When Worlds connect

29 08 2006

Sometimes it’s quite nice to have some commuting to do especially when you have some podcasts to listen to or video blogs to watch on the train. So not long ago I came across Geek Entertainment TV I think because of Eric Rice aka Spin Martin in Second Life (as it seems to be his “neighbourhood” ) and only a few days ago I subscribed to it then.

And as you might have heard I was talking about Plone (an open source content management system written in Python which I use and being part of the development community) and it’s relationship to Burning Man in my latest (and first 😉 podcast. There I mentioned some guys of the Plone community having worked for Burning Man before.

And so it happened that I was watching the latest episode of Geek Entertainment TV on the train when Irina Slutsky (host of GETV) appeared on the screen interviewing Rob Miller of OpenPlans. I met Rob Miller myself 2 years ago at the Plone Conference in Vienna (see my photos of this event) and he actually is one of these three guys being active with Burning Man and Plone :-). And of course Burning Man is happening in Second Life, too (not sure though he knows that but I will certainly tell him). For that see Burning Life.

So coincidence and connections are all over 🙂 I want more of that! 🙂

PS: my Plone video reports (and other videos) are over at http://mrtopf.tv. Be warned though that it might get a bit lowlevel sometimes (and it’s not as sexy as GETV 😉 .

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Reflecting on C.C.Chapman and Linden Lab

29 08 2006

So in his latest episode of the podcast “Managing the Gray” C.C. Chapman talks about keeping talent in your company. And while listening to it I thought it might be good for Linden Lab to listen to it, too. Not so much because of keeping their programmers happy but more regarding their residents (who are part of their people with talent in the end).

One thing what sounded familiar was when he talks about talking to your employees and asking them for their opinion. He adds that “talk is cheap” but you also need to let action follow. If you don’t do that people get cynical and they start to question you.

Now when thinking about Linden Lab’s history of announcements like Havok2, HTML-on-a-prim and even some of the roundtable discussions you can sort of see this happening. That’s why I thought they might want to listen to that, too 🙂

(and btw, at the keynote at SLCC there was no talk about HTML-on-prims anymore as features-to-come, so is this abandoned, is it still coming? I remember listening to a townhall some time back that is will slowly be introduced over the next months (which might be over by now) but so far we only got the help browser. It would be nice at least to post some sort of updated roadmap as far as it can be released publically. I just don’t want to get cynical ;- ) ).

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The Duran Duran Effect

27 08 2006

Sometimes it is of advantage to stay up late (sometimes it’s not as I notice this morning) to get hold of some interesting story. I was talking to Fizik Baskerville of Rivers Run Red and went over to Avalon as he wanted to show me something.

It happened to be some Duran Duran fans who hang out for quite a while at avalong waiting for the event (3pointd was talking about Duran Duran coming to Second Life here). Well, not really trying to be first in line but more so as meeting point for other Duranies and to eventually get hold of some information (as I read on the DD forum, Fizik was so kind to add some seating to the place). They told me that they did not hear about Second Life before and they just joined because somebody posted photos of the location in Avalon on the Duran Duran forums (you need to register to see it). And they quickly made their way through Second Life and eventually even got some land. This shows that this upcoming event does not only affect Second Life residents but also brings a complete new community into the world. And now I was meeting three of them at Avalon.

Of course they know quite exactly what the individual members of Duran Duran are up to, like that they like avenues apart from the norm as Grey Marquette tells me. They were also not very surprised to hear from Fizik that the small meet’n’greet with Nick Rhodes (keyboards) unfolded into a 7 hour SL session accompanied with chinese food. They were surprised though to hear that Andy Taylor was a fan of SL, too. And looking back to other bigger RL artists in Second Life it’s good to see that some of them finally use SL and try to learn about it before they have some appearance in there.

Fizik was adding to that as he tells us that Duran Duran really plays an active role in the whole project. He also points out that they are not just doing a concert (and he and Nick Rhodes are the creative directors for the SL appearance) but doing a whole Duran Duran world. And while those fans are eager to learn more about this world, Fizik was actually giving some hints.

These clues are the big poster with the montage on the wall, the mask on the ground (and suddenly on Fizik’s head) as well as the spray cans on the ground (see the photos below). There might be more to come as according to Fizik they are using the Duran Duran area on Avalon as a place to leave things they are working on.

So if you are a Duran Duran fan, you now know where to meet others and who knows, maybe you will be the one to solve the puzzle.

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Announcement: Watch Video with Tao

27 08 2006

Tomorrow (or today depending on timezone), Sunday, Aug 27th, 2PM SLT I will show some video blog posts from various RL video blogs. So if you want to join and maybe discuss these or just hang around, come over.

Watch Video With Tao

Here’s the teleport to the location (yes, it might say “No Region” but this is wrong in the map). You might come out on the telehub. You might then want to click the door on the ground on my plot.

This is also supposed to happen more often. So check back! Additionally you might want to search for the group “Tao Takashi Announcements” and join this to get notices.

