Interview – JaNa KYoMooN, Second Life musician

jana0508_001JaNa KYoMooN, the avatar used by Jan Pulsford, is a musician I’ve known since the late 90s when we were both involved with online music collaboration via the now defunct Rocket Network. Via Twitter, I connected Jan and JaNa, and knowing her extensive background in music performance and composition, I asked her if she’s be happy to be interviewed on performing in Second Life. She kindly agreed and provides some useful tips for those thinking of starting their performance career in a medium like Second Life.

Lowell: Can you tell us a little of your pre-SL performance and composition history?

JaNa: I suppose I am considered a “veteran musician” who, as Jan Pulsford, has lived an incredible life jam packed with musical adventures that started in London amidst the electronic and hair revolution of the late 80s. Touring the world as keyboard player for pop band the Thompson Twins, I ended up in the USA where I built a recording studio in the woods of Tennessee and formed a production company “Madame la Pulse Productions” working with many independent artists including Felicia Collins (who is now the guitarist for Late Night with David Letterman) and Kat Dyson and Sir Jam who both became members of Prince’s musical entourage. I also formed one of the first online labels during the frenzied Internet revolution of the 90s: “Collecting Dust Recordings”, releasing CDs by artists Nigel Pulsford, guitar player with multi platinum rock band Bush and Grammy nominated Dulcimer legend David Schnaufer.

Cyndi Lauper heard my music and invited me to New York where from 1993-2001 I worked as her co-writer, producer and touring musical director. The partnership spawned some of Cyndi’s most artistic and critically acclaimed work with over twenty co-written songs released on the albums “12 Deadly Cyns” ~ “Sisters of Avalon” ~ “Merry Xmas” and “Shine”. I’ve always loved the rhythms of dance and wrote Cyndi’s club hits “Come on Home”, “You Don’t Know” “Higher Plane” and “Cleo and Joe” which led to working with Grammy nominated DJ Julian Marsh on many of his Pride CDs featuring Happy Charles and Jajucha and more recently UK artist Alan Connor and Evan Cowden.

I’ve been lucky enough to have songs performed by artists as diverse as Ani da Franco, Steps, Darlene Love, Chico Freeman, Bruce Wooley, the Leaders, Dr. Elmo, Sweet Dreams, Zoe Girl, Jeff Oster, Hazell Dean, Julian Marsh and Townes Van Zandt. I’ve also had over twenty albums of production music for film and TV released. You name a TV program and my music has probably been used on it – from Oprah to Jerry Springer, MTV to the BBC! Film scores include “Unhook the Stars”, “Intimacy” and Audrey Tatou’s “At the End” which was written with Jazz great Chico Freeman. We continue mixing jazz with electronica and triphop on such projects as “Zolace”, “CJ7” and “aTHeNa BLue” the latter being best known for the ReQuieM 4 eLViS + JeSuS, which has been performed around a thousand times both on line and live at the City Skies Electronica festival in Atlanta and the Buzz + Click Festival for WRVU. Acid Planet recently ran a remix competition and it is being featured in an upcoming TV documentary about music for peace.

Lowell: During the 1990’s you were involved in net-based music collaboration, can you talk a little bit more about that?

jan_USBmidiJaNa: My fascination with music technology and computers started back in the days of the Oberheim System and continued through C-lab’s Notator on an Atari to working with Logic Audio on the Mac. I became a beta tester for Logic Audio’s Rocket Network, a global network of pioneers of on line collaboration and today I continue to develop that spirit in the 3D virtual world of Second Life where I perform as a solo virtual artist mixing electronica with ambient improvisations and rhythmic reflections.

I know that on line performance and collaboration is a huge part of the future of music and am still recording with people all over the globe, in fact that has been my mode of working for the last ten years. When Rocket disappeared, I reverted to using ichat/skype etc. passing midi files and audio via on line storage and yousendit. Everything has developed so quickly that it is really a lot easier to do than 10 – 15 years ago!

Lowell: What were the main things you learnt from that time that has helped your musicianship?

JaNa: It was great meeting like-minded people and showed that you don’t have to be in the same room to write music or a song! The thoughts flow down the wires and through the airwaves without the hindrance of physical contact – it’s the closest to mind melding and Spock. I was very fortunate to meet Chico Freeman on the Rocket Network who became one of my main writing partners. It was a truly brilliant concept and nothing has come close.

As an aside – I have learned over the years that too much software is developed by people who don’t understand or care about the practical uses. I’m about USING software and making it work for ME not playing the geek game. Most musicians are an altruistic lot and I have seen too many, myself included, unwittingly become enthusiastic unpaid beta testers for badly designed software for start up companies that ultimately will be sold off or floated on the stock market. . But that’s an article for another time!

Lowell: When did you first come across SL and what were your initial impressions?

JaNa: My first impression was it was a big black hole! I got into Second life in early 2006. My friend the ambient musician Tony Gerber had discovered it and as the avatar/musician Cypress Rosewood was having the time of his virtual life in a second life. . I followed him in as Emmeline Pankhurst and fast realised it could be an all-consuming proposition. After a major computer crash and several months later I tried again but couldn’t remember my password or any sign up details so rezzed a new avatar – ladies and gentleman – Miz JaNa KYoMooN. This time I “got it”

Lowell: When was your first SL gig and what are your memories of it?

JaNa: My first SL musical adventure was as part of the Peace Park Trio in 2006-7 playing at the Music ALL Music Peace Park, a sanctuary I built as a place of inner and global peace through music and the arts. I remember the exhilaration of really doing something new and special. We piggy backed three streams and played live. The mixture of electronica with dulcimer and Native American Flute was extremely successful. We played many gigs before the next crash – a mixture of Wall Street and black hole syndrome.

Lowell: When did you realise the music performance aspect would be a good option for you?

JaNa: In the summer of 2008 I started performing as a solo artist – quite a daunting prospect for someone whose whole musical life has been spent at the back of the stage or on the other side of the glass.

At first I was performing hard hitting electronica music from my aTHeNa BLue project but then as time went on it seemed the more down tempo, meditative ambient music was getting the biggest reaction. When I realized the positive aspect of performing this kind of music for spiritual and physical well being I decided to dedicate most of my performances in SL to this end.

Lowell: Can you give details of how you actually go about performing in SL?

JaNa: I have tried a few different setups. Running Logic and SL on the same computer can present problems so I try to have one computer for SL and the other one for Logic and Nicecast. I have also used GarageBand and iTunes to broadcast. I prepare sequences in Logic and prefer to have everything running live – I don’t use mp3s. Just the computer running sequences and me playing over them gives it a feeling of “anything could happen” – there is a certain energy from playing music live that you can’t communicate from lip syncing with ready made mixes. Everything I do with online concerts is prepared especially for that performance. To me music is a collection of moments and I usually capture what I play into Logic after each performance. Eventually I mix it down and make the music of the KYoMooN available as downloads in SL or on iTunes and CD Baby.

Lowell: What are some of your favourite SL venues to perform at?

jana_milesJaNa: They come and go but so many to choose from! The Music ALL Music Peace Park of course! The Pyramid art gallery and Club Ethereal run by Torben Asp and Jess Oranos. The Bluff Arts Center with ZeroOne Paz, Gaia Island with Enchantress Sao, Anthology with Trella Mohan, Dragonfly Reign with Magnolia Anthony and Broody Flow, Firehouse with Trowser Boa and Sugar Hill Island with Marjorie Dibou. The list goes on . . . . and on

Lowell: Have any SL experiences inspired you to write new music?

JaNa: Indeed! I believe music is all around us and we as composers learn to tap into that – we get our inspiration from a variety of stimuli depending where we are in our lives. I do try and write a new piece of music or arrangement for most events and of course if you are collaborating with someone you take into account the instrument and style they play e.g. Trowser and his sax, Cypress and his flutes, Trefies with his dulcimer, Miles with his fusion based keyboards etc.

The Solstice concerts have been very inspiring as have the Space Center events like Yuri’s Night which spawned “Floating with Yuri”; Silver Shimmers came about from the shimmers on the water at Alda Lair; Reflections of Indigo came from two art exhibitions – Indea Vaher and Gleman Jun. Others include Tibet Day and of course Relay for Life. Playing at the charity events are ALWAYS inspiring. That is the really positive side of SL.

For the past few years my RL inspiration was where I lived and the fields and nature that surrounded me. From the sound of the water babbling to the birds, the smell of honeysuckle and the beauty of the trees and flowers. The sight of the full moon to the sound of thunder. This was all reflected in the music I played in SL. I captured these musical moments into my computer. I might come back from a long walk, take a deep breath and play and programme the music I found. I like to think of it as painting and sketches with music. I use reflective piano and ambient synths tinged with echoes of world jazz and triphop.

Lowell: Which other SL performers do you enjoy the most?

