Archives for April 2010

Alice has a dollar. A virtual economic failure

Alice and Bob are participants in an economy. Alice has a dollar.

Alice gives the dollar to Bob. In Second Life terms, that’s a user-to-user transaction.

Bob gives the dollar back to Alice. That’s another user-to-user transaction.

Repeat this sequence four more times. Is Alice and Bob’s economy now worth ten dollars? Or is it still worth one dollar?

Well, that depends.

Linden Lab will tell you that’s ten dollars. In reality, though, it depends on why Alice and Bob keep handing that dollar back and forth.

You see economic activity isn’t the movement of money. Economic activity is the trade in goods and services, not money. Money is just one of the tools that are used to value goods and services.

If Alice and Bob are just passing money to each-other without an exchange of goods and services, the economic activity – by definition – is zero, whether there’s one dollar or a thousand dollars, and whether it’s just Alice and Bob, or hundreds or thousands of other people involved.

The movement of money is one method by which we can see economic activity happening, but doesn’t constitute economic activity itself, just as we can determine the approximate size and movement of ducks on a pond by watching the ripples – but the ripples aren’t the ducks.

In any economy money moves between people, between accounts and between businesses for many reasons that do not constitute economic activity. Also, the exchange of goods and services for no money at all still constitutes economic activity of a non-zero value.

Alice and Bob might be exchanging goods or services, in which case there’s economic activity accompanying that dollar in their inefficient little economy. If so, then yes, Alice and Bob’s economy is worth ten dollars. If not, then their economy isn’t worth ten dollars, or even one dollar. It’s zero, because no economic activity accompanies the exchange.

Economics understands this, and when measuring the economies of nations, considerable effort is spent to separate out the movements of money which are not accompanying economic activity from those which are.

Granted, for any economy much larger than Alice and Bob’s it requires a lot of estimation and educated guesswork to get even remotely close to the truth, but the practices are well-established (even though they undergo continuous improvement).

For virtual environments, though, centuries of economic thought and learning are discarded, and the focus is incorrectly placed solely on the movements of money. Small wonder that the operators of many virtual environments really seem to have no idea which direction their economies are actually heading in.

An endless map

It’s safe to say that one of the most discussed areas of virtual environments is the link between the ‘real’ and the ‘virtual’. Like any philosophical debate, there’s a minefield of perspectives, preconceptions, research and outright conflict. So to attempt an objective discussion on ‘mapping’ the parallels between the two spheres is quite an undertaking, and that’s what Dmitri Williams has done.

I’ve spent the past six weeks digesting Williams’ lengthy piece titled The mapping principle, and a research framework for virtual worlds. Attempting to summarise the whole is nearly pointless and I’d strongly recommend taking the time to read the whole paper, as it addresses some key issues that are far from resolved.

What’s particularly appealing to me with the paper is its direct dissection of some of the hyperbole around the validity of mapping the real to the virtual, and the commitment to a research framework that may help drive some higher quality research into the future. The framework amongst other things recognises a key issue in virtual worlds research – comparing like with like:

Therefore a strong assumption of this framework is that we cannot automatically treat virtual worlds as equivalent to one another. The reasons for this lie in the concepts of code and social architecture… behavior in virtual spaces is governed by software as much as by laws, markets or social norms. In real space we take it for granted that we can walk but not fly, or talk with people who are in hearing distance. These abilities and limitations are not safe to assume in virtual spaces where the affordances and limitations of human actions and interactions are whatever the code says they are. Indeed, they may all be flipped. Code may also control who can interact with whom, when and how.

To the seasoned virtual worlds observer this may seem self-evident, but the development of well thought out research frameworks assists those for whom virtual environments are a subject for investigation and more specifically those who have no significant experience with virtual worlds but recognise their value for expanding knowledge. As Williams says: “the field of virtual worlds research is poised to take off”, and work like this is going to help ensure the momentum has some sort of guidance system.

It’s also worth spending some time sifting through the comments on the paper’s blog post on Terra Nova, as there’s some significant commentary and debate on the paper and related issues.

Over to you: if you’re interested in virtual worlds research, do you see the fleshing out of the mapping concept a worthwhile pursuit?

