Saturday, June 30, 2007

AMREF Flying Doctors

The coming weeks will see another Dutch NGO event. The Dutch Service Apotheek organises a sponsor event for AMREF Flying Doctors from saturday june 30 to august 12 at the "Zakelijk Nederland" sim.

There's a hangar with freebee t-shirts to promote the event, large paper-planes to fly with and a building contest. There are some things you will need to pay for, but the revenues will benefit the Flying Doctors.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Geek Meet aftermath

After today's official Geek Meet was over several interesting discussions came by on other Metaverses and SLCC convention 'standards'- or rules of engagement whatever you wanna call it.

Especially noteworthy was Moo Money's emphatic speech on Teen Grid.

"It's a sad state of affairs over there, they're the forgotten grid with a terrible economy. The Lindens rarely visit and there is barely any teen owned islands. I had to get an educational sponsor, Global Kids, to say it was okay to be on their island and then I had to submit to a FULLLLL background check, including 10 year address history.

They can buy 3x the amount of items for what we pay for one here. This leads to teens stocking up on items before they transfer over and selling them for profit which makes me so sad, it breaks my heart.

I don't know about the rumors of TG joining MG, BUT once age verification is in place, LL basically opened the back door for them to come in. I spoke with a few that have said that if their friends all migrate over, they'll have no choice but to do it as well. They don't want to be alone.

They keep their inventory, but their friends list is wiped, as well as calling cards, groups, and landmarks. Some of the teens are just as good or BETTER at building and yet they can't even make a decent profit on their furniture."

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Geek Meet Gadgeteers

Fridaynight - Geek meet time. This time not at the Metaversed home but at Dr. Dobbs Life 2.0 island where hip and techsavvy things are as common as bugs in Microsoft. This week brings something new to the Geek Meet as it's the first time it gets sponsored by Information Week.

First off, some snaps of the Dr. Dobbs island.
This weeks line up as announced by Metaversed:
"Alidar Moxie of Mechanized Life, makers of the popular Calendar Cogs Google API integration app for Second Life as welll as the new StatsCollector RSS app, and Vincent Shore, creator of Squawk, the Second Life Twitter / Jaiku presence and bookmarking app, will be joining Mystical Cookie, creator of the MystiTool, who we confirmed earlier at this week's Friday Geek Meet. Our regular Friday tech forum in Second Life is co-sponsored by Dr. Dobb's Journal, InformationWeek and of course Metaversed, and has quickly become the virtual worlds top regular technology and business networking event, where bloggers, journalists, new media types and tech heads of all kinds come to talk about the business and technology of virtual worlds. "

Vincent Shore - Squawk
Vincent created the popular Squawk app that that incorporates twitter, jailku and delicious into SL.
"Squawk is essentially a tool for connecting your Second Life experiences up with popular web services. It began as just a presence client for Twitter but has progressively grown in scope as time has gone on. Today, Squawk supports Twitter, Jaiku, and Ma.gnolia, with more services on the way.
In terms of presencing, Squawk can do anything traditional clients can do, and a bit more. Squawk can attach a geocode to your updates, allowing friends to see where you are in SL, or teleport in to check out something cool you microblogged about. If you visit, those geocodes are used to visually place markers on a web map. Squawk also automatically builds your Nest profile and tags based on what you like to microblog about."
The latest addon to Squawk is social bookmarking, or gridmarking.
"Squawk is a combination of LSL scripts (housed within the virtual Squawk bracelet) and a number of intermediary PHP scripts housed on Vincents web server, which translate API calls and make the response data easier for Second Life to handle."

Alidar Moxie - Mechanized Life
Alidar received a great welcome by Nick Wilson:
"Next I'd like to introduce you to a great scriptor, one I think of as an "integration" specialist. She deals mostly in API's and RSS and other ways of bringing our 2D stuff into SL. She's famous for Calender Cogs, a Google Calendar API implementaion, but recently has released StatsCollector, which I think you'll find even more intriguing. Please welcome Alidar Moxie!"
On Calendar Cogs:
"I have two real lines of things I've worked on the first was 'Calendar Cogs' I wrote it because I was literally writing on post its on my monitor when I wanted to go to events then I said 'why not use Google's thing to do this for me. I wrote 2 objects, a Hud for personal reminders and a Kiosk for people to place on land and tell others of their events both pull events directly from the Google calendar and use them in world and Huds talk to kiosks. I think I had a similar issue to Vincent in that the API for google had SO MUCH information that I had to write a ton of scripts between the Google Stuff and LSL."
On StatsCollector:
"It simply records who comes in contact with it but then allows you to subscribe to an RSS feed of those visits and recently allows you to find out if they are credit card users, how old they are
what time of day is your busiest, etc. At the moment you can pull either graphs or HTML versions of the data in the near future I plan to allow XML downloads and I am working on my own API so that others can make their own objects to 'talk' to the systemso to speak"
The statcollector could be a breakthrough in Inworld purchase history as a vendor could be written to record who purchased an item and when. Transaction history in Second Life is only kept for 30 days, the default for the current version of Statcollector as well, due to server capacity in logging.
Mystical Cookie - MystiTool
The Mystitool app was named Metabrand no. 1 by KZero a few weeks ago and is classified as an essential tool for Second Life survival.
"After my first month in SL, i had several things on my hud.. a spatial radar, a popular "shield" after being attacked on my own first land, ao, and a few things i was playing with ..."
"...Anyway, I was learning lsl and I wanted to keep all of my toys in one place.. i also did not like having so many hud attachments, and i wanted to learn how they worked.. so i started writing my own replacements for things. i started giving copies to friends.. as time went on, i added things.. av scanner, non-physical vehicle (a pseudo shield), etc. Mystitool has several privacy and convenience features in a single hud attachment.. all easily accessible by hud menus, it was designed to consume the least possible hud real estate to keep the screen clear for play and provide certain basic functionality which is missing from the SL client.. things such as knowing who is near you.. a quick "favorites" list of locations, teleport history, and basic anti-stalker and anti-griefer tools. Mystitool has grown in features as friends and customers suggest new things to be added or improved.. i also add things as i need them and with the latest update, there is now a plugin system in place to allow other scripters to write their own mystitool plugins, which will place buttons into the main mystitool hud menus :)"
The above parts are the introductions to the products, for the tech-talk I'd advise you to read the transcripts that will be on at Metaversed soon.

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The Virtual Dutch

Here's a few spots coming from the Netherlands;


On a satelite skim I came across a new sim called Utrecht. The town and province of Utrecht is...well... where I slow down twice a day due to traffic jams.

It's still empty, except for some "under construction" elements. The build will be done by Evident, a Utrecht based communications and design company. It appears that Utrecht will be their SL showcase.

Here's a little teaser I managed to get hold of:

Then there's some news from Second Life Blogo, a few tidbids that flew by these past weeks


One of the Dutch lady-mags organised an introduction to Second Life for its readers. The event took place june 15th and is said to have been very succesfull. After a short introduction to Second Life (basic movement, editing appearance etcetera) everyone received a goodiebag with clothing designed by Barnowgirl Sinatra. The Dutch Randstad corp gave everyone a makeup bag with several types of skins so everyone would be good looking if they went out jobhunting in Second Life

[picture taken from Second Life Blogo]

Theatherplay by "The Empty Space"

The rather small town of Assen is capital to the Dutch province of Drente. Nothing much is happening here (most of the time), except for the yearly Grand Prix races, the TT (today).

The 26th saw a nice event though as theater group "The Empty Space" performed Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Him" in Second Life.

The theater was build by students of the Windesheim University of Applied Sciences based in the town Zwolle - which happens to be where I got my Bachelor.

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Mediacom Branders

A new arrival to Second Life is Mediacom, a global media buying and planning company with over $13 billion in billing and has over 100 offices in 80 countries worldwide.
It is one of the many Real Life branding companies making a move towards Second Life, and in this case, Mediacom is a player. The question is: "Do they understand how the game is played?"
I'm not sure they do. First of all, the sim is still in development mode (I'm guessing, since it's half empty). For bloggers like me its always nice to have sneak previews, but I'd rather see a complete build than a half finished one. In my opinion the island is open too soon.
The main venue is a square with a lot of basic white. The coloring does fith the corporate colors, so no remark there, it's just my fear of German Design Snowblindness is playing up again.

The main venue is set up in a square with a white path leading past the various stages. The path includes the location of all offices. There's a seminar room, an inforoom and some display stands.

Peculiar is the slogan behind the car (right) reading: "Building Brands in Second Life." If they live up to that call, time will tell.

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The Heart of Intel

Today Intel advances more in Second Life as it opens up another 3 sim build. April 30th I already spotted 9 island under construction, so this will be an ongoing process I think.
"Today, Intel (in cooperation with MRM Worldwide and Millions of Us) will be unveiling the consolidated Intel presence in Second Life known as Intel Island. At the heart of this 3-sim build, including the previously launched Intel OCC (Intel’s partnership sim with Orange County Choppers) and Intel Software Network, is what we like to refer to as “the journey.”

Read the full release story on the Millions of Us blog

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Coca Cola releases Trademark in SL

From Metaversed:

"Though there's no mention of any kind of legal document to support it, and the information is coming from a third party, it does appear at least that Coca Cola, who's virtual thirst campaign in Second Life asks residents to create a vending experience in the virtual world that captures the "spirit" of the brand, have released their trademark to residents.

My friend Vint Falken reports that she received the following message from SLX, a web based shopping engine for the Second Life: "We have spoken to Coca-Cola and they have released their trademark to SL Merchants. Therefore, any of your items that were disabled on June 7, 2007 have been retrieved….". The email was in follow up to a take down of a "coke suit" Vint had made and put up for sale on the site."

Once again this proves that Second Life has a strong impact in the world of big business. The Coca Cola company has been untouchable in the Real World, but it seems they have to follow the laws laid out in Second Life as well. This might be a very interesting case-study for business-law and Intellectual Property.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sogeti Netherlands SL savvy

Dutch IT provider Sogeti Netherlands, part of the Sogeti SAS Group is getting a little press attention on Second Life.

Virtual Education

Dutch blog Second Life Blogo, the respected IT magazine Automatiserings Gids and report that Sogeti will have 25% of its regular techcourses in Second Life by the end of 2007

Metaverse Evangelist

Sogeti Netherlands' presence hasn't escaped the attention of big sister Capgemini as it takes a prominent spot in the VW Gazette, an internal circulation on Virtual Worlds. Here's a little quote from the introduction:

"In this edition I am very pleased to have a contribution from Johan Vermij, the Second Life evangelist from Sogeti Nederlands, giving a background to their work to date and plans for the future."