JaNa: Torben Asp – A true bedroom electronica artist from Denmark whose venue Ethereal hosts the monthly E-fests. I got to hear him through Cypress Rosewood’s “When Worlds Collide” radio show

Tuna Oddfellow – unbelievable and indescribable visual show with very cool music streamed

Miles Eleventhauer – the jazzologist who I found one night whilst searching for “Jazz”. He plays a great mix from Queens New York

ZeroOne Paz – fellow logic user. I love his original music and covers played from his studio in San Francisco

Nuvolino Ruffino – excellent electronic trance artist from Australia

Formatting Helenoise – plays a wonderful esoteric mix of music to go with his very interesting photographs.

Leanna Luftig – love hearing her New Age music along with HappyCharles SideShow at the Goodbye Weekend Show

DJromex – plays GREAT trance in SL!

Swina Allen from Italy and the ambient Sunday music of cypress rosewood and hardhat Rickenbacker – the list goes on and on. Apologies for those I have missed

Lowell: What are your future plans with performance?

JaNa: I have recently changed computer timezones so am looking forward to resuming operations end of October. I am especially looking forward to continuing the GoodBye Weekend Show and “Behind the Monitor” – an interview show I tried earlier this year that was well received. Also plan on doing more poetry and music shows plus art/photographs with music. SL is the perfect platform for mixing visuals with music. However, more than anything I would really like to develop getting my music through SL into hospitals and hospices – it is such a wonderful platform for people who are disabled in one form or another. I have done several performances to benefit cancer patients and children with autism and really want to do more. Last Christmas we raised a good sum of money for UNICEF at the mAm peace park so the Music for Winter Festivals will be starting up again in November.

Lowell: For the newcomer to performing in SL, would you have any wise words to share?

JaNa: SL is a great platform to experiment and connect. It is a perfect parallel to the real world in terms of seeing yourself reflected in the virtual world. You can be performing to hundreds of people in a short period of time, you can learn from your mistakes and your successes and you can get immediate feedback. For new musicians it’s invaluable for planning a business model. I mean if no one comes to a show, why is that? Promotion is key. Posting to SL events and groups is time consuming but the results are very worthwhile – just like a real life gig.

Do your preparation, your promo, your sound check to make sure your stream is working. Be professional and get it all worked out before hand. There is nothing more annoying than hearing a performer blame the venue and SL about “lag” – go ahead of time to see what issues you may have to encounter and embrace the great opportunity the virtual world gives us and enjoy!! I host the “Goodbye Weekend Show” on Sunday night’s at the Music ALL Music Peace Park and have seen it grow from nothing to a packed SIM. It has helped me record three albums and develop Radio Jana. I wouldn’t have done that without Second Life.

Find out more about JaNa:

1. Calendar for dates and further info

2. Twitter

3. Pictures and event blogs

4. Buy the music – CD and downloads

If you’re a musician and would like to discuss your approach to virtual world performance, drop us a line.

Interview – Dexter Ihnen (Dexter Moore)

Dexter Moore (SL: Dexter Ihnen) is one of a growing number of Australian musicians performing in Second Life. Like most, he’s a well-established real-life musician who’s built up a loyal SL following. At present, he’s number one most played artist on, so he’s obviously doing something right. We caught up with Dexter this week to find out a little more about the life of an SL musician.

Lowell: When did you first get interested in Second Life?

Dexter: I started performing in Second Life March 2007 – SL was mentioned to me and I had seen it in passing on TV too. Since then I’ve been doing up to 8 shows a week. I’ve pulled back to 4-5 for now as my RL career is extremely busy both coming up to Christmas and after my award for RnB Song of the Year on ABC Australian Radio. Anyway, I entered in to SL in Feb 2007 and spent a month just getting used to the virtual world experience. It’s been an amazing experience since I started, right up to today.


Lowell: Was music the drawcard for you initially or were you just checking it out?

Dexter: My brother said he thought it might be a good platform for my music. I came in to have a look and a listen I didn’t really think it would become integral in my life – but I do follow up ideas

Lowell: What are the attractions of performing in-world versus real life?

Dexter: Performing in Second Life is quite unique, The most fascinating aspect is the direct personal feedback you experience whilst playing. This is not very possible in RL as one person in an auditorium cannot make themselves heard over the volume of the concert, but here they can talk directly to the artist and the artist to them – I really dig that 🙂

Lowell: Without getting too technical, how do you actually get your music and voice in-world?

Dexter: In my studio I have 2 separate mixers and 2 computers also. One mixer has in built FX and I plug my stereo Godin guitar, vocal, congas and roto-toms into it. As well as that I record any backing tracks I create and choose to use into it also ( it is an 8 track hard disk recorder too ) I send a stereo mix out of that into my main mixer which has a Firewire connection to my main music computer. This is also wher I take my headphone feed. I stream the out of my music computer with SimpleCast. Meanwhile, I run SL on my other computer which I run at standing eye level. This is the one I interact with while performing. The reason I run 2 computers is that if I crash I know that the stream is still stable.

Lowell: How would you describe the music you perform?

Dexter: Interdimensional SOUL – FUNK 😉


Lowell: How have you built up a following in SL?

Dexter: I worked my butt of for 6 months – to the point of burn out! Up to 8 shows a week, plus 3 RL shows and a major recording project. I moved around a lot in that time – but I am pretty much in a holding pattern until the New Year now until the RL Christmas season commitments subside.

Lowell: What are your goals in the longer term with performance in SL?

Dexter: I want to tour the world playing live to my SL fans plus whomever else is into my music. SL fans though will always have a special status with me. Prior to that I have a number of ideas to bring to life here in SL;

Lowell: Who inspires you in SL?

Various types of people inspire me in SL: Dane Zander – Lost Gardens of Apollo builder. Skribe Forti, Film maker. Circe Broom and Slim Warrior, entrepreneurs. And anyone having lighthearted fun 🙂

Lowell: What are three SL landmarks that you keep coming back to again and again?

1. The Lost Gardens of Apollo
2. The Wild Coast
3. Tableau – Roller Disco, 10 pin bowling, Cool shops,

Lowell: What are the pet hates you have about how SL operates that affects your ability to perform?

Dexter: In this order:
1. Crashing ( sim crash excepted – we all have a strange affection for that one lol )
2. Freezing & heavy lag
3. Notecards ( they cover up my guitar controls )

Interview – Tateru Nino

Tateru Nino is arguably the best known Australian SL resident. Over the past year I’ve run into Tateru in-world regularly at events and we’ve shared anecdotes and information here and there. What has made an impression over that time is Tateru’s commitment to what she does and how well she does it. I finally got around to asking her for an interview and as always she gave graciously of her time.

Lowell: Tell us a little about your role within SL as it stands now.

Tateru: Catalyst. Journalist. Consultant. Developer. Handy person to blame for stuff.

Lowell: It’d be fair to say your own of Australia’s longest SL users – is it a badge you wear with honour?

Tateru: I hadn’t actually thought of it like that. I’d been aware of SL since it was in Beta, but hadn’t felt the urge to try it out. Then in August, 2005 – a friend of mine and her partner (both in the UK) convinced me to give it a try. I’ve been here ever since.


Lowell: You write for New World Notes, SL Insider (now Massively) and your own blog – how do you fit it all in?

Tateru: And consultancy, and a few other things. It’s what I do, and I do it seven days a week every day of the year. It keeps the bills paid, mortgage taken care of, and the family fed. I make a living doing it – though it /is/ tight sometimes. It’s my day job – a long day job.

Lowell: And will the new site, Massively, make you even busier?

Tateru: It already has – pleasantly so. Writing more, doing more research, visiting more worlds. It keeps the wolves from the door, and that’s a good thing.

Lowell: Would it be fair to say you’re an immersionist?

Tateru: I don’t hold with the immersionist/augmentationist division. I’ve got elements of both camps – most people do, in my experience. I don’t meet many immersionists who are not also augmentationists. I think the two spectra intersect, rather than existing at opposite poles.

Lowell: You’ve written regularly about mainstream media coverage of Second Life and how they tend to get it wrong more often than not – are things improving in that respect?

Tateru: Sturgeon’s law. “90% of everything is crud” – there’s a lot of mediocrity out there. I don’t think that coverage of Second Life is actually any worse than mainstream media coverage of almost anything else. Most mainstream media pieces on nearly any topic are littered with inaccuracies. Out of the remaining ten percent? There’s some great reporting out there, but it’s balanced by an increase in truly shocking reporting. I think things are trending upwards, but I won’t bet money on it – not today.

Lowell: How often do you get SL developers lobbying you to cover a build or to alter your opinion on one you’ve already written about?

Tateru: Weekly. Store and product reviews? I only review places where I or a friend actually spent our own money. I tend to shy away from covering places that send me freebies to review. It’s hard enough to tell when you’re being unbiased. Having free swag in your inventory doesn’t make it any easier to make that distinction, so I avoid the folks who send me free samples.

