More system modelling in Second Life

Do you remember seeing this image and post back in october 2006
Well now there is more as this has advanced a great deal and Turner and a team have been working to get more data, more understanding and to dynamically build metaverse versions of system architecture representations.
This time its video, and its a talky too with Turner’s northern tones. See what you think. It all started on Hursley sim 🙂

Real money from a virtual world

Yesterday on my return from holiday I ended up chatting to a fellow resident and eightbar Davidovic Dean. He is very active in Second Life and in virtual worlds. He has decided to invest in an island, like many of us have, in Second Life. As well as pushing forward with the benefits of education and training he is also exploring some interesting ideas with this.
There is more detail here on his blog, but he has minted coins, real ones to celebrate his island coming online.
Take a look. Its brilliant.

IBM Virtual World Guidelines

The world is positively abuzz this morning with news of guidelines being released by IBM as a code of conduct for IBMers in virtual worlds.

Lots of news sources (including TIME, USATODAY, the Examiner, the San Jose Mercury News and more) are carrying an Associated Press story talking about the guidelines. Since nobody seems to be linking to the guidelines themselves, I’ll provide a link to the guidelines in full

What’s in them? Let’s see. The introduction begins

IBM believes that virtual worlds and other 3D Internet environments offer significant opportunity to our company, our clients and the world at large, as they evolve, grow in use and popularity, and become more integrated into many aspects of business and society. As an innovation-based company, IBM encourages employees to explore responsibly and to further the development of such new spaces of relationship-building, learning and collaboration.

There is a summary section of guidelines, which I’ll reproduce here

  1. Engage. IBM encourages its employees to explore responsibly – indeed, to further the development of – new spaces of relationship-building, learning and collaboration.
  2. Use your good judgment. As in physical communities, good and bad will be found in virtual worlds. You will need to exercise good judgment as to how to react in these situations – including whether to opt out or proceed. 
  3. Protect your – and IBM’s – good name. At this point in time, assume that activities in virtual worlds and/or the 3D Internet are public – much as is participation in public chat rooms or blogs. Be mindful that your actions may be visible for a long time. If you conduct business for IBM in a virtual world or if you are or may appear to be speaking for or on behalf of IBM, make sure you are explicitly authorized to do so by your management. 
  4.  Protect others’ privacy. It is inappropriate to disclose or use IBM’s or our clients’ confidential or proprietary information – or any personal information of any other person or company (including their real name) – within a virtual world. 
  5. Make the right impression. Your avatar’s appearance should be reasonable and fitting for the activities in which you engage (especially if conducting IBM business). If you are engaged in a virtual world primarily for IBM business purposes, we strongly encourage you to identify your avatar as affiliated with IBM. If you are engaged primarily for personal uses, consider using a different avatar. 
  6. Protect IBM’s and others’ intellectual property. IBM has a long-established policy of respecting the intellectual property of others, and of protecting its own intellectual property. Just as we take care in our physical-world activities to avoid infringement of intellectual property rights and to provide proper attribution of such rights, so we must in our activities in virtual worlds – in particular with regard to the creation of rich content.
  7.  IBM business should be conducted in virtual environments only with authorization. You should not make commitments or engage in activities on behalf of IBM unless you are explicitly authorized to do so and have management approval and delegations. If you are authorized, you may be asked by IBM management to conduct IBM business through a separate avatar or persona reserved for business use. You should certainly decide to use a separate avatar or persona if you think your use of an existing one might compromise your ability to represent IBM appropriately. 
  8.  Be truthful and consistent. Building a reputation of trust within a virtual world represents a commitment to be truthful and accountable with fellow digital citizens. You may be violating such trust by dramatically altering your digital persona’s behavior or abandoning your digital persona to another operator who changes its behavior. If you are the original creator or launcher of a digital persona, you have a higher level of responsibility for its behavior. 
  9. Dealing with inappropriate behavior. IBM strives to create a workplace that is free from discrimination or harassment, and the company takes steps to remedy any problems. However, IBM cannot control and is not responsible for the activity inside virtual worlds. If you are in a virtual environment in conjunction with your work at IBM and you encounter behavior that would not be acceptable inside IBM, you should “walk away” or even sign out of the virtual world. You should report abuse to the service provider. And as always, if you encounter an inappropriate situation in a virtual world which you believe to be work-related, you should bring this to the attention of IBM, either through your manager or through an IBM internal appeal channel.
  10. Be a good 3D Netizen. IBMers should be thoughtful, collaborative and innovative in their participation in virtual world communities – including in deliberations over behavioral/social norms and rules of thumb.
  11. Live our values and follow IBM’s Business Conduct Guidelines. As a general rule, your private life is your own. You must, however, be sensitive to avoid activities in a virtual world that reflect negatively on IBM. Therefore, you must follow and be guided by IBM’s values and Business Conduct Guidelines in virtual worlds just as in the physical world, including by complying with the Agreement Regarding Confidentiality and Intellectual Property that you signed when you became an IBM employee. It is obviously most important to do so whenever you identify yourself as an IBMer and engage in any discussions or activities that relate to IBM or its business, or use any of IBM’s communications systems or other assets to participate in a virtual world.

