The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

1. The Washington Post – Spies’ Battleground Turns Virtual. “U.S. intelligence officials are cautioning that popular Internet services that enable computer users to adopt cartoon-like personas in three-dimensional online spaces also are creating security vulnerabilities by opening novel ways for terrorists and criminals to move money, organize and conduct corporate espionage”.

2. CNN Money – Pointing The Way To New Web Worlds. “You can sling from one Web to another in business these days. The so-called Web 2.0 technologies that gave birth to consumer blogs, social networks and other ways to offer product advice are weaving their way into the corporate world”.

3. CNET – Teen virtual world goes Hollywood. “Habbo, a virtual world for teens, signed a deal with the William Morris Agency, one of Hollywood’s oldest and largest talent agencies. As part of the deal, WMA will promote its celebrity sports and entertainment clients within the digital world and help Habbo forge new promotional partnerships in Hollywood”.

4. ClickZ – MinyanLand Virtual World Aims to Teach Kids Finance. “Teaching kids financial responsibility can be fun and advertisers should come along for the ride, say the creators of MinyanLand, a virtual world for kids. Launched January 30, MinyanLand is the result of the National Council on Economic Education, financial infotainment company Minyanville and family site network Kaboose, coming together to try and educate children in grades three to six about the importance of financial responsibility and thrifty spending. Unlike several other virtual worlds targeting the kids market, including Disney’s Club Penguin, Minyanland does not require a subscription fee to participate, according to Kevin Wassong, president of Minyanville”.

5. ABC Science (Australia) – Bionic lens spies virtual world. “Engineers say they have combined a flexible contact lens with an imprinted electronic circuit and lights for the first time. The ‘bionic’ lens could give wearers a new look at the world by superimposing computerised images onto their natural view. Such virtual displays could be useful to drivers and pilots, who could have route, weather or vehicle status information overlaid onto their vision. Video game players could immerse themselves in a virtual world without restricting their range of motion”.

6. CNN – For online addicts, relationships float between real, virtual worlds. “Think of online video game addiction and what probably comes to mind is a socially awkward adolescent. But teens are not the only ones who get addicted. Consider Zach Elliott, who lives in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, is in his mid-40s, and plays Final Fantasy XI, an online role-playing game. About three years ago, he says, “there were people in my real life that sort of vanished into this game, and I followed them into it””.

7. FOX Business – Multiverse Unveils Virtual Times Square. “The Multiverse Network, Inc., the company building the leading network of 3D virtual worlds, today unveiled Virtual Times Square, a true-to-life digital recreation of one of the world’s most famous metropolitan environments”.

8. CIO.com – Companies Explore Virtual Worlds As Collaboration Tools. “For emergency responders working along Interstate 95, accidents aren’t a game; they’re a way of life (and death). So it seemed odd to a group of firefighters, cops and medics when researchers from the University of Maryland suggested it use a virtual world to collaborate on training for rollovers, multicar pileups and life-threatening injuries”.

9. TrainingZone.co.uk – View to a Kill: Training in Virtual Worlds. “Learning and training are likely to be the ‘killer application’ for computer-generated 3D worlds such as Second Life, delegates heard at the Learning Technologies event in London last week. Capgemini consultant Marco Tippmer made the claim during a session on the hype and realities of the latest training technology. We have been here before, he admitted, during the ‘virtual reality 1.0’ bust in the early 1990s, when lack of sufficient computing power undermined expectations surrounding touch-sensitive gloves and immersive 3D headsets”.

10. ZDNet UK – Nortel: Virtual worlds may replace the office. “Nortel Networks is looking to the next generation of employees to shape the workplace of tomorrow, and high on its agenda is exploring the role of Web 2.0 technologies and virtual worlds such as Linden Lab’s Second Life”.

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