Dutch Banker goes Supermodel
- 5.881 mails to Yvette
- 25.901 chatsessions with the girls
- 44.305 visits to the Rabobank office
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:
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.
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 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:
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"
Last night I finally had time to slip into one of the Philips Design meetups. Due to scheduling issues I hadn't been able to attend before so I was glad I finally had the chance to meet up with the Philips Design Crew.
It was quite a session, over 2.5 hours of full-scale brainstorm on 3 topics, giving me over 14 pages of textlog to read back and condence. This will be a post in bits and pieces I think.
The sessions are titled "Designing the Future" and today's introduction was given by Centrasian Wise, one of Philips Design's inworld evangelists.
"We plan to have a series of interesting discussions with you and these discussions will be about …. the future! As we say in the panels at the top there, we don’t want to predict the future, we want to design it, or rather co-design it with people, with you.
In the next few months we will be holding a series of meetings here in SL to share our ideas and our work but also to learn what you think about them. The meeting today is an introduction to this new series."
Philips themselves have been thinking about the future themselves for some time now;
"Already for some years now Philips Design is carrying a design research program called Design Probes. It is an in-house future research program that explores what new lifestyles and people behaviors might emerge in the future and under 'future' we mean 2020 for these discussions. This program was set up to identify long term social changes and to anticipate changes in future lifestyles. It's far enough to already expect changes, but still foreseable.
So, we study new and emerging technology, socio-cultural trends and possible effects of political, economic and environmental changes.
Based on this knowledge, we then design a number of ‘probes’, or visionary concepts we call 'Probes'.
They reflect our understanding of potential futures, but also provoke and challenge existing assumptions. For example, our Design Probe Program wants to challenges the notion that our lives are automatically better because they are more digital.So, In the coming weeks we will present some of the results of this program."
Since Philips is a technology and digital gadgetting firm, that last remark shouts profit driven motivation. Or is there a more social spark driving the Probes?
"You'll have to see in the coming weeks whether it is technology-drive or people-driven :)."
Just like any good traditional sermon, this brainstorm session came in three topics:
Where does it all lead to? Is Philips going into virtual clothing business in Second Life, or are we up to new and exciting adventures with self-thinking or self-guiding boots?
After the the introduction the group split into three smaller groups for some severe brainstorming, almost good enough to call it a MindBlizzard. My little group saw Centrasian himself als moderator and also consisted of Ugotrade blogger Tara5 Oh and Implenia / EOLUS founder and thoughtleader Eolus McMillan and several other residents with backgrounds in Design and Technology as well. This made up for the producing end of the chain, it would have been good to see some from the receiving end (i.e. consumers) in there, so I went a little into skeptical mode.
The question at hand is how technology can augment our senses and the senses of those we communicate and interact with.
The discussion spiraled down to sensor technologies, or as Tara put it:
"I am particularly interested about how sensor/actuator networkscan enhance self expression in hyper connected eletronic environment s in new ways. By that I mean how can the kind of emotional bandwidth these kind of sensor technologies bring to communication be integrated into an immersive social networking environment like SL..... phew that is a bit long winded! But reall what are the interesting ways biometric sensors can be introduced into networked virtual environments?"
Now we don't have to get all creepy about Matrix-like plugins or neuropods from Tad William's Otherland series, or Neil Stephenson's Snowcrash visors. Here's some of the discussion:
[12:11] Tara5 Oh: but id i can't say it here where can I!
[12:11] Centrasian Wise: But would happen if we would add ‘sensing technology’ to our bodies?
[12:12] Centrasian Wise: Enhance it? Amplify?
[12:12] Una Gackt: I hope it would not be our body, but thinking things.
[12:12] Tara5 Oh: well I like the idea of the mutual enhancement of virtual and real environment through biometric sensors could be quite simple
[12:13] Tara5 Oh: like communicating the way you are feeling to a group on online friends
[12:13] Tara5 Oh: could be quite complex and move into the extreme life logging area
[12:13] Centrasian Wise: Like, to show your emotional state?
[12:13] Eolus McMillan: hehe to apply the expression in RL to your avatar in sL
[12:13] Tara5 Oh: yes!
[12:14] Tara5 Oh: and then combine that with some of the special communicative qualities of this eletronice environment
Well that's all folks for today. I'll have to find some time to put up the other two topics, which partly intertwine with the above discussion.
This week's Geek Meet saw a new Gadgeteer episode with a wide variety of speakers.
Fortunately there were some 'technical issues' that caused sound to be unfavorable. Fortunately since it's easier to blog this way.
"To give you a quick intro, The Electric Sheep company has long been known as a consulting company for virtual worlds, but our business goals always included building a consumer software business. Our goal is to create technologies to make virtual worlds easier to use and make information flow more efficiently. We are launching a new brand around these consumer technologies called OnRez, with the first step launching next Tuesday. Shopping has always been important to us, which is why we bought SLBoutique in early 2006, but while we focused on our consulting business SLBoutique was neglected. That changed early this year when we looked closely at the technology and decided we needed to overhaul the entire SLBoutique system. On tuesday we're launching Shop OnRez. Our goal overall is to make shopping easier wherever you are, and to make life a lot easier for the small businesses of SL."
Next up is Metamart's Robbie Kiama, a Geek-Meet regular and dedicated twitterati.
"Let me first tell you about meta mart and how it was started: First of all we are all about making solutions, I hope you will agree with me that back in 2005 it was hard to find stuff in SL because you had to Travel all the places to search for quality items and that's when the idea came - to do a Store that walks up to you and not vice versa. So In 2006 we introduced I think a revolutionary system - Store on a HUD, it was slow and laggy. Since then we have thought aA LOT, did lot of research and figured out - that Search is greatly needed.
In 2007 Januuary we introduced the first Store in a HUD that allows SEARCH, in 2007 march we thought that Comunity is extremely important and introduced MEta MArt with Comunity Ratings. So TODAY we are releasing new solution and I think this will be extremely great for the comunity. I hope you will agree with me - that one of the most fun things in Second Life is Seeing cool places and I think finding one isn't that easy of a task. So we are introducing a new service: metaTravel."
Today's third speaker was Anjin Meili, one of the Sculpt guru's of Second Life, driving home a "Sim in a Prim" message.
"When I first jumped on the Grid, I felt that having a model of a parcel I was building on to be highly valuble. My first mapping system first rezzed blocks, 1 for every 4x4 meter parcel, into a chunky lego map looking affair. This was refined to using polygons, but that took two prims for every 4x4 meter parcel. To map a full sim required 10,000 primatives... Not exactly usable for anything more then 'Woohoo!!! Check this out man!'
I recall when I heard about sculpties... I told my wife, Elzbiet, that they would solve my problem. I could use them to create the terrain! I was to young to play on the beta grid though, so had to just wait until they made the main grid. But as soon as they made it, within the first hour, we had our first sculpted maps.
I recall us popping over here to Dr Dobbs island, and using the LSL Logo sandbox to rez a mapping pod and make maps of this Island. The same day Sculpties were released to Second Life. As one cannot make a sculptie on grid, the challange was to provide an easy to use system that integrated with a backend capable of making the finished textures. We worked hard to build such a system, and made the on grid piece so simple, we feel its akin to buying a can of coke. You open the box, pop the top, and when its done, the probe dies and nothing is left but a URL to a finished map sculptie.
Our gadget makes these sculpted maps. Lemmie dig one out and toss it up here real quick. We have a slogan for it: Map your Sim, in just one Prim!"
That was just awesome ! This has to be the übergadget of the year in my opinion, and soon to be available on Electric Sheep's OnRez site for a lousy $L 100.. not even 50 cents in real dough