Don’t forget to join Second Life’s largest charity event, promoted by the American Cancer Society to raise funds for victims of cancer!Second Life Relay for Life ’07 is up and running (pun intended!) and you can just jump straight in to the track, visit the lovely sims, and make sure that you do some donations — in a fun way, like paying to free avatars that have been imprisioned 🙂
In a ceremony to be held in the Senate Room of the University of Aveiro, the Portuguese Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with the University of Aveiro and the Faculty of Law of the Lisbon New University, will today launch an ‘e-Justice Centre’, a mediation and arbitration centre, in the 3D virtual world of Second Life. The ceremony will be broadcast live in Second Life to avatars present in the main auditorium of the e-Justice Centre.
The centre will provide mediation and arbitration services for avatars resident in Second Life, permitting the opportunity to decide on conflicts deriving from consumer relations or any contracts signed between parties. Users of the centre can opt to resolve submitted disputes through the application of Portuguese law or through the use of impartiality criteria.
The e-Justice Centre was developed by the Ministry of Justice in close collaboration with the University of Aveiro’s Department of Communication and Art. The functioning of the mediation and arbitration centre will be the responsibility of the Faculty of Law of the Lisbon New University via a protocol signed with the Ministry of Justice.
The services provided by the centre are available in Second Life, on an island specially created for that purpose and in a building designed and created by the University of Aveiro’s Department of Communication and Art. The building was inspired by the Torre de Belém in Lisbon and is a futuristic interpretation of the structure.
Housed inside the building is the mediation and arbitration centre and all of the infrastructure needed to ensure its functioning. Besides this, the building has a further 3 rooms which can be used to hold conferences and the simulation of decisions and arbitration sessions, which will be the responsibility of the Lisbon New University’s Faculty of Law.
Through this initiative, the Ministry of Justice aims to promote the use of alternative means of dispute resolution as swift, informal and easy-to-use solutions via a channel accessible on a planetary scale, as well as emphasise the importance placed by the Portuguese government and the Presidency of the European Union on these resolution processes.
The initiative will also be an experiment into the use of methods of dispute resolution in an entirely informal and virtual manner, which could have future applications in real disputes.
It should be noted that in Second Life alone the number of resident avatars already exceeds 8 million, thereby representing a sufficient community of users to justify the creation of a dispute resolution centre.
Through this initiative, Portugal has become the first country to provide a means of dispute resolution in Second Life.
The official in-world launch will be on the eJustice Centre island at 3 AM SLT on Friday 27th, and hopefully with some live video streaming from the real event (alas, although the eJustice Centre is bilingual, I’m afraid the video stream will be in Portuguese only)
This is what we sometimes hear from fellow residents in Second Life. It’s not exactly from new users, either — Second Life Insider’s Tateru Nino has been running a series of interviews on new users that have, indeed, found SL fascinating.
No, the comment is actually made by a very specific profile of user. They can stay in SL for as little as 15 minutes; sometimes a few days; often up to a month; some extreme cases don’t quit for years (although they log infrequently). Common to them all is the notion that, for them, the appeal of Second Life is very very low, way below their “attention threshold”.
So who are these people, and why are they bored — or, more precisely, is there a common reason for them to be “bored”? Since I’m personally part of that class of people where the word “bored” is meaningless (I never have time to be bored!), I tried to delve deep in those alien minds of thousands (or perhaps hundreds of thousands!) of people that log in to Second Life and find their time wasted while they’re in-world. Read More
No, it’s not a joke — just take a look at Katharine Berry’s blog!
It’s AJAX-based, and of course it doesn’t give you 50 FPS on an old web browser, but the whole concept is simply amazing!
