Posts Tagged: secondlife


11
Nov 10

Creating an OpenSim Private Sandbox on Your Home PC

Confession:  It’s been so long since I logged into my blog, I momentarily forgot the password.  Yikes!

I’ve had my head buried in work, house repairs/maintenance, family stuff, and when I have spare moments – OpenSim.  I intend to write up my first try at installing OpenSim in grid mode sometime soon (I’ll skip the part about it taking a weekend to rebuild a box to use a server, hello Blue Screen of Death, not nice to see ya so often), but in the meantime, this week I walked a group of educators through the installation of OpenSim on their personal PC to create their own private OpenSim sandbox, and I thought I’d share the slides:


Note that this guide skips all of the networking configuration that would be required for someone else to log into your sim.  This is intended to be an entirely private sandbox for only your own personal use.

Why would you want that?  Well, a couple of reasons.

First, if you’re a virtual worlds or Second Life enthusiast, watching the console and seeing what’s happening on the back end when you’re rezzing a prim or changing clothes or running a script is endlessly fascinating.  It’s like seeing your virtual experience through the Matrix.  It boggles my mind to imagine what that looks like for Second Life, with hundreds of thousands of users and transactions and activity.

Second, anyone who builds or creates content in Second Life really SHOULD be able to save a local copy of their work to their personal machines.  With OpenSim you can do that, indeed, you can back up objects and whole sims, and re-import them wherever you like.  I think from this point forward, I intend not to build a single thing IN Second Life ever again – I’ll do all my creation work on my sandbox and then import it in to Second Life when it’s done.  That way I really DO own my content.

Finally, installing even the most simple instances of OpenSim gives you a new appreciation for the service Linden Lab (and Reaction Grid and InWorldz and all the other grids out there) provides.  This is not trivial stuff, and in the aggregate, it’s important to understand the sheer complexity of what running the Main Grid must be like – running your own OpenSim installation helps give you a sense of that complexity in a way that 7 years of being a Resident did not.

I hope the tutorial is helpful and I’d encourage you to give it a try even if you consider yourself to be a “non-techie” sort.  It’s strange and disorienting to find your poor Ruthed self on a little island all alone, but it’s also.. enchanting and exicting to know it’s your very own world to do whatever you like.

What will you create for yourself?  Go find out!


20
Aug 10

SLCC10: Thoughts on the Other Side

“Are you crazy?”  That was pretty much the sentiment when I told friends in April that I’d decided to help try to pull something, anything, together for this year’s Second Life Community Convention.  The timing, the workload, the politics – for all sorts of reasons it felt like a terrifying commitment.  I’d not attended SLCC in 2009, my grandpa had passed away a few months prior and I didn’t have the heart for it, and my experience as part of the organizing team in Tampa 2008 hadn’t been exactly positive.  But when the phone call came…

Stuffing bags and folding tshirts on Thursday…
Image courtsey Sitearm

The hardest part of organizing something in such a short time frame wasn’t the sleepless nights or ignoring the house cleaning (and friends and family) for weeks on end,  it was the fear that it would all be for nothing.  That no one would show up, that no one would come, or worse that the people who had paid to come would ultimately feel it had been a waste of their time and money.  We stressed about the budget, the program, the venue, the logistics, and all the things that every event planner worries about going wrong, and perhaps even moreso given the shortened time line to nail down all the details.

Conversation the night before the convention over drinks.
What’s Wiz Nordberg saying?  Image courtesy DirkMcKeenan

But more than the logistics, and venue, and schedules, and updating the website and all that .. stuff that goes into making a convention, we were far more worried about something less tangible.  Something invisible that it’s harder to put your finger on, that’s hard to even describe – that amorphous “community spirit” that threads through a diverse group of individual people to weave a sense of belonging together, an identity separate from one’s own that makes you feel a part of something larger.   Was the “community” still out there?  Did they still want to come together in person, and especially after such a difficult roller coaster ride of a year for the platform?

Hanging out with Tomkin Euler, fellow Chilbo resident, and Amulius Lioncourt,
one of the 11th hour in-world builders who did an amazing job.

I can only speak for myself, but I am so thankful that the answer to both questions was “yes” – a resounding, boisterous, defiance in the face of all challenges yes.  Yes, the people who discovered something new about themselves and found each other through this platform called Second Life are still out there, and though many could not come due to timing, cost, or circumstance, enough of us made our way to Boston and engaged in the annual ritual of baring our real life avatars for a weekend of fun, laughter, hopefully some learning, and lots of passionate discussion and debate about the future of the metaverse.  I was too busy to engage in much of it myself, but watching it unfold was a beautiful thing to see..

