I apparently started a new blog about a year and a half ago, posted ten posts there, then didn’t touch it through all of 2010. Well, I’m back! I’ve just put up a post there about the game that I’m making, and immediately got a chill down my spine, just a little taste memory of the heyday of 3pointD, South by Southwest (which I skipped this year for the first time in five or more years), podcasting, meetups, the whole bit. I don’t plan to jump back into blogging, etc., in the same way I did in 2006 — “blogging, etc.” is not at all the same these days — but it was interesting to be reminded of what the blogging life was like. So… if anyone out there is still listening and interested in what I might be up to or have to say (and you’re finding my Twittering a bit too shorthand), do join me at The Last Weblog and say hello. I may occasionally post here as well, I think, but hey: it’s 2011, and this place is so, well… so 3pointD!
I’ll be out in California for a few days in mid-February, mostly for the Metaverse U. event that’s being held at Stanford. This is a spin-off or evolution of the State of Play conferences that originated at New York Law School, I believe. Should be some very interesting brains there, all trained on virtual worlds and what goes on within them. Details after the jump. Official announcement below:
ANNOUNCEMENT: Metaverse U Conference at Stanford University
Terrific. I’m quoted in an article about Second Life in tomorrow’s New York Times. Which of the many topics covered in the interview am I quoted on? That’s right, cyber-genitalia and virtual McMansions. On the whole, though, the article is a pretty good deep dive on why people value such virtual goods, and what utility they derive from them. Check it out.
It’s South by Southwest season again, or at least the run-up to it. For the last two years I’ve headed to Austin for the excellent South by Southwest Interactive festival, a fun week of geeks and great conversations that takes place each spring in one of the greatest small cities in America. The process of choosing who gets to take the stage there, though, starts early. Hugh Forest, who runs the place, has just posted this year’s SXSW Panel-Picker, the mechanism by which a fair portion of the panels are chosen. I’ve proposed two, which I’m going to insist you all go vote on forthwith. Here are the titles, links and descriptions:
â€¢ Presence: Building the Social Web
“Despite social networking, the Web remains a lonely place: a billion people browse it, each one alone. This session examines efforts to make the Web a more social medium by bringing “presence” online. Help us imagine a Web that works less like a library and more like a multiplayer game.”
â€¢ Kicking Virtual Ass and Taking Avatar Names
“What is it like to run the virtual world’s most notorious tabloid? Where do you draw the line between good taste and bad, between information and sensation, between virtual and real — if such a line exists? Explore the role of a very free press in the evolution of online worlds. Dual presentation with [Second Life Herald founder] Peter Ludlow.” Continue reading
For those of you who are headed out to San Jose to join us at the Virtual Worlds Fall Conference and Expo, you can get 10 percent off your registration fees just because you’re reading 3pointD! That’s a savings of $60 to $100, depending on when you take advantage of this. Details after the jump. Continue reading
I won’t be able to make this, unfortunately, but what sounds a really interesting panel will be held this Thursday, July 19, in the virtual world of Second Life. Kicking off at 6pm SL time (9pm Eastern), the panel will be a “Virtual Roundtable,” discussing “what drives the virtual human connection.” Moderated by Giff Constable of the Electric Sheep Company, it features some great speakers: Susan Wu of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Charles River Ventures, Beth Coleman of MIT, Robin Harper of Linden Lab, and Chris Carella, creative director of the Electric Sheep Company. Continue reading
In case you missed this (as I did when I was traveling), I chatted with the gang from the excellent VerySpatial.com for one of their podcasts a while back, and it’s now posted on their blog. We recap Virtual Worlds 2007 a bit and explore some other corners of mapping and virtual worlds. It was an interesting chat, and should make an interesting listen.
Kudos to CNet writer Dan Terdiman for his scoop of the report that’s been emerging from the Metaverse Roadmap summit we attended last spring. Dan has a nice story up today on a draft version of the report he obtained. It doesn’t seem to be online yet, nor has it been distributed to participants (of which I was one), so I can’t link it for you, but check out Dan’s story, as well as some of last spring’s coverage for an idea of what it contains. I’ll blog it some more once I see it myself. Which will probably be sometime next week, as I have a wedding to go to tomorrow in Rio, though this seemed worth taking a moment to blog. Let me know what you think if you see it before I do.
