Fortune-ately, Second Life to go open source

Philip Rosedale, CEO of Linden LabLinden Lab, developer of the Second Life, virtual online world, is releasing an open source versions of its client software. All independent programmers will be able to "modify it, fire it up and sign on with it," says Philip Rosedale, Linden CEO.

Over 15% of Second Life's residents are currently writing code using internal scripting language, generating 7 million lines of new code every week. "We feel we may already have a bigger group of people writing code than any shared project in history, including Linux," says Rosedale.

Linden Lab claims 2.5 million "residents" of Second Life, but the service has only around 250,000 active members (those who still sign in more than 30 days after registering.) However, that group of active users is currently growing at about 15 percent per month.

Many companies already have dedicated teams to explore business potential of Second Life, including IBM, Sun, Autodesk and Philips.

Source: Second Life to go open source


Pierre Bernard visualised

Pierre BernardNovember issue of Vorm Bericht, a monthly managazine of the BNO, Dutch association of graphic designers, publishes an article about Pierre Bernard, French graphic designer and artist. In 2006 Bernard was awarded the Erasmus Prize, and this article prvides both short description of the award and the work and life of the designer. I can say that I particularly like his works, for me they are too 70-s (=old and dusted), too leftist and too avant-garde.

What I was cought with, however, is the cover of the magazine, which I am posting under the lj-cut.

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Angels, ambiently

The Holy FamilyThis undated woodcut 'The Holy Family' (by unknown artist) is obviously quite appropriate for the x-mass eve, but it was also used by various media to illustrate the story about a wide-spread beliefe by apparently too many people that angels are 'for real' (more than 80% of Americans believe in them, according to the latest polls by AP-AOL News Group.

Socio-demographic analysis aside, it is interesting to notice that people tend to mediate both presence, and actions of otherwise quite an abstract divine spirit by very human-like creatures. May be a hint for the design of ambient intelligence systems.

PS: I also like the tool used by Joseph to cook, a small pot with a very long handle; he is watched by Mary who is in turn watched by an angel; who is most likely watched by the infant Jesus (with the lovely skin folds on his legs.)


Rupture Community

Shawn Fanning, creator of Napster, plans to launch Rupture, a virtual social community for online gamers. The service will consist of an add-on that automatically creates individual player profiles and allows gamers to chat online with one another and download various game content. Rupture will initially work with the World of Warcraft, the most popular multiplayer onlinegame with 7.5 million subscribers, of which Fanning is an avidplayer.

See aslo Shawn Fanning To Launch Rupture, an Online Gaming Community

As of 12pm Dec 6 here, I am still unable to log into a freshly patched WoW, where one of the new features is exactly that, an easier and more sophisticated communication between the players. Most likely, it will not be comparable with what Fanning has been working on, but the trend is indicative: the army of virtual explorers does need and - I hope - will appreciate new tools/mediums to interact with each other.

PS: As of Jan 6, of 2007, I should admit that the rumors about "easier and more sophisticated communication between the players" have bees hugely exaggerated. Perhaps, the Burning Crusade, an extension of the existing WoW, will be offering something in this direction, but newly-patched version does not provide any new features. In fact, the new version made communication between the players seeking to team-up with each other more difficult, compare to the earlier version.


Philips Runs Virtual

Second Life"...Philips Design will have a space on Second Life where virtual concepts can be tested and residents can participate in co-design projects. In this way, Second Life users can have a greater say in the kind of colors, ergonomics, functionality and other features of products they may wish to buy in this virtual world. This will allow Philips Design to find new ways of relating to end users."

"This sort of foresighting is extremely powerful," says Stefano Marzano, Chief Executive Officer of Philips Design. "As the only things that actually exist within Second Life are ideas, it provides us with a real opportunity to better understand the dynamics of intangible value. In addition, value created in this virtual world can also be transferred to the real world."

"Philips Design provides a missing piece for us in terms of its in-depth understanding of user insights and vast research capabilities," says Justin Bovington, Chief Executive Office, Rivers Run Red.

This whole new thing might, perhaps, motivate me to restart this long time dead journal; but we will see how addictive Second Life is, compared to we all know wowhat.

Source: Philips Design collaborates with Rivers Run Red to enter virtual world of Second Life®

Doing avataring as enabler of new worlds

"A teenage girl’s video clip on YouTube, about her breakup with her boyfriend, has been viewed over 155,000 times in the last five days", writes Ross Dawson in his blog Trends in the Living Networks.

He believes that the key reason of such a popularity burst is not her story per se, but the way she looked when presenting it- she was playing with features on Logitech web cameras that allow her to change her appearance.

Dawson directly link this to the phenomenon of avatars, representation of us in the 'virtual worlds". He does not elaborate much on the issue, just says that new technologies will be making it easier and easier to be "not you" in the Internet, or in any digital real in general.

I think it is an interesting, and important issue here. The need, and the practices of making avatars may look like almost 'obvious' for many people in LJ, as well as for many players of on-line games (myself, I have been heavily involved in the World of Warcraft recently). But I increasingly think that there is something very fundamental here, that one *must* build avatars to exist in these digital worlds, that they *only* become possible if populated by 'avatars' (here some hint why the majority of corporate 'communities' and 'intranet' keep falling short, and do not promote anything comparable to the live and agile worlds of 'open collaboration' and creativity of the Big Internet.

It seems to me that 'doing avataring' is a kind of new literacy. One must create and manage them to not only reap the benefits of the online mediums, but simple to enable their existence. Without mediation of avatar-like agencies these worlds became a parody, an hollow entity.

This is is absolutely blunt assumption I am making. No 'literature search' or proper googling done yet; may be it is banality for some people. I know, though, that this of thinking will feel a resistance in the 'corporate worlds' for sure.

(no subject)

Slashdot was started by two guys in Holland, Michigan in 1998 as what would now be called a blog.

"Everybody's talking about the participation age, but we've been living it for eight years," says Valerie Williamson, vice president for marketing at OSTG, the open source technology group, which operates Slashdot.

Is Slashdot the future of media?