Friday, December 21, 2007

Season 2b Jolly

It's the season to be jolly.... lalalalala something.

Anyway, as the first tiny snowflakes are falling outside, it's time to get into that white christmas mood in Second Life as well.

This afternoon, or early US morning the Lindens woke up with adrenaline rushing throuh their veins as the were in for a good snowfight. Within the space of several minutes 5 sims filled up with residents waiting to snowball the Lindens.

Jolly good ! Can't take life too serious all the time.

Last but not least, snow's starting to fall at the Sogeti Netherlands island as well:

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Party

Christmas is coming up. Which means a time to celebrate -and in the process destroy the environment by our outrageous need to light stuff up and cut down millions of trees. Fortunately our virtual Christmas setup at Sogeti Island doesn't need trees to be cut down, we just rez them.

It's been a fun year and we wanna have some fun, so we're putting up a Christmas Party at the Sogeti Island on Saturday December 22, starting at 1 PM PDT (22.00 GMT+1).

Tonight's DJ will be our Sogeti colleague Metsel Gemini, who's a regular DJ at the Fix.

Be sure to party and get your free Christmas outfit!


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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Second Life ain't dead

Second Life ain't dead yet. Despite what most media in the Netherlands and Germany tell you. It's alive and kicking. That's what you can read in the Dutch e-zine Emerce today as it runs a story on Edwin Rijkaart's visit to the SLCC. Mr. Rijkaart is the proud owner of Virtual Amsterdam, which has been purchased recently from Stroker Serpentine after an earlier deal gone down the drain.

Here some translated tidbits from the Emerce article:

What's going down in Amsterdam?

"Since our putchase we've done various things. Some buildings have been relocated, especially those involved in erotic merchandise. We have also added several new buildings, like the virtual replica of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange (which figures, since Rijkaart also owns, a dutch stock site). We'd like to draw larger crowds in the near future to make the sim more attractive to shopowners. That's where the money has to come from."

How do you want to draw these crowds?

"We're going to connect the 2D and 3D internet, through our sites and Buienradar (a site where you can see if it's raining by radar). Through the forums of these sites we want to give people an easy access to virtual Amsterdam. We're looking for an interface with which people can easily switch between the sites and the sim. Once a week we're going to organise Stock sessions in the virtual stock exchance and for visitors of Buienradar we're going to do a monthly meetup on climate chances."

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Day of the Greenies

ay is not the day of the Triffids, but the day of the Greenies. The invasion has begun! Even in their prelaunch state the Greenies have drawn huge crowds:

"Then there's "Greenies", from a small British development company called Rezzable, which plans to use it for retail and events. But where SL sites for large corporations like Dell, Sun, and Reebok attract but a few hundred visitors, Greenies is, with little official promotion, already bringing in several thousand visits per week," according to James Wagner Au at New World Notes earlier this week.

Prelaunch views

To make final preps for the official launch the sim has been closed since July 29. I was lucky enough to get a special invite for the preview and this is the real deal. Rezzable has done a great job creating expectations and now it all has to come together. So let's see what the little green men are up to...

Okay, the keyword again is explore, and TOUCH.

The abduction has begun...

It's time to have a peak at the mothersip, grand place of Greenie Merchandise. You've got to do some work though to find the teleports. Nothing in Greenie-land is an easy grab.

Glory to the Builders...

After some hovering I had time to have a good chat with Pavig Lok, one of the builders and Right as Rain Rimbaud, the Rezzable initiator to go to the bottom of the Light Waves story that runs on the Second Life Herald. Turns out to be the Herald can see the prim, but not the build once more and will need to re-research their story.

On Rezzable

The Greenies Home is the first project by Rezzable, which was founded in 2007 in order to create exciting new entertainment areas in Second Life. The company believes that as the number of residents in the virtual world continues spectacular growth, there will be massive demand for high-quality content and engaging activities.


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Monday, July 30, 2007

Telecom Italia brings San Siro

I just picked up a notice on the Dutch Second Life site on Telecom Italia Mobile. Telecom Italia subsidiary, Alice, comes to Second Life with a 4 sim strong build making it about the 12th telecom and broadband provider to immerse.