Thanks Tim, now I've got some explaining to do!

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Metarazzi down the drain

Earlier this week Second Life's premier Machinimist Moo Money noticed the metarati on twitter and within a few hours it became a pretty good row. It was living the fastlane for metarati-TV - though forced to take the first exit.
Within a week the project has died and the site's been taken offline. Moo Money was kind enough to snapshot the site, so here's yesterdays news and todays reality.

related articles:

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R3 makes same mistake twice

Early april I went to a seminar on Second Life in the Netherlands. Today I missed out on the next big thing in the Netherlands, the Second Life seminar organised by Euroform.

Fortunately I received some good updates while I was working hard on a RL thing for a change.

It seems I haven't missed too much as there were several speakers present who were also present at the april session (like the University of Amsterdam and Dutch Stock Exchange) and the guys from Lost in the Magic Forrest were again. I've probably missed out on a few interesting stories from speakers from Adformatie, Ymerce and Essent.

The one thing remarkable is that for the second time in a row, Justin Bovington, CEO of Rivers Run Red failed to appear. There have been many people wanting to hear him, and paying a lot of money to do say, who didn't leave satisfied today. These sort of misfires spread quicly in the SL community making several large Dutch companies switching to local content developers.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

All England SLawn Tennisclub

I've been wondering a lot about why there are so few UK companies in Second Life. Big brands from the US, Germany, Netherlands and Spain seem to be flocking this virtual world, but - to my knowledge - no English corps have immersed yet. A few pointed out that the English were perhaps to conservative, too carefull to thread unchartered waters.

Tonight's Things to Do event was a guided tour around Wimbledon which proves that statement wrong. If there's anything traditional in England, in my opinion, it is Wimbledon. It's history is fabulous.

Although I was an absolute fan of Stephan Edberg, I very much recall the first time Andre Agassi entered the All England Lawn Tennisclub. His long hair and wild clothing was considered provicative at the time and people wondered how he would appear at Wimbledon.... well his appearance was a statement. Wearing the same attire as usual, with stretch pants underneath his shorts and hairbands and all... but totally white to honor the tradition of Wimbledon.

Okay, no pic of Edberg, Agassi or Sabatini here, but of Epredator, IBM's metaverse guru, who's actually at Wimbledon - and still found time to give us the guided tour.

IBM has capturing lots of match data in the past years as ofifical IT partner. That data and the rest of the site is used to extend the experience to people who cant be here. For IBM it is a natural step to use a metaverse for this extended experience.

First of all there are the goodies, the avatar, the clothing and the rackets. You can also buy real life tickets at the Wimbledon shop, but of course the main event is the centercourt.

"its one that we take the pointracker data from the real meta event and inject that into the ball that moves around -- ok the ball is pushed around having made http requests for the data the main scoreboard is then updated. We also then let people take the players eye view. Technically we have a lot more data, the strokes played etc but we are balancing how much code we have to pack in to get aronud http limits in script etc. and on the scoreboard if dynamic flash worked we would just use the normal pub sub scoreboard on so we are looking see how we can represent the event but as I blogged on eightbar its hard to get data for bits that are not tennis points e.g. e do not capture on court wich chair a player sits on but we can imply things.
we produce DVD's for players in RL of matches which implies things from crowd noise to index the dvd large crowd noise, exciting points etc."

In the demo you could see the balls trajectory quite well. A lot of scripting is going on at this side, though for non-IBM (i.e. visitors) scripting is disabled, as IBM feels they and Wimbledon would be a prime target for griefers / hackers.

Aside from the usual visitors, IBM itself brings in a lot of people at C-Level (ceo/cto/cfo etc) to show their partners what they are doing in Second Life.
"Last year they just laughed alot and said how quaint, but this year they have all heard of SL and want to see what we're doing here."
What a difference a year makes!
And surely we are looking forward to the Australian Open as IBM has already build a complete Rod Lever Arena.

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Transformers Exclusive

SundayI blogged on the arrival of the Transformers into Second Life as part of Paramount Pictures campaign to promote the new Transformer movie.

Tonight Liam Kanno of the V3 group was kind enough to give me a personal guided tour of the Transformer sim at Sector 7.

"This build was done by 12 members of the V3 Group team for the Picture Production company, for Paramount Pictures and took 2.5 weeks to complete. The day after the V3 Group completed the Die Hard 4 sim we moved on to this build."

Again we started on top of the dam, which is based on the Hoover dam in Nevada and sector 7 concept in the movie.

"We decided to used the default setting of the sim (The cloud cover) to mask the views since we couldnt create all of Hoover dam, we felt the fog and mist will help create a mood."

The build is impressive and complicated, nearly using all available prims. Was it just a coincidence that they’ve managed the build, or was it pre-planned, I asked.

"One of the tricky aspects of this build is when Paramount makes some of their pictures there is no master over arching seemless plan of layout... i.e. they would film the top of the dam and film the stairway scene in Hollywood and the elevator scene perhaps somewhere else and. yes. during the Bumbleebe Avatar contruction, we had to build that on one of our other sims but otherwise it was well planned.”

Through good cooperation with Paramount V3 managed to put it together in 2.5 weeks but
“In terms of the movie translation to 3d. when it comes to making a movie process seemless in 3-D there are alot of gaps therefore we have to use alot of creative licence to fill in the blank spots and get it approved by paramount. As we received assets from ILM and Paramount we got more accurate, but never had to do a rework. The discussion was mainly about... "How will the rooms be layed out., or how will we solve Bumblebees 16 foot height issue." and how do we put more emphasis on the Megatron room.”

The Megatron room is the press room where the movie junket with Michael bay and 4 of the other main talenSt from the movie took place (prerecorded interview can be seen on Megatron itself is a little different from the original cartoon.

“yes, quite, we put quite a bit of emphasis on creating mood with sound . We had several builders in here create parts ranging from pumps to Megatron sculpties, to structures etc. The majority of it was orchestrated by Kelly Emms the V3 Producer.
Building megatron in SL is almost insanity due ot his organic design. We had to do a combination of 2d art with sculpties, and basic prims to give the presence of him and we put more emphasis on mood and lighting then hyper accuracy. Due to the time constraint we had to focus more on the mood but if we had an extra week. we would have finished him as a full prim sculpture.”

One of the hottest items in the build is the Bumblebee avatar freebee.

“We feel that the sim is just an anchor to a marketing campaign, but the Avatar is the viral aspect. Bumblebee was the first robot seen in the movie, and had the most human likeness. We are working on other avatars at the moment. Avatars are excellent marketing tools in SL since they spread quickly across sims.”

One of the hardest thing to put into perspective was the all-spark cube;

”The allspark cube was the most tricky since we recieved assets 1.5 weeks into the build and we saw that the allspark cube was huge in the movie which we could not recreate in SL since we try to keep certain builds within 64 meters so all parts draw in at the lowest setting so in order for us to make this space appear much larger, we made all the objects in this room 1/4 scale.”

There are a number of rooms inside the build that do not fulfill a utilitarian need, but help to create mood and give the impression of the movie. As the Picture Production company puts heavy emphasis on the "art of the film".

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Master Lordfly advances

I just heard that master builder Lordfly Digeridoo has advanced to round 2 of the Meltemi contest I've blogged on early april. I've been hanging around to see the build advance and now I finally get the chance to post some pics.
First series is some rapid prototyping

Though I really liked this side of hovering platforms, it didn't survive the next stage of the build.

The Final version:

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Princeton - a Preview

This post first appeared at 3pointD... but here you get full set of pictures.

The number of universities entering the virtual world of Second Life never ceases to amaze me. One that I have been keeping an eye on for some time is Princeton. It has been closed to casual strollers while construction proceeds, but following a bit of string-pulling, I was able to get an advance preview earlier this week. I have only one small problem: the amount of information I now have is so huge it is going to take all of my ingenuity -- and there’s precious little of that -- to prune it down to the bare essentials. The sim will not formally open to the public until the next academic year, but much of the work is now complete.

Incidentally, aware that I over-use the term "iconic" I have opted in this post to go with "signature" instead. Time will tell whether this is a sensible move.

My tour guide was the charming and ridiculously well-informed (not to mention often downright hilarious) Persis Trilling, who, apart from heading up the Princeton in-house IT education support services, is something of an expert on the History of Architecture and is overseeing the build in Second Life.

There is a strong architectural spine running at 45 degrees across the island, along which several of Princeton’s signature buildings are situated. On arrival you find yourself facing a simulation of Nassau Hall. The original was, at the time of its completion in 1756, the largest stone building in the colonies. However, a couple of fires in the 19th century put paid to that, and the building now standing -- and reflected in this Second Life build -- dates from the 1850’s, though the college continued to tinker with it for many years. Clearly some compromises have to be made when looking to reproduce buildings in Second Life, and in the case of Nassau Hall there is a great simplification of the interior -- with 2 large rooms set up for seminar groups of around a dozen participants, and what appears to be a debating chamber. The texturing of the building, indeed, of all the buildings in this sim, is excellent.

Behind you as you arrive is a simulation of Chancellor Green Student Center, which was originally the college library building and dates from the 1870s. It reeks of Victorian Gothic. Inside is a library (surprise!), which the college plans to build into a Second Life-based online resource, together with a couple of informal meeting rooms that would house around 6 people.

The third major building along the spine is Alexander Hall. Following some hiccups with construction of the simulation, this has been taken on by CJ Carnot of New Media Consortium and is currently being reworked, but even the version I saw was most impressive. Again, as with the other buildings, the texturing brings out a great sense of physical presence. The actual building, built in 1892, was designed (and still serves) as a convocation hall for commencement exercises and other large gatherings. It therefore made sense to preserve this function in Second Life. This is where concerts and many meetings will be held. [Given the current state of reconstuction, I don't have any good pictures of this building]

Off to one side of this trio of signature Princeton buildings lies another jewel -- but this time there is no Real World counterpart. The Art Gallery is the work of Canadian master-builder Scope Cleaver, and anyone who knows his work will spot the style immediately. Persis was full of praise for the way in which Mr. Cleaver has gone about fulfilling his brief: "If Chancellor Green is about Ruskin's seven lamps, Scope’s building has them in spades too. He is just using a different architectural vocabulary.The sense of craft; of expression of essential human qualities and the emotive use of light and space is a lot like the more modest drama of Chancellor Green." She went on: "It's a very nice build, and I think reflects well on the existing major buildings -- each one perfectly modern in its day, in fact, forward-looking. I showed him a lot of spaces that I admired. He did not copy anyone but respected an element of each design. I told him what I liked about each -- so a little Carlo Scarpa; a little Gehry; a little James Stirling."