It goes on to discuss the following topics in more detail

  • Launching Digital Personas and Disclosing Their Identities
  • Appearance
  • Digital Persona Ownership & Responsibility
  • Identities that Span Multiple Environments
  • Protecting IBM Intellectual Property Assets
  • Respecting Intellectual Property of Others
  • Doing Business in a Virtual World
  • Export
  • Encountering Inappropriate Behavior
  • On Your Own Time

All of which make a lot of sense to me, but you can read them for yourself to see if you agree. The document concludes with a common sense summary:

IBMers are encouraged to engage, to learn and to share their learning and thinking with their colleagues. That is what it means to be part of an innovation company. As we do so, our best guideline is to approach virtual worlds in the same way we do the physical world – by using sound judgment and following and being guided by IBM’s values and the Business Conduct Guidelines. Remember that IBM’s integrity and reputation, as well as your own, are in your hands. If you are unsure of the correct action or behavior at any stage, speak to your manager, your HR partner or an IBM attorney.

If you’ve ever heard of IBM’s blogging guidelines here you’ll recognise the pattern here. (Incidentally, I always loved the introduction: “In 1997, IBM recommended that its employees get out onto the Net — at a time when many companies were seeking to restrict their employees’ Internet access. We continue to advocate IBMers’ responsible involvement today in this new, rapidly growing space of relationship, learning and collaboration.”). Things are not so different now.

The baseline is that every IBMer agrees to to a code of business conduct, the Business Conduct Guidelines, which define and expand on IBM’s values as well as giving concrete examples of what it means to act ethically. Building on that, the blogging guidelines explicates the conduct guidelines in the context of blogging, outlining how we interact in blogs. It’s exactly the same story for the virtual worlds guidelines; they simply expound on the same code of practice and ethics we all agree to, putting them in the context of virtual worlds. As with the blogging guidelines, they were not written by a drone in Armonk but were written (collaboratively, on a wiki of course) by the virtual universe community inside IBM which was already exploring virtual worlds. That has to be A Good Thing.

When IBM published its blogging guidelines, many companies quite openly borrowed and adapted them for their own use. I wonder if we’ll see something similar with the virtual worlds guidelines.

Virtual art is real too. Watch the World(s)

I’ve been wanting to post something about art in virtual worlds for a while. Yesterday, my friend Kybernetikos posted some thoughtful observations about the limitations of virtual worlds, which included these two sentences about art:

Art is always looking for new mediums to express itself in, and with a virtual world, it has an old one (reality) with a new twist. What could be better for giving people a new way of looking at the (real) things around them?

It also got me thinking about how the creativity of overcoming limitations, and made me want to keep my eyes open for great examples of art in virtual worlds. I didn’t expect such a jaw-dropping one to fall in my lap so quickly. Jessica Qin just sent me this link:

Robbie Dingo (the creative genius behind Suzanne Vega’s guitar) has just taken my breath away with this piece, Watch the World(s), a Second Life machinima. If you’re sceptical about virtual worlds, I’d encourage you to spend 4’17” seeing how, in the rights hands, the process of recreating a famous artwork in 3D (which sounds so mechanical) is to create something new and spine-tingling.

There’s a great post at New World Notes on the creation process, with links to higher resolution videos.

If you would like to share your favourite virtual world art with me in the comments, I’d like that a lot.

LastFM + IBM = IBM Rocks

Psssst! Ian’s away on holiday and I can’t see Roo, so I’m going to hijack eightbar and write about something none virtual worlds related.

