Thursday, September 20, 2007

Peugeot enters Second Life

Whereas many companies are still having first, second or third thoughts about entering Second Life, the automotive industry keeps the engine running. This month saw the arrival of another French automotive company, Peugeot, making it number 9 or 10 to immerse.

Quite in style with the latest trends the island is Logo-shaped, with the lion and the peugeot name. The island is dominated by a showroom which holds 2 floors and a roof.

The main focus of this venue is on the 308 RCZ, which can be found on the ground floor and outside on the racetrack.

On the second floor there's room for some concept cars and a presentation area, an auditorium.

The roof offers room for informal meetings and parties.

Throughout the sim is a deviously complicated racetrack, which basically is quite like the Mazda Hakaze track. Peugeot offers a freebie driving suit, but I couldn't get the 308 RCZ to actually drive.

Some bends looked rather impossible, but hovering about I found out that the track is actually a tunnel. Invisible walls and roof have been placed over large parts of the track.

To wrap it up, it's nice to see another automotive company enter Second Life. The build is neatly done, but it doesn't offer much to the community. It's just another track. Most interesting to me was to see the concept car room. There should be more to exploit on that theme.


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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Robert Jordan Memorial

The first thing to hit my screen this morning was the message that Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time series has passed away after fighting cancer for years.

It's too late, and too many things happened today in RL to take time to give proper honours. All I can say is the Wheel weaves as the wheel wills. Here's the Dragonmount memorial in Second Life:

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Friday, September 07, 2007

True Web2.0 still to come

All around the world we’re talking about Web 2.0. Almost everything is 2.0 these days. In the blogosphere we all get excited about every new web 2.0 app. But really, what’s web 2.0?

2.0 means there was a 1.0, and old web. However, the web hasn’t been closed a single day to migrate it’s content to a new release. So technically we don’t have a new web. It’s usage has changed. The way we use the web and the content we use and put on it has changed. The web hasn’t. But it will. It has to. True web 2.0 still needs to come in my opinion. The contemporary social networks and usergenerated content change our way of working with the net and is raising new questions, asking for new standards.

A little while ago I wrote that web 2.0 is chaos. It’s going from site to site, registering hether and tether, inviting old friends over and over again to join and meeting new friends. It’s getting too complicated. Too much going on to keep track. In the process we get sloppy with our identity. Do some good searches on the net, add profile data from one site with info from the other site. Throw in a good whois lookup and it’s easy enough to put together a complete profile and history on someone. Perhaps even enough to start making educated guesses about passwords.

The web itself, it’s core isn’t ready for web 2.0. Web 2.0 needs to be more closed than the current web when it comes to privacy.

This is a first blog on why web 2.0 still has to come. More will follow soon

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Web 2.0 in 333 seconds

iPhone price drop & refund

From Engadget (but also from almost every other US techblog)

El Jobso is "confident" Apple's made the right decision to lower the price of the iPhone yesterday -- and really, we can't fault them for knocking some cash off the top to attract new buyers, why is cheaper gear a bad thing all of a sudden? But even given the outcry, we definitely didn't see this one coming. In another open letter to his people, Jobs states that he's giving all iPhone owners a $100 Apple gift certificate (details to follow in the next week -- it goes without saying this will only apply to people who bought before the price drop). Well, that's mighty kind of you Steve. And definitely unprecedented in the consumer electronics industry that a company would give cash back to early adopters -- those most accustomed to buying a gadget first, asking questions later, and bottling their complaints when said gadget later drops dramatically in price.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Midnight Lunch

Well, this is what you get in a virtual world where global restrictions and hiccups don't count, such as timezones and weight watching. It's 1 p.m. SLT and time for lunch. Aimee turned out to be a bad chef at her restaurant, la farfalla blu (the blue butterfly)located in Midnight City, so we settled for virtual pizza ;)


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World of Tui

Earlier this summer Baby Burns arrived, so no time to go on holiday this summer. No complaints here though, as Baby Burns is adorable and we've been to Fuerteventura, Canary Islands in January.

In January we really relaxed, compliments to Arke Fly, which is part of the world of Tui, which has landed in Second Life as well. Tui is one of Europe's largest traveling organisations holding Dutch travel agencies Arke and Holland International, Belgian Jet Air, UK's Thomson travels and several others. In Second Life they've opened up a 4-sim base shaped in accordance to their logo.

After landing the plane it's time to check with your host at the local travel agency ;)

The basic setup is three types of holidays; classic beach holidays (island "Schöne Ferien), short city trips (island "Weltentdecker") and luxury holidays ("Tui premium" island). Or if you look at it from a different angle it's a few things for the adventurous tourist (exploring temples, cliffdiving, sunken pirate ships), a few things for the amorous tourist (lovely beach boulevards and dance areas) and a few things for lazy bastards (beach-addicts)

Maybe it's best to finish of with some of Aleister Kronos' thoughts who wrote:

"As I’ve already mentioned there are a number of things to keep you entertained. As well as the soggy sports alluded to above, you can try your hand at golf (on the tiny driving range) or visit the temple, with its vaguely pre-Columbian American imagery. There is a firework display every half hour and a thalassotherapy centre. As you might expect, there are also many meeting and dance areas, and throughout there are links to relevant pages on the TUI website. And this is only scratching the surface of the activities available.

It will interesting to see how this island complex is received. Aside from its role as a 3D advertising hoarding, I assume it is also an experiment to explore what a future 3D internet site might offer. There is much here to amuse and engage people, but right now it feels like it is missing something. The site has been open about a month, but as yet there is no sign of a schedule of events. Also, the majority (if not all) of the activities are individual, not group, pursuits. With such a large site at their disposal I think that TUI and their virtual world consultants are missing an opportunity to encourage a community. However, it is early days and the site is still finding its feet. There is a group, the “TUI Island Club”, that will be used to advise of events once a schedule has been worked out.