I missed the opening of this art show in the virtual world of Second Life, but it will apparently be up for a while, at the [KODE] Gallery in »SL’s Envy region«. It’s a solo show by Rio-based artist LÃ¶is Lancaster (aka Haemetz Mizser in SL), “a figurative digital illustrator in the real world, who is at the same time — and with the same body of work — an expressionist painter in Second Life,” according to SL resident Cobala Koba, who organized the show. Coincidentally, I’m headed for Rio this evening, to attend the wedding of a friend and to try to take a well needed break — although I’m already trying to set up meetings with various SL people there, so we’ll see. I’ll be away for a week, which means there may be some slow posting ahead on 3pointD. However, I’ve left the blog in the capable hands of our three contributors — Glitchy Gumshoe, Chip Poutine and Aleister Kronos — so hopefully they’ll be able to keep you entertained. See you soon.
As 3pointD continues on our path to world domination, we’re proud to introduce to readers a new contributor: Second Life resident Aleister Kronos, who’s been quietly blogging over at Ambling in Second Life for some time now, and doing a great job there of turning up unexplored corporate islands and other newsy tidbits from the virtual world of Second Life. A Second Life resident since early 2006, Al role-plays a technical architect for a European IT consulting company in real life, which apparently gives him lots of time to amble around SL. That’s good for 3pointD, and we’re very much looking forward to having his reports on the blog. Stay tuned for his first one shortly. W00t!
No April Fool’s joke this: 3pointD turned one year old today! It was in the early hours (early minutes, actually) of April 1, 2006, that I posted my first Hello, World! here. Something like 1,400 posts later (can that be? WordPress must be over-counting) and our mission remains the same: “At its most fundamental level, itâ€™s about connecting people in new ways, and about giving them the tools to get more out of not just the Web but out of the real world around them.”
That’s still true, but in the year since then, the 3pointD space (aka the metaverse) has begun to resolve itself a bit — which is perhaps not surprising, since the word didn’t actually mean anything a year ago. What I’ve been trying to describe over the last year is the general direction of the future of connectivity. I still feel, as I wrote last March on my old blog, Walkerings, that “Web 2.0 is over like a hipster neighborhood when The Gap moves in,” and that there’s a new neighborhood to be colonized. That’s of course an overstatement for effect, but I don’t think it’s off the mark. Over the next several (many?) years, the most exciting developments in technology are going to be those that leverage our ever-increasing digital access to places both real and virtual to develop better connections between people in various ways.
The question is, What’s that going to look like? I hate making predictions, but as my birthday present to the blog and its readers, I’ve just spent the evening going out on a limb. You can read the details below or you can jump directly to a brief, fun scenario at the end of the post. Enjoy. Continue reading
Eduardo Manchon of Panoramio, the very cool geophotography site (another coinage?), sends news that Panoramio recently saw the one-millionth geolocated photo uploaded to the service. [Also reported in Ogle Earth.] What’s so cool about that, besides the fact that it’s a damn big number even for a service that started in October 2005? Well, if you were reading 3pointD last December, you already know that Panoramio, then “still a small site,” according to Eduardo, has been a default layer in Google Earth for the last three months. That means that if you upload a geolocated photo to Panoramio, it will appear on everyone’s Google Earth if they have the Panoramio layer turned on (which it is by default). The question then is, why geotag your photos on Flickr when you can just have them stuck right into Google Earth? Continue reading
Three services we brought you recently that mash up the virtual world of Second Life and the (also virtual, in its way) World Wide Web, have had new versions released in the last few days. Sloog, TwitterBox, and SLateIt, (originally blogged here, here, and here), are three instances of one of my favorite things: they’re real 3pointD apps that make the 3D world of SL interoperable (to a small extent) with the 2D world of the Web, and in a social, Web 2.0 way. Their initial release was very rough and beta, but now all three have new versions out that have made them easier to use and/or increased their functionality. Excellent news. Full descriptions below. Continue reading
Okay, my need for a PlayStation 3 just got a lot more urgent. Before you do anything else, watch the trailer above, which just went up on GameTrailers.com after being shown at GDC. It shows a PS3 service from Sony called “home,” which is, yes, a free 3D online space where you’ll be able to customize your avatar and your own private home, hang out with other users there and in various common spaces, stream your media into your virtual pad (as in Kaneva), and chat via voice, emotes, short pre-loaded phrases or with a USB keyboard, as well as hook up with other people and follow them into PS3 games. In terms of pushing the metaverse out to the mainstream, this is pretty huge news. And it’s got a great look to it, too. Many thanks to reader Victor PiÃ±eiro of pure west documentaries for sending along the link.