Stopping by to chat with Olivia Hotshot and AJ Brooks at lunch.
Image courtesy OliviaHotshot

The question I heard so many times over the last few months as we planned the convention is why, if the virtual world is so powerful, do people want to come together in person in the first place?  The answer isn’t so simple, but it has something to do with the fact that those of us living simultaneously in the metaverse and the physical world are living complicated lives.   Life itself has no guidebook, but virtual life has even less of one, and there is something inordinately powerful about being in the presence of hundreds of other pioneers in this space who know on a deep level some of the challenges you yourself have faced.

Laughing hysterically with Beyers Sellers..
Image courtesy Imjsthere4fun

Second Life is a platform, a technology, a tool.   But it gave us a glimpse of the future, and in one way or another has forced all of us who have immersed ourselves deeply to ask fundamental questions with a new perspective – Who am I?  Who is Fleep?  Who do I want to be if I can be anything?  What is real?   What is virtual?  What do all these technological changes mean for the future – for me, for society?  And where is this all going, anyway, this platform called Second Life, and this concept we call the metaverse?  Is it stalling?  Is the vision we shared breaking apart or are we just hitting some stumbling blocks?

AvaCon board meeting at PF Chang’s on Thursday…
Fleep Tuque, Misty Rhodes, Peter Imari, Rhiannon Chatnoir

My personal goal for SLCC was to provide a space for that conversation to take place.  Nothing more, nothing less.  All we needed was a place to sleep, a place to eat, and a place to talk.  It didn’t have to be fancy or out of the box, indeed there wasn’t time for that, and the end result was a very conventional convention with some very unconventionally wonderful people.  I think for this year, that was enough, for us to see each other in the flesh, to know that these deeper questions that drive us to put up with the lag and the deficiencies of the platform are not the result of some madness unique to ourselves, but a madness shared by many to understand what the future holds and hopefully to help shape it.

Hugs from Dirk McKeenan at the Avatar Ball.
Image courtesy Debi Latte

And for all those who helped make the conversation possible this year, in world or in Boston, on the web and in Twitter, I hope you feel as I do on the other side of SLCC10:

The community is as strong as ever.  Second Life, and the people who make it meaningful, aren’t dead by a long shot.

The vagaries of a particular platform are like the vagaries of the weather, something we must deal with but that doesn’t control our destiny unless we let it.

The future of the metaverse is as exciting today as it was five, ten years ago.

I can’t even think too much of next year right now, I’m too tired.  🙂   But I hope we can do an even better job facilitating that conversation in 2011.  Thank you to everyone who made it possible and I hope you’ll join us next time around.


23
Feb 10

Second Life Viewer 2.0 Beta – Quick Primer Pt 1

Logging into Second Life with Viewer 2.o beta for the first time..

This is as much for myself as anyone else who might be interested.  Some resources related to Viewer 2.0 for SL users:

Download the Viewer

Second Life Viewer 2 Beta Download:   http://www.secondlife.com/beta-viewer

Tom Hale Keynote Slides

Keynote Slides: http://torley.s3.amazonaws.com/temp/SLProKeynote.pd

Video Links from SLPro! Keynote

Viewer 2.o Intro:  http://torley.s3.amazonaws.com/temp/Viewer2UI_640x480.mov

Shareable Media:  http://torley.s3.amazonaws.com/temp/SharedMediaWebVideo_640x480.mov

Shared Flash Media:  http://torley.s3.amazonaws.com/temp/SharedMediaWebVideo_640x480.mov

Scoble’s Interview with Mark Kingdon (SL: M Linden)

Excerpts from Claudia Linden’s Email to SLED

Announcing Second Life Viewer 2 Beta and Shared Media
Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of Viewer 2 Beta, the next generation of Second Life viewers — combining an easy browser-like experience with shared media capabilities — providing what we believe is the best experience yet for accessing Second Life, and a new option to choose from among Viewer 1.23 and other Third Party Viewers. Our Viewer 2 blog post is here: https://blogs.secondlife.com/community/features/blog/2010/02/23/second-life-viewer-2-beta-now-available

Shared Media™, a standard capability in Viewer 2, makes sharing standard Web-based media and content in Second Life easy, and enables content creators to make more compelling, interactive experiences. Content creators can now place Web pages, video, Flash content, and other web media, onto any surface in Second Life. We expect that Shared Media will inspire a creative renaissance in Second Life as Residents explore more immersive and integrated inworld experiences and business opportunities such as gaming or theaters.

