Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Google Emissions Crunched as Kincaid gets it straight.

Half a forest was burned on the printing presses and a ton of CO2 blasted into orbit as the Times reported yesterday that "Two Google searches needed the same amount of energy to boil a kettle of water." Tons of blogs and newspapers worldwide dove at the news like hungry vultures to dig this story, like I did in the article "Plant a Tree and get a free search" yesterday.Google immediately denied the alledged amounts of pollution, but it was Techcrunch blogger Jason Kincaid who actually managed to get the facts straight.

The quintessence of the story run by the Times was young Harvard physicist Alex Wissner-Gross, who was quoted in saying “that performing two Google searches uses up as much energy as boiling the kettle for a cup of tea”. Kincaid received the article very sceptical and did some proper research.

"Unfortunately, according to Wissner-Gross he never said anything of the sort. For starters, he says he would never refer to any sort of measurement having to do with tea (he’d go with coffee). But his findings have nothing to do with Google as a company, either - they’re concerned with much more generalized stats, like your computer’s rate of CO2 production when you look at a

Wissner-Gross says that the widely circulated 7 gram/search figure came from some other source (he’s not sure where), and notes that if you read the article carefully it only makes it sound like it’s from his data. He has confirmed that he did make some vague statements regarding Google, including “A Google search has a definite environmental impact” and “Google operates huge data centers around the world that consume a great deal of power”. But the “tea kettle” statistic that has been repeated ad nauseum simply isn’t his. After learning of the misleading story, Wissner-Gross says that he contacted The Times and was assured that it would be fixed by Sunday morning. No corrections have been made.?

Kincaid also states that this isn't the first time the Times has gone awry;

This isn’t the first time in recent memory that The Times has been mistaken about a tech story - in late November the newspaper incorrectly reported on a complicated and fictional Yahoo/Microsoft search arrangement.

I remember touching this topic earlier this morning as I wrote that the credit crunch was a healthy wind passing through the traditional media landscape;

The credit crunch might be a blessing to shake that old tree (and save a rainforest in the proces) and force the old newspaper industry to innovate. The world of news and information has changed with the arrivel of web 2.0, called the social web, or conversational web by others. The most heard argument in this case is that bloggers are not trained journalists and are living the fastlane without time to do thorough research and taking time to write indepth stories. Well, there are a few out there that prove you wrong. And if that's the case, why not skip daily newspapers and let the bloggers and televesion do the daily news and create more indepth research magazines?

I think the research by Kincaid proves the old media wrong. It's bloggers who get the facts straight and not trained journalists with years and years of field experience and editors to double check.

In short, we all stand corrected. Google's footprint is down a little bit, but the main focus of my article yesterday still stands:

The only problem is.... Google and every other major player on the market is either American or China based, which means they don't really give a **** about the environment. Despite Al Gore and every greenie in the States, every environmental deal is blocked by the United States in favor of economic growth. Where did that bring us? It only brought global crisis. America has blocked deals like the Kyoto protocol so it could continue to produce supersized cars. It has only killed innovation and the United States are now putting billions of dollars into an outdated automotive industry. Cars are too big, engines to polluting for the present day world. No wonder nobody's buying anymore.

Read the full Techcrunch article here.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Credit Crunch speeds new media revolution

It's time for Change was the slogan used by Barack Obama in his election campaign. And indeed the winds of change are shaking the dust world wide in the wake of the Credit Crunch. Not the change desired by Obama, but change it is. 24/7 Wall Street reports that at least 12 major US newspapers are set for closure in the coming months.

No one working in the media industry will ever have seen a year as bad as 2009 will be. The sharp slide in advertising began in 2008, and, based on the worsening economy, there is no reason to think that advertising will improve. Most Wall St. analysts have predicted a harsh year for the ad business. If the downturn deepens and unemployment rises above 10% most predictions about media, no matter how negative, will have been unexpectedly optimistic.

The outlook might not be this grim here in the Netherlands, but newspapers are having a hard time over here too. Just yesterday I blogged on how Google should compensate it's CO2 emission and touched the subject of lack of innovation in the american automotive industry. I guess this pretty much is the same story.

Traditional newspaper have stayed traditional. Most of the people working at newspapers are old timers, senior reporters and editors who have grown up with the traditional printing press and have switched to digital offset without really changing their process. Currently I see a lot of traditional publishers in the Netherlands clinging on to their outdated ways, trying to get a little bite of the mobile news market and a little bite of the online marketing chunk without wanting to change their own ways. This is lack of innovation.

The credit crunch might be a blessing to shake that old tree (and save a rainforest in the proces) and force the old newspaper industry to innovate. The world of news and information has changed with the arrivel of web 2.0, called the social web, or conversational web by others. The most heard argument in this case is that bloggers are not trained journalists and are living the fastlane without time to do thorough research and taking time to write indepth stories. Well, there are a few out there that prove you wrong. And if that's the case, why not skip daily newspapers and let the bloggers and televesion do the daily news and create more indepth research magazines?

Last year, the Sogeti research insitute, ViNT, published a book called "Me the Media" in which it describes 3 media revolutions:

  1. The First Media Revolution: type letters and printing press
  2. The Second Media Revolution: electronic mass media
  3. The Third Media Revolution: web media

On the website you'll find excerpts of the book in English. A complete English version will be published sometime februari / march. I'll keep you posted.