So what is the aim of the Princeton island? Is it just an architectural display? The current aim is to offer classroom sessions and writing seminars for the Schools of Architecture and Visual Arts. There is also a human behaviour experiment being designed for the island. They will also be offering performances, "cocktail parties" and conferences, recognizing that in Second Life an island needs people if it is to be of any value. As for information, the plan is to offer a rich set of resources, including RSS feeds, podcasts and vodcasts. There is already a shop offering free Princeton shirts (the closest I'm ever likely to having one!) and a number of training notecards for would-be builders.

There is more on this island that I have not covered -- for example, the Prospect Garden,
and the debating society buildings -- but hopefully this gives you a feel for what to expect in September, when we may all get a chance to visit. Thanks to Persis for giving me far more information than I could ever hope to include in this posting, and for being such a gracious host.

Al Kronos appears by kind permission of Ambling in Second Life.

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Metarati Blogwars !?

Since Moo Money noticed the metarati paparazzi (or metarazzi) on twitter there's been a stir over it. People started looking at me, hence my waver yesterday, now conspiracy theories are getting about. Some seem to be thinking Jerry Paffendorf to be responsible since there's gossip he's leaving ESC (nah).
  • Here's Nick's piece of mind:
    Eric Nails it on the Shite Those fuckwits over at remind me very strongly of a few 'pro bloggers' im aquainted with. I so hope it's not who it looks like, cos that would be a dark day for the Mertaverse. Eric Rice summed it up nicely here: Red flags everywhere!
  • Spindoctor Eric's post:
    It’s 3 am, I’m exhausted and JUST learned about this nonsense with I started to write a post about my thoughts on it (and trust me, it was not pretty at all), but I can’t organize paragraphs anymore at this hour. So here’s the ultra short version– the longer one will come after I get back from a day at LEGO Land...

Ordinal Malaprop is of the opinion that we shouldn't pay any attention to it at all, which should probably be the way to go... but I hope to see who's behind it anyway. The Spindoctor seems to have a few leads and I'm waiting to see if it matches with my shortlist of Top-3 suspects.

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Topmodel fundraising in SL for Red Cross

Last week we saw the MacArthur foundation and Philip Rosedale, Linden Labs' CEO talk on philantrophy in virtual worlds. Instead of talking, the Dutch are doing ;)
The Dutch Red Cross will start fundraising in Second Life today. Yfke Sturm, 0ne of the many Dutch Topmodels and Red Cross ambassador will be giving a pressconference today to launch the campaign.

A short press statement at SecondLife Blogo (in Dutch) says the Red Cross is an organisation which is very aware of the developments in the Real Life community and therefor is convinced that a precense in Second Life has to be established as well. Researchers and students at the University of Amsterdam have helped the Red Cross to establish themselves.

This week (june 24 to 30) will see door to door fundraising activities in the Netherlands.

From: Secondlife Blogo

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Transformers launch in Second Life

Early june I reported that there weren't enough bots in Second Life as it is. After the copybots and landbots Hollywood thinks it's time Second Life sees the Autobots and Decepticons coming. Hollywood kindly asked me to hold my thoughts for a while, but now it's an official release.

The moviepromo is build by Silverscreen (who are also responsible for Die Hard 4 and a few other goodies) and is build in the sim Sector 7. It's an enormous build and they had less than 400 prims left when they'd finished.

The first pic is a Bumblebee avatar, though contrary to the original series it ain't a beetle, but it's a real American Chevy (must be a sponsor thingy). The second one is Megatron captured in the deeps of this huge build.

The build is actually a sort of double-decker sandwhich with dark sci-fi autobot HQ looks at the bottom with lots of tunnels, (press) rooms and such. The top level is the more cityscaped area with a huge dam - a centerpoint in the upcoming movie.

I was planning to say something sentimental on the Transformers, but it would be a copy of Moo Money's remarks at the Second Life Insider, so here's her view:
"I'm not much of an action fan, but Transformers is a throwback to my childhood, so it's a must see for me. When the time came, Maxwell Lisle appeared to moderate the event and the journey began. First up were Michael Bay, executive producer of the film, and Lorenzo di Bonaventura, producer. After that, some of the cast members were interviewed, including Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, and Tyrese Gibson. The film premieres on July 2nd, so don't miss it!"

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Happy Anniversary SL

Today's the 4th anniversary for Second Life. Today and the week to come will see many festivities that will surely need blogging.

Anyway, Phil; here's my anniversary wish for you: I congrat you on the past 4 years and wish all the luck for years to come. May SL grow and prosper, find stability and innovation.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Metarati Copycats

Right now there's a new twitter account "metarati" that's adding people unasked. It's profile points to the webpage where it describes it's mission:

"Metarati TV covers the movers, groovers and shakers of the Metaverse. Got a lead for a story we should know about? Maybe an upcoming launch or event you think we should cover? Want to share some audio or video on Metarati TV? Then get in touch via one of our lifestream contacts - we would love to hear from you!"

Many people are getting annoyed at their approach, since there is no face behind it. Since 3pointD's Mark Wallace credited me once for coining the term metarati there are people thinking I am behind this nuisance. Well, IT ISN'T ME!

On april 27th I used the term Metarati on my blog to describe the great minds that are working on the Metaverse Roadmap, the pioneers of Web 3D. Following this blogpost I registered at 2007-05-01 13:07:27, which is the site to which the link "Home of the Metarati" points on this blog. In Second Life I also registered the group "metarati".

On June 11 I wrote an update on the metarati in the post "Metarati and Metapolitans" saying:
"When referring to the metarati I mean the movers and shakers of the web 3D that's coming about. These are the visionairs that are working on the metaverse roadmap, are creating new technology and are able to get investor commitment to explore new paths. The metarati are visionary technology pioneers."

Now I don''t mind people using the term metarati. And as it is a generic word, everyone's free to use it in whichever way they want. Yet this twitter account and website are nearly copying my words and using them to speed-push themselves into the incrowd. That's not gonna work I think.

The website was registered at june 6, 2007 with a first post from june 22nd. Their copyright sign yells 2006 though.

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MacArthur Foundation: Philantrophy in Virtual Worlds

Yesterday night was kind of hectic and I only had time to put up some hiccups on the Philantrophy event. However, I think it's not fair to only put up what went wrong.

Jonathan Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation, and Philip Rosedale, CEO of Linden Lab, appeared in Second Life to talk about the future role of philanthropy in virtual worlds

A recording of the event can be found at the MacArthur site for Digital Media and learning here. Fanton laid emphasis on Africa - developing access, connectivity, and bringing Second Life and technological advance there, much like Desmond Tutu did last week at Reuters.

There's an excellent report over at Ugotrade and Prokofy Neva gives Philantrophy in our present day situation a thorough look and thinks that we need a new kind of Philantrophy; "because the old philanthrophy, like the old media and the old industries and businesses are going by the wayside."

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Tonights Geek Meet Wrap up

Tonight saw another brilliant episode of the Metaversed Geek Meet. With speakers from Ogoglio, Amazon and Cisco.

First to kick off was Trevor Smith of Ogoglio who had a very straightforward story on the open source community in virtual worlds.

  1. 1. Point One: The web is open
    Open source software from the apache project hosts a huge percentage of the web. Open source operating systems run most of the core application level infrastructure like the Google borg and DNS. When facing such cultural, technical, and legal momentum... seems foolish to glom closed spaces onto the side of this huge open web.

  2. Point Two: Basic 3D technologies are no longer black magic.
    When a layer of technology has matured to the point where it is commonly understood the open source community can step in and replace proprietary systems with open ones. This is not a particularly glamorous function,... but it does have the huge benefit of enabling people to try new ideas without reinventing the wheel or taking on funding. For example,...
    the Ogoglio platform is a web server for shared persistent spaces You can host spaces on your laptop, on an inexpensive web account... or scale it up on the Amazon elastic compute cloud. Creative groups can experiment with new ideas without spending a

  3. Point Three: Open source is painfully honest.
    When your checkin comments are in the public record and anyone can fact-check your press release by browsing your code..."

Our second speaker was Jeff Barr from Amazon, known for his enthusiatic commitment to Things to Do and the Amazon build, speaking on Amazon's Elastic Computing Cloud.

"With a virtual environment like Ogoglio hosted on it, you can conceivably spin up a whole bunch of them (hundreds and eventually thousands) to deal with a short-term event like a party or a concert. Or a big company meeting. Maybe it lasts an hour, or a whole weekend. Instead of begging your friends for loaner servers or buying them outright, or paying a by-the-month hosting plan, you use what you need. This seems to be an ideal solution to the very spikey demand that you will see from a virtual world. Mostly low demand, but occasionally very, very high."

Last, but certainly not least was the inspirational Christian Reinoud from Cisco who spoke on the future of Web 3D.

"Wen people invest as much time and energy as we all have into our sims, avatars, etc. we'll want to take them with us at the same time you have companies like Wells and MTV who are concerned about liability and their brand and will opt for more walled/controlled experiences"

This discussion handsomely evolved into a very sharp discussion on various cultures within the metaverse, creating their own identities, just like in Real Life.

The notorious Prokofy Neva was also present and did some seriously sharp questioning of the speakers.
"If you make a uniform protocol for avatars/goods across the frontiers of worlds, won't that introduce the same ill effects of RL globalization, and demolish some unique indigenous cultures and overutilize labour and resources in some areas and underserve others? Im' not certain that cross-world identity porting is quite in demand as you may think."

That surely did leave us time to ponder!

The Geek Meets are becoming a popular event. I got in early as I expected the meet would be maxed out and truly 15 minutes upfront it was hard to squeeze in the speakers. Our host, Nick Wilson from Metaversed is becoming a real facilitator and set up a few things like ustream tv so other people could follow the meet as well.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

SL crashes on Phil

Tonight my first stop is the discussion on Gooddoers in Virtual Worlds, here's the announcement:

"Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale to join MacArthur Foundation President Jonathan Fanton in a discussion about the role of philanthropy in virtual worlds

USC ANNENBERG PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ISLAND – On June 22, 9 am SLT, Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale will join MacArthur Foundation President Jonathan Fanton for a discussion about the role of philanthropy in virtual worlds, hosted by USC Annenberg Public Diplomacy Island" (full article)

For the occasion 4 sims were put together and cleared of all obsolete prims with an auditorium filled to the brim on 4 sims housing a total of over 200 visitors.