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Cheesy Beacon++ :-)

27 08 2006

So when you go to your Client-Menu (if you don’t have that, enable it with CTRL-ALT-D) and select Rendering->Cheesy Beacon and enable it. Then open the map window and click somewhere on the sim you are in. Then look at that cheesy effect 🙂

Works probably best with the world set to midnight (World menu -> Force Sun -> Midnight).

So I want more cheesy effects, please 🙂

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Tao and Topf Show, episode 1

26 08 2006

So finally we made it and the first episode of “The Tao and Topf show is online”. A podcast done by MrTopf and Tao Takashi in cooperation. Hope you like it and don’t feel asleep directly 😉

Download Episode

It is a mix of Real Life, Second Life and music.

Details of MrTopf:
Company Homepage: COMlounge.net
Video-Blog: mrtopf.tv
Plone Blog: dev.comlounge.net
E-Mail: mrtopf@gmail.com
Flickr: http://flickr.com/photos/mrtopf

Details of Tao Takashi:
Blog: taotakashi.wordpress.com (just videos are here)
Blog Aggregator: planet.worldofsl.com
Fashion-Blog Aggregator: fashionplanet.worldofsl.com
E-Mail: tao.takashi@gmail.com
Flickr: http://flickr.com/photos/taotakashi

Homepage of Second Life: http://secondlife.com

Storylinks: iTunes, eMusic, Napster, Suzanne Vega performance, Relay For Life in Second Life,
Python, Zope, Plone, Plone Conference, WSGI, CacheFu, DZUG Tagung, vox, Michael Verdi, whenwewererobots.com, Creative Commons, Burning Man, SLCC, BanLink,

Music in the show



Jerry Mane
Little Rascal Records

  • Download “Skyway” (MP3, 192kbps)

Giggles In The Dark - The Remixes LP

Giggles In The Dark – The Remixes LP

Lesbians On Ecstasy
Alien8 Recordings



Mek! Music Inc.

  • Download “Better” (MP3, 192kbps)

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Some random SLCC bits (UPDATED)

23 08 2006

Unfortunately I was a bit on the road yesterday and thus I did muss Mitch Kapor’s talk and the RL business panel. What I also noticed is that there’s not so much coverage actually going on except the live streams. So people, please blog, upload photos, videos and so on!!! 🙂 (seems to be more common at other conferences, there it’s more like live coverage via blogs)

So here’s just a little list of things I remember:

The Main Land Group Communities & Projcts panel was discussing various issues. mentioned was griefing and control of land. Related to land control they wished to maybe have more control over a sim when you own all the land on it (because of griefers etc.). Along the lines of griefing prevention there was the idea of a banning system which was mentioned by Travis Lambert of the Shelter (afaik he and Mera Pixel are working on that). Robin Linden asked if it would be of advantage to share a blacklist. The answer to that was that griefers just want to get negative attention and thus move on when it’s not possible to grief anymore at one location. Thus sharing might make sense but not in general as other communities might have different rules (like gorean culture and shelter culture are somewhat different).
They also pleaded for some support by LL as their system is based on sensors etc. and this does not play good on the performance side and thus client support for it might be better. One wish would be to be able to use the hardware id for banlist so all the user’s alts are banned automatically as well and the ban list limit is not hit that quickly.

Then there was the sex and relationship panel. Actually it seems to me that the points discussed mostly are not really SL-centric as they apply to RL, too (and besides maybe we should better think of SL more as an extension of RL and thus it’s no wonder). IMHO one interesting point to discuss would be more your expectation when you see that person the first time (as in virtual relationships you don’t have that real visual experience only after a while (if ever) and you might have a different view of that person already and might be disappointed). Beside from explaining a bit about what cybersex is about we also had some entertaining talk by Stroker Serpentine and we had qDot Bunnyhug demonstrating a computer controlled dildo.

After that the Brand and Marketing panel was up featuring people like Catherine Linden, Fizik Baskerville and others. It was actually quite interesting in hearing about different ways to build your brand and do marketing in Second Life. Here are some points mentioned:

  • advertise your stuff in your Profile Picks, people seem to look there
  • maybe try cross-selling. Like when you have some prefab shop try to get some furniture guy to sell with out. Same for clothes and skin designers.
  • try to build trust which means to make high quality products and also try to spend a lot of time with support.
  • try to help new users. Every new user might be a customer later on
  • Use word of mouth. Try to get stuff out to well-connected people so they can spread your brand.

It’s not a lot different actually from a RL business as you have to decide on similar problems like pricing, location of your store and so on.

Then there was the media panel. This was moderated by Hamlet Au and featured some of the SL publications like New World Notes, SL Herald, SecondCast, Pixel Pinup Online, Metaverse Messenger (PDFs will stay) as well as cnet (so not really an SL publication ;-).
I wasn’t able to watch all of that but afaik one topics discussed was the ethics on fashion publications as to tell people which products were given as gift to them. And they mentioned me I think relating to worldofsl.com but they were missing the name 🙂

In general what is that it’s nice to meet all those people in real life and it creates stronger relationships. It maybe proves my point that RL meetings are maybe still somewhat more immersive than SL ones and thus that there maybe shouldn’t be that much of a wall between them. That rarely anybody will look like their avatar should be clear to everybody.