The industry has grown with the first revolution and survived the second, but now is crumbling under the onslaught of this third media revolution. It was bound to happen sooner or later, the crunch is just the final push to speed up this third media revolution. It neither is Obama nor the Credit Crunch but a driving force called innovation that is bringing about these winds of change.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Meta Crunch Continues: Reuters bails out too

After the global Credit Crunch, recession kicks in in the metaverse as well. We've seen this one coming a year ago though. After the media hype in 2006/2007 brought dozens of companies into the virtual world of Second Life, the brain drain started in august 2007 when wanna be hotshot marketeers failed to digg how Virtual Worlds worked and companies bailed out of their virtual ventures.

Last week we saw Google pull the plug on its shortlived Lively project and this week saw the bankrupcy of Sun, a Japanese Second Life development company and the Register reports that Reuters pulling out their embedded reporter Adam Pasick. The Reuters Second Life website has been silent since september 30th. This probably won't be a big surprise. The buzz in and around Second Life has died down over the past months. Even I find it hard to find Second Life related news to blog and am straying away to other worlds and I'm not the only one. Here's a selection of my former reading list:

  • Ambling in Second Life has been quiet for four weeks now.
  • Digado has been dead for two months as well.
  • The Belgian Second Life Crew has made its last post in July.
  • Second Life Blogo, once operated by Second Life Development Company Lost in the Magic Forest has even ceased to exist.
  • Dutch SL Community site NL0031 (formerly known as Second Life NL) has been silent since July.

A number of CEO's from virtual worlds have said to me that Second Life may have done the Virtual World industry a bad service while trying to ride that wave of media and corporate attention which now results in not just a fading hype, but the start of a real Meta Crunch. They may have a point, but in my opinion this is a needed shake-out. The space is getting too overpopulated with hundreds of startups trying to get a piece of the pie without bringing innovation into the arena. We've passed the "Yet another Social Network" stadium and moved into the "yet Another Social World" phase. Somehow the picture of the "Dungeon Master" came to mind, a wise old game-guide. We might need one to show us the way in the Metaverse and help us out of trouble.

It's turning into a grim story now, with the Metaverse being sucked up into a black hole. The universe had a big bang, exploded, expanded and now contracts again and diminishes into yet another very very niche market. Chris Williams at The Register put it quite boldly:

Last one to leave, turn off the flying penis

I don't think it is that drastic. It's time for a good old shakedown. Get rid of the cowboys that dream of getting rich faster than you can make instant coffee. There's tons of schools, universities and other institutions out there in the Metaverse (including Second Life) who are still exploring, still paving the way for the masses in finding cool, real and usefull applications of Virtual World technology. We just have to be patient. Explore, accept failure, rejoice in small victories. Keep it going. We'll get there, but have a long road ahead in which we must innovate.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Avastar cancelled due to success ?

Yesterday the Avastar, one of the leading newsmagazines for the Second Life community said Goodbye World.


The AvaStar says goodbye

By: Regis Braathens & Leider Stepanov

Dear AvaStar Readers,

It was nearly two years ago that The AvaStar broke new ground in world media by publishing a tabloid newspaper wholly dedicated to the virtual world of Second Life.
The PDF-based newspaper was launched in December 2006 as an experiment in user-generated content and online communities, and was aimed at finding out more about virtual worlds.

Virtual mission

Thousands of residents and readers made the paper their own by helping The AvaStar bring the best stories and the hottest trends to SLers. In doing so, The AvaStar gained a readership of tens of thousands of readers from around the globe, who helped to establish it as the number one tabloid newspaper in metaverse.

The AvaStar has now completed its virtual mission – and would like to thank all its readers for their contribution and support. The experience has been both fascinating and rewarding for The AvaStar and its parent company BILD.de, which will continue to track the development of Second Life and other virtual worlds. With the websites The-AvaStar.com and AvaStar.de soon to go offline, this week we will be taking a look back at some of the best stories and photos that made the pages of The AvaStar over the last 22 months.

Best regards
Regis Braathens and Leider Stepanov and the whole AvaStar team.

I don't get it. It's been a succesfull paper, written by passionate people, or was it driven by a traditional newspaper? Yes, the force behind the AvaStar has been the German Bild.de, but written by passionate people, people with love for the Metaverse and the community on Second Life. Now the parent company pulls the plug. Why? Because it wasn't making a profit?

I mean, mission succesfull. What does that mean? In these days when traditionally printed papers and magazines drop in copies day by day, having to be creative to find means to survive and break even, the AvaStar has quickly found a wide community of readers. They have done what none of the Bild titles have done in Real Life. The rewards is the plug is pulled and the ship is sunk.

How about letting it live on? Crowdsource it, let the residents continue, whatever, but I don't dig a story that says: We'll stop because we've been successful. I must admit, the AvaStar has never been of top quality in depth journalism, but on the whole it was a good read to see what was going on in the community. It has been my primary source of intel on new business builds in Second Life for more than a year.

What's your opinion of the AvaStar and it's saying goodbye?

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hotspot Shield as your own Television Decoder

Regularly someone tells me about new television series which are out in the United States and aren't shown in the Netherlands. Usually I visit the website of the broadcasting company, like NBC or FOX to see what the series is about. About every show has its website with information on episodes and the cast. Almost every website offers the option to view the shows as well...

Only in America though. Viewing the series is only possible if you live in the USA, access from other countries is blocked. This nuisance is called geoblocking:

"Geoblocking is a technology that is used to prevent access to web sites from visitors in particular countries or regions.