The venue is brought to Second Life by ISN (Image Solutions Network) which have their office next to the TIM-sims. As we speak there's a lot of activity going on over there, so probably a launch party. Due to my limited knowledge of Italian i thought it best to steer clear of that gig.

The TIM-sims are build around a central venue, the Alice office which is crown-shaped and lies at the intersection of the four sims. Throughout the sims several other office buildings appear.

Telecom Italia is showing that there are several ways of translating its business to the Metaspace. Throughout the sims you will find futuristic phonebooths to communicatie with Real Life and from their Alice broadband division they are bringing Italy's most popular sports; Soccer and Formula 1 racing.

According to the SLNN Alice plans on not only streaming soccermatches from the San Siro stadium (AC Milan and Inter Milan) but also play virtual matches, with a special Heads Up Display (HUD) being developed:

"While some soccer stadiums, most notably KPN's Ajax Arena, and Inter of Milano have featured broadcasts of soccer games, Telecom Italia's sim promises the first full game soccer animation, using a script and a heads up display (HUD) so that users can actually play.

We will organize real tournaments, both for soccer and for car and moto racing,” Mattia Crespi, ISN's CEO said. Alice offers online service selling videos on demand. Videos will be available at the Alice island for free, along with many videos taken from Dailymotion, an Alice video-sharing service similar to Youtube, Crespi says."

For this video on demand venue Alice worked out a fly-in movietheatre (pic right)


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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

We believe in Children. Do you?

Through my good friend Aleister Kronos I was tipped that BBH (Bartle, Bogle, Hegarty ) and RRR (rivers run red) are bringing another Charity 2.0 event to Second Life.

Peter Rogers from the Ad Agency BBH let us know that each year BBH is sponsoring a good cause, and this year it's Barnardo's, which is a charity organisation that stands up for children in need.

"Bernardo's vision is that the lives of all children and young people should be free from poverty, abuse and discrimination. We believe in the abused, the vulnerable, the forgotten and the neglected. We will support them, stand up for them and bring out the best in each and every child. As one of the UK’s leading children’s charities this is our pledge. We believe in children – do you?"

By just becoming a dad again in Real Life, it's hard to turn away from organisations like these. A child's life is too valuable and some have to face such ordeals. so I quickly went over to the BBH island [slurl]

Here's some images of the venue:

"On the 1st of August 2007 the advertising company BBH will have a special day for one of it's clients. It's called the Barnardos day out or BDO for short. The goal is to raise as much money for Barnardos as possible. We needed a plan so got together with Rivers Run Red a company that helps us turn ideas into reality for Second Life and came up with a vending machine selling t-shirts, simple and quick to create.

RRR were fantastic they gave all their time and talent for free and it wasn't long before we had the wonderful washing machine up and running. There's a set of Barnardos t-shirts to buy and we also managed to commission Airside to create a unique design to go alongside. We're hoping that later there will be more special items from friends of Barnardos, so watch this space. " says BBH consultant Pete Rogers.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Get your Divers licence in SL

Whilst trying to get some new Dutch sims in front of my camera I stumbled into Diveworld, close to Dutch content creators DNB Media. Suspecting a tie in I went in, and immersed in front of a PADI office. And guess what, my wife's work is just next to a PADI diving center.

However, PADI isn't Dutch, it's everywhere, it's the Professional Association of Diving Instructors is the world's largest recreational diving membership and diver training organization founded in 1966 by John Cronin and Ralph Erikson.

It's HQ is based in California and all over the world you will find Diving Centers using the PADI method. PADI is the way the world learns to dive.

Their main venue - at least, the place where you immerse - is a 2-storied infocenter with instruction movies on diving, telling you what the gear is all about and links to the e-learning pages on the PADI website.

But off course, diving isn't about instruction, especially not in Second Life where you can dive without using all that cumbersome equipment. It's time to get out to the beach!

This is what diving is about:

It's not the real thing, but it looks good.

The sim isn't completely finished yet, and this beautiful reef is just a few yards wide yet. I'm curious to see how PADI is going to use this virtual venue in educational and promotional ways.


