Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds

grecian_theatre 1. For those who like theatre, rehearsals are under way for Hypatia of Alexandria. Written in sonnet form, it’s a collaborative project for performance in Second Life:

It will play to inhabitants of upwards of forty countries around the world. The lead role is in Australia, the writer and director in Canada, the producer in the UK and the cast from the USA and other countries! Oh, and it will play in a huge purpose built Greek theatre in the sky. Not exactly what you would call a typical play, I suppose.

2. Second Life Documentary, Second Skin, is starting to see some wider distribution.

3. Linden Lab is apparently worth around $700 million and is projected to bring in around $100 million in revenue. Not a bad little business if anyone’s interested.

4. Dear Apple – give us augmented reality on the iPhone.

5. For those who like jumping between independent grids, here’s how to do it.

Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds


1. Looking for alternative to the now Linden Lab-owned online shopping option? has launched and has a fair sized inventory already. Given the ever-improving integration of the incumbent in Second Life, it’ll be interesting to see how much support there is for a competitor.

2. Metaplace have been focusing in a big way on enhancing the community aspects of the platform – earning coins for visiting other users’ worlds was a big step in that direction. Founder Raph Koster talks about the introduction of the Golden Egg.

3. Tateru Nino has a superb summary of why media releases get passed over.

4. Camp Pete is a new kids world aimed at USA-based juniors given the use of the work ‘football’ all over the site in context of their version of the game. It may be quite a fun world, though i always get nervous with statements like this:

University of Southern California Head Football Coach Pete Carroll has been called the ‘coolest 57-year-old kid in Los Angeles.’ He’s more in touch with technology than most teenagers. He was one of the first head coaches with his own Web site, the first to embrace Facebook, the first on Twitter, and now, Coach Carroll is the first Coach to have his own Virtual World for Kids.

Obviously the proof will be in the experience itself as to how kid-centred it is.

Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds

auntie-build-challenge For anyone looking for something fun to do on Sunday night, try ABC Island in Second Life.

The next ‘Aunties Building Challenge’ is being held, starting 8.30 pm AET (3.30 am SL time). It’s a great way for newer Second Life residents to learn the ropes of content creation while more experienced people can enjoy the overall challenge.

2. Timothy Burke at Terra Nova has an interesting piece on how there’s more to virtual worlds than Second Life and World of Warcraft. Who’d have thought?

3. Eyefliez will be hosting “A Midsummer’s Eve Relay For Life Benefit” to promote cancer awareness, with all proceeds going to Relay for Life:

– Two stages, all day long – Live Musicians, DJs and Live Acts including:
—- Tone Uriza
—- Lexie Luan
—- Bones WriterX
—- Squidfisher McMillan … and many more!

– Freebies from local stores
– Treasure Hunt

Did you know that if you counted 10 people around you, one of them will die of cancer? Note that says WILL, not ‘could’. There is no cure, YET! Prevention and awareness saves lives! All money donated to RFL goes directly to international programs, research, and helping those who can’t afford treatments.

Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds

visionquest Starting on the 20th June, the Virtual Worlds Story Project is running Vision Quest:

This Second Life version of a Vision Quest is designed to spark your imagination and encourage you to “see” in new and thought provoking ways. Participants will have a choice between one of two Story Trails to pursue:

Story Trail #1: Told through the perceptions of a person who is blind.

Story Trail #2: Told from the eyes of a seeing eye dog named Max.

Each trail will have a specific set of clues to find and follow in order to tell your story. These clues will include everything from finding actual physical objects and interacting with them to doing a bit of online sleuthing in order make your story more authentic. No matter which story you choose, you must use MAX the seeing dog (free to all participants) to find the physical clues hidden on the sims. Other requirements for the story will be explained in the instructions.

2. Lifenaut are running competition to win a pair of Prober X-130 digital video recording glasses per month. To enter you’ll need to sign up for a Lifenaut account and within a one-month period, teach your avatar 1,000 lines of conversation, upload 100 files to your Lifenaut mindfile and compose 10 journal entries.

3. Need to transfer one of your Second Life builds to OpenSim? It won’t be long before you can do so.

Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds

1. Indiana University’s Edward Castronova has a fascinating piece on media violence, aggression and policy. For me, the key point made was:

To begin at the end: Scientific research should not be framed as the pursuit of evidence for something. To do so violates the important norm of disinterestedness. You are not supposed to care how the numbers turn out. The proper way to think of things is “What causes Y?” not “Can I find evidence that X might effect Y?” The Y here is violence in society. We know that the main causes of violence in society are parents and peers. A disinterested scholar would stop there. Yet in media violence research, the norm is to go looking for a link.

