Archive for the 'SecondLife' Category

Shock & Awesome Show: On digitally mediated sex cultures

"Shock & Awesome Show"

MixieMoxie and Mander have yours truly as a guest on their strange yet fabulous Blog.tv show, Shock & Awesome.

It started with MixieMoxie asking me whether we could “touch the Internet”. Naturally, our two hour talk show started with tele-haptics, but soon dribbled down to tele-dildonics, cybersex and the digital mediation of sex subcultures such as Furries and BDSM in SecondLife.

Aside: Despite leaving after 2hrs, MixieMoxie went on broadcasting and turned it into a six hour marathon chat session! Be sure to check out my previous interview with her as a Zivity model.

CIT 2008 // Day 2: Trying Seero.com, Filmmaking, Second Life, and Hitachi’s “Better” Smartboard…

CIT2008 @ Genesee Community College (Day 2)
Click here to see the Seero interface up close…

For the second commute to the CIT conference in Batavia, Mark McBride drove, with Ken Fujiuchi riding shotgun. I was behind the scenes, taking the opportunity to try out live video streaming with GPS tracking via Seero.com.

As you can see, I’m in the back seat managing the HP TC1100 tablet PC, connected to a Logitech webcam clipped to the driver’s headrest (FlexClip rawks!). I also have the Qstarz BT-Q1000 Bluetooth GPS recorder on my right lap. Finally, for Internet connectivity, I used the Nokia E51 and installed JoikuSpot to turn the Symbian OS cellphone into a wifi router, fed from its 3G data connection. While I was all prepared with extra power supplies, the real fail came from the wireless connectivity from both the Bluetooth GPS and the spotty 3G data connection along the Interstate highway. As much as I loved what Seero does, I couldn’t make it happen today.

CIT2008 @ Genesee Community College (Day 2)

When we finally reached Genesee Community College, Mark and I went for a presentation on “Using non-fiction filmmaking in the classroom” by Chris Gallant (UB). Googling his name, I learned that Chris Gallant won an emmy for his Anthony Capozzi HD documentary “They Made a Mistake”. At the UB Law School, he trains law students on making documentaries for building cases. Given his professional experience in production, he has students use Final Cut Express instead of iMovie. Chris noted that he makes his law students shoot video over and over again, where practice makes perfect. It would be three weeks of shooting, and the remainder of the semester on post-production. Interestingly, Chris had students check out film equipment using their library cards, quick and simple. Being legal documentaries, one of the student videos we sampled included an interview with a Jamaican musician who had trouble crossing back to the U.S. from Canada, even though he was a Green Card holder. Quite compelling.

CIT2008 @ Genesee Community College (Day 2)

Next, I joined Ken over at the Second Life presentation. He live-tweeted the panel so I’ll reproduce it here:

CIT2008 – Second Life: What is next for SUNY and SLN? (Panel Discussion)
Presenters: Alexandra Pickett – SUNY System Admin., Larry Dugan – Finger Lake CC, Terry Keys Monroe CC

Presentation available here…

Questions: How does higher ed use SL? How does it affect online and Face2Face? How does SL promote community for the online student?

SUNY Learning Network Island in Second Life (SLURL location)

Showing the Ohio University SL introduction video.

Demoing SL, but couldn’t teletport to Finger Lakes CC island. Now on Monroe CC island

Touring the Finger Lakes CC island now. Teleport finally worked

GED advisement support in SL

SUNY Live! Project. A 1.5 year experience in SL

Regular meetings on Tuesdays at 12:30 EST at the Monroe CC island.

SUNY Project Live! wiki: http://sunylive.pbwiki.com

MUVE Ahead Conference for K-16 educators in SL: http://muveahead.org

Back to SlideShare presentation: How can we support SUNY Live! Project beyond their grant?

Proposal: Student SL Commons and Learning Center, Faculty Innovation Center, and SUNY SL Plaza

look at the goals and implementation ideas from the presentation…

…but they are looking for ideas and participants to make SUNY SL sustainable.

Soon it was lunchtime, and today we had a nice spread of salad, hotdogs and chicken burger. All the food on this campus seemed healthy for some reason. Ken and I decided to tour the technology vendor booths and while we have the usual classroom projectors, computing furniture, etc, one thing that stood out for us was the Hitachi Smartboard.