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Friday, July 20, 2007

Beware of flying carrots - Lowlands 2007

Summertime is a time to party. In the Netherlands there's the annual 'Lowlands festival', a 3 day music event. This year there's Second Life as extra promotional instrument.
The first promotional instrument is the carrot-rocket that's been present at the Lowlands site for years which has landed in the sim Zandvoort in Second Life and is filled with goodies.
The second element is the tiny little avatar that can be seen in the weirdest places of SL.
Though a small gig, the avatar and carrot, it's been fun to work on says Timbo Urbanowicz of Dutch content creators SLionhead.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Fundraising 2.0

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

The Current Blogoshpere

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

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

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

Traditional Fundraising & The 21st Century Philantropist

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

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

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

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

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

Philantrophic Worlds

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

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

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

A Bridge too far?

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

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

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Suzanne Vega back in SL

Second Life Insider reports:

Want to come and hang out with Suzanne Vega to celebrate the release of her new album, Beauty and Crime? Organize your invitation here - heaven knows this is going to fill up quickly.
Vega will be appearing in Second Life on Friday, July 13 at 4pm SLT (US Pacific), and will be available to chat with attendees inworld.

"Every visitor will receive a free player for Beauty & Crime, which can be used to outfit their avatar or to host a listening party of their own. Second Life users can also create their own musical street graffiti, explore the sounds of the city, and watch concert footage recorded live at the Hiro Ballroom in New York."
The good thing about this one is that it's by invitation. Don't want to ruin Beauty by lag and Crime by Griefers.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

SLCC dispute

Second Life seems to be at the center of debate these days. This time it is no legal argument, no violation of the ToS but the SLCC (Second Life Community Convention) that's infuriated many residents and bloggers.

NickWilson of Metaversed reports:

"Second Life's SLCC mixed reality community event has been a hot topic of late. Since the publication of a "community standards agreement" which among other things prohibits the recording of panels, even by the panelists themselves, residents have been in uproar. The overbearing, restrictive rules being imposed upon attendees is not the only point of contention however. The question monopolization, and the "non profit" status of the organizers, Future United and their partners Phreak Radio, (who have exlusive rights to everything panelists and musicians produce at the show), was called into question today by vocal critic, Prokofy Neva."
[Read full article here]

Let's track back a while.

People have been working hard on getting the annual Second Life Community Convention on the road, making tons of arrangements. The Convention is supposed to be a big Fan meet, sponsored by Linden Labs, Millions of Us, Rivers Run Red, Anshe Chung Studios and many many more more and/or less known content creators.
Something happened on the way, as Moo Money reports in the Second Life Insider:
"With the registration of a couple of controversial Second Life residents, some are in a state of panic. Many feel that these individuals would hamper their convention experience. Another issue that has also cropped up is the entrance of "press" requesting permission to film. Due to these incidents, The Future United Group has decided to clarify their policies in a Community Standards Agreement."
This happened on June 28 2007 posted in the SLCC Community Standards - Agreement, which did not seem to calm down residents, but instead irritated a lot of people. A few days later irritation turned into aggravation with a waiver sent to performing artists.

The full text of the 'document' can be read at SL LIVE Music Blog and includes indeed an aburd requirement for artists. As SL Live author Slim Warrior rightfully remarks:
"lemme get this straight… I am asked to perform, having sent off an “audition mp3′ then, I fork out a fortune to get to this event. I also pay a registration fee and of course will be performing for FREE! but if I ‘don’t’ sign, I can resign from the line up…. Thanks for that! "
This has caused several artists to cancel, among which the turntable wizzard DJ Doubledown Tandino who commented "I, Doubledown Tandino, ain't gonna go livin' by no contracts no mo'."
From a performers point of view this is indeed a killer-contract for artists who write their own music and thus own the copyrights. They are asked to perform for free and give all their rights to Phreak Media so they can “recover a small portion of their costs’

SLCC's doomsday bells

SLCC's doomsday bells tolled when Prokofy Neva reported:
"Has everybody seen what a road wreck the Second Life "Community" Convention is? It's an accident going somewhere to happen, unless its sponsors, including RiversRunRed, Electric Sheep Company, New Media Consortium, Anshe Chung Studios and many more step up to the plate immediately and demand participation in, and accountability from, the organizers in the form of the Future United Group and Phreak Radio -- these intertwined FIC entities that have hijacked the conference process for years now, and whose chickens are finally coming home to roost."

