Archives for February 2012

Growing old, kicking and screaming

A couple in their nineties are both having problems remembering things. During a checkup, the doctor tells them that they’re physically okay, but they might want to start writing things down to help them remember ..
Later that night, while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair. ‘Want anything while I’m in the kitchen?’ he asks.
‘Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?’
‘Don’t you think you should write it down so you can remember it?’ she asks
‘No, I can remember it..’
‘Well, I’d like some strawberries on top, too. Maybe you should write it down, so as not to forget it?’
He says, ‘I can remember that. You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.’
‘I’d also like whipped cream. I’m certain you’ll forget that, write it down?’ she asks.
Irritated, he says, ‘I don’t need to write it down, I can remember it! Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream – I got it, for goodness sake!’
Then he toddles into the kitchen. After about 20 minutes, The old man returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs.. She stares at the plate for a moment.

‘Where’s my toast ?’

An elderly couple had dinner at another couple’s house, and after eating, the wives left the table and went into the kitchen.
The two gentlemen were talking, and one said, ‘Last night we went out to a new restaurant and it was really great.. I would recommend it very highly..’
The other man said, ‘What is the name of the restaurant?’
The first man thought and thought and finally said, ‘What is the name of that flower you give to someone you love?
You know…. The one that’s red and has thorns.’
‘Do you mean a rose?’

‘Yes, that’s the one,’ replied the man. He then turned towards the kitchen and yelled, ‘Rose, what’s the name of that restaurant we went to last night?’

Hospital regulations require a wheel chair for patients being discharged. However, while working as a student nurse, I found one elderly gentleman already dressed and sitting on the bed with a suitcase at his feet, who insisted he didn’t need my help to leave the hospital.
After a chat about rules being rules, he reluctantly let me wheel him to the elevator.
On the way down I asked him if his wife was meeting him.

‘I don’t know,’ he said. ‘She’s still upstairs in the bathroom changing out of her hospital gown.’

A senior citizen said to his eighty-year old buddy:
‘So I hear you’re getting married?’
‘Do I know her?’
‘This woman, is she good looking?’
‘Not really.’
‘Is she a good cook?’
‘Naw, she can’t cook too well.’
‘Does she have lots of money?’
‘Nope! Poor as a church mouse.’
‘Well, then, is she good in bed?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘Why in the world do you want to marry her then?’

‘Because she can still drive!’

Three old guys are out walking.
First one says, ‘Windy, isn’t it?’
Second one says, ‘No, it’s Thursday!’

Third one says, ‘So am I. Let’s go get a beer..’

A man was telling his neighbor, ‘I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but it’s state of the art.. It’s perfect.’
‘Really,’ answered the neighbor . ‘What kind is it?’

‘ Twelve thirty..’

Morris, an 82 year-old man, went to the doctor to get a physical.
A few days later, the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm.
A couple of days later, the doctor spoke to Morris and said, ‘You’re really doing great, aren’t you?’
Morris replied, ‘Just doing what you said, Doc: ‘Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.”

The doctor said, ‘I didn’t say that.. I said, ‘You’ve got a heart murmur; be careful.’

One more. . .!
A little old man shuffled slowly into an ice cream parlor and pulled himself slowly, painfully, up onto a stool… After catching his breath, he ordered a banana split.
The waitress asked kindly, ‘Crushed nuts?’
‘No,’ he replied, ‘Arthritis.’

Ball State University buys out Blue Mars platform

It’s fair to say Blue Mars has had some challenges over the years, but it looks like it’s about to go to an even safer pay of hands, with Ball State University buying the platform:

Under Ball State’s terms of agreement with Avatar Reality, the university will begin to fully operate Blue Mars for non-commercial purposes, expand upon the source code, increase its research and academic initiatives, and enhance the community of Blue Mars. In addition, Ball State will continue to deliver original content on Blue Mars as it has done in the past. “I am really excited about the future,” Phil Repp, Ball State’s vice president for information technology, said. “Through our division of Hybrid Design Technologies, Ball State will further our position as a national leader in hybrid worlds and their applications to mediated learning technologies. Our reputation in this discipline is such a perfect fit to our institutional history of innovation in teaching and learning.