CIT2008 @ Genesee Community College (Day 2)

Hitachi’s “better” smartboard used IR (infra-red) cameras instead of RF (radio-frequency) markers, so you can simply use your fingers to digitally draw and navigate the smartboard. Since no markers were needed, you won’t lose or have to buy additional components. I’ve seen lots of smartboard in my time, and this one was quite amazing to me because of its simplicity. Ken noted existing $99 wii-mote hacks that achieve similar results, but even Johnny Lee’s infamous low-cost smartboard solution required an IR light pen. Here’s a video of us exploring the vendor booths and about 4 min 20 sec in, you’ll see the Hitachi’s Starboard FX-Duo-77 smartboard in action…

In addition, my friend MrBig tipped me off on “Building your own Multitouch Pad” using Touchlib.

Finally, there was ice cream over tea-break! Perfect way to end the second summer day at CIT 2008…

CIT2008 @ Genesee Community College (Day 2)CIT2008 @ Genesee Community College (Day 2)

It’s been a while my friend… exploring Myrl

It's been a while my friend...

It’s been close to a year since I last logged into Second Life (SL nick: Kevin Suisei). Ever since I terminated my paid account, I saw little reason to continue, seeing that I’ve got too few relationships with anyone in that metaverse.

I had wanted to own land and build my own home there, but just after I signed up, they canceled provisioning of free land to new users. Without a home, I was left to wander the islands like a ghost. Without a base, there was even less attachment I had for SL.

If you look around the interface screenshot above, I do have leftover Lindens which I was intending to convert back into U.S. currency, but with the real-world economy so bad now (L$16,954 = US$59.50), I’ll hold off that idea.

The reason why I came back was to explore this new social network for metaverses called Myrl. I saw ARG researcher Christy Dena joining it (ambient awareness through social networks), and followed suit since I’ve always been interested in cross-metaverse interactions.

From Myrl’s About page:

Welcome to Myrl: Cross-metaverse Social Network Myrl is a social network for the Metaverse, a cross-worlds platform aiming at bringing virtual worlds on the web and connecting users from multiple virtual worlds. Myrl helps users to share their virtual life, publish their avatar/organization profile and automatically update it in real-time. Myrl is all about collaboration and user controlled information: avatars can share, shape, show, vote and rank what’s important to them.

Myrl, which stands for “My Real Life and My Role Life”, currently lets you connect to users from worlds like Second Life and There.com (more to follow). A game-like motivator for using Myrl comes in the form of your avatar’s karma, where the higher the karma, the stronger your influence will be in the community. Your karma is fed by:

  • Life scrobbler: how much time you’ve spent inworld
  • Interaction points: how many items you’ve submitted onto Myrl
  • Networking points: number of avatar you have invited to join the community
  • Myrlit points: how many times your avatar has been myrled

Right now I’m already experiencing social networking fatigue, so until social networks start talking to one another, I’m not really going to start from scratch with another one. Meanwhile, I’ll just tabs on sites like Myrl, just to see if we can discover more in-depth interactions between metaverses.

Why porn video games don’t work: The Uncanny Valley

I always get a kick when mainstream media (read: television shows) try their hand at talking theory. This time, Fleshbot (NSFW) pulls through with this golden nugget:

As readers of this site know all too well, there have been many, many, many attempts to meld interactive video games with hardcore porn, and despite the occasional interesting result it’s been pretty much a total failure. Why is this such an impossible task?

Writer Dashiell Bennett points out the above 30 Rock clip which tries to explain why porn video games don’t work using the Uncanny Valley theory. It’s funny, and quite succinct. If you’d like to know more, here’s a comprehensive video lecture by Karl F. MacDorman from the Indiana University School of Informatics.

BTW Trey, actually there is a “video game” that lets you get weird with each other for gold and points. It’s not realistic enough to face the problem of the uncanny valley, but it’s good enough for most.

Mapping the Social & Legal Consequences of Mediated Identities

Digital Ego: Social and Legal Aspects of Virtual Identity My last two blog post had an interesting commonality; they both reflected the increasing significance of mediated identities.