SL's Land of the Free

Second Life is getting a lot more press than any other virtual world at the moment, though publicity seems to be on the negative side right now. This is bound to happen as SL offers much more freedom to their users than any other VW / NVE. Second Life is the ultimate virtual representation of the Land of the Free, the American Dream.
Linden vs. Bragg could never have been Kaneva vs. Bragg and Linden vs. Familes de France could never have been vs, Familes de France. Linden vs. Woodbury could never happen in Stagespace.
These legal suits are inevitable and some will be won, some may be lost by Linden Labs, as Second Life becomes the testground for virtual law. They will get media attention, good or bad, but that should not influence our opinion of Second Life.

Home of the Brave

The case with the SLCC is different though. It is nog an argument between Linden and residents upto no good, or careless naive users that happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. SLCC is all about Enjoying Second Life. We have a mutual interest to have Second Life succeed. Both Linden and SLCC will like to see the Convention leaving positive thoughts on Second Life.
I am sure all sponsors, who have a financial interest in the success of Second Life, and all residents who invest money and/or expensive time in Second Life all wish to further Second Life's advance. With that objective in mind I would like to call on the SLCC organising comittee to take a deep breath.
Sit down together and decide a mutual course of action. Dare to rewrite and admit 'clumsiness' where possible. That would be Brave.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

A Simple Switch

I ended my last post with the following lines:
"We're closing in on 7-7-7, Earth Day and Eolus is one more climate savvy project trying Second Life as stage. Yesterday I blogged on the Spanish getting climate savvy in SL as well, and today Philips was giving out energy low lamps."

Here's a few more words on Philips. I ran into Sonja Finney -a Philips employee and SL devotee - for the umpteenth time. This time in Groningen (see upcoming post) where she handed out Energy Saving Lightbulbs.
As far as I can tell it isn't an official, but very sympathetic support of the "A Simple Switch" campaign launched by Philips late this week.
Focuspoint of the campaign is the website "a simple switch"

The key message Philips tries to convey is change your lightbulbs to energy saving lamps. On the website you can fill in how many lamps you intend to switch and then it'll show you how much CO2 and other climate-disasters you help reduce.

Well, in 10 minutes Earth Day will start here in the Netherlans, so it's time you act!

As the world will see many Live-Earth concerts scattered around the globe (causing their own climate disasters) there will also be concerts in Second Life as well as live streaming.

More info:

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Doubledating Doubledown at Starfruit

Yesterday Chris Carella (Creative Director) of the Electric Sheep Company reminded me of a new sim opening today:

"Come party around the clock and across the globe for the launch of Starfruit in Second Life! We’ll be celebrating on the third floor of the tower where DJ Doubledown Tandino will be spinning a live mix of house and eclectic music."

For once the US based content creators start considering the European contingent at Second Life by doing a multiple party show, so I should be gratefull. But I'm not. 11 AM, exactly the same time as today's Things To Do annex Geek Meet outing to Eolus One. In short, I had to run a doubledate with DJ Doubledown Tandino, one of the more popular Mixed Reality turntable wizzards. I did manage to get a small piece of the action though; here's a few partypics:
So much for the party, let's have a look at Starfruit. Basically what it comes down to is this:
"Would you like to surprise someone in Second Life and send them a real gift in real life... but you don't know their real postal address? Don't worry any more... we will take care of everything"
It is a metabrand, a gift service that operates from Switserland and delivers worldwide. For more business info on Starfruit, have a look at KZero's blog.

As you may have guessed by the opening line, the build is done by the Electric Sheeps.
There are some nice details in this build which is moving away from traditional RL based architecture.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Dutch NGO Island

Yesterday saw the opening of a Dutch NGO island, called "Goede Doelen eiland" (good causes island). The island is a presentation of the Dutch Red Cross and the Dutch Fund for Disability Sports. The island is sponsored by Dutch bankers ABN Amro and the Free University of Amsterdam (VUA) and was build by students of the VUA.

The island has 2 elements, a disaster zone build for the Red Cross and an athletics stadium to raise awareness for disability sports.

The intent of the Red Cross venue is to give visitors a taste of the atmoshpere in disaster areas, how hard it can be to reach a relieve post and thus try to raise commitment to the organisations work.

The 'fun' part of the island is the Stadium for the Dutch Fund for Disability Sports. In the stadium it is possible to go for a wheelchair race. Both organisations are looking for new ways of fundraising and are looking into the possibilities in Virtual Worlds.


