The Wonderland saga – ageplay focus increases

Over the past day, the ageplay investigations by UK authorities has well and truly hit the mainstream media. WIth gambling now gone from SL, sex was always going to be the issue that piques the media’s interest, particularly when it potentially involves children.

At SLOz we’ve been contacted today by a couple of mainstream media outlets including one of the national TV news services. NineMSN has a perfunctory story on its site. Our comments to the media matched those we’ve made here: any efforts to remove child pornography are to be applauded, determining the actual age of SL users is fraught with difficulty and Linden Lab have a significant issue on their hands.

Linden Lab’s response response today is a re-hash of its previous position i.e. ‘tell us when you see it happen and we’ll investigate’. We’re assuming this is an initial response – there’s a momentum growing in a number of countries now and the status quo probably isn’t going to be good enough.

Update: there’s a sizeable discussion on the saga at TechCrunch.

‘The Office’ covers Second Life

With the massive blog coverage on CSI New York’s episode on Second Life, another TV appearance has been overlooked. The US version of The Office had an SL cameo. One part of it can be seen here:

There’s a reason for mentioning this – one of SLOz’s sponsors, Encore Design Group (EDG), was responsible for the build “The Hanging Gardens of Ancient Babylon”. EDG helped us with our modest SLOz HQ earlier this year.

Other info from the press release:

“I have never been more excited than when Dwight and Jim were shown near the welcome center at the Hanging Gardens,” says Kat Claxton, co-founder of Encore Design Group. “I have been a fan of The Office since it first aired, and I watch it every week. When we were informed that the producers of the show had been capturing footage in Mesopotamia, we had no idea how much would actually make it into the show. When it aired and both Dwight and Jim were shown in easily identifiable areas of the Hanging Gardens, we just couldn’t believe it. It’s like a dream come true for us at EDG, and we’re very proud that our build was chosen to represent all of Second Life to a nationwide viewing audience.”

As a side story, the episode of “The Office” that aired on Thursday October 25 had Jim making fun of Dwight for Dwight’s involvement in Second Life. When Jim calls Second Life a game, Dwight corrects him by saying that SL is not a game since it has no end goals, winners or losers. “Oh, there are losers,” says Jim while staring pointedly at Dwight.

But later in the episode, Jim creates his own SL avatar to monitor Dwight’s in-world activities, and his character’s love interest Pam (Jenna Fischer) points out how much attention Jim had spent in making his own avatar look exactly like his real-life self.

The last SL-related scene in the episode has Dwight standing by a kiosk in Mesopotamia near a sign advertising something he’d made called “Second Second Life”, which the show’s other characters deride as being yet another step removed from Dwight’s reality. – Terrorists in SL

Mainstream media reporting of Second Life in Australia has a mixed track record, and one of the biggest low points would have to be in this article on the website published today. It can also be found on The Australian website.

The article starts off regurgitating the (never confirmed) accusation that the 22nd May issues with ABC Island were due to a ‘bomb’. Then it goes further downhill from there, describing how “landscapes are razed and residents are wounded or killed” after an attack by the SL Liberation Army.

It seems doubtful that the article’s author, Natalie O’Brien, has spent more than ten minutes in SL given the range of other factual errors contained in the story. Here’s one more example to get you worked up: “This terror campaign, which has been waged during the past six months, has left a trail of dead and injured, and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars’ damage”.

The sad thing is, the shoddy premise of the article overshadows the legitimate concern about the power of virtual worlds for use in criminal pursuits. Yes, terrorists groups COULD use streaming video in SL to broadcast propaganda or training. But why would you bother? I suppose potential terrorists may believe the misinformation about being able to wound or kill people in SL and decide they’ll register for some killing fun. My, how they’ll be disappointed.

ABC Awards and a Denton groundswell?

The ABC have taken home a ‘C+T Award’ at a ceremony at last week’s SMPTE conference. The award was in the Rich Media category for ABC Island.

The ABC’s announcement of the win was as follows:

” ‘We are delighted to receive the inaugural C+T Award for Rich Media as recognition of ABC Innovation’s strategic approach to virtual worlds,’ said Abigail Thomas, Head Strategic Development.

‘ABC Island is the ideal place for us to work with our audiences to discover what they want in this environment and to tailor our presence accordingly.’

In March 2007, the ABC became the first Australian broadcaster to establish a presence in Second Life. Since then a number of events have taken place on the island including a simulcast of a 4 Corners program exploring virtual worlds and an open forum in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts.

ABC Innovation also received a nomination for the Broadband Production Template in the Rich Media category.

The C+T Awards were devised by Content+Technology magazine to recognise innovation in products, production and projects throughout Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.”

On ABC-related news, a voting box at the ABC Island Sandbox is showing some support for an Enough Rope interview with an SL theme.


Thanks to Wolfie Rankin for the heads-up.

The Australian Women’s Weekly covers SL

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

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


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

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

Gamer Revolution on ABC TV

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


Aussie influx from 60 Minutes

Subsequent to the 60 Minutes story this evening, there was a significant influx of new signups, most of whom ended up at The Pond:


There were upwards of 120 people on The Pond sims and others dispersed through other areas…


Transformers – more than meets the virtual eye

A prefect bridge between the two parts of the SLCN TV interview series would have to be a quick look at the new Transformers presence. It’s been sheperded by the SLCN crew and ‘atmospheric’ would be the best description of the whole shebang.


I’ve not had a lot of Transformers exposure so not sure how true to the original the build is, but it did remind me very much of Half-Life. Similar in look but also similar in navigation – this is not a simple walk around effort.



Check it out in-world.

Some big guns take aim at SL’s usefulness for business


The SL Herald in their inimitable style discuss some criticism being leveled by big business at SL. Quoting a Forbes article titled ‘Sex, Pranks and Reality’, the SL Herald summarise the corporations shutting up shop or thinking about it. The prize quote from the Forbes article comes from Wells Fargo’s digital agency:

“Going into Second Life now is the equivalent of running a field marketing program in Iraq.”

Of course, I’m yet to understand why any corporation would go into SL with any perception other than it being an experiment. An experiment with potential for success, but one all the same.

Philip Rosedale (Linden) appears in The Age

Interview is right here (reprinted from The Guardian).

As mentioned on SL insider, there’s nothing particularly ground-breaking in the interview although Rosedale’s commitment to opensourcing and interoperability is demonstrably significant.

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