In the physical world, your identity is already represented in a multitude of ways, often delineated by geography (e.g. neighborhood), function (e.g. housewife, doctor), tribe (e.g. runners, software developers), and so on. Despite these variations of self, it is the presence of our physical being which authenticates and reinforces the imagination we have of one another.

In the online environment, this body of meaning stretches in more dramatic ways, especially when we consider the types of media to choose to represent ourselves (mediated identities). From the early Internet days of text (IRC, newsgroups ASCII art), to the rich and often exaggerated depictions through photos and videos on media sharing sites (e.g. Facebook, Youtube). Do watch Derek Lackaff’s explanation of this in my recent video interview. The by-products of these virtual selves include everything from the rise of DIY microcelebrities to satirical manifestation of an ex-Prime Minister on twitter.

While the physical realm of identity has been constantly studied under numerous disciplines such as philosophy, sociology and communication, some work has been done to illuminate the mysteries of our virtual selves, much of it to reveal why we’re willing to displace so much of our time for games like World of Warcraft or social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. Still, not enough might have been done to examine the impact that mediated / virtual identities could pose in the context of the real world.

My friend Shady pointed out an article on Massively (a MMORPG meta-blog) hinting about this topic. It lead me to Smartmobs for quick pointers on a new book focusing on the impact of virtual selves.

The book is “Digital Ego: Social and Legal Aspects of Virtual Identity” by Jacob Van Kokswijk. Here’s an abstract from the academic publisher based in the Netherlands:

Non-human virtual identities have an increasing impact on our society. A virtual identity is not just an online identity of a person, but a new technical and social phenomenon. What if software agents, powered by artificial intelligence, start acting on your behalf in a digital marketplace? What are the legal consequences of decisions made by these autonomous virtual agents?

Digital Ego counters the common belief that a virtual identity is only a temporary and innocent phenomenon, which disappears when a computer is switched off. Influenced by markets, politics and culture, cyberspace is becoming a highly regulated world where, compared to our tangible world, behaviour will be much more tightly controlled. The author addresses a broad range of social and legal aspects of virtual identities, such as the position of virtual environments in real world legal systems, and the difference between virtual and real identities.

Jacob van Kokswijk is a communications expert. He has written several books and articles about digital interactive media, user controlled technologies, cross media development and human behaviour in cyberspace. He is Adjunct Professor HCI at KAIST Graduate School of Culture Technology (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology). Jacob is also a Research Professor in digital media at the Dutch Twente University , and is currently researching the phenomenon of Virtual Identities at the Law School of the Faculty of Law, Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Strathclyde.

It’s currently a pre-order on Amazon, but you can get it through The University of Chicago Press for US$25.

Video: My views about Second Life on Channel News Asia

As some of you noticed, here’s one of my last interviews in Singapore, and it’s about Second Life. This was broadcasted on Channel News Asia’s “That’s IT” show on Wed, 2007 JUL 25, 8.30pm.

Yes, I do feel funny bringing up Second Life, as I frankly told the producer that I didn’t really login as much anymore. I’m not the only one feeling this way; there’s a debate going on as to whether Second Life is on a decline.

When the camera rolled, producer Tiffany Ang asked about what I typically do in Second Life, why people enjoy it as well as the serious applications of such MUVEs (multi-user virtual environments). I focused on the educational aspect of it, on what works (simulations) and what doesn’t (virtual classrooms). I spoke based on a previous interview I had with EdTech Librarian / SL Resident, Milosun.

While Linden Lab’s CTO, Cory, made an appearance, I also pointed out key players in our Singapore Second Life scene (Alvin Loo, Rinaz, Aileen), but I believe CNA was too strapped for time to reach them.

Aside 1: You can also view the clip on Youtube and Google Video.

Aside 2: Hat tip to Priscilla Tan for acquiring the clip and sending it via DVD to Buffalo!

Livecasting: “Web 2.0: What Went Wrong?” by Trebor Scholz

UPDATE: This was livecasted on Tuesday, 1pm EST. Here is Trebor’s high quality videocast in Quicktime format.

