Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Return of Frienster, can Vritual Reality and Gaming Bring It Back


So friendster is back, with a clear orientation to the Asian market. That is cool, Facebook is a bit to white American/European for me. Facebook's rise was predicated on being, until 2007, the site for those in America with the money to go to college. When Zuckerburg's class graduated they were the first generation to grow up with the World Wide Web and they formed the basis of a specially American way of using the net.


But anyone who does Virtual Reality can tell you that here is another Web out there in Asia. If Second Life had been founded in Asia it would be worth billions right now. Asians have embraced virtual worlds far more than European and Americans. Some cynics say that is because life in Asian developed economies is so banal and difficult they craze escape in to fantasy worlds.

What ever the reason friendster is worth checking out to see how a social network with virtual worlds at its core looks. With facebook starting to kind of show its age perhaps we are looking at the true Social Network of the future, one that is more multi-cultural, with gaming and virtual reality at its core rather than tacked on to it. And with more interesting things than just building a farm.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Maps vs Simulations



A simulation, as the one above, opens the potential of emmersion, a map or model, as the one below, is just that, a 3D map. Potentially the two kinds of 3D web representation coudl be merged, but often a simulation promotes play and will need to be small and simple to be effective.






Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Is Second Life lame? Not for live music

Music in Second Life

In one Friday night, having to work late, I was able to attend 4 different live music concerts going on. For those who think Second Life is lame, how many concerts have you ever heard on one night? In Second Life you can TP in what in the RL would be a major concert.

Music in Second Life
Music in Second Life
Music in Second Life


Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
Posted by Picasa

Friday, 22 October 2010

Glimmers an Erotic-Cyber-Fantasy inspired by Second Life

Glimmers, an Erotic-Cyber-Fantasy  Inspired by Second Life
Glimmers, is a novella by Jaen Wirefly. It was inspired by massive social networking and PURE insanity.

First chapter of Glimmers, an Erotic-Cyber-Fantasy Inspired by Second Life can be read for free @Chapter One, the cover and the pitch.

Virtual horses in Second Life

Virtual horses in Second Life 

Virtual horses in Second Life at fairy horse an Italian group. Recently I have noticed more bots roaming around Second Life. Yesterday it was a tank that shot at me if I bothered it and a rouge bus, today its horses. I have also noticed robot rabbits.

As the virtual space of Second Life remains empty it seems to be filling up with bots, machines with simple minds not really at the level of AI, but still showing interesting behaviour. You can always click on one to see the maker.



Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
Posted by Picasa

StarZ Art Corner in Second Life

image of StarZ Art Corner in Second Life 

StarZ Art Corner in Second Life


image with map of StarZ Art Corner in Second Life 

StarZ Art Corner in Second Life shown on a map of Second Life. Just another mall in SL really, virtual walls thrown up to make an illusion of a unique space. Hey get an island.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
Posted by Picasa

Octopus's Garden in Second Life

Octopus's Garden in Second Life image

Octopus's Garden in Second Life

Octopus's Garden in Second Life

The above image shows where Octopus's Garden in Second Life is in Second Life.


Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Scripter and designer AnnMarie Otoole

AnnMarie Otoole Tank in Second Life

Scripter and designer AnnMarie Otoole has produced an M60 tank that will shot you if you bother it. Route 11 - Farmers Market -


AnnMarie Otoole Tank in Second Life
AnnMarie Otoole Tank in Second Life
AnnMarie Otoole Tank in Second Life


Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
Posted by Picasa

If you can remember it, it is probably in Second Life


DarkSide of Luna Halloween Castle of Doom

It amazes me how many sub-cultures and neo-tribes of the last 40 years are covered in Second Life. Here we see a site that seems to be inspired by my High School years.







Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
Posted by Picasa

Mind in Second LIfe



Mind graphic used in lecture at NLP House education area


Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
Posted by Picasa

University of Delaware Imagianation



UD Imagination from University of Delaware, another Island in what I call the Uni Archipelago: large cluster of SIMs owned by Universities and used for education. It is isolated band of islands clustered in the North East of the current Second Life map, or Planet Linden as I call it. There is another cluster of educational SIMs south of this one. They are essentially the East border of Second Life with the exception of the Second Life porn island Zindra. So it seems that education is being shoved out towards porn in the Second Life space, which makes sense since they are the two most popular uses for the space better to have them not visible for a standard SLURL Second Life map right?

Whoes the new CEO again?


Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Utopia and EnGedi

Utopia and EnGedi

B&B in SIM Utopia and EnGedi, you have to love that SIM name.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
Posted by Picasa

Space, building and virtual reality: from layers to Rhizomes



The brilliant futurist Stewart Brand of the Long Now Foundation has produced a concept in this book How Building Learn. A building, in the Real, is never a unified single finished constructed but a set of layers. Each layer has its own life span.

Brand identifies these layers, with estimated spans of time:

Site
The ground a building is on, in the human scale this lasts "forever", though probably "generations of stability" would be a better term.

Structure

The frame or load baring structure which last 30 to 300 years. I live in a 100 year old house, when we moved in there was a great deal of stuff added during the 1970s and 1980s which we tore up to expose the bricks and beams underneath.

Skin

Skin is the stuff around the frame, like walls or installation, this stuff will last about 20 years until it needs to be replaced. You don't change the walls or even paint every year.

Services

Gas, water, electricity, things that last maybe last 7 to 15 years.

Space Plan

From paint to walls and carpets this is the stuff that can last up to 30 years, what we see as the interior of he building.

Stuff

All the stuff we move around at will.

If you own a SIM in Second Life all these layers are reduced to Stuff, everything, including the ground and sky in Virtual reality is furniture and decorations. The only way these layers are preserved is through levels of ownership. As a visitors to a friends apartment I can change what I wear and maybe ad something like a plant to space. My friend as a renter can change the skin and services of the apartment at will but the owners is able to change the ground layout and ultimately Linden Labs owns the fate of the site.

Second Life may reduce relationships of time to that of ownership, but it does so by essentially creating a singularity of time. Everything, nature, culture, history, is mobile, flexible and agile. There is nothing that can not be altered in a matter of minutes. Only the time it takes to design something, as designing and building are now the same task. We just need to draw it out and it is, from a mountain range to a new hat.

This creates an experience were the main "capture" for long term knowledge is lost. Since now layers of Second Life's reality are any more fixed than any other nothing holds long term data unless we decided, continually, to hold it there. This allows us a world supporting rapid creation and evolution of simulated culture, but it provides a world where there is nothing to dig up, no long term scares, all past and identity are just imagined past and identity, no layers reset under other layers holding them up in time.

And this is probably why I keep blogging like this. I am not sure how many records there are like this of Second Life, but in time you will be able to use the records of blogs, wikis and communities to find the history of Second Life. And I see some very solid lessons about communication and community in those lessons.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
Posted by Picasa

Second Life, is it growing, well it is getting bigger



Above is a pre-release June 2003 of Second Life. This is the land in which the now almost forgotten wars of 2003-2004 between Second Life original two factions were carried out. The green land was home of fairly typical left wing web Utopians, the orange was a right wing "proto-tea party" movement that strongly support the invasion of Iraq. Strange to think given the almost infinite grades of different languages and ideology that now exist in Second Life that 7 years ago it was a tiny space of two groups that contained only the positions in the United States and who didn't have enough space to avoid each other.



These original regions are still here, though they are now the established old part of Second Life. But the image belows shows how much Second Life has grown as a physical space in 7 years.



Perhaps we are all thinking too much in terms of Facebook which in the same time went from a couple of members of a Jewish Fraternity in Harvard to 500,000,000 accounts. But I would like to state that below is a virtual world built via collaboration in those 7 years. How long would it take a company to design, build and deploy something so big. Actually this is only most of Second Life, the entire surface of "Planet Linden" does not fit on my 30 inch monitor.