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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Dutch IT Professionals meet up

I've visited a nice meeting at the NGI sim, home of the NGI (Nederlands Genootschap voor Informatica), the Dutch platform for ICT Professionals.
The session started off with a welcome by Frank Langeveld, Division CEO of Sogeti Netherlands and Boardmember of the NGI and was followed by Pascal Huijbers giving us a quick overview at the collaboration initiatives and future plans.
The second part of the meet-up was the presentation of NGIJ, the Young Proffessionals of the NGI speaking on various plans, intiatives and games being set up
The meet-up ended with a brainstorm closing in on the December congres of the NGI, themed "Serious Gaming" with several seminars and events being planned in Second Life.
For more information contact Storm Stonewall or SNiCHerz Demina in Second Life

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Friday, June 29, 2007

The Virtual Dutch

Here's a few spots coming from the Netherlands;


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

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

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

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


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

[picture taken from Second Life Blogo]

Theatherplay by "The Empty Space"

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

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

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

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

All England SLawn Tennisclub

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

MacArthur Foundation: Philantrophy in Virtual Worlds

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pushing the Limit on SL

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Monday, June 18, 2007

Dutch get a Testlife

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

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Friday, June 08, 2007

ABN AMRO Young Professional Launch

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

ABN AMRO Dances 4 Life

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

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

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

We are the Fury Concert

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

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

Here's the add:

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

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

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

For more info, please go to: or

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

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


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Real Life Cities 8: Manchester

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

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

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

3pointD hooks up

Normally I'm not very much into Second Life social events and weddings, but tonight's an exception as Mr 3pointD, Mark Wallace (who's nominated as a potential metarati) and the lovely bride going by the nick of "Destroy Television"

Special guest were Lordfly Digeridoo as best man and Mr. Jerry Pfaffendorf, Electric Sheep CEO as father of the bride. The vows came down to "do you, Destroy Television, take to Walker Spaight to be your virtual husband? In sickness, in health, through lags, crashes, ghosting, mis-bakes and missing textures?"

The event took place in one of the many Celedon sims, hotspots to the streampunk community

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Things to do on the Track

Following yesterday's post on this blog today's Things to Do event took place at the ING Renault F1 track and saw hectic moments.

It's official that (metaverse blogger and group initiator) 57's virtual driving license has been revoked for trashing and drunk driving. The wild miss Gillian Waldman was disqualified for several false starts and certain bends caused real havoc.

As to testdriving to sim, I noticed that at some points the track wasn't properly laid, at one point you couldn't get back on the track once you were out of it. Also, the go-karts are very direct in steering, causing some impressive moves to be observed.

Today was ladies night however, and if you ever thought your wife looked handsome with her helmet on.... well, Misacha Vaughan looked stunning. I'd like to see that more in F1 racing.
If you like things to do, search for the group and team up!

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Real Life Cities 5: Salzburg

Upon entering the virtual representation of Salzburg I ended at the side of the sim, showing a row of houses build next to a little stream. I intended to fly to one of the landmarks to start shooting snapshops and start bloggin, but this is as good a point as any to start.

The city of Salzburg is one of Austria's best known towns, and
"... is on the banks of the Salzach river, at the northern boundary of the Alps. The mountains to Salzburg's south contrast with the rolling plains to the north. The closest alpine peak – the 1972 m Untersberg – is only a few kilometers from the city center. The Altstadt, or "old town", is dominated by its baroque towers and churches and the massive Festung Hohensalzburg"

Well, the Wikipedia entry is in line with the sim's build. The little stream I started near is the Salzach and the castle Hohen Salzburg is dominating the far end. On the other end of the sim, across the town, snowcovered mountains rise, hosting one of Austria's most touristic attractions: Skiing and Snowboarding ramps.

One of the good things of this sim is the festivity calendar, giving a good overview of ongoing and special events. The town is primarily dominated by the Salzburg Cathedral
"The Salzburg Cathedral (German: Salzburger Dom) is a 17th century baroque cathedral in the city of Salzburg, dedicated to Saint Rupert of Salzburg. It is the site of Mozart's baptism."