Well, the stands were full and then it happened... SL crashed on Phil! Here's the juicy detail:

[9:19] Komuso Tokugawa: Can people PLEASE remove all their scripted attachments and bling all helps to reduce server lag and give everbody a better experience in fps
[9:19] Echo Cooke shouts: Iadora.. pretty Much everyone is stuck.. the sim has 100 people on each side of the arena.. just please be patient
[9:19] Somatika Xiao: Server lag right now is all networking....
[9:19] Alan Innis: /can someone tell me where the speakers are?
[9:20] Ruby Glitter: Alan,they are in teh center of the auditorium.
[9:20] Rik Riel: /president of Macrthur and Philip Linden
[9:20] Somatika Xiao: for the most part atleast...
[9:20] Walker Moore: centre of the arena is where the speakers are located. =)
[9:20] Alan Innis: /I don't see anyone there Ruby!
[9:20] Fursa Zenovka: excuseme. How d I it dwn?
[9:20] Komuso Tokugawa: no
[9:20] Walker Moore: busy sim/rez issues no doubt. =)
[9:20] Fursa Zenovka: sit down
[9:21] Patchouli Woollahra: You may experience problems looking at other avatars in regions where more than 30-50 avatars are around you!
[9:21] Frank Foley: right click
[9:21] Patchouli Woollahra: be assured, if they are talking, they are talking.
[9:21] Patchouli Woollahra: turn on your Music bar!
[9:22] Slightly Bligh: turn on the mustic to hear the speakers
[9:22] AJ Brooks: Where is Philip's avatar?
[9:22] Hannah Hannya: turn on music and turn off video to hear real time conversation
[9:22] Slightly Bligh: turn off the video
[9:22] Echo Cooke: Jeanrem the discussion has started.. turn OFF the video
[9:22] Echo Cooke shouts: Turn Video OFF and Music ON
[9:22] Reina Beaumont: role of schools, to actually teach for a change
[9:22] Komuso Tokugawa: it's not a matinee show jeanram;-)
[9:22] Sitearm Madonna shouts: Hi All! Philip Avatar crashed but Philip Voice is LiVE.. be sure MUSIC ON
[9:23] Patchouli Woollahra: I see, Sitearm.
[9:23] Komuso Tokugawa: Priceless! -> Hi All! Philip Avatar crashed but Philip Voice is LiVE.. be sure MUSIC ON
[9:23] Somatika Xiao: heh.... SL crashed on Philip... that is awsome...
[9:23] Hannah Hannya: rofl
[9:23] Ruby Glitter: I love it.
[9:23] Calm Ashton: lol
[9:23] Reina Beaumont: that's SL'sonly thing that truly works, crashing!
[9:23] In Kenzo: equal opportunity platform ;-P
[9:23] JJ Drinkwater: "Learning Experience"
[9:23] Ruby Glitter: It's actually kind of comfporting to knwo it works just as bad for him
as for the rest of us. ;-)

Well, trust me, Phil wasn't the only ones having troubles. But the sims should really have been maxed out.
The event soon became too laggy for me so I went out for a quick bite. Anyway, it's the first time me and Phil are framed in the same snapshot. I must tell you though that in real life he's a lot more colorful. This greyishness was only the result of way too many peeps on the show.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Friday's Geek Meet speakers

Nick Wilson got together another team of excellent speakers for tomorrow's Geek Meet.
This session will see talks by:

The only thing is, it's kind of a late night show for us Dutchmen, as this weeks meet will start at midnight.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Amsterdam sold once more

ANP, the Dutch Reuters, reports that Virtual Amsterdam is finally sold! This is the second time it is sold, the first deal fell through in early may. The buyer is, part of the Boom TV company.

The deal is countering recent Dutch press that is taking a negative view on Second Life. After Linden Labs released the official activity stats the Dutch press got a negative hiccup saying "only 17,000 Dutchmen are active in Second Life" Eric Rijkaart, Boom TV's CEO says that they've estimated Dutch activity to be around 7,000 at the time of purchase, so the new stats do open perspective in his view.

They're not expecting a shortterm ROI but inted to gather experience in Virtual Worlds which can be used later in other metaverses.

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Virtual Banking (9): Suruga Bank

The Suntory sim I just peeked at was merely a pitstop on my way to the Suruga Bank.
This Japanese bank was spotted and blogged by Aleister Kronos a little while back.

Suruga is a regional bank, based in the Shizuoka Prefecture and has the following divisions: Banking Operations and Other. Banking Operations division deals in deposits, loans, domestic exchange, foreign exchange, related services. Other Operations division deals with help supply services, printing, leasing, guaranty, consulting, systems development, credit cards.

The sim is quite original, as it is pitch-dark. There's no sandy beach, just a starry underground above which the spaceship Suruga hovers, build by D-Labo.

After flying around a bit inside the spacecraft I came to the captain's quarters (at least I think they were), which looked very contemporary. It gave me a little "Star Trek" feeling where the captains always collected historic goodies from the 20th century.

This part of the ship contains a library, an information point and lockers...
After blogging 8 banks in Second Life, this is the first to show signs of being an actual bank.

As far as the build is concerned, it is a good build, a good design. As to content, I cannot really judge since my Japanese is a littly rusty.


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Suntory Update

Early may I blogged that the Japanese mega-brewer Suntory was entering Second Life. Here's an update.
A few weeks ago I went to take a look and saw nothing much besides some rudimentary blocks marking a rough setup. It was enough to get hold of the name of the person who was building it, but she wasn't very forthcoming.

Today I went in for another peek, while enjoying a Suntory Yamazaki whisky and found a little progress, so let's keep an eye on them...

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Capgemini recruitment center

A little while ago Aleister Kronos reported that the French are recruiting in Second Life. A firm called TMPNEO is recruiting for several IT corps and other large companies. To this end they've set up the TMP3 island on which they've build various recruitment halls. One of these is Capgemini.
Now, Aleister's been trying to push SL to Cap for some time now, so he's probably mighty pleased they're in with an official 'open to public' statement than Sogeti who have been flying under the radar for months now.

Well, Capgemini and Sogeti are sistercorporations, but I didn't know we had the same taste. The furniture inside the recruitment hall is exactly the same as what I've bought for a rapidly prototyped Auditorium, build by Scope Cleaver.

Anyway, if you speak French and want to get an IT job, here's the SLURL:

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Metaversed uncloackes

This week we saw a sudden change at Metaversed as its spiritual father 57 Miles and cowriter Onder Skall, from Second Life Games came out of the closet and revealed their true identities.

"Caleb and I have been talking about moving to our real names on the site for some time. It seems short sighted to use Second Life avatar names on a virtual worlds news site. Though there is a downside to diluting two fairly strong brands, I think it feels right. And that's good enough reason to do it.

You can see Caleb's profile here and my updated profile here if you're interested in our backgrounds, and find out more about Metaversed authors, including how to become one," according to Nick Wilson, f.k.a. 57 Miles.

Now how does this work out? 57 Miles is indeed a strong, known brand in Second Life after months of labor, spending too much time in Second Life and blogging like crazy.

For my part, I already knew 57's true identity, as it wasn't hard to get hold on. So nothing new to me personally. And I do like the real Nick. On the other hand it leaves you wonder on privacy on the web. I've mentioned Web 2.0 is getting hard to handle. This not only counts for keeping up with many sites, blogs, email accounts and IM's, but it sure is having an impact on managing your identity. Privacy in Web 2.0 or Web 3D is hard.

Managing your identity is hard, but keeping up appearances even harder. Just Google for VeeJay Burns and you're bound to stumble on my true identity sooner or later as well. I've wondered why Ian Hughes, IBM's metaverse guru was so open about his identities at the eightbar blog. The answer is obvious: If you know and use Google, it isn't hard to find out the truth anyway.

In short, if you're trying to protect your privacy, don't get into web 2.0 or web 3D at all ;)

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sim in a Box

Building a proper sim takes time, a whole lot of time, unless you are a master builder like Lordlfy. But if you're just that average kind of bloke who barely scraped together the money to buy a complete sim and you want to make money from renting out property, you'll want it up and running smooth and (especially) fast.

So your sim is in and you want to rent out as soon as possible, since you don't have Anshe's wallet to be able to leave it unused for a year or so. Monthly tiers can be a killer to many starters. For those the Sim in a Box might be a very good solution that can jumpstart your sim.
The Things to Do group got a demo today of how to build a sim in 5 minutes. Well, it works.
Though I'm not really charmed. I like mine with a little more labour-of-love touch than what this instant-sim HUD does.
However, from a technical point of view, I think this is a big step forward. Predefine content and make it rapidly deployable, auto rezzing your inventory might be huge timesavers.

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Pushing the Limit on SL

Most sims I've visited are maxed out on say what... 50 visitors? Something close to that. Why? If it gets above that Second Life gets slooooooooow, al those textures to be streamed to your client and all those prims. Wait a second, prims? Prims are the things you build, not the things you wear, right? Well partly.

Okay, here's a short short version to Second Life noobs [skip if you're well metaversed].

An island is a server, with server space and capacity. If you build things (buildings) on the island, you build them on the server. For building you use the Second Life building blocks called prims and you create objects. These objects are stored onto the server (with a usual max of 15.000 prims / building blocks), but the textures on the island/server/sim are stored in a central database or asset server. Both are streamed to your desktop as you come to the sim. Avatars (your virtual YOU) aren't made of prims but do use textures for clothing, which need to be uploaded to your desktop as well. Now there's one thing more. Quite a few residents of Second Life have tailored hairdo's, wigs that are made from prims, sometimes even upto 500 prims for a good looking hairdo.

So if everything has to be transferred to your client, you can imagine that 50 visitors bring more textures to stream than 25. If it's getting too much to load, Second Life becomes laggy. Which means you'll see gray people, your movement is slow etcetera.

All in all, I've been told that 99 people was an absolute max. Well it isn't. I just came across the island of mediascape, home to TJ's Icepalace, a danceclub and noticed there were 103 people present. Absolutely undoable I thought, since I've been at several sims wtih 50 people present and that was really laggy. This one wasn't! How do they do it?

It's a proper build, landscaped, buildings, boats, terraces etcetera... so how do they do it?


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Sketchup: Sculpties 2 Go

Well, we've reported on Sculpties coming to Second Life, as part of the 'advanced 3D modelling' things to invade Second Life. One of the questions was if this would set homegrown primbuilders back and give professional modellers an edge in using expensive 3D suites, like Maya or 3D Studio Max.

Well, here's the good news: You can start for free! I found out at the Eightbar blog that you can export Google Sketch-up as well:

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Dutch Edu: Inholland University

The Dutch University InHolland is the next Dutch Educational institution that's active in Second Life. Their sim has been around for several months now, but hasn't been open for public sofar.

