Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Thought Controlled Avatar

New World Notes: The Second Life of the Mind: The story behind the brain-to-SL interface

Great stuff!


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SL to USB Interfacing

Started playing around with the Velleman Components K8055/VM110 USB interface board. It gives you a variety of analog and digital inputs and outputs, and a .dll file so you can access the whole things very simply from C#. Built a first test rig and got SL to RL control going, next stop is RL to SL control - and then start finding some neat applications - possibly in the arts.

I'm posting videos of the progress on this to our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/dadenmedia.


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Saturday, 13 October 2007

Wikipedia API - still not there?

» Wikipedia API?

Like this blog muses, why isn't there a nice neat API to wikipedia. Will have to get one written.


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Friday, 12 October 2007

Practice Based PhDs , or "So should Picasso get a PhD?"

Art res event reports: Exchange 2000

So should Picasso get a PhD?

"My practice based PhD training and subsequent work on practice based research proposals and projects followed the approach described by Douglas and Durling as outlined above. Therefore, I do not believe that Picasso should have been awarded a PhD, simply because he did not do one. Picasso was a high level practitioner and benefited greatly from the rewards of this.

In relation to Cubism for example, if Picasso registered for a PhD, articulated a research question or problem, described and analysed his methods, set his work in a wider context, identified and communicated his original contribution to knowledge, identified areas for further research, and successfully defended all of this at a viva voce examination then, yes give him a PhD. As he didn't, then don't. An honorary doctorate in recognition of services to the field is of course different and would be relevant in Picasso's case.

As During states the high level practitioner is not obliged do the above but the researcher is. The PhD is a training in how to do research therefore the research student should do all of the above to qualify for the award."

Interesting.


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SmartLab

::: SMARTlab Digital Media Institute :::


Going here a week Monday to do a Second Life demo. May even end up doing a PhD with them.


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Second Life hits 10m Registrations

Today in Second Life - Thursday 11 October, 2007 - Second Life Insider

We knew it was going to happen this week, so why did Linden Lab switching off the "# or registrations" status line on the log-on screen?


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Thursday, 4 October 2007

Artificial General Intelligence

Artificial General Intelligence - Artificial Intelligence (incl. Robotics) Journals, Books & Online Media | Springer

Not a bad looking book from the contents. Even got a chapter by Pei Wang on NARS. Might pick it up - after waiting to see what comment is like on Robitron.


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Topincs Topic Map Editor

Topincs - Topic Maps Authoring and Storing

"My site is basically a Topic Map, so when I write articles, blog posts
and so forth, I'm also talking about stuff, pulling things together ;
http://shelter.nu/ I use my old xSiteable
(http://xsiteable.sourceforge.net/index.html) tool for this, but that
tool is getting hopelessly out of date (and I indeed have a modern
version or two somewhere on my machine somewhere).

Oh, in this article (http://shelter.nu/art-007.html) I have a
graphical representation (graph) of a kind of world-view that I
created through Topic Maps, although it's not integrated into the rest
of the site. Which I should, shouldn't I?"

- from Topic Map List


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OpenSim

Main Page - OpenSim

An open source/C#/Mono project to create an virtual worlds server. Currently at 0.4alpha!


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Two thin client SL browsers

New World Notes: Movable Metaverse: Japanese company creates 2nd Web-based Second Life browser

I've been playing with Katharine Berry's AjaxLife, but now a Japanese company has come up with Movable Life. And someone else is showing me an RL-SL messaging system tomorrow in SL. At least it means we can concentrate on the AI!


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Wednesday, 3 October 2007

EU Framework 7 vs DARPA Grand Challenges

Biologically Inspired Intelligent Navigation System (BINSYS) %u2014 Ideal-ist

This is the sort of FP7 project that annoys me:

All of us are aware of the increasing rate of road accidents occurring everyday. Major advances in automobile engineering have provided us with good performance vehicles, but there is a lack of devices/systems that can reduce driver stress. We do have the provision of “Auto-Pilot” in airplanes to help reduce the stress of Pilot but, there has been no step towards providing the same or similar in motor vehicles run on road, where the rate of accidents are much more as compared to accidents in air.
So we propose to develop an Intelligent system that can help in navigation, reduce the driver stress and contribute to safer and more efficient driving."

In the US DARPA just puts up $2m in prize money and waits for someone from the private sector to achieve it!


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Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Web in SL

Media on a parcel - Second Life Wiki

Just sitting in on the SLDEV meeting on web in SL. Looks like we'll get one HTML page per parcel by Christmas, and then mutiple media feeds, incl HTML per parcel in 2008 or so. No simple text-on-a-prim solution yet though :-(


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Thursday, 27 September 2007

PICNIC 07

Arrived in Amsterdam late last night as I'm speaking at PICNIC this afternoon.

Lovely weather and great hotel!


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RESTBot

RESTbot

XML web services interface to the libsecondlife .NET API to Second Life. We're currently writing our own version but might be worth looking at if it has all the features that we need to create fully functioning avatars in SL.


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Friday, 21 September 2007

Google backs private Moon landing

BBC NEWS | Technology | Google backs private Moon landing

Search giant Google is offering a $30m prize pot to private firms that land a robot rover on the Moon.

The competition to send a robot craft to the Moon is being run with the X-Prize Foundation.

To claim the cash, any craft reaching the lunar surface must perform a series of tasks such as shoot video and roam for specific distances.

More cash will be given for snaps of old equipment left on the Moon

Firms interested in trying for the prize have until the end of 2012 to mount their Moonshot.

- That's what life should be about!


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Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Cyber Extruder

Cyber Extruder generates a face image for avatars like those in SL from a normal 2D photo of your face. Time to build my "real" self in SL!


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Virtual Worlds for the Visually Impaired

Nice account of the work done by IBM in making virtual worlds accessible to visually impaired users. Pity it doesn't mention the work already done by blind programmers in making things like Doom accessible. Their approach is the logical one and mirrors some of the things that we've been beginning to work towards.