At the moment it is mainly used by traditional broadcast companies who are moving their television, radio and music content online. Because of distribution contracts with the producers of these programmes many broadcast web sites limit access to people with in their own country.

Whenever a person connects to the internet, their computer or mobile device is assigned what is called an IP address. This is a sequence of numbers in the form The IP address is assigned to you by the internet service
provider (ISP) that you are connecting through and these in turn are assigned to the ISP in blocks. It is therefore possible to say that a particular IP address is from a particular country or even city.

Site owners that want to use geoblocking simply choose to only allow access to a particular range of IP addresses or to block certain ranges.

This type of location based services can also be used to serve alternative content (e.g. with advertising) instead of just blocking the visitor." (Definition Web Dictionary)

The Hotspot Shield offers a way out. The application was designed to make your pc safer when you are accessing the internet from public places. To prevent you from being hacked it opens a VPN connection to the hotspot-shield server - which is USbased - and uses that as a gateway. So suddenly you're US-based and can view every television series you like.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, March 29, 2008

exitSL Avastar Recap

The new Linden Lab Trademark policies have caused a row amongst bloggers and citizens of Second Life. Allthough the actual legal impact may not be as big as feared at first sight, it still is a fuzz and the manner in which in was announced has certainly caused havoc. The exitSL logo I created to express my 'frustration' made it to this weeks' Avastar (Issue # 67).

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Immersive Shopping at Weltbild.de

Purely by accident I landed on a sim called 'Weltbild'. Not only the name is German, also the style of the build: A surplus of white. Every German build in Second Life seems to display an absense of color. A color which is used as support-color for the build is a deep red, a combination which reminded me of the Avastar build.

The island is owned by the Weltbild Publishing Group, which is a major German publisher and media retailer, owned by the dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church of Germany, based in Augsburg (see also Augsburg in SL) and now in Second Life as well.

"As of 2006, Weltbild claims to be Germany's largest media and mail-order company, with a market share of ten percent. It also says it is No. 2 among online book retailers (presumably after Amazon.de). Weltbild employs some 4,500
employees and has a revenue of 1,4 billion EUR. According to the enterprise, some 5,5 million customers in the German-speaking countries buy Weltbild books by mail order, in one of the 300 Weltbild shops or over the Internet. Its
mail-order catalogue has a print run of four million.".

The island is another tropical beach setting, like many builds from the rainy North-European continent, today I don't mind however. The weather outside is indeed shitty and I can use some sunshine.

The Avastar association is perhaps more than coincidental, as the islands auditorium is showing a movie auditioning contest in cohoots with the Avastar newspaper.

The main venue of the island consists of three shops:

  1. Film
  2. Books
  3. Music

The thing I like about these shops is that they're not only plain links to the Weltbild website, but also offer trailers you can watch with your friends so it really is a first step towards immersive shopping.

Immersive movies:

Despite my prejudice about German builds I like the quality of the build. There are a few unnecessary things, like a telescope pointing to nowhere and a totally lost 3D tetris game though.

I wonder if the build will be revamped with the new html-on-a-prim technology, making direct interaction with their webshop possible.

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Weltbild/128/128/0

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Nokia: Connecting Communities

Many telecom companies have ventured into Second Life in the past year. Usually they've played with the environment without much success. Once I noticed the Nokia sim and went over for a quick visit, my first impression was that it wasn't much different then what the other Telco's have done. The longer I stayed, the more positive I got though.

There are several Nokia Islands to be found, usually the Nokia-Siemens combination, but these aren't accessible. yet. This blog will focus on the Nokia island, in a later stadium I may blog Nokia Italia, which focusses on the Nokia Trendlabs.

"Nokia Corporation is a Finnish multinational communications corporation, focused on wired and wireless telecommunications, with 112,262 employees in 120 countries, sales in more than 150 countries and global annual revenue of 51.058 billion euros as of 2007. It is the world's largest manufacturer of mobile telephones: its global device market share was about 40% in Q4 of 2007. Nokia produces mobile phones for every major market segment and protocol, including GSM, CDMA, and W-CDMA (UMTS).

Nokia's subsidiary Nokia Siemens Networks produces
telecommunications network equipments, solutions and services.

Nokia plays a very large role in the economy of Finland: it is by far the largest Finnish company, accounting for about a third of the market capitalization of the Helsinki Stock Exchange (OMX Helsinki) as of 2007. "

The first thing I received on the island which opened in february was a notecard which read:

Welcome to Nokia Island!

Have fun and relax!

Visit the beach and take a swim, and get a yourself a brand new free Jetski!


Enjoy the spectacular experience of being inside a real Holodeck.


You can view some models is the shop, from where you can 'Zoom in' on the object in the designated productrooms. Use the Shop sign to return to the store.

(Note the immense typo in the virtual devices part - I know my blog isn't typo-free, but this is a corporate build, come on!)

The second thing I saw was the Auditorium Maximus (left), which didn't really impress me. With this mindset I turned towards the Nokia shop (right) and thought it to be just one of those things.

Inside the shop it got a little better. On the ground floor it focussed on the usual promotion stuf, but it offered huds and flying phones as well.

The second floor has a phonestand in which you can give feedback on the various models

When I walked out of the shop, my view was largely blocked by a large peacock, which stood in front of a rental sign. "Oh no... not rentals," was my first thought.

Then suddenly I noticed the virtual representation of the Burj Al Arab, the world's tallest hotel.in Dubai, which had several empty floors, several Nokia branded offices (mainly Scope Cleaver Design) and finally I noticed a MetaLife office. Here I got my first impression that they are really trying to fit their slogan "Connecting People" to this virtual world.