However, a Communication & Media student from the University of Applied Sciences INHOLLAND, Rotterdam, has graduated in Second Life as first virtual graduate in the Netherlands on thursday june 14th.

"From a marketing perspective virtual communities are an interesting research and investment area," says graduate Josje van Beek. "Two dimensional virtual communities like weblogs and forums have been the subject of research and marketingstudies quite often in the past. Now that there's 3D added tot this 2D community by means of gaming and video technology I wanted to study how interesting this would be from a marketing perspective. This is the subject of my thesis; "3D Virtual Communities as a Marketing Instrument."

To Josje it seemed a logical step to defend her thesis in Second Life, as she uses it as case study.

The tutors involved have been enthusiastic from the start and appeared last thursday in the Inholland E-Lab. Prior to the graduating there was a short introduction to SL. The graduation presentation was a simulcast event utilising various assorted media

"In the defense of my thesis I will both visually as textually explore the possibilities of a 3D environment," Josje said upfront. The graduation is put on tape by real life video and snapshots and movies from an avatar point of view.
Thanks to Dobre @ Secondlife Blogo / Lost in the Magic Forest for pointing out this story.

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Dutch Edu: Fontys University of Applied Sciences

Fridaynight I was too busy with the Geek Meet to notice the Fontys University
of Applied Sciences
open up in Second Life. Fontys has been building the sim in the past three months, setting up a virtual campus in 9 bits and pieces, each faculty build their site, which makes up for the somewhat unorganised appearance.
In short they plan to explore and experiment the technical and education options in Second Life. There's Fontys Campus Radio all over the place and several students from the Fontys Rock Academy can be seen on the many video screens. Then there's mixed reality experimenting by the Faculty of Education, who have put up twitter and the internetbunny 'Nabaztag' This RL bunny is equiped with an AI and hooked up by WiFi and transmits messages from Second Life into the realworld.

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Dutch get a Testlife

Friday the Testlife sim opened up for public. For once there's a test intitiative that's not been initiated by Sogeti's TMAP, but this comes from the testers Four Oaks in Arnhem
This is somewhat an a-typical sim, as it absolutely has no explicit branding except for the four oaks dominating the foresty sim. It's a paintball area where testers can meet and community-build in a fun environment.
The builders are the Dutch DNBMedia corp who're also working hard in the 0031 area.

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Virtual Banking (8): BNP Paribas

The title of this blog is the the order in Which I've blogged financial corps in Second Life, as Aleister already described the Japanese Suruga bank. For a chronological timeline of entries you should check Nic's blog

BNP Paribas Group-sim

First of all BNP has a group island in which it promotes their French and German CRR brands. This island is partly accessible and has a major promotion-wall (left) stating it'll open in June. The only finished items I can spot are the press center (right).

Next to the press center is a nice pond with terras and the rest of the sim consists of restricted parcels. A large parcel in the SE corner is covered with a white box, but with some camera-juggling I managed to peek inside. It looks like some offices are being build here (left)

BNP Paribas-sim

The second sim is totally inaccessible, but from the BNP Paribas group sim you can have some view on what they're up to. (above right, below left and right).

From this distance I can't really see what is going on, but the build has a nice fresh look to it. The circle in the bottom-right corner is meant for recruitment and on the left pic it shows several funplaces, like jetskis and campfires.

Sofar, it's a regular sim, no new things spotted. I hope to get a good look soon to judge the build.


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Sunday, June 17, 2007

VeeJay juggles Web 2.0 Chaos

Being under pressure to come to twitter I finally signed up. Web 2.0 is getting a little confusing right now.
What I'm facing right now is juggling email accounts to and fro:
  • My account at for old times sake
  • A yahoo mail account for
  • A google mail account for blogger
  • A hotmail account for MSN
  • A private hosting account for private emails
  • An email account at my ISP
  • And 5 email accounts for various sideshows and clubs I'm involved in.
Then there's IM-ing or communication thingies going down at
  • Twitter
  • ICQ
  • Skype
  • MSN
Then there's stats to watch and pimp at and AWstats for my hosting account. Finally there's some 100 RSS feeds to monitor, my pages at, xing and ning and my page at to maintain, not to mention the old 90's crowd at who know me as Johannes Nestor.
The one thing that keeps me standing up in this total chaos is for the most part which I prefer over iGoogle. It offers me widgets for webmail, weather, rss feeds, twitter,, flickr, digg it etcetera, so I've only got about 3 tabs to scan every morning. Still, some of the aforementioned socalled essentials to Web 2.0 are don't integrate as well.
Web 2.0 is about social networking, but in my case that network is almost too widespread to maintain and too many accounts are needed to keep a grip. This world needs more unified communications. (My collegues at Sogeti would agree, and I guess the almighty Epradator agrees as well as he said much of the same on his view on Virtual Worlds).
Tech Rocks, but for tech-savvy folks it's getting a full-time job to read the various sources that tell you what your job should be. Information overload, or load balancing is the question.

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VeeJay bows to pressure

... during every geek meet and things to do outing the keep telling me Twitter is an absolute must. I've resisted and have joined the collective.. apparently resistance is futile.

Anyway, since I'm a leaguie behind, please do add me and let me not have to look for you:

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

SL games: Danger Zone

Okay, we're closing in on midnight here in the Netherlands, but some fun is happening in Second Life at last. I went over to test a new game with 57 from Metaversed and Onder from Second Life Games. This game's called the Danger Zone. Quite lame, but sure fun!

The rules are easy: Pay the dough and sit down. The game has five rounds and in each round a number of cubes come down, either containing gems or disasters. Take the gems, and keep away from the disasters is the device. So you've got to decide to stay or run.

We've seen people getting killed by buzzsaws, dynamite, sharks and thunderbolts, all very cool to watch. Let's wait and see what happens when it gets on the market.

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State of the Virtual Union

It's a saturdaynight, 10pm, or 1 pm Second Life prime time, yet the grid is rather quiet today. All my homeys are offline as well. Probably spending some quality time with the family...
So here I am, while Mrs. Vee is doing the laundry with some time to browse the blogs.

All in all I'm seeing various blogs taking some time to take a real life breath and slow in posting new and wild adventures. Reuters reports that Second Life's growth is cooling down a little and concludes that Linden is in need of professional help to overcome the latest bugs and setbacks.

True enough, there have been bugs, and releases didn't quite turn out the way. I am sure the Lindens are having a bad headache this week, they just don't say the word, but LL is under pressure as residents are getting impatient. One of the things in my opinion is that LL is not communicating the challenges it faces. Give out a clear roadmap on what you're doing. They've got some cracking High Performance Teams out there who know what they're up against, yet the Tao of Linden seems to be hampering a structured Release Management approach. They're making progress though.

We're walking a path of innovation on the road to Web 3D and you just can't expect everything to be slick and smooth all at once. Second Life is not the only immersive world having it's difficulties, but since SL gets more serious press coverage than most other metaverses together, it's easy to think only Second Life faces challenges. 57 covers this to some extend as well as he reflects on the Virtual World Roadmap, reminding him of the early days of the internet, like being back at the BBS days.

Some good news is that Second Life Insider reports that eBay was discovered in Second life and IBM is running Wimbledon again, just like they did Roland Garros.

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Friday's Geekmeet: IBM-Intel-Sun

Friday's the night of the weekly Geek Meet at the home of Metaversed's 57. This weeks turned out to be übergeekmeet.

This first pic show me and Aleister sitting next to epradator, aside from us, and 57 we saw several other bloggers and journalists appear at the meeting, all curious to see what the übergeeks of IBM, Intel and Sun would have to say.
Here's a full wrap up of the crowd, filled with the Geeks, the guru's and the metapolitans.

Epradator, one of Second Life's big chieftains, heading the IBM tribe which has grown to about 6.000! members, blogger at the famous eightbar blog was to kick off the meeting giving us some inside information on wtf IBM is doing inside SL. Well, that's easy. Ian (epradator) works for the IBM CIO office, and is responsible for moving 330K people into a virtual workspace;

"the subject is using the metaverse for business and what are we up to that is not Second Life. Firstly I have to say that SL has been the catalyst for all this, many of us have tried to get things like this going for years so we are not in any way not supporting SL, but.... there is a need for corporates to be able to have secure intranets and on those intranets there is a willigness to have a metaverse now. Still some resistence of course but most of the time I get asked 'right can we have a secure meeting?' whereas it used to be 'what the heck are you up to playing games at work'. So we have moved from a skunkwork project with Algernon Spackler and I to a digital convergece emerging business unit"

IBM's ideal situation would be to create some unified communication standard between various metaverses;

"The trick then is to deal with the flow between all these virtual worlds, the underlying standards. So I think its fair to say we are less interested in building another SL, more interested in having more than one platform to then get talking to one another, dealing with property flow between the environments helping with open standards"

The second speaker was Parviz Peiravi (a.k.a. Core Stine), Intel's evangelist but SL newbie, and thus running only a short story on virtualisation;

"I think if we run SL on virtual infrastructures utilizing both virtualization and grid we will be able to handle much more audience."

Third speaker was Klaatu Niu, a Sr. Systems Engineer from Sun, who mainly tried to propagate Sun's to a crowd of SL addicts, so that was a little queer.

"What we at Sun have done is make avail to the public a large scale computational grid for anyone to run jobs on... Today.. its a batch oriented environement. but you pay only $1 US per CPU hour consumed we also allow you to publish for others to run .. and use your own applications there.. what I think . might be interesting. and something that I'm begging to investigate is ..can an SL object.. submit to our grid some processing needs and get the results back."

To the metapolitans present it wasn't a quick win, someone was quick to point out that Amazon's EC2 cloud only runs at $ 0.05 /hr and that large scale projects, such as Jerry Paffendorf's innovative Destroy Television experiment, streaming 99,000 pictures from SL to Flickr turned out to be quite expensive.

Most interesting point is that Sun tried hard to steer away from rumours over the alledged virtual world project codenamed MPK20.

I think it is pretty safe to say that Intel and Sun are still seeking a way into web 3D but still remain deeply rooted in the era of the Digerati, whereas IBM surely has moved on to the Metarati age.

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VeeJay's Facelift

Okay, in my previous post I blogged about the Cyberextruder's sim in which the company found another way to use its high tech facial recognition system. It's a fully automated system that scans a photograph and maps it in a texture. Everything else in the sim is just for the show, but makes up for a good laugh.

After the virtual processing tour I received a purchase number to go to the website and upload my picture. I send in just an ordinary pasport pic (the one you see in the final result pic) and here's what their software came up with:
So that's me huh?