Resources to Help You Learn Viewer 2 Beta
* Quickstart Guide (SL Wiki) http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Viewer_2_Quick_Start_Guide
* Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) https://wiki.lindenlab.com/mediawiki/images/2/2d/Viewer_2_Beta_FAQs.pdf
* Release Notes (SL Wiki) http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Release_Notes/Second_Life_Beta_Viewer/2.0
* Video Demos (YouTube)  http://www.youtube.com/secondlife
* SL Answers (SL Answers) https://blogs.secondlife.com/community/answers/v2beta

We Look Forward to Your Feedback
We need to hear from you! Participate in the Viewer 2 Forum (https://blogs.secondlife.com/community/forums/v2) and share your experience and suggest future enhancements. Then, go tell your friends! If you Twitter, then use the #SLViewer2 hash tag.

T Linden: torely videos are here

Interface introduction

Appearance and Outfits

Automatic camera zoom

Context menu replaces pie

Giving inventory

Menus

Move and Viewer controls
http://vimeo.com/9656028

Navigation
http://vimeo.com/9656031

Notifications and Conversations

Preferences

Search

Shared Media
http://vimeo.com/9656041

Sidebar
http://vimeo.com/9656046


23
Feb 10

Scoble asks, Is Second Life about to enter its “second life?”

Robert Scoble, the guy with one of the loudest voices on the internet, just posted about Second Life and an upcoming announcement that he suggests might breathe some life back into the platform.

Considering I’ve been working there pretty much full time the last few years, I didn’t know it was dead.  😉

OK that’s not fair, the hype cycle of 2007-08 came and went and it’s had a palpable effect to be sure, but those kinds of posts always make me vaguely defensive even though I have my own criticisms of the platform and the company running it.

I started to write a response in his comments, but I lost my text twice (I think it’s Chrome’s fault) so finally I said heck with it, I’ll put it here instead:

Whatever the failings of the platform or LL’s specific implementation of it, they were hugely successful at introducing the concept of a non-game-based virtual world to millions of people, and most importantly IMO, a world created by the users rather than the company.  User generated content and crowd-sourcing is practically passe now, but back in the day, those were still very untried, untested concepts.  The idea that an immersive 3D space could be populated with content using the same community/random user model as Wikipedia was definitely not a given.  That it succeeded at all in Second Life still seems miraculous to me, especially given the technical skill required and the dreadful interface.

As it stands now, Linden Lab’s biggest advantages are 1) that enough of us who saw the potential in those early years have managed to stick it out and continued to populate the world with experiments, interesting use cases, and compelling content, and 2) they got a very lucky reprieve, just when things started to not just plateau but decrease, the economic crisis dried up a lot of funding for potential competitors.  Anyone professionally interested in the future of the metaverse has little choice at the moment BUT Second Life (or its cousin OpenSim).

Hopefully it will give them enough time to fix what’s broken, especially with the interface and new user experience, but just as importantly with the scalability issues and lack of APIs that have hindered integration with other platforms and enterprise data systems – it’s the latter holding back increased institutional adoption more than the former.

Either way, whether Second Life as a platform (or Linden Lab as a company) endures through the ages is less interesting to me than seeing where the concept of the metaverse goes from here.  I still think robust competition from some wholly different conception of a virtual world will be the best medicine for Linden Lab, but I worry that they’ve got such a corner on the still relatively small market that currently exists that it’s actually stifling innovation in other directions. It wouldn’t be so troubling if I saw more evidence that they could continue to innovate, but the Second Life we use today is not _markedly_ different than the Second Life I logged into in 2003.

Perhaps whatever they’re going to announce will prove that statement wrong, but if my long experience in Second Life has taught me anything, it’s not to get my hopes up too high.

Having said all that, I still give them all due credit for what they’ve accomplished, and for what they’ve made possible for people who have had the patience and foresight to understand that this is still very, very early days for the metaverse indeed.

Scoble promises an announcement tomorrow at Building43, I plan to tune in and see what’s got him so excited.


15
Dec 08

Public Twitter Station in Second Life: The “Presence” Problem

Concepts like “place” and “presence” can get really mushed up when you’re working in the metaverse. I’ve been puzzling about these concepts so intently over the last couple of weeks that I was actually motivated to do some (*gasp*) scripting to see if I could mediate that “sense of presence” in Second Life. Let me explain.