With that in mind I suddenly looked upon the build with new eyes. The whole of the sim is set up as a beach resort with various huts and bars along the inner lake. Although the main landmark is the Burj al Arad from Dubai, the statues from Easter Island dominate the scenery. The beachhuts are filled with benches, fireplaces and jacuzzi's to meet up. The sitting animations are always in couples. It's about connecting people, not sitting alone.

Finally, I took a ride with the Jetski and noticed a Greenie on the sim as well.

It wasn't really busy at the sim, so I can't really tell if it's a big success. To me it looks like they've managed to take their presence a step beyond their competition, but I don't know if it will be enough to really start connecting communities. It will probably depend on the type and frequency of events they will plan at the island.

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Nokia/128/128/0

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Philip Rosedale at the Davos conference

One of the hottest tech events these days is the World Economic Forum in Davos. Through twitter I've received a lot of updates, especially through Robert Scobleizer's stream. Seems like things get pretty seesmic over there.

One of the interesting points from a Second Life point of view was Adam Pasick of Reuters' interview with Philip Rosedale, CEO of Linden Labs. The interview touched some interesting topics and even though Philip tried his best to stay as political as possible, some to the point questions resulted in some interesting answers (as summarized by Digado)

…HTML in Second Life

“Maybe, quite possibly in the next couple of months. Not on the main grid but in a close to ‘finished’ state so…. May 2008. Definitely.”

…People leaving second Life soon after Signing Up

On the question whether Philip regrets seeing so many people leave Second Life close after they signed up he told Adam he did. He tells us he would have loved to step in a time machine, go back, and change things before they left. But he also says the problem was or is twofold. One is obviously the software, Linden Labs ‘part of the deal’ - and then there is the community, responsible for the content of Second Life. The content of Second Life wasn’t appealing enough to these people either to keep them from leaving, but he is confident this will change in the future as he talks about media the media coverage of 2006.

…the media hype

Philip goes on to say the media has created a ‘too pretty picture’ - thats why many people came into Second Life to early, and left when they were faced with disappointment. Second Life has not been able to live up to the High expectations but Philip was confident these people will return once they find Second Life offers more applications, and is able to meet at least some of these users in their expectations. He continues to say we will see more Hype Cycles because of this every 12 to 18 months for the next 5 years.


Sounds like Prokofy has been calling in, and Philip says: I don’t care. Well spoken Philip.

…Copyright issues

Technical rights management is not too difficult, he claims it is within the range of Linden Labs capabilities at the moment. What will take time is to implement these rules and get them right. He wants to make certain he doesn’t underestimate the issue of ‘Content Right Control’ and is well aware Linden Labs is on an experimental level here.

The complete interview can be found on Reuters and is well worth a listen.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Phil's pick on Virtual Business

Wednesday, January 9 Philip Rosedale wrote Year-end Updates, and thanks for the Emmy! on the Second Life blog. One particular paragraph interested me:

"There has been lots of speculation and skepticism in the media regarding the success that businesses are having in-world. I’d like to point out that most of the most visible media coverage has focused narrowly on attempts to use SL
for brand marketing.

In reality, the majority of the business use we are seeing now in SL is focused on meetings and collaboration, and is rapidly increasing as more companies discover the efficiencies and unique capabilities that working together in a virtual world can offer. As I’ve said in the past, I think Second Life is going through a natural evolution which mirrors other new communications mediums, as individual early adopter usage shifts to include education and work collaboration. As far as we can tell, education and work use is now growing at a larger relative rate than the overall growth of SL, so we can expect to see lots more of it in-world."

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

CSI (1) D-Day for Second Life

It's october 24th, which means D-Day for Second Life stability. Today's the day that CSI New York will immerse into Second Life. Among the Second Life establishment the hour of truth brings about mixed feelings.

Everyone with a media background is looking forward to this event with great anticipation and anxiety. By putting Second Life (and virtual worlds in general) right in the spotlight of the world's largest (US$ 6billion) television show, bringing it to the homes of 16 million people at once today is a day that could potentially change the future of both the entertainment and the virtual world industry.

Everyone with a background in testing, infrastructure and risk management is looking forward to this event, while holding their breath or saying their prayers (except risk managers don't pray, they'd have fall-back scenario's) questioning if Second Life is ready to perform today. A normal will see about 45K concurrent logins. What if an additional 25K out of the 16 million viewers decides to check out Second Life within the hour after the show has ended?

As usual, the early bird catches the worm. Here's part of Aleister's thoughts on tonights moment of truth:

There's not much to say about this really. In my view, it is an interesting experiment but the lack of maturity and stability of virtual worlds like Second Life means this is happening far too early. Perhaps in another 12-18 months.

We will see.As I don't follow the show, or have any interest in it, I am not best positioned to judge the merits or otherwise of the gameplay - which looks fairly
straightforward to my eye. I have to say that the in-yer-face shameless promotion of Cisco I find particularly jarring. But then, I like to be seduced by advertising, not beaten about the head with it.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, October 21, 2007

New York and Virtual Entertainment - it's a Meme Thing

Every so often I pick up on a common theme running across Second Life. In the past it's included "German cities" and "virtual recruitment". These themes or memes (as I prefer to misuse the term), though no doubt long in the conceptualising, seem to burst forth in a spookily synchronous fashion at a number of locations. Perhaps the hottest meme of Autumn 2007 is also the most complex that I've seen to date: New York and Virtual Entertainment.