And here's the final result. I think the texture is quite okay, I'm just having a hard time getting the shape of my head right... Guess I'm just having an impossible face there.
Well, you'll be the judge. Spot the difference I'd say, so I can tweak a little more.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cyberextruder's Facelift shop

Here's another episode in the rise of the Metabrands as Cyberextruder comes to Second Life with a new über-cool Second Life service. One of the things I've noticed over the past months in Second Life is than many people are paying a lot of attention to their looks, some painstakingly tweaking their face until it does resemble their real life appearance.
Up till now it has been hard to get your real life face texturised and mapped on your face. I've experimented a little, but it would take a skilled person to make it look good, but ata Avatar Island you'll get it done the cyberway... automated laser surgery in freeky chairs ;)
Here's the island which has the main Laboratory and some free vendor sites for related avatar business, one of them is Cryogen Labs where you can pimp the rest of your avatar.

Well, mighty thanks to 57 who organised a trip to Avatar Island for the Things To Do group and got us free surgery (normal price at about l$ 2400, so close to 10 US dollar).
In normal plastics you're face swells up, gets bloody and messy and you're absolutely not allowed to laugh, talk cry, shout get angry or whatever. At Cyberextruders'nothing went really wrong, except SL went haywire, constant client crashes and forced client updates didn't really better my mood, so I barely dared look in the mirror.

Okay, SL is quite buggy'right now and is taking huge amounts of memory so I won't get into the report on my face job. That will have to wait until tomorrow.

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Last month I wrote on Playboy entering Second Life, well, earlier this week they opened up with a big party -which of course was a USA timezone thingy, too late for me to stay up.

So I probably missed out on a few lightly clad party-animals, cyberchampaign and some music. No big fuzz then. I popped in for a peek to see how the build was done -though Nic warned me:

"This may not be a venue you would perhaps want to visit from work - it’s got a mature rating and most people there do seem to be wearing very little. Of course, you could always convince your boss (or IT department) that visiting the virtual Playboy mansion is in fact a research exercise into leveraging real world media into virtual worlds. Let me know how that goes."

It became PG rated somehow, Partner Guided that is, as I was having coffee with Mrs. Vee.

The Playboy sim is hard to miss on the map, it's logo stands out very clear and the design of the sim is very handsomely build around the trademark bunny. It's probably no surprise the general look and feel are on the sunny side of life, there's a high beach and coconut tree per square inch ratio. Being there from a business point of few I politely turned down "my Happy Meal" who asked me to dance.

The first thing that got me excited had absolutely nothing to do with Playboys' core business, but with simple communication. This is absolutely one of the very few business sims that has an Event Calender! How hard can it be ;)

The pic on the left is something that would please a colleague of mine, who's been immersed in for several years and showed me several mood-pictures from his favorite places, they always had similar signs. On the right is The Cherries, the club "to enjoy formal elegance in an informal setting." Throughout the sim there's music, not only on the audio stream, but interactive music as well, like this harp. Later we'll get to Drum Mountain and inside the store I also saw a piano.

The Playboy Store

The sim's main event is the Playboy Store, which basically has a platform for clothing and apparel (left) and a hovering platform for Playboy movies and mags. (right)

The Sunny side of life

On the sunny side of life there's the Reed Resort, a Tiki shack with a sculpted bunny hostess and free raft rides" The pic on the right shows me doing a modelling pose, one of the many spread throughout the sim.

Then There's Drum Mountain with all sorts of drums and the Grotto, a lush secluded pool paradise for Hugh's private pool delights.

There are a few more elements on the sim, but I'll leave it up to you to explore. I'm a little pressed for time, so this time I'll skip the surfboards.

A short wrap up; unlike Nic's statement the visitors were quite decently clad (must be since I visited during US office hours) and the overall build is well designed and done. On a few occasions I saw prim jitter and cornerpieces that were slightly off. The most positive thing is that it's varied and has an event calendar.


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Dutch Railways-Connexxion-Arriva-DHL enter Second Life

Nothing special has happened for a long long time in the 0031 sims, but now it is getting interesting as the Dutch Railways (NS, or Nederlandse Spoorwegen) are doing a triple sim build.In short there are two trainroutes that are being build:

A <--> B
which is Lunteren (5km from where I live) to Amersfoort, which is a relatively large station close to Utrecht.

C <--> D
Winsum to Groningen. Groningen is the capital of the Province Groningen, up north in the Netherlands bordering Germany

It's still in development, and closed, but nice to see new initiative coming, though I'll doubt this build will add weight to their performance contract to have (?) 98% of trains run on time.
Aside from the NS it looks like Connexxion and Arriva, two bus companies are joining in as well.

Last tidbit: Next to the NS build is appearing a build that could well be DHL.



Thanks for the tip Dobre

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

More Dutch Business in VW

Earlier this week I reported on the EPN survey that nearly 30% of the Dutch Top100 corporations is immersed in some virtual world or another, most of them Second Life, some in, some in Why Robbie Rocks and some elsewhere. This seemed to be a highly bloggable item as the numbers rapidly got picked up around the globe. Many people would like to push those numbers to their management, using it as a stick to prod.

Today the e-mag Z24 is reporting a somewhat more negative view to things:
(a liberal translation)

Dutch Companies looking for Success in Second Life

Dutch Business isn't digging SL. With a lot of effort you can find 27 Dutch
companies in SL and the Dutch offices are empty, why do companies keep investing
in this medium?

The ABN sim sees about 70 to 80 visitors daily, but the numbers are falling
back, in the early days it was an average of 100.

Visitors of Second Life are an interesting targetgroup for companies, it is
a group that is close to new technology development and is very active at normal
internet as well. According to the official stats, Second Life now sees about
280.000 registered Dutch accounts.

During the mediahype in the first quarter of 2007, companies have plunged
headfirst into secondlife, with the immersion promising an enormous amount of
media exposure, but visitors kept away. Slowly the insigh comes that a mere
presence is not enough, companies have to look for added value.

Okay, nothing new here, this is what the blogs have been preaching for ages already ;). The rest of the article is on Randstand, Our Virtual Holland and 0031, so I'll skip that.

The Dutch work at home

The next report on the Z24 page reads that 1 in 5 Dutchmen regularly work from home, which is the hightest rate internationally. Could this be the source of the relative high participation levels of Dutch companies in Virtual Worlds?

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5th Sogeti Workshop

Many bloggers out there have already noticed that Sogeti Netherlands B.V. has a precence in Second Life, some as early as March '07.

During these months Sogeti has primarily focussed on getting to know the world, as it sees Second Life as one of the paths leading to web 3D. In this process a series of workshops has been organised, of which tonights' session was the 5th in 2 months time.

With a headcount of 26 people it was a good session and SL veteran Damanios Thetan gave masterclasses on advanced scripting and prim modeling. A few minor hiccups in SL caused a bit of disturbance in the beginning, such as ghost prims (yes, they're back!) and assetmanagement problems but didn't interfere too much. Here are some pics.
FYI: The next workshop will be held june 26th, access to Sogeti group members only.
If you are an international Sogeti employee, please IM me, we'd like to get in touch.

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Robert Jordan contest

Robert Jordan, author of the legendary the Wheel of Time series has set up a competition for the 2009 calendar, announced on the Dragonmount blog. The money raised by the calendar sales will go to benefit Amyloidosis Research at the Mayo Clinic where Robert Jordan is receiving his treatment from.

In Second Life a group named 'Wheel of Time Fans' has been around for a while now, and me being a total tWoT fan am a member of this group. It seemed like a good thing to get the group together to build an entry for this contest in collaboration.

Several group members have already signed up to participate .

IM VeeJay Burns for more information.

Looking for sponsors:

The group is looking for a piece of land where we can set up a build.

Here's a few more pics of what The Wheel of Time could look like in Second Life.
A'Lan Mandragoran and the Malkieri banner

a Whitecloack

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Virtual Tourism: Chichén Itzá

Today's Things to Do outing is a trip to virtual Mexico, commissioned by the Mexican Tourist board and opened up yesterday. The Sim's landingpoint is a platform on the New Wonders of the World election, and it's website new 7 wonders is also a good point for some basic background on the build.

Chichén Itzá, the most famous Mayan temple city, served as the political and economic center of the Mayan civilization. Its various structures - the pyramid of Kukulkan, the Temple of Chac Mool, the Hall of the Thousand Pillars, and the Playing Field of the Prisoners – can still be seen today and are demonstrative of an extraordinary commitment to architectural space and composition. The pyramid itself was the last, and arguably the greatest, of all Mayan temples.

And a great temple it is. Usually I take pictures with the time set at noon to get clear and bright images, but somehow this build made me use the sunset timing (from the recently released Firstlight viewer), giving the sim a somewhat romantic or mysterious feel.
The text in typeface courier below are descriptions from the notecards available on the island.
It was common practice in Mesoamerican cities to periodically build larger and bigger temple pyramids atop older ones, and this is one such example. Archaeologists discovered a doorway at the base of the north stairway that leads to a tunnel, from which one can climb the steps of the earlier version of El Castillo inside the current one up to the top room where you can see religious Jaguar Throne, carved of stone and painted red with jade spots. The design of the older pyramid inside is said to be a lunar calendar, with the newer pyramid being a solar calendar.

The Temple of the Warriors was built by the end of 800 A.D. It is located on the eastern plaza of the central plain of Chichen Itza. The Temple of the Warriors is flanked by 1000 carved columns depicting fallen warriors. Near the Warriors is a large plaza surrounded by pillars called "The Great Market."
Vendor stands featuring replications of ancient Mayan artifacts and traditional Mexican goods thrived near the base of the pyramid.

Cenote (say-NO-tay) is the Spanish equivalent of the Yucatecan Mayan word for a water-filled, limestone sinkhole. In Mexico's northern Yucatan Peninsula, where there are few lakes or streams, cenotes provided a stable supply of water for the ancient Maya people who settled there. The great city of Chichen Itza was built around a cluster of these natural wells, including the one known as the “Sacred Cenote.”

The sim is impressively detailed and a lot of attention has been put to make the landscape look natural. The trees are among the best I've seen in Second Life. Again, I'm impressed, there was just so much to see and explore, much more than I've written and shown in this post. I'd suggest you'd better check it out yourself.

Two members of the Things to Do group immediately decided to don the Mayan Princess and Mayan Warrior outfits which were really cool freebees.

Finally, we knew the Mayab's were an advanced culture, but we didn't know they had HDtv as well.

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The Metarati and the Metapolitans

Lately I've seen the term metarati being picked up by several people and have seen a number of selfproclaimed metarati arise inside Second Life. On a number of occasions I think the term metarati is used inappropriately, so I'll thrown in another term today.