Read the rest at over at the superb

Linden Lab acquires experimental game studio LittleTextPeople

Spotted this little snippet on Gamasutra:

Second Life developer Linden Lab has acquired the experimental game studio LittleTextPeople, which specializes in exploring the emotional possibilities of interactive fiction.This marks the first acquisition for Linden Lab since former Sims developer Rod Humble took over as CEO in 2010, and falls in line with the comapny’s new strategy to experiment with game design and develop products beyond Second Life. LittleTextPeople, founded by writer Emily Short and Maxis veteran Richard Evans, has so far focused on the development of software that replicates complex social interaction. For instance, among its internal technology is a simulator that models social behavior and individual personalities.

The article goes on to talk about it’s great use in interactive novels. I can see a lot more usefulness beyond that – particularly in the education and simulation sphere. I doubt that’s the direction LL will take it however. You can also view the full press release here.

The pic on this post is from Botgirl Questi’s blog – check the brilliant pic out in full there.

Aussie R18+ legislation aiming for Jan. 2013 introduction

Australian gamers can expect to have an R18+ classification for games by January 1, 2013, according to the federal government.Federal Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare today introduced the R18+ bill in parliament and announced the federal government expects the R18+ for games legislation to officially come into effect next year.Last month, Clare announced his intention to stick to former Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor’s previous plans in introducing the R18+ legislation in the February 2012 session of parliament.Clare has stayed true to this plan, officially introducing the R18+ for games bill in parliament today.

Credit card thieves target OpenSim grids

Credit card thieves have figured out a way to steal money from OpenSim grid owners.

They take the credit cards, and use them to purchase virtual currency from the grids. Then they turn around and redeem the currency for cash before the card holder notices the theft and complains. The credit card company reverses the transaction and now the grid is out the full amount — plus the time spent dealing with the issue.

Any grid that issues its own virtual currency and allows it to be redeemed is potentially vulnerable. Second Life, for example, to combat against this kind of fraud, has a security API in place for third-parties that trade its currency, such as outside currency exchanges, as well as internal controls.

28 Australian Tertiary Institutions in Joint Paper on Second Life

Virtual Worlds Working Group, albeit a very inactive one at present – if you’re interested in getting involved drop them a line.


Academic Research Paper on OpenSim Community

While the nature of the firm has long been established as the dominant form of organizing for value creation, emergent forms of organizing such as the private-collective community model have recently gained attention from researchers and practitioners. Little is known about how such communities, where private goods from stakeholders are shared and freely distributed among a public collective, sustain themselves. The purpose of this research is to examine how the resources, stakeholders, and overarching network structure in which these are embedded influence the sustainability of the community. Using semi-structured interviews, archival data, and social network analysis, we explore these items in detail and provide initial findings from an ongoing research study of the OpenSim community. We conclude with future directions, expected contributions, and the limitations of this line of research.

Virtual reality contact lenses beam images directly into your eyes

Contact lenses which focus 3D screens directly into people’s eyeballs could be on sale as early as 2014, says U.S. company Innovega.
The tiny ‘screens’ sit directly on users’ eyeballs and work with a pair of lightweight glasses with a built-in translucent screen.
The experience is equivalent to a 240-inch television viewed at a distance of 10 feet, says Innovega’s CEO Steve Willey.


Google defends new privacy policy to Congress

Google has been facing a barrage of questions about changes it plans to make to its privacy policy that affects how it handles the voluminous data it collects from hundreds of millions of people around the globe.Some of those questions have come from members of Congress who question if Google is sacrificing its users to boost its online advertising business as it pushes into new areas such as social networking and mobile devices.The Internet search giant responded Tuesday in a letter, saying its new privacy policy helps users and is similar to those used by other Internet companies.Google said it was just making its privacy policy easier to understand and said it was already sharing information about its users across services.It also said the new privacy policy benefits users by helping them find the information they are looking for more quickly.

Virtual dummy makes designing clothes easy

Creating the pattern for a new dress design can be fiddly, so Amy Wibowo at the University of Tokyo, Japan, is using augmented reality to make it simpler.
Six ceiling-mounted cameras are trained on the dummy and on two tools held by the designer, one for creating surfaces and other for cutting them. The tools and the dummy both have markers, so the cameras can work out where in 3D space they are relative to each other. As the designer draws and works on and around the physical mannequin, this shows up on a virtual onscreen version.”The idea is to make it easy for people to design clothes,” says Wibowo. Usually you have to choose set patterns, which is limiting, she says. What’s particularly difficult is working out what 2D shapes are needed in order to achieve a particular 3D design.Her approach, called DressUp, gets round this by using “flattening” algorithms to work out the best shaped patterns to achieve the 3D design. Then you just print it out and cut around the patterns in the material of your choice, she says.

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