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Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Everyscape

EveryScape is a neat Google StreetView lookalike allowing to walk through a city.


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SpaceTime

SpaceTime%u2122

Pretty neat looking visual search tool.


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Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Edinburgh Fringe 2007

Deb and I just got back from the Edinburgh Fringe, while Ruth was with my parents and Jo was with her godmother in Montreal. We stayed at the Terrace Hotel (again - nice easy walking distance of the city), ate at the Mussel and Steak (again), and actually had great weather. Venues this time were mostly the Pleasance and Udderbelly complexes. No trip to the Assembly Rooms! Anyway, here are the reviews:

(scores out of 5)

Friday 24th August

Hangman, DO-Theatre, ***1/2

Russian physical theatre/modern dance group doing a piece around hangman and victimhood. Wonderful set pieces, music and even a double hanging.

Retreat, Spirit Level Productions, ***

A girl returns unexpectedly to the home of a writer, having lost wife and mother/father respectively. Not bad but some obviously thought it better as at the end a guy arrived to award them some coveted teapot award.


Saturday 25th August

Early Edition, Marcus Brigstock and chums, ****

A satirical trawl through the days papers.

Something Fishy, Moonhag, ****

A female counterpart of the Scooby-Doo type Perki and Mann are Spooked play we saw last year. Two girls have a famous-five type adventure. Jolly hockey-sticks all round.

Ivan Brackenbury's Hospital Radio Show, **** 1/2

Wonderful spoof of a hospital radio show's "Disease Hour" playing the most inappropriate records for each patient, and lovely patter. The funniest part was that it was set in the Chesterfield and North Derby Hospital, and having had to listen to Chesterfield local radio while doing the cottage up I'm damned if I could tell difference (Up The Spyrites!)

Velvet Scratch, Theatre Lab Company, ****

Atmospheric piece of physical theatre, borrowing from ancient Greek drama (they're Greek) and with a wonderful dream-like quality.

Is This About Sex, Rough Magic, *****

Superb. A straight forward look at sex, gender and identity, and even love. No nudity or smut, but lots of movement beneath the sheets. Dialogue so sharp that we bought the script.

Mitch Benn's Music Club, *****

We saw Mitch Benn (the guy who does the music satire on The Now Show) at the MAC a couple of years ago. While the set contained many classics (such as Everything Sounds Like Coldplay Now - see YouTube) there were new songs too and cutting banter. Two hours worth too.

Sunday 26th August

Long Time Dead, Paines Plough, ****

All about mountaineering, so we had to go and see it. Well staged (although it looked more like a Via Ferrata than an ice climb) and well acted, although we felt the second half didn't quite deliver on the promises of the first.

Mile End, Analogue, ****1/2

Really imaginative piece, telling the story of a man who was pushed under a tube train, and the man who pushed him. Whilst there were 3 main actors, the stars were them and their accomplices in black who moved props and staging around the actors creating a wonderfully fluid and almost magical environment. The piece-de-resistance was one character lifting up a floorboard to see an ariel view of himself in an armchair (a chair at 90 degrees), and then to walk on stage from the other side a second later!

End of Everything Ever, NIE, *****1/2 (sic!)

Stunning. The third in the trilogy that we saw the second part of last year (Past Half Remembered). A really talented company, inspired use of props, music, language and humour. Whilst there was nothing to compete with the biscuit eatin of Past Half Remembered the last two minutes of the play were probably the most honest and poignant that I have ever seen. We overheard the guy behind us asking his friend how you can use the Kindertransport in a comic play - they did.

They produce amongst the most remarkable work we've ever seen. If ever you get a chance to see them, go! (Deborah is threatening to travel anywhere in Europe to see the whole trilogy).

Story of a Rabbit, Hugh Hughes, ****1/2

Very similar to last year's Floating (which he was also reprising this year). A gentle but mildly chaotic ramble through the story of the death of his father.

Eurobeat - Almost Eurovision, *****

The funniest, cheek aching thing we saw. A spoof Eurovision contest with 12 acts. The audience were randomly given national badges and sold flags, and then could vote for their favourite act. The steward at the front got the whole crowd whipped up into a Club 18-30 frenzy before it even started, and it then just got better and better. There were lovely spoofs of Bjork, Nina Mouskuri and Kraftwerk, a Russian boy-band called the KG-Boys, a crass UK entry (Love is Love, Love) and the inevitable Abba clones. The two real highlights though were the gay Estonia entry based around a success young politician, gym scenes, Chippendale reveals and spandex hotpants, and an Irish songster with so much dry ice that initially we couldn't see him, and by the end he was singing with his back to us. A wonderful nights entertainment.

Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, 1927, *****

Probably the biggest hit of the festival and justifiably so. Also the closest thing we've seen to Forkbeard Fantasy. With a 1920s cabaret atmosphere (and suitably dank venue) one woman plays mournful piano, whilst two others in severe white make-up recite or act short pieces, interacting with the grainy video behind them. Just lovely.


Monday 27th August

Ashes, Dancing Shadows Theatre Company, *****

Possibly my favourite piece, and the one that I can see joining "Walking on Sticks" that I saw back in the 90s as a really haunting Festival memory. The stage is covered in torn and burnt paper. Four characters arrive, and through the fragments trace their life stories, two from the 2nd Millennium, two from a the 3rd Millennium. As the tag line says, "What burns doesn't matter. What matters doesn't burn." Stunning acting, staging, words and ideas.

As we left I picked up a fragment of paper. I hope they don't mind - it was the last night. Nicely it has no identifying marks so will be a nice challenge to see if I can find out where it's from,

Dai, Iris Bahr, ****1/2

Our only solo play. Iris Bahr plays a dozen characters, all enjoying a drink in an Israeli cafe, all playing out the last minutes of their lives before a terrorist bombs the cafe. Very talented and honest. Wonderful.