Within the space of only a few weeks, 2 of Second Life's major construction and consulting companies - Electric Sheep Company (ESC) and Millions of Us(MOU) - will have launched 3 different models of New York to vie for your attention. Furthermore, each of these is tied in with the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry.

So let's consider the options:

New York #1

First up, we have ESC's "I Am Legend" site, designed to tie in with a movie of the same name, that is due for release by Warner Bros in mid-December. The movie trailer suggests to me a remake of the old Charlton Heston sci-fi classic(?) "The Omega Man," though it seems both are derived from a 1954 science fiction novel by Richard Matheson. In the new movie, Will Smith plays the last surviving human in New York following the release of a rather nasty man-made virus. His only companion is his faithful pooch. Unfortunately for him, the city is also populated by mutants, who are not that keen on him having the run of the town. It's a classic "man vs mutant" tale.

As part of the marketing for the movie, ESC and Warner Bros have launched the biggest (movie tie-in) game yet seen in Second Life. It has its own orientation zone for newcomers, together with a game orientation zone where you can opt to play human, dog, mutant or mutant mutt. You should then undergo a set of training exercises before you reach the bridge that takes you over into the game zone of New York itself. Being a self-confessed coward I made my excuses and left at this point. No SLURL for this - but if you use MAP SEARCH and look for "IAL" you won't go far wrong. Oh... nice textures by the way... if a bit laggy.

New York #2

Next, and also from ESC comes the interworld game / programme / entertainment behemoth of CSI:NY. This was blasted all over the recent Virtual Worlds 2007 Conference, and launches in Second Life on 24th October. Bookies are still taking bets on the exact moment that the grid will crash. In an Omega Man kind of way, I may be the only person left on the planet who has not seen, and is not particularly interested in, CSI:NY. However, this is ground-breaking stuff for virtual worlds, where the linear narrative of the Real Life TV show intermingles with the gameplay and narrative in Second Life to produce some kind of Ultimedia extravaganza.

If you want a more complete story about this, you are best off popping along to Ugotrade, which has reams of top notch info for you.

Not only will there be orientation zones and game sims, but to make life easier for newcomers to Second Life, the Sheep are also launching their own, browser-based viewer: OnRez. Personally, I might give CSI:NY a miss - but I'm looking forward to trying the new viewer. For many of us this might solve some of issues we have with the standard Second Life viewer. A number of my colleagues, for example, are unable to run SL on their work-supplied laptops owing to issues of memory and, more often, graphics driver compatibility. This might be the solution.

New York #3

The third version of New York comes courtesy of MOU. This is a virtual version of 7 square blocks of the Upper East Side, and has been built as a tie-in with "Gossip Girls" on behalf Warner Brothers and the CW Network. This is described as a teen drama, based on a novel series of the same name. An article in wikipedia describes it thus: "Gossip Girl revolves around the lives of socialite young adults growing up on New York's Upper East Side who attend elite academic institutions while dealing with sex, drugs, and other teenage issues." Yeah...well... whatever.

The show first aired in the USA on 19th September, 2007 - followed a day later by its launch in Second Life. In a blog post dated 20th September, MOU boss, Reuben Steiger, said: "[soon] we will start a very interesting social game that will take place in the city." More recently MOU announced The Gossip mobile, a heads up display that lets you to see the style, coolness rating and status of the people around you. Here's a video tutorial if you find this to be this season's must-have accessory. Hmmm...

So there you go... 3 New Yorks for you to explore, play in and reach your own conclusions.

First posted at Ambling in Second Life.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, August 09, 2007

EMI / Virgin and more Japanese Stuff

Al 'superscooper' Kronos and I have made several trips to the Asian parts of Second Life, as we both look forward to welcoming millions of new residents bringing new culture and business to Second Life.

A major new arrival is EMI music / Virgin music Japan which is a hovering platform with two piers filled with small booths where recommended artists are shown and a gallery in the main building.
More can be found on Al's blog in this post

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Aoyama/128/128/0

Then there's my obsession with Suntory. I've visited this sim several times before and first recorded that it laid bare for two months, then saw some first designs appear, then something more and now something else completely.

It doesn't look corporate anymore, but it's certainly becoming a nice build

Just across the sim border there's Intelligence, and on the other side there's a tower branded Color Chips, a Japanese ISP. I'm not sure what these companies are all about, maybe our Japanese readers at Second Life Watch 2 or Metaverse Japan would be kind enough to comment...

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Transformer Barricade

Late last night (European Standards) Liam Kanno of the V3 informed me that the new Transformer avatar Barricade was out. When looking at the map I noticed the new avatar was in popular demand as the sim was filled to the brim.

Thanks to Liam I got my copy through express delivery.

The Transformer sim is a coproduction of V3 group and the Picture Production Company which I've blogged extensively last month.

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Sector7/147/76/163/

Labels: , , , ,

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...

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

When will they get it?

The Dutch PCM Web (Personal Computer Magazine) picks up a story by the LA Times that companies are getting disappointed in Second Life. It is another sign of old media living in total oblivion of what is going on.

"After an enormous hype om Second Life more and more 'experts' are getting sceptic on the added value of Second Life to business. Online visitors aren't big shoppers, but are mainly looking for entertainment" reads the introduction. Where did this come from? There's hardly a real life company to be found in Second Life that's actually selling stuff. If it ain't on offer, we can't buy it.

