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Wrap-up of AIMIA NSW Intimates: The Future of Virtual Worlds

May 24, 2007

On Tuesday evening the AIMIAFuture of Virtual Worlds” (Part 2) was held at the The Shelbourne Hotel in Sydney. Over 60 people attended from a variety of business, government and technology groups - either the first time or to find out more about SL.

The wide variety of community representation meant the panellists; Chris Collins (Business Analyst and Developer, Linden Lab), Abigail Thomas (Head Strategic Development, ABC Innovation) and Nick Abrahams (Partner, Deacons’ Technology, Media & Telecommunications Group) had an attentive and questioning audience during the panel discussion that followed their respective presentations.

The technological development’s indicated by Chris in regard to the “look” of SL through new sky rendering along with “Spatial Voice” heralds some important changes to the way poeple interact in SL. The “Spatial Voice” innovation alone should see some changes to both demographic use and the interactions of SL residents provided bandwidth issues can be resolved. to this end Chris indicated that Australia can expect a hosted server “real soon now”.

Abigail Thomas’ presentation on the success and development of ABC island was likewise well received. The island itself ranks as one of the top Australian visitation sites across SL. Abigail explained that the development of content by SL residents in the ABC Sandbox area was the most popular of the areas curently being used, moreso than the other areas that have been set up to reflect various ABC popular shows such as JTV.

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(L to R: Nick Abrahams, Chris Collins and Abigail Thomas)

A highlight of the night was Nick Abrahams. An exploration into the legal ramifications of ownership, activity, authority and jurisdiction, his entertaining look at SL and the law was indicative of how virtual world technology is both a pioneering area in technology, opportunity and behaviour. He covered the recent sex and child protection issues as well as gambling and money laundering and it seems fairly apparent that the concept of SL as a game is well and truly over. With the impending regulation from world-wide authorities to curtail illegal activities, the problems of jurisdiction and legal liability is one that this technology has now pushed to the fore of policy discussions for governments.

Nick Abrahams was positive in his view of the direction that this would take and indicated to the audience that perhaps the nature of SL and its technological development in concert with regulatory authorities, would mean that those wanting to take part in illegal activities may find this difficult due to the nature of the community that SL is inspiring and the globalisation of communication.

Tuesday’s event was moderated by SLOz’ very own Lowell Cremorne. AIMIA’s first venture into conducting this kind of information gathering over a series of presentations and panel discussions was a positive for both SL and the many people that attended. Whilst there may have been some present not too sure what it actually is all about, there is a definite interest in wanting to be part of SL.

Popularity: 7% [?]

Australia Council offers SL artist residency

May 23, 2007

The Australia Council (Inter-Arts office) are offering $20 000 for up to three people to facilitate a Second Life residency:

“The residency allows for a collaborative team of up to three people (including a writer, musician/sound artist and digital visual media practitioner) to develop inter-disciplinary artwork in Second Life.

Applications will only be accepted from teams who fulfil all the residency requirements, including having the necessary artform experience. Artists or writers who have professional experience in more than one of the required artform areas can include this as part of their submission.”

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The full details here and you have until 27th July to apply.

Popularity: 7% [?]

The scenery just got prettier

May 23, 2007

Yesterday’s Linden Blog posting heralded a major step forward in the visual strength of the SL platform - Linden’s acquisition of the Windlight graphics technology from Windward Mark Interactive.

As Linden Labs say themselves, the short story on the technology is “killer skies”. The initial shots supplied certainly live up to that description:

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(Photo part of set created by Torley Linden - access the full set here)

The Windlight-enabled viewer is available “now” for PC users - though I can’t find the specific download link. No firm date on the Mac release as yet.

What’s not clear for Australian users of SL is the impact on bandwidth and whether lag will increase further. However, announcements like this do flag the oncoming wave of enhancements resulting from open sourcing SL. And here’s a YouTube video provided by Linden Labs to showcase Windlight:

Popularity: 7% [?]

ABC Island Update

May 22, 2007

As anyone who’s visited ABC Island this afternoon will know, things are back to normal. Rollback is one of the strengths of the platform and it was demonstrated today. At the AIMIA seminar this evening on The Future of Virtual Worlds (wrap-up of the event will be published tomorrow), Abi Goldflake recounted how the community response to the issue had been a vivid demonstration of the Australian SL community working together and that the cause of the issue was yet to be established.

It was also a demonstration of how Australian SL users value the Australian community areas that are available.

Update 1: Abi Goldflake has posted a message to the ABC Friend Group on the events of yesterday:

“Hi everyone, just to recap for those who didn’t hear - the island has been rolled back after being griefed and everything is back to normal. We’re working with Linden Labs to try and find out how this happened so we can prevent it in future. Thank you so much to all of you who helped us detect this and then deal with it - the loyalty of the community has been fantastic to see. I’m thinking we might have a small memorial (!) in the sandbox with some pictures of the bomb site for those who didn’t see it.”

Update 2: The mainstream media has also covered the issue, led by the ABC themselves mid-afternoon yesterday, with ninemsn and Sydney Morning Herald following suit

Popularity: 5% [?]

ABC island hits a snag

May 22, 2007

ABC island today experienced a significant degradation overnight due to unknown causes. Veteran aussie resident Wolfie Rankin, who is one of the ABC island admins, was offered the whole ABC Sandbox as inventory, which obviously rang some alarm bells. The island looks a little different at present:

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We’ll keep in touch with the ABC’s Abi Goldflake to determine further details as they become available.

Popularity: 6% [?]

Smart Internet and business in SL

May 21, 2007

Smart Internet, a joint venture between a range of universities, State Governments and industry, has released a report called ‘Business in Second Life: An Introduction’. Authored by Swinburne University-based Senior Researcher Mandy Salomon, it provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of play in SL for Australian business.

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Popularity: 9% [?]

Australia? There is at least one in SL.

May 20, 2007

Australia is an island continent, so it’s not surprising that someone would have an SL island of the same name. Tucked away and un-named in an SL search result is an interesting commercial venture that is simply called “Australia“. Whilst the island is not in the shape of Australia yet, its developer, Richard Tripp, has plans to terraform to the Australian shape in the near future.

Covering a handful of the best-known destinations for visitors this build has some important variations to other SL offerings of Australian icons.

Fancy a walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge or a stroll around Uluru? Though the Harbour Bridge isn’t in the same league as the Telstra BigPond offering, there is an undoubted attempt to offer an alternative experience to visitors.

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If the Harbour Bridge is less than expected the inside of the Sydney Opera House is certainly a different proposition. This build is a marriage of SL construction and RL photography to display 360º views from inside this icon of tourist destinations. It has a different aspect to that of the BigPond structure and gives visitors a closer understanding of the actual building’s impressive architectural attainments.

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The commercial nature of this venture can be seen in the Australia Harbour Centre. Opened only in the last 2 days it is a three level mall awaiting businesses to set up shop. The build skirts closely to the look of the RL Darling Harbour.

Without doubt the developers of this island are still in the construction stage. Their project’s shopping area and Australia-flavoured destinations certainly highlights the efforts people are making to fly the Aussie flag. It will be interesting to watch their progress over the coming year.

Popularity: 8% [?]

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