Having gotten the green light, I’ll be livecasting (live, not life this time) the first class of Trebor Scholz’s latest UB digital media study course, The Social Web (DMS415). Here’s the course briefing from his blog:

Today, is it feasible to live ethical, meaningful lives in the context of the Social Web?

This course formulates a critique of the Social Web. Based on the rapid growth of participation in social life online and in mobile space– from social news, referral, social search, media sharing, social bookmarking, tagging, virtual worlds and social networked games, social mapping, IM, social networking, blogging and dating, this class formulates a critical analysis of the international Social Web with regard to privacy, intellectual property, and the utilization of social creation of value through the lens of a small number of case studies in the areas of education, political activism, and art. The course starts with a history of computer-facilitated networked sociality. We’ll discuss the preconditions, motivations, and typologies of participation in order to then start to debunk the Web 2.0 ideology. The course concludes with an examination of the future of the Internet (mobile social space, net neutrality, and the changed nature of the digital divide) in order to then locate fields of possibility for social change.

Key theoretical texts that we study include Yochai Benkler’s Wealth of Networks, Henry Jenkins’ Convergence Culture, Trebor Scholz’ What the MySpace generation should know about working for free, Jurgen Habermas on the Internet and the public sphere, Fred Turner’s Where the Counterculture Met the New Economy, Jeff Jarvis’ “Who owns the wisdom of the crowd? The crowd.,” Nicholas Carr’s “Sharecropping the long tail,” Michael Hardt’s “Affective labor,” Olga Goriunova’s “From Art on Networks to Art on Platforms“ and Adam Arvidsson’s “The Crisis of Value and the Ethical Economy.”

This is a theory-based course that also teaches you to participate, discuss and analyze practices on the Social Web (e.g., the use of Facebook, Twitter, IM, blogs, SecondLife).

This Fall 2007 course will be held every Tuesday and Thursday from 1pm to 2.50pm (EST), and though I’m not likely to narrowcast those, I’ll try to share notes. In the meantime, his presentation slides are available here.

BTW: I’m auditing this class under my own academic interest.

Photos: Counting down to “Bye Bye Singapore” time…

Countdown to "Bye Bye Singapore" time

Looking through the photos of my last few days in Singapore, I think I’m turning into a geeky socialite… now if only I could turn this into a full-time profession! Continue reading ‘Photos: Counting down to “Bye Bye Singapore” time…’

Video: Crowdsourcing the Media @ Nexus 2007 (24th March 2007)

Crowdsourcing the Media @ Nexus 2007
Panelists: Kathy Teo (CNET Asia), Jennifer Lewis (STOMP), James Seng (Tomorrow.sg)
Moderator: Kevin Lim (me)

Thanks to Peter Du, we can now watch this Crowdsourcing conference panel in its entirety.

You can also watch the Second Life panel (which I was barely moderating) among the other videos on The Digital Movement’s blog. The Second Life panel featured Rina’s Relationships in Second Life, Alvin’s story on Lion City, and Aileen on doing business in SL. Second Life CTO, Cory Ondrejka, showed up a little later.

For details on both panels, take a look at my Post-Nexus 2007 Report.

In the Netherlands? Check out this Second Life Conference…

Second Life in the Netherlands Conference Brochure

Check out this Second Life conference held in the Netherlands. Now I can’t read Dutch to save my life, and that’s even though my earliest girlfriend was half-dutch. So I did the next best thing: Bablefish machine translation:

You hear everything concerning: ? Newest developments and results in the virtual world? The behaviour of your virtual consumer? Your marketing chances with 3D-internet? future expectation and consequences on your policy? Gouden tips, falcon owls and edge conditions for success PLUS: unique insights of dé preambles such as Essent – ING – municipality zoetermeer everyone whom wants know which (on)mogelijkheden 3D-internet to independent platform offer!

Gouden tips and falcon owls does sound pretty exciting, but really, from what I understand (which is quite little), the conference covers various applications about Second Life, from doing business to education. It also looks like several major corporations are involved. It’s interesting to see how “big” Second Life can be outside of the States.

Incidentally, I got wind of this through conference manager Annemarie. She had found some of my Second Life images on Flickr and asked if she could use them for her conference brochure. I of course said yesssss.