A somewhat older article about IBM's "Second Life" business group

While stilll doing business with IBM (haha!) I've stumbled upon this somewhat older article about the formation of IBM's Second Life business group. What the goals of IBM are, what they're planning to do and have already done. Quite interesting read!

The sim Amsterdam has been sold!

The well known sim Amsterdam has been sold for about 50.000 US$!

Well, the price for sure is real enough when you take in account the work needed to build such a big sim and calculate the prize you would need to pay if you order it at some agency.

But what's to say about it... while the sim itself is nice and well done, I don't like the crowd that's normally populating it so much, I wouldn't have paid so much for it nor felt the need to buy it myself. I wonder in which kind of direction it is going to develop, now, since it's been sold. This has been for sure a good deal for its previous owner.

OpenJPEG got faster!

Now that's something out of the IBM article, but worth an own entry: the open available JPEG-2000 library OpenJPEG got faster! This means you don't need the proprietary libraries from Kakadu anymore to get a good open source client, if you're living on the bleeding edge and this is making its way in the main tree of OpenJPEG after some time, I guess. Yeah!

IBM series on the Second Life client

The nice folks over at IBM Developerworks have started a series about Second Life. The first article of it is about how to compile your own client, the pitfalls and how to achieve the goal, since it's not so trivial to do.

Quite worth a read, better than the wiki page over at Lindenlabs and I am looking forward to the next articles of this series!

Newly opened sims

There are some newly opened sims on the main grid.

To be exact, these are:

  • T-Online Island and T-Online Beach. T-Online is one of the biggest German ISPs, on their island you can find an in world presence of this company open for all, with a modern building, meeting rooms and so on, while T-Online Beach is mostly a beach, open for all.
  • Frankfurt am Main has opened an in world presence, too. It's consisting of five sims at the moment, Frankfurt West, Frankfurt City, Frankfurt Nord Ost, Frankfurt Ost and Frankfurt Ostend. Not all of them are already finished, you can see most at Frankfurt West and Frankfurt City so far. The initiative to open such sims was made by some private men. It's basically an in world rebuild of some popular sights of the city. Update: it's the first official presence of a German city in Second Life.
  • The VHS Goslar has opened an in world presence, too. I wonder where there's the sense of it, though. But then again, why not, enabling new market reach and such, for sure organizations like that can profit from a voice enabled main grid, when it's going to be available.

More fun with the voice beta grid

I've spent today again some time on the voice beta test grid. It has been quite fun and interesting to see how voice is going to change the SL experience.

It's also a good way to see the Lindens live; no wonder, since it's beta and only under 10 regions are online, you can see them there. I saw Pathfinder Linden and another Linden, Monroe Linden, even used voice and talked with us a little! Great!

So, basically when you're going online on the beta grid it's first looking where the crowd is. There are perhaps 30-40 people online the same time, and they use to flock around, well, that's my experience so far.

Today was also interesting since we've seen an avatar from the company that is providing the voice technology, Vivox, Rockin Randall, who talked with us and answered some questions to us. Nice guy and some very interesting insights, for sure this is going to scale at great lengths, if necessary!

Well, here's also a little snapshot to show the speech indicators in action, just click on the thumbnail to see the big picture.

A feature I'd like to see: +V

I've attended last week a panel discussion with some politicians and around 60 attendees. A feature I'd really like to see for such kind of events in Second Life to handle such events better is available in IRC for over a decade and more already: +V, meaning giving voice.

What's "voice" meaning in IRC? Simple. IRC is a channel based way of online text communication. Some channels tend to be rather large and for many open source projects e.g. it's still a very important way to discuss stuff and things. The channel could be compared to open chat in Second Life.

All men are created equal, but not all are equal in IRC. Every channel has its owner. The owner can per default put all other channel members on mute. This means, they can type what they want, but it's not going to show up in the channel at all. This does not hinder them from sending private messages to others, but the channel is muted first.

If someone should be allowed to speak to the channel, the owner sets the voice flag, +V. This allows then the voiced member to speak to the channel.

That's a feature I'd really like to see in Second Life, parcel based, of course. It would make discussion events much easier to handle. How? Well...

The moderator of the discussion has voice. The discussion members on the panel have voice. The audience after the event started? Has no voice. So they need to direct their questions to the moderator in the room. He decides then, which questions should be asked and either asks them on behalf of the avatar or gives the avatar voice for the time to ask. If then it gets to open discussion the moderator could either give voice to all (bad idea) or make a list of speakers and give them voice one after the other.

This sounds perhaps a little bit on the harsh side, but would really help to handle open discussion events, where not all people are on the civilised side, quite more efficiently and squashes spamming in open chat very well.

My experiences with the voice beta

There was yesterday the announcement about the public availibility of the voice beta version of Second Life. Since I had spare time and a new, shiney headset, I downloaded the special beta client and gave it a try.

The first thing you're going to notice is that you are not seeing much difference to the normal beta clients at all. Voice capability is disabled by default, so you have to enable it by yourself in the preferences. The second thing I experienced is - it's much better to enable voice in the so called push-to-talk mode - meaning, that you're only transmitting audio into the game world when you're pressing down some key. Otherwise all people around you can be hearning echos if your soundcard is not configured correctly, many computers tend to transmit much noise, well, let's just say it's a waste of bandwidth and computing power.

I know how voice is being handled by services like Skype. Skype automatically adjusts the microfon volume while you speak, so that the microfon level is always nice mannered and not too loud. In the Second Life beta you've got to adjust the microfon volume on your own, so you should better now how to setup the volume mixer under Windows or Macintosh. Yup, there's no beta for this available at the moment under Linux.

Well, if you've got your settings then right you can enjoy the voice capabilites of the beta - or not. First you need to get to a region, though, that is voice enabled in the beta grid. There are not many available and you can see a list of enabled regions in the release notes of the beta client. According to Lindenlabs there are these voice enabled regions at the moment on the beta grid: Abbotts, Lusk, Pulveria, Spaceport Alpha, Morris, Da Boom, Tehama and Balance. BTW, it's not advisable under Windows to use the Shift-Key for enable the push-to-talk mode, since this is per default enabled by Windows to enable some advanced features for people with disabilities after pressing it fives times. Better use another key or turn those features of in the system settings of Windows.

weiterlesen

Croquet 1.0 released and something on Uni-Verse

The version 1.0 of Croquet has been released today; no beta anymore. This is for sure a great step for this project and I am excited to see to which place this is going to lead this project now!

BTW, I've found another 3d-project today on my radar: Uni-Verse. Founded by the European Union, developed by academic institutes, seems the purpose of this project more in the field of 3d-collaboration. It's, like Croquet, also Opensource and the demonstration movie on their website looks very interesting. It has also interfaces to Maya and Blender - no wonder since the Blender foundation is involved in the development of Uni-Verse.

Gay Goreans

It's really funny upon which things you can stumble upon into Second Life. Goreans are a big and well known community there. But, until now, I never knew that there are also gay Goreans around. I've stumbled upon a group called "Gay Gorean Coalition."

The purpose of this group is:

To promote & help gay rp'ers in the Gor community.

We meet the 2nd Saturday of every month at 1pm SL time. Place to be announced.

If you need help or wish to network with others, we are here to help.

SL never ceases to amaze me...