Debbie Does Dallas - The Musical, ****

Great fun and not a naked body in sight (well one brief male rear view).

Birdwatching, Alex Horne, ****

Our only stand-up. No punch line jokes, just a funny commentary on a year spent birding with his father. Will always have my respect as he thought me in my late 20s and too young to be his prototypical Dad for the show. Mind you just as well we didn't start talking about plane spotting, toy soldiers or my job!

Pupperty of the Penis, ****1/2

There goes the blogs R rating. We felt we had to see them and it was very funny. They two guys doing it just really enjoy it and are really natural. It was just two naked guys having fun. No smut, no porn, no innuendo, no sex, just good plain fun. Whilst the whole audience spent the first few minutes in complete shock it was fascinating how quickly most people became habituated to it. In fact the show could have been 10 minutes long and have lost little, since once you've seen a man bend is penis around a few times there's nothing much more to see.....

A great way to end the Festival.

+ + +


So that's it. We saw 19 shows - a new record - and reckon that next year by taking more advantage of the Friends 2for1 and maybe an early booking of an even more central hotel we can do even more for possibly less. Overall the quality of what we saw was even better than last year - but we were deliberately seeking our Fringe First and 4-5 star reviews. Not a single student production for instance. But we certainly got the quality we paid for.


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Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

First C# code and LibSL Bot

How to create a basic libSL bot - libsecondlife

Wrote my first C# code today to start running a bot in SL through LibSL. Worked pretty well and soon extended the code to get the bot to do things - must fight the temptation to write a full remote bot controller and instead focus on the AI aspect!

SL down for the afternoon now, but projects for the next few weeks include:

- getting web services to work in C# so I can look up our existing Discourse bot engine rather than have to rewrite it in C#.

- getting C# to talk to TSAPI TTS API

- getting C# to talk to a USB prototyping board for mixed reality systems.


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Saturday, 7 July 2007

Friday, 29 June 2007

Stigmergic Systems

The home of stigmergic systems

Might be something interesting here.

"It is a very clever strategy used by nature to get colonies of insects to self-organize, tell each other where to find food, create sophisticated messaging systems and build complex architectural structures."


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Tuesday, 26 June 2007

The Sci Phi Show

The Sci Phi Show

Great podcast about issues where SF starts hitting philosophical issues.


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Monday, 25 June 2007

Friday, 22 June 2007

Kaneva

How's this for a mash-up? Sat in my apartment in the Kaneva virtual world, watching a machinima made in Second Life, on YouTube.

Probably shouldn't judge Kaneva too early since its only in Beta, but initial impressions are:

- look and feel not much beyond SL, certainly not FF standards
- movement more like There, better than SL
- interface a bit fiddly with lots of floating menus that get in the way
- very laggy, even worse than SL, but is in Beta
- looks like its going for a fairly closed approach - ie user construction is controlled
- love the ability to paste in YouTube embed links
- extensive use of AI avatars as shop keepers. If AI avatars are going to be this prevalent then that alone should cut a few years off the Turing test, you just get used to having human looking AIs around
- you buythings through the AI avatars, that means that in a shop people cluster round the shop assistant, not the goods (as they do in SL)
- use of the web for many functions (eg adding media) actually gets in the way
- apartments are disembodied, so its teleport all the way, even more than in SL

All in all its an interesting experience but no substitute for SL. But not everyone wants/needs SL. What it probably does do though is give a good view of what Sony Home might be like. Kaneva's best bet might be to sell out to Microsoft fast to get Kaneva onto the XBOX.


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Thursday, 21 June 2007

Strange Maps

strange maps

Lovely site, especially the map of the USA with states renamed to countries with similar GDP.


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Encyclopedia of Life

Encyclopedia of Life

This will be lovely when live. One page for every species on Earth.


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The $20,000 Question: An Essay by Extropia DaSilva

Gwyn%u2019s Home » The $20,000 Question: An Essay by Extropia DaSilva

"We think a lot about the nature of the brain, and whether computational substrates can be dense enough to enable thinking within them. I know exactly how that's going down, I think SL is dreaming. It could be looked at as one collective dream." - Philip Rosedale

Cracking essay by Extropia DaSilva on AI in SL


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Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Teen SL Blog

Teen SL News

A new blog by a British resident of Teen SL.


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Zoho - web database

Zoho Creator - Online Database Application

Having got into using Google Spreadsheet this looks like a good next step - a web database.

Add this to Google's recent purchase of a PowerPoint lookalike and the web desktop looms close.


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Second Earth

Technology Review: Second Earth

Cracking article on the potential future merger of virtual world (Second Life et al) and "Neogeography" (Google Earth etc).


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Monday, 18 June 2007

Streetviewr

streetviewr

A collection of the best shots from Google's Street Viewer service which provides ground based streetside shots to complement the aerial/orbital photography of Google Maps/Earth.


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7th Son

Home

7th Son is an audio novel that's being written by JC Hutchins with a lot of promotional interplay in Second Life. Well worth checking out.

Update - busy listening my way through this. Each of the 2 books so far is about 24 x 20 minute episodes read by the author. So far, its not brilliant but its not bad, and at least it begings to get to grips with some of the issues that GND (Genetics/Nano/Digitalisation) technologies coudl bring about.

Third book comes out in July, so I've got 2 weeks to get up to speed!


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Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Destroy TV

DTV

An avatars life relayed to the web. An Electric Sheep "sheep labs" project.


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Friday, 25 May 2007

Ghost - A new AI project


Yesterday I kicked off a new AI project. For the last few weeks we've been getting a mimic bot up and running in SL. A mimic bot is one that learns purely by hearing what people say to it, and then re-saying those things later and then remembering the response. You end up with a very natural chatbot, but one that hasn't got the faintest idea whatit is talking about. We think there'll be a great market for them in SL as drunks at the end of the bar! e also added some explicit learning, and the aim is to make them a simpler alternative to our Discourse based chatbot.