There’s a competition running inside IBM at the moment, it’s to develop a situational application (mashup) using some of the data feeds available on our Intranet. Lots of people here listen to music while they work and being a nerdy population, they also tend to use LastFM. So why not show the music that’s being listened to at different IBM sites across the world? That’s what IBM Rocks does.

IBM Rocks

It takes feeds from our internal directory system (bluepages) and our site location database (RESO) , merges them with LastFM feeds and displays them on a Poly9 3D earth. Pretty simple really, not much business value (so we wont win the competition), but it looks pretty.

Virtual Worlds Forum Europe 2007

London, Tuesday 23rd to Friday 26th October. 3pointD already has the press release, so I won’t bother reproducing the speaker list or even the programme; you can just as easily get them from the conference website.

The speaker list is a star-studded list of dozens of thought virtual world thought leaders. Ren Reynolds (no relation) will be there, and I might even finally get to meet Alice Taylor. As you’d expect, IBM are well represented. Colin Parris (IBM VP, Digital Convergence, which is where the 3D Internet work in IBM) is giving the keynote on Thursday (“Cross-world, cross-platform; how close are we to a multi-world integrated framework?”) and Ian is joining a panel later that morning (“Harnessing the power of virtual worlds for corporate collaboration”).

I’ll post about some other upcoming conferences soon. (Update: Ren recently posted a great list of relevant and interesting looking events at Terra Nova). Hope to see you at one of them.

Wimbledon, that’s a lot of users 8.5 million

The website that IBM runs with the AELTC is extremely popular. It is a 2 to 3 week event. In that period this year we have had Over 8.5 million unique users logged onto the Wimbledon Website , visiting the site over 40 million times! More statistics are here
Statistics are always ones to argue about but the rise has been dramatic again. I remember back to the early days in 1998 when used to count hits per minute. The world record at the time was 100,000 hits per min from nagano winter olympics. A few months later Wimbledon reached a peak of 144,000. We have stoppped counting those sorts of hits as caching and server management is around reducing hits, but making sure delivery of information is quicker to users. Hence being able to deliver points from court to web in less than 2 seconds.
I was often asked by people who popped along to the Second life Wimbledon why we did not advertize the second life location more.
My response was usually around the fact that if we did indeed put a link on the homepage a sim that could holds 50-100 people, and a system such as second life which is just reaching 8 million accounts would probably count as a denial of service attack. Already the IBM sign ups people make through our proxies trigger Linden Labs detection for DoS in that it may appear to be multiple registrations from the same IP address. It would be unfair to have a knock on effect on everybodies experience. Having said that I saw a lot of people with sign ups during the torunament and we were teh first place thet had visited.
Things such as the times article reached many people as did the extensive blog coverage by everyone. This approach to reaching people is in itself a good lesson. Also reaching people who take the time to find you means they want to come along and want to talk.
We have in the past seen the Wimbledon website have an effect on the internet as a whole, aswell as having saved the internet, such as the year Judge helped the worlwide DNS root failure by soaking up the requests in the backup server farms to ease the congestion the word was seeing.
So it would have been irresponsible to have overly advertised Wimbledon SL this year. I am sure that the experience would have been reduced aswell for those people not able to meet us behind the scenes in SL, hence keeping it small and personal.
The finals were great in SL, and we had a bit of an aftershow dance up, and I will never forget the dancing strawberry.
picture from snapzilla
I am not sure if I will be there next year, its always a struggle and always an honour. I do know the desk will look exactly the same as the room gets mothballed for 12 months now. I also know what ever part fo the team is there they will do an awesome job and leave with a massive sense of pride.

Wimbledon 2007 Second Life build movie

Well the event is nearly over, a mammoth 2 weeks in one place in Second Life on IBM 7 for Wimbledon Slawn tennis (props to veejay for the slawn word :-))
It made sense to capture the build in video, though it will be foreever burned in my memory.
We have had approximately 200 visitors a day and I have talked to most of them. On so many varied subjects from “what is wimbledon?” “What does IBM do?” to “how does the script work?” and “do you do builds for other people?”

This has been a tremendous success, with the customers through on the tours liking what we have done and showing an innovative side. The fantastic feedback from people in SL. Even more answers to interesting questions that emerge for me when I am explaining what we do. Finally the fact that build that the team have done works as a tremendous vehicle for showing what IBM does at Wimbledon.

This time last year there was a lot of suspicion around “playing games” but that build last year acted as a springboard for IBM’s involvement in the metaverse. This years build we have taken some more risks and tried some new ideas, out in public. Which is the way things should be done IMHO.