Throughout the sim statues can be found, and though they are part of Salzburgs RL view, these could have been left out. Like most trees and other statues in Second Life it's made of two texturized prims with a lot of tranparancy, but it is hard to get a good view of this. A suggestion would be to try and replace them with sculpted prims, a feature added in last weeks release.

Finally, as with most real life cities in Second Life, there's a lot of shopping to be done. Aside from the cathedral, the rest of the old town is set up as shopping center.

A short wrap up:
+ The sim represents most of Salzburg's best known features
+ A lot of events are organised in the sim, as well as hosting a number of ongoing events.
- The statues are too 2D and should be replaced with sculpties as soon as possible.
- The build is quite crude, especially the castle.

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SL Event overkill

Tonight it's been crazy. I've been buzzed by everybody telling me they're at the greatest event of this weekend... I'm getting a little crazy here. This is definately gonna be my last blog for tonight.

Online Machima Film Event

After visiting the Venice opening, I briefly visited the Online Machinima Festival, which showed a number of Machinima Films. With Machinima being a rather niche corner of the Second Life community, the crowd consisted of various illustrious residents.

Elf Haven Contest dance & music

Then I popped it for a quick glance at the Elfen festivities on the great Elfen Contintent to enjoy a whole different feast. Since I was just coming from a classy event, my 'black tie' ensemble fell slightly out of tune. With over 50 residents attending it was a wee bit laggy though.

World Park opening; World Trade Center and Live Music

Finally I shot in for the opening of the World Park, holding the World Trade Centers. A quick survey learned that it isn't the first sim to hold the WTC, but rather the 3rd or 4th. However, the sim was neatly build, but enourmously laggy due to the more than 75 residents listening and dancing to great live music.

Well, I guess I'll call it a day today ;)

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Real Life Cities 4: Paris 1900

As I blogged about the new real life cities coming to SL I mentioned that I'd forgotten to blog Paris, so it's high-time to correct that omission. Browsing through my snapshots I noticed I also forgot to snapshot the Moulin Rouge, so I decided to go back, which was a good thing. The first thing I noticed was that it is expanding. I now noticed it is a 4-sim build, with the humoungous Eiffel Tower spread over all of them, neatly joint in the corners.

Technically this is a very hard thing to do, builds overlapping sim borders usually need to be quadruppaly reinforced to ensure you're not falling through at the edges. The other thing I noticed was that a sim called "Champs Elysees" is added... Seems like they're expanding.

The first thing I saw when entering the sim was a lot of ground. It took a while for the textures to stream, and then I saw I was at the metro station. The build here is a little primitive. I walked up the stairs, leaving the metro station and walked into the "Moulin Rouge", the fabled Parisian nightclub from the early 1900's.

Since it spreads four sims, the Eiffel Tower needs quite a bit of time to render, as well as the rest of the sim, though the build is a lot less detailed than that of Venice, at times even a bit crude. The sims top attraction is the parachute dive from the top of the Eiffel tower, but there are a number of nice shops to be found as well, especially on the Champs Elysees extention, which end in Paris' dreaded roundabout at l'Arc the Triomphe.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Microsoft defies challenges

Thursday May 10 (yes, that is tomorrow) Microsoft will officially open shop in Second Life. The sim's build has been completed about 5 months ago, but had restricted access up till now. We went in for a little preview. With many companies staging their opening this month it is a challenge to be on the good half of the charts, but Microsoft is up to the challenge. I'm a notorius *NIX fan, but have to admit the

On the sign you'll see about what Microsoft Island has to offer. Aside from their kick-off event and the sim experience there is also a supportive website here. What it basically comes down to is that Microsoft uses Second Life as one of their staging areas for a Visual Studio campaign themed "Defy all Challenges"

A nice feature is the Auditorium, placed inside a big ball that's hanging from solid beams and some craftly sculpted prims. There's no question on who's responsible for the build, since it is practically leaning against the MoU island, but upon entering the auditorium I immediately recognised the hand of this site's co0blogger Lordfly Digeridoo.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Good Samaritan Group Gathering

It's only been about two weeks ago that the V3 group organised a major SL tech event, the ITE 2007. This time its.... The Good Samaritan.
This week sees the Joysco Convention Center filled to the brim with the latest inworld tech, and other exciting stuff, all sponsored by Sun Microsytems Joysco Studio Journey (Legendary Rock Band) AvaStar SLCN.TV Reallusion.