Lowell: We’ve had discussions before where you’ve talked about your ability to ‘see’ the grid numerically / via the data feeds. Can you elaborate on this?

Tateru: It’s tricky to describe. I see almost everything in … non-visual pictures. Abstracts. Senses of shapes and colours, relationships in any number of dimensions. I can look at a machine or a process and ‘see’ (or sense) how it all fits together. It’s a kind of synesthesia, I suppose. When I actually look at something, I’m almost never seeing the visual part of it. I’m ‘seeing’ the qualities of it that aren’t strictly visual. It makes it awfully hard to recognise people visually from photos and such, I can tell you. Graphs and numbers have trends, curves, shapes. I’ve no particular skill at math, but I can sense trends in data- as long as there’s enough data to actually work with. Give me too little and I have to shrug my shoulders. If there’s not enough, I can’t even venture a guess.

Lowell: If you had to describe the impact on SL since population explosion in late 2006, how would you do it?

Tateru: Chaotic. Second Life as a society (and I can’t think of any other word that fits all of us in aggregate) is something of a lost generation. A bit like Japan, in a way. We have our traditionalists who remember ‘the old ways’. We’ve got our progressives who look to what it could be. The rest are trying to figure out what it is now, and how to get along. Second Life society is a society that doesn’t know what it is, or what it is becoming. In a sense, it’s a grand adventure.

Lowell: How likely is the adventure to have a happy ending?

Tateru: Ultimately people are people. There’s nothing wrong with self-interest, so long as self-interest is not at the expense of others. Most of the problems we have in RL and in SL is a result of self-serving decisions that are made at the expense of other people. Just as we’ve never solved this problem in RL, we’re unlikely to solve it in SL either. But it’s something we can live with. Most people are reasonable, honest folks most of the time. That said, there’s always a balance – and sometimes a precarious one. SL is not so solid at this time that the balance cannot be tipped, and SL would vanish fairly quickly if it did. It’s still got some growing to do before it can toddle around the house on its own.


Lowell: What’s an amusing experience you’ve had in SL in recent memory?

Tateru: Your mileage may vary on recent. I was standing with Torley Linden, and another Linden staffer at the tail end of a public meeting. A relatively new (two weeks) SL user came up to us, and tried to sell us freebies from his Library folder. The name Linden had no impact on his consciousness. He didn’t know, or didn’t remember ever hearing of the name Linden or of Linden Lab. He was very keen to sell us some things to ‘make some ellz’.

Lowell: Who inspires you in SL?

Tateru: Tough question. I’m not exactly prone to a lot of that kind of inspiration at all. I suppose I’d have to say Robin Harper. She’s got a tough job with a lot to live up to. Harper, like all of us, makes mistakes and takes a lot of extra flak for hers, but keeps on pushing. At the end of the day, it’s not success or failure that’s really so important as it is that we don’t stop trying to do our best.

Lowell: Speaking of flak, Linden Lab cops plenty. Are there specific areas you believe they need to work on?

Tateru: Communication is a big one – and I don’t think a lot of people would argue about that. They’ve been looking for a resident communications manager/community manager for months and no sign of one yet. Also, I honestly think Linden Lab as a whole presents a very timid image, as if they’re afraid of speaking honestly and openly, of lawsuits, and of the appearance of favoritism. They may not be, but they give the strong impression that they are in their methods, timing and style of communication.

Lowell: What’s your take on the Aussie contingent in SL – just part of the pack or a sub-culture?

Tateru: Depends on the people. In a group, we can be quite a pack of yahoos at times. Get a whole bunch of us together and we’re pretty distinctive. Alone, we’re just part of the pack.

Lowell: If you had to provide a new user with three must-see places in SL, what would they be?

Tateru: NCI, The Shelter, Caledon, Metabirds (that’s four, yes).

Lowell: Would you like to get the crystal ball out and make any predictions about SL in the coming year?

Tateru: Well, we’re not quite through my last lot of predictions for 2007 yet.

Interview – Lord Coalcliff (Peter Holroyd)

Lowell Cremorne: How did you first get into SL?

Lord Coalcliff: Well I have always been interested in virtual worlds since the late 80s, and so I am always on the lookout for the latest. In early 2006 I
noticed Second Life getting a good review on a website, so I went to the site and liked what I found. The graphics were like no other online community I had ever seen, and the various ways to interact with the world around were the first deciding factors that had me addicted from day 1.


Lowell Cremorne: When did doing business in SL become an interest for you?

Lord Coalcliff: Actually I took my time absorbing and learning as much as possible from others. On the first day I arrived the first person I met was a woman recruiting people for a nightclub, little did I know that she would set my future path in SL. Her employer also owned a successful home rental business so I eventually became the assistant manager. For six months I learnt as much as I could about the rental business. I loved it when I was showing homes and helping tenants settle in, and how rewarding it was being able to help people. I also saved my pay of $L4000 a week that eventually paid the 12mth subscription fee that allowed me to purchase land and start of my own rental company. I also became a LindenLabs approved instructor teaching SL business related subjects. This made me realize the market potential as the population began to grow from what was 750,000 when I first joined. My friends list also began to grow :).

Lowell Cremorne: What was your first business in SL?

Lord Coalcliff: It was an art gallery selling textures from a basic house I build on my First Land of 512sq, and it failed miserably, I didn’t sell a thing but I did manage to rent the house, and that’s when SkyView Home Rentals began.

Lowell Cremorne: When did rentals become an obvious business model for you?

Lord Coalcliff: I guess I just got caught up in the market demand. During the first few months I had purchased more and more land and provided more rental homes,that’s when I realized I was heading in the right direction. Income from the rentals covered my tier expenses and also allow me to reinvest into the business growth. I also know what customers needs are from my past and now growing experience in the industry. I have always done my best to be available to customers and tenants for enquires and advice. I get a lot of satisfaction when tenants have a place they can call home. But it’s the friendships I have developed through the business from the early days up to now that is the most rewarding.

Lowell Cremorne: How’s business going overall?

Lord Coalcliff: At the moment there are 75 rental homes across 8 island locations with only one vacancy, so overall I would say business is good. The only problem I have is the tenants don’t want to leave so I guess I am doing something right :). Now I can get to sleep earlier at night since I recently employed the much needed help of USA time zone located Trixie Timtam into the role of rental support staff, for our tenants and enquiring customers.

Lowell Cremorne: What changes have you seen in the way aussies interact in SL in the time you’ve been a resident?

Lord Coalcliff: The population growth of us aussies has been really good. And we still seem to have a great reputation with the rest on the real world in here. There are some really good groups that are active all the time and everyone sticks together. Everyone knows they can post in the group chats the latest news or ask for help anytime. Its great to see the growing number of Australian themed locations and real world companies getting involved. We all get excited when the real world aussie media reports on Secondlife and the group chats jump to life expecting new arrivals

Lowell Cremorne: What places in SL do you keep coming back to?

Lord Coalcliff: I am a fan of technology and Architecture in SL so I recommend these if anyone is like minded:

1) Dr Dobbs Island Amphitheatre for live video conferences on the
latest is SL news and technology.and Amphitheatre

2) Welcome aboard the SS Galaxy, the only full size, full scaled, and full featured cruise ship in SL. You have to see it to believe it. It spans 3 sims! (covered previously on SLOz)

2) Caledon – spend weeks exploring the 30+ sims here.

3) The Greenies Home – feel whats it like to be the size of a mouse in this amazing huge build 🙂 (SLOz coverage here)

Lowell Cremorne: What’s your future aims for your business?

Lord Coalcliff: The business is now at a manageable size and even though I do plan to have more properties, I am focusing more on features and services available to our tenants. Over the next month or so I will have finished installing tenant usable security systems at each property, I also plan to offer optional but free TVs, in home teleporters that can have the tenants favorite and most used landmarks added. We also have our SkyBar, managed and hosted by Pilar Catteneo who plans events for the tenants and their friends.

I currently list other properties that owners want to rent out and plan to expand in that area. There is also a market for renting land, both residential and commercial. The most important thing in the future is to continue the community feeling and personal customer service that SkyView Home Rentals provides.
From the first day I entered SL the business has grow by putting any profits I make back into it. I have never deposited any of my own $$ into SL. Because of this the business has grown slowly but steadly and I have been able to learn along the way the difference between RL businesses and SL ones.

Lowell Cremorne: Which other SL residents inspire you?

Lord Coalcliff: Hmm there have been many, and I meet many everyday but I will mention 57 Miles as someone who inspires me, though he doesn’t know it. He is the editor of and is my main source of the latest news in SL. He provides a fantastic informative news service to Second Life citizens. And this has allowed me to keep up to date on the latest technology available to implement into my own business. I also have to mention my staff Trixie Timtam and Pilar Catteneo.They both enjoy their work and often come up with innovative ideas and of course they have personalities like magnets to anyone around them.


