Archive for the 'SLCC 2009' Category

Feb 09 2010

OpenSim: and now, a word from the Founder [Second Life]

Many thanks to Singularity U, director Matt Rutherford, and to Randall Hand who brought it to my attention After chatting at SLCC 2009 this past summer, I appreciate the immediacy of this lecture. OpenSim is discussed around minute 37 (video is available at 720p HD, and is just over 51 minutes long.)
Discussion of augmented reality, and mirror world creation in Second Life and virtual world simulators, just after minute 44.

It’s hard for me to listen to the entire talk just one time and retain the best explanations – but clear and current they are. In a virtual environment, immersed in near-infinite possibilities, Rosedale may no longer be guiding the Second Life ship, but I believe he remains the compass needle

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Aug 15 2009

Second Life: The long and short of the road ahead

Published by under SL In General,SL Server,SLCC 2009

Today, the third day of SLCC 2009, Philip Rosedale and Mark Kingdon provided the telephoto and wide-angle views of the road ahead for Second Life.

Union Square as seen from SLCC 2009

Union Square as seen from SLCC 2009

Philip summarized his message to a backdrop of an abandoned and decrepit  Detrioit home thus (as best I heard it)
“TRY and recognize that we are at the very beginning, and together, you guys and us, will have to weather a tremendous changing as we move from where we are today
to where this thing is, this kinematic and imaginary global kind of new digital world.”

Mark had a fine intro where he disclosed a moment of discovering his passion for in-world activity while building
“…it was at that point that I got a second island, and the land addiction began.”

Sessions today included morning Art track’s “Plastic Reality”, running over the start of an enterprise session that I really wanted to hear all of: “Enterprise and Virtual Worlds: The Value Proposition” moderated by Dusan Writer.  I stuck around for Schott Homan’s Purdue case study, caught a share of Patio Plasma’s “Building Interactive Science Exhibits, Tools and Techniques”

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Aug 14 2009

SLCC 2009 – Day 2

Published by under SL In General,SLCC 2009

Lindens greeting the Woodbury College MC&D party bus

Lindens greeting the Woodbury College MC&D party bus

This morning I learned that Linden Lab has reached 320 employees.   For the keynote, Philip Rosedale introduced a certain avatar named Kurzweil Tomorrow who held forth for an hour on this fine futuristic topic in a notably tenor tone.

Friday's Keynote presentation

Friday's Keynote presentation

Today I saw sessions involving reviews of pay rates for virtual-world workers (hint: not good).  Enterprise SL usage with an emphasis on enhanced usability through rapid and effective training, and is supported by 24 Lindens who activley leverage existing technology.

At lunch and shortly afterword, I learned much more about the Meerkat Viewer.  I saw some of the Machinima presentation and received a wonderful DVD of MaMachinima Festival 2009 thanks to Fab Outlander of Orange, and greatly enjoyed the informative panel about blogging SL moderated by Hamlin Au.

The evening offered a fine party bus thanks to Woodbury University School of Media, Culture, and Design that cycled between the convention and Linden Lab offices, where we left our marks.  On our return, the Odd Ball was just starting and offered fine and fun conversations with trance and a truly cosmic parallel dance club in SL.  The resident SIMGIS intern, Rat Dawg, snagged a copy of the brief novel AFK by Huckleberry Hax

Creative output from the Woodbury College party bus

Creative output from the Woodbury College party bus

In the midst of a sidewalk-coloring party

In the midst of a sidewalk-coloring party

It was a wonderful day and tomorrow looks to be grand as well.  For now, it’s rest!

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Aug 14 2009

Second Life Community Convention 2009 – Day 1

Published by under SL In General,SLCC 2009

I enjoyed a relaxing morning on the way to San Francisco, but was befuddled to find that the registration process was not open today – tomorrow morning bright and early it will be.

In today’s workshops, I enjoyed presentations about SL-enhanced educational programs, including scientist-mediated field visits to observe solar eclipses http://tr.im/wnNN and Museum virtual worlds http://tr.im/wnO7.  I was intrigued by the anecdotal experience of good internet connectivity made available in the Gobi desert during the solar eclipse that allowed field scientists to visit in-world from a very remote tent.

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In a panel discussion moderated by Catherine Linden, the business track covered the topic “Building Community”.  Successful community builders described their experiences in the areas of community for disabled individuals (Virtual Ability), folks looking for a safe and predictable place (Dublin region with pubs and live music), corporate client community (enhanced for Nokia), and user community development (Orange mobile).

Lessons learned in connection with Nokia: communicating that the corporation is not nameless, faceless, but consists of real people with real feelings—helping to give the corporation a face, provide a hangout and community focal point.  Oh, and have parties!  Good events, with a good event manager, can lead to media coverage and grow a buzz that feeds brand recognition.  SL is a tool, and one that requires use to stay hot.