So despite all the problems Linden Labs is having and the pretty general sense of doom coming out of looking at the user numbers and economy, perhaps we are missing the real story here. The creation not only of space but of "place", areas with their own character supporting their own community and shared practices, and inside these buildings almost every object of the last 100 years modelled for us, often modelled again and again.



Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
Posted by Picasa

Monday, 18 October 2010

Talking oil in Second Life



Artesia Sideways gives a talk on our vanishing oil supplies at Elucian Islands, Mt Olympus

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
Posted by Picasa

Are virtual world's viable?


This may seems like a strange question for a blog like this to ask, but I have to wonder if virtual worlds are actually viable.

Now one thing I learned from the dot bomb mess is that social changes needed for the take up of a technology are far slower than the development in technology itself. My work with Web 2.0 and collaboration is a perfect case in point. I am putting in systems and concepts that we were discussing in 10 or even 20 years ago. There is really not that much unique to Social Computing, blogging, wikis. Really if you looked at University Internet sites 15 years ago you would have seen home pages, usenet discussion, social networks forming.

It took 20 years for the Usenet provided by DARPA to become the World Wide Web of the movie Social Network. So I am not one to jump ship when I see some negative signs.

But, the dot bomb was a collapse of the Internet in the middle of great signs that the Internet was taking off. In 2003 I had a copy of my CV without the word Internet on it. A recruiter asked me to do it. But during that time consumer take up on the Internet was going nuts. Apple was developing the IPod, Google was getting reading to issue stock, Microsoft was ready to release Server 2003 (their first really web ready server) and SharePoint, LiveJournal and Blogger were starting to take off. Online advertising was going nuts. The World Wide Web was on fire in 2003 and the same year I was told by people in suits that the web was dead Zuckerburg was developing Facebook.

In Virtual Reality I don't see any signs at all of growth. With WoW having maxed out the gaming sector of Virtual Worlds the all important "open spaces" of Second Life, Blue Mars, Twinity, IMVU, InWorldz and any other "hang out virtual space" are a pretty depressing story. Not only do I see business failing and people leaving, but I hear no positive story from any level. Even the hard core users are pretty depressed.

Now I can still get most people who will listen impressed by the possibility of Virtual Reality and there are some amazing designers. But there is always a 'but'. And in the end all the issues people have with virtual worlds seem to come up to one: space works great as a metaphor for information in space, but otherwise it sucks.

Second Life specifically has some major problems because it is tryign to present information as space:

1. Time difference: if I am looking you in the eye that means I am in your time zone. In Second Life groups almost always find that significant members are living in vastly different places and unless someone gives up sleeping communities are limited. The coolest thing about SL, that you can interact in real time with people from all over the world, is rendered almost impossible by the sad reality that the real world, unlike the world of SL, is round and not flat.

2. Lag: assembling vast amounts take huge amounts of time to assemble, making SL an ugly world of Lag. You end up having to decide to see the world or experience but you can't do both.

3. Limited avatar motion: you get a body that you can't really do anything with. Second Life has essentially collapsed in to a very busy IM and IRC client.

4. Its "unnatural", one thing I noticed about bad Special Effects and early CGI is that people get very upset, on some basic level, if their reality does not fit how they imagine reality should be. A VR that looked like Tron or Matrxi would be cool because it would confirm to a lot of people's concepts of reality, but for most users Second Life, Twinity, Blue Mars and the entire rest simply look too unreal. WoW can get around this by presenting itself as a game. People understand games don't always look real. But SL is trying to be a space, and I think this is a powerful counter to it.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
Posted by Picasa

Dancing in Second Life



Dancing in Second Life at The PUB owned by Rainbowshadow Magic. Everyone in Second Life should have a URL, if only to a twitter page or blog. Its very difficult to locate avatars like Rainbowshadow Magic in a blog if she exists only in SL. The SLURL connects the web to the internal, and smaller, space of Second Life.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
Posted by Picasa

Official Linden Blog