2. Metaverse TV show, Life On Line is now up to its eighth episode, the latest episode features: Microsoft evangelist Zain Naboulsi and Aussie musician Hughie performing ‘Slap That Ass’ (from an album produced with Kirk Pengilly of INXS):

3. Metaversum, creators of Twinity, are recruiting a range of positions:

Ruby/Rails Developer, Senior Manager Business Development (Singapore)
Manager Business Development (Singapore)
Senior Developer (Singapore)
Junior Developer (Singapore)

Intern Commercial Partner & Business Development
Intern Marketing & PR
Intern Marketing & Online Redaktion
Intern Community Management
Intern Product Development

Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds

manhattan_group 1. Linden Lab are excited about the take-up of voice in Second Life, stating more than 15 billion minutes of voice have been delivered in-world. It’s also worth reading the comments in response to FJ Linden’s post on Second Life’s ‘Green’ infrastructure.

2.US-based hospitality recruitment firm, Manhattan Group, are increasing their presence in Second Life, including weekly office hours to speak with potential applicants. Nothing ground-breaking there, just a tiny step along the road to widespread adoption of virtual worlds by enterprise. You can check out their presence here – there’s even a bunch of Australian hospitality jobs listed.

3. Speaking of static rows of 2D listings, the FBI are excited about Second Life too.

Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds

jokaydia-eurovision11. Second Life educator extraordinaire, Jokay Wollongong, is having a Eurovision party this coming Sunday.

2. Caleb Booker has an interesting article on funerals and virtual worlds. He links to a YouTube vid of an incident a few years back in World of Warcraft that I’d seen before, as a basis of showing how mindsets have changed about the death of avatars and their real world impacts. Well worth a read.

3. For those that missed last months Catalyst program on ABC TV about the use of virtual reality in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), you can view it here. There’s also an extra 7-minute interview with a US Marine whose PTSD treatment was benefitted by the use of virtual reality.

4. Human Resources and training virtual world NoviCraft has picked up Finland’s best e-learning product for 2009 and was the only game-based product entered.

Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds

nedspub 1. Need to create terrain on an OpenSim grid? This tutorial may help in a big way.

Microsoft is also taking note of ReactionGrid, an OpenSim grid.

2. Here’s an interesting perspective on Linden Lab’s adult content changes in recent months.

It’s not hard to imagine Linden Lab have a very close eye on the US Congress and its views on virtual worlds.

3. The MacArthur Foundation are holding a public forum on philanthropy and virtual worlds on 18th May, featuring former Linden Lab CTO Cory Ondrejka and MacArthur Foundation President Jonathan Fanton. All the details here.

4. South Africa’s University of the Free State and Sweden’s Lulea University are running a survey on avatar behaviour in Second Life – click here to take part.

Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds

insead_2009 1. The official Linden Lab blog is showcasing elite graduate business school INSEAD’s presence in Second Life. When I jumped in for a look there were INSEAD reception staff on duty and not a bot in sight.

2. Via James Dellow, a new study is out on children and virtual worlds. The full presentation / report is here and is an extremely useful look at the area from a solid empirical basis.

3. Not a lot of use to Australian readers, but 3D chat world, Club Cooee has gone into open beta for US-based customers. One of the more amusing claims: With low system requirements and a small 3 MB client, Club Cooee runs on almost every desktop computer or notebook. The application works with Windows Vista and Windows XP operating systems.

Given the growth in use of Macs in the past 2-3 years, let alone Linux and other open source options, companies are going to start getting visible push-back from their customer base with ridiculous claims of Windows Vista and XP equating to ‘almost every desktop computer or notebook’. Add the iPhone into the equation and the claim looks even more farcical.

Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds

1. Linden Lab have released a PDF Quickstart Guide for new Second Life users.

2. Dancing Ink Productions have released a new documentary about a virtual journalism project: The Virtual Newsroom of the American University in Cairo. You can watch it here:

3. Sky News in the UK has pulled the plug on their island in Second Life. As Sigmund Leominster says:

Virtual world Cassandras can eagerly point to this as being further evidence that “the end is nigh,” whereas more sober commentators will simply point out that the economics of news reporting and delivery in Second Life is very different from real life, and spending lots of money to have virtual world analogs of real life newsrooms doesn’t necessarily make any financial sense.

4. Tateru Nino has an interesting post on human nature and virtual environments over at Massively.

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