Lowell Cremorne: What excites you about SL in the coming year?

Lord Coalcliff: I am excited about how SL is attracting new people with the skills to integrate our community with the real world. Being able to do
everything that you do at your home or workplace on your PC from within Second Life. I believe SL is evolving at an incredible rate when it comes to the various content and this is what will attract new residents and feed the needs of everyone. I only hope Linden Lab can see this.

Interview – Wolfie Rankin on Furries

Recently I was chatting to well known aussie SL resident Wolfie Rankin and we discussed the idea of covering what it means to be a furry. I posed a bunch of questions to Wolfie, and his responses are below:

Lowell Cremorne: What’s the history of furries?

Wolfie Rankin: It’s difficult to say when the genre began, some have said that it reaches back to the 1960s. Some say movies like Watership Down, Disney’s Robin Hood, Jungle Book, and Fritz the cat got the ball rolling.

Human beings have had affinities with animals for thousands of years, and have dreamt of having the strength and speed of animals. Look at our cars – Viper, Jaguar, Bronco, Mustang etc.

Women call their hubbies “Tiger” and men wish they were horses (at least in part). Then there’s the US Bald Eagle emblem.


Lowell Cremorne: How does one become a furry?

Wolfie Rankin: Being furry is not something you do one morning for the sake of fashion…although it has occured in the fandom now and then. I have seen times when skunks were “in” this week and foxes were “in” the next.

Disney was probably a furry, and I’m sure that Mel Blanc, the voice behind Bugs Bunny, was a furry. as he once said in an interview that Bugs was his alter-ego, that he didn’t just play Bugs, but he was Bugs on the inside.

Lowell Cremorne:What made you decide to be a furry?

Wolfie Rankin: In my case it was automatic, The thoughts were already in my head. When a friend introduced me to the internet in the late 90s, I found there were werewolf and furry newsgroups. I joined alt.horror.werewolves, where incidentally, I met Jakkal, who made the Avatar I use on SL.

To discover there were people who felt a lot like me well, that was great.

Lowell Cremorne: Is there any significance in the type of animal persona a person takes

Wolfie Rankin: There can be, it could be a spiritual thing, or even an expression of sexuality. I’m really just wearing my insides on my outsides, I suppose that’s how it works.

I’ve had some deep talks about reincarnation with some people and wondered if souls of animals could come back as people, why not?

Listening to Dr. Karl on the radio years back, he said that “if reincarnation is real and there’s more people every year, then where are all the new souls
coming from?” A good question… I noted that there’s less animals every year too, so where are their souls going?

Lowell Cremorne: What are the downsides of being a furry in SL?

Wolfie Rankin: Not many really. Furries often worried what would happen when the broader populace discovered furries and especially after certain TV programs (MTV and ER) focused on the “shock horror” aspects of the genre.

But I think most people I’ve met are very comfortable having furry friends. If anyone has been worried about it but wants to talk about it and find out what it’s
all about, they discover that there’s nothing to fear.

Lowell Cremorne: What are the upsides?

Wolfie Rankin: Ahh well we did “sorta” have a Second Life in ye olde internet which were MUDS, purely text based, but had to remember who and what each other was, for me that wasn’t always easy. It’s partly why there’s so much furry art, as people would hand draw their avatars or pay someone else to do it… and say “this is me, this is what I look like”. It was fine for the day, but to actually see each other in Second Life is a lot nicer. There’s still art though, and it’s bloody good too.

Lowell Cremorne: There’s a perception I’ve come across that furries are gay. Thoughts?

Wolfie Rankin: There’s no real difference between furries and anyone else as far as sex goes, all tastes are covered and catered for, which includes straight furs too.

Lowell Cremorne: If I like the look of a furry avatar but I don’t “feel” furry, can I still wear one?

Wolfie Rankin: Of course, by all means have fun… it should make no difference to anyone what you choose to wear as an avitar in SL, as long as it’s not deliberately offensive, of course!

Lowell Cremorne: Any furry links you’d like to share?

Wolfie Rankin:


Furry comics: [try these out, they’re loads of fun]

Buster Wilde [Gay Werewolf]

Kevin and Kell

A doemain of our own

Carpe Diem

Interview – Kim Pasternak (Kim Flintoff)

Kim Pasternak is one of Australia’s passionate education users of Second Life and runs the AusSLERs site. We caught up via email to discuss education and more.

Lowell Cremorne:Tell us a little about your educational background

Kim Pasternak: OK. I started out with the sciences, Chemistry especially, when I first left school and for a variety of reasons found my way into Theatre and Drama. After graduating with a degree from Murdoch University I worked for several years in the entertainment industry. Along the way I helped create Class Act Theatre and so my interest in Education was resurrected. A couple of years later I started my Graduate Diploma in Education at Edith Cowan University (ECU). It was there my interest in Drama and Technology was stirred. I worked as a teacher of Drama (and English, Dance, Computing, even Early Childhood Studies) in State and Catholic high schools and undertook a Master of Education (also at ECU) looking at Drama and Technology: teacher attitudes and perceptions. I also began working as a casual tutor and lecturer in teacher education. When the M.Ed was nearly finished I was invited to apply for a position in the PhD program at the Creative Industries faculty at Queensland University of Technology. I’ve got less than a year to go until that thesis is submitted.


Lowell Cremorne: What’s the topic of your PhD research?

Kim Pasternak: Like many thesis titles it’s long-winded and descriptive at the moment – Drama Teacher as Games Master: developing digital games-based process drama as performance. The basic idea is to take an extended educational role-playing form and blend it with online spaces. I want to see what happens when we extend a traditional drama form that is normally done with a focus on participation and simultaneously frame it as a performance – all mediated through an engagement with virtual spaces. I tell people it’s about Drama and Virtual Reality for the sake of ease. The output of the study is largely practical – I’m conducting 4 creative development cycles and the performances/workshops will form part of the thesis – only 40-50% will be written.

Lowell Cremorne: When did you first get involved in SL?

Kim Pasternak: Looking at my avatar’s birthdate it was November 17, 2005. I’d been told about it a few days earlier by some people at a conference in Melbourne – in fact, Lindy McKeown (Decka Mah) was also at that conference. Owen Kelly and Camilla Lindeberg from Arcada in Finland were there talking about their Marinetta project, they also referred to Neualternberg and my interest was piqued. I was already searching for possible technologies to use with my research project. At that time I was considering ActiveWorlds because I’d explored the possibilities and seen some exciting learning environments demonstrated by colleagues from AppState in North Carolina.

Lowell Cremorne: What are your recollections of those first few weeks using SL?

Kim Pasternak: Like most newbies I logged in without much of a clue about what to do – I was really just intent on finding the place Owen and Camilla had talked about. I found myself in this odd world that took a long time to resolve. I pretty much ignored the orientation experience and went searching straight away – the user interface was intuitive enough to let me clumsily get around. Like many newbies I also arrived with no understanding of the culture of SL and was terrified whenever another avatar appeared nearby. It was probably a week before I started talking to anyone. At that time there were relatively few users, around 150,000 from memory. And then I pretty much left SL while I got on with my study until about six months later when I got back into it with a clearer sense of what I was trying to achieve. By now, there were over a million registered users. The place had grown up and the interface was better and you didn’t have to look as hard to find things to do. This time I started to spend time playing with Kim Pasternak’s appearance, and took the time to learn the basics of building and scripting. I’m no whiz at either but can cope with some basic tasks.

Lowell Cremorne: Was the educational power of SL something that always seemed obvious or did you need to get to know it well first?

Kim Pasternak: Because of the context where I learned about Second Life I was always thinking about educational potential. I baulk a little at the idea of “educational power” but I could imagine possibilities from the outset and my current work is little changed form the original idea I had. I have however learned about the time it takes to create things and the great hurdles we have to overcome in convincing universities and schools about the possibilities. I negotiated for nearly 8 months with the network people at university before we could determine a workable and acceptable policy for how to engage with SL and other emerging technologies in a large institutional setting. I think we now have the basis of a very good approach to introducing and exploring new technologies. The educational and research communities have been a fantastic source of inspiration, information and guidance. The SLED and SLRL groups in particular continue to be the dynamic face of education in Second Life. The scope of educational projects is immense and growing daily.

Lowell Cremorne: What’s the most exciting learning application for SL you’ve seen? (SLURL would be great if you can provide it)

Kim Pasternak: There are so many exciting initiatives in Second Life it’s hard to choose just one. JoKay and Sean have a great listing of some of the more impressive projects. The NMC initiatives in running Symposia and other events has been a boon to developing knowledge about education in Second Life. Personally, being associated with some of the leading Australian SL educators continues to be exciting. Decka Mah and Anya Ixchel are both great colleagues and locally in the K-12 sector there are some interesting moves afoot. I started a website for AusSLERs. That’s the Australian Second Life Educators and Researchers group and we currently have about 50 members aboard. We also have the in-world group that’s also growing. I’ve been keen to develop more connections in the field of educational drama, as I think SL lends itself well to dramatic roleplay, but there don’t seem to be too many practitioners offering learning through drama. Anya Ixchel and I presented a session for NMC the other day “Teaching On the Second Life Stage: Playful Educational Strategies for Serious Purposes” that received some very positive feedback from the 30+ participants. Perhaps the DEISL (Drama Educators in Second Life) group might see a surge of interest.