But walking back from the BCS/RSI event with Rod Brooks (Director CSAIL at MIT) I had a sudden brain-wave as to how this mimic technology could be used to do something that I've been thinking about for ages - and do it incredibly elegantly and in a way that for the moment is only possible in a virtual world.

So yesterday I found the time to cut the code and put it into operation. It's a real struggle not to say a lot about it now, but I want to get a few months data before making it public. I'm not saying it will revolutionise AI (it won't), but it might really open peoples eyes as to the possibilities.


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The Signal

The Signal - Home Page

Been trying to find some new podcasts to listen to and came across The Signal - a podcast dedicated to Firely - the Joss Whedon (Buffy) cancelled Sc-Fi series, that then spawned the Serendipity movie.

Its an incredibly well produced show, covering both real and fan developments in the Firefly universe, an episode of a fan drama series, an article about canon matters, reviews, fan film updates, an article on Hitch-Hikers Guide, music and musch more. No suprise that it won the Peoples Choice in the 2006 Podcast Awards.

Browncoats (Firefly fans) are active in both SL and Multiverse building Firefly worlds. Much as I'm not a particular fan of Firefly (even more wagon-train in space than Star Trek, especially for a supposed 2500 AD setting), you have got to admire the professionalism and energy of these guys and girls. If only we'd had these sort of resources available when Traveller was in its hayday.


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Monday, 21 May 2007

Gun Porn

Defense Review - DefRev Exclusive: FN P90 PDW Promotional/Sales Video.

A replacement for the old SMG I assume. What is interesting about this and other weapons on the site is how they increasingly resemble weapons from Traveller, other SF RPGs and SF movies. The FN P90 even goes "byeond bullpup" (ie magasine behind trigger) by placing the magasine along the top of the weapon.


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Monday, 14 May 2007

Wandora - Topic Map Extractor

Wandora - WandoraWiki

Quite a nice app to create topic maps from a variety of sources


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Friday, 11 May 2007

Independent SL Stats

comScore Finds that %u201CSecond Life%u201D Has a Rapidly Growing and Global Base of Active Residents

Interesting stats from Comscore - who it looks like monitor web activity by tracking what uses do with their PCs, rather than tracking on the site side. Overall shape of the data is very similar to the detailed LL data.


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Thursday, 3 May 2007

Sl @ 6 Million

Second Life crossed the 6 million mark yesterday. Mind you with Gartner predicting 80% f active Internet users having a "second life" (note lower case) by 2011 this figure is set to grow and grow!


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Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

SL Country Stats

Second Life | Economic Statistics

Interesting to see the Top 20 countries in SL:

Country Percentage
United States 31.19%
France 12.73%
Germany 10.45%
United Kingdom 8.08%
Netherlands 6.55%
Spain 3.83%
Brazil 3.77%
Canada 3.30%
Belgium 2.63%
Italy 1.93%
Australia 1.48%
Switzerland 1.29%
Japan 1.29%
Sweden 0.95%
Denmark 0.88%
China 0.61%
Austria 0.56%
Greece 0.55%
Turkey 0.51%
Mexico 0.48%

The UK used to be 2 or 3 behind USA and Canada. Interesting how much Canada has dropped and France risen. Certainly see a lot of French visitors on Daden Prime.


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Created in Birmingham

Created in Birmingham

Nice Brum based blog with an arts focus, and links on to several other Brum blogs.


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Real Life Architects in Second Life

Second Life architect plans artist retreat - Building

Real Life Architects in Second Life (the RLASL Group in SL) is opening an Architecture Island in SL.


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Ernst Adams

Ernest W. Adams

Thuis guy is speaking on the future of computer entertainment to 2050 at a BECTA event in Birmingham next week.


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Monday, 16 April 2007

Friday, 13 April 2007

Nice use of SL for public consultation/pressure

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Second Life ploy for Paris garden

But local residents' association Accomplir (Accomplish) says residents have not been consulted over the gardens which they say are at the heart of local life.

Virtual reward

The association is urging locals to come up with their own ideas for the area's gardens and post them in the online world of Second Life, where people create virtual doubles of themselves called avatars.

Accomplir will shortlist five of the best projects, which will then be displayed on an island in Second Life.

The winner will be announced at the end of June and receive a reward of 275,000 linden dollars (785 euros, £530), the currency used in Second Life.

Accomplir will then go to the town hall with the winning idea, aiming to put pressure on officials to speed up the redevelopment process.


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ComBOTS

ComBOTS

combot

Quite nice take on the desktop avatar idea. Now if only one of those was an AI....


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Micro-UAVs

Float like a robot butterfly - tech - 11 April 2007 - New Scientist Tech

Great article (with video links) on state-of-the-art with mechanical flying insects.


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Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Knowledge Represenation

How To Tell Stuff To A Computer - The Enigmatic Art of Knowledge Representation

Nice simple intro to the topic.


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aLife Ants

YouTube - Ants in Second Life

Nice aLife ants in SL. Now if only they would eat those pesky Cannon Flower seeds.


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Second Life Speedbuild


Click To Play

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MMO market worth $1bn

BBC NEWS | Technology | Virtual worlds are 'worth $1bn'

A Screen Digest report, quoted by the BBC, says that the "market for massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) in the West is now worth more than $1bn (£511m)".

"Revenues from subscriptions to MMOGs will hit $1.5bn by 2011, he said." although limited compared to "developing markets such as video on demand, which is expected to be worth $11.4bn from revenues in four years' time."

"Subscription MMOGs still dominate the market, accounting for 87% of all revenues, said the report, which examines the market only for North America and Europe."

TOP FIVE MMOGs*
World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft (above)
RuneScape
Final Fantasy Online
Everquest
City of Heroes/Villains
*determined by subscription revenue
Source: Screen Digest

The report says a number of new MMOG genres were emerging, including:

# Virtual world building games, such as Second Life

# Virtual pet rearing games, such as Neo pets

# More casual MMO puzzle games

# Sports games in which you have to buy items and build up your character

"The inherent social and community-building aspects of MMOGs are widening the sector's influence on other social networking sectors and online games markets"

Earlier this month at the Game Developer's Conference, in San Francisco, the developers of MMOGs predicted that big media companies would be moving into the market.