The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

1. The Drum (UK) – Yomego set to enter virtual world with Horrible Histories. “Children’s book publisher Scholastic has commissioned social media company Yomego with the developed of a virtual world for its Horrible Histories series. The Horrible Histories virtual world is planned to go live in June 2011 and will allow fans of the book series the chance to interact with the historical world it has built over the years. A series of ‘rooms’ based on key historical periods, including Rotten Rome, Awesome Egypt and Terrible Tudor London are planned, with children being allowed to create their own avatar when they enter. They will then be able to explore each world and discover the ‘nasty bits’ of history within them and interact with other avatars.”

2. Courthouse News Service (USA) – Players Want Real Money from Virtual World. “Linden Research, creator of the massive multiplayer “Second Life” Internet game, induced thousands of players to invest as much as $100 million in real money in “virtual” properties, then took the properties back without just compensation, four former players say in a federal class action. Plaintiffs Carl Evans, Donald Spencer, Valerie Spencer and Cindy Carter say that throughout the early 2000s the company and its founder, Phillip Rosedale, promoted the concept of property ownership and commerce in Second Life through press releases and media interviews. Linden Research and Rosedale claimed they would protect rights to virtual property and that the virtual real estate could be used to earn money for its owners.”

3. nebusiness (UK) – Firms explore world of virtual conferencing. “Thanks to the lingering volcanic ash cloud from Iceland, many European business leaders have found themselves struggling to attend meetings as planned. This unusual source of disruption has led Gateshead-based business Vector76 to encourage firms to explore the possibility of meeting in the virtual world. The company was set up two years ago to explore the development of the 3D internet, especially virtual worlds such as Second Life. Vector76 set up a virtual NewcastleGateshead last year, and CEO Shaun Allan says the recently-launched conferencing facilities are ideal for deal-makers who have found their operations grounded by the lack of movement in the real world.”

4. The Guardian (UK) – Creating the next dotcom boom could be child’s play. “Anyone expecting one of the figures behind the world’s most popular online game, the sword and sorcery epic World of Warcraft, to serve up another instalment of blood, guts and glory with his latest online venture is going to be in for a shock when his new project goes live next week. There’s no fighting in the world of Boaki, there are no items to trade and players must collaborate as they try and solve the mystery of what happened to the previous inhabitants of their strange new world. But the most striking difference is that the new “game” is aimed specifically at children.”

5. The Age (Australia) – Split Screen: Lost in the sandbox. “Open world” is one of those phrases popular with games marketing people today. Games promise freedom, non-linear stories, with a unique experience for every player, a “sandbox” for everyone to play in and create their own fun. While the creation of convincing virtual worlds that encourage exploration and experimentation is a great goal, and one toward which games have made huge strides in the past decade, it has inherent risks. The big one, I think, is a phenomenon I call “too much world, too little game”. This describes a game which features a big world, but puts too little in it for the player to do, or puts in too many of the same activities with too little variety.”

6. Honolulu Weekly (USA) – Life on Mars. “Jim Sink is the CEO of Avatar Reality, a locally–based gaming company. Its first game is Blue Mars, a 3D virtual world that will remind you of Second Life at first glance but aims to be the next generation of virtual worlds. Before working with Avatar Reality, Sink worked at Microsoft’s Xbox Live division and managed business development at Foundation9, the world’s largest producer of independent video games. Honolulu Weekly sat down with Sink to talk about some of his projects and the state of the high-tech industry in Hawaii. In short: things are not heading in the right direction.”

7. Kotaku (Australia) – Identity And Online Avatars: A Discussion. “Gamers are beautiful, so think of this as a love letter to you. I love how we can circle the wagons when the medium we care for so much is assailed. So, let me tell you directly: my goal is to support your creativity in gaming and other digital media forms. In recent days, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Elisabeth Soep for on the topic of research into identity representation that I have been conducting. This article, “Chimerical Avatars and Other Identity Experiments from Prof. Fox Harrell,” also had the distinction of having been reblogged on Kotaku under the sensationalistic headline “Making Avatars That Aren’t White Dudes Is Hard.” I am thrilled to see the dialogue started by my fellow denizens of gamerdom, however the title and article misstated my aims. ”

8. PopMatters (USA) – T.L. Taylor’s Guide to MMO Culture. “One of the most interesting shifts in MMO design compared to single player gaming is moving from an emotion centered design to something oriented around social spaces. Rather than focusing on making a game fair and fun for one person, you have to orient it around thousands. T.L. Taylor’s book Play Between Worlds is a careful study on the effects of design in Everquest over an extended period of time. Detailing her observations as a Gnome Necromancer, the book relies on academic research and interviews to paint a broad picture of how the design of the game interacts with the culture.”

