Archives for March 2008

Linden Lab’s CEO to testify before Congress

At 9.30am on the 1st April US Eastern Time, Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale will testify before the US Congress. I don’t have any further details at this stage aside from determining that it’s the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. More specifically it’s the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet Hearing. The topic of the hearing is ‘Online Virtual Worlds: Applications and Avatars in a User-Generated Medium’

If you’re super keen you can view the live webcast. It’s likely to be a fairly mundane event although with any political process there’s the potential for fireworks. Ageplay, gambling and financial services are obvious areas but we’ll have to wait and see how wide the focus becomes.

Update: a text summary of the hearing can be found here on Virtually Blind.


The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

1. TechCrunch – Handipoints Thinks a Virtual World Could Make Kids Do Chores in the Real One. “If your kid’s obsessed with Webkinz and Club Penguin but you can’t get them to do their chores, you may want to take a look at a new entrant into the virtual worlds scene called Handipoints. Founder Viva Chu started Handipoints in January 2007 with the notion that chore charts would be both more fun and more effective if they were moved online. So he created a site with two main parts: one that helped parents track how their kids helped out around the house, and another that consisted of a virtual world on par with the other pseudo-3D services kids have come to enjoy.”

2. The Gulf News – Shobha Menon, a Philadelphia-based artist, plans to build an art gallery on Second Life, one of the internet’s more successful virtual worlds. Shobha, as she likes to be called, thinks the virtual community of about 13 million residents of Second Life will help her reach more connoisseurs of art.”

3. InformationWeek – Qwaq Brings Virtual Worlds To Business Collaboration . “I had a chance to talk with the CEO of Qwaq the other day. Qwaq makes virtual worlds software optimized for corporate meetings. If you’ve spent time in Second Life, you know the power of avatars and 3-D spaces to enhance conversations and collaboration. It’s hard to explain to people who’ve never tried virtual worlds, but it’s real. Qwaq is an attempt to tailor virtual worlds for business collaboration, adding features that businesses need and taking away features that are harmful.”

4. iTNews – Virtual law and you. “Businesses in recent years have increasingly turned to virtual worlds for opportunities in advertising, recruiting, and online expansion. As real-world money and people migrate online, new questions are being raised about the legal implications of virtual behaviour. In a forthcoming book titled “Virtual Law”, cyberlaw scholar Greg Lastowka explores the future of virtual crime and how real-world legal cases involving property rights, criminal activities, contractual duties, copyright and trademark laws, have emerged from disputes in virtual worlds such as Second Life.”

5. Clickable Culture – Google Spreadsheet As Virtual World. “Probably someone out there’s already mentioned this, but the Google Docs spreadsheet application shares a few features with virtual worlds. I’ve been using the Google Docs quite a bit lately to work with my distributed team, and the spreadsheet seems to really shine in terms of worldy potential.”

6. Information World Review – Second Life vs Real Life. “Two recent encounters brought Second Life and real life into sharp contrast. And, it has to be said, on this particular occasion I preferred Second Life.”

7. Not Possible IRL – Whereupon Blackthorn Hare creates “Yes” and becomes the first person on the planet to get his Masters degree in Second Life sculpture. “It’s a terrible scene. In a nanosecond, a plane will smash into a million bits after nosediving into the middle of a busy four-way intersection in smalltown Anywhere, USA. This being Second Life, however, we are able to do something that would not be possible in any other medium: walk around a frozen moment and observe and speculate on all that transpired to induce it.”

8. The Georgetown Independent – Second Life: The Future of the Internet? “How often is the phrase “I need to get away” cried by the stressed out, the bored and the lonely? It is such a tempting thought: escaping from your reality-whatever it may be-and cultivate a fresh, new life. Some move to a far-off place, some switch careers, some end certain relationships but lately, in a far stranger phenomenon, some have joined Second Life, an online virtual world that surpasses any online development to date. Second Life is an online reality where “residents” have avatars (yes, avatars) that navigate from place to place acting on behalf of the person clicking the mouse.”

9. The Anglican Church in Second Life – How do you run a bible study in Second Life? “Sophia Tulip who runs a Bible Study each week shares her thoughts: One Sunday, at the Anglican Cathedral, Arkin asked the congregation if people would like to be a part of this growing community and I immediately thought that I would like to facilitate a bible study.”

10. Extreme Tech – Ten Reasons World of Warcraft Sucks. “I’ve seen quite a lot of what the game has to offer, but I think that Blizzard’s masterful MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) is in big trouble and needs to be fixed. Here are ten reasons why World of Warcraft sucks and what Blizzard needs to do immediately to fix the game and save it from losing customers.”

Episode 2 of TMJ Podcast – VastPark special

We’ve got Episode 2 of our podcast live a week after Episode 1, mainly due to the opportunity to interview VastPark CEO Bruce Joy.


It’s an interview of more than 30 minutes but Bruce has some fascinating insights on VastPark’s development and the virtual world business in general. There’s also some brief news snippets and a preview of Episode 3.

For details on how to automatically receive these podcasts, check our podcast page.

Linden Lab’s I-World island: window-dressing or real help?

Linden Lab have announced an enhancement of their in-world support through the creation of I-World Island, which will launch on the 5th April. It’s fair to say that Linden Lab have made progress in their in-world support, although it’s still hard not to agree with one commenter on the Linden blog where the announcement was made:

“While that is a nice idea just how do you expect someone who crashes 10 times a day to find your island, and if they did, how do you expect them to get there without crashing?”

