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Linden Lab\’s CEO to testify before Congress

At 9.30am on the 1st April US Eastern Time, Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale will testify before the US Congress. I don\’t have any further details at this stage aside from determining that it\’s the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. More specifically it\’s the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet Hearing. The topic of the hearing is \’Online Virtual Worlds: Applications and Avatars in a User-Generated Medium\’

If you\’re super keen you can view the live webcast. It\’s likely to be a fairly mundane event although with any political process there\’s the potential for fireworks. Ageplay, gambling and financial services are obvious areas but we\’ll have to wait and see how wide the focus becomes.

Update: a text summary of the hearing can be found here on Virtually Blind.

The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

1. TechCrunch – Handipoints Thinks a Virtual World Could Make Kids Do Chores in the Real One. \”If your kid’s obsessed with Webkinz and Club Penguin but you can’t get them to do their chores, you may want to take a look at a new entrant into the virtual worlds scene called Handipoints. Founder Viva Chu started Handipoints in January 2007 with the notion that chore charts would be both more fun and more effective if they were moved online. So he created a site with two main parts: one that helped parents track how their kids helped out around the house, and another that consisted of a virtual world on par with the other pseudo-3D services kids have come to enjoy.\”

2. The Gulf News – Shobha Menon, a Philadelphia-based artist, plans to build an art gallery on Second Life, one of the internet\’s more successful virtual worlds. Shobha, as she likes to be called, thinks the virtual community of about 13 million residents of Second Life will help her reach more connoisseurs of art.\”

3. InformationWeek – Qwaq Brings Virtual Worlds To Business Collaboration . \”I had a chance to talk with the CEO of Qwaq the other day. Qwaq makes virtual worlds software optimized for corporate meetings. If you\’ve spent time in Second Life, you know the power of avatars and 3-D spaces to enhance conversations and collaboration. It\’s hard to explain to people who\’ve never tried virtual worlds, but it\’s real. Qwaq is an attempt to tailor virtual worlds for business collaboration, adding features that businesses need and taking away features that are harmful.\”

4. iTNews – Virtual law and you. \”Businesses in recent years have increasingly turned to virtual worlds for opportunities in advertising, recruiting, and online expansion. As real-world money and people migrate online, new questions are being raised about the legal implications of virtual behaviour. In a forthcoming book titled “Virtual Law”, cyberlaw scholar Greg Lastowka explores the future of virtual crime and how real-world legal cases involving property rights, criminal activities, contractual duties, copyright and trademark laws, have emerged from disputes in virtual worlds such as Second Life.\”

5. Clickable Culture – Google Spreadsheet As Virtual World. \”Probably someone out there\’s already mentioned this, but the Google Docs spreadsheet application shares a few features with virtual worlds. I\’ve been using the Google Docs quite a bit lately to work with my distributed team, and the spreadsheet seems to really shine in terms of worldy potential.\”

6. Information World Review – Second Life vs Real Life. \”Two recent encounters brought Second Life and real life into sharp contrast. And, it has to be said, on this particular occasion I preferred Second Life.\”

7. Not Possible IRL – Whereupon Blackthorn Hare creates \”Yes\” and becomes the first person on the planet to get his Masters degree in Second Life sculpture. \”It\’s a terrible scene. In a nanosecond, a plane will smash into a million bits after nosediving into the middle of a busy four-way intersection in smalltown Anywhere, USA. This being Second Life, however, we are able to do something that would not be possible in any other medium: walk around a frozen moment and observe and speculate on all that transpired to induce it.\”

8. The Georgetown Independent – Second Life: The Future of the Internet? \”How often is the phrase \”I need to get away\” cried by the stressed out, the bored and the lonely? It is such a tempting thought: escaping from your reality-whatever it may be-and cultivate a fresh, new life. Some move to a far-off place, some switch careers, some end certain relationships but lately, in a far stranger phenomenon, some have joined Second Life, an online virtual world that surpasses any online development to date. Second Life is an online reality where \”residents\” have avatars (yes, avatars) that navigate from place to place acting on behalf of the person clicking the mouse.\”

9. The Anglican Church in Second Life – How do you run a bible study in Second Life? \”Sophia Tulip who runs a Bible Study each week shares her thoughts: One Sunday, at the Anglican Cathedral, Arkin asked the congregation if people would like to be a part of this growing community and I immediately thought that I would like to facilitate a bible study.\”

10. Extreme Tech – Ten Reasons World of Warcraft Sucks. \”I\’ve seen quite a lot of what the game has to offer, but I think that Blizzard\’s masterful MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) is in big trouble and needs to be fixed. Here are ten reasons why World of Warcraft sucks and what Blizzard needs to do immediately to fix the game and save it from losing customers.\”

Episode 2 of TMJ Podcast – VastPark special

We\’ve got Episode 2 of our podcast live a week after Episode 1, mainly due to the opportunity to interview VastPark CEO Bruce Joy.

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It\’s an interview of more than 30 minutes but Bruce has some fascinating insights on VastPark\’s development and the virtual world business in general. There\’s also some brief news snippets and a preview of Episode 3.

For details on how to automatically receive these podcasts, check our podcast page.

Linden Lab\’s I-World island: window-dressing or real help?

Linden Lab have announced an enhancement of their in-world support through the creation of I-World Island, which will launch on the 5th April. It\’s fair to say that Linden Lab have made progress in their in-world support, although it\’s still hard not to agree with one commenter on the Linden blog where the announcement was made:

\”While that is a nice idea just how do you expect someone who crashes 10 times a day to find your island, and if they did, how do you expect them to get there without crashing?\”

Linden Lab have widely proclaimed 2008 as the year of usability – hopefully I-World Island is another weapon in what needs to be a much larger armoury.

Auntie\’s Avatars

This week there\’s been a flurry of activity by a number of Australian Second Life residents on ABC Island this week. That activity has led to the establishment of a blog and forum, both called \’Auntie\’s Avatars\’.

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It\’s early days with not a lot of content but hopefully it\’ll enhance the already active in-world community that already exists on ABC Island.

Weekend Whimsy

1. こぶっちのお昼寝♪ Ⅲ

2. Second Life – Ska Underground Club

3. Global Kids launch International Justice Center in SL

Podcasts

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