When you get into the Convention Center, you'll think you're immersed in the next IT event, but it's not. This Expo is Johnny Austin's idea, who wanted a place where the business and creative communities in Second Life could come together and meet each other and work together. .. And yeah, Second Life is filled with tech-savvy people, so small wonder Sun Microsystems digs this (since they're hot on community building). However, it's not all High-Tech, there's plenty of room for other things, like Education and Clothing.

One of the participants, commented on its blog that after building their own stand, they were asked by several other companies to do so. That's good spirit! Another participant, Meta Mart is releasing its long awaited new HUD, "We will be doing some demos of newly released 3'rd generation of Meta Mart ( yes by then we will release it :) ) and also of other items from Meta Mart, showing all the possibilities," says Robbie Kiama from Meta Mart.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

ABN Stock Session

Next thursday, May 3rd, ABN AMRO will host a meeting on the latest trends in the international stockmarket. Sr. analist Paul van Doorn (ABN AMRO Investment Office) will point out the latest trends supported by audiostreaming.

If you'd like to attend, IM Amber Jung and receive a notecard for further instructions. As to the subject of the sessions, I can only guess it's about Barclays, hostile takeovers, hedgefunds and what else is causing the takeover rows of the past few weeks.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Kula Chess

"It's time to wage war! Get on your battlesuits, cry havoc and prepare for battle..."

No this time it's not about an MMORPG or a virtual Star Trek roleplay sim but it's good ole battle chess gone virtual. However, in this game you don't move the pieces, you are one of them. Put on a pawn suit, a bisshop or knight's suit and walk onto the grid and be immersed inside the game of chess...

If you're in for a game, then TP to Kula:

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

ITE 2007

This weekend Silicon City and Silicon Island host the 2007 International Technology Expo. The expo's prime sponsors is V3. Major particpants are SAP, Sun and Dell. This three day event is filled with SL technology related panel discussions and presentations.

I attended a few of the discussions, not all were top notch and structured, yet for the keen eye, there were little tidbits of interesting stuff on companies attitudes towards SL.
I do believe it will take me some time to make a nice report on this Expo, with a list of new tech companies and some chattranscripts...

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Ridin' the virtual wave

Saturday 14th brought us a massive Surferdude party at the epic condition sim (by the Weatherchannel). The virtual surf contest was organised by Namiko Surf Co in cooperation with GR Boarfds, Reaction, and some other sponsors. 22 surfers signed up to start surfing for Lindens and other prices.

Keala Mimistrobell, creator of Namiko told SLNN that one of the main goals of her company is to create events like this.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Real Life Cities 1: Amsterdam

When in Holland and you want to start a conversation on Second Life, or any other immersive world for that matter, the discussion is bound to touch virtual Amsterdam very soon. Amsterdam is probably the best known sim in Holland, mentioned in almost every SL story.

It usually is referred to as one of the largest sims (forgetting that all sims are created equal), or largest builds. The sim itself encompasses Amsterdam Central Station, the Damrak and the Dam itself with the monument, the New Church and the Royal Palace. Then there are some canals lined with shops. It's hardly a surprise to see half the shops are sex related. When making that conclusion, it's no surprise to see Amsterdam always is one of the favorite places in the Metaverse.

Since I don't dig virtual sex, I judged slamsterdam by it's architectural values. It's true that it is heavily built, and there's an enormous amount of textures used, making the sim very slow to render, which for me is a show-stopper.

The sim was originally built by Strokerz Toy, but was recently purchased by Nedstede, an Amsterdam based real estate firm. The sim was actioned at E-bay and the deal closed at 50,000 euro. I'm not sure the clientele is what they would like to see in Real Life.


If Nedstede is willing to spend that amount of money, they should call Lordlfy who did an extremely good impression of Amsterdam for SL's 2nd Relay for Live event in 2006. Though the sim is no longer live, its contents can be found somewhere in the deeps of Lordfly's inventory. Here are some impressions:

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The Undutchables

Last week saw a test-party for the opening of the new Undutchables club in Second Life on April 20th. It is said that the well known DJ Jesse Voorn will be at the buttons for the opening event. The Undutchables will probably try to line up many acclaimed DJ's from the Netherlands for simulcast events.

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