"Successfully promoting your company inside the virtual world of Second Life shows to be harder than expected. More and more marketing departments conclude that Second Life residents feel like visiting their online stores. "Actually there isn't any convincing reason to be present in Second Life" says Brian McGuinness, a Hotelchain bigshot in the LA times, and thus his company left Second Life"

Most of these 'marketing departments' probably have never seen Second Life from the inside. Many companies just use Second Life as another medium for corporate communication... without understanding it. It's back to the early 90's when serious companies launched crappy (excuse me) Frontpage websites.

In most cases there wont be a ROI (return on investment) indeed for the year to come, or even the year after. When will companies see that Second Life is not a commercial, a product flyer?

There are companies that dig SL though. Have a look at Intel and Cisco giving tech meetings and classes on Java and other skills. take a look at Philips taking surveys, or at ABN Amro organising sponsor events for non profits.

Forrester shows brain!

One of the most telling lines in this article is the following quote: "Analists from Forrester (yay, the big reasearchers) have calculated that at prime time there are only about 35,000 to 40,000 visitors in Second Life"

Okay, prepare for another research paper (usual rates about $ 1.000,- US dollar / hard cash) telling you the same the counter on this webpage -an many many other websites - will show you every single day.

The good news is: You don't even need to pay me L$ 1,000 to get this info.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, July 02, 2007

MSN Video: Follow the Money

Giff Constable of Electric Sheep Company speaks about virtual worlds in CNBC's On The Money segment, "Recruiting Goes Virtual"

Watch the video on MSN

Labels: , , ,

Friday, June 29, 2007

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.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, June 28, 2007

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:

Labels: , , , ,

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 3dutch.com, 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.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, June 16, 2007

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.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, June 14, 2007


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 There.com 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.

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Playboy/128/128/0

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, June 07, 2007

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.

Labels: , , , ,

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?

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

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 : http://www.3pointd.com/20070605/comcast-parachutes-into-second-life/
AL on SkyNews: http://www.3pointd.com/20070605/can-sky-news-rise-to-second-life/
Nic on Comcast : http://www.kzero.co.uk/blog/?p=728
Nic on SkyNews: http://www.kzero.co.uk/blog/?p=658
Me on Comcast : http://blog.mindblizzard.com/2007/06/comcast-plugged-in-sl.html
Me on Skynews: http://blog.mindblizzard.com/2007/05/skynews-hits-virtual-sky.html

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.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

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.

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Comcast/128/128/0

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Inworld Companies 1: The Avastar

In the past weeks we've seen a number of Real Life media companies trying to establish a foothold in the virtual world of Second Life (Channel 4 and Skynews). Now it is time to take a closer look at a new media corp that has immersed from within Second Life: The Avastar.

Lately the Avastar is gaining popularity over older Metaverse newspapers, such as the Second Life Herald or the Metaverse Messenger largely due to it's gossipy, colorful appearance. The sim is no different, it's slick, futuristic and right on the spot.

The sim is build up by several hovering globes, possibly representing the different virtual worlds notion. The design is low on textures, but with a lot more subtility than the German Designs I've blogged. Here it's functional, adding to the overal futuristic impression. Several press rooms, info rooms are set up along the outer rim.

Last but not least on the main Globe, at its core there is a conference room and at the summit a very nice bar to end a night of heavy talking with a good virtual cocktail.

Finally, the other two globes host a luxury pool for exlusive parties and a talkshow set up.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Belgacom softlaunch

Today I stumbled into Belgacom by accident. I've seen this sim on an earlier trip last month, but then I couldn't get in. But this time I could.

According to Alain Gufler, Belgacom's Marketing Manager the sim opened up May 24 and they're now in softlaunch mode to find some User Acceptance. In the past days they've already seen more than 100 visitors, mostly from Spain looking for Football (soccer for our us readers).

To my question if that wasn't a serious image problem, the answer was quite simple. Belgacom isn't sponsoring a football team, but it is one of their cornerstones for their Broadcasting activities, so that's why it's in their search string.
The sim is build radiating from a central point towards 4 domes, representing Belgacoms productlines: Television, Telecom, Mobile and Internet. Pulsing beams across the walkways symbolise their convergence to crossover mobile television and so on.
It was nice to get some personal attention and explanation of the sims build, and though the guided tour is a smooth ride (available in English, Dutch and French), it's a bit of a long stretch at 5 minutes.
Finally there's a maze which will probably take about 10 minutes to figure out first time, top time right now is 2:07. Fastest labyrinth killer will receive some great freebees, as long as they're Belgian residents.
Now, shortly on the build itself. It's a decent build, no prim-jitter and nice fresh colorings. However, while I dig their philosophy on convergence, there's something missing. It misses immediate active participation or something I just can't put my finger on directly.
Last detail is that Belgacom has hired a Belgian Concent Creation company... I forgot to ask which.

