SLOz HQ – The Build is Complete

At SLOz we’ve been working for weeks on completing our in-world presence and it’s pretty much done. So to celebrate, we’re having a launch party on Wed 21st March 8pm to 11pm AEST (3am to 6am SL time on Wednesday 21st).

There’ll be beer, a BBQ, music (Aussie DJ’s or performers feel free to IM me if you’d like to showcase yourself) and maybe even a RL celebrity or two. More importantly, if you’ve got suggestions as to what you’d like our in-world presence to offer Australians in SL, please let us know.

Telstra Launch Second Life Presence

After months of development Telstra have launched their SL presence. And a significant presence it is – eleven islands called The Pond, Ponderosa, Billabong, Ponden, Ponderama, Pondessa, Pondex, Pondfield, Pondice, Pondillion and Pondshen (pictured above). Each offers a range of activities and sights which we’ll cover in-depth in future, but for now an overview of the sights:

The Opera House:

An impressive rendition though the claim that the true Opera House shape can’t be rendered in SL to me seems to stand – it’s damn close though.

The compulsory outback pub (The Billabong Bar):


The BigPond Dome:

A highlight, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, fireworks included:

Check it out for yourself

We’d love to hear your initial impressions – are you inspired or indifferent? Do you find the whole thing amazing or kitsch? Let us know.

ABC Island Launch – 19th March

Direct from ABC representative Abi Goldflake:

“ABC Island will open its doors to the public on Monday 19 March. The opening event is a screening of the new Four Corners program about Second Life: Monday 19 March at 8.30pm AEST or 1.30am SL time Sunday night/Mon morning.

Arrive early if you want to catch a seat as, like all islands, there is only space for 40-50 avatars at once. If the island is full, you can also watch the 4 Corners program live and check out extended interviews via the broadband edition at

If you would like a sneak peek at the island before, join the ABC Friends group and you’ll be invited to the pre-launch party!”

In the next couple of weeks SLOz will cover the launch and provide a detailed run-down of what ABC Island will offer.

Heavenly Soles – Australian footwear presence launches

Heavenly Soles is an Australian business run by Estrelle Fauna and Yoshinori Shirakawa. Shoes are the name of the game and the official launch is this Saturday 2pm SL time (9am Sunday morning Eastern Daylight Saving Time).

A treasure hunt for $10 000L is in the offing so it may be worth the visit whether you need new shoes or not

Logan Linden Interview – Part 3

We continue our interview with Logan Linden. Part 1 is here. and Part 2 is here.

Lowell:If there were no technological barriers, what SL feature would you like to introduce tomorrow?

Chris: What I’d like to introduce the community will be finding out about in the not too distant future.. so I best not comment on it (laughs). (This is likely to have been the voice integration announcement made this week – Ed.)

Lowell: If you had to show a new user around SL, what would be three essential spots to see after Orientation Island?

Chris: That’s a good question. When I do show people around I show them to areas that I don’t go to when I’m not showing people around. I try to show them areas that give a quick overview of the possibilities. I really enjoy the Lost Gardens of Apollo, if you can get on that island during peak times because it’s always packed full of people. It’s beautiful and when you show people that it blows them away.

Then I usually take them to one of the educational areas because that’s an exciting area in Second Life. I usually go to the Space Flight Museum, I’ll fly around there and show people the globe that’s there, play the movie on there, that always excites people. Will I always get excited anyway (laughs). The reach that the education side of Second Life has is just incredible.

And then, I like to go and search for a live event and go through the whole ‘the performer there is a live performer’, they’re streaming the music up and we’re engaged with a performance with people from all over the world. There, we’ll see someone at the performance and if the person I’m showing likes something they’re wearing we’ll go up and speak to that person, ask them where they bought it then I’ll show them the shopping side. By that stage, if that haven’t seen Second Life before they’ll take some time to have a go themselves.

Lowell: Speaking of live events, I know there’s a large Australian one happening in March involving You Am I, Beasts of Bourbon, Youth Group and more.

Chris: That’s great! I’m all about Australia getting more heavily into Second Life. I’ve told a lot of people here that Australia’s going to be moving up the ranks.

Lowell: What excites you most about the next year or so with Second Life and Linden Lab?

Chris: The Open Source area was obviously a big announcement for us and I’m excited to see what comes out of that. Making predictions on what will come out of it – I wouldn’t have a clue. We’re at a point where we putting in a lot of capabilities for other people to be able to build up their own communities in Second Life. And not from the viewpoint of having to register through us and go through our Orientation Island, but being able to register people off their own websites, take people through their own Orientation Island. That, I’m really excited about. For someone to be able to build up their own community and have full control over how they educate their community.

Lowell: Is that on offer now?

Chris: It is on offer now but we’ll be enhancing that a lot in the near future.

Lowell: What are the biggest challenges in the next year for you and for Second Life?

Chris: We want to be able to keep all the community happy and we’re doing everything we can to do that. We’re going through a massive growth period and growing a company is a big challenge.