The Screen Digest report agreed, predicting that "traditional media companies are seeking to bring their non-gaming brands into the 3D online environment.

"These companies aim to build online communities, increase brand awareness and gain access to key consumers that can be monetised to offset falling offline advertising revenue."

"More than 10 million people will subscribe to MMOGs by 2011 [Note: WoW already has 8m so with Runescape and Habbo and SL we must already be past this surely], and many millions more will play online games driven by other payment schemes, such as advertising and virtual purchases, the report predicted."


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Thursday, 5 April 2007

Monday, 2 April 2007

ACME GeoRSS Viewer

ACME GeoRSS Map Viewer

Great little quick and dirty Google Maps viewer for GeoRSS files.


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Saturday, 31 March 2007

Voice and the future of SL

Gwyn%u2019s Home » The Schism Around Voice: Multicasting vs. Broadcasting

Interesting post by Gwyneth Llewelyn on what SL actually is, and how voice might change it. Her analysis is broadly in line with mine, SL (or at least virtual worlds) are a medium, and a syncronous one at that.


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SL Brands Map

sl brand map

Neat map of major RL brands in SL from Kzero, who also have a good directory of SL brand sites.


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Tuesday, 27 March 2007

GeoGlobe

GeoGlobe

Over the last few months we've been playing with an SL-Google Earth mashup using our NewsGlobe app. That work put us into contact with Hayduke Ebisu from the SL Science Centre and Envirolink (and our neighbour in Nari), and Stephane Zugzwang who has built a VR Room in SL (where you stand withing a complete sphere on whose walls are projected hi-rez 360 degree images.

It was only a matter of time before we worked out how to get our NewsGlobe feeds plotted on the inside of one of Stephane's huge spheres, so that with a suitable Earth image you can watch news stories and other global data appear all around you - we call it GeoGlobe. Stephane has done a great job of creating a really compelling interface, complete with flying data points.

For more information read the post at the
Envirolink blog, which also has a SLURL to the demonstrator. If you would like to know more about the system, have a personal demo, or have a real-world application then please contact us, Hayduke or Stephane.


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Second Life tops 5 Million

Second Life topped 5 million yesterday. What's more interesting is that the "logged in last 60 days" figure is running at 1.57 million.


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Friday, 23 March 2007

Guardian Media Summit

summit logo

Spent yesterday at the MediaGuardian Changing Media Summit subtitled 'Are you ready to play in the age of personal media?'

Overall it was a bit of a disappointment. Like several other recent events it appeared to be playing catch-up, still talking about media and new media, not old media and media - or just media.

The best panels were on radio (but with a woeful lack of focus on podcasts) and games (with Justin of Rivers Run Red doing a credible piece on Second Life, and some good stats on Habbo Hotel (30m registrations but 1m a month and 30 min sessions).

The session on mashups and geoloc just talked about mobiles :-(, and the TV session focussed on IPTV and established players rather than Joost and YouTube.

One of the few initial insights was about the fact that audience doesn't equal community and the notion of 'the people formally known as the audience' - referring to UGC.

However things took a definite turn for the better in the final session with Tom Loosemore (the BBC's web 2.0 guru), Alan Rusbridger (Editor of the Guardian) and Andy Duncan, CEO Channel 4. Alan had a wonderful meaningless diagram that he talked to in delightfully random way (whilst making complete sense), Andy spoke real sense and namechecked SL a couple of times, but Tom was the real star. Yes he was more pessimistic about SL, but was spot on around things like the increasing role of the "editor", and the way that media companies need cope with both an older generation that is not IT savvy, and also working out how to cede to control to the upcoming YouTube and MySpace generation.

My own take on the whole day was seeing the media company of old a a vertically integrated business of creator-commissioner-scheduler/aggregrator/selector-transmitter.

What we've seen over the last decades is the transmitter role separate and fragment (seeling off UHF transmitters, then using Broadband) and creators move out into the independent sector. We now see the audience moving into the creator sector to. The next step has to be the separation of commissioning and scheduling. Increasingly I am the scheduler - whether through Listen Again, or podcatcher or my PVR. All I need is a commissioner to actually pay someone talented to make the good content (and in many cases that is self commissioned, eg by the podcaster).

For the future perhaps, as Tom indicated, the real rolefor the BBC and big media organisations is purely as reputation stamps and commissioners. I'll choose to schedule in something I've never heard of because it comes with the BBC stamp of approval - through inclusion on their schedule or form their commissioning. Of course the other model is that I base reputation on peer recommendation (or peer subscription). And if I build my schedule then I can share that with others, or buy into others schedules. This applies increasingly across all media - TV, radio (or rather tele-audio, radio is completelyy the wrong label and caused all sorts o wrong assumptions in the radio session), and even print (in the form of RSS and self-printed newspapers - surely an idea who's time has come again.

A decade or so the Guardian produced a demo of an A4 self-printed newspaper on Tyvek indestructible paper. That is the sort of vision that was missing at this conference, and the dis-integration issus above are what it should have been discussing.

Oh, and the best bit. At lunch I'd been talking to this guy from a search engine marketing firm about SL, about how its search is broken, about whether Google would buy it, and how it might develop in the future. At the end of the conference the same guy, aka Richard Gregory, COO Latitude, stood up as the event co-sponsor to draw things to a close and invite people to the reception, and he spoke about about SL, about how its search is broken, about whether Google would buy it, and how it might develop in the future! My words were ringing in my ears.


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Guild Wars vs World of Warcraft Dance Contest

YouTube - Guild Wars Vs World of Warcraft Dance Contest

Great fun bit of machinima.