So well done Laronzo Fitzgerald, Andy Remblai, Judge Hocho and Pipe Hesse for a fine build.
Special thanks to Elliejane Roberts for extending the work she does in RL at the venue into SL to explain IBM and the sports events team to visitors.

Thankyou to all the people who have visited, chatted and told other people about what we have been up to.

Wimbledon Second Life back in 2007 from epredator on Vimeo.

DRM clothing – A guest author on eightbar

Welcome to Kolya Oh or Nicolai Rygh in Real Life. He has been very active with us here in the metaverse recently and has some very intersting customer projects. He has registered which is our first franchise.
Nicolai has written the following piece, as we experiment with extending the eightbar brand.

I read on a blog last week about a future scenario where Gucci launched their new DRM-free clothes.
“These threads can be worn an infinite number of times, anytime of the year. If you happen to have multiple closets, these DRM-free clothes can be moved to and from your different closets.”
This made me think about the Digital Rights Management in SL and other virtual worlds. My avatar owns a suit that I paid some linden dollars for. It is “my” virtual business wear, but I don’t own any other right then to have it on my avatar, keeping it in my inventory in SL or deleting it. The same is with my SL car – a brand new MD C-class that I spent some Linden dollars to get but I don’t own it as I can’t sell it.
When you buy a commodity in real life is it because you are planning to put the item in use or it is an investment. The difference between the two is that the first will be worth nothing to others as soon as you have started using it, but the other can be sold at a lower or higher price later. There is a second-hand market for a lot of stuff, so even if it isn’t a good investment, the possibility to cut your losses on the investment is possible.
As SL is growing in terms of economic factors, and some people even argue that it is an independent economy, the terms of business between avatars should over time equal real life terms. If I go to the car dealership and pick up a brand new car that I can drive around in, and use as mine but that I can’t sell or transfer it; then that isn’t a buy. This setup in real life term is leasing. You pay for the right to use, but you don’t get the ownership of the item. And as I can’t sell or transfer my SL stuff, then the real life term would be that I have a leasing agreement with the owner. The upside in the real world is that you pay for a service of using the commodity and not the risk of owning an asset of depreciating value. Normally you pay fixed amounts weekly or monthly when you lease, and not all upfront.
In the end if I build a successful avatar with the right to use a lot of stuff that I can’t transfer to other avatars, then the solution could be to sell my avatar to somebody else, and restart my adventure. That could even be the option if I would like to move my virtual business to another platform. The market to sell avatars is probably a bit thin at the moment, but on other scenarios the possibility to buy a player with high market value is normal. Establishing a market for trading avatars would affect the in world value of the items and commodities, and maybe also the impact of using this strict DRM settings on the items. The next question would be if I own the right to replicate my real life items in SL. If I do, then the DRM settings on the items in SL are only to secure the rights of the guy that did the development (and in this case replicated some real life objects). The right to use the objects is only have restrictions in SL, so if I find a way to copy the items out of SL into some 3D warehouse for reuse in other virtual worlds, then I am Copyrights and patents in real life don’t transfer automatically over to SL, but I guess we’ll see some law suits that will resolve this if anybody provoke some of the big brands. And the question then we’ll be where the border between virtual and real life digital rights will be.
Nicolai Rygh/Kolya Oh(SL)

Wimbledon Second Life behind scenes tour

We have now finished (as much as a constant build in Second Life ever is) the behind the scenes tour to go with the live court of on IBM 7.
The build is at the top of this picture and is set up in the air for views over the rest of IBM land.
scene 1
On ascending the escaltor you will find that the data flows from right to left.
We show the court and how the point and ball data is both automatically collected via cameras and also manually captured, such as the stroke data at the data entry laptop
data keys
Much of the information flows to opens in room 60 where it is turned into tv graphics for the BBC to mix in to live programmes
The studio also, as with courtside, gets access to the wimbledon information system for detailed stats from the data captured.
The information is also sent around the site to kiosks and to club offices as part of the intranet.
Last, but by no means list the data if put together in a local publisher and sent to the main server farms to be sent to the world (and back into Second Life) on
The whole thing end to end takes less than 2 seconds.
Its been very nicely built by laronzo fitzgerald and andy remblai and is the same tour that you get in real life here when you visit on hospitality, but with out the lovely views as we are in a basement. As represented by the photos just above the backstage tour.