[UPDATE: Our spies at GDC have filed a few more details, which you can read after the jump.] Continue reading
Regular readers know I’ve been making noise lately about an idea factory that would seek to leverage (sorry, Ordinal) the skills of anyone who cared to participate in an effort to create any or all of a list of wish apps that had also been created by the community. As previously noted, I had to miss last Saturday’s jawboning session on the topic, but Bill Ward and a couple of other people who were there have been kind enough to send me some notes about what was discussed (including a fantastic handwritten page, from which I’ve clipped the chart above, which you can view in its entirety on Flickr). I’m going to try to tie all those notes together here into a vision of a metaversal idea factory (which I’m still not convinced shouldn’t be called an idea farm — or insert your good idea for a name here), and will try to keep you posted as things develop. Keep in mind that this is my interpretation of the state of things; it seems a fairly complex undertaking, so I may have gotten a few details out of place. In any case, though, it’s a very cool project which I’d love to see take off. Continue reading
After the metaverse meetup we held recently, Jerry and I and several others have been pondering how to help some of the ideas that were kicking around there take shape. On Saturday, Jerry got together with several interested parties (I couldn’t make it), to discuss some approaches. I’d been talking about an “idea farm,” but what seems to have emerged from Saturday’s jawboning session was the idea of an idea factory, which is described very well by Bill Ward:
. . . An “Idea Factory” to leverage the newfound connectedness of society towards solving problems of all sizes. . . . [A] combination of social networks, semantic markups, peer review, incentives, and “knowledge visualization” could improve the effectiveness of ad-hoc collaborative teams. We’d like to harness the power of the community. . . . [We] covered ground related to facilitating open idea exchange, ranking those ideas, and mapping their relationships in a format which would facilitate the sort of ad-hoc collaboration that thrives in the open source community.
So I’m just back from the metaverse meetup and I wouldn’t normally be blogging at this hour, but I’m trying to find out just how I’ve screwed up the site (there’s supposed to be a strip of red buttons just below the header image now; it shows in IE but not Firefox, for some reason), and whether a new post might knock things loose and get it working again. (Don’t laugh; it’s happened.) The meetup was a hoot, with a bunch of geeks packed into the back room of Planet Thailand, as well as a few more-or-less normal people along for the ride. Jerry and I each made presentations from the top of the stair once we’d gotten back to his pad, and a nice hot debate ensued, which I’ll recount later. The assembled crowd (of 40 or so?) was great, consisting of a few meetup newbies as well as the usual suspects. More details on the actual proceedings will have to wait. The prize for best effort, though, has to go to Negin and Kimmy, who spent all night working their asses off on a second installment of their excellent Nerd of the Week, a series of clips to accompany (or possibly become part of) the movie they’re working on, Nerdcore Rising. They interviewed everyone in sight (I got lav’ed no less than twice), and spent at least eight straight hours working. I was tired of hearing myself talk by the end of the night, so I can only imagine how they felt.
It’s been a while since I checked in with Tech Geek Blogger Robert Scoble, but reader Sean FitzGerald sent me a Scobleizer link last night that couldn’t be more 3pointD. An Australian company called Outback Online has a new social 3D virtual world in the works, one that is designed more or less as a competitor to Second Life. The site is advertising “user-generated places,” which of course will be “infinitely scalable.” While the project isn’t very far along yet, Scoble does note, “I saw some brilliant things here that are worth watching.”
In his chat with Outback, the company outlined some of the advantages their platform is designed to have over a service like SL:
â€¢ Outback wants to have better graphics than Second Life.
â€¢ The company claims it can get up to 10,000 avatars on a single “island.”
â€¢ More granualar age controls will make it easier for kids and adults to safely co-exist and interact.
â€¢ Developing simultaneously for the Mac only slows things down, they say. But they are also working on an Xbox version!
â€¢ “Instead of hosting everything on centrally-located servers they are using P2P to get more people onto islands and bring better graphical performance.”
Jerry Paffendorf, Rik Riel, my friend Micah and I dropped in Saturday night at the 13 Most Beautiful Avatars show at the Postmasters gallery in New York. The prints on display were beautiful 36″x 48″ prints of avatars taken from the virtual world of Second Life by a pair of artists named Eva and Franco Mattes, who together constitute 0100101110101101.ORG. I don’t know where that number came from, but it spells 19,373 in binary (unless my calculator is broken). I spoke to Franco at the show and he told me a little but about their work and the process of putting the show together, but what I didn’t realize at the time is that he and Eva and a pair of hacktivist pranksters (or “restless European con-artists,” as they describe themselves) who have engaged in some pretty formidable and in some ways very 3pointD works of art in years past. Continue reading
I received a nice note from Cory Ondrejka, chief technology officer at Linden Lab, makers of the virtual world of Second Life, in response to my looong post of Saturday entitled “Linden Lab Approaches A Crossroads.” I won’t quote from it, as it’s not an official LL response, but I’ll raise a couple of the points Cory mentions in order to give a differing viewpoint on a couple of things. Continue reading
There comes a time in the life all good blogs when they must spruce things up a bit, and such a moment has now been reached by 3pointD. I need a logo, to fill the space in the upper left that’s now occupied by the title and description. Let’s say it has to be 468×60 pixels, so that I can use it for an advertisement, and also has to come in a 125×125 version. It doesn’t have to include the description line, just the word “3pointD.” And it has to better than the crude 3pedia logo that I pasted together a while back, which you can see above.