Lessons learned in the Orange experience: Staying true to the mission of not being intrusive, and not marketing at a level that is detrimental to the community ecosystem.  Make it regular with weekly community events, so that people might miss a week and still be able to rely on having a place to go when they can make it.  To the big brands: SL is not a 3D commercial marketing tool.  It’s a good forum for meeting people interested in the company.  The Orange effort was an experiment to involve people who were interested in the product, not for marketing.  Orange can afford a mainstream media marketing campaign—but with SL the goal was more to get to know those who will be the next customers.

Lessons from the Virtual Mobility experience:  Academics research their topics before acting.  For example, the term Virtual Community was coined by Howard Rheingold.  In the book, Rheingold noted that sustainable virutal communities require four essential characteristics: 1) adequate population, with 2) adequate time to spend in the community, 3) a sufficient level of human feeling, and 4) development of a web of personal relationships.  The interpersonal relationships are what make the community real.    Further items of importance to a well-founded virtual community include: 1) coherency of membership, 2) influence of members on each other, 3) integration and fulfillment of needs, and 4) shared emotional connections.

Community building is about communication, and as most attending this session agreed, communication in SL is not the same as in RL.  Virtual Ability chose to grow slowly, and their board of directors keeps them focused on their mission and vision; SL is known for its defocusing effects on residents.

Lessons from the Blarney Stone Group (Dublin region) in SL has over 10,000 members.  They serve as a community gateway, a first place to go to find helpful people.  Recently, it was noted that some residents who passed through a couple of years ago have been returning to check in (and enjoy a pint).

With Orange as well, the goal was to grow community slowly, not fast, and keep the connections on a personal level.  This involved direct in-world presence to provide a one-on-one connection with those arriving at the site.

With Virtual Ability, some sources of drama can be falseness – role players who are not themselves disabled yet are presenting as such.  The risk they create is that in communicating with the community they may project mythologies (rather than speaking truth from experience).  Also there is a small but dangerous group of predators who actually target the disabled community.  One of Virtual Ability’s strengths has been their inclusiveness to both the disabled and those not yet disabled, and not to require disclosure of one’s status with regard to disability.  With that mix of membership, the predator community can not find themselves certain of actually communicating with a disabled member of Virtual Ability, making the group a more resilient target.

Also experience notes from Virtual Ability: be certain to separate one’s personal and professional life in Second Life–especially when it comes to accounting for business expenses.  Also, be certain to maintain a contingency plan for leadership.  Virtual Ability does this by rigorously assigning co-leadership to key projects and distributed leadership in other works.  All projects have at least two leaders.  One never knows when loss or unavailability will strike, so planning ahead is really important to maintain a viable community.

From Dublin: One needs a very clear idea of what that community is about, as in “I want it to be thus.  These are the rules.  This is where I want it to go.”  Get people around you whose judgement you trust, and listen to them!  Before there are too many requests to handle personally–delegate!  Get others involved with growing leadership.

From the Nokia efforts — don’t pick someone from IT to manage your community building efforts.  It’s not about technology, but rather get someone who is a good user of the technology and who can put it to use.

From Orange – be sure to have a clear idea of what you want — make it sustainable with appropriate finances and staff.  Remember also that you in an SL community must live with your own already existing communities as well.  Be sure not to work as an island, but rather connect with these existing communities.  The alternative is rather lonely…

What makes a good event?  From the Nokia experience – use a topic that is slightly controversial (e.g. consider the corporate reaction to furry avatars). In any case, don’t be boring!  From the Dublin experience – create consistent events, rather than trying for killer events.  All and Catherine emphasized: “know your audience”.

In the realm of user questions, it was noted that the SL limit of 25 groups per resident has been a challenge for those very active in community creation.  For a large group with hierarchy such as Dublin, the group limit is easily exhausted for the executive director when dividing up multiple teams at multiple venues.  Others find that with large and unwieldly groups, it would be very desirable to allow Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to effectively subclass the group.  This would solve the problem noted in Dublin.

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The last panel of the afternoon for me was the Linden Documentation Team.  John, Kate, Jeremy, Rand, and (in-world only) Torley were available.

Key point: the SL knowledge base is moving out of Parature and into a public wiki.  The MediaWiki solution (as used by Wikipedia) will be used together with its FlaggedRevs extension to allow revision control.  This means that the knowledge base will be more directly editable by us residents.  Certain policy-related and service pricing-related articles will remain locked for business liability reasons.

In a creative blast, the Documentation Team has released a graphic novel version of introductory concepts called “discovering virtual land”. They were kind enough to print out hardcopies enough for us in the room, which they graciously signed.

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After a short walk to Yerba Buena Gardens along Third Street, it was wonderful to gather across from SFMOMA and enjoy the Linden Lab Luau.  There seemed just the right number of folks to fill the space and still get a chance to visit with much of the crowd, including some people who have been very successful with SL.

Afterwords, just  a block away the evening was wrapped up with the Blarney Stone on Tour, where Sellers Markets was filled with happy folks and a train of live musicians (streamed into SL of course) at the open mic.

Now time for some rest and an early registration tomorrow morning.

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