Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Top of the Blogs

Suddenly a couple of new links to the MindBlizzard blog appeared on my Technorati Ranking, which off course I don't mind at all. First of this set of links was Who's The Biggest? Redux by the Second Effects blog who compiled a list of the Top 100 blogs on Second Life.

No surprise I found myself somewhere down the middle, just one spot below "Ambling in Second Life" by my good chum Aleister Kronos, who's at number 61. That was some comfort... or not?

Well, there is one problem with the list...

A number of these blogs have been out of order off late. To see a list of who's no longer blogging anymore read this blogpost from November last year in which I list some of the blogs which haven't been updated in a while. Most notably the 3PointD blog, the once leading Second Life blog which has produced absolutely zits in the past year and a half and still neatly ranks number 52.

We all know that Technorati ratings are a wee bit iffy at times. A lot of people noted this and ArminasX has just updated the blogroll. In this second version the MindBlizzard blog dropped to spot 82. I can't say this is an error, as I must admit I have not been blogging on Second Life much off late. As said, MindBlizzard and Ambling were on the 61 and 61 slots in the first version, Ambling now dropped to 88, which is also quite amazing since it hasn't had a single blogpost in over three months. So despite the tweaking, the list will probably never be perfect.

We can work out intricated queries, tweak and reasses the quantitative rankings of the blogroll, but there is no way we can measure value, or quality in these blogs. I myself have not blogged Second Life as there was nothing special to blog from my point of view, no new companies entering Second Life, but I could have blogged myself to death in spotting every new inworld fashion designer, which just isn't my thing.

A second link I'd like to mention comes from the notorious GoFugYourSL which produced A Dandy List of SL Blogs, an alternative blogroll, without judgement or ranking, just alphabetically sorted.

I'm going to give you the entire 585 long Redux blogroll though, with the ranking included. Browse them to see which ones you like and dislike without paying attention to their ranks. In BOLD you will see some of my (still active) favorites:

# 1 Massively# 2 Official Second Life Blog# 3 iheartsl.com Second Life's largest community blog# 4 New World Notes# 5 VintFalken.com# 6 Torley Lives# 7 Not Possible IRL# 8 Fabulously Free in SL# 9 Free*Style# 10 Ana Lutetia inSL# 11 Dusan Writer's Metaverse# 12 Rezzable# 13 Prokofy Neva# 14 Second Style Fashionista# 15 Shopping Cart Disco# 16 Gwyn's Home# 17 UgoTrade# 18 Kzero# 19 SL iReports: Your news of a virtual world - Blogs from CNN.com# 20 Achariya.net# 21 Virtually Blind Virtual Law# 22 Alphaville Herald# 23 The Click Heard Round the World# 24 What Is This Crap?# 25 Fashion Victim# 26 Slmen# 27 The Metaverse Journal - Australia# 28 Mermaid Diaries: Natalia Zelmanov's Second Life Adventures# 29 Aviatrix :: Zoe Connolly# 30 El Opinador Compulsivo# 31 Living in the Metaverse# 32 Second Effects# 33 The Electric Sheep Company: Blogs# 34 The ARCH# 35 Corduroy# 36 Men's Second Style# 37 DIP's Dispatches from the Imagination Age# 38 It's Only Fashion# 39 maitreya# 40 Your2ndPlace - Comments# 41 Closet Crisis# 42 casa del shai# 43 CodeBastardRedgrave.Com# 44 Ewing Fashion Agency# 45 Botgirl's Second Life Diary# 46 Ch'know?# 47 Are we not men?# 48 Alliance Virtual Library# 49 Verbal Stew# 50 Hibernia on the Skids# 51 Designing Nicky Ree# 52 3pointD.com# 53 Prim Perfect# 54 The Heliograph# 55 FUTURE-MAKING SERIOUS GAMES# 56 Geta# 57 Be Less Stupid!# 58 Tuli's blog# 59 Girl Wonder Speaks...about Second Life# 60 Soign# 61 Second Arts# 62 Ivalde`s Heim# 63 Kitty Witchin# 64 SL Fashion Notes# 65 SL Fashion Police# 66 Fleur Skins# 67 'Kota's Knickers# 68 :: Dutch Touch :: Outlet - Second Life# 69 M is for Myg# 70 caLLie cLine# 71 An Engine Fit For My Proceeding# 72 Ophelia Drowns# 73 Second Stindberg# 74 CeN's Two Cents# 75 My SLife on the D List# 76 GION PROJECT# 77 CommonSensible# 78 Canimal.# 79 APLINK - itsReal# 80 artilleri# 81 Uma's Style Diary# 82 MindBlizzard blog# 83 Clyde# 84 The News from BardHaven# 85 Ryker Beck dot COM# 86 Reading Radar# 87 Kyoot# 88 Ambling in Second Life# 89 chignon - a Virtual Style Blog# 90 Fashion Consolidated# 91 Second Life of Dreams# 92 Phasing Grace Social Architecture and Virtual Worlds# 93 SL Fashion Avengers# 94 More Than Meets the Eye# 95 SLOG# 96 -Ana Lutetia-# 97 GoSpeed Racer a Second Life Avatar# 98 Brooklyn is Watching# 99 GoSpeed Racer a Second Life Avatar# 100 Through my eyes..# 101 ~silentsparrow~# 102 Long Awkward Pose# 103 Around the Grid# 104 Half Arsed# 105 Tenth Life# 106 SL FASHION DIVA# 107 Dedric Mauriac# 108 Philotic Energy# 109 Fashion Labyrinth# 110 Another blog!# 111 Digital Image# 112 Carissa's Closet# 113 Discursos do Outro Mundo# 114 Dwell On It# 115 Eladrienne's Other Life!# 116 Grid Expectations# 117 Nexeus Fatale# 118 Aspire Model Management# 119 Mui Mukerji# 120 Draconic Kiss# 121 r u n w a y + k i d z# 122 The Realm of the Red Rose# 123 SiniStyle Decapitated# 124 cognitive dissonance# 125 My Second Closet# 126 Radio Riel# 127 Ingmann Design Group# 128 GuRL 6# 129 *ICING* Second Life Vintage inspired Fashions by Miko Omegamu# 130 Koreshan Pointe# 131 SugarCube;Memoirs of Second Life# 132 Veyron's Adventures in Second Life# 133 Looker Lumet# 134 { Zaara }# 135 SLimply the Best# 136 JUICYBOMB All the Juiciest in Second Life!# 137 A Stroll Through Caledon# 138 All Ears in Second Life# 139 Alysha's Second Life# 140 Architecture +# 141 Lucas Lameth (luc) Fashion Jewelry# 142 On Your Toes# 143 starley.com# 144 MONTA# 145 PERSONA's Blog# 146 Business Communicators of Second Life# 147 adam n eve# 148 Fallobst# 149 *AnnaH*# 150 LaBicyclette# 151 Muse Fine Jewelry# 152 Ravishal Ramblings# 153 bijouaholic# 154 Cylindrian's Grace Notes# 155 CronoCloud Creeggan, Virtual Fashionista# 156 Rheta# 157 Studio Wikitecture: Opening Architecture# 158 SLShop-a-holic# 159 Songs from The Nightingale# 160 ~flirt~# 161 Pandora's box# 162 Less Than 3# 163 Whole Lotta Rosie!# 164 Rebel Hope Designs, Inc.# 165 My Digital Double# 166 She's So Unusual# 167 セカンドな日常 - livedoor Blog(ブログ)# 168 SySy's# 169 Tres Blah# 170 UberNoggin# 171 What *IS* Willis Talking About?# 172 Timothy's Second Life Experience# 173 Muism# 174 The Minor Mishaps and Adventures of Skusting Dagger# 175 DARK EDEN PLAZA# 176 Mischief# 177 Second Tense# 178 Royal Blue# 179 Shoshana's Musings# 180 Punch Drunk# 181 What's New ?# 182 Red-Headed Step-Child# 183 Just me, dinee# 184 Alienbear Jewelry Design# 185 MG fashion# 186 Exiled in SL# 187 Mimikri hot couture# 188 Chey's Second Life Blog# 189 Metaversal Arts# 190 Unique Needs!# 191 Aenea's Second Life# 192 Harajuku Box# 193 Refuge# 194 Hey Girlfriend# 195 BEWITCHED HAIR# 196 Virtual Silks and Fantasy Review# 197 All Things Tiessa# 198 Fashionality# 199 How's your world?# 200 PixelDolls...# 201 Second Life Male Style and Fashion# 202 Tori's Blog# 203 Wrath Paine# 204 The Journal of Dr. Darien Mason# 205 House of Nyla# 206 Sascha's Designs - Elegant Ballroom Gowns# 207 Diversity Hair# 208 Lady Adventuress# 209 Loki's musings on first and second life# 210 amiko*amikino# 211 Evans Avenue Exit# 212 The Winged Girl Blog# 213 ShopArmidi.com# 214 Tao's Thoughts on Second Life# 215 glamourazzi# 216 The New Observer# 217 Dot in Second Life# 218 GRIDSTYLE.COM# 219 My Virtual World# 220 Content Confessional# 221 -Analise-# 222 Best of Both Worlds# 223 Poid Mahovlich# 224 Bitter Thorns Blog# 225 First Impressions# 226 KessKreations# 227 Berry's Blog# 228 Designing Insanity# 229 Truth# 230 Virtually Dressed# 231 Diamonds and Rust Podcast# 232 Honour's Post Menopausal View# 233 Alienbear Gupte Virtual Life# 234 *AC Aphrodite Creations*# 235 Inspired - Kawaii Fashion in Second Life# 236 It's A Scaggs Life!# 237 Sin Trenton# 238 Ramblings of a Red Headed Kitten# 239 Second Life: Music, DJs, Nightlife, Art and Creativity# 240 http://snatch-sl.blogspot.com/# 241 Vanity Universe# 242 Virtual Neko in Second Life# 243 Willowing Wisps# 244 iCandy# 245 SLink# 246 STELLAR by Lexi Morgan# 247 The Rummage Box# 248 The Connolly Telegraph# 249 A Second Look# 250 Bliss Beningborough Couture# 251 Experiments with Avatars# 252 Avenue Models# 253 avocatio virtualis# 254 #NAME?# 255 PXL Creations# 256 Ambergris Deadly Fashions# 257 Imperial Elegance# 258 Oh, hush!# 259 Passionate Neko Dreams# 260 ArtsPlace SL# 261 Charity Dogsbody's Booke of Sensible Advice# 262 CONNIE in a SEC# 263 secondguru# 264 The Life of Abigail Raymaker# 265 Fallobst# 266 Zippora's life# 267 Nyte'N'Day Official Blog# 268 The ramblings of Violet# 269 The Winter Market# 270 Y Me digitally encoded genetic machismo# 271 YABU SIM# 272 Proceedings of the Royal Society# 273 Free Speerit# 274 Genevieve Lutetia# 275 Nimil# 276 Second Wave Fashion# 277 Punk Shack# 278 La Sylphide# 279 Emery# 280 Phantom's Republic# 281 Second Life Shopping Sherpa# 282 Beth's Second Life# 283 Decoy# 284 Lo Lo# 285 overcooked# 286 Popfuzz# 287 Shep Korvin - Blog is the new Black# 288 everyday second life# 289 Miss Cornelia Rothschild# 290 Moonshine Clothing# 291 The Lady and The Tramp# 292 Woo's!