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  The Regurgitation of ‘Second Life’ IP Issues  
Posted 2006-06-19 by Tony Walsh
With a rapidly-expanding bubble of business interest in the virtual world of Second Life has come another wave of new bloggers. In internet-years, I'm an old hand at writing about Second Life, having consistently published my thoughts about it since April, 2004. So I have to admit I'm feeling a little "been there, done that" about many of the posts I've been reading over the last few months from business-bloggers. It's the same feeling I got when the rest of the world caught on to blogs a few years ago.

At least some of these business-bloggers are regurgitating important issues. Jeremy Pepper asked yesterday "What are the implications in a virtual world in regards to trademarks and copyrights?... We all see how YouTube has both handled and mishandled copyright rights, but how is it going to work in a virtual world, where people make clothes and other items to sell to others." Robert Scoble added "I see brands being attached to lots of things inside Second Life. I like that, but in most cases it's not being done by the trademark owners...I can see how this will end up in court sooner or later."

Continue reading: The Regurgitation of ‘Second Life’ IP Issues
  Beefing up Security  
Posted 2006-05-02 by Tony Walsh
I've added a "security" tag to Clickable Culture, which I will be appending to most archived posts. As a result, those subscribing to Clickable Culture through its feeds will probably see a regurgitation of older, security-related material crop up today.
  ‘Second Life’ Biz Buzz Bubbles  
Posted 2006-04-27 by Tony Walsh
I keep on top of buzz about the virtual world of Second Life through a sort of "sensor network" of RSS feeds, based on Google web and blog search results, Technorati search results, entries, and many similar sources. Essentially, when someone mentions Second Life almost anwhere online, I notice it--and lately, my sensor network's been burning hot. As best as I can tell, Microsoft evangelist Robert Scoble was chiefly responsible for the initial explosion, with another round of momentum provided by BusinessWeek's extensive coverage of Second Life.

What I'm seeing is a staggering swell of business interest in Second Life from entrepreneurs and marketers (and secondarily by educators) over the past three weeks. I am struck the overall ignorance about the virtual world from the business community. Many business people seem to have skimmed mainstream articles about Second Life, and seem satisfied that they are informed enough. On top of this, I get the sense there's a "gold-rush" mentality at play here--everyone wants to be (or thinks they are) a first mover in the virtual world space. Flashback to the turn of the century, where the same sort of craze over online communities and web portals caused the dot com bubble to inflate and subsequently burst.

Continue reading: ‘Second Life’ Biz Buzz Bubbles
  What Does It Mean To Be A Gun?  
Posted 2006-04-25 by Tony Walsh
Sex/game writer Bonnie Ruberg makes a stimulating, but wholly personal interpretation of the role of the gun in first-person shooter games. These games are generally defined as being played from the character's point of view (the camera is at eye-level), showing in the foreground only the character's hand, the character's weapon, and a crosshairs in the middle of the screen.

Ruberg interprets the gun (the weapon most often seen on screen in a first-person shooter) as an avatar--more of a vessel for the player than the character whose viewpoint we inhabit. "What does it mean to be a gun, or at least to identify with one?" she asks. This is a fine question to ask oneself, but I'm not sure it will get much mileage with gamers. As a seasoned player of first-person shooter games, I can tell you that not once have I ever "been" a gun, or even identified with one. I have never knowingly interacted with any gamer with an identity crisis of this nature, and I have neither heard nor read of such a thing before. But what gamers think doesn't seem to matter to Ruberg.

Continue reading: What Does It Mean To Be A Gun?
  ‘Second Life’ Inhospitable For Some  
Posted 2006-04-18 by Tony Walsh
While the virtual world of Second Life has grown rapidly since 2005, the number of residents logged in at any given time hovers around 6,000--about 3% of the total number of accounts created--and is usually scattered across Second Life's massive, contiguous 3D spaces. It sometimes becomes difficult to find more than a handful of gathered avatars in a single spot. Combine this with frequent, required software patches for the client "viewer" that connects to the virtual world, resident-initiated attacks on the "grid" of servers that binds Second Life together, crotchety performance on either or both of the server and client end of things, an overabundance of information, sub-par search tools, and an overall lack of creative cohesion. What you end up with is a harsh environment for some newcomers to adjust to, despite the world's boom in population.