Lowell: One last question – what do you miss most about not living in Australia at present?

Chris: Probably the weather. I’m in California but the weather isn’t as good as Australia (laughs). As much as we’ve seen the movies and watched Baywatch, we’ve definitely got better beaches in Australia!

Logan Linden Interview – Part 2

We continue our interview with Logan Linden. Part 1 is here.

Lowell: I know the metrics you released were greeted with a lot of interest as they at least gave a rough indication of the number of active Australian users..

Chris: That’s good. The Australian population is there, it’s relatively healthy. Being the only Australian working in the office here in San Francisco, there’s a strong side of me that does anything to comment on the Australian numbers.

Lowell:The estimates I’ve come up with based on your data puts the active population of Australian users at around 3000

Chris:Yeah, it’s hard to say. With Second Life, the way it works, there’s several types of Second Life residents. There’s residents that spend a lot of time in Second Life, which could mean going in every day. Then there’s residents that may come in once a month, once every two months. They see something they want to check out, want to experience, they go in at that point. The resident populations as far as active down to individual countries…it’s based on the residents who are logging in every day or week.

We’re looking to release externally more information on that, to be able to break that out a lot more efficiently for everyone to be able to look at. We’ve got that information here, it just goes through the process of saying ‘ok, let’s get that information into a situation where we can publish it externally, do we have the manpower to continually publish it’, and then we’ll send it out there. Yeah, it’s a nice Australian population.

Lowell: I think some people and businesses in particular, are shocked at how low the population is.

Chris: The thing is about corporations going into Second Life – if you want to grow a presence in Second Life and if you want people to come back to something you’ve built in Second Life, you’ve got to think about building up a community. And to build up that community you need to have something there that’s interesting for people to come back to, the ability to be able to contact those individuals. Whether it’s setting up a group that allows you to contact people interested in things you are having on your space or it’s making people go out to your external website and find out about events you might be holding, and in doing that it helps to pick up the population.

Lowell:What do you enjoy most about your role?

Chris: It’s having anything to do with Second Life. It’s really exciting, it makes me feel that everything I’ve done before here is boring where at the time I thought I was doing some really exciting things. This virtual world I believe is in a very early stage. I think that everyone who’s getting involved in it is going to be contributing to where Second Life goes, whether you work for Linden Lab or your just in the Second Life community. It’s the community that drives Second Life, just being involved is exciting and seeing where it goes.

Lowell:What do you enjoy least about your role?

Chris: That’s a tough question (pause). I don’t really know. Previously where I’ve worked at other corporations there’s a huge list of things I could dislike about other roles that I’ve done. I don’t seem to have those problems, there’s nothing really (laughs). People reading that are going to think ‘that’s a pretty crap answer’.

Lowell:At least you didn’t say the only issue was you couldn’t work 24 hours a day.

Chris:Even though there’s some residents that’d like us to work 24 hours a day, unfortunately we can’t (laughs). You know, I enjoy it all. We do a lot of hard work, everyone here is working hard. I’ve worked in companies where working really hard can be a negative to their work, but everyone is working hard and seems to be enjoying it.

Lowell:That leads nicely to the next question. Second Life is obviously undergoing huge growth in tandem with a frantic
development schedule for Linden Labs – does your workplace have the atmosphere of a warship or is it a little more laid back than

Chris: It doesn’t feel like a warship and it’s not laid back. Our working environment is very different to other environments I’ve worked in – it’s a very open plan office. I know that term is used a lot in modern corporations but at Linden Lab we’re putting that into practice. What that means is that you are very responsible for everything that you work on. Everyone has the ability to see what you’re working on, to comment on what you’re working on and provide feedback. When people first join Linden Lab that’s something that they’ve never experienced before, and it can take awhile to get used to.

What that gives us is the ability to move very quickly as a company. As we’re going through this very large growth spurt, we can have everyone get involved. Because the Second Life platform, being such a complex platform, there’s so many areas that we can be working on, and we all are. We keep a clear head on what we need to do and we do it. There are companies in the past that have seen exciting growth like we’ve had and have lost track of what they’re doing. We know exactly what we are doing and what we need to do.

Lowell: So do you have a fairly standard organisational structure?

Chris: Yeah we do. The CEO, Philip Rosedale is the driver behind Second Life and he’s the driver behind how we work. He sits in a pod himself. We’re all in open plan pods and he sits in one on the main floor, he actually sits right behind me. Anyone can come up and talk to him, so yes he’s the CEO but he very much works how he preaches.

    Part 3 coming soon – challenges for SL, recommended spots in SL for new users and upcoming SL developments

ABC Island – Call for input from science buffs

ABC’s Abi Goldflake has put out a call seeking input from the Australian SL community. The details in Abi’s own words:

“One of the things we’d like to do on our ABC Island is present some of the ABC’s range of science content in an interesting and engaging way that works within the SL environment. I’ve seen quite a few great science areas within SL (Troy McLuhan at the Science Center has a very comprehensive list). Many of these seem to display scientific objects accompanied by notecards and some let you actually experience scientific experiments or phenomena (such as NOAA Virtual Island with tsunami and hurricanes).