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Wednesday, 21 March 2007

BBC Thinking Aloud on Runescape

BBC - Radio 4 - Thinking Allowed talks about the social issues around virtual worlds such as Runescape.


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Sunday, 18 March 2007

Dedric Mauriac's Blog

Dedric Mauriac is a well known scripter and gadget maker in SL.


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Tuesday, 13 March 2007

SL EcoWiki

Main Page - SL EcoWiki

Wiki of the guys behind the SL Ecosystem. Keen to keep a sgement of Daden Prime as an a-life reserve.


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Monday, 12 March 2007

Virtual worlds set for shake-up

BBC NEWS | Technology | Virtual worlds set for shake-up

Big media firms are rushing to copy the success of online games like World of Warcraft, a conference has been told.

Millions of dollars are being spent trying to emulate the massively multiplayer online game, experts at the Game Developer's Conference said.

"We are going to have so many failures it is going to be unbelievable," said Mark Jacobs of Electronic Arts.

The panel also predicted that non-gaming MMOs such as Second Life would be prevalent in the short term.

Speaking at the San Francisco event, Mr Jacob, who is currently working on Warhammer Online, said: "There is going to be a lot of corpses, rubble all over the place.

"There is so much dumb money. Mass media is coming in and saying we want to be just like WoW."


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Sony unveils its new 3D universe

BBC NEWS | Technology | Sony unveils its new 3D universe

Sony is hoping to replicate the success of social networks and Second Life with a feature called Home.

Playstation 3 gamers will be able to meet, chat and share content with friends inside a 3D universe.

"It's about community, collaboration and customisation," said Sony's Phil Harrison at the Game Developers Conference, in San Francisco.

Gamers can buy furniture and clothes, while publishers and retailers are also expected to offer 3D spaces.


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Saturday, 10 March 2007

Daden Prime Delivered

Just been notified by Linden Labs that Daden Prime has been delivered. Not showing on the map yet so need to use the back door to get in!


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Sunday, 4 March 2007

Graham Bleathman Illustration

marineville

Graham Bleathman Illustration - Homepage

Looking for some diagrams of Tracy Island for my SL island and found the home page of the guy who did loads of TV21 cutaways. Even some original pages for sale.


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Saturday, 3 March 2007

My Second Life

Almost as good as Better Life. Superb SL based Machinima.


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Metaverse Roadmap

Metaverse Roadmap: Pathways to the 3D Web

Woudl be good to get this running in the UK as well.


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NASA Orion CEV

orion scehamtic

SPACE.com -- Project Orion: NASA's Next Spaceship Takes Shape

I'm sorry, but that's an Apollo Command Module. The Orion of the 21st Century is a sleek shuttle rising gracefully to an catherine wheel space station as in 2001, not a throwback to the 1960s. It makes one feel that NASA ought to just give up and ask Branson and Burt Rutan to take over.

And no first flight til 2015, and no moon til 2020.


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Friday, 2 March 2007

UVVY

Main Page - Uvvy

Not the faintest who they are, but they own the Uvvy island where the SL World Transhumanist Meetings are held.


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Thursday, 1 March 2007

NSPCC in Habbo Hotel

BBC NEWS | Technology | NSPCC books in to virtual hotel

I keep telling clients that much as I love Second Life it isn't the only world in town, and they need to chose the most appropriate world for each project.

As an example NSPCC has set up in Habbo Hotel, a long standing isometric teen virtual world. Habbo Hotel UK now attracts 750,000 unique users each month, aged 11-18. There are localised Habbo communities in 29 countries. The company behind Habbo said that as of December 2006 more than 66 million Habbos have been created around the world.


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Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Tetrads

The Resonating Interval: Exploring the Tetrad

This looks like the best site so far on Tetrads, with lots of examples.

Looks like I'll have to resurrect my "model of the month" slot on the main Daden web site; and spend the next few train journeys creating my own tetrads for new and old media.


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Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Lonergan and a "generalized empirical method" (GEM)

Bernard Lonergan [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

Lonergan generalized the notion of data to include the data of consciousness as well as the data of sense. From that compound data, one may ascend through hypothesis to verification of the operations by which humans deal with what is meaningful and what is valuable. Hence, a "generalized empirical method" (GEM).

Cracking philosophy web site too.


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Media Tetrads, McLuhan and Virtual Worlds

Just reading about McLuhan in order to understand a bit more what it means when we talk about virtual worlds as being a "new medium". Cam across his concept of media tetrads - which appear to be a lovely model to use. And how I love models....


Marshall McLuhan: "The Medium is the Message"

Four Questions Applied to Media
We are concluding our considerations of Marshall McLuhan's pertinence with an examination of ideas found in his last work, The Global Village, published in 1989, twenty-five years after his monumental Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. In his early works McLuhan focused on the rapid change in the five centuries since the development of the printing press and movable type, and the especially rapid developments of the twentieth-century. McLuhan died in 1980 and was beginning to see the first fruits of the television generations as well as the fulfillment of some of his predictions. He was deeply concerned about man's willful blindness to the downside of technology, yet McLuhan was not an irrational alarmist.

In his later years, and partially as a response to his critics, McLuhan developed a scientific basis for his thought around what he termed the tetrad. The tetrad allowed McLuhan to apply four laws, framed as questions, to a wide spectrum of mankind's endeavors, and thereby give us a new tool for looking at our culture.

The first of these questions or laws is "What does it (the medium or technology) extend?" In the case of a car it would be the foot, in the case a phone it would be the voice. The second question is "What does it make obsolete?" Again, one might answer that the car makes walking obsolete, and the phone makes smoke signals and carrier pigeons unnecessary. The third question asks, "What is retrieved?" The sense of adventure or quest is retrieved with the car, and the sense of community returns with the spread of telephone service. One might consider the rise of the cross-country vacation that accompanied the spread of automobile ownership. The fourth question asks, "What does the technology reverse into if it is over-extended?" An over-extended automobile culture longs for the pedestrian lifestyle, and the over-extension of phone culture engenders a need for solitude.