# 293 Lick, Don't Bite# 294 CREAMSHOP# 295 LF Fashions# 296 Pedro Meya Marty - Agentur f# 297 Second Life Stylewatch# 298 The Dressing Up Box# 299 Vitamin Ci# 300 Crimson Flow# 301 Omega Point A blog by Catherine Winters# 302 Sunn's World# 303 Moggs - a second life# 304 Glamorpuss# 305 Blunt Fashion Sense# 306 L o s t A n g e l . H e a d q u a r t e r s# 307 ma vie d'avatar: ma vie sur second life# 308 SLC# 309 Novocaine# 310 Beta Technologies# 311 IYan Writer in virtual worlds# 312 Little Gems from My Second Life# 313 ::eLDee::# 314 Curious Kitties Island Update Blog# 315 LaynieWear# 316 ::ANA_Mations::# 317 DEVILISH CUPCAKE# 318 Digital Dragon Designs# 319 Digital Eyes# 320 imagendivine.com# 321 Kathar.in# 322 Meet the Petermans# 323 Pix3lizeD Th0ughTs# 324 The Diary of a Caledonian Baroness# 325 500 Year Diary# 326 Accessories by Eolande# 327 Honey Wendt in Second Life# 328 Ingenue# 329 Kabalyero# 330 Solange! Fashions# 331 A Piece of Candy# 332 DragonFly Designs, Inc.# 333 Alphamale# 334 Kryptonia's Weblog# 335 Ai Baroque on Wordpress# 336 DrFran Does SL# 337 I Make HUDDLES# 338 The Fashionable Heart# 339 Eyana Yohkoh's Blog# 340 Metaverse Law# 341 Sensual Designs# 342 Digital Knickers# 343 Mela's# 344 Posh Pride# 345 Ravenwear: The Anti-Trend# 346 Scripter Syndrome# 347 Sio's Second Life# 348 The Cindy Kesey Show# 349 Eloise's thoughts and fancies# 350 Second Life's a Drag!# 351 The Virtual Version# 352 Trudeau Classic Sailing Yachts# 353 Winter Moon# 354 Eclipse# 355 Hairapy# 356 theshadow's Alternative Second Life Fashions# 357 VictoriaV Fashion# 358 Vidal's Dolly Realm# 359 World of IBIZARRE# 360 Aether Chronicles# 361 EarthStones# 362 DollyRock: Second Life Clothes# 363 I'm a Gracie Girl!!# 364 Freda's Fine Fashion Magix# 365 :The Cute Institute# 366 The Bon Mots of Phineas Matova# 367 BijouxOr Gold Jewelry# 368 =^.^= Neko Gear =^.^=# 369 The Excellent Second Life of Chartreuse Muni# 370 [CRAP] Fashion# 371 Awesome Designs# 372 Catt's Creations# 373 Gwendolyn Cassini Creations and Scripts 'r Us# 374 Illuminati Designs Updates# 375 Just fine# 376 MAU's# 377 Niki's Notes# 378 Rustica# 379 SubliminaLuminations# 380 Argent Eyes# 381 CTK# 382 Fashion Predator# 383 Frequency's Oscillations# 384 Jolie's Boutique# 385 Material Squirrel# 386 Ookami Ningen# 387 Ribbons Learns to Swim# 388 Serenity Mercier# 389 comme il faut - by Moire Georgette - virtual fashion# 390 Hexed (Formerly Escape)# 391 Second Life - Notizie e Commenti su Second Life# 392 Second Life Games# 393 Subtle Submission# 394 The Antiquity Gazette# 395 The Chilbo Road Press# 396 Viva La Glam.# 397 Comments for Yxes Muses# 398 Glass Earth# 399 Izzyisms# 400 Livin# 401 Not Your Typical Lady# 402 Project Q/Gematria# 403 SinSkins# 404 SlCoolMag# 405 Soda - Bubbly Fashions# 406 Cala - Transgender in Second Life# 407 2nd Lifer# 408 Mascha Boa's Fashion# 409 Prissy Pixels# 410 Reaction - a Surfers Revolution# 411 *~*HopScotch*~*# 412 Bewitched Designs# 413 Cailyn's - Classic Jewelry# 414 Dings Digital's Diary# 415 First Flower# 416 good deeds of a sailor to be# 417 JetDoll# 418 Kyra's Kloset# 419 Mashooka Designs# 420 pixie dust and tantrums...# 421 Rich Desoto# 422 Second Life at hand# 423 Second Mirage# 424 Selling in Secondlife# 425 Calico Ingmann Creations# 426 enkythings - Virtual High Heels# 427 Larue# 428 Machinations of an Evil Tiny Kitty# 429 Newbe's Steam Powered Blog# 430 Steamjunk# 431 Studio Sidhe# 432 Taunt# 433 TimeForce 10# 434 Tuli's Favorites# 435 !TM Hair Styles by Tami McCoy# 436 Daikon Forge# 437 Liquid Velvet Studio Designs# 438 rosemary galbraith# 439 Second Life Conceptual Creations# 440 The Velvet Room# 441 Torrid Tales of a Compulsive Swooner# 442 AMACCI# 443 FETISH FASHIONISTA# 444 Beq's adventures in second life# 445 Fortunate Productions# 446 A2NZ : When creativity goes global# 447 deadaswe's weblog# 448 Interests of Isolde Flamand# 449 Vignette# 450 ~Serenity Style~# 451 Beats n' Pieces# 452 Burroughs Jewellery and Eyes# 453 Caledon Early Bird Social Club# 454 Dreambits# 455 E.Laval Fine Clothing# 456 Fetch Alternative Blog# 457 Forceme Silverspar's adventures in Second Life# 458 House Of RFyre# 459 INDIRA BEKKERS - Second Life Fashion# 460 Samantha Speaks# 461 sf design - avatar clothing by swaffette Firefly# 462 **THE CLOSET**# 463 Explorations of the White Foxx# 464 Gideon Television Superstar# 465 Iron Raptor# 466 Nicola Escher - Journal# 467 Sparkle-Skye# 468 Tamed Frustration# 469 The Family Jewels# 470 Virtual World Business.com# 471 Warm Winter Nights# 472 Woolly Wildcat Writings# 473 Angie Mornington# 474 For All Your Household Needs# 475 From the Flames# 476 Jana's Classic Designs# 477 Make Money Online With Richard Palace# 478 Marion in Wonderland# 479 Mirrorlabs: Skin Studio Blog# 480 Quarter Life Crisis# 481 Soliel Snook# 482 The Llama's Den# 483 The Second Life Great Expedition# 484 Veronique's Second Life# 485 Wild Thing - Male Clothing# 486 Meta.Live.Nu# 487 Skidz Partz On Secondlife# 488 Contest Central by Impressione# 489 powers of creation# 490 Hair Solutions# 491 MRO SHOW ** LIVE **# 492 secondfluid# 493 :!:Lavish Style:!: by Katy Angel# 494 [Poptart]# 495 Acedia Diary# 496 Asri Falcone Originals# 497 Derek# 498 Diary of an avatar# 499 Elegance Hats# 500 Goto Desoto# 501 LDinSTL says:# 502 Mael's Mindforge# 503 Oh no Crippy Oh# 504 Ordinal's Cabinet of Ephemera# 505 Rave Nation Blog# 506 .: Na# 507 ~KorvinKreations~# 508 A NEKO's LIFE in SL# 509 AudSLife# 510 Balderdash- Bagatelle and Trinketry# 511 Baronial Notations# 512 Diva Designs# 513 Eye Candy Designs# 514 Fae Designs# 515 Fashionably Dead# 516 From The Eye Of The Storm# 517 Frontier's Horizon# 518 Fuel# 519 Ki-Squared# 520 Makeda Cole# 521 Mal Burns Annex# 522 Moriash Moreau: My Second Life# 523 My Second Life is the New First# 524 Paw Prints# 525 RaceSL# 526 sezmra.com# 527 Something Different# 528 SYD: Style Your Destiny# 529 Taffy Apple Designs# 530 Tea Monster# 531 Through the filter of a Victorian Aesthetic# 532 TorridWear# 533 trash palace - electronic music club# 534 Treasured Visions# 535 Tully in Second Life# 536 Tweaktocracy# 537 Violet Voltaire# 538 Wildefire Walcott's Mistressy Musings# 539 Your Godless Goddess# 540 Anti Cute Clothing Second Life# 541 BiancaF# 542 Brigid Ashwood Fantasy Artist# 543 Caliburn Susanto# 544 Essentia# 545 Handbags# 546 Mannon's Fashion# 547 Mircat# 548 Mollster's# 549 OOpS# 550 Random Acts of Style# 551 Return to Secondlife# 552 Ships of the Line# 553 Khaos Klub Information Website# 554 Blog of House of Lu; Paper Couture# 555 Caliente Express# 556 celtgrrl# 557 Ephemeral Creations# 558 Flower and Willow# 559 ICoN# 560 Inside Second Life# 561 Life by Proxy# 562 Made for No Reason# 563 Metaverse Week in Review# 564 Miriel in the Metaverse# 565 newly born# 566 NPSL: Nonprofits in Second Life# 567 Riven's Nest# 568 Savoir Hair# 569 Second Life Blogosphere# 570 Second Life Fashion Addict# 571 Second Spice# 572 ShenS Blog# 573 Skin Within# 574 Stella's Mall on Stella Isle# 575 Sweetest Sin# 576 Technopaideia# 577 The Agile Mind# 578 the Artists' tea party# 579 The Source of Power# 580 Trin's Tantrums# 581 Voodoo Style# 582 Welcome to the Train-Wreck Love Life# 583 Women of Second Life# 584 Yoshino's Second life blog# 585 Zagoskin Haute Couture