The whole complex has been designed and constructed by Blue Sky Media, based in Hanover. You can watch their ad for the build on YouTube. "


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HBO buys rights to Second Life machinima

The Dutch producer Submarine sold the television rights of the documentary 'Molotov's Dispatches in Search of the Creator: A Second Life Odyssey' to the US based HBO group. According to a spokesman of Submarine HBO is paying a 6 figure sum for the documentary and is planning for Oscar nomination for best short animation movie.

The documentary is cut into 10 short episodes and will be televised in the Netherlands by the VPRO sometime in 2008.

What's Molotov's about?

In January 2007, a man named Molotov Alva disappeared from his California home. Recently, a series of seven video dispatches by a Traveler of the same name have appeared inside Second Life. In these dispatches Molotov Alva encounters everything from Furries to Cyberpunks to Neo-Luddites to Sex Slaves to the King of the Hobos, Orhalla Zander, who becomes Molotov's guide as he searches for the creator of their brave new world.

Video link to the first episode. Link to documentary project home page, and more on Molotov's "first" life here.

The Submarine press release: (both Dutch and English)

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Dues ex Machinima

Babyburns off breastfeeding, meaning I gotta stay up late and have a go with bottle and smelly powder milk. Usually it's around 11 pm and I sit down an watch some tv. Earlier this week I watched an episodes of a Discovery Channel show called "Rides" This one I especially liked since it featured a very special classic car, a Duesenberg.

The Deusenbergs were two carbuilding brothers who build luxury automobiles and racecars in the early 20th century. There are several models of which only a few survive, driving prices up to millions of dollars for well maintained versions.

The "Rides" episode featured Jay Leno, who is a classic car maniac, working on his Duesenberg. More on Jay's cars can be found at Jay Leno's garage.

Don't tell Mrs. V. but I've been looking to get myself a classic car for some time now. In Second Life I haven't gotten beyond Aimee's T-Ford (1 L$-freebie version), but I've been looking around in Real Life as well. I was thinking about buying this 1928 Citroen AC4

But then it appeared that my wife's car would last much longer. In fact, it wasn't safe enough to drive anymore with two kids. So last week we bought a new car:

Well, at least the color is about the same. However, it means no money for a nice AC4, let alone a Deus.

Anyway, as I said, I haven't gotten more than a virtual T-Ford sofar, but it would be fun to see such rare cars as the Deusenberg back in Second Life, being able to drive them. Have classic car ralleys and so on.

Anyone know a Duesy in Second Life or any good classic car? Lemme know

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Æon Flux

Yesterday, after finishing Neuromancer I had to blow of some steam and watched the Æon Flux dvd with Mrs. V.
Æon Flux is the main character of this story, played by Charlize Theron and is largely about a Utopia gone wrong (i.e. dystopia)

The plot is very basic; The world is destroyed (in 2011) and only 1% of humanity survives in the city of Bregna. The city is being led by the Goodchild dynasty for 400 years and it's about 2400 when the people of Bregna start to revolt. At least, a small group called the Monicans. Aeon is sent on a mission to kill dr. Trevor Goodkind and they fall in love, and save the world.

Well, actually, there's a bit more to it (but don't wanna put up the spoilers), making it a good watch after all.

The movie is not an original, but an adaptation of the original animation series that aired on MTV in the early 90's

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Gibsons' Neuromancer

It's been a quiet week at the MindBlizzard blog. Partly because I've been really busy doing a very volatile project in Real Life, but also because I've spend some time rereading the excellent Neuromancer story by William Gibson.

Neuromancer is a must read, or as Daily Tech's Kristopher Kubicki said: "I should preface by saying anyone who hasn't read William Gibson's Neuromancer should run, not walk, to the nearest bookstore and pick up a copy."

Gibson is often seen as the "godfather" of the cyberpunk genre as he started using terms like matrix and cyberspace in his first novel Neuromancer.

Neuromancer is about a hacker, or cyber cowboy named Henry Dorsett Case. Case screwed up a job and his employers got back at him, leaving him half dead and unable to gain access to the matrix again. After a life in the ghetto filled with all sorts of dealings and drugs he's recruited by enormously powerfull people to pull an almost impossible trick. The novel exlores Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Worlds, Genetic Engineering and the rise of the (Cyberpunk trademark) multinational mega corporatioins.

I just noticed an interesting article at Daily Tech, dating march 9 2007 on Sony's virtual platform Home and Neuromancer's 25th birthday. It's called PlayStation Home: William Gibson's Vision Realized written by the aforementioned Kristopher Kubicki. Here's a quote from the article:

"Nearly 25 years in the making, is Sony building the foundations for ubiquitous virtual reality?"


"It's not to say Sony overnight duplicated what Gibson has been writing about for 25 years. Even many of Gibson's ideas are not unique, just evolutionary advances on older ideas. What makes me excited about Sony's announcement is that PlayStation Home will be the first ubiquitous virtual reality, if Sony can pull it off.

Now, I should give Second Life some credit here as well. If anything, Second Life is actually closer to Gibson's descriptions of the matrix -- yep, Gibson called it the matrix 15 years before The Matrix and a decade before Ghost in the Shell. The difference between Second Life and Playstation Home is that Sony wants the interaction between virtual and reality to be transparent, especially with media and the internet. Gibson anticipated this dozens of times over the last 25 years in his novels.

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