With the radio and television we have simultaneous access to events on the entire planet. However, television culture diminishes, or amputates, many of the close ties of family life based on oral communication. The simple act of turning on a television can reduce a room of people to silence. What is retrieved is the tribal or interrelated view of man. What it becomes or returns to is the global theater, where people are actors on a stage. One need only witness the event status of an airplane crash or weather disaster.


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Sunday, 25 February 2007

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Talking to TV People

Fascinating day today presenting and sitting in on a virtual worlds stretgy session for a major UK broadcaster. Some wonderful ideas coming out and would be great to stay involved with some of them. Again story telling (see Digital Futures and Digital Dinner posts) was a key theme.


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Wednesday, 14 February 2007

ClickOn - Second Life

The second Click On programme was on tonight with me in Second Life helping BBC reporter Rajesh Mirchandani to interview Simon Stevens, a Second Life entrepreneur and celebrity who suffers from cerebral palsy.


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Friday, 9 February 2007

Wifi Enabled Picture Frames

kodak frame

Kodak's new digital photo frames have Wi-Fi, play sound and video - CES 2007 - Consumer Electronics Show Las Vegas - CNET.com

I cam very close to buying a digital photo frame the other week, but when I read that Kodak were about to release a WiFi enabled one I decided to hold off. Now seeing as it also shows MP4 and has speakers does that mean I can start to watch internet TV on it? Or can you hack it to show RSS feeds?


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MyVu

myvu

:: myvu ::

- now if only I could get SL on this.


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Yahoo Pipes

Pipes: Rewire the web

Heard about this yesterday, and then again from BBC Backstage just now. Looks liek across between RSS and a Moog sythesiser. Great potential and could even replace/supplement my bayesian filtered RSS.


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PBWiki.com

PBwiki.com | Free Collaborative Editing & Publishing

Nice hosted Wiki service.


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WALRUS Data Visualisation

3d data image

CAIDA : tools : visualization : walrus

Nice 3D data visualisation package.

tree of life

A version done using the "Tree of Life" taxonomy from NSF


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Thursday, 8 February 2007

West Midlands Digital Dinner

In deep snow today. Even so Advantage West Midlands Digital Dinner went ahead and was well attended. The content of the BT keynote was a bit old hat, and the demo video even worse. AWM announced a new Serious Games project to be hosted out of UCE which has got to be good news, particularly as I'm starting to do some work for the Serious Games Institue in Coventry.


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BBC Radio 4 ClickOn - Connected Home

The first of the ClickOn BBC Technology Magasine radio broadcasts went out tonight with my short piece in it on the Connected home.

Listen to it, but I wish to point out that the background jazz did not come from my multi-room audio system.


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Mediascapes

Create-A-Scape - Home

Quite a nice application that lets you assign images and sounds to a map and then wlk around the real location and have the media triggered manually or by GPS.


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Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Digital Futures

digital futures logo

Had a great day today up at Digital Futures - a new media event being held for old media people up in Manchester. The morning was mostly new media, talks from Channel 4, and some web/interactive media and serious games people. Even the presenter realised though that the Digital Future is actually a Digital Now (or even a Digital 10 Years Ago), and that new media is now just old media.

Over lunch had a chance to play with a Wii on a projection screen. Tennis was just like real tennis, very effective.

The afternoon kicked off with a Dragons Den type event. One pitch was fine (augmented reality using 2D barcodes in a digital viewer). The other was so laughable I thought it was sppof. After 10 minutes I had no idea what the two old media guys were talking about, and they even hid behind the old "NDA" protection. They'd obviously heard the word "2.0", but didn't really get it.

Then it was my turn. We were showing of the new Digital Futures build in Second Life. I was in a side room with my laptop and a radio mic. Jude was in the main room at the lectern, her laptop and SL view being repeated on the main screen. We met up on the south side of the island and I then took her for a tour of the site and all the facilities. The combination of SL and audio worked really well.

The day finished with a great presentation on Alternate Reailty Gaming, and the scoop that Perplexcity had just been solved.

Overall a great day. Interestingly the dominant message was about "stories" and "storytelling". That is what these creative types all do, and that is what they want to bring to Web 2.0 and Web 3pointD.

All the DF material is being posted to the web at http://www.digitalfuturesnw.com, and we will also be posting the material in world at the Digital Futures island.


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Tuesday, 30 January 2007

BBC Radio 4 Interview

Rajesh Mircandani

Interviewed today by Rajesh Mirchandani at home for the new BBC Radio 4 Click On technology magasine programme. Spent alomost two hours talking to him, the whole thing recorded onto a Minidisk recorder. The microphone was bigger than the recorder. Wonderful. All very informal but I hate to think what it sounds like. Assuming they use them my first contribution on the Connected Home goes out at 9pm Wed 7th Feb, and a second on Second Life a week later.


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BFI Film and TV Database

BFI | Film & TV Info | Film & TV Database

A rival for iMDB? Many happy memories of tike spent at the BFI when I was a student in LOndon:

- people throwing up at a screening of Christiane F (when she tattoos herself with ink and a bloody nedle)
- people walking out of Peter Greenaways The Falls because they couldn't make sense of 100(?) 2 minute(?) interviews with people whose name begins Fall...
- the wonderful first re-screening of Abel Gance's Napoleon - a great silent classic with real orchestra and some sections shot in triptych.


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Friday, 26 January 2007

Janice Long's R2 Show

janicelong.jpg

0000 - 0300, but by the wonders of Listen Again I can listen to Janice Long's show as I work.

And of course it's like having our own local Moseley radio show, even the Bulls Head got a mention today as the show is recorded at the Mailbox in Birmingham and Janice lives near/in Moseley.

A worthy successor to Jane Gazzo as a DJ who is easy and fun to listen to, and who plays a good blend of the best modern music and 80s classics.


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If you could upload a digital copy of yourself into SL, would you?