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Past4Ward Licences Rome Reborn

Last week I blogged about Google Earth starting to explore the 4th Dimension by adding a special layer on Google Earth featuring ancient Rome. A few people had the idea they'd seen it somewhere before, like my chum from Ambling, Al Kronos:

AlKronos @vjburns Looks like the Virtual Roma DVD that was made a few years ago (got a copy somewhere). I assume they've decided to "re-purpose" it.

Well, he was absolutely right according to this article on Virtual Worlds News:

Past4Ward Licenses Rome Reborn for Educational Virtual World

Past4Ward announced this week that it had licensed Rome Reborn for use in a supplemental educational platform, games, and virtual worlds. I haven't written anything about Rome Reborn because, so far, it's been more about mapping and building a detailed virtual re-creation of the ancient city, but I've been following it with a lot of interest. As it stands, Rome Reborn includes over 7,000 buildings and covers more than 13 square miles of a city modeled strongly on research. You can check it out in a recently added Google Earth layer.

Past4Ward plans to incorporate it into a product for middle and high school students "featuring game play similar to a Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) title as well as other Virtual World techniques that will be integral parts of the design, which will map to existing curriculum standards."

As the license for video games is exclusive, Past4Ward also plans to make it available for licensing by game developers and publishers. The educational project appears to be in conjunction with Past Perfect Productions, which is also working with the Virtuality Group and Parco Colosseo to launch 3D Rewind Rome, an "edutainment center" near the Colosseum based on the Rome Reborn model.

“We are extremely excited to be working with Past4Ward in providing the historical architecture that will become a new format to teach kids about ancient Rome,” Joel Myers, CEO, Past Perfect Productions, said in a statement. “A video game of this nature, used in classrooms, combines a stimulating and entertaining learning process with the strengths and familiarity of communications tools students use in their everyday lives, from PlayStations to the Internet.”

New, or old, it still looks good

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

SEAT Auto Emoción

VeeJay's time has been taken up with more pressing matters, and as a result he was not able to get to this sim yet - so he has asked me to cross-post this article from my Ambling in Second Life blog...

I almost forgot about this one, but a piece of tumbleweed blowing through my otherwise vacant mind dislodged a memory that I had forgotten about. Around a week or so ago I got an email from Barrabas Zabaleta of virtual worlds builders, Mosi Mosi (who produced the entertainingly fun Prados Azules sim). The mail contained an offer of a pre-launch walkabout of a new sim. I had meant to take up the offer, got sidetracked and ended up forgetting about it... until today. Why today? Well today was when the sim actually opened, and this (or the tumbleweed) triggered my memory. I was a little surprised when I checked the map, though. The sim was empty. Had I got the dates muddled up? Had I missed it? Was I too early? The answers are (in order): 'No'; 'Dunno' and 'Dunno'.

But before further ponderings on this, it would be a good idea to tell you about SEAT. The company name is an acronym for Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo; in English, Spanish Saloon Car Company. Founded in 1950, it used to make re-badged Fiat cars for the Spanish domestic market. It has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen since 1990, producing a popular range of cars for both the domestic and international marketplace. As for the 'auto emoción' strapline, I can't find a really good reference for this, but I take it to mean that the SEAT design philosophy is to produce exciting vehicles that are enjoyable, even thrilling, to drive. Perhaps The Guardian had it right in 2006, when reviewing the Leon:

"SEAT is not the world's most popular brand, but it is trying. Its recent products have been supported by splashy advertising campaigns, pressing home the slogan "auto emocion", which, it would appear, is to be said where possible in a smoky, post-coital whisper. By this means the company hopes to persuade us that it is an A-grade manufacturer of pulse-quickening automobiles, rather than a
low-maintenance corporate outcrop of the VW group and a budget car builder from Spain - Spain being about as famous for car production as Italy is for golfing holidays

The car got a good review, by the way... but now let's move on to the sim.

The first thing that struck me was just how much Mosi Mosi have been able to fit into the sim, yet without it feeling cramped. I honestly had to check the Map a couple of times, to reassure myself that it was just the one sim! There's a lot to see and do, as you might expect. One nice idea is a series of computer screens showing some "html-on-a-prim" webpages you should explore. By way of an example, in the attached photoset, I've included Torley's YouTube page. If you are new to SL, there's a number of orientation displays and there's also a HUD you can pick up, giving you information on cool sites to visit in SL.

The cars are displayed in an elegant showroom, all sweeping curves and open space. Here you can pick up a range of freebies, ranging from drivers' helmets to scuba diving gear. While the latter seems bizarre - as if shoe-horned into the sim - there does seem to be some logic, since you are able to use your newly-gained equipment at the Beach Club. Here, you can also indulge in dancing and generally carousing. The biggest freebie is a car - but you have to win this by completing a series of challenges, at the end of which you receive your license and vehicle. Being totally rubbish at driving in SL, I did not give it a go. Finally there's a sandbox - which is nice to see.

Here's a few photos to give you the flavour:

How this sim will fare with those who are professional marketing folk, I do not know. However, I liked the sim. It had handy hints for newcomers, lots of freebies, a sandbox (not that common these days) and some interesting, interactive challenges. It is also well constructed, coherent and adheres well to SEAT's branding.

My only note of concern is about the promotion of the sim. I had expected some indications of a launch party, and perhaps a series of events to get the sim off to a good start. Promotion through SEAT's existing websites too - if it's there, I've not spotted it. So it appears to be something of a soft launch. If so, then all well and good. But for the company to extract more from the site, it will need a bigger, louder launch at some point - and a schedule of events and competitions might be an idea, too. To be honest, in promotional terms, I'm not sure how much good these actually do - but they're better than comatose sims.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Land of the Rising Celts: One to Watch

One of my favorite pasttime (usually late-night) hobby's is tasting whisky. If one thinks whisky, one thinks Scottish and usually ends up with Diageo. Today Diageo is the largest beer, wine and spirits company in the world with dozens of whiskies in it's portfolio, among which the well known "Classic Malt" series. As a lover of this water of life I'm no fan of Diageo though. They have a history. As you can read in Ulf Buxrud's "Lost Distilleries" they have a tradition of mergers and take-overs (under the name of UDV, United Distillers & Vintners and in preceding companies as well), and in the process are responsible for shutting down tons of old and respected distilleries in Scotland over the past 100 years.

