Archives for June 2007

The Australian Women’s Weekly covers SL

The Australian Women’s Weekly have run an article titled ‘Internet Communities Explained’ and SL gets a guernsey. RMIT’s Dr Lisa Dethridge is quoted extensively in relation to SL and one quote caught my attention in particular:

“avatars tend to keep the fantasy alive by refraining from chat about ‘RL’ [real life] and referring to this world as if it were the only world. Unlike regular chat rooms, where people discuss the details of their lives online, Second Life is a kind of hermetically sealed zone with laws unto itself”


The intention of the statement is clear but it also clashes with my interactions with aussies in SL, particularly the newer users. It’s rare to not hear people asking each other where they’re from in RL. The wariness around disclosing extensive personal information definitely remains but it seems the boundaries between RL and SL aren’t as defined as they used to be. Do you find the same?

It’ll also be interesting to see the level of Australian sign-ups when Meta Linden releases the June stats – between 60 Minutes and the Australian Women’s Weekly, it’s been a mainstream media feast this month courtesy of PBL – perhaps a SL presence is looming including a virtual Crown Casino?

Second Fest

Second Fest is on this weekend and it’s very Australia-friendly with Day 2 kicking off around 9pm AEST (4am SL time). The rumours about an avatar appearance of the Pet Shop Boys are probably nothing more than that, but hey those guys were avatars fifteen years before SL so it’s an obvious fit.

The Intel sims are spacious to say the least with multiple viewing locations:



Check it out in-world

Location guide for new users

Tateru Nino from SL Insider has formulated a brilliant list of locations for new SL users to visit.


It’s well worth spending some time checking out the locations mentioned.

Joys and Sorrows of Voice in Second Life

On the SLOz forums, Aussie SL’er Juko Tempel asked for a discussion on voice in SL. So we’ve made her moderator of the Voice in SL forum.


Drop in and join the debate on voice-enabled SL and its joys and sorrows for you.

Gamer Revolution on ABC TV

Tomorrow evening on ABC TV, the first of a two-part series called Gamer Revolution will screen. It’s a wide-ranging look at gaming but from the snippets I’ve seen I believe Second Life receives an examination.


The PIER opens

Owned by Sydney-based Carys Dahlstrom (and virtual dog Wullie!), the PIER is becoming one of the more popular social venues. Although its been around quite a while (I remember spending some time there months ago), it’s had a facelift and a move to a new sim. The (re)opening was held last weekend:




In Carys Dahlstrom’s own words: “I guess I just want a ‘safe’ place for people to hang out. I had this place before on another sim and had to move it as the sim couldn’t cope with the traffic. Somewhere to go without the ‘gambling and sex’ pressure. Good music, good fun and good people”.

Idlers also get to walk the plank and buy the t-shirt afterwards.

Thanks to Simon Kline for the opening pics!

Check it out in-world.

Australia Council offers matchmaker service for SL artists

Today we received a follow up comment from the folks at the Australia Council:

“Need artists to collaborate with for the Second Life Grant opportunity?

Australia Council for the Arts has set up an artist’s forum in Second Life for artists looking for other artists to collaborate with for its Second Life grant.

The “matchmaker” blog can be found at Alternatively you can access it through Second Life via the Australia Council Billboards on ABC Island and the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) Island, Esperance.

For more information on the grant visit

Monash University (doesn’t) join the SL contingent

We’ve been contacted by SL resident Curiosa Paravane requesting we remove the image we’d featured in this story. Curiosa has made the following statement: “The branding of the building on esperance was a mistake which has been corrected”. We’ve removed the image as it appears Monash University aren’t in fact officially in SL at this stage.

We asked Curiosa whether a real Monash presence was imminent – her response was “I can’t comment on behalf of Monash, I’m afraid. You’ll have to wait and see like everyone else :)”

At SLOz we ran the story because the Places search functionality was returning Monash University – this is no longer the case.

The original story (minus image):

“Monash University has joined USQ, RMIT, Murdoch Uni and the AFTRS in Second Life with a modest presence on Esperance Island.

We’re hoping to catch up with someone from Monash in coming days to find out more.

Check it out in-world

Interview – the SLCN TV Team – Part 2

We finish up our Q&A with the effusive SLCN TV team with a discussion on SL competitors and what’s inspirational about SL. Part 1 of the interview can be found here


Lowell: So what do you see as the biggest challenges for the SL platform in the coming 12 months?

Starr: Living up to the inflated expectation of the broader population as they realise what cool fun they are missing out on… and leap in without true commitment to it.

Wiz: The biggest challenge for Linden Labs is to stay focused on their mission. I believe they have done a remarkable job doing that already. In fact, I am stunned at how focused they have been despite what must be an enormous industry distraction.

Starr: And all the other scandals and crisis’ happening… they have become masters of the universe, and hey, that’s a busy job.

Lowell: What are your thoughts on potential competitors like Project Outback?