WTA-SL DISCUSSION JANUARY 2007

If you could upload a digital copy of yourself into SL, would you?"

- Pity I missed this, that's the downside of working in SL you don't get as much time to do the fun things.


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Street-fighting robot challenge announced

Street-fighting robot challenge announced - tech - 24 January 2007 - New Scientist Tech

Here comes the Terminator...


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Tuesday, 23 January 2007

CBBC World

The BBC is apparently setting up a virtual world for kids using the Larian Studios - KetnetKick engine. Doesn't look like it will push the envelope any further. Pity.


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Sunday, 21 January 2007

Girlfriend in a Coma - Douglas Coupland ****

A book of neverending suprises. Easily his best book. Far better than JPod, or even Microserfs.


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Segways

segway

For Deborah's birthday I decided to hire a Segway for the day. It just so happens that the UK distributor for Segway is based in Matlock, just 20 mins way from our cottage. Even better Cromford Meadows just outside Matlock Bath was the ideal place to play around with the all-terrain version of the Segway.

We had an excellent afternoon, and even invited some local friends to join us. We all decided that hiring a Segway is a must for several other birthdays coming up this year. Bombing across the grass at 12 mph, herding sheep and splashing through puddles on a Segway is just great fun. Everybody learnt how to use it in about a minute, it's so intuitive. Nobody fell off, and everybody ended their turn with a big smile on their face and a plea to do it again.

(click on each image above and below for a small mp4 video)

segway

segway

segway


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Friday, 19 January 2007

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

0 Degrees of Separation Tour

 


Went to the most wonderful nu-folk gig at the Glee Club organised by the Contemporary Music Network. There were 4 bands/artists, Adem, Vetiver, Vashti Bunyan & band and Juana Molina.

Unlike most gigs which would put them on one after another here the 4 bands shared the stage for almost the whole time, helping out on each others songs. Superb. The only exception, but also wonderful, was Juana who played on her own, but used a sampler to build up each line of the song, playing against numerous loops of herself.

There's lot of music samples at the relevant sites, and someone has posted video of the gig to YouTube.


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Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Web Principles

Tomski: The BBC's Fifteen Web Principles

A great set of principles.


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Joost aka The Venice Project

Joost - there's a lot of buzz about this - a new interactive TV platform on the web. Sounds close to an idea I've been mulling over for a while about being able to build my own media channel from existing output plus stuff I might like, a cross between last.fm and deli.ci.ous ( and a bit like Wired's random Web 2.0 idea generator!)


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Monday, 15 January 2007

The Free Sound Project

freesound :: home page

Wonderful resource for CC licensed sounds and sound effects


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Will Hutton - A Vintage Year for Ideas that will Change our World

Guardian Unlimited | Comment is free | 2006: a vintage year for ideas that will change our world

Great article by Will Hutton. The highlights:

- YouTube and the new web community, aka Web 2.0 and including Second Life
- Immortality is on its way, with a nod to Ray Kurzweil
- Happiness is what counts, well-being not well-off
- We're Interdependent stupid - even the US is beginning to realise that
- None of this matters if we fry - An Inconvenient Truth


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Friday, 12 January 2007

Second Life Growth

The favourite sport for the New Year appears to be trying to work out how big SL will be by the end of 2007. Banana Stein on the Goddess and Banana podcast talked about 10m users and 100,000 concurrent by year end (that should keep Linden Labs busy buying servers - assuming the architecture scales which some seem to doubt.

Tristan Lewis reckons that SL could be at 3.5m-9.6m by end April with an average of 7.3m. What is interesting is that although he made his estimate on 5 Jan 07 SL is ALREADY outstripping his forecast!

The number that really gets me is the in-world economy. SL appears to be running on a nice 100/50/1 ratio, ie for every 100 thousand users there are 50 thousand $ being spent a day and 1 thousand concurrent users. On that basis 10m users would mean $5m a day being spent in world, that is $1.8bn equivalent annually.

To me 10m sounds about right. Even that will make it bigger than World of Warcraft. The chances are the competitors (Multiverse) won't get seriously going by year end, so SL will be making all the running.

Of course the real way to predict this is by S curve. But is the S curve for SL, for virtual worlds of this generation, for worlds as consumer environments or as business environments. And when did the curve start, in 1995/6 with the first web based VR spaces, or 2003 when SL opened? And when does the curve finish - when the worlds have hoovered up the current Virtual World inclined users, or when the 2D Internet and 3D internet merge?


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Monday, 8 January 2007

The Rosetta Project

RosettaSite - the ultimate language resource?


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Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly -- Home

Kevin Kelly is a board member of The Long Now Foundation, well connected and well respected.

His blog covers various futurist issues - Technium.


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Thursday, 4 January 2007

Nice BBC News Map using RSS and GoogleMaps.

BBC News Maps - powered by backstage.bbc.co.uk

Same architecture as our NewsGlobe and Bird Flu maps.


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Torchwood - The Season Finale and Christian Imagery *****

torchwood.jpg

Watching the season finale (twice) last night I was struck by the Christian imagery that Russell T Davies was piling on - intentionally? Owen as Judas, Jack as the Son, waiting only for his Father (Dr Who) who forsook him both when he attacked the monster and when he failed to tempt him, The Tardis as the Holy Ghost (the spirit that brought Jack back to life the first time), then the resurrection of Jack after Gwen has been watching over him, the reunion with the team members (the disciples), and then the coming of the wind (the spirit/tardis/Dr Who/God) to take him away, leaving the disciples alone.

Stunning finale and an excellent series. Can't wait for Series 2.


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Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Monday, 1 January 2007

New Years Day

A very wet New Years Day walk along the Miners Track from Glan Dena to the Pen Y Gwrd Hotel. We started in the rain, the rain turned to hail as we walked up under Tryfan, then turned to snow as we crossed the Glyders (just enough to make snowballs with), then turned to hail as we descended, and finally rain as we got the the PYG. Luckily a glass of hot mulled wine was waiting!


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