Loyal readers of this blog and that of Ambling in Second Life may well be aware of the fact that Diageo has been developing a double sim island in Second Life for some time now. Well, this blog isn't about them. They're still lost in the waters. This blog is about the other whisky sim I've been keeping an eye on since early May (2007): Suntory.

A flashback (summarising previous blog entries):

On may 1 I spotted the Suntory sim at the center of a square of Japanese Sims, but the island wasn't accessible. There was only the logo to show, nothing else. A little later Aleister Kronos doubted it was the right Suntory. For us Europeans all Japanese have similar names and look alike, so there was the option it wasn't the Japanese brewer Suntory. I persisted though as I believed the logo to be of this megasized brewer.

In June the island took shape, but I wasn't really welcome. A few days later the design was torn down and in August I blogged on the new build appearing at the sim. In my opinion it wasn't really corporate anymore, so I started doubting myself.

(see "suntory" label for overview of these posts)

An impression

When returning to the site now, I got prove I was right. This time I took a long stroll through the sim, which in my opinion is aptly themed "Sanctuary"

Upon entering the sim I was placed on a bridge from the busy, crammy Japanese island towards a santuary in the midst of this. Although I've never been able to visit this great culture in Real Life yet, this fits in with my perception of it: Large, stressing techno-savvy cities which open up to sparkling sights of beauty and ancient culture. The feeling I get from this sim is a cross-cultural mix though. It is not what you would perceive as a traditional Japanese sanctuary, but feels like a cross of Japanese and Medieval European tradition and architecture.

On the first platform you'll encounter a sticky wall with shots of the island.

Further on you'll encounter several of the dozens of brands in beverage the company holds or imports, varying from Boss Coffee to Pepsi cola.

Finally I found the way down to the bar, which breathes the atmosphere of a classic "gentlemen's lounge," a place that cries for a good dram. In the bar you'll encounter the whiskies Suntory imports, like the well known Bowmore, Macallan and Glenfiddich, but also their own Suntory brand is present (if only RL pubs would charge these rates!)...

Maybe I'm a bit biased, but I really like this sim. I think it truly is a sanctuary between all the skyscraperish sims surrounding it, breathing ease and relaxation. A perfect atmosphere for a whisky. In itself the build is of an outstanding quality. It is an intricate design and I haven't discovered a single texture out of sync. To me, this sim is more than a brand. It is about a lifestyle.

There's a few points of criticism though. As happens with a lot of sims in Second Life, this one was empty so I couldn't find a tourguide. Most information was illegible to me as it was Japanese. Only the most basic directions were given in English, such as 'Marina', 'Square' and 'Bar' but i really would have liked to know more about the build, the sim and what is going on here.


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Monday, December 10, 2007

Metaverse Update November / December

Last weeks have been either too busy to blog or too quiet (i.e. I'd taken some days off to spend some quality time with the RL family), so I've lost track of a couple of new metaversal releases. Here's a couple of tidbits from the other blogs:

Ambling in Second Life

Aleister has been quite busy in the past weeks and blogged on a wide variety of topics, here's a few picks:

Another report from Ambling in SL is titled "AOL Pointe RIP", and reads:

AOL opened their AOL Pointe island in Second Life around the start of the year. I rather liked it, as I wrote back in February. However, I heard quite a lot of sniping about the site thereafter, and rarely saw much sign of an emerging SL community. By the end of the Summer I was hearing the damning "ghost sim" in relation to it. So perhaps it should come as no suprise to find that AOL have pulled out of Second Life.According to this AOL blog:

AOL Pointe was built to provide a fun and engaging place for the Second Life community. We created this experience to learn more about virtual worlds and what people like and don't like.

It has been a fun and rewarding ten months, with streaming music (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Linkin Park, etc.), Sticky Wall contests, and Friday nights at Club AOL. We are grateful to the avatars who attended these events, as well as took advantage of places like the Centrifuge Skate Park and the Quiz Time Lounge.

We've gained a lot of insight from our participation in Second Life and we're now refocusing our efforts in virtual worlds. While we have closed AOL Pointe, you will soon be seeing more of AOL products and content across the metaverse. So stay tuned to aol.com for more information about when and where.

AOL are not the first company to follow this route, and certainly won't be the last. I would be curious to know the real story here... or rather, the full story. And what of the future? Will we see AOL3D next year? Or more dabblings in other virtual worlds, such as There or (if you want to go global) HiPiHi?I still liked the AOL build and am sorry to see them go.

AOL isn't the first company to leave Second Life but it's good to know they're still game for virtual worlds.

3PointD Crash

Another departure is even more stunning, as the one time leading metaverse blog 3PointD has collapsed without prior notice. I mean I've been bad at blogging for some time now, but Mark Wallace used to be a paid blogger. I'm wondering how the 3PointD sponsors (Electric Sheep Company) feel about their investment and publicity engine gathering metaversal dust.

KZero's metaversal marketing news

KZero's Nic Mitham must have been bought. His attention and anticipation of the arrival of Football Superstars has been incredible. Another FS snapshot series can be read here: Latest player and environment imagery from Football Superstars.

But there's more to be read at KZero:

You've been Metaversed

Where 3PointD crashed, stocks are going upward for Nick Wilson at Metaversed.com. After a hugely succesfull start up of the Things to Do group (spring 2007) there was the more or less succesfull Grid Safari (summer 2007) and a promising podcast series (Second Rant with Prokofy Neva - which sadly went down the drain. After a slight dip Metaversed came up with another smash hit, the Metanomics sessions (fall 2007) on virtual economy (allthough some argue that this is a sponsor event and you get all sorts of economy and financial hotshots telling you all about how it should be without ever having been in a virtual world themselves).

Latest addition to the Metaversed event line-up is the VBI sessions, the Virtual Business Innovators (winter 2007) which focusses on the native metaverse content creators and innovators, the "Virtual Brands" as KZero would call them. Too bad I missed the first session.

There's a downside to this though, as there's no longer room for fun sessions like the Geek Meets (not even the Gadgeteer sessions) because it's no longer attractive (sponsorwise). That's a problem when you have to make a living of blogging and depending on sponsorships. I can blog, be critical, have fun and not wonder if I can buy dinner tomorrow. Anyway, it just takes away a bit of the fun and puts a slight ? behind "objective journalism"

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Fundraising 2.0

In the past few months I've seen quite a few NGO's enter Second Life, such as the Red Cross, Disabled Sports, Flying Doctors, the MacArthur Foundation , Dance 4 Life and a few others. This sudden onrush kept nagging me.

The Current Blogoshpere

When it comes to the Blogosphere there's two blogs that stick out when it comes to keeping track of these things: First of all there's Beth's Blog that has a keen eye on everything Non Profit and secondly the fabulous Ugotrade blog where Tara5 Oh (left) regularly posts real works of love and labour on Mixed Reality and with a good heart to the poor and needy of this world.