When referring to the metarati I mean the movers and shakers of the web 3D that's coming about. These are the visionairs that are working on the metaverse roadmap, are creating new technology and are able to get investor commitment to explore new paths. The metarati are visionary technology pioneers.

Tish from the fab. Ugotrade blog also names them the mixed-reality metarati, which is an accurate combination as these are the people bridging the space from this world to the virtual one. Inside Second Life we generally consider Jerry Paffendorf, Electric Sheep Company's Futurist in residence, Philip Rosedal from Linden Labs to be members of the metarati.

For a full list of nominees see the Home of the Metarati.


Metapolitans, (cf. metropolitan, cosmopolitan) are the metaversal citizens of the worlds created and envisioned by the metarati, the virtual worlds like Second Life, and many others.
The metapolitans are not the casual visitors of these worlds, but the ones living a largely immersed life and are often travelling between several of these worlds.

Known examples of metapolitans are mostly bloggers like 57 Miles from Metaversed, Wagner Au, the 'embedded' journalist from New World Notes, or the ones at Prokovy's Feted Inner Core list.

one offs

Off course, there are always those that are impossible to categorise. Mark Wallace of the 3pointD blog has been named as a metarati, and though he has a strong influence in the public opinion on virtual worlds I'm still a bit hesitant to name him a mover, though he has my sympathy. The same goes for his wife, the fab Destroy Television.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Virtual Banking (7): DNB Bank Norway

Another international Bank has opened up shop in Second Life, this time it's the Norwegian DNB, not to be confused with the Dutch national bank, also called DNB.

After ABN AMRO, ING (The Netherlands), Wirecard (Germany) and Saxo (Denmark) this is the fifth major European finance company coming to Second Life (with BNP Paribas still in development)

The sim starts of with a neat 3D model of the sim (very popular these days), which is devided into several smaller islands. The overall theme is summertime Norway, as I'm told by one of the freelancers who worked at this build. A main feature is the auditorium (right) which is a good build.

The second main build is a hovering globe -which is quite low on textures - and though most of the sim is bilingual (Norwegian and English), this was solely Norwegian, so I can't give you the full monty on this.
Then there's a small terras showing the Nobel-Peace-prize winners and a series of gazebo's intended as learning centers.
Throughout the sim various Norwegianish things appear, like sunken ships, swimming orca's, campsite, windsurf and diving spots, small fishingboats etcetera.
The build is developed by a company called Design Container, working with several Freelancers. This makes up for several degrees of quality in the build, some are neatly texturised, others are a bit low on textures (pic left, the gallery), or have a few textures askew. The DNB NOR car (right) is very primitive.
In the pic below an example of where it's neatly done, even tidal influences are considered in this build (left). The other one, an ancient worship tree is a little buggy in the script (right).

All in all I must say that the overall quality of the build varies enormously, and also the theme is too unfocussed. It's a bit of everything and I'm not sure where the root of this problem lies. It could well be that DNB Nor didn't have a fixed idea of what they intend to do in Second Life, or there was a basic plan that saw several ideas gone wild because of working with too many different freelancers.

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30% of Dutch Top100 corporations in Virtual Worlds

Nearly 30% of the Top100 companies in the Netherlands are actively engaged in virtual worlds, as a recent EPN survey shows.

Of these 100 companies, 48 participated in the quickscan and they show that:
  • 60% see added value to internal communication
  • 52% see added value in training and branding
  • 45% see added value to external activities such as cocreation and staffing.
  • 66% say that it is still hard to get access to the right people
  • 50% see the stability of Second Life as a threat

And some say that they see Linden Labs as an unpredictable factor.

I'm not sure which companies but here's a few in Second Life:
  • ING
  • Philips
  • Heineken
  • Randstad
  • Content
  • Aegon
I'm wondering where the others are... please let me know ;)

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The MindBlizzard Crowd (2)

Here's a little update on the readers of this blog. Let's start of with a welcome to the new visitors coming from China, Singapore, Latvia and Yugoslavia.

Then there's an increase in visitors from Southern Europe, like Italy, Portugal and Spain, but the sharpest increase comes from France, Japan and India. So Aleister's observation that Asia is slowly discovering Second Life does have a point. His report on the first Korean Content Creator in Second Life is another sign, and if the massively cyworld addicted Korean nation is truly getting to Second Life, we might see a few good shows with their nationwide virtual world experience.

Here's a few links to places that linked to MindBlizzard:

Mindblizzard in France

Mindblizzard in Japan

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Friday, June 08, 2007

ABN AMRO Young Professional Launch

Earlier this week I blogged on the upcoming ABN AMRO YP launch. Well, today's the day.
In short, the opening event is a simulcast with DJ Jesse Voorn (Jesse Bourne) performing life in the Panama Club in Amsterdam and in Second Life. It's also a Dance4Life party. I won't go into details on the background much since I've blogged that here.
Anyway, the sim's open now and here are some pics. I see I need to mention a bit of background still to explain it. The sim is intended for Young Professionals. The idea behind the build is a relaxed mediterranean village with harbor, a place where Young Professionals would like to hang out.

The sim's core is a mediterranean village with some nice houses, a harbor and several meeting points like bars, pools and conference center. According to the Dutch Lost in the Magic Forest the build had to be realised in just one week. All buildings are custom made meeting the quality standards whe'd expect from LitMF (both architecturally and texturally speaking), though a number of props like yaughts and furniture were bought.
One of the sims fun things is the Mocassin 1200 Jetski ride (okay, here's a pic from me without the usual business suit). It's strong engine propelled me rapidly forward, causing me to bump into several yaughts and even launched me onto the dance site knocking over a few early dancers.

The Dutch partyscene raced out to be there (many Dutch SL club owners were present as well), and I must say, the party was well organised and every possible dance was prepped, I even saw the "feet of flame". Some minor glitches, such as partybubbles that were causing some lag were quickly disabled before the real event started. Truth be told, it remained quite laggy at times causing a hard time for the streaming media to render properly, but the crowd liked it.

Finally the audio stream was disabled and both image and sound were streamed through the movie, but the soundquality was less than that of the audio stream. All in all I must say the load of the dancefloor, dancers, the sim and the streaming media was too heavy. Sound fell away quite often and it was hard to get a decent snapshout without the stream being blocky.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Metaverse news

Okay, sometimes it's hard to keep up-to-date, so here's a few quick links

Linden Labs releases New Betagrid Viewer
The excellent 3PointD runs several stories on various NVE's this week on Ogoglio, EVE Online, and MindArk's Chinese virtual World (Entropia)

The other Second Life bloggernaut, 57 Miles from Metaversed runs stories on Korea's possible regulation of Virtual Content, PS3 Home, Entropia and the Multiverse Millionaire. Last but not least he askes himself if Meet Me is a new Japanese Second Life.

More on the Japanese getting setup for the metaverse can be found at the Virtual Worlds Blog.
Then there's EMAC reporting on spectacular growths in Kids-metaverses (like club Pinguin, Stardolls and Webkinz)

Last but not least in the series of links is Advertising for Succes, a business blog running some more links on the Metaverse.

Metarati update

Then there's the Metarati, a term I supposedly coined, which is rapidly being picked up by blogs like Ugotrade, 3pointD and by the Electric Sheep Company and a few others as well, such as the Click and gives about 300 results in Google Search right now.

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Hollywood bots to invade Second Life

Last week we saw Bruce Willis (in some blogs said to be Yippie Kay Ay, or others as Bee Dub) come to Second Life to promote his new movie, Die Hard 4 (blogged here).

Hollywood now has a turn on on Second Life and has decided that Second Life needs more bots. After copybots and landbots and tons of other not so nice spiderthings Second Life is heading for the Autobots and Decepticons as Silverscreen is prepping the SL entrance of the Transformers movie.

update 11 june 2007

It seems I was a little ahead of the official press. I've been kindly asked to hold down on this post for a while.

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Reuters spam

I'm not sure wat the problem is, but it's starting to annoy me a little. A while ago I purchased the Reuters Vendor 2.1-something, now I'm getting spammed for version 3.0.

I've tried to discard, keep, mute to it, without any succes.. I've deleted all old and obsolete versions from inventory and trash, but still the spamming continues (4 times a day I think)

The object '[Reuters] Vendor' in Second Life
has offered you inventory.
Log in to accept to decline this
Object Details:
Region: Reuters
Position: { 131.573,
119.286, 20.5407 }
Owner: Holding Box

I've even contacted Reuters about this. No success yet. Any suggestions?

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New quarter bet watch

Second Life passes 7 million registered user-mark

In april I ran a short story on growth predictions for Second Life. It featured Reuben Steiger's (Millions of Us) predictions for 2007 and forecasted that in july 2007 there would be 3.5 million registered users.

At that time there were already 5.6 million users and I forecasted 7.5 by july 07. Well, surely forecasts are always easier to make 2 months in advance than a year, but right now Second Life passed the 7 million mark, so 7.5 still seems an achievable target.

I think the growthrate for SL will lose a bit of momentum in the next 3 months, but 10 million should be the goal for october 07

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Fashion gets Spanish Spice

Fashion has been one of Second Life's hot commodities since the early days. Many residents leaped to the challenge of creating virtual clothing and the number of stores is astonishing. Everybody in Second Life needs clothing, even more so than bling bling apparati or cars.

Yet very few Fashion houses have come to Second Life. Adidas and Reebok have a presence, and Calvin Klein, but that's about it as far as it goes to official presence (and not imitation). Spanish fashion house Bershka is going to add another big RL fashion brand to that shortlist.

"For us, bringing Bershka to SL (for whom we've been long developing design and web projects) is specially interesting. Bershka is an important brand on fashion industry (400 shops in 28 countries) who consider Mosi-Mosi their preferred new media partner.Bershka will offer a complete subset of their real life clothing items every season with their woman, man, jeans and Bsk sections. The entire island will also be updated every season to keep up with the collection main theme. We will also have regular parties and events for the SL community in an effort to offer a good place for them and us to meet and discover each other." says Daniel Aguilar of the Spanish interactive agency Mosi-Mosi, located in Barcelona, also responsible for some work on the Swedish Embassy in Second Life (next to Electric Sheep Company) and is most known for its SLOOG product.

The build is still in production stage right now, and next week will see a wrap up. A few days later will see an official opening event, mainly targeted at the press. I'll be looking forward to seeing the complete build.

Some pics on the work in progress can be found in this Flickr set.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

User Acceptance in a Virtual Environment


I just ran into an interesting report on User Acceptance in a virtual environment:

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Blogwars !?