Being currently fascinated with the book written by Mario Gerosa/Frank Koolhaas, Second Life (which describes almost all aspects of SL, and will certainly deserve a much larger comment once I finish to read the last chapters), and after some recent personal experiences with some of Second Life’s mini-communities as well as some real life companies and organisations, this all made me think a bit about Second Life’s “community-building” potential — its pitfalls and glorious moments. Read More
It’s time for one of those very nasty upgrades on my blog that might (or not) break the whole content for a bit. I apologise in advance for the interruption in the service, but… we have to move ahead with the times!See you all in a few hours… hopefully![UPDATE] This seems to have worked flawlessly on the first try, I’m surprised again! Some WordPress upgrades are major ones (like this one) and I don’t understand why some of them change the whole style and templates, and some don’t seem to make any difference — they just do the upgrade, and that’s all! Well, let me know if some things suddenly stop working…
This year we have to rely upon my good friend SignpostMarv Martin’s information of what’s going to happen on what used to be one of Second Life’s largest and most-attended events. Under the theme of “History”, here are a few scattered links about what the celebrations are going to be:
A partial list of events:
Secondfest is a virtual three-day music festival inside Second Life realised by The Guardian and Intel, featuring live music from offline and online performers, theatre, ballet, cinema, animation and general chaos. It kicks off Friday 29 June at 6pm GMT (10am SLT) and rocks and rolls until midnight (GMT) Sunday night.
Three arenas for exclusive performances by Pet Shop Boys, The Aliens, New Young Pony Club, Groove Armada, Hot Chip, Hadouken, Simian Mobile Disco and DJs Rob da Bank, Gilles Peterson, Sunday Best, Bugged Out, Ninja Tunes and many more.
Two stages for exclusive live music from Second Lifers, including Doubledown Tandino, Clayton Road, Slim Warrior, Tony Moore and Wiredaisies.
Two cinemas, featuring offline blockbusters, BBC short films and Second Life machinima.
Characters, chaos and wandering minstrels! Rocky Horror and Ballet! Theatre! Human Mazes! Secret Stages!
Nine sims of festival entertainment.
IM Aleks Krotoski for more information.
Also, more information (including line-up) is here:
The Mind Child is back with another essay 🙂 Enjoy — Gwyn
Does the name Mitch Kapor sound familiar? If you are interested in the history of SL, the answer may well be yes, because he was one if LL’s earliest investors. “Mitch Kapor was the only person who got it”, said Rosedale in an interview with Inc. Magazine.
Personally, Mitch Kapor first came to my attention through an essay of his, published in 2002 on Kurzweilai.net. As with LL and SL, Kapor was putting money forward in anticipation of a future outcome, but this time the money was riding on a failure, not success. The bet centred on a question: Will the Turing Test be passed by a machine by 2029? Ray Kurzweil said ‘yes’, Kapor said ‘No’ and whoever loses will donate $20,000 to a charity selected by the winner.
In his essay, Kapor explained why he was sceptical of the possibility that a machine will ever pass the test. ‘To pass the test, a computer would have to be able of communicating via this medium (text) at least as competently as a person. There is no restriction on the subject matter…It is such a broad canvas, in my view, that it is impossible to forsee when, or even if, a machine intelligence will be able to paint a picture which can fool a human judge’. Kapor further elaborated on why a computer can never mimic a person, but what struck me as I reread this essay recently was this: Just possibly, SL may prove to be a crucial link in the enabling technologies of human-like intelligence.
Linden Lab, when I was very young in Second Life (that’s mid-2004), had a policy of subsidizing content, since the world started “empty” and LL expected that residents would indeed fill it up, from corner to corner, with exciting and alluring 3D objects. This was already a third phase; during the first phase, there was no real “economy” (except for barter); the second phase followed up with the introduction of the Linden Dollar, and having the residents pay L$ for every prim rezzed. This soon proved catastrophic as people “hoarded” prims disallowing others to create content, and Linden Lab quickly changed to the current model: prims are tied to land, and people buy land to get an allotment of prims.