Update Aug, 23: Some more stuff has shown up in the meanwhile. Seems that people had better things to do at SLCC than blogging 😉
So here’s a little list of posts:

3pointd has quite a series of posts about it (starting with a wrapup of Mitch Kapor’s keynote)
GigaOm write about it here and here
Kotaku has a story here
New World Notes has a open forum post
There are lots of photos on flickr tagged with SLCC2006 (or as slideshow)
The Second Life Herald is reporting here
The Secondlife Insider is having posts here and here.

Then the first video is up which happens to be the one about qDot’s demonstration, watch it here (more to come I hope).

I will update again once there’s more to tell 🙂

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Just discovered: Slatenight magazine

21 08 2006

When I was offline this morning I got some inventory delivered by Anya Ixchel, maybe know to you by being the female actor in Kronos Kirkorian’s Lip Flap movie (which was winning the Best Movie Award at the July take5 festival of alt-zoom studios).  It turned out to be the first issue of the in-world edition of the slatenight magazine. Here’s a little quote what it is about:

Slatenight is a monthly magazine  dedicated to showcasing the Arts, education, and all forms of entertainment in Second Life.  Covering topics such as photography, machinima, art, role-playing, new media, gaming, and including Second Life poetry and fiction, slatenight aims to be a guide to all things creative, imaginative and fun in SL. 

I just had a quick look over the first issue and it looks quite promising to me. It has stuff about fashion, some fiction, stories about education, an interview with BuhBuhCuh Fairchild and much more.

The magazine comes in various formats:

– an online edition at slatenight.com in a blog style (but without RSS feed 😦 )
– a PDF version (which actually for some reason stopped loading for me)
– and as mentioned an in-world version which can be found here (SL URL)

The layout of the PDF was done by the team of Dell Wilberg, Scarlet Singer and Richie Waves.
More information about the whole project can also be found at Anya Ixchel’s blog.

Reading the slatenight magazineSo actually I think it’s cool that it comes in different formats so you can choose what fits you best (but I really would like to have that RSS subscription possibility 🙂 ). I hope the PDF will download at some point (on the first try it actually crashed my browser, another point which actually speaks against PDFs) so I can have a look at that as well (but I guess the in-world version will be the same as the PDF).
The good thing of the in-world version is actually that you can zoom in more easily than with the PDF reader 😉

So looking forward to the next issue (and I missed the release party, doh)

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A new fun pile-on test is soon to happen!

21 08 2006

A while back I wrote about a fun event happening in preview and it’s soon to happen again. Today, August 21, 3pm SLT there will be another pile-on test with preview MC Vektor Linden 🙂 So don’t miss it, get the most recent preview of 1.12 here and join the crowds to help testing stability of the upcoming release which will be deployed next wednesday. (and when you have done a pile-on before you might now that it’s all but boring :-))

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Keynote Time and some late night summary

20 08 2006

I am still up to listen to the keynote at the SLCC and here’s my little summary.

Philip was mainly talking about his biography and how SL came into life 🙂 Cory Linden was then showing Linden World a bit (videos are up here).

So cool stuff was said at the end at the keynote by Cory. It was mostly for the devs but it’s cool stuff for them as SL will get more and more open.

Main point is: libsecondlife, the SL protocol reverse engineering, is ok with Linden Lab. They want it and libsl devs are even invited to ask Linden Lab about things they don’t understand. On the other hand they will change the protocol quite a lot in the future and thus recent libsl will break but the new protocol will be XML based and thus easier to understand.

Additionally they are opening up data access like for parcel management so that you don’t need to login for just managing your parcels anymore. It’s all supposed to be ReST based. It also means that you don’t need additional “hacks” like libsl to do that.

20 devs are right now busy just making the product better like refactoring code dating back to 2001 etc. Thus the next releases won’t have that many new features but mostly internal bugfixes to make downtimes less etc.. Main features coming will be group management (next week) and pupeteering. They are also moving to a heterogenous grid which means that it can handle different client version at once and thus upgrades are not that mandatory anymore. They also switch to a two week update schedule as announced before.

UI is in the process of being defined via XML and soon residents will be able to translate it. Makes also internal changes easier.

Permission system will be restructered to some capability-based system. I guess we will see details on that posted someday in the future.

After question from the audience he was talking about justice a bit and how they are thinking that they alone cannot handle the big amount of incidents anymore to decide so the community somehow needs to be included into this process. But a big debate on this still needs to be done.

Question about the TOS and libsl: Right now the TOS does not allow for such third party apps like libsl. They said it will be changed to reflect that idea of opening up the protocol and allowing such third party apps.

Question about his favourite pie to Philip: He cannot say it.

Question was what meant with changing the message layer: Meant is here the internal protocol layer first not the IM stuff. But they are thinking about how to open up the IM system so you can IM from outside.

There was a bit more but I did not get all of it (but hopefully the most important) as it’s a bit late. Please be nice to me when something is not right and tell me about it 🙂

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