Lowell Cremorne: Are you an immersive sort of SL user?

Kim Pasternak: If you are alluding to the difference between an “immersionist” or “augmentationist” I think I’d be hard pressed to make a definitive stand in either camp. But I suppose when I’m using my professional avatar, Kim Pasternak, then I make no effort to hide my real life inworld. My profile is fairly comprehensive about who I am in either context – I guess that makes Kim Pasternak an augmentation. I do however use Alts to explore SL and to play. The Alts also give me a bit of space away from the various groups and associations that Kim Pasternak connects with. It’s quite nice to wander about without IMs streaming in.


Lowell Cremorne: Putting your forecaster’s hat on, where do you see SL / virtual worlds evolving in the coming year and beyond.

Kim Pasternak: I’m hopeless at this sort of thing – I bought BETAMAX! I think the shift to the 3D Web will be slower here in Australia. All the talkj recently about how limited our internet capacity is in Australia was really brought home to me when I was in Hong Kong recently. Genuine high speed systems (not hyped up ADSL 2+ networks) need to drive something like a 3D Web and while many of the major players for these systems tend to operate out of the USA then we’ll continue to see that reflected in the types of 3D worlds that emerge. When the open source server systems start becoming more reliable we’ll probably see some local systems set in place – I think there may be some real benefits for that sort of arrangement in the various educational sectors. In the coming year, I think we’ll see the shift to voice in SL slowing down some of the innovations. I love using voice but can also see there are some real benefits to the text based mode of communication.

Lowell Cremorne: Any other thoughts on voice?

Kim Pasternak: As I mentioned above I think it offers a lot to many aspects of the SL experience – but some of the role-playing and other educational and performance activities will be adversely affected if there is a wholesale abandonment of text.

Lowell Cremorne: What are your favourite locations to visit in SL?

Kim Pasternak: Sadly, I don’t spend a lot of time exploring other spaces these days. A lot of my time and energy goes into developing the context for my own research work. I’ve just ordered an educational island so I guess I’ll probably see even less of the growing SL world in months to come. Having said that I do check out the offerings at ICT Library. I’ve also spent some enjoyable times listening to performances by Paisley Beebe (Australian jazz vocalist), I like the oddball work of Second Front and Ars Virtua gallery is often hosting some challenging works.

Lowell Cremorne: Who inspires you in SL?

Kim Pasternak: Well, I’d have to mention Decka Mah again, she’s always on the go with her own work and helping others. There’s a whole group of Aussie educators who are doing some great work – Anya Ixchel, Jokay Wollongong, Sean McDunnough amongst them. They’re always involved when something new and exciting is about to happen. There are lots of users I met through the SLED mailing list who inspire me, and in many ways they have become the shining lights of SL – Sarah “Intellagirl” Robbins, Stan Trevena, Beth Ritter-Guth, and others. Larry Pixel and his crew at NMC are also high on my list of people to admire.

Lowell Cremorne: If you had your own island, what would you do with it?

Kim Pasternak: Well, I’ve recently placed an order for an island and the sad thing is I have to say I’ll be going to work there! It’ll serve as the base for PhD investigations and I’ll also make space available to some of the AusSLERs who are still dabbling. I’d love to set up a holographic space for early career researchers to generate 3D representations of their research posters. I got a holodeck from Biscuit Carroll some months ago but have struggled to generate much interest in the idea. I honestly believe that finding new ways of expressing research will have a tremendous impact on the shift towards more performative modes of research. When my study is finished I hope to maintain the island as a centre for drama educators to incubate and expand the paradigm of their work.

Interview Two – LukeConnell Vandeverre, World Stock Exchange

In April this year we completed our first interview with WSE CEO, LukeConnell Vandeverre. The response to that interview was large and at time vehement. With the events of recent weeks at WSE, it was an opportune time to give Australia-based Vandeverre to put his side of the story on the the alleged insider theft, ISE as a competitor and future plans:


Lowell Cremorne: So – it’s been a big couple of week for you yes?

LukeConnell Vandeverre:Very. Most of the time i’ve just been focused on organising WSE 3.0.

Lowell Cremorne: Tell me a little about WSE 3.0.

LukeConnell Vandeverre: Sure, it’s the very latest platform we are using for the World Stock Exchange and is an integral part of our strategy moving forward. It involved redeveloping much of the web application and included changes to the trading room, orders, dividend system, rollbacks, IPOs, secondary offers etc. Any part of the site that involved the Linden currency had to be edited to now use and accept the World Internet Currency as well.

Lowell Cremorne: It’s now fully live?

LukeConnell Vandeverre:Yes

Lowell Cremorne: So while you’ve been trying to get that happening you had the theft occur, which has been fairly widely reported – what’s your take on it now?

LukeConnell Vandeverre: Yes, we were hit with the unethical theft from a former employee who used their inside knowledge of our system to make false deposits so they could then withdraw the real lindens from Wse Huet the avatar which holds all WSE linden dollars. It was widely known that the WSE was about to implement Risk API, SSL security, new ATM’s and the World Internet Currency, so there is almost no doubt the avatar tried to take advantage of their knowledge before they no longer could.

We were going to close down the WSE a few days after it happened anyway, so once I realised that there was an avatar called Mindo Pinion who had not used the WSE before but made 2 large deposits and 2 large withdrawals, I investigated the transactions and then realised it was false and immediately closed the WSE a few days early to begin an investigation. I was not going to make any official statement until we have established what exactly happened, how and by who. After discussing it with colleagues we decided that it might be an inside job so I reviewed the accounts of the 3 avatars who had knowledge of the ATM. That’s when I identified that Thurston Hallard was involved and it was likely this avatar that developed the system to make false deposits. I approached Thurston asking if he had identified a bug and could he please return the Lindens but he wouldn’t reply. I had a colleague approach him at the same time to see if he was just ignoring me and it turned out he was. He had been caught in the act and clearly had no idea what to say. I made it clear to people around me that I was investigating it and I had provided details of my initial findings to them.

Approximately 5 hours before I noticed the large withdrawal which led to me realising we’d been hacked, I had been approached by Zee Linden and he congratulated me on the WSE. It was unfortunate that this negative event occured just hours after my first direct form of communication from senior management of Linden Lab. I had no choice but to use my new communication channel and to inform Zee of the situation and I simply asked them to investigate and that although they are not obligated to do anything I’d appreciate it if they were able to recover the Lindens as those Lindens were from hundreds of users. He said they would look into it.

I then received a threat from Thurston 1 day before Linden Lab froze his account along with any Alts he had after it must have been made clear to Linden Lab that he had the Alt accounts which I’d mentioned to them. Thurston’s threat was that he would go to the press and make WSE look bad that we were able to be hacked. 24 hours after it was apparent that LL had locked his avatar and alts, the avatar Mystik Boucher, who was a strong supporter of the WSE and had no apparent motive or reason not to support the WSE, decided to approach whoever possible and to tell make many different allegations about the WSE which clearly showed malicious intent and that were designed to make the WSE look bad and to have a negative impact on the WSE.

These actions fit with the threat made by Thurston 24-48 hours before Mystik’s actions. Mystik claimed that LL had locked her account also, so I followed suit and locked her WSE account until I had been informed by LL that there was no connection between Mystik and Thruston, however Mystik had clearly breached WSE Terms and as a result we were going to delist her business from the WSE. After receiving many threats and to put an end to her actions I agreed that I would unlock Mystiks WSE account however just prior to doing this I got a gut feeling that the avatars might be linked, so I did an audit of Mystik’s transaction history and that’s when I found the false deposits in Mystiks account that matched up with the actions of Thurstons account. These were the only accounts with false deposits on the dates in question. I then made it clear that we would allow Mystik 30 minutes to take a copy of the MDS shareholder list and that she was being delisted from WSE and the avatar WSE account would be closed. All shareholders of MDS were to be the full responsibility of Mystik. We also dropped a notecard version of the MDS shareholder list on Mystiks avatar.

Lowell Cremorne: What was the impact of this incident on WSE in the following days?

LukeConnell Vandeverre:The total false deposits were approximately 3.4 million Lindens and the total withdrawals from false deposits worked out to around 2.8 million Lindens.

Lowell Cremorne: And what was the impact on confidence amongst companies listing with WSE?