This post will probably be a work of labour and very Ugotradish in size and subject as well...

This past week I got spammed by the ElfenCircle for a Relay For Life building entry and that nagged me again. After rereading some of the entries on both the aforementioned blogs I started thinking on this post. When Al 'superscooper' Kronos blogged Virtuool and The Fight Against Cancer I knew this was a post I had to make.

Traditional Fundraising & The 21st Century Philantropist

It's actually a while since I've been giving NGO's much of a thought. We, the Dutch, have always been generous givers when it comes to relief aid and mission workers in Africa and Asia. In the past years this culture is slowly changing. It's not that people are getting greedy, but the way they want to spend their money has changed.

In the 20th century it was a natural thing to pick 2 or 3 (or more) non profit organisations and sponsor them annually. Many organisations organised themselves accordingly: You knew how much sponsors you'd have, so you know what next years'budget will look like.

The 21st century do-gooder has a different mindset though. No longer long-term commitments, long term sponsorship, but occasional, dedicated sponsorship, sort of hit-and-run style philantrophy.

This is causing traditional NGO's a severe headache since they see shaky budgets and worry about keeping all their relief aid workers at work. This isn't about 'huge disasters' those are incendent based by definition and a TV rally for Live Aid (1985) is no different than the Tsunami Fundraising a few years back; on both occasions dedicated sponsorship without long term commitment.

In short, generally speaking, NGO's need to find new ways of attracting long term sponsors: the 21st century calls for Fundraising 2.0. The question is: Is Second Life a good platform to expirment with.

Philantrophic Worlds

When it comes to actual fundraising, Second Life is surely a no-no. Tip jars containing L$ 1.600 dollars barely make up for a weeks rent. Virtual World Campaigns are not about raising enough money to fund a relief aid mission to Timbuktu.

As I mentioned in my blogpost on the Red Cross entry at Second Life, depicting a disaster zone, one way is to create awareness, convey a mood or show people the challenges in such areas. This awareness is much more valuable than the lousy linden bucks it brings in tips.

There is a thin line though; It is great to raise awareness but the cost is a consideration. The presence should be sponsored, not funded with sponsorship money.

A Bridge too far?

In search of awareness and commitment I think NGO's overstepped themselves a little. Virtual Worlds such as Second Life are to small to make a difference - yet. It's still a niche thing.

In my opinion the focuspoint of NGO's and Philantrophy should be at the heart of Web 2.0. Relief Aid in most cases is all about commitment. Commitment in small circles of sponsors that want to be informed. Web 2.0's social bookmarking and tagging is offering the ideal tools to create close range awareness. Think of Fair Trade and Relief Aid widgets for Facebook. Mission based YouTube or Flickr streams...

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Virtual Banking (10): Deutsche Bank AG

While I was reading this weeks AvaStar (issue # 29) there were two things that caught my eye.

AvaStar Omissions and Errors

First of all was their doublepage special on Universities from around the globe. Again I notice that there are missing several Dutch Universities which are pretty active in Second Life, especially the Free University of Amsterdam (VUA) that's been active for months now. Also, there is an error in their report on Princeton stating:

"Princeton University will open its five-sim site in time for the new academic year in the fall... ...The AvaStar was given exclusive access to the finished parts of the Princeton site.."

Well, not so exclusive. The site was (as is the case with many new interesting sites) spotted by Al 'super-scooper' Kronos who blogged it respectively at 3PointD, Ambling in Second Life and this very MindBlizzard blog having a first full set of snapshots. A little credit to whom credit is due would seem in place.

Q110 - The bank of the future

The second story that drew my attention was their short introduction of the Deutsche Bank AG coming to Second Life:

"THE future of banking has arrived in SL. Talking at a press conference in Berlin streamed live into SL the member of the board of Deutsche Bank AG, Hermann-Josef Lamberti, referred to SL as the “killer application” of the next few years that enables us to see how the future of the internet will unfold. That’s why Deutsche Bank have decided to launch their futureoriented
Q110 banking concept in SL."

This first image is a photoscreen in front of the real build. It's set up with a photocamera and a circle on the floor will tell you where to stand. Take your picture here, and have it printed on your Real Life credit card.

The build itself is inline with the current trends to let go of traditional 'gravity-bound' architecture and is basically an open banking floor with two hovering skyscrapers.

The towers themselves fullfill no particular purpose, business is done at floor-level or in three different skyboxes. Deutsche AG takes Skybox very literal in this build. The three boxes vary in style to serve different clientgroups.

One of the funny things in this build is the "Wishroom", a sort of holodeck with three theme options: marriage, future and buying a house.
I took the Future tour and was asked several questions. After each question the holodeck formed to suit my imagined future. Afterwards I received some three notecards with the Deutsche Banks tips to get where I want to be.
At the end of my visit I discovered why the towers were there. At the rooftops you'll find baseball courts.
My last thought was, why build on the IBM Boeblingen Lab sim and not a dedicated sim?

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Metaverse news this week

Here's a short overview of intermetaversal news:


3pointD reports on EVE online:
"With the news a few days ago that MMO space opera EVE Online had hired an in-game economist, most commentators focused on how much fun he would have compared to all the other economists in the world, and how curious it would be to read quarterly reports from an imaginary universe. I think it has broader ramifications than that, particuarly when it comes to economies such as that of Second Life and Entropia Universe, which are explicitly tied to real-world currencies. Though Second Life pushes itself as a place where real money can be earned, it has consistently done a very poor job of making any useful economic information available. Its reports don’t resemble traditional economic and business reports, and in any case lack clear explanation of their methodology. They’re useful as far as they go, but they don’t go nearly far enough — which is an inexcusable state of affairs for a place that’s advertised as a capitalist paradise. The presence of EVE’s new economist should provide at least some distant motivation for Second Life to get its economic act together."

read full article at 3pointD: EVE Online Raises Bar on Virtual Economics.

Also read on 3 pointD:
"Huge global marketing and communications company Publicis and big 3D design company Dassault have teamed up on a new plugin-based 3D browser tool called 3dswym, which will “offer a collaborative Web-based platform allowing marketers to connect directly to consumers in order to jointly create and adapt new consumer goods and new retail environments using advanced Web and 3D tools.”

read full article at 3pointD: Publicis and Dassault Dive In for a 3dswym.