Wiz: The “secret” that makes Second Life work is the economy and the intellectual property model. Many people, like Project Outback, have the mistaken impression that “it’s about technology”, but it’s not. It’s about people and their possessions and their world. That is the challenge for any competitor, and Linden Labs won’t have too much to worry about until somebody undertands how to quickly escalate the creation of a vibrant virtual society.

Starr: Peer to peer is an exciting thing and if virtual worlds can run as smoothly as the full screen video for Joost, then a p2p system sounds great…. but I agree with Wiz, the challenge will be filling it with interesting people and things, because that is going to win over a better resolution suntan.

Lowell: But you’d agree that if a competitor manages to create a vibrant community whilst offering much larger concurrency per area that they’re likely to cause some concern for SL?

Wiz: True, technology supports such a society, and makes it possible. But, when you look at SL, it’s amazing the “trivial” features related to ownership, IP, permissions, that, if missing, would cause the economy to collapse. There are fundamental problems with “larger concurrency per area” that are not easy for anyone to solve. For example, no matter how much money and technology you throw at it, there is a limit to how many people you can throw into a phone booth. There are limits, based upon graphic complexity and “activity on your screen” to how many people you can actually manage in one space. I think the “limits per area”, while too low now, are not a “make or break” feature for competing with Linden Labs.

Lowell: True – but whether it’s SL or a competitor, being able to have more than 100 people in an area is likely to be an attractive proposition.

Wiz: I think the biggest “competitor” will come from those who have the vision to embrace the LL open source viewer, and create stunning and usable alternative grids. It’s a lot like the web. Embracing HTTP as a standard was essential. For virtual worlds we need a standard. and the LL open source viewer is light years ahead of any other attempt.

Lowell: Do you think that SL’s dominance now makes it likely to remain that way?

Wiz: Standards-based virtual worlds are the “holy grail” that will cause adoption to spread like lightning.

Lowell: And open source is much more likely to deliver that. Is SLCN set up to service other virtual worlds?

Wiz: Well, a STANDARD will deliver that. There is nothing even remotely close to a standard. There is the second life open source viewer in first place. Second place? Nobody. SLCN can provide virtual coverage of any virtual world. In fact, we sort of joke about the “Second Life Cable Network” name and figure that some day people will say …. “SLCN, what does that stand for?” and have no idea

Lowell: Have you done any non-SL virtual work to date?

Wiz: We don’t see any other virtual worlds as even marginally important right now.

Lowell: Why is that?

Wiz: No other virtual world allows content creation even close to what SL offers. Content creation is what CREATES people’s virtual identity, otherwise they are just “going to a virtual movie” and have no participation. People’s stories are derived from their participation. We will wait and see whether other environments accomplish that and will not hesitate to cover such worlds when they do. Sure there are “niche worlds” like World of Warcraft and we are considering whether WoW “events and news” may be potentially interesting, but that is, in my opinion (you may think me crazy) a small market.

Lowell: I think you MAY be crazy on it being a small market.

Wiz: WoW isn’t a small market…. the WoW market who ALSO will watch a virtual TV show is a small market.

Lowell: But I’d imagine the huge cohort of heavy users would jump at a virtual TV show on WoW – nothing to back that up of course.

Starr: Well there was that WoW clip on Youtube that got squillions of hits about the funeral massacre. Not wanting to contradict you Wiz! hehe

Wiz: %population-who-gets-curious-when-they-hear-the-words-second-life > %population-who-gets-curious-when-they-hear-worlds-of-warcraft …. quickest summary I can give

Starr: I think that a lot of SL users where users of the Sims online and other virtual worlds and they are looking for the next level of sophistication, which SL offers. People love the making, the selling and the interactions

Lowell: So linking to that – what events / areas in SL have excited you the most?

Texas: I’m inspired by some of the people we have met in SL. The patience and time they have shown us from day one have just blown me away. These people are creative with their imaginations, their time and their hearts.

Wiz: You’ll laugh when i say this, but somehow, SLCN has a “mind expanding” effect on people. I am very excited when I see that effect. For example…people who have been working hard to build “something they find important” in Second Life, they work, they amass friends, they blog about it, they love it. Then, they participate in an event where their “loved thing” is brodcast on SLCN, in-world maybe, to other sims, or archived so tht experience is “captured” so they can tell their story better with pictures. It opens their minds to new possiibilities, the world seems bigger. Suddenly what seemed SO hard seems easier because they can share the experience with others not in-world. The Best Practices educators were the best example of that, and I am inspired by every one of them.

Starr: I get inspired by seeing people jump up and perform when the camera on them, just like in real life. People have such avvie-empathy, they want to be up on the big screen as much as the next avvie. I do think media plays an important role in-world like it does “out” here.

Wiz: Absolutely. One analogy I make alot is that Second Life is like a “new country” being born. It needs a cable network to document what happens, to tell the story, to share it. It seems obvious to me.

A.N.Z.A.C build – now closed

We noticed over the weekend that the A.N.Z.A.C. build was no longer showing in search, and it’s presence had disappeared as well. We IM”d owner Ashley Dowding who confirmed everything was on hiatus due to financial constraints. There’s some hope from Dowding that it will return in the future.

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