LukeConnell Vandeverre: They are fine. Most of the companies to leave the WSE were IPO’s that were severely undersubscribed and were facing a rollback by WSE and companies that were on the official list who were facing delisting due to breaches of the WSE terms. There were 3 others who left due to either having their avatar account locked for investigations and one left without clear reason.

The Lindens that were taken did impact the ability for the virtual business of Hope Capital Ltd to turn a profit for the quarter however the WSE is operational and stable. We have achieved our 5,800th customer 5 minutes ago, of course some of the new accounts will be avatars who have created another account via the website independent to Second Life.


Lowell Cremorne: So for you it’s business as usual? You’re confident of ongoing growth?

LukeConnell Vandeverre: Yes, it’s business as usual now, however now that we have finally completed the integration of the World Internet Currency into the WSE we are reviewing all businesses on the WSE to ensure they are adhering to the WSE terms, organising IPO’s and amending the Listing Rules and Constitution to be clearer for virtual CEOs who may not understand some of the terminology. Over the coming months we will hold a major advertising campaign for the World Stock Exchange in the Melbourne and Sydney print media promoting the WSE as the world’s leading Stock Market Game where users can have fun, learn and potentially profit.

Lowell Cremorne: That leads to my next question – when we first spoke in April you were at great pains to emphasise that WSE is a ‘game’ and that it needed to be treated accordingly. Do you still feel that way?

LukeConnell Vandeverre: Definitely, however it has reached a cross point from being an experiment in an untested medium and has now evolved into a fictional stock market game that can be played by users all over the world without the need to use or have Second Life. This will attract lots of new users and it will bring lots of capital into the market that will help virtual businesses start, expand and develop while increasing the demand for shares in virtual companies across the WSE which will result in increased share prices.

Lowell Cremorne: You mean the website WSE Live? As far as it being a game though – how do you deal with the issue that Lindens can be cashed out for US dollars and hence in theory be taxed?

LukeConnell Vandeverre: Lindens are a fictional currency (imaginary currency, not real) – they hold no value. The licensed right to use the fictional currency has a value which is determined based on the developed exchange rate. Fictional currencies are much like game tokens, it only holds a value while people want to buy the right to use them. If a user buys a product e.g. the licensed right to use a fictional currency and then they sell that product to someone else in exchange for a real currency then that was a transaction of a product. Governments may one day want to charge something like Capital Gains tax on fictional currency transactions however any income generated from the sale of the product as with any product is taxed in most countries as personal income unless that product was sold by a company. Fictional Currency holds no value and is owned by the issuer of the licensed right to use that fictional currency. I’d encourage users to read the Terms of Service from any service provider before they agree to use any services.

Lowell Cremorne: But even if the majority of people who use WSE agree they are just playing with tokens – most people treat it more seriously than that given they’ve spent their own money buying those tokens. What I’m getting at, is that there is regular criticism of your stance of WSE being a game when plainly some people see it as an option to make money.

LukeConnell Vandeverre: Well, it is what the operator of the service says it is and if they agree to use a service that is up to them. If they agree to buy the right to use a fictional currency then they need to understand that they do not own the currency they are using and that they only have the right to use it at the issuers discretion. When a user proceeds to use the and deposits a fictional currency into the WSE, they are agreeing to our Terms of Service and therefore they agree that they understand nothing on the WSE holds any real or legal value and that it is all fictional and that it is not a real investment opportunity. The WSE is for edcuational and entertainment purposes only and at the moment there is demand for the fictional currencies so a user has the potential to increase the amount of fictional currency under their control and as a result they can sell the license right to use that currency for potentially more real currency than they initially paid.

If users want to make a legally recognised investment they should talk to a financial advisor or investment professional to determine what investment opportunities there are and what risks are involved.

Lowell Cremorne: One thing that’s certainly changed in the past 2 weeks is the growth for the ISE which means WSE’s dominance is diminished – is there room in SL for two stock exchanges?

LukeConnell Vandeverre:Not at all – over 95% of all Second Life residents using a virtual stock market started at the WSE and in majority of the cases still continue to use the WSE. Residents have been forced by the CEO’s of companies they have shares in, to trade their shares on the other exchanges. Most of the residents who are shareholders in companies that moved to the startup exchanges are unhappy about the move as it limits their ability to sell the shares they own and also the shareholders are well aware that the markets they were forced to use lack brand awareness, exposure and have far less functionality, credibility, liquidity and stability.

Lowell Cremorne: So you’re saying WSE’s dominance is likely to continue? Is there any likelihood of a merger between WSE and ISE?

LukeConnell Vandeverre:Definitely. There is no need for me to deal with the start up exchanges as they have the companies listed that WSE doesn’t want, along with the fact most of their customers already use the WSE. There is no motivation for the WSE to acquire or merge with a startup exchange that will not bring any value or growth to the WSE. Eventually those startup exchanges will run out of liquidity while the WSE continues to grow and improve which will ultimately result in the financial collapse of those exchanges.

Lowell Cremorne: One of the things ISE are being lauded for are their risk management protocols and processes – would you say WSE still has further work to do in that area?

LukeConnell Vandeverre:The WSE is constantly growing and improving, however it has up to now been focused on functionality rather than enforcing the rules and regulations. We have achieved the functionality we have been working so hard to provide and we are now going to focus on Education and Regulation. The WSE will not provide a fraud insurance fund as we don’t see any point in penalising IPO’s by taking their much needed capital in order to return shareholders 1% of their investment should the virtual business collapse, breach terms or commit ethics fraud which results in the business being delisted. If I invest 100 Lindens because I believe in a business then I dont want 1 or 2 Lindens returned to me from a fund as I took the risk when I invested and the 1 or 2 Lindens isn’t going to help me at all.

Lowell Cremorne: Is there anything in particular about ISE that you admire or find interesting?

LukeConnell Vandeverre: No, the other startup exchanges are simply a poor attempt to try and copy the WSE with what recources they have available to them along with using questionable tactics to acquire customers in order to try and gain a share of the potential fictional currency profits that come from the trading commissions.

Lowell Cremorne: It’d be fair to say both WSE and yourself personally have received a lot of criticism – why do you think that is, and have you taken any criticisms on board?

LukeConnell Vandeverre: The World Stock Exchange, as with Second Life, are emerging services that are constantly growing and evolving and there will always be a loud small minority who will make it their business to cause panic, create rumours and to complain about either service issues or features that are not yet available. There are always things we can do to improve and we will always continue to do so and take on board any feedback, however the majoirty of customers understand that this is new and emerging which results in upgrades, downtime, bugs etc. There will also be a small miniority who with malicious intent will make every effort to try and sabotage great ideas, services and visions such as Second Life and the World Stock Exchange.

Lowell Cremorne: Any real-life CEO will tell you their success depends on a cohesive, well-rounded senior management team. Do you have that?

LukeConnell Vandeverre:This is Second Life, businesses are managed by a controlling avatar – in this case it is me. However, I’m confident in my abilities to bring the world’s leading stock market game into a worldwide phenomenon that will encourage the masses to begin taking an interest in the virtual worlds such as Second Life, which encourage creativity and social interaction, investments and the stock market rather than focusing on debt and depreciating assets.

Lowell Cremorne: So do you have anyone you trust as a deputy / second-in-charge?

LukeConnell Vandeverre: Yes, my good friend in real life Jules Hyde aka Julio Koltai in Second Life, is now my Chief Operating Officer and is here to assist me in the management of the World Stock Exchange. His partcipation provides the market with the security of knowing that should I be out of action due to other commitments, unwillingly fall ill, or worse, the World Stock Exchange will still be fully operational under the management of Jules Hyde.

Lowell Cremorne: You’re not concerned that the definition of gambling may be expanded to incorporate ‘games’ like WSE?

LukeConnell Vandeverre: This is not gambling, as it is not a game that relies on chance or random number generation to determine a winner or on the outcome of real-life sporting events. It is not a casino game with odds, it is a fictional stock market built on virtual businesses that operate using a fictional currency and which has a virtual trading and investment community. It does however involve risk on a virtual level that could result in the loss of fictional currency, bonds, interest or shares that were managed by an avatar. Stock Markets are not gambling or a casino. They are a market that exchanges securities, real or fictional where the value of the securities is determined by many factors from regulation, policies, supply and demand, market sentiment, management decisions and corporate activities of real or virtual companies and economies.

Lowell Cremorne: So you’re not concerned then.

LukeConnell Vandeverre: No. There will of course be people who will try and create concern where there is none and that will always happen. We just have to move on.

Lowell Cremorne: What are your objectives over the coming six months or so?

LukeConnell Vandeverre: Over the next 6 to 12 months we aim to see the World Stock Exchange operating a fictional market for virtual business with over 50,000 users and a real market for Nano Caps e.g. startup and emerging companies with market capitalisations of less than $50 million US dollars that will require real laws, rules and regulations using a highly secure platform.

