That’s Ludlow as in Peter Ludlow, who founded the Second Life Herald, and Wallace as in myself, who occasionally does some work over there. We’re interviewed on Episode #2 of the MIT Press podcast, which you can listen to via this link. (You have to listen through some advertisements for the podcast itself at the beginning, for some reason.) MIT, of course, is who’s publishing our book, The Second Life Herald: The Virtual Tabloid That Witnessed the Dawn of the Metaverse, which is due out any minute now — or anyway, at the end of the month. We talk about Second Life, of course, issues of governance in the metaverse, the future of metaversal technologies, and a few other things. I think we were spared any annoying furry sex questions in this one, which was nice. Check it out.
Japanese writer, blogger and game designer Shigesato Itoi‘s site, Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun, is running a series of articles taken from a conversation with Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. The first three (of eleven) are already up on the site, and there’s some good stuff there, not just for game designers, but for designers of software in general, especially at a moment when more and more people are coming to recognize the importance of game mechanics to user engagement. Parts four through eleven unfold over the next ten days. Whether you’re interested in Nintendo’s perspective on game and software design, or you just want to hear from “the world’s number one researcher of Miyamoto studies,” this is pretty much required reading.
New media marketing firm crayon kicks off a series of monthly “thought leadership” panels in the virtual world of Second Life today, and guess who’s moderating the first one. Yep, I’ll be »on crayon island« from 9am SL Time today (noon Eastern), for a chat with some of the people who’ve been doing branding in SL, including:
SecondCast #60 is now on the air, featuring an interview with podcaster C.C. Chapman and Steve Coulson (aka Second Life‘s Cleon Goff and Gideon Television) of Crayon, the new media marketing firm that launched last year. The pair relate their experience designing Coca-Cola’s Virtual Thirst contest, in which Coke drinkers (or anyone, for that matter, whether you’re a member of Second Life or not) can submit their ideas for the coolest, most fantastical virtual thirstquencher. There might be some news thrown in there as well.
Alex Harbinger holds a teen grid debate on intergrid commerce in the virtual world of Second Life. Photo courtesy of Lucky Figtree.
We recorded a great SecondCast this past Wednesday with two residents of Second Life‘s teen grid, Lucky Figtree and Alex Harbinger (both 15 years old). They’re leading the charge (or at least, Alex is) to unite the teen and adult grids, or at least to let them overlap to a certain extent. Along the way, we discuss Cristiano’s open letter to Linden Lab, and give away a couple of books. (There’s still time to enter the giveaway, actually.) Plus, listen for the dulcet tones of Starr Sonic, who joined us from the Second Life Cable Network as a special guest host. Definitely check out SLCN.tv’s news archive and live broadcasts. Starr’s doing it right.
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.
John Swords and I recorded a couple of new Metaverse Sessions while we were down at South by Southwest, one with Ethan Zuckerman of Global Voices Online and one with Jamais Cascio of World Changing. Johnny has just posted Ethan’s session (incorrectly labeled #9, even though it’s #10), and there’s some really interesting stuff there. Ethan talks about how Google Maps was used to heighten political awareness in Bahrain, how LiveJournal has become the blogging tool of choice for politically active adults (not kids) in Russia, and the “cyber-utopian dominant narrative” in which everyone gets along in the same online place. We also explore some interesting question of how cultural backgrounds inform the use of technologies, questions that don’t get much discussed (or thought about) in most our metaversal questions. A really cool guest to have for the Sessions, and highly recommended listening.
As Jerry notes, Negin and Kimmy’s latest Nerd of the Week has been posted, this one examining the Second Life Nerd in detail, based on interviews conducted at our latest metaverse meetup with all your favorite Second Lifers. (The interviews are actually interesting, FYI.) If you haven’t seen Nerd of the Week, check it out immediately. Negin and Kimmy turn out to be excellent filmmakers, and their short NOTW episodes are definitely worth your while. And if you’re interested in the metaverse meetups themselves, there’s one happening this Friday in Manhattan, open to all. Read more details here. [UPDATE: Added Revver link so Negin and Kimmy can make some coin from this.]