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Belgacom%20I/128/128/0

Labels: , , ,

Monday, May 28, 2007

Skynews hits the virtual sky

Yesterday saw the opening of yet another media corp to Second Life, this time it's Sky News. And like Channel 4 it is a Rivers Run Red production, so I was wondering what they'd come up with this time, since the Channel 4 release earned heavy criticism in the blogger community.
Many people I've talked to say a Real Life company should go for a daring, innovative design in a virtual environment and not stick to a RL representation. In this case, they're absolutely wrong. The Sky News sim is rather RL-like, but works a lot better than the C4 sim I just can't relate to.
The Sky sim consist of a large complex in which various stages are set for talkshows, news and weather presentations which could well be very much alike their RL stage. There's a lot to do to, explore and enjoy at the sim, or as Nic at KZero puts it:
"The main aspect of the venue is the virtual Sky News Centre, complete with an audio feed from the RL centre as well as streaming video of Sky News show on the plethora of screens and monitors. Part of the roadmap for this venue is the re-creation of news events and stories and this will be the sweetspot for enabling residents to engage and interact with the news - this is what metaverse marketing applications is all about : Engagement. Another key success factor for metaverse marketing is integration and there’s lots of it here."

The opening of the sim coincides with the Guardian Hay Festival, which explains the extra setup at the back of the main building (picture left). A last nice feat of the sim is a number of fake decorums, like the entrance of 10 Downingstreet (picture right) which leaves you wondering how they do it in RL, especially if you've seen the Wag the Dog movie.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Amsterdam Public Library (OBA)

Early 2007 we have had a lot of commotion on the Dutch town of Zoetermeer entering Second Life, being criticised of wasting public money on niche market expression. However, they received a lot of attention which must have had some positive effect since many other Dutch towns are coming to Second Life as well.

One of the new arrivals, funded by public money, is the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (Amsterdam Public Library). The question is: will it be a waste of public money or not?

A little background on the sim might be in place here to look for specific triggers for the OBA to enter Second Life. Their old central library building was getting too small and a few years ago they've started building a new one in the Oosterdok, one of the main development areas in Amsterdam. This build will be finished this summer, so they've probably thought a virtual representation would add a little pizaz to dusty bookreading Holland.

As well as it's RL counterpart, the build itself is incomplete. Many elements are not texturised yet. From a distance it seems like a good, solid build, but as you get closer there is a lot of "jitter" (shifting textures) and not everything is properly aligned.

Aside from the main building there are a few things to do. There's a skydive point at the roof (okay, this is the popular conception of "things that work in SL nowadays", but hasn't got anything to do with the library) and the place is littered with bicycles. That is as real-life as you can get it, since the canals in Amsterdam are literally (not virtually) filled with rusty bikes.

The most complete element in the sim is the "Herman Brood" room, a famous Dutch rock 'n roll junky, musician and painter. On the lower levels there's a series of good looking computers with images of the library's website, but no interactiveness here yet. Then there are several stands with advanced microfilm readers. This connects with the OBA's cooperation with Karmac to digitize several important documents, under the projecttitle "the Memory of the Netherlands".

Unfortunately, these aren't working either...or worse, they're not even proper textures but badly cut images (see pic below)

So what can we expect from a virtual library? There's plenty of reference material to be found in Second Life in the Cybrary city sims, but sofar the OBA has not been able to go beyond a mere virtual representation of their new Central Library building.

In this new metaversality it would be a challenge for libraries (and publishers for that matter) to explore new formats that would draw back readers to good books.

Neil Stephenson, one of the metarati, is most famous for his novel "Snowcrash" in which the concept of the Metaverse is explored, but another excellent work is called "The Diamond Age" in which the future of reading and publishing is explored. This book can probably be found at the library, so I guess that's a must read for the peeps there exploring the future of libraring.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, April 30, 2007

Sony BMG

The Electric Sheep Company brings (well... brought a while ago) another big brand into Second Life. This time it's Sony BMG that's being immersed by the ESCapists. This time I'm impressed. The architecture is great and is slowly straying away from RL gravity rules.

The grand opening was October 19th, 2006 and featured a simulcast event with Ben Folds. Aside from the usual freebees (which in this case are about L$ 100) you can download music here as well.
The only problem with this sim is, is that it's called Media. It took me a while to find it. It certainly doesn't show right off that it's a Sony BMG thingy.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Emerce on Second Life

Emerce is a source of inspiration for Dutch innovators. The magazine (part of the VNU group) is considered to be one of the leading business publications when it comes to new technology. When it comes to Second Life, Emerce was one of the first magazines in the Netherlands to pick up the trends with reports starting back in summer 2006.

In September 2006 they opened up shop in Second Life as well, at the Emerce island. The island is dominated by the old Van Nelle (coffee and tobacco) office in Rotterdam

As for publications (in Dutch)

Other Second Life publications by Emerce: here

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, April 23, 2007

Paul Verhoeven exclusive

Triggered by the audition series I blogged about yesterday, I went in and had a quick look. Various virtual actors and actresses came by to perform a scene from the movie. After the first night of the auditions I had an exclusive interview with Paul Verhoeven, one of Hollywoods great directors.