To promote more content, while still maintaining a solid business model, Linden Lab introduced two interesting notions: weekly stipends and (generically) ratings. The stipends apparently were as high as L$2500 per week; in mid-2004, basic accounts got L$50 (if they logged in once per week) and premium accounts got L$500; as time went by, basic accounts don’t get a single L$ from LL, while premium accounts now only get L$300, and, very likely, will get nothing at all pretty soon. A subsidy was also given out to anyone hosting an event (which naturally was very abused); later only to educational classes; today, none at all. “Ratings” included not only people rating each other and getting an increase in their weekly stipend (the idea being that better producers of content should get a higher weekly allowance) but also the notion that parcels attracting a lot of people (due, hopefully, to better content) should also give people a higher weekly allowance. Both systems were so much abused that Linden Lab slowly and over time got rid of them, as well as of the “leader boards” where the statistics of the richest people and the highest rated ones were publicly displayed.
Linden Lab, at the beginning of Second Life, acted indeed as a “welfare state”, providing avatars with a minimum amount of money to freely spend in SL, and actively promoting content with a subsidy (either through sponsoring places attracting more people or encouraging people to host events). This modelled not only the beginning of the SL economy, but also generated some expectations on how SL should “look like” and what role LL was to have in the Metaverse. Everything changed since then.
Well, here it is. After two days of getting the open source code from Linden Lab to compile under XCode, I’ve managed to raise up to Zen Linden’s challenge and compiled the WindLight First Look Viewer for my Mac.
Zen Linden hinted that the next version of the WindLight FL will be under development (based on the input from a tremendous number of users who tested it) “for a few weeks”. For those of you that can’t wait until Christmas or 2010 for a new version, I’ve compiled my own from the sources.
Blasts from the past: read this very interesting article from legendary John Markoff, written in 1996. Ok, so he was talking about VRML, but look closely about the references he has given for the “future of the Internet” in shopping experience. Second Life users will find this article boring — they’re experiencing shopping in SL quite in the way that John Markoff had predicted.
Not everyone is convinced, however that three-dimensional environments will provide quality entertainment. ”The real problem is content, will always be content,” Andries van Dam, a computer science pioneer at Brown University, said. ”What are we going to say to each other which is meaningful? Are we going to be reduced to the same banalities that we exchange at cocktail parties? We can do wonderfully well on the tech side, but the content is still a challenge.”
Even Mr. Stephenson, the science fiction author, said that ”people still underestimate the kind of effort it takes to achieve the level of production value you see on television or the movies.”
John, I love you 🙂 This is exactly what we have found out in the flesh, every day. Content produced by amateurs is of low quality; but it improves, if people have the patience (and the budget!) to do better content. And it’s true — we exchange banalities in SL every day, but that’s ok, since that’s at the core of social interaction.
Now take a look at what the New York Time says, 11 years later. This thread is picked by the New Scientist as well. So what changed in eleven years? Have people “lost the spirit”? Are they frustrated because things take so long? Linden Lab is quoted to believe that we’ll have photorealism in SL in five years — which I can’t argue against, certainly the 2012 laptops, with 10 times the computing power on their GPUs, will handle that — so what’s the point in giving up all hopes in 2007? Markoff and others already envisioned this possibility 11 years ago; we were just waiting for fast computers and broadband; and now we only need even faster GPUs.
We’ll get there and have retail shops all over Second Life. Just not by this Christmas — yet!
“Shirkying” – a singular word describing the style of Valleywag‘s Clay Shirky when he attacks Second Life with a mix of bad statistics and biased opinions — seems to be spreading and becoming more popular. In effect, when talking about Second Life®, being able to successfully predict the immediate future becomes a pastime of many, not the least of yours truly, but so many others engage in this ever popular exchange of opinions, that you have no option but to adopt a specific style to push your views ahead.
Recent trends published by the New World Notes, GigaOm, or the Second Life Insider — and even BusinessWeek! — all seem to point in the same direction: corporate presence in Second Life is declining somehow. They come, see the hype, never gather enough attention, and go. What is to blame? Depending on who you read, the opinions differ.