If you dig the suspensful thrills of novelist Dean Koontz, then log in to the virtual world of Second Life tonight at 6:00pm SL Time (9:00pm Eastern), for the premiere of Bantam Dell‘s Authors in Second Life series (which we stumbled on last month). Koontz will read from his upcoming book, The Good Guy, then take questions from the audience. (Ask him about Odd Thomas, which sounds like it has more to do with the virtual.) Audience members will also have a chance to win a first edition of The Good Guy, which they’ll receive two weeks before it hits store shelves. Continue reading
I hadn’t realized how heavy a presence 3pointD’s sponsors, the Electric Sheep Company, would have at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive conference until I read Jerry’s post yesterday describing what they’re doing here. For one thing, they’re going to stream the Screenburn conference-within-a-conference on games and virtual worlds, at which both Jerry and myself are moderating panels, into the virtual world of Second Life. That’s nice stuff for anyone unable to attend, since it’s (relatively) easy to grab a free Second Life account, teleport over to »Sheep Island«, and watch the fun. The Sheep will also have a booth at the Screenburn expo on Saturday and Sunday, where Adam Pasick, the Second Life correspondent for Reuters (a Sheep client) will be conducting some interviews. Check it out.
Sibley on the right
Electric Sheep Company CEO Sibley Verbeck was finally on NBC’s Today Show today this morning, after being delayed twice already. The appearance was quite brief, and preceded by an edited sequence that made it clear that NBC doesn’t think there are many SL users in its Today Show audience (which I’m sure is true), but I get excited about virtual worlds appearing on national television, I always think that’s huge. And pretty interesting, to think that millions of people are peering into their TV screen and then peering through that into a computer screen at a virtual world. Does the remove of two screens make it feel safer to an audience like Today’s than if they were simply shown it on a laptop? In any case, I don’t think SL has been featured before in a venue with broader reach than Today. That’s good for adoption, which in turn is good for the metaverse. Good.
Episode #53 of SecondCast is up on the SecondCast site (or can be listened to in the sidebar here, or downloaded from iTunes), and it’s fairly hilarious right off the bat. Like really hilarious, as in the first three minutes will have you on the floor. And the bleeps! Hear Lordfly file an abuse report against Johnny’s face. Pretty excellent stuff.
When you’re done with that, go check out Episode #1 of the relaunched Grid Review, the machinima news project being produced by Edelman and the Electric Sheep Company (sponsors of this blog). Now benefitting from the Sheep’s absorption of master machinimators the Ill Clan, as well as expert narration from SecondCast’s own Johnny Ming, the Grid Review is suddenly totally entertaining (whereas the old format was only somewhat entertaining in its own format, if you ask me, despite the presence of some great machinimators). Let’s hope they can keep it up.
[UPDATE: Well, that’ll teach me. The Sheep’s appearance on the Today show has not been put off again. Sibley is now scheduled to appear Friday morning. Maybe. I think the next time I blog about this it’ll be after the fact.] The appearance of Sibley Verbeck, CEO of the Electric Sheep Company, on NBC’s Today Show, originally scheduled for last week, has now been rescheduled
to this Thursday, March 1. Tune in between 8:00am and 10:00am Eastern (5:00am – 7:00am SL Time) to check him out.
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.
[UPDATE: Boo! Due to technical difficulties, the Sheep won’t appear on the Today show until sometime early next week. Stay tuned for details.] Sibley Verbeck, CEO of metaverse services firm Electric Sheep Company (still sponsors of this blog) will make a live appearance on NBC’s Today Show tomorrow morning, February 23, 3pointD has just heard. Sibley will be interviewed by Today Show host Matt Lauer, as Sheep Jessie Segal and Kerria Seabrook navigate their avatars around the virtual world of Second Life, checking out some builds and other interesting corners of the culture. The spot will air sometime between 8:00am and 10:00am Eastern (that’s 5:00am and 7:00am SL Time), so get up early and tune in.
