More Australian Clothing

Wolfie Rankin, owner of the Kookaburra pub on the Eragon island, has launched a range of t-shirts.

In Wolfie’s own words:

“I did some Rocky Horror ones, and may do more if people request the other characters.

‘Strewth Mate’ was one of my first, and most popular – a black shirt with text based on the 80s “Choose Life”
shirts was the inspiration there.

‘Dead Dingos…’ is a phrase that even the Americans understand and find funny, so I released that one on a shirt also.

There’s a few funny SL based ones also, such as ‘Object: Hello, Avatar’ which all the scripters would recognise.

I also have ‘The sit ball made me do it’ which is based on the old one about the devil.

Rather too often, Newbies would leave plain cubes around the sim, and that’s where I devised the term ‘Noob Cube’. The concept looked like a good idea for a shirt, and has a nice branded feel about it, currently there are three versions, but there will be more later.

While having something to eat, I had this idea about Linden Labs, and thought that changing the B to a D might work, it sounds like a gang, or some special
police division.

That’s about it.

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Graham Sabre covered a footy jumper shop yesterday and it’s becoming apparent that the Australian identity is well and truly being established in a ‘fashion’ sense.

Counselling in Second Life

One of the main objectives of SLOz is to discuss the wider societal issues that SL raises. Previously we’ve discussed addiction in SL as a double-edged sword in that it can both help to treat real-life addiction but also has the potential to create new addictions. Delving further into the former, finding counselling options in-world is becoming easier and more become available. However, determining what is valid counselling in Second Life is extremely difficult. If you don’t know the difference between Jungian and Family therapy in real life, what hope do you have deciphering the options in SL? Some disciplined Googling wil help clarify some of the terminology but won’t tell you which counselling approach works best – and that’s because there is no one approach that works – it’s a very individual thing. This means that you may need to spend some time with a counsellor in SL before you know whether you feel comfortable, both with their demeanour and approach. Counselling can be one of the most health-enabling things you can do but an inexperienced or inappropriate counsellor can at best be ineffectual, at worst damaging.

An example of a counselling service avilable in SL is Wellman and Wellman Counselling, Coaching and Therapy. We’ll profile them and others over coming weeks. We’re not in a position to recommend any but want to publicise as many options as possible. If you’ve had positive or negative in-world experiences with counselling we’d love to hear from you.

Private Eyes

New World Notes discussed in-world detectives way back in 2005. With the burgeoning growth of users and subsequent increase in relationships, I’ve not noticed any great increase in surveillance businesses, let alone an Australian one. With the recent changes in the SL search functionality, finding someone is just a little harder although the standard search would be an unlikely standard approach for someone undertaking surveillance work.

If you’re an Australian business setting up in surveillance we’d be interested to hear from you. But maybe we won’t…

Environmental Education Potential

A few years ago I did a trip through the Macquarie Marshes over an October long weekend. Whilst the marshes are technically speaking under the control of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, much of the public access is conducted only on October long weekends through the Discovery programs run by the locals of Quambone and surrounding properties.

This stunning area of Australia which, like most places in recent times, is being sorely tried by our prolonged drought, is well worth the visit. Not only to see the effect man and nature has made upon this wetland area but to also enjoy and meet a local community that takes pride. Pride in the area’s natural beauty and ecological importance including pains to try and preserve and manage the area sustainably.

The small general store, 2 teacher school and community hall are at the “town” centre – not to mention the pub, of course! With the area’s race course a short stroll from the town centre you can’t help but appreciate the importance of these communities to Australia’s heritage.

What does this have to do with SL? Well, whilst wandering around the other night I came across an area called The Woodland Virtual Nature Center and it reminded me of the many places in Australia that have a similar message to tell.

Woodland Virtual Nature Center isn’t a great place – yet! However, the idea behind it has some major potential to those important nature areas of Australia where people cannot visit either for reasons of mobility or the sheer distances involved to get there.

As you look at Woodland, consider the view behind you after you teleport in. It gives pause for thought.

RMIT Island Under Construction

RMIT University, Melbourne have embarked on a construction project in SL that allows people to drop in and view their progress from a lookout area that affords a view across their island.

The contruction zone of RMIT Island is off limits to people apart from a small square atop a hill. From there visitors can see how things are going or relax in a deckchair watching some old 1930s style cartoons.

This quirky little piece of interest is probably a result of the makeup of the team that is putting the RMIT sim together. A mix of students from the faculties of:

School of Architecture and Design
School of Creative Media
School of Property, Construction and Project Management

The in-world contact is John Guffey and no doubt he will be able to answer further questions but I think the ability to drop in and watch progress may be even more revealing than a straight up Q & A from him.

With the growing number of universities from Australia embarking upon, dare I say it, “campuses”, in SL, and already conducting lessons in-world, education is about to embark upon an incredibly transformational journey.

SL’s Healthinfo Island

Healthinfo Island is an impressive community effort on the part of health librarians and it offers two services – a consumer health library and a medical library for health professionals. Both are run by specialist health librarians, Namro Orman and Carolina Keats.

When describing the Consumer Health Library, Keats says “the building is deliberately non-tech, home-like and the doors never close. It’s meant to be welcoming – I think lots about what’s welcoming, non-institutional, and about fostering trust”.

The library, although comprehensive, is always evolving, with new initiatives in development.

“One.. initiative, just in early days, is to encourage the development and identification of assistive technologies so that people with disabilities can come to SL, interact,’ Keats continued

The array of health information on offer is enormous, but approachable through use of everyday objects and environments.

‘if I could give a sort of high-level picture of what we’re about – we’re about supporting SL groups and individuals with quality health information, to empower them as health consumers,” Keats said.