The Presence Problem

Right now I am sitting at my desk in my office at home physically, and at least nominally I’m also sitting at my desk in the Chilbo Town Hall virtually (which is where I park my avatar to let people know I’m probably off in another window instead of paying attention at that moment), AND I’m also “on” Twitter and IM. So, if you wanted to get in touch with me for a synchronous conversation or “visit” with me, you could come to my house in Cincinnati and ring the doorbell, but a) that would probably freak me out unless you’re a really good friend and b) being an internet peep, you’re more likely to send me an @fleep or DM on Twitter, or if we’re good friends you’ll poke me on Gtalk or AIM or send me an SMS on my cell, or if you’re a Second Life resident, you’ll log in and look for me in the Town Hall.

So many places I’m in at once, and that’s just trying to keep things simple – we’re not even including all the asynchronous options. But if you asked me “Where are you right now?” the answer I’m likely to give depends on context – if you called me on the telephone or sent me an SMS I’d say I was at home, but if you IMd me the same question in Second Life, I’d say I was in Chilbo, and if you asked me on Gtalk or AIM or Twitter, I don’t even know which way I’d answer. BUT, the truth is, I’m am in all those places and locations and “mental spaces” simultaneously – and yet it’s not REALLY simultaneous because my attention can only be focused on one “space” at a time.. Or is that really true?

And forget about me for a moment, “where” are all my friends right now? What are they up to and if I have a question or want to visit with them, “where” do I go to find them? With so many options and each relationship/friend connected to me in different ways through different media (some are on Twitter, some aren’t; some are in Second Life, some aren’t, etc.) it gets to be quite complicated not only figuring out where _I_ “am” but also where my friends “are” too.

This is probably a round-about way of approaching this issue, but that’s how the question/problem presented itself to me a few weeks ago when I was crunching numbers from the Chilbo Community census data and saw many comments that Chilbo often felt “empty” and that the residents of Chilbo didn’t know as many other residents as they’d like. I was a bit surprised by that finding, since the traffic reports show Chilbo gets pretty steady traffic, between 700-900 visitors per week, and because I am connected to so many Chilbo folks on so many different platforms, Chilbo rarely feels “empty” to me because even if a Chilbo resident’s avatar isn’t in the sim at that particular moment – I still “hear” what they are up to on Twitter and can still contact them any time through Second Life IM or Gtalk or wherever. I have a sense of where people are from all these other tools and that tenuous connection is enough to convey their “presence” to me that it doesn’t matter that they are not physically in the room with me or virtually in the sim with me. But are others having that experience?

If you’re not on Twitter or other web places, does Chilbo seem even more “empty” or disconnected than if you are? And could that be mediated with some way to “blend” these spaces?

Shopping at Ordinal Enterprises

That was my question. And so I embarked on trying to modify Ordinal Malaprop‘s fantastic TwitterBox script to see if I could attempt to blend two different “spaces” together – the virtual location of the Chilbo sim and the .. “mental space” of Twitter (and if you use Twitter and SMS on cell phones, you know Twitter can be used on the go just about anywhere you are physically).

Now I should note, despite taking a programming class (I got a B+ and was thrilled), I remain stubbornly obtuse when it comes to understanding all of the logic involved in scripting. The lines of code, the variables, the repetition, the test-fail-test-fail all to no avail.. I find it incredibly frustrating. And, it turns out that in my ignorance, I attempted to modify the wrong script – instead of working on the basic one Ordinal gave me, I began with the more complicated one, so this probably took me many many many hours longer than it should have, and I was determined to try to figure it out myself and not bug one of my coder friends to help me, so it was an even longer time before I realized I’d taken the hard path. Doh. However, I am very pleased to report that THIS “Fleep Tries to Program” story has a happy ending! I eventually had to ask for help, but I learned much more about the Linden Scripting Language than I probably have in ages, and I have a working prototype going in-world, so I think all the torture and 3AM nights was worth it.

Chilbo Public Twitter Station - Instructions Poster

So what does this thing do? Considering all the effort it took, it sadly does not do your dishes or laundry. What it does do is a) imports tweets from the Chilbo Twitter account and all the people that account “follows” and reports them back out into the Chilbo sim in Second Life by printing the line in local chat and b) allows anyone in the Chilbo sim and within local chat range to send a tweet OUT of Second Life to the web world (through the Chilbo account).