Only cricket fans will realize that I don’t mean 50 years here, I mean 50 episodes. That’s right, the 50th episode of SecondCast, Second Life’s favorite podcast, is now on the air. We’ll pass our one-year anniversary sometime in February, which means we’ve been keeping up a remarkably good schedule of almost a podcast a week. Once again, kudos to Johnny Ming for pulling it all together and keeping us in line. Tune in to Episode #50 for a long discussion with Aerdr1e Fabre of Second Life matchmaking service Tea and Sympathy (which can be found in the »Infamy region« of SL (in a skybox, natch), and hear what Cristiano’s looking for in a mate. And despite the fact that I’ve been having Skype problems lately (grrr), downloads are apparently higher than ever, currently running at something in the low five figures per episode. Wow. Nice to know that someone other than ourselves is enjoying what we’re up to. Special thanks to Matthew in Georgia for the extra cool illustration he sent along to celebrate Episode #50 — and for continuing to listen despite the fact that he hasn’t used Second Life in months! Interesting.
The Smokin’ Aces promotion that NBC Universal has been running in the virtual world of Second Life this week under its new VirtualNBC initiative sounds like it’s been a great success — or at least has made NBC pretty happy. Produced by the Electric Sheep Company (sponsors of this blog), the promotion takes the form of an in-world game in which players compete to assassinate each other, and to bump off the big target, Buddy Israel. The game resembles an online game called The Ship, which works largely the same way. NBC has signed up more than 1,000 players since it went live January 17, 3pointD hears, and players have really gotten into the game, finding creative ways to kill each other and even hacking the scripted objects that make up the game. After all, there’s a L$1 million bounty at stake, to be awarded today. The movie opens tonight, and Smokin’ Aces director Joe Carnahan will do a live Q&A in Second Life at 10:00am SL time (1:00pm Eastern) in the Orientation Room at the Smokin’ Aces »Nomad Hotel«. Continue reading
Just a quick one to note that Reuters’ Second Life correspondent Adam Pasick has roped some big guns into the virtual world. Starting Wednesday afternoon (24 January), SL time, he’ll be conducting a series of interviews with attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, one of the heaviest of heavyweight gatherings of movers and shakers anywhere in the world. While Davos can be interesting, it’s influence has actually waned in recent years. Perhaps more significant than the messages coming out of the forum, at least as far as the 3pointD world is concerned, is the message that Pasick’s interviews will be sending into it: By lining up eight influential personages to make appearances in Second Life during Davos, Reuters is spreading the word on virtual worlds to hundreds more such figures. That’s the kind of thing that can help lend momentum to 3D online technologies being adopted on a more widespread basis on down the line. For the full schedule of interviews, check the Reuters SL site. The event is being produced by the Electric Sheep Company, sponsors of this blog.
No, none of the names in that headline are misspelled. That’s virtual worlds researcher and journalist Aleks Krotoski, who has a nice interview with veteran games designer Raph Koster about the idea behind his new start-up, Areae, Inc. (from which I’ve stolen the image at left), on Friday’s Guardian GamesBlog. Don’t expect to read about just what Areae will be, though. Raph is remaining mum until he appears at GDC in early March. (Speculation is that it will either be a Second Life-like world with a better new-user experience or a tool to allow the creation of one’s own 3D space — both are things Raph has wished for in the past — or something similar or else completely different.) Instead, Raph talks about what virtual worlds can learn from Web 2.0 apps, and vice versa. And see below for another argument for interoperable virtual worlds. Continue reading
I had the honor yesterday of chatting with Reuben Steiger, CEO of virtual-world services company Millions of Us, for the first in a series of podcasts he plans to do from his car during his 15-minute drive to work each morning. (I’m calling this technique “roadcasting.”) We mostly covered the State of Play / Terra Nova symposium I’d been at, but Reuben also started a betting pool going as to how many registered users Second Life would garner by the end of the year. Free to enter, prize is US$500 in cold, hard, taxable cash. Give us a listen.