I was reading up on some other blogs and found out sometimes our allegiance switches. When it comes to Skynews I'm in line with Nic at KZero in liking it, contrary to Aleister.
When it comes to Comcast though, me and Al like it, and Nic doesn't. Now we're all pretty serious bloggers, so where's the switch? Why do you like a build, or why don't you, what makes you think a build will work, or not?

Here's a little comparative reading:

AL on Comcast :
AL on SkyNews:
Nic on Comcast :
Nic on SkyNews:
Me on Comcast :
Me on Skynews:

Obviously we have different tastes, and sometimes we like Rivers Run Red and not Millions of Us, or the other way around. But should that matter when it comes to judging a build. We should be able to go beyond that and spot the key elements for branding, for business integration and potential to actively engage the community.

It seems that it is a complex cocktail of several factors after all.

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ABN AMRO Dances 4 Life

Friday the 8th wil see the launch of a new ABN AMRO venture in Second Life; the Young Professional Island. The opening will be supported by DJ Jesse Voorn, ambassador to Dance4Life with a simulcast or cross-reality concert from the Panama Club in Amsterdam .

In this coop ABN and Dance4Life are opening an island for people at the start of their careers. It will be a place to meet, socialize and relax. The Dutch bankers will organise several events for the community. The island is one of the new builds from the Dutch Lost in the Magic Forest and the Dance4Live club on the island is build by ABN AMRO themselves.
According to Lost in the Magic Forrerst the build is not complete yet, but will be further developed in coop with the YP community.
DJ Jesse Voorn will perform between 00.00 and 01.00 (CET) in both Club Panama as well as Second Life. Jesse is no stranger to Second Life, as he has done a rather succesfull gig earlier this year.
Dance4Life is an international organisation which gets young people together in the fight against hiv and aids. Dance is the international language that binds young people all over the world. Dancing is combined with television programmes, media campaigns and fundraising to benefit projects in areas that suffer strongly under the presence of hiv and aids.
ABN Amro is one of the sponsors of Dance4Life

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Sculptie Contest in Second Life

One of the last client releases brought sculpties into Second Life. In short it means you can wrap up all sorts of 3D modelling tricks into one texture and apply it to a single prim making complex objects with less resource usage.

Some sculpties seem to behave a little odd, not everything is known about their behaviour inworld yet but the introduction seems to have two ways to look at it:
  1. With access to advanced 3D modelling a whole new group of interested people will be attracted.
  2. With access to advanced 3D modelling Second Life runs the risc of commercialisation with big 3D corps coming into SL and taking over from the homegrown primbuilders.

Anyway, there's been a first sculptie contest and the winning entries were lined up in the Luna sim. The Things To Do group got a special treat and the winner Nomasha Syaka showed us around. His winning entry was the horse that was even animated.


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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Comcast plugged in SL

The cable guys have immersed in Second Life as Comcast, alledgedly one of the largest providers of cable services in the US have opened up their island in Second Life. It's an opening we bloggers have been waiting for for several months.

At first look it seems like a chemical-fun factory, largely due to the first building in view, a pharmacy. The enormous racetrack which covers most of the sim would fit in that picture. However, after a little discussion we thought the blue pipes might represent a cable streaming fun into our homes..

However, according to Millions of Us, builders to this site, it's inline with the comcastic! tv ads where they were playing on the idea of a Mad Science Lab where Liquid Faster was created, a sort of 1950's shlocky sci-fi typecast shot in a sci fi lab with vats of bubbly goo.

The racetrack caused problems though, as we (Aleister and Me) were unable to rez the jets to enter the tubes (so I looked a little foolish on the tiny version). The live cannonball and jetpacks were easier to control, though the jetski's will give rise to some severe drunk flying.

Sofar there has been no promotion, on the clients request, so the softlaunch period will return some feedback that will lead to tweaks before a major launch to create a lasting experience, or as one of the builders said;

"Comcast are really interested in supporting folks online with efforts like this park - basically, and please understand this is me paraphrasing --offering fun content for folks"

The focuspoint has been on creating the experience, with a subtle touch of branding, and experience there is. Refreshing to see such a circus. And an experience it is as nearly the complete staff of Millions of Us enjoyed the sim's rides in the past few weeks.

For the record though, the build is not completely finished yet.


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Sunday, June 03, 2007

We are the Fury Concert

One of todays top attractions is the simulcast (or Mixed Reality as it is called nowadays) event at the NBC Peacock room. A concert by "We are the Fury" will be held both in SL and in the RL NBC studios.

The event starts at 4 SLT (which is way past bedtime for us Europeans - but I got there in time to see the soundcheck)

Here's the add:

Come hear the hot indie/rock/alternative band We Are The Fury as they play both at the RL NBC Peacock Room and the SL NBC Peacock Room.

The band was tagged by Rolling Stone magazine as an Artist to Watch, and you will not want to miss this show!

They will play some of their hit songs and take live questions from the audience (IM JeremyLublin Lykin to talk to the band directly)

For more info, please go to: or

Tonights event is cast by the Electric Sheep Company, who does support all NBC events in Second Life. Upon stating that once again this was at a very unconvenient time to us Europeans, their spokeswoman answered that they are looking for timeslots that will make it possible for the whole world to attend (sim/server capacity limits not withstanding)

The Furies themselves are looking forward though to this new experience.


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Dutch Law in Second Life

A while ago I stumbled on the (blocked) island of Dutch Lawfrim Faassen & Partners. Every once in a while I scan my list of sims under construction and try which ones are open. Last week I tried FP again, to no success. Now it's open though, and I had to find out reading it at 3pointD in an article by my good friend Aleister. I won't get into too much detail of the firm, as I already did a little PR for them in this post.

The build is refreshing in style with a great detail in texturing. The firms main (virtual) office is at the sims center, with small info-islands and an auditorium scattered around in the ocean. Sailboats can take you 'to and fro' the various stops on the island.

As Aleister duly noted is that this sims freebee set is a scuba-kit, a nice change from the endless sets of t-shirts that are usually thrown in.


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Real Life Cities 8: Manchester

My friend Al, who's from the UK, blogged yet another Real Life City coming to Second Life; the city of Manchester, from his hometurf. He was rather disappointed.

The thing is that Manchester launched a 4 sim representation in SL during the Big Chip 2007 awards that took place in RL Manchester. Real Life Cities in SL are an excellent stage for simulcast events, promoting tourism around the globe. In this case I can understand Al's disappointment though, since the sim is not complete.
The centre of the sim holds several stages for live events which are surrounded by representations of several of Manchesters eye-cathing builds that liven up the town's centre.
From my time in England I remember most Northern cities to be dull and gray industrial towns with very little monuments. I certainly have no recollection of Manchester possessing great architectural builds from ages long past (correct me if I'm wrong).
The awards were used for a softlaunch, but nearly a month later they're still building so I can't really tell which way they are heading. I think it would be in Manchesters best interest to come up with a kick-ass event list to liven up the crowd and invite us all back in when the build is finished. I will go back, just out of curiosity to see what it will look like when the build is finished.

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Multiverse scores $4.5m funding

It´s a wee bit late to blog this, it´s more than 2 months ago that Multiverse, another 3D platform, scored substantial funding in a Series A funding led by Sterling Stamos Capital Management.

What is the Multiverse

The Multiverse was created in 2004 by a team of Netscape veterans who have the ambition to create the leading platform for Online Gaming and Virtual Worlds.

"Multiverse's unique technology platform will change the economics of virtual world development by empowering independent game developers to create high-quality, Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) and non-game virtual worlds for less money and in less time than ever before"
The Multiverse provided the platform for games such as Dark Horizons, Force if Arms, Forgotten Legends, Project Mars and several other MMOG's which all have a considerable track record. Yet, the Metaverse has rapidly grown to a 2.5 billion dollar market, which makes it an attractive market to plunge into. In my opinion the Multiverse is one of many contenders, and I have seen too little innovation from them to consider them a serious contender for becoming the predominant platform. They will be a serious partner when it comes to online gaming, but not in serious Web 3D

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Die Hard 4

Last night saw the opening of Bruce Willis' Die Hard 4 representation in Second Life.
When I got home it was quite late and decided to take a look, but couldn't get in. The sim was filled to the brim with 58 residents present for the opening, so I decided to take a raincheck.

I would expect this build to be done by one of the big content creators, like ESC or MoU, but it's build by the V3 group, who also owns and operates Sillicon Island and were the producers of the International Technology Expo of 2007 event.

The sim has a nice feel to it, set up from a central dome with auditorium and infostands bridges lead to four platforms displaying props and scenes from the movies.

According to Liam Kanno from the V3 group, Bruce Willis was about an hour late for the opening, but hung around for nearly an hour as well to chat with the visitors.


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RL stuff

Well, today no blog on Second Life. Sometimes it's time to enjoy Real Life as well. Tonight was a night on the town with Mrs. V. Pirates of the Caribbean III was certainly a good laugh.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Twitterati Geek Meet

Tonight I was invited for the Second Life Geek Meet, organised by 57 Miles of Metaversed.
There was lively discussion between the twitterati from twitter and junga and saw several prominent Second Life members, metarati, authors and bloggernauts
The topics rocked back and forth between Business in SL, Griefer attacks (with some nice conspiracy theories) and Second Life's downside of conduct unbecoming a gentleman to make an ultimate understatement.

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Nonsense and simplicity

Well, with certain anticipation I have looked forward to the Philips launchparty announced in the Avastar and other media. There has been a Philips sim out there for ages, but not open to public. I had hoped they would open their sim up so we could see what they have been working on these past months.

However, there was just nothing more than the platform I blogged yesterday (previous message). The only addition was that you could get a freebee beertender or coffeemaker.

During the last months I have held several presentations for inworld companies on the topic of Second Life and Virtual Worlds in general and when it comes to business sims I'd always told of how Philips was working together with customers on getting feedback on new designs and stuff.

Don't try to tell me this is Philips hail to the new world, that this is the only result of months of presence. You just don't throw an openingparty over a beertender and a coffeemaker. Who thought this up? Was this Philips or their SL consultant?

Well, there were lots of documents you could read on their website... is innovation to be found there? If so, tell us, because I'm not about to read 10 large documents to find out if they'd learned something.
To me this launch is too much on the simplicity side (or complex beyond my limited abilities) and makes absolutely no sense. So, anyone, please explain....

update 04- june - 07

After reading my blog one of Philips' spokepersons contacted me with a little clarification on the launch: "I would like to add that we were very happy with the results of the launch of this particular plot which was intended to introduce people to our Cocreation plans at Philips Design. We did aim for a simple presence and a soft launch but indeed it seems that expectations were raised for a number of reasons, press releases, Brand name etc. " Okay, well I intend to find out!

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