9. iTWire (USA) – Would you pay US$3.5 million for a virtual horse? “Well (as a collective) plenty have, the World of Warcraft Celestial Steed hit the virtual fantasy universe created by Blizzard, and lots of Warcraftians were willing to jump in the saddle. The Celestial Steed mount and Lil’XT Pet (!) went on sale over at Blizzard from the 16th of April (or 15th depending on where you live), and it seems that folks that fossick around in World of Warcraft are pretty sick and tired of their current modes of transport, and want to try the new. At a price of US$25 the queue to download the Celestial Steed alone was 140,000 and seven hours long at launch. This is a nice windfall of US$3.5 million for the Blizzard massive multiplayer juggernaut.”

10. Computerworld (USA) – Linden Lab holds to grand plans for Second Life. “Linden Lab’s plans for Second Life are as visionary as ever — “to enhance and improve the human condition.” But the company is working to marry those dreams to more practical goals for the immediate future. “I’ll settle for a million active users by the end of the year,” said Tom Hale, chief product officer for Linden Lab, which develops and operates Second Life. The service now has about 700,000 active users, who spend more than an hour per month logged in, up from 680,000 active users in February. One million active users is a big goal, but it’s more modest than the dreams of the Second Life boom a few years ago, when Linden Lab founder Philip Rosedale talked about Second Life becoming bigger than the Web in 10-15 years. For example, see this 2008 video of Rosedale at TED Talks.”

Weekend Whimsy

1. Ms / Mr Second Life International 2010

2. Second Life Tribute To Aaliyah Rock The Boat Starring NiaSymone Batista

3. Second Life HD – COOL PLACES – 2 (slide show) – Madonna

A few non-PC jokes

I’ve just come out of the chip shop with a meat and potato pie, large chips, mushy peas & a jumbo sausage. A poor homeless man sat there and said ‘I’ve not eaten for two days’ I told him ‘I wish I had your fucking will power’

A woman buys a wall mirror from B & Q, manager says ‘would you like a screw for that mirror’ No she said ‘but I’d suck your cock for a lawn mower’.

Top tip; if your camping in the summer and the attractive girl in the next tent tells you that because it’s so hot she will be sleeping with her flaps open, it’s not necessarily an invitation to casual sex…………Wish me luck I appear in court next Monday.

I got fired on my first day as a male masseuse today. Apparently the instruction ‘ finish off on her face ‘ didn’t mean ‘ What I thought it did ‘

A fat bird served me food in McDonalds at lunch time, she said ‘ sorry about the wait ‘ I said ‘ don’t worry fatty, you’ll lose it eventually ‘

Paddy is walking down the road eating a bag of doughnuts, Murphy meets & says ‘ if I can guess how many doughnuts you have in the bag, can I have one? Paddy said ‘ if you can guess how many are in there you can have both of them ‘…………….Murphy says ‘Four!’

Marriage counsellor to couple. ‘ Tell me something both of you have in common ‘ Husband after a long awkward silence ‘ Well neither of us sucks cock ‘

Snow eh! The weather girl just said she was expecting 8 inches tonight, I thought to myself ‘ she’ll be fucking lucky with a face like that!’

I have a new chat up line that works every time. it doesn’t matter how gorgeous and out of my league they are, it’s a winner & I always end up in bed with them…………… ‘ Excuse me love, could I ask your opinion? Does this damp cloth smell like chloroform to you?’

Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds

1. We talk quite a bit about virtual goods and their popularity. MMO Behemoth World of Warcraft proved it in the past week, selling hundreds of thousands of an in-game mount called the Celestial Steed at US$25 a pop. No-one but Blizzard software know how many they sold but given queues exceeded 140,000 at one stage, we do know the number is big.