Adam Pasick (aka Adam Reuters in SL), the Reuters correspondent covering Second Life, sends word that he’ll be conducting two in-world interviews this week with business heavyweights who might be of interest to many SL residents: Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime and Warner Music chief executive Edgar Bronfman. Both will have their own avatars and take questions from residents as well. Continue reading
I haven’t to this episode of SecondCast yet (I had to miss the taping), but from what I’m told, the sparks were flying. Johnny Ming and Torrid Midnight co-host a discussion of the many real-world corporations that have come into the virtual world of Second Life lately, and the kind of press coverage they’re getting. Guests include Spin Martin, SNOOPYbrown Zamboni (aka Jerry Paffendorf of the Electric Sheep Company), and the most muckraking tabloid journalist in cyberspace, Urizenus Sklar, founder of the Second Life Herald, where he’s been kicking butt and taking names lately. And getting all hot and bothered about the hyperbole he sees in the mainstream media’s coverage of Second Life. It’s a bit of a pot and kettle situation, that, but Uri’s just doing his job. As is the press, which usually goes through a cycle of hype when exciting new things come along. That’s followed by a cycle of skepticism, and finally, if the subject lasts long enough, coverage settles down into something approaching balanced. The challenge for Second Life will be to keep growing long enough to reach the balanced period.
Wayne Ashley, who helped curate a set of recent workshops and symposia known as Breaking the Game, sends along a link to what looks like an interesting collection of recorded conversations, interviews and guided tours from those sessions, which were devoted to things like the intersection of the real and virtual where 3D design is concerned, “virtual worlds, computer gaming, immersive technologies, and new possibilities for artistic practice and experience,” and ways to “open up the art of game modification to the contingencies of everyday life, where virtual technologies increasingly mediate physical spaces and human movements in very complex and dynamic ways.” I’ve dipped into a few of the recordings here and there and they do promise a rich trove of thought to mine. Jerry, of course, seems to have weaseled his way onto the roster, as ever, but there are also a number of less ubiquitous thinkers you may not have encountered before, whose thoughts are just as well worth watching. Enjoy.
Linden Lab, the company behind the virtual world of Second Life, banned 60 accounts this week over what amounted to two distributed denial-of-service attacks perpetrated on the same day. The attacks, which involved seeding the SL Grid with self-replicating objects which soon choked off processing power, forced Linden Lab to disable much of SL for long periods on Monday. Past attacks have shut the Grid down altogether. Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale, reported the banned accounts in an audio Town Hall meeting held Tuesday. Continue reading
Michael Dell, founder and chairman of Dell, Inc., sat for a “fireside chat” Q&A session at the Austin Game Conference and gave his views of how the PC would figure into the future of gaming. From his point of view, it sounded like game developers needed to step up to create games and applications that take advantage of the increasing processing power of the PC. Interestingly, this was somewhat in contrast with the remarks of game developer Raph Koster earlier in the conference. A transcript of Dell’s remarks below: Continue reading
(left to right:) Reuben Steiger, Wagner James Au, and former Virginia governor Mark Warner, in avatar form
Former Virginia governor and possible Democratic “fallback” candidate for president Mark Warner spoke to a crowd of about 30 avatars in the virtual world of Second Life this afternoon, in a live interview with journalist Wagner James Au of the New World Notes blog (Hamlet Au in SL). The event, which lasted about 45 minutes, marked the first appearance by a national political figure in the virtual world, and went off without a hitch. The governor appeared to respond “live” to Au’s questions in text chat, and used the space as a politician would use a physical space, walking through the crowd as he left the stage rather than simply logging off where he sat. The event was held in a model of the New Globe Theatre built by Reuben Steiger’s Millions of Us virtual-world services company, which produced the event. (Millions of Us is a sponsor of Au’s blog.)
Warner was apparently led to Second Life after one of the staffers at his political action committee, Forward Together (which is concentrating in part on taking advantage of the Internet as a promotional platform), met Au last spring. The result was the first virtual whistlestop on any national political tour, and — quite aside from setting a precedent — gave attendees a good look at what could form the planks of a future Warner campaign. 3pointD will save further commentary for a later post, but for now here’s a transcript of the interview (minus audience comments): Continue reading
Johnny “Jazz Hands” Ming is back, with the latest episode of Second Life‘s favorite podcast, SecondCast. In Episode #30 we talk to Mark Barrett, who created the SLStats.com site, which has caused no small amount of controversy among SL residents. SLStats, until Mark altered the site, tracked how much time you’d spent in Second Life, where you’d been and who you’d met there. But community pressure over privacy concerns led Mark to scale down the functionality. It’s an interesting discussion over privacy concerns in general, and how they manifest themselves in virtual worlds in particular. We’ve been on a bit of a hiatus lately, but stay tuned for more — including SecondCast’s first taping in front of a live audience, at the recent Second Life Community Convention. Fun stuff.