VeeJay: Very kind of you to drop in at our island and take the time to answer some questions
Paul Verhoeven: : No problem, that’s the great thing about this environment. You can take time for a conversation and it doesn’t cost you too much trouble
VeeJay: This SL gig is about promoting your movie Blackbook?
Paul Verhoeven: : yes, it is
VeeJay: Don't you think using the Drop Zone will make it an exclusively Dutch event? How about promoting the movie in other countries?
Paul Verhoeven: : We wanted to do something creative to draw attention to the DVD release
VeeJay: only for the Netherlands?
Paul Verhoeven: : this is only for the dutch DVD release
Paul Verhoeven: : we didn't want it to get too big, because we didn't know if it would work yet
VeeJay: Did you enjoy your first virtual auditions?
Paul Verhoeven: : yes, I think it went quite well
Paul Verhoeven: : more people showed up for the first evening than I had imagined
VeeJay: and how about the quality of acting? considering of course, we are limited still in our movements in SL
Paul Verhoeven: : some people take it very serious. It surprised me a bit
VeeJay: more seriously than you yourself?
Paul Verhoeven: : When you visit a SL party, you get the idea everyone is more or less making a fool of themselves
VeeJay: sounds you're experienced
Paul Verhoeven: : I walked around for a while before we tried this
Paul Verhoeven: : With another avatar of course
VeeJay: I can imagine
VeeJay: With movies Like Total Recall and Robocop, you’ve probably got a long record with computer animation. What makes Second Life different?
Paul Verhoeven: : Well, I don't see any Hollywood films appearing from SL anytime soon
Paul Verhoeven: : It's the easy acces and streaming technology that's interesting
Paul Verhoeven: : consider doing auditions like this in a real-world promotion
Paul Verhoeven: : it would be very expensive and timeconsuming
VeeJay: I can imagine, perhaps the same will count for making first draft versions of movie sets?
Paul Verhoeven: : yes, that might be useful too
VeeJay: have you got any plans to use Second Life more often for promotions and auditions like this?
Paul Verhoeven: : that hasn't been decided yet
Paul Verhoeven: : this is sort of a pilot
Paul Verhoeven: : if it's succesful, perhaps we'll do more
VeeJay: okay, one last for the sake of the community, did you like working with the guys from Lost in the Magic Forest? I know Dobre has got some movie experience. Did it show in their professionalism?
Paul Verhoeven: : yes, they worked very hard to get this event finished in time
Paul Verhoeven: : And I'm very pleased with the results
VeeJay: Thank you for your time, and I wish you good luck for the remainder of the auditions and the release of Zwartbook
Paul Verhoeven: : thank you
Paul Verhoeven: : I hope the next few days will be as interesting as today
Paul Verhoeven: : Ad I think the auditions will only get better
VeeJay: we'll see. I'll keep an eye at the DropZone traffic rates ;)

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Virtual Auditions at Talpa Drop Zone

Despite a major buzz about being taken over by RTL media, Talpa, or TV 10 or whatever, is setting up its next SL event.

"We are very proud to announce that starting from monday we will host Blackbook on our DropZone platform. More info coming soon. Please take a sneak preview of the commercial which we will air next week! Check our own info page on Tien.tv, see you at the DropZone!" [Talpa Drop Zone]

On april 26 the DVD Blackbook (Zwartboek), a new Paul Verhoeven movie will be released. Starting monday april 23rd a series of unique auditions will take place at the Drop zone. Director Paul Verhoeven will organise a virtual audition in which visitors can play a scene from the movie. The winners will be anounced in SL at Liberation day (May 5th)

The ultrashort IMDB description of the movie: "Set during the end of WWII, Black Book is the story of a Dutch Jewish girl who narrowly survives the war in Holland. She joins the resistance to find out who betrayed her family after all of them were killed in an attempt to reach the liberated south."

Oh, and by the way, it's another build by [lost in the] Magic Forest

Labels: , ,


Today I hopped in for a fast peek at the Reuters sim. Reuters is a global information company providing indispensable information tailored for professionals in the financial services, media and corporate markets. There information is generally trusted and drives decision making across the globe. They have a reputation for speed, accuracy and freedom from bias.
A nice detail is the news tickertape above the flags on the main info building.
I've been complaining a lot lately about how little adventure there is to be found in the average business sim. This sim is no different, there's an info center and and auditorium, and that's pretty much it. However, in this case it is a suitable setup. For an inworld pressagency, there are two key elements:
  1. Spread the news (info)
  2. Discuss the news (auditorium)

Another key-factor is unbiased news, or bring news as is. This leaves no room for daunting experiences or whatever you'd like from an inworld presence from other businesses. The news is Reuter's business, and that's what they bring, inside and outside SL at their website http://secondlife.reuters.com/

Labels: , ,

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Red {an Orchestra} classical simulcast

April 14 is the date the first simulcast classical concert in Second Life was held. Red {an orchestra} performed live at the Masonic Auditorium in Cleveland and was streamed into various theaters in Second Life:
April 14th playlist: http://www.redanorchestra.org/secondlifeabout.cfm

Labels: , , ,

Friday, April 13, 2007

Manoa project rewards L$ 100.000

The Manoa Development is a project by Winfinity and Centric (not the IT corp, but a media agency). The current Manoa setup and announcement provide an interesting story to be set up.

Winfinity regrets to announce that the Manoa Development Project has overrun its budget and must be closed. The development ship El Dorado has been recalled by the board, and matter transportation from Manoa to Earth has been disabled. We regret any inconvenience this may cause, and apologize for the short notice.

As the Manoa Project’s data logging has produced conflicting reports of late, we are seeking independent investigation into the causes of the cost overruns. The board has allocated a bonus of L$100,000 for the best data explaining what occurred during the final months of the Manoa Project.

All independent investigators are invited to visit Manoa and report their findings. Please note that the data you provide could lead to the re-opening of the Manoa Project and possible career advancement.

Acceptable data formats for submission include:
  • Text narrative
  • Image sequences
  • Video (independent or datalogged)
  • Audio records

Winfinity wishes to close this investigation in a timely manner, so please submit any and all data prior to June 1 of the current year.

You may access the Winfinity Matter Transportation Grid to Manoa here if you are Metahuman Version 1.5 or above.

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Centric/128/128/0

Labels: , , , , ,