2. The SLENZ project has completed its run, but here’s a great write-up of how the work done still has legs.

3. The legal actions keep on coming for Linden Lab, as discussed by Tateru Nino here.

4. Version 2.0.1 of the Second Life viewer is now available, and there’s now a fleshed out FAQ document for Viewer 2.

5. A sad piece of news: Singapore-based virtual worlds dynamo Andrew Peters, passed away after a battle with cancer on the 13th April. I had the opportunity to correspond with Andrew many times including via phone and he was certainly a man committed to his work and its outcomes. The full announcement of his death is given below, and Andrew’s sense of humour would have appreciated the title of the press release:

Andrew Peters, Singapore’s resident social media marketing guru, moves on to Heaven 2.0

Singapore, 22 April 2010 – Andrew Peters, Singapore-based social media marketing guru, passed away at 4.45am (NZ time) on Tuesday 13 April in Christchurch in his native New Zealand at the age of 47, after losing a secret battle with cancer.

With 25 years’ experience in publishing, public relations, sales and marketing for leading industry brands, he worked in Sydney in the second half of the 1980’s with ICL and Wang Computers, then with Anixter, Australian Consolidated Press and Project Media in the 1990’s, before setting up a branch in Singapore in 1999 for public relations agency McCorkell & Associates, as Vice President, Asia Pacific.

He joined Pacific West Communications – started in 2001 by his Singapore best friend and business associate Imran Omar, in 2005. As Regional Director Asia Pacific for Pacific West, he was responsible for strategic development, overseeing client portfolios, business development and providing counsel to deliver value-added solutions that delivered sustainable results for clients.

He was instrumental in founding the Internet Industry Association of Singapore (IIAS), and sat on the Executive Committee of Singapore-based ‘The Digital Movement’ – a non-profit set up to build a community of young leaders in web 2.0 and social media and connect them to overseas experts.

Example activities included Nexus 2007, the first major Web 2.0 conference in Southeast Asia, which brought together 700 of the best entrepreneurs, investors, engineers, bloggers and world class thinkers from companies like O’Reilly, Google, Microsoft, Lenovo, Salesforce, Second Life and Yahoo; and BlogOut – a gathering of the best technology bloggers. He also sat on the Advisory Board of the Association of Virtual Worlds.

Highly connected with online & offline web 2.0, virtual worlds and social media communities, he had roles with a number of entrepreneurial ventures, and a close interest in virtual worlds and gaming platforms.

His pioneering work in social media marketing paid off with the success of the first annual Tattoo Show in Singapore in 2008, which catered to a niche group of individuals who loved body art but who were too niche for mass media to cover on a daily basis, or with frequency before the event. Social media engagement was a way to generate pre-interest in the event, and allowed for near real-time coverage and the creation of related events.

Epitomising the theory of the ‘long tail’ made popular by Chris Anderson – a niche strategy of selling a large number of unique items in relatively small quantities; and using social media and traditional PR hand-in-hand, he drove 15,000 attendees to the event and in the process, created an online regional tattoo community of more than 4,000 members.

He worked on virtual worlds projects with Second Life, and helped bring Germany’s virtual worlds creator Metaversum Gmbh’s Twinity into Asia. He developed social media strategies for AUSTRADE Study in Australia Events, and was social media strategist for cable television talk show ‘Asia Uncut’, broadcast on the Star World Network across Asia. He put in place a social media strategy for Singapore-based online television reality show – the first Web TV Reality show, as online publicist for global audience acquisition & interaction, and was also social media strategist for a number of Malaysia-based clients.

With social media marketing still in its infancy, Andrew Peters independently pursued a ground-up strategy of connected community building, actively integrating people from outside the professional world and inspiring talented new content creators who became friends, passionate online collaborators and agents; to make full use of the free resources of the Internet medium.

Exemplifying many of the concepts outlined in David Meerman Scott’s best-seller ‘The World Wide Rave’, in which his work for the Singapore Tattoo Show is highlighted, he got people around the world talking about his personal and client brands, events and messages, building audiences from scratch and inspiring online interest communities to link on the Web by creating online buzz that drove buyers to the virtual and physical doorstep. He created value that people wanted to share, and made it easy for them to do so.

Variously characterised as witty, wry and genuine, while loving the ‘seriousness and silliness’ of social media and the ‘digital revolution’, his fierce belief in community give-back and his desire to help and coach others, exemplified a passion for creativity and diversity, and a desire to listen, learn and add value without hesitation. In his final year he was looking with collaborators, into book publishing offers and ideas for new reality TV shows.

He was laid to rest on 16th April in Christchurch, and his life and work is to be commemorated at a gathering of friends and collaborators in Singapore on 24th April.