What do you get if you do me this favor? Well, you get paid, for one thing. Continue reading
In the space of two days, Linden Lab, maker of the virtual world of Second Life, has made three separate announcements that indicate trouble may be on the horizon for the company — if it hasn’t already arrived. Two of them have raised renewed alarms about the platform’s scalability. Though CEO Philip Rosedale blithely assured the world last summer that Second Life could “scale to inifinity,” he seemed to be the only one who believed such an absurd claim. The skeptics are now being proven correct. And instead of concentrating all of its firepower on solving the current problem, the Lab is also casting about for ideas on how to beef up its 2D Web interface — despite the fact that any number of developers large and small are already working on the same thing. Is trouble ahead? It sure smells like it. Read on for our conclusions as to why. Though this post may be overly alarmist, to a certain extent, we’re looking at serious issues here. Take it with a grain of salt, but not too big a grain. Continue reading
Progress Bar flags a post from Pink Tentacle (which is itself a translation of a Japanese news story) about a new micro-miniaturized radio frequency identification (RFID) chip that’s been developed by Hitachi. The new chip is 0.05 x 0.05 millimeters — that’s 1/20th of a millimeter on either side, or small enough to exist as a powder or dust, and possibly even as a floating cloud. Each can store a 38-digit number, which means you could actually get quite a bit of information into a cloud or dusting of such chips. The pic above (borrowed from Pink Tentacle) shows an older chip on the left, and the new chips on the right, next to a human hair. While Pink Tentacle mentions them in connection with embedding them in sheets of paper, that doesn’t even begin to touch the potential for this kind of thing. I’m much more interested in more 3D-focused applications that these could be used for. Continue reading
Let’s dispense with the news straight off: The metaverse meetup that’s slated for 23 February now has a location: Planet Thailand in Williamsburg, which is letting us take over their back room for the event, so you’ll be able to munch Pad Thai and eggplant and wander around and chat to whoever you want to. More importantly, though, a bunch of us checked out Uffie at the Hiro Ballroom last night, and she was awesome — at least, in her way. And in fact, the show was a really interesting look at how deeply the idea of lifelogging and recording one’s raw experience has infected the choices entertainers are making and how that’s affecting the kinds of media that are being created these days. (Pics at the end of it all as well.) Continue reading
I can’t believe the YouTube clip above has been up there for six months and I’ve only just found it now. I no longer want a touchscreen, now I want a BumpTop interface (which got Dugg a couple of weeks ago and is now all over the Internet, of course). Watch the video above. It contains some of the only truly new GUI techniques I’ve seen in a long time. Touchscreens are extra cool, but they really only give you new ways to do what you’re already doing with a mouse and keyboard. The BumpTop actually gives you useful new ways to easily organize information visually and in three dimensions. Very, very exciting.