Metroblogging co-founder Sean Bonner isn't sure what to make of "Sucknd Life." Although his localblog network added the game world of Azeroth to its stable of real locales, Bonner isn't adding Second Life any time soon. On his personal blog, Bonner wrote: "Here's my usual Second Life experience - Log in. wait for everything around me to load. Keep waiting. Finally loads, Try to move, no luck. Keep trying. Keep having no luck... check the map to try and find some people. Ok, there's some. Teleport there. Oh, that's a private zone that I can't get to, so instead I've been teleported off to this other place where no one is....Finally get some place where there are other people. They are all Away or talking about scripts. I try to talk to several of them. No one ever responds."

Continue reading: ‘Second Life’ Inhospitable For Some
  ‘Warcraft’ World Gets Metroblogged  
Posted 2006-04-14 by Tony Walsh
Azeroth, the fictional environment of the massively-multiplayer game World of Warcraft, has been added to the ranks of real places such as Berlin, Dubai, Toronto, and Vienna by While Azeroth actually consists of two continents, and World of Warcraft is played by over six million worldwide, the Azerothian population at any given moment of the day is probably equivalent to that of a small city.

I'm a bit disappointed the Azeroth Metroblog doesn't treat the fictional world as if it were a real place. I was hoping to read reports filed by seasoned warriors, wise mages, and clever rogues from within the beseiged outpost of Tarren Mill, the ancient walls of Ironforge, or the tainted remnants of Gnomeregan. Instead of pushing the idea of location-based blogging beyond the limits of reality, we've got just another gamesblog jumping on the Warcraft bandwagon. Pity, that.
  Live-Blogger to Document ‘Warcraft’ Dungeon-Crawl  
Posted 2006-04-13 by Tony Walsh
Zach Brock of will be reporting live from Blackwing Lair in the World of Warcraft this Saturday. The embedded blogger will be following a multiplayer raid on the in-game lair, covering the "wacky antics and dragonslaying." While the effort is indeed valiant, I'm pretty sure Brock's efforts will be unintelligible to the uninitiated. I guess we'll have to wait until Saturday to find out. A subscription to the blog's feed is available through Feedburner.
  An Xbox 360 That Blogs  
Posted 2006-04-10 by Tony Walsh
Trapper Markelz co-developed an Xbox 360 blogject, turning the dumb game console into a smart object that autonomously reports on itself and related matters. Currently, the console seems to be tracking and reporting the playing habits of eight users. For example, the Xbox 360 tells us that today, "I thought [user] Fatty Chubs just wanted to listen to music or watch a DVD. Turns out he was there to game. With a gamer score of 13694, I should have known that was the case. That is a gain of 30 points over last time! He played Oblivion gaining 3 achievements, as well as basked in the glow of my great blade navigation interface!"

Automated reports are blogged in natural language apparently by slotting raw data into human-crafted sentence-fragments. The end result is that the Xbox 360 develops a designed personality. While the console currently appears to be rather peppy, I'd rather see an enraged, depressed, or paranoid console. Some great opportunities for persona-based marketing and brand sabotage here.
  Forget Web 2.0, 3pointD is the Shizzle  
Posted 2006-04-03 by Tony Walsh
Congratulations are due to boy reporter Mark Wallace, otherwise known as The Second Life Herald's Walker Spaight, on his newest blog, 3pointD. While the rest of the tech world navel-gazes over "Web 2.0," Wallace is already bringing us stories balancing on the 3D Web's bleeding edge, "From virtual worlds like Second Life to applications like Google Earth, from cool mapping hacks that link up real-world locations to new ways of creating virtual ones, from concepts like folksonomy to the culture of online worlds..."

Wallace's new venture is sponsored by The Electric Sheep Company, a firm that's bringing real-world businesses into the virtual world of Second Life, and which was written about today by CNET's Daniel Terdiman.
  Electronic Counter-Measures  
Posted 2006-04-02 by Tony Walsh
I've been forced to modify the content of Clickable Culture's subscription feeds (currently available in RSS, RSS 2, and Atom flavours) to further reinforce the source of the content and the fact that the feeds are available free of advertisements directly from the source. The move was necessary because content from Clickable Culture is being repackaged by a growing number of third parties as part of subscription services, and/or with advertising, and/or with a pay-for-ad-free-feeds schemes. My options are either to stop publishing feeds (which I'm not going to do), or to make the feeds less appetizing to those sites leeching my content--and in some cases, presenting themselves as the source of the content. The changes may be slightly annoying to some of my subscribers, but I'd rather slightly annoy you than remove subscriptions altogether.
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