So, if you’re walking down the street in Chilbo and happen to be near a Twitter station, you might hear a little birdie tweeting sound and see text appear on your screen that says “fleep: I’m waiting in line at the grocery store” and a few steps further down the road one that says “malburns: I’m visiting this cool sim in Second Life” or whatever our tweets might say. If you know Fleep and you know Malburns, even if they are not there in Chilbo with you, might you feel that Chilbo is less empty if you have some sense of what Chilbo people are up to at any given moment? Does it change your sense of presence if in some ways Second Life and Twitter are blended together so that your attention does not have to be focused on one OR the other, but can engage with people in both spaces at the same time?

Chilbo Public Twitter Stations disguised as birdbaths..

Will it change the sense of “community” and “connectedness” the residents of Chilbo feel with each other if they can send and see communications to and from Second Life even without being logged into Second Life, or for that matter, even if they don’t have personal Twitter accounts?

I don’t know, but that’s what I’ve been working on lately. I guess we’ll see how it works out. I’m still tinkering with the script, but if you’d like a copy in progress just let me know..


29
Jul 08

Blogging About A Panel About Blogging!

Hey what do you know, it’s time to be recursive!

Starting in about 30 mins, I’ll be joining some luminaries in the Second Life blogosphere for a panel discussion in world. Here are the details from Orange Island’s Media Week program:

12.00 pm SLT: Discussion: Blogging Virtual Worlds
Speakers: Ordinal Malaprop, Koz Farina, Saffia Widdershins, Tara5 Oh, Fleep Tuque
Hosted by Malburns Writer & Tara Yeats

Location – Orange Island: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Orange%201/191/134/30/

Ordinal Malaprop has developed media devices inworld such as the “Twitter Box” allowing two-way interaction with the micro-blogging service.

Koz Farina is the developer of BlogHUD – a wearable inworld device that allows publishing directly onto the web and subject-based tagging.

Saffia Widdershins is publisher of “Prim Perfect” and other magazines, also broadcasting a weekly show in SLCN.

Tara5 Oh writes the acclaimed “UgoTrade” blog as Tish Shute and has particular interest in ongoing development.

Fleep Tuque is an educationalist and blogger particularly interested in community building projects, including the Chilbo one she started inworld.

Mal Burns & Tara Yeats host the weekly “Metaverse Week In review” video-cast which looks at all things “Metaversal”.

Hope to see you there!

Zemanta Pixie

13
Jul 08

5 Years of Having a Second Life

It seems not too long ago that I was making predictions about Second Life and Education in 2008, and here we are more than half way through the year and I find myself helping organize the Second Life Education Community Conference and reflecting on SL’s fifth birthday and I’m just as involved and passionate about the future of education and virtual worlds as I ever was, maybe even more so. Lively and Vivaty made big splashes this week and the ever wonderful Dizzy Banjo released a video of the “Message in a Bottle” that he and Lillie Yifu created for the in-world birthday celebration and I can’t help but get a warm fuzzy feeling recognizing the voices of so many friends… (I’m at about 1:08 in the clip!)

My life has changed so much in the last 5 years, it’s hard to separate how much of the change was influenced by my involvement with Second Life, but I think I can say without a doubt that I owe my friend Spatch a huge debt for sending me that beta invite way back in 2003. It took some time for me to get a machine that could run SL well enough to really do anything with it, but once I did, and I had that first epiphany moment – there’s been no looking back.

Whatever the press may say, or my coworkers who make fun, or strangers who look at me oddly when I talk about what I do, I feel very, very good about my involvement with this platform and despite my frustrations with what feels like excruciatingly slow progress on the part of Linden Lab sometimes, I really can’t complain TOO much. This technology changed my life, helped me discover parts of myself I didn’t know existed, led me to people who share my passion for exploring all of this new technology not just for education in a formal sense, but in a very personal sense – as a tool for self expression, collaborative exploration, and shared experiences. Through Second Life and the people I met there, I got sucked into the blogosphere and Twitter, learned to wrestle with Photoshop and machinima, webcasting, podcasting, and managing a personal and professional network of friends and colleagues all over the world. Second Life changed my sense of time and place, and above all, what IS possible if you have a group of committed, caring, smart people who share similar goals.

Second Life hasn’t been a transformational experience for everyone who came to it, most of my old BBS crowd who started when I did have never returned, or never found a niche or a reason to come back except to stop in and visit me from time to time. But for those of us who have, whose careers changed, whose lives changed, it’s been a truly amazing journey. Just like in real life, I’m terrible at sending birthday wishes on time, but happy belated birthday to SL and thanks to all the wonderful friends who have shared in this experience with me.