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  ‘CSI:NY’ Meets ‘Second Life’  
Posted 2007-10-26 by Tony Walsh
I wasn't able to catch the recent CSI:NY / Second Life crossover, but thankfully other bloggers were on the case. Here's a link-dump from around the blogosphere about this TV / virtual-world mashup...

  • Good, short review of CSI:NY's Second Life crossover episode. Sounds like the TV episode was solid. How will the Second Life side measure up?
  • Virtually Blind reviews the recent CSI:NY / Second Life crossover, including the in-world experience: "While it has flaws, it is head and shoulders above any mainstream virtual world tie-ins we've seen so far."
  • The Second Life Herald's Pixeleen Mistral notes that some Second Life merchants attempted to game-jack incoming CSI:NY viewers by adding CSI-style search terms to their store descriptions. Clever!
  • Roundup of some mini-reviews of the CSI:NY / Second Life crossover. Mixed results, still expecting more discussion of this over the next month or so. How many people signed up to play the Second Life experience?
  • About CSI:NY / Second Life crossover, Tateru Nino says "large numbers" registered for SL, but the custom OnRez viewer download failed for many. "No flood" of newcomers to SL. "The Jury is still out as to whether the whole shebang will be a hit or or a miss.
  • Prokofy Neva muses about the aftermath, noting SL signups log-ons [thanks for the correction, Prok] actually went down from 41k to 38k during "this supposed 'rush.'" Reportedly about 700 avatars in-world on the CSI islands.
  links for 2007-10-24  
Posted 2007-10-24 by Tony Walsh
  Linden Lab Rolls Out Google-Powered’Second Life’ Search Engine  
Posted 2007-10-20 by Tony Walsh
Linden Lab announced yesterday that a new, Google Search Appliance-facilitated search system for Second Life should be available both to Second Life users and outside web surfers "in the next few months." The new system, which funnels data from the virtual world into ordinary web pages, replaces a legacy system so past its prime that a number of third-party developers have invented their own public search tools, such as the Electric Sheep Company this year, or Wet Ikon in 2005.

Land parcels, resident profiles, groups, scheduled events, individual objects, and articles in the Second Life Wiki will be indexed by Linden Lab's new search engine. "Mature" content will be flagged as such in search results, and objects on public land which are marked for sale will be indexed by default. Second Life residents will be able to manually exempt objects from search, addressing privacy concerns raised by The Electric Sheep Company's search tool earlier this year.

Because official search results will be published to public web pages, Linden Lab expects in-world content to be indexed by web-exclusive search engines such as Yahoo! and Google. Presumably search results across all engines will include direct links (known as "SLURLs") to in-world content, and RSS feeds so interested parties can receive alerts when Linden Lab's search engine finds something they're looking for.
  A Brain-Computer Interface For ‘Second Life’  
Posted 2007-10-16 by Tony Walsh
Throw away your keyboards and mice: Second Life avatars may now be controlled directly by the brain, thanks researchers at Keio University Biomedical Engineering Laboratory. According to blog Pink Tentacle, which translated a news release from Nikkei Net, a user wearing an electrode-studded headpiece can control an avatar in 3D space simply by thinking about moving. Based on a YouTube video of the process (below), control over the avatar is very precise--not what I pictured based on early brain-computer interface experiments.

Continue reading: A Brain-Computer Interface For ‘Second Life’
  ‘Electric Sheep’ Improve ‘Second Life’ Interface  
Posted 2007-10-11 by Tony Walsh
The Electric Sheep Company, a large third-party developer of virtual-world products and services will soon launch its own window into the world of Second Life. The pending client software (known as a "viewer") has been commercially licensed by Second Life maker/maintainer Linden Lab, according to an official press release.

Based on a limited range of screenshots and online discussion about the upcoming viewer, it appears that the Electric Sheep Company has gone a long way in addressing one of the chief problems facing new users: The interface. Historically, Second Life's viewer has been difficult to use, suffering from the classic "designed by engineers" syndrome plaguing many graphical user-interfaces and software applications.

Continue reading: ‘Electric Sheep’ Improve ‘Second Life’ Interface
  Linden Lab, IBM To Collaborate on ‘3D Internet’  
Posted 2007-10-10 by Tony Walsh
Computing giant IBM and virtual-world maker Linden Lab have announced a joint effort to brighten the future of 3D virtual worlds through the development of open standards-based technologies and methodologies. According to an official press release, the two companies intend to "work with a broad community of partners to drive open standards and interoperability to enable move from one virtual world to another with ease, much like you can move from one website to another on the Internet today."

Virtual-world enthusiasts are no doubt excited about the prospect of avatar-portability, a feature currently unavailable in most contemporary 3D worlds, but promised (or at least hinted at) by up and coming platforms such as Multiverse and Metaplace. Obviously there are many more hurdles to this idea than simply technology--for me, it will be the creative and cultural ramifications of avatar portability that are worth solving first.

Continue reading: Linden Lab, IBM To Collaborate on ‘3D Internet’
  Inflate Your Own 3D ‘Second Life’ Objects in Minutes  
Posted 2007-10-04 by Tony Walsh
Inflate Your Own 3D ‘Second Life’ Objects in Minutes
German software developer impara has released an amazing little application for easily creating organic 3D objects for use with Second Life. PloppSL allows users to paint something on-screen, "inflate" it, tweak it a bit, then export it to the virtual world as a "sculptie." The Plopp interface is gorgeous in its simplicity, and appears to be completely idiot-proof, in contrast to Second Life's clunky built-in building blocks.

Certainly PloppSL is a very limited tool, but it's free, and for people like me who haven't added proper 3D modeling to their skill-set, it's got plenty of potential for rapidly creating interesting organic shapes. I have no use for its primitive painting system, but you can bet I'll be tinkering with Photoshop and replacing PloppSL's simplistic exported textures with more sophisticated ones.
  ‘Electric Sheep’ Plan Virtual-World Ad Network  
Posted 2007-10-03 by Tony Walsh
The Electric Sheep Company, a third-party developer of tools, services, content and experiences primarily for Second Life, plans to launch an in-world advertising network. Aimed at residents looking to earn money by publishing ads on their land, at individual advertisers, and at ad agencies, the yet-untitled network is currently under construction, with the network's (likely interim) web page offering a means to sign up to become a beta-tester. Officially described as "for Second Life and other Virtual Worlds," I wonder what other worlds the network could reasonably be inserted into.

As with in-game advertising, context is king. Fortunately, most virtual world--as opposed to game world--environments are set in contemporary or otherwise ad-friendly settings. This makes advertising Coke in Second Life a reasonable venture, whereas in-game advertisers haven't historically understood that billboards for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigalow don't belong on an alien fortress.

Continue reading: ‘Electric Sheep’ Plan Virtual-World Ad Network
  links for 2007-10-03  
Posted 2007-10-03 by Tony Walsh
  links for 2007-10-01  
Posted 2007-10-01 by Tony Walsh
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