Remember the blonde-haired male avatar you were dancing with at that goth club in Second Life a couple of weeks ago, the one with a recent rez date who seemed like he might still be getting his legs in SL? It just might have been Nick Rhodes, keyboardist and songwriter for the platinum-selling new wave band Duran Duran. I just got off the phone with Rhodes, talking to him about the futuristic utopia the band is now working on creating in Second Life, and I was pleasantly surprised to find he really does seem to “get it” where the virtual world is concerned, and is actually quite excited about the possibilities SL holds as a way to communicate and interact with fans.
To Rhodes, Second Life has as much potential to revolutionize the music and entertainment industry as MTV did when it first came on the scene. And that avatar at the goth club? Rhodes reports that he’s been exploring SL quite a bit lately: “I’ve not actually had a whole day to sit there and do it [but] I’ve been to some clubs and danced with a few goths, looked at what people have created so far. The detail is what really impressed more than anything. For example, we came from a long way out and flew into one beautiful garden, and we went so close in, macro close, that we went inside of a flower — and there was a bee in there, and it was collecting pollen. Now that’s my kind of place.” Continue reading
Second Cast Episode #29 is out, and it’s a real snoozer! Actually, I haven’t listened to it yet (I missed the taping yet again, unfortunately), but as Johnny Ming puts it in his show notes, “The show was so riveting that Cristiano fell asleep.” The crew also interviews SL resident Tony Tigereye, owner of the Tropics Casino, discusses the recent Suzanne Vega concert in SL, and more on texture IP rights. Your challenge: stay awake through the entire thing.
3pointD has jury duty today (grrr…) but readers may want to dial over to the Second Life Herald in my absence to read the profile of SL resident Chance Takashi I posted there last night. Chance was the high bidder in an auction to benefit the American Cancer Society as part of the Second Life Relay for Life held recently in the virtual world. Chance’s bid of L$11,525 — just under US$40 — earns her a glowing profile in the Herald. Fortunately, it’s one that’s well deserved.
Read more at the Herald, and check into Chance’s SL Musings as well. It was actually a pleasure to meet Chance, and I got to have fun with the profile in good Herald fashion, while at the same time exploring some interesting aspects of identity in virtual worlds: While any number of people are one sex in the real world and another in the virtual, Chance, it seems, switches freely back and forth between male and female avatars, further clouding the issue. She’s caused so much consternation among those she regularly meets on the Grid that there’s a bet on about it, so Chance wouldn’t reveal her actual sex. It was interesting to see this gender-switching among (possible) gender-switching with Chance, and get to hear her thoughts on the issue. Plus she’s charming in general, and a great builder of steampunk gadgetry. And (for a gender-disconnected avatar) cute!
Episode 27 features SL resident Oz Spade, who recently returned from the Second Life Views event, in which Linden Lab flew eighty of the virtual world’s residents to San Francisco to gather their views on the direction of the place. (Official coverage of the initiative itself can be found on Robin Linden’s blog at the following links: , , , , .)
I missed the session for Episode 28, and I’ve yet to give it a listen, but it sounds like a return to SecondCast’s free-wheeling form. Johnny Ming and the crew interview Cory Edo of the Electric Sheep Company (sponsors of this blog), discuss Cristiano Midnight’s ban from Second Life, and recap the SL Relay for Life last weekend that raised over $40,000. I’ve been told to stay with Episode 28 to the end for a nice (or not-so-nice, depending on your musical taste) surprise.
My partner in podcasting, John Swords, has posted one of the last interviews we did at the Metaverse Roadmap summit back in May. This one is with Sibley Verbeck, CEO of the Electric Sheep Company (who sponsor this blog). Take a listen and hear for yourself what it’s like when you put your money where your metaverse is. (And as always, you can listen in the sidebar here if you don’t want to navigate over to the Sessions site.)