He leaves behind, best friend and business associate Imran, adoptive parent Stan and sisters Holly and Kyro, birth mother Marlene and siblings Sandra, Karen, Barbara and David, and a host of online followers, collaborators and friends in Singapore and across the Asia Pacific region, and further afield. He has a virtual afterlife on Facebook and other social media sites (although he is no longer active on Twitter and Foursquare).

“In Loving memory of Andrew Peters”

Health professional training in Second Life: growth plus

(This post originally appeared over at Metaverse Health)

One of the advantages of being a regular (daily) observer of virtual worlds news, is you get a fair idea of trends. One growth trend over recent months has been the interest in the health applications of virtual environments.

One of the better pieces of media coverage is one by the Wall Street Journal. It’s well worth the read for anyone after a useful overview of where things are up to. The article is also pretty well balanced, citing the limitations of the approach:

The online world isn’t perfect, though, as Carol Kilmon discovered. An associate professor of nursing at the University of Texas at Tyler, Dr. Kilmon wanted to train students to respond to emergencies such as a man in cardiac arrest or a boy having trouble breathing.

But in early testing, she has run into some hitches. Many students have older computers that can’t support the Second Life system, or live in rural areas with iffy Internet connections. And it takes them a long time simply to master moving around in the virtual world. “They’re not necessarily gamers,” Dr. Kilmon says. Still, she’s pressing ahead.

That sums up the challenges very nicely, but the last sentence is the crucial one. There are hundreds of health professionals who see the potential of immersive virtual worlds for health professional training. It’s those same people who will eventually help the technology become a key aspect of a comprehensive curriculum.

The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

1. ABC News (USA) – DreamWorks Rolls out “Kung Fu Panda” Virtual World. “After 2-1/2 years of work and an investment of about $10 million, DreamWorks Animation has started rolling out its first online virtual world — a browser-based Web theme park tied to its “Kung Fu Panda” movie franchise. The marketing push for “Kung Fu Panda World,” which comes at a subscription cost of $5.95 per month, but can also be sampled after watching an online ad, kicks off Monday after a soft launch at the end of March.”

2. Wired (USA) – Virtual Worlds, Real Money: Can Social Games Solve Music’s Woes? “Music fans of tomorrow are kids of today, and the way they pay for digital content is through virtual worlds like Farmville and Penguin Town, which turn the acquisition of virtual goods — and digital music is nothing if not a virtual good — into a game. Conduit Labs’ Music Pets app for Facebook may look cute, but it could have tangible ramifications for how music is discovered and sold in the future. The goal of Music Pets is to entertain a virtual pet by training it to like the music you like, then using points to send the pet out to find more music to add to your collection. It sounds silly, but this cartoon-ish virtual world includes every element of the real-world music experience: getting recommendations, deciding whether you like songs, collecting music, and going over to your friends’ “houses” to play songs from your collection, which, as with just about everything else, requires that you expend points.”

3. BBC News (UK) – South Korean children face gaming curfew. “The South Korean government is introducing policies aimed at curbing the amount of time children spend playing online games. The first involves barring online gaming access to young people of school age between 12am (midnight) and 8am. The other policy suggests slowing down people’s internet connections after they have been logged on to certain games for a long period of time. The Culture Ministry is calling on games providers to implement the plans.”

4. National Defense Magazine (USA) – Airmen to Live Out Their Careers In Cyberspace. “Air Force officials anticipate a world in which every recruit receives an avatar upon joining the service. These avatars would follow airmen through their entire careers, earning promotions and educational credits and even moving with them to new offices and bases. This would take place in simulated worlds that mirror the service’s actual facilities. “Everyone who comes into the Air Force will be given an avatar, and that avatar travels with them, grows with them, changes appearance with them,” said Larry Clemons, of the Air Education and Training Command. “It will provide them a history of where they’ve been and a notion of where they’re going.”

5. CNET (USA) – Haptic hug vest makes emoticons so last century. “Sure, it’s great when that hot avatar gives you a hug in Second Life, but wouldn’t it be even better if you could actually feel the embrace? Researchers from Japan are demonstrating a motorized haptic device that lets you experience real-time virtual hugs by physically reproducing the pressure felt on the chest and back when someone gives you a squeeze. Getting a hug that moves beyond the basic emoticon requires donning a kind of harness adorned with soft fabric hands that envelop the wearer in a warm faux embrace. But the HaptiHug is only one of the affective garments included in the I_FeelIM (“I feel therefore I am”) system, which uses software to extract emotional meaning from written text and pass it on to one of a number of haptic devices that react accordingly.”