Lowell Cremorne: So a ten-fold increase in users in the next year. Can you explain the Nano Caps?

LukeConnell Vandeverre: What do you need to know?

Lowell Cremorne: Well, do you mean you’ll be offering it for RL companies?

LukeConnell Vandeverre: Yes, it will be the real life version of the World Stock Exchange with a global brand. I expect it will be the killer app of the finance world.

Lowell Cremorne: What do companies gain by doing that – is it a sort of first-step exchange for startups?

LukeConnell Vandeverre: Companies can avoid dealing with business angels, seed investors, venture capitalists and private equity firms who demand a large share of equity in the business to offset the the risk involved resulting from being one of few investors in the business. Companies will be able to raise capital from a large investment community and thereby spread the risk across lots of investors resulting in less exposure for each individual investor while also having an opportunity to gain a possible premium on their companies value.

Lowell Cremorne: Are you seeking finance to start that up?

LukeConnell Vandeverre: No, we have already started the regulatory process and we will fund the real life version with our own capital.

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.

Interview – the SLCN TV Team – Part 1

SLCN TV are SL’s only native cable TV offering and they’re Australian to boot. Wiz Nordberg (Gary Wisniewski), Starr Sonic (Keren Flavell) and Texas Timtam (Grace Roberts) agreed to an in-depth chat and here’s part one:

Lowell: Could you give a potted history of how the three of you decided to put SLCN together.

Wiz: Well, it really started with us doing the Aussie Music Party back in March with Austrade. In our “prior lives”, Texas and I were responsible for some of the largest music webcasts ever in australia, did BDO four years in a row for Telstra, Tropfest, the Mushroom 25th concert…. all were very big budget things – over 30 crew on the M25 concert, so we were used to doing “webcasts like television”. The moment Texas decided to do the music party, the obvious thing to me was that it should be “televised on the web”.

Wiz Nordberg

Lowell: So SL-based events were an obvious complement given your RL experience?

Wiz: In April or so, we did some prototype work, and then I set up this screen in SL at a friends place and the three of them (SL friends from the USA) were almost transfixed by what they saw…. they were dancing and looking at themselves on the screen going “omg look, we’re on TV!”. That night, i registered

Lowell: That’s probably a good point to ask if you can easily summarise how you make SLCN work technically.

Wiz: Almost exactly like a RL television station does a RL O.B (Outside Broadcast). If you ever watch “on location news”, there’s a van, with vision mixers, scan converters, etc. We use the same kind of equipment and don’t use any of the SL machinima tools.

Lowell: Well, for SLOz readers who don’t have TV industry experience – roughly how are things set up? It’s all third party non-SL tools?

Wiz: We use camera machines, connected to scan converters (a high quality way to capture the motion), then hook it up to a vision mixer, which has super and chromakey capability, as well as title super capability, so one person sits at the “vision desk” switching from camera to camera, and we have camera operators…. also audio mixdown for various sources. It’s frighteningly conventional. In fact, if instead of SL cameras we just had two DV cameras, our results would look a lot like what you see on CNN or Channel 7 using the same kind of equipment.

Starr: The set up has a lot to do with the live production requirements and we have learned to apply traditional film making methology but also working within the constraints of being in a virtual world.

Wiz: Right, there are LOTS of little tweaks in production to deal with the fact that the people “in the show” aren’t in the same room most of the time

Texas: And of course we have to also manage getting voice into SL

Starr: Also the actors are in two places – the operator and the audio content, they have to mesh together and that is a challenge! You think downloading a new client is a challenge hehe.

Lowell: So how do you synch sound etc and what applications do you use?

Wiz: We built a system called Soundreach which is our own design. It’s what Bruce Willis used to speak into Second Life, as well as almost all the voice you hear on any of our shows.

Starr: It’s a bit matrix like when you think about it :0)

Starr Sonic

Lowell: Can you easily summarise what Soundreach does?

Wiz: It’s a telephone-to-mixing-desk-to-Second-Life bridge which allows us both to get a split of the sound to our mixing desk, as well as feed the sound into Second Life from regular telephones. People use it inworld now independently of SLCN.

Starr: It worked for Frank Miller to call in

Texas: It makes the production of talk shows and interview news vox pops really much more like RL TV.

Lowell: So for example in the Bruce Willis gig you had him via phone through your mixing desk then into SL

Wiz: Well, it’s more like this…

Starr: We barely thought he was going to cope with dialling a number on a telephone and were working out how we could call him with the system!

Wiz: Bruce (and others) use land lines -> servers in the USA -> part goes directly in-world as an audio stream -> part feeds remotely to our mixing desk. The mixing desk is actually optional. You can call a Soundreach number and “hook it up” to a land parcel independently of our mixing desk and SLCN studio.

Lowell: So hookup to the parcel occurs normally via the parcel options you enter the streaming address etc?

Wiz: Yep. At its simplest, Soundreach is a telephone -> shoutcast technology, except there is some audio processing and splitting in the middle to allow things like SLCN to get a feed directly

Lowell: The implementation of voice in SL will change the face of things – how’s it going to help and/or impede what you’re trying to achieve?

Wiz: Well, it will help A LOT if it is adopted widely by Second Lifers. We are VERY much looking forward to it

Lowell: What do you think will prevent widespread adoption – lag etc?

Wiz: Providing the technology “works” (which I believe it will), the two factors which will prevent adoption is psychology and the inability of people to actually get their computers to use a microphone and headphones properly (which is not to be underestimated). There is of course a lot of controversy about voice

Lowell: What do you believe is causing controversy?

Wiz: The nature of “having a virtual self” for many people includes changing the way they are perceived, or “remaking themselves” in a more idealised way. Voice is a very big giveaway about ones personality without even worrying about the cross-gender issues. I know myself that i am perceived VERY differently inworld without voice than I am when I speak to people.

Lowell: Very true – though I’m expecting pitch-shifting apps are already in development for SL use.

Starr: I think that socialisation into the land of voice is going to be a rocky one. There has been a certain peacefulness about being in-world that is going to change… I was in the voice beta yesterday and hung out with about 8 people.. and you are essentially talking over each other the whole time. A group needs to be well coordinated to communicate easily. So we all have a lot to learn before it becomes graceful.

Wiz: I hope that, for the most part, people overcome their hesitancy and voice enjoys widespread use. We would love to simply “walk up to somebody on the street” and do a great interview.

Lowell: That’s an obvious application for voice for sure – if you could do a vox pop tomorrow in SL, who would you choose?

Starr: The only trick is that you need to have lined up the interviewees, because it does take a bit of tweaking to get someone online with us as everyone has a different set-up. Thats not a technical issue, its more about the end person, have they got access to a phone sometimes

Lowell: True – so who would you choose for your spontaneous first vox pop?

Wiz: I heard that question the first time LOL. I don’t actually have an answer. I think the person with the most interesting story may not be famous, or anybody who I know now. You have to search for people who have something to say, and the best vox pops are from people who are in the middle of something important or have an intersting story to tell. So i can’t actually say who it would be, or where.

Texas Timtam

Lowell: A different tack now – how have you found the reaction of RL businesses and individuals to your work in SL?

Wiz: Frankly, we have been blown away by what people have been saying.

Starr: Well we fondly remember when we were at the 14 Cows exhibition and we got a shout out WELCOME SLCN

Wiz: In probably more than half of the comments on blogs and other places, the words SLCN are accompanied by adjectives like “amazing”. I’m not sure how much credit we can take for any “innovation”. I think a lot of people are simply not expecting it. One thing we do which is different is we are very dedicated to being a TV network FOR SECOND LIFERS. We are trying to seek out things which matter to virtual people, in their virtual spaces.

Starr: The organisers of the Best Practises in Education conference loved us

Wiz: If you look at 90% of our content, it had a big impact on the people who participated. That’s why so many people have made such positive comments.

Lowell: I’m also thinking of people who don’t have exposure to SL at all – how do you explain what you do? It also links to any plans you may have for growth – is it still difficult to convince potential investors on the role virtual worlds may play in the future?

Starr: The only way to explain is to show.

Lowell: Agree – but a lot of people when you first show them just see it as ‘The Sims’ – how do you overcome that initial scepticism?

Wiz: We don’t have to do much convincing. there are ten thousand intelligent people at least out there preaching, educating, showing the world. it will happen, and people will be convinced. It is inevitable

Starr: We showed the producers of Die Hard how a virtual press conference is staged, through a live stream directly from the event taking place inside Second Life where where most of them would not be a SL resident.

Wiz: I think there is an “ah-ha” experience that happens when people engage in Second Life. It doesn’t happen for everybody, but it happens for enough people that the skepticism will dissolve over the next year or two.

Starr: The same thing happened with the world wide web.

Wiz: Virual Bacon, at the “best practices”, he did an entire session on “how to convince people that second life is a good idea”. His conclusion, after a LONG time applying methodical approaches was that you CANNOT convince people. The only way they will be convinced is to experience it.