Nick Wilson at Metaversed is keeping his eyes open as well

Metaversed reports on Cyworld
"According to GameStudy.org SK Communications, the company behind the massive online community of Cyworld recently merged with Empas, Korea's largest search engine. A quick look at SK Communications' revenue profile for 2006 shows that Cyworld is their biggest earner, having cleared them US$80 million last year. The sale of virtual assets beat out both advertizing and the sale of real-world assets via e-commerce. This is a clear demonstration of the potential of the micro-payment model in social networks of all kinds."

and on NGI:
"Network Game Interaction (NGI), a two-year old company specializing in ad insertion into both MMOG and casual games, has just secured US$10 Million in first-round venture capital funding from GSR Ventures. Currently NGI places ads in about 50 top Chinese online games, claiming a 70% coverage of the gaming populace."

read the full article at Metaversed: NGI Secures US$10 Million In VC

and even more on China:
"The most public argument for this would be Cyworld China. Since launching in June 2005 they've reached 3 million subscribers and are growing by 15,000 a day. Add to this Tencent's QQ with its half a billion registered users, and you have an audience that is accustomed to purchasing virtual items and "forming deeper connections via immersive environments."

read the full article at Metaversed: Is China's Virtual World Space About to Go Super Nova?


Tish Shute has made another one of her famous lengthy and thorough reports, which as always is filled to the brim with the latest need to knows.

"I met Eolus McMillan from Implenia on Second Life yesterday. And, I heard the extraordinary story of how creative minds from different backgrounds, IBM, SAP, Wago, Zumtobel and Implenia amongst others, have come together to make a major leap towards 3D internet. The fruits of this collaboration will be unveiled on July 6th, on Second Life. The picture above shows a birds eye view of EOLUS One on Second Life."

Read the full article at Ugotrade: EOLUS Makes Leap To 3D Internet On Second Life

Ambling in Second Life

Finally there's a nice message at Aleister Kronos' Ambling in Second Life blog -again on the Virtual World business in China -
"I came across an article in the Asia Times, that you might find interesting. It concerns the burgeoning appetite - and market - for 3D virtual worlds in China. Rather than focusing on the Mindark deal, which will see Entropia entering the marketplace, it looks in more detail at the (for me) more intriguing prospect of HiPiHi. This is a "home grown" Chinese virtual world, still in Beta test, that apparently bears uncanny similarities to Second Life (although no decision has yet been taken concerning the implementation of an inworld currency)."

Read the full article on Ambling in Second Life: China and Virtual Worlds

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Monday, June 25, 2007

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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Sunday, June 03, 2007

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.

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Faasen%20en%20Partners/128/128/0

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

BMW - Flying a molecule of water

This was first posted on my Slambling blog.

After sorting out some teething problems, BMW have finally got their "energy efficiency" flying machine in full working order - and it's been worth the wait. Unfortunately, you can't just go and grab a copy for yourself. You have to arrange a test flight by contacting the tireless Munich Express (his girlfriend must be getting seriously p*ssed off with him by now!), who will sort you out.

Here's a couple of piccies of the flying machine - I call it that, because I can't think of a better expression, although the term rather conjures up images of the Wright Brothers, rather than a sleek Sc-Fi beast like this. If you look closely, you will see letter "H" on the 2 engine pods, while the pilot's pod is, one hopes, a place where s/he can breathe (so that'll be Oxygen then). Putting this all together, we end up with H2O... so we have a water-powered(?) vehicle, using Hydrogen as the actaul fuel. Nice model, huh?

Yeah... but how does it feel to fly? I'm usually really crap when it comes to operating machinery. This rule applies in RL as well as SL - but SL is particularly challenging. So it was with some trepidation that I took the helm. I found the H2O to be responsive without being to "jinky", and when I put the pedal to the metal, it went like a bat out of Hell. So that's the BMW brand preserved then. :-)

It also sped across the linked sims without a hiccup. I've had awful problems in the past with vehicles attempting to cross sim boundaries - but this little beauty took no notice of such inconveniences. And that meant I was able to get much more out of the flight. It was actually quite thrilling (I lead a quiet life), though next time I will use Mouselook mode - which should be awesome.

Two comparisons flashed through my mind as I was razzing about in this beastie. The first was the German rocket plane the ME-163, in that the H2O is small and incredibly fast; the second was the Schneider Trophy, as my flight involved flying low across the sea and low-lying islands in a single-seat plane with 2 dangly pod things.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sogeti vs. Cap Gemini

Healty competition is not alien to both IT companies which are sister-corps. Sogeti is Cap's red, warm, passionate label. So no battle, not even competition here, but the MindBlizzard blog will possibly see little change next week.

I'll be enjoying a very welcomed short holiday break next week, somewhere without newspapers, without IM's, blogs, feeds and podcasts and without virtual worlds. To feed the hungry, Aleister Kronoss, a cap geminite and quality blogger, will try to keep posting some interesting stuff here.

Aleister, have fun ;)

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dutch Reallife Real Estate immersed

As often is the case, it was Aleister Kronos who pointed me towards the new sim webbatach stating it had something to do with the town of Koolhoven. The town name was totally unfamiliar to me, so I went in to see what it's all about.

It turns out to be that Koolhoven is the name of a new residential area on the borders of the town of Tilburg in North-Brabant (it seems like Brabant is really going into SL as there are sims called Tilburg, Eindhoven and Brabantstad).

So the sim is an impression of the new residential area and has been set up by the participating Real Estate brokers. It will give (potential) buyers some time to get the look and feel of the home that still needs to be build. A great thing really if you have mod-rights to the house so you can do some decorating yourself, change the color of the ceiling, adding a new wallpaper etcetera, and of course, move around with your furniture to see if it all fits in.

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Dutch polder virtual seas

Aleister Kronos from Ambling in Second Life has been blogging his travels in the Metaverse for some time now. During his travels he spotted many new sims and had some nice scoops. Since earlier this year he has noted that several Dutch companies, towns and universities have come to Second Life. From an SL point of view, they're most welcome to add to the community, from an RL point of view, Aleister is getting a little frustrated that one after the other Dutch sim opens up while the UK, his hometurf, is lagging severly.

A short wrap up:

  1. Damanicorp (SL Content Creators)
  2. Lost in the Magic Forest (SL Content Creators)
  3. SLionhead (SL Content Creators)
  4. Randstad (Job agency)
  5. Content (Job agency)
  6. ABN AMRO (banking)
  7. ING (banking)
  8. BNN (television)
  9. Avro (television)
  10. Talpa (television)
  11. Nextstrategy (advertising)
  12. Heineken (beer)
  13. Philips (electronics, consumer goods)
  14. Aegon (insurance)
  15. In Holland (education)
  16. TU Delft (education)
  17. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (education)
These are just a few of the noteworthy virtual escapades of the Dutch, there are a lot more. Some of these like Heineken, Aegon and InHolland are still under construction, or at least not accessible to public, but already give rise to speculation.


So why are the Dutch so apt to get immersed? Here are some likely and unlikely possibilities:

  1. The Netherlands is too densely populated, so it's obvious they're looking out to polder new areas.
  2. The Dutch have too much spare time on their hands.
  3. The Dutch are very jealous. If your neighbor has a big car, then you need to have a bigger one. If your neighbour has a big sim, make sure yours is bigger.
  4. The Netherlands is tired of IT domination coming from the US and needs to show we dig this immersive thingy.
  5. Being a traditional nation of Merchants, it's only logical for the Dutch to spot potentially profitable new markets.
  6. The Dutch have always had an international horizon. Being able to communicate in different languages gives them an advantage in utilising Second Life's potential.
  7. The Dutch hate travelling (since the Netherlands is so small everything is in walking distance), so Teleports are a relief.
  8. Nothing ever happens in good ole Holland, so Second Life gets a whole lot of attention in the media.