6. Virtual Worlds News (USA) – Avatar Reality Taking Blue Mars To The Clouds. “In 2007 when Avatar Reality first began showing off its virtual world, Blue Mars, much of the talk was high fidelity environments built on CryEngine 2. The early screen shots were certainly something to see compared to most virtual worlds. But that beauty came with high system requirements. Now, however, Avatar Reality has announced that it will be using the AMD Fusion Cloud Server developed by AMD, Super Micro, and OTOY to stream Blue Mars from the cloud to virtually any computer’s Web browser. Specifically, Avatar Reality mentions handhelds, Macs, and legacy hardware–not the gaming PCs that usually run CryEngine 2.”

7. Wall Street Journal (USA) – Avatar II: The Hospital. “The nurses have been told there’s a crisis. But they’re hardly prepared for the chaos that awaits. Hospitals, medical schools and health foundations are staking out space in the online community Second Life, in order to train medical and nursing students in clinical skills and to improve hospital efficency and response to emergencies. Dozens of patients, stricken with a debilitating flu, crowd the emergency room. Some slump mutely in chairs. Others wander, moaning or calling out for blankets. Just as the nurses begin triage, part of the hospital goes dark: a blackout. This chaotic scene isn’t real—it’s part of an online simulation designed to help nurses make quick, sure decisions in emergencies. Dozens of hospitals, medical schools and health foundations have staked out space in the online community Second Life, where participants can build their own virtual clinics and stage just about any training drill they can imagine. Interest is so high, both Stanford University and the University of Michigan last month held workshops on medical training and education in the virtual world.”

8. Reason Magazine (USA) – I Am, I Am, I Am Superman/And I Know What’s Happening. “Peter Ludlow has a pair of guest posts at Henry Jenkins’ site about some battles that broke out in Second Life, a well-known virtual world. The short version: Pranksters and vandals, known in gaming circles as griefers, make trouble for other players; a vigilante group forms to battle the griefers; paranoia sets in, and the vigilantes start to see griefers everywhere. Eventually the conflict spills out into the outside world.”

9. Kotaku (USA) – Blizzard Is Selling World Of Warcraft Mounts Because Players Demanded Them. “While naysayers may think corporate greed is the answer, Blizzard tells Kotaku the real reason World of Warcraft mounts have shown up for sale in the company’s online store is because that’s exactly what the players wanted. The overwhelming response to yesterday’s addition of the Celestial Steed in-game mount for World of Warcraft to the Blizzard store backs up comments we received today from Blizzard PR man Ryan Arbogast. Purchase queues began forming soon after the virtual item went on sale, with players in the forums reporting upwards of 12,000 folks waiting at the virtual cash register at one time for a chance to purchase the translucent flying mount. reported yesterday that at one point the number topped 140,000.”

10. GamesRadar (USA) – Hands on with The Old Republic. “Strange to say it, but when you first start playing The Old Republic you forget it’s going to be built like an MMO. Missions, such as the one we played recently, are doled out in such dramatic and wordy ways that you’re temporarily blinded to the fact that the bomb-pursuit you’re on is essentially a World of Warcraft quest in space boots. Secure a ZR-57 bomb that’s deep within a Separatist fortress on the planet of Ord Mantell, having taken down a force field at another point somewhere within said fortress? Well, that’s a little bit of a “fight your way into a zombie castle and bring back some fairy dust” retrieval quest isn’t it?”

Weekend Whimsy

1. Second Life has talent!

2. Second Life Tribute To Lady Gaga Love Games Starring Winter Sideways

3. Second LIfe Episode 4 – Ozimals Lady Gaga Sex Playboy Bunny

Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds

1. Virtual RP is a French OpenSim grid that launched yesterday after four months development.

2. Want to test out a potential tattoo design on an avatar before making a lifetime commitment? Obsessive Ink may be worth a look.

3. Linden Lab have provided some more examples of what Viewer 2 is doing for enhancing in-world content.

4. The UK elections are turning out to be a dud as far as virtual world presences go.

5. There’s been quite a buzz about Blue Mars offering a cloud-based service. Here’s one of the better stories on it.

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