What we’d like to do is present some of the ABC Science Online content in a 3D interactive way as a scientific quest. For example, there’s a great feature on primitive parts of the brain at– how would you present those ideas as a scientific quest in SL?

I’d like to set a challenge to the ABC Friends group, or any readers of SLOz with your collective expertise and ideas: can you come up with an interactive science quest based on a piece of content from using gadgets which avatars could pick up and interact with. Also clues and information presented physically so that at the end of the quest, the player has learnt something – essentially a virtual experiment?

Please IM me directly inworld if you want more info or email me at digcitizen at yahoo dot com dot au – interested both in ideas and people who could build the gadgets/clues.”

You can also respond to Abi on the related SLOz Discussion Forum thread

Logan Linden Interview – Part 1

SLOz had the opportunity in the past few days to have a chat via Skype with Logan Linden aka Chris Collins, expatriate Aussie and Analyst for Linden Lab. Logan was very forthcoming on a range of topics so we’ll publish the interview in three parts in the coming week.

    Part 1

Lowell: Can you tell me a little about yourself Chris?

Chris: I was born in Sydney, had ten years there then moved to Perth – I call Perth home. I went to the University of Western Australia, started working in Perth then worked in Sydney for awhile. I worked there consulting for an accounting firm. I then moved to London for three and a half years, did the Australian thing.

I ran a CRM software consulting company then I started a job search engine in the UK. I launched that over in San Francisco. We got to a point where we weren’t progressing as quickly as we wanted to, so we decided to pull the pin on that. I then briefly set up operations for another technology company and started to look around for other work. I wanted to work at a company that had a really exciting product, that had smart people, had a smart management team and came across Linden Lab.

Lowell: When did you first start with Linden?

Chris: I started beginning of June 2006. It was just before everything got really crazy.

Lowell: What’s your role there?

Chris: I’m the analyst here, so with all the charts that I look at – in June / July when everything really started to pick up, it was obvious 2006 was a really big year for us. When we went to free basic accounts, the growth really started to happen. Being the analyst is a really exciting position. I don’t think I could be an analyst in any other company or industry compared to what we’re doing here – the data we analyse is very exciting and there’s so many different ways you can look at it. We’re in an interesting position in that everything the company does is in Second Life and for us to get any exposure to that we need to be able to look at the data, to be able to analyse and break it down into hundreds of different reports depending on the individual who’s looking at it. They need to be able to work out what needs to be done to enhance areas, from an economic standpoint through to a simulator standpoint. I’m the one they all come to to be able to get all that.

Lowell: And are you it as far as resources go?

Chris: I’m in the Data Warehouse team, there’s two of us. The other guy I work with does a lot of the Warehouse engineering. We’re expanding our team, another two analysts are joining in March. At Linden Lab we’re going through a phase where we need to find staff. We need to find a lot of senior staff in all areas. That should be of interest to any of your readers – we’re looking for people in all areas. It’s easy to be able to come and work in the US.

Lowell: So it’s sounds like you’re going to have a real Decision Support setup there in the near future?

Chris: Yeah, which’ll be great. A couple of weeks ago we released a whole lot more information out to the community. We’re going through a phase this year where we hope to put more and more data out for the community to look at and analyse for themselves. For business owners in Second Life to get more access to information. We’re going through a big phase with that and we need more people to help speed that process up.

    Part 2 in the coming week – Australian specific data, building a community and working at Linden Lab.

AFL Footy Fever Jerseys

With summer almost over and our cricketers lulling the world into a false sense of security, the beginning of the footy season is now in the offing and fans can prepare themselves by donning their favourite team colours at a little shop I found tonight.

Located at Martinis Bargain Clothes, this small venture caters for AFL team fans. And whilst it does state it is an outlet where you can buy NRL jerseys, that particular section seemed to be still awaiting stock.

At $100 Linden the AFL jersey’s are a little cheaper than their RL counterparts. If you have a hankering to be outfitted and ready to go barracking for your team, perhaps a quick venture to this shop will see you through the season.

As a Rugby fan I didn’t actually find anyone catering for that particular code at a Super 14 level but I did find a place where you can buy a Wallaby jersey. It was located at Taff’s Rugby and the range of footy oriented gear is quite large. With the World Cup not too far away, go the Ra Ra! Oh, they also have the round-ball footy code covered as well.

Media coverage of Australian population and love online

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are running an article written by Fran Molloy on Aussies finding love online, which is an interesting read. Fran posted a request via our discussion forum and its good to see people have stepped forward although the article doesn’t specifically discuss SL.

Stephen Hutcheon and Asher Moses have written an article on their MashUp blog about the number of active Australian users in Second Life. Last weekend we sent out a press release detailing the population based on the Linden stats and its been greeted with a great deal of interest across the board.

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