch SL party

This one was held at the Elysian Isle sim in Second Life. At this one, unlike in the real world, Tim gave a reading from first chapter (and I have to say his voice was a welcome relief from the reading on Radio 4 this week; Tim’s voice makes much easier listening). There was also a digital copy of the first chapter of the book to take away.  

Errol book launch SL party - book reading

Sadly, the virtual version lacks the all important inside cover. 🙂

It amazing where Eightbar turns up now

Last night Roo and I donned our eightbar t-shirts and popped along to the book launch for Tim Guests “Second Lives” at the offices of Rivers Run Red. I have not been to a book launch before, but then who does? So whilst this was still work related, it fitted nicely into the combined social nature of what has been happening with the metaverse. A collection of us gathering in real life, from disparate sources but with the bond of Second Life, and business in Second Life. It had been a very long day with other events and meetings in London. One of the reasons we just had to go was that eightbar and IBM get quite a mention in the book, Roo and I also got Tim to sign copies. It was good to skip to our section and see Tim’s view of the event we ran way back, when I specifically asked if we could invite Tim to the press event due to his articles in Edge magazine. The event we ran was way back in September 2006 and was given a huge amount of credibility by the presence of Irving Wladawsky-Berger . On the train home Roo and I were looking back, seeing statements like “200 IBMers in Second Life” when we have over 4000 interested parties now. It just shows how quickly the interest has developed and it seems, via our collective diaries, to not be letting up.
I still get emails from people who have just caught the buzz and are still amazed when they see the history. One of the benefits of blogs over up to date web pages is being able to show provenance.
I am looking forward to reading the whole book, it is the BBC Radio 4 book of the week, which is significant too.
roo @ rrr
Now there was some amusing talk about film deals, which was funny as on the way up to London Roo and I had been discussing what it must be like to be a technical advisor on a movie that has tech in it. We have all seen movies that have all the right words but none of the right fact. So when hollywood gets around to making movies about this cycle of virtual reality who are they going to get to advise them. I think its safe to say the door is open and we are happy to help.
So thankyou to Rivers Run Red and Tim for a great gathering.
I also now know what to get my dad for fathers day, another copy of the book.

Blogs and Social Media Forum

I spoke at the Blogs and Social Media Forum yesterday.

The agenda had me slated to join Ben Edwards (publisher of Economist.com), Jem Stone (Executive Producer, BBC New Media and Technology), Adriana Lukas (Big Blog Company) and Myles Runham (General Manager, Europe, Ask.com) for the keynote panel.

Euan Semple, who chaired the event, kicked off the day by getting a feel for the audience by asking how many of the participants a.) read blogs, b.) write blogs, c.) use wikipedia and d.) have edited wikipedia. A surprising number of people said yes in all categories. Indeed, it seemed to me that the percentage of the attendees blogging was slightly higher than the percentage of the keynote panelists blogging publicly; Although Ben Edwards said he wants to start, the fact he doesn’t already have one surprises me enormously given his previous role as director of New Media Communications in IBM’s HQ at Armonk. Equally surprising is the fact that Myles Runham (who previously worked “…in BBC Corporate Strategy (focusing on new media)” also doesn’t seem to have a public blog either.

Blogs and Social Media Forum - participants Blogs and Social Media Forum - Euan Semple Blogs and Social Media Forum - Keynote panel Blogs and Social Media Forum - Myles Runham Blogs and Social Media Forum - Ben Edwards

I think I was subconsciously quoting either Suw Charman or Euan himself when I said that a corporation is made not of employees, but of people.

After some case studies from the Economist and BUPA and a quick speed networking event, we were treated to an open space session facilitated by Lloyd Davis. Lloyd invited anyone who was interested in hosting a conversation to stand up, introduce themselves and share what they wanted to talk about. A dozen subjects were covered, including mobile applications of social media, moderation, spam and (of course) virtual worlds. Yes, the Ian and Roo show was there in full force, attracting a couple of tablefuls of people which opened up into a detailed Q&A and discussion about the virtual worlds.

Tuesday 12:05 pm 6/5/07

[CC-licensed photo from Robin Hamman]

Great fun, and an unexpected chance to share in more detail with some very untested (and of course interesting) people.

Sadly we had to dash off during lunch to a meeting across town, so we missed the afternoon sessions. I hate leaving conferences early, and it was only because I was invited to join the conference (replacing another speaker who had dropped out) at the last minute that my afternoon was already full up. It meant we missed Lee Bryant (Headshift) and Simon Phipps (Sun’s Chief Open Source Officer) present, plus a couple of really interesting looking panels too. I am hoping we get the recordings of the afternoon sessions soon, so I can catch up with the end of a great conference.

Update: due to the frankly stunning level of spam it generates, I’ve disabled comments on this individual post. Email me if you have something you want to add.

Live (Destroy) Television

Yossarian and I just gave Destroy Television a bit of a tour both of our public areas in Second Life and the private islands of Hursley and IQ and the giant molecule on Thornebridge town. All this was being broadcast live on destroytv, and also streamed to flickr.
It is an amazing project of 10 days of live filming that Destroy embarked upon. Including a wedding to Walker.
This is both art, journalism and thought leadership all rolled into one and I am proud to have been part of it as content.
flickr destroy
See the flickr feed here

BBC money programme on Virtual Worlds Real Money

I just watched the BBC MoneyProgramme edition about virtual worlds and real money. It featured a few people we all know quite well. It being the BBC and the money programme it covered everything really well. There was still a playfulness about the piece, but it showed the seriousness of the entire industry. Philip Rosedale/Linden made some good points about the future, and how we dont quite know where its going but its going to be exciting.
Max Flint also did not solely cover Second Life but instead looked at the business of virtual goods versus subscription models.
It was good to see Justin Bovington on TV from Rivers Run Red too. So that’s two weekends running as he was on the sky news feed last weekend too.
I know know we can expect even more people at work to have been woken up to the potential and to understand why were have all invested so much of ourselves in this.

Our Virtual Universe Community Guildmaster – Voting closes today

As well as the Eightbar group, our unofficial mini brand presence created around this blog and our lives in various metaverses, we do have inside the company the Virtual Universe Community. The VUC is a community organization that all the interested parties inside IBM that want to gather and understand this business and social and technology change can join.
The VUC is currently having elections for its next guildmaster. We collectively decided that we would have an elected representative running the community, and attempt to operate more like a guild.
This is a more formal, yet different arrangement to how Eightbar operates. Eightbar being a more free ranging brand.
We are all members of, and active in the VUC and I am looking forward to the results of the voting this time around and then will will have an interview with the winner of the election right here, and maybe some public appearences in SL and other metaverses.
So good luck to the candidates. Any VUC/eightbar IBMers reading this, go and vote now.
Apologies to the rest of the world but this is an intranet link, but kept here for the ease of our fellow VUCers and eightbar members.
Good luck Ada Alfa, Boris Frampton and Zha Ewry