Lowell: So what is the plan for SLCN in coming months?

Starr: We have several shows lined up to roll out over the next month. These include talk shows, sports shows, a book show and a regular SLCN feature series called The Inside View

Lowell: In regard to Inside View can you explain its format?

Starr: It will be a show revealing issues relevant to the people in SL, a dig under the covers to find out what is going on. Around half hour length and airing on Sunday evenings.

Lowell: So almost a current affairs show?

Wiz: I suppose the model for “The Inside View” is shows like 60 Minutes, except with a bit more “leeway”.

Starr: Yes, with a bit more of a foreign correspondent feel.

Wiz: We want to not just report on someting as “here are the facts”, but rather get into a discussion with people about something very relevant in Second Life, things such as voice, how brands are affecting them. Always with a total 100% focus on the “virtual person” and their changing experiences

Starr: Wiz will do the introduction to each show…. then it will feature guest speakers and look into the many spaces of Second Life to show what is happening.

Wiz: We also have 1 show currently readying for production (tonight live with paisley beebe) as well as a news show about to be signed and are in final negotations with 2 other shows which will probably go into production. plus we are talking to at least 10 to 15 “interested parties” and working with them to get to the “final negotiation” stage.

Lowell: Are you getting many approaches from current or potential brands in SL hoping for some free promo? i.e. are you being treated like RL media by PR people yet?

Starr: Many people are submitting their events for inclusion in That S’Life, which is great.

Wiz: Hmmm, having never been RL media, it is hard to know how they are treated

Starr: Some businesses are starting to get machinima ads made and we are going to start playing some of those as part of our programming

Lowell: So there’s obviously a lot of interest etc – is SLCN a business model that’s making its existence independently viable in a financial sense?

Wiz: This is our job. It’s not a pasttime. Making it financially viable is essential, not optiona.l

Lowell: And are you achieving that goal?

Wiz: No way, not yet. we are at a very early stage and we are investing a lot of time and a lot of money. In fact, we have been hesitant to have “fake advertising” which we “give away” to people just to have advertisers

Lowell: Is SLCN the sort of business that may need external investment to get where it needs to go?

Wiz: We are going to be pitching to several investors over the next months. but we actually have put enough personal money (and money from our other businesses) into this to keep growing and producing show. When we pass the “8 regular shows per week” mark we will probably require some additional facilities, and we’re planning on that.

Lowell: So is it likely you’re going to need more people on your team? Should aussie SL’ers start polishing their CV’s?

Wiz: It is VERY likely

Lowell: If there were readers who wanted to let you know about their skills, how should they do it?

Wiz: info AT Seriously, I think it is amazing that we have been able to get to the TOP of even a niche US market, with good industry recognition, without really ever leaving South Melbourne.

Interview – Gizzy Electricteeth (Kelly Daly), IBM

Gizzy Electricteeth (aka Kelly Daly) is another Australian in SL that has been a very active participant in a range of areas. As training and technology lead for IBM Australia in SL, she’s busy enough. On top of that she’s played a training role for Aussie residents, recently commencing the Prim School series on ABC Island which shows residents how to create objects in SL.


We caught up with Gizzy this week to find out a little more:

Lowell: Tell us a little about yourself – where did you grow up, get educated etc?

Gizzy: I was born in Adelaide, and got dragged kicking and screaming to Ballarat when I was 5 (apparently that’s too young to move out of home – I asked!!). My formative years were all spent there, up to and including my Bachelor degree in computer science from the University of Ballarat. It was here that I also started working for IBM part time while in the final year of that degree. Once my degree was complete I moved to Melbourne (still working for IBM), and started my masters at RMIT part time. This took a LOT more years than intended as part way into it I was enlisted to give tutorials and labs, and then later to be a replacement lecturer for several subjects when the usual lecturer was unavailable. This all culminated in lecturing my own web subject, emergency lecturing some database subjects, and continuing working giving labs and tutorials in most of the subjects which I had already completed. The result was my Masters took about 4 years longer than intended =)

I am owned by three completely loony cats – the youngest of which is named Linden (thanks to my fiance!!).

Lowell: Where have you worked prior to IBM?

Gizzy: I have been ten years now with IBM – prior to that were the usual round of part time uni jobs at random computer shops, pizza shops, etc 😉 And the RMIT thing (more “while at” than “prior to” =) )

Lowell: Can you describe for us your current role at IBM?

Gizzy: My role at the moment is training and tech lead in Second Life building projects, also research and rapid prototyping for potential SL projects. My role about a month ago was as a Linux Kernel developer.

Lowell: What are IBM’s objectives for their presence in SL? And where does the IBM Australian Development lab fit in?

Gizzy: We are researching and learning as much as we can on virtual worlds. I say virtual worlds here as we are not focussed solely on Second Life, but over a large range of products. IBM’s aim is to assist in making virtual worlds ready for general consumption for both business and home.

Earlier in the year, IBM’s CEO, Sam Palmisano, announced $100 million USD to be spent on research into ten key focus areas which were chosen through an “Innovation Jam”. Employees, family members and friends were all asked to submit ideas on how they think IBM could improve areas such as environment, work and life balance and health, technology, etc… Virtual worlds was one of the top areas of interest shown through this, and therefore was a part of this funding announcement. In fact, Sam made this announcement in the forbidden city, Beijing in real life AND Second Life simultaneously =)

The Australia Development Lab fits into this by being the Australian arm of the emerging business organisation created around virtual worlds as a result of Sam’s funding. We currently have a team of two people working full time in this area (myself included), and a whole host of others who volunteer their time to increase their knowledge in this arena (and to have fun – because they love it!)


Lowell: Can you tell us about some of the projects you’ve been involved in, including the Australian Open project?

Gizzy: I have been involved mostly in internal build projects such as IBM PartnerWorld, ADL, several client demos and a little with the Sears and Circuit City builds. And, of course, the Australian Open.

The Australian Open was the first large customer build that I have been involved with. We had a three person development team (myself on building, my Australian colleague on scripting, and a US based colleague on graphics – displaying the collaborative nature of working within Second Life 😉 ). Each of us assisted with all areas of the build, although for the majority of this project we kept to our defined roles, and that really seems to work well on larger scale projects. We had a live feed of ball positioning data coming from the IBM technical team onsite, which we could then manipulate into SecondLife coordinates and recreate the game on the tennis court in our island just a few seconds behind reality. Using this data we were able to determine where a player would need to be standing to hit the ball, and move a pose ball to this location so that we could have an avatar sitting on the pose ball and look to be playing the game of tennis. This provided people with a view of the ball coming at them as if they were the played on the court. Ever wanted to be Federer? We also had live data of all match information – scores from past and present matches on all courts throughout Melbourne Park, scheduling information, etc. These were able to be seen at all times on various score boards and match update centres throughout the island, and also via a heads up display that could be used from anywhere within SecondLife. The build itself took a great deal of detail from the real Rod Laver Arena and the surrounding grounds, right down to a virtual recreation of the tennis ball shaped Garden Square at the back of the arena. All of this build was based on photographs.

There is a YouTube demo of the Australian Open build here.

IBM as a whole has been involved in MANY more projects, and we have people from all over the world working on both internal (IBM) and external (customer) projects.

Lowell: What specifically about SL limits you achieving what you’d like to in projects?

Gizzy: I am VERY MUCH looking forward to learning how to use sculpted prims in Second Life =) And some better scripting!

Lowell: Have you had any involvement with other virtual worlds and if so which one/s?

Gizzy: Personally, I have not looked much further than Eve Online or World of Warcraft. I spend so much time inside of Second Life that I no longer seem to have a first! =)


Lowell: What excites you most about your work in SL?

Gizzy: At the moment the same thing that excited me about teaching at RMIT – seeing people grow and learn as a result of information that I can share with them =)

It is also exciting working with new technologies before they become mainline, working out what can or cannot be done with these technologies. It is a lot of fun =)

Lowell: Any predictons you’d like to make about SL development over the next year?

Gizzy: Not necessarily a prediction so much as a hope… Linden Labs have open sourced the client and there are rumours of the server to follow. With my Linux and Open Source/Open Standards background, I would truly love to see this come to light.

Lowell: Three favourite places you keep coming back to in SL?

Gizzy: DE Designs (my avatar is ALWAYS dressed in stuff from here!!)

The build of the Yankee Stadium by the Electric Sheep Company was very much an inspiration when we decided to do the Australian Open:

I don’t know that there is another single build that I keep returning to more than any other (apart from my own current projects through necessity ;)…

I love to look around at other pretty builds – places where the architects have ignored real world constraints and built for what works within SecondLife… Such as Text100 Island, ABN AMRO and almost any build by Dalian Hansen (he is TRULY an inspiration), Electric Sheep or Aimee Weber.

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