Well, Jerry’s at it again. This time he’s roped me in to give some kind of presentation at this month’s Metaverse Meetup in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (Brooklyn is, of course, the capital of the metaverse, for those who didn’t already know.) In fact, it’ll be a fun evening. The metaverse meetups regularly draw a great crowd of people doing fascinating things with virtual worlds, geospatial technologies and lifelogging, and there’s ample opportunity to drink in a rich stew of ideas, socialize and just generally goof off from 6:00pm into the wee hours of the morning, if you last that long. [UPDATE: There’s now a location for this event. It’ll start off in the back room at Planet Thailand in Williamsburg, and move on from there.] Continue reading
Well, it’s official: celebrity scents are over. As of tonight, you’re nobody if you don’t have your own 3D virtual world. Just ask supermodel-cum-talk show host Tyra Banks, who opened Tyra’s Virtual Studio this evening with a grammy party. “The studio is a free virtual world where you can listen to music, chat with your friends, get insider info about what’s happening at the Tyra Banks Show and just hang out,” according to the site. But you knew that already. In Tyra’s Virtual Studio, however (which is available for both Windows and Mac), “Your avatar can drop it like it’s hot.” Whew. We knew there was some added value here. Continue reading
Two new applications out recently — Yahoo! Pipes and IBM’s QEDWiki — contain much promise for the 3pointD world. They’re basically mashupmakers (mashuppers? mashers?), GUI-based systems that let you create your own mashups without having to get too deep into code. They’re still a bit beyond my ability to really check out without spending a whole day on them, but they definitely make mashupping (I’m going with “mashupping” for the moment) available to a broader set of users. What does this mean for the 3pointD generation? More mashups, of course. But more importantly, it means greater, more widespread power to make the virtual world a more useful place. Continue reading
Reuters’ Second Life correspondent, Adam Pasick, reports that Comverse has developed a version of the virtual world of Second Life that runs on a mobile phone. It sounds like the technology is imperfect at the moment (as is SL itself) and requires a PC to be running Second Life at an intermediary position, but it’s an interesting and potentially exciting step toward opening Second Life up to yet more uses. A full Second Life client on a cell phone might be overkill, but a streamlined client would be a great extension of the communication functions of Second Life. It also sounds like Comverse has SMS and Instant Message add-ons in the works that will allow those interactions with SL, though exactly how those fit in isn’t yet clear. Comverse has also developed a version of SL to run on IPTV platforms. Wow, they’ve been busy, and Pasick reports that this was all done in advance of the open-source SL client. Much of this technology will be demonstrated at next week’s 3GSM Conference in Barcelona, Pasick reports. Wish I could be there.
Scott Carlson has written a really outstanding article about lifelogging in the February 9 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Not only does he go around wearing recording equipment around his neck like a lifelogging freak (3pointD’s favorite kind of freak, to be sure; see pic at left), but he also talks to people with a variety of different views on lifelogging, investigates its historical roots, and takes the time to illustrate the things that would be lost in the lifelogging age. This is possibly the best single take on lifelogging I’ve yet encountered. Highly recommended reading as we move into increasingly connected days.
It’s conference season, and 3pointD is hitting the road to flap our gums (or mine, anyway, if I could get out of the third person) at a handful of cool upcoming events. First up is the ScreenBurn festival at South by Southwest Interactive. I did a presentation at ScreenBurn last year, along with Peter Ludlow, on our brilliant work over at the Second Life Herald. At that point, ScreenBurn, which covers the gaming industry, was crammed into one corner of a huge empty hall with a few dozen chairs set around a makeshift podium. This year it graduates to the big leagues, taking place upstairs alongside SXSWi. On March 12 I’ll be running a panel on Gamer’s Games: Microcontent and User Creation, which should hopefully cover everything from making skirts in There.com and Second Life on up to building worlds in Multiverse and Areae. Chatting with me will be There’s Betsy Book, Reuben Steiger of virtual world services firm Millions of Us, Multiverse’s Corey Bridges, and Raph Koster, who by then will be able to give more details on just what his new shop, Areae, is working on. This should be a really fun panel, as pretty much all of us know each other already, so I’m hoping for something more chatty and interactive than the usual fare. Continue reading
An experimental three-way conversation about the future of virtual worlds is taking place among Clay Shirky, Henry Jenkins and Beth Coleman, the first round of which is now complete with Beth’s recent post. I find myself reluctant to even blog about this, as most of the conversation leading up to this point (kicked off by some tendentious posts by Shirky over at ValleyWag) has been counter-productive for those who actually want to make some kind of even-handed inquiry into what’s happening with 3D online technologies. But the present round of blog posts from Shirky, Jenkins and Coleman seems more balanced, including Shirky’s. Unfortunately, the result is that not all that much is being said that’s really new, at least, not to my eye. Shirky is right to question Second Life‘s adoption numbers (when he can put aside the vitriol he’s directed against the press; that’s a separate issue), but they’ve been questioned many times before. Jenkins’s post is interesting for putting virtual worlds in the broader context of participatory culture. I think Beth Coleman’s, though, does the most to push the conversation forward. Instead of arguing over which part of the elephant is the right one to examine, she pushes some ideas out to us for adoption and/or consideration, including the need for a standard measurement of usage, whether such world will be created in our image, and the need for interoperability and stronger communications between virtual worlds and the other technologies through which we communicate and manipulate information. This last section even includes a line that sums up my own view about virtual worlds and about what I’m doing here on 3pointD: “What virtual worlds promise is an augmentation of human-to-human communication.” Win.