Linden Lab have widely proclaimed 2008 as the year of usability – hopefully I-World Island is another weapon in what needs to be a much larger armoury.

Auntie’s Avatars

This week there’s been a flurry of activity by a number of Australian Second Life residents on ABC Island this week. That activity has led to the establishment of a blog and forum, both called ‘Auntie’s Avatars’.


It’s early days with not a lot of content but hopefully it’ll enhance the already active in-world community that already exists on ABC Island.

Weekend Whimsy

1. こぶっちのお昼寝♪ Ⅲ

2. Second Life – Ska Underground Club

3. Global Kids launch International Justice Center in SL

GimpGirl – women, disabilities and Second Life


One of the most interesting email lists I’m involved with is the Second Life Health list. Yesterday I noticed an interesting announcement from a group called GimpGirl:

GimpGirl Community was founded in 1998 by women with disabilities to serve the needs of our community through various on-line mediums. For many years we were primarily using mailing lists, our web site and later on LiveJournal, Facebook and MySpace, but at the end of last year our educational contacts and supporters encouraged us (and gave us the resources) to expand on to Second Life. Through hard work by our core group, as well as the help of volunteers we developed a parcel on Second Life that now has weekly group meetings full of women with disabilities from all walks of life. We will be hosting our first public presentation by sociologist and head of the Avatar Identity Research Center, Rivka Rau this coming weekend. (See details below signature.) Our parcel also hosts an art gallery and vendor area for women with disabilities (both of which are still filling in). We will soon be hosting events for our current partners and the general public to further explore how to empower those in our community. Our transition to Second Life, as well as our continued efforts on-line and off, has been going wonderfully and we’re very excited about what projects and opportunities the future will bring!

Jennifer Cole/JennyLin Arashi (in world), Co-Director and Founder
GimpGirl Community


The Second Life parcel is a fairly standard open ampitheatre style, with events like the following already announced”

“Avatars, Identity, and the Expression of Disability”

Rivka Rau is the director of the Avatar Identity Research Center, and a professor of sociology in real life. The AV-ID Center is the home of the Editing Appearances project, an interview study of avatar embodiment and selfhood in SL. Rivka Rau has conducted over 200 hours of interviews for this project. In addition, through AV-ID she offers a seminar series on topics related to identity and the SL body. She will presenting on our current topic of the month, disability identity on-line, at our Second Life parcel. There will be time for Q & A as well as general discussion.

Open to the public.

Sunday, March 30th, 2008 from 12:00 – 1:30 PM SLT/Pacific Time (3:00 PM Eastern Time)

Second Life location:

You can still attend this presentation online via IRC. To visit our IRC/Second Life chatroom, go to:

…and choose the option that works best for you.

Check it out in-world.

Hosoi Ichiba Machinima Awards 2008

If you’re into machinima production and would like to win fifty thousand Linden dollars, the information I received today may interest you:

We are looking for artists that can compose the Best Machinima Impression of our Hosoi Ichiba and surroundings on Virgin Island. Hosoi Ichiba is a japanese style market enclosed by walls and watch towers, overlooking a beautiful landscape. Outside the walls you will find Hosoi Yu Ch’un, a typical japanese fishing village and the farming village, “Hosoi Lung Ch’un” The sim is packed with romantic spots for you to build your story around.

Your production must apply to the following conditions
– A good story line
– Use of Windlight
– Min. duration of 100 secs
– High quality video
– Published on Youtube
– Title should contain ‘Hosoi Ichiba’

If possible, use:
– Authentic japanese avatars
– Background sound and or music

What are the rules?

This contest will take off at 15 april 2008.
Your contribution should be published before 15 june 2008
A qualified jury will vote for the winning production
The winning video will be published on our Hosoi Ichiba blog.
The winning artist will be rewarded with 50.000 L$ in cash.
IM Amiryu Hosoi with the url to your production (youtube)

More information at:

Contributions can be viewed at:

Hosoi Ichiba, Japanese Gardens & Lifestyle:

Good luck,

Amiryu Hosoi

Virtual Combat Expo

Apollo Case is an Australian Second Life Resident who owns Armory Island, one of the more popular haunts for avatars who like their weapons. He recently sent me some information on the 3rd Annual Combat Expo coming up in May this year.


Apollo is touting the expo as focusing on anything to do with virtual combat – “We want to help in-world creators raise their corporate profile within Second Life, and assist real life companies in building their presence within the virtual world.”

There’s also a schedule of presentations up for grabs – “presentations from real life organizations that are friendly towards Australia and its allies will also be welcome.” So any enemies of Australia obviously aren’t welcome (who are Australia’s enemies anyway?)

There’s a website for further information at, or check it out in-world.

Second Life Brand Center launches

Linden Lab have announced the creation of a new sub-section on the Second Life website called the Second Life Brand Center.


It’s essentially a more formalised structure for promoting your business as being part of the Second Life community. It’s also a further way of Linden Lab reinforcing appropriate use of their Trademarks – including the main Second Life logo. Anyone using that logo is being given 90 days to ensure its use meets Linden Lab’s guidelines.

What do you think of this? Is it a useful tool for your business or a means of Linden Lab further tightening their grip on what you do in-world?

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