“I’ll be going out to folks, finding out about information needs – and hope to enlist them in collaborative events, like health fairs. There are many healthcare-associated people in SL, so I want to connect with them, too. We are looking for people to help create content in health & wellness subject areas”.

If you’re looking for health information for a family member or friend, or a health professional after research findings, Healthinfo island should be your first stop in-world

Aussie developer needs all hands on deck

Developer Estrelle Fauna of Big-Bit has posted on our discussion forum asking for Australians with building / scripting / programming / sales experience.

With the enormous interest in SL, Big-Bit have the need to expand their talent to deal with the large number of prosposals being requested by Australian organisations interested in what SL may have to offer.

Cafepress launch in-world search engine

Cafepress.com have upped the ante with their SL presence with the following announcement (directly quoting the press release):

Second Life, METAVERSE (01 February 2007)

Tretiak Media, LLC announced today that Cafepress.com will use its SLQuery platform as their search engine in the 3D virtual world of Second Life. By using the SLQ infoStation, a free public search and chat kiosk, residents of Second Life can browse from millions of products in the Cafepress.com inventory.

Search results are displayed in the virtual environment of Second Life by text and thumbnail images, so the initial viewing of products does not require the launching of an external web browser. Previous Second Life search systems lacked product pictures and only supplied limited text link results. This diminished the usefulness of a search within Second Life idea, and required outside web pages as support. The SLQ system keeps the user in Second Life and utilizes it as a true 3D internet.

This search feature is just the first step for the entry of Cafepress.com into Second Life. The next phase will be a virtual marketplace, that takes the Cafepress.com web storefront and brings it completely into the metaverse. Shopkeepers will be able to design and then sell their Real Life Cafepress.com products from Second Life, keeping the product creation process, purchases, and payment transactions entirely inside the virtual environment.

Until a Real Life teleportation system is developed, however, product fulfillment will continue to rely on traditional shipping methods. Second Life is already the perfect venue for the Cafepress.com community, which is very loyal and has many social events worldwide. As an extension of the Cafepress.com marketplace, it gives the several million active shopkeepers a new environment to network, learn, and promote their products.

Tretiak Media is also adapting its SLQ image viewing technology for use with its amazon.com search feature. The eventual goal will be to offer a prim-based internet search/browser platform. This system is just the start of future vBusiness initiatives to come.

The SLQ infoStation, SLQ infoHUD, and other infoProducts can be found on SL Exchange, SL Boutique , or in Second Life at: SLQ HQ

Flying Librarians of Oz

Had a very informative conversation with Emerald Dumont, an Australian in-world librarian. Emerald has been involved in the establishment of an Australian Library service in SL.

Established on Cybrary City in November 2006 it is being co-ordinated by Emerald, with another 14 Australian library folk joining in.

Emerald cites networking, fun, playfulness, a rapid increase in IT skills and a chance to learn a new interface as some reasons why she is there.

“There are over 900 librarians setting up services on the 7 islands around Info Island”, she said.

“Together we are grappling with customer service issues like whether doors discourage visitors – we are experimenting with removing them totally from our buidings. We are creating links to library resources outside second life, have RSS feeds and search engines available within our libraries, are holding author talks, staffing reference desks, creating displays and offering our libraries as community meeting places. We have even had historical figures, like Henry VIII, talk about their lives”.

Emerald would like to hear from Australians in Second Life about what they want from the library. “As well as providing information, I’d like to see it used as a gathering place for Australians who didn’t want to hang out in pubs. The top floor could be used as a community meeting room, as happens in real life libraries”.

Kathryn Greenhill, the real life librarian behind Emerald Dumont, is giving a talk about library services in Second Life at the National Library as part of its “Digital Culture” series. It’s titled “Flying Librarians of Oz: What’s all the fuss about Second Life and what’s it got to do with libraries?”.

FAST FACTS

Australian Libraries Building
Flying Librarians of Oz talk: 14th February 12:30pm, National Library Lecture Theatre, Canberra
More about the Australian Libraries Building: virtual.librariesinteract.info

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Students tend to use Google or Wikipedia as their first port of call in researching for information these days. Emerald’s library service could change this as more and more library and librarian services find themselves developing an SL service.

In fact, the idea of “Ask a Librarian” could be back in vogue with quality SL libraries like Australian Libraries Building and librarians such as Emerald being available to answer your query.

Health Care – Second Life Style

The issue of Addiction in Second Life has been discussed previously, but there’s a much wider scope in Second Life for the issue of health. Ask any health professional what their definition of health is and you’ll get a very different answer every time. The World Health Organisation states that: “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”, and that’s as good a definition as you’ll find.

Even though health is so much more than hospitals, they deserve a mention. As of now, there are no Australian health services with a presence in SL, hospital or otherwise. At an international level, finding health services in-world tends to lead to things like Danvers State Hospital (pictured), which is offering themed rental like no other. There is also a real-life Danvers Insane Asylum and neither particularly help to remove the stereotype of mental health care options. Add to that groups like the Fake Doctors Association and the colourful side of the equation is well serviced.

Support for Healing Island (pictured) is a well known support service for anyone wanting to talk about an issue, but otherwise there’s very little around that I’ve come across as yet.

Is this due to lack of R&D funds for health services to investigate innovative ways of delivering health care or a general lack of awareness and understanding? The Education sector leads the way in this area, with health lagging, at best. The Australian scene is even less evolved and the University
sector will probably need to lead the way if any real progress is to be made.

One other thing – we love being proved wrong at SLOz – if you know of health services in-world that we’ve missed, we’d love to hear about them.

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