Truth is, I don't know. It might be nice to get a complete list of Dutch virtual ventures and it may also be worth doing some market research on this.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

VIrtual Dutch Tourism and GLR

While researching the new build for Grafisch Lyceum Rotterdam (GLR) I came across the SL Toerisme site - a useful, and growing, pointer to a number of Dutch Second Life locations of all types. Mind you, it has not given me any further insight into the state of the build at GLR, most of which is not open to casual ramblers like me.

There is a building decked out with "Grand Opening" banners that is accessible - but I could not find any information as the whether the event was in the past, or is yet to be held. The general state of the build would suggest to me that there is more work to be done, but much of the island has already been constructed.

Presumably as a means of covering some of the costs, GLR are renting out small parcels of land. I will leave it to you to translate the notecard:

GLR Campus Woning - huurovereenkomst Iedere student van het GLR kan een GLR campuswoning huren die beschikbaar is voor verhuur. Gegevens woningen:
Wekelijkse huur: L$500,- Aantal prims: 351 Oppervlakte: 1536m2
Wekelijkse huur: L$300,- Aantal prims: 234 Oppervlakte: 1024m2
Wekelijkse huur: L$150,- Aantal prims: 117 Oppervlakte: 512m2

Studenten die een functie op het eiland hebben en één van de genoemde woningtypen huren krijgen bij hun wekelijkse uitkering een woonvergoeding van L$300,00, bovenop hun normale vergoeding (afhankelijk van functie)
De eilandbeheerder is ten alle tijden gerechtigd de huurovereenkomst niet te verlengen, dan wel te verbreken. Hiervoor moeten dringende redenen aanwezig zijn.

All of this leads me to conclude that the site is not yet officially open for business.

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

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Level 3

I've been pottering about in SL this evening, in a rather random, aimless fashion. I read that Coca Cola launches officially in SL tomorrow, but I couldn't find any useful location, and I think I will have to wait a good while yet before anything starts happening on the cluster of Tokyo islands. So I just mooched about, until I came across Level 3. I have spotted this one before, but it's the first time I've tried to gain access for a while and, lo & behold, I got in.

Level 3 Communications (to give the full company name), based in Broomfield, Colorado, operates one of the largest communications and Internet backbones in the world. They "offer a comprehensive portfolio of network offerings that spans Internet Protocol (IP) services, broadband transport, colocation services, and patented Softswitch-based managed modem and voice services." And they are yet another comms company to set up shop is Second Life.

The island is only part-complete. There is a rudimentary "backbone" with a number of functioning slideshows that give you background on their products and services, and music is tuned to an internet African Music radio station (nice bit of soukous).

The far end of the backbone structure is given over to the "Broadband Theatre". I notice the English spelling here - hmmmm... curious. But aside from a few seating areas, and the start of an auditorium(?) there's not a great deal here as yet, although there are clear signs of work in progress.

The builders are coreaudiovisual, based in Santa Monica and Saint Louis, so I really don't get the spelling noted above - though as a Brit, it is nice to see. Given the relative immaturity of the island it is not really fair to critique it. It is simply not clear what ideas will be implemented here. At present, it is the basics one would expect (some meeting spaces and some weblinks) but I have no idea where it will go from here.

(from Ambling in Second Life)

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Friday, April 13, 2007

IBM megacomplex

Since february 2007 IBM has pushed sim after sim into their growing continent.
Here's the current sattelite map. At least 16 of these sims are IBM. Most of the work on these sims is done by the Electric Sheep Company.

Aide from these BigBlue sims, there is a cluster of several other sims that could be shared into the IBM PMWIN project which Google tells me is IBM PartnerWorld Industry Networks, No, I haven’t the faintest idea what this is, either. However, I did stumble upon this description at another IBM PWIN website which says PartnerWorld will allow partners to:
  • Gain access to the best solutions, offerings, and skills to help you win in the marketplace.
  • Quick and easy Web access to valuable IBM benefits and resources
  • Competitive advantage in industries, services and solutions
  • Increased opportunity to generate awareness and leads
  • Teaming for success to deliver the expertise to meet client needs
It will be interesting to see where the development goes. Most parts are unaccesible right now, but here and there you might get in. The pics below are from the island IBM1 where a huge primmy sphere hovers on top of a shakespeare-theatre like foundation.

Probably one could write tons of blogs about IBM, here's a few by our guestwriter Aleister Kronos:
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/IBM%20CODESTATION/134/121/67

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Thursday, April 12, 2007


A warm welcome to two friends of mine, Aleister Kronos, a notorious bloggernaut http://slambling.blogspot.com/ from the UK. Aleister spends his inworld time as a traveller and is usually one of the first people to spot new company sims. To avoid copy pasting from his blog in this dog-eat-dog world of exposure, it is nice to have him on board to share his views with us.

And secondly a warm welcome Lordfly Digeridoo, a long time resident of Second Life.

Aside from being a student (Majoring in Sim City and Minoring in Google Earth) he is a very prolific contractor for Millions of Us, having done over 70 large projects such as Nova Albion, Toyota Scion City and many many more. Because of his widespread presence in SL it's best to have him on board as well and receive first hand insights on some builds.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Virtual Weather

Is there anything more exciting than talking about the weather? Being Dutch, the usual talk about the weatherconditions is kinda boring. I'm tired of all those rainy days, I hate cold and can't wait for summer to kick in (though preferably without tropical temperatures.

Alas, I can't control Real Life weather, but on the Epic Condition sims, extreme weather is a challenge!

So what's it all about? Well, Epic Conditions is a new show from the Weather Channel, that describes itself as "your daily shot of weather adrenaline!" The programme airs on the Weather Channel every Sunday at 9:00pm ET/PT from March 4th to April 1, which, if I'm not mistaken, makes it rather less than a daily shot of weather adrenaline.

The concept of the show is to tie extreme sports to weather information - a laudable aim, though whether it will drag in the punters is another matter. And so to the SL island. In effect,the island is divided into 5 zones - one per sim.The hub is the main Weather sim, with a reception area, a number of video screens and links off to webpages. To the West of this is the Surf zone, where you can sit by a beach bar and watch surfers play among the mighty waves that crash majestically onto the shore. At least, I assume that's the theory. Unfortunately, owing to the limitations of the SL programming environment these look less like waves, and more like giant blue mittens, pawing their way towards you. Somewhere along the line, my adrenaline level dropped off, and I took advantage of the lifeguard's chair to have a Hasselhoff Moment to myself.

Special thanks to Aleister Kronos.

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