Wimbledon goes Live

The gates are open at the venue, the website is starting to provide all the fantastic extras. There is a more official twitter feed this year, with an author ready to share some things, likewise a facebook group for those of you who like that too. We also have the soft launch of the IBM 7 Wimbledon build in Second Life. One of the coolest things this year is Judge Hocho’s build of the roof garden. This area is a press/media/IBM only area on top of the broadcast centre. Judge has built a retreat in Second Life representing this. Everyone here who has seen it on screen have appreciated it. Nice one Judge.
epredator on the roof

Jessica, Kelly and Frank Invented Twitter

I’m not really in to Twitter and have been asked several times in the last couple of weeks to explain this dark ages behaviour. Sorting through some old patent disclosures, I found that I’d been part of a group that had tried to patent something that essentially was Twitter, in 2003, so it seemed appropriate that I should explain my inconsistencies.

In IBM we used a predecessor to Sametime 7.5, called ICT, for instant messaging. Like Sametime, it allowed you to set a status message with a limited number of characters. Most people left this as the default, “I am online”, “I am away”, but some of us would use it to describe what we were actually working on (this was before Blogs really took off).

We soon got a little bored with this (“I’m writing Java code” soon gets dull, no it was always dull), so we began to be a little more creative, setting our statuses to be little hidden messages that only a small group of people, or even just an individual would understand. It was completely unreliable. The chances of that person hovering over your name, on their buddy list, when you had a message for them was pretty small. That was part of the attraction, because if they did, it was a really nice feeling. It was the equivalent of catching someone’s eye in a meeting and knowing what each other are thinking.

The trouble was, the status messages weren’t persistent, once it had changed there was no way of going back in time. It seemed like a bit of a flaw, so we tried to patent a, “system for the persistence of sequential status messages” (hello Twitter!). It even had a nice little visual mockup included:

This is impressive, not for it’s similarity to Twitter, but for the fact that in the 5 years since, I’ve lost my hair and gained wrinkles, but Kelly looks exactly the same as she does now, i.e. 13. Anyway, the patent rightly got nowhere as there wasn’t anything technologically novel in it.

Over time we stopped setting these status messages, it was fun while it lasted, but I think we just got bored of it. I think this has started to happen for blogging and I think it will for Twitter too. They’re both here to stay, but not in the form they currently take. I think auto status generation will grow and inferences drawn from those will answer the question, “What am I doing now?”. I really don’t see people carrying on writing, “I’m playing cards with @youknowwho” for too much longer.

In the meantime, the thing that will really take off, will be email. 2009 will be the year when people start sending each other emails again, it’ll be like 1998 all over again and I can’t wait. Email is still my favourite form of electronic communication.

* I should also point out that I am wrong about everything like this, always and there is also the possibility that I just don’t get it.

Some of the faces behind eightbar

There are some notable absences from this video that quickly zooms around some of the people behind eightbar and its extended family. They are by no means all virtual world people, but there is a healthy coverage and interest along with all things web2.0
Just a shout out to the band really as we were saying goodbye to Alice (well sort of goodbye as she is back on Extreme Blue as a student contributor on monday)
If you click through to youtube you will get something annotated using the new youtube annotation feature.
I dont want to get too gushy, but you guys rock 🙂 (as do those who could not be in the pub that night)

Applying Virtual Worlds and MMO’s conference coming up July 10th London

Before the Wimbledon frantic time hits I thought it worth mentioning a conference comin up just after Wimbledon finishes. I will be on a panel at the applying virtual worlds and MMO’s conference, talking about interoperability, service orientated architecture(SOA) approaches and where I think things are going in general. The more full invite from Martine Parry is below. Hopefully see some of you there.

Apply Virtual Worlds & MMOs is a 1-day conference within the Visual Web Convention, discussing and debating the future for the visual web and virtual worlds – across platforms, functionality, content and business model. The leading MMO games developers together with leading developers in the virtual world space come together to identify the future opportunities and direction resulting in MMO and virtual world convergence over the next 6-12 months.

Conference speakers at the coal-face and architects of the new Web platform and tools – affecting the way consumers, developers and organisations play and do business – include:

· Bruce Joy – CEO of virtual worlds platform developer VastPark
· Thomas Bidaux – Development VP virtual world games developer Avaloop
· David Solari – VP Online games publisher Codemasters
· Thor Gunnarsson – VP CCP Games (Eve Online)
· Bernard Horan – Senior Engineer Sun Microsystems (the Wonderland platform)
· Rob Davis – CEO Solaris Media a leading developer of casual virtual world games for broadcasters (e.g. UKTV, BBC)
· Justin Bovington – CEO Rivers Run Red a leading in-world brands and media communications agency
· Ian Hughes – Metaverse Evangelist IBM

More at www.viswebconvention.com/pages/schedule.htm
10% discount to all who book online before end of this week. Unlock code is TEN

Wimbledon 08 in Second Life, the build progresses

With Wimbledon looming large and already qualifying starting this week you may think we are leaving it a little late to complete the build and presence in Second Life. In many ways you would be right. However, we are all giving it some time, knowing full well that we will also build during the event. It has been interesting to see what has happened to some of our scripts, in particular the tennis ball rendering with all the various updates. The base scripts done by Pipe Hesse are still htere, were still active, but seemed to have been damaged a little by the many upgrades that have occured. We are still unsure about representing the ball flow again this year, for various reasons as I alluded to in the previous post around web page on a prim. For me the complications and social interactions that can happen around collaborative web browsing this year are the key part.
In jointly building this with Andy Remblai, Judge Hocho and Laronzo Fitzgerald we have given ourselves a platform to try some things. I am accutely aware that it will be my stage for 2 weeks too and that being live in world for the event will be as big a challenge as last year, if not more so. Of course if nobody comes to visit next week that too will be a challenge, but I hope that will not be the case. Avatar fingers are crossed as we are 5 days from live (though live is a time for continuous development not a traditional hard stop, this is a virtual world and this a dynamic build environment after all.
Wimbledon 2008

Interesting movements related to the Virtual World industry

It is fair to call this an industry or a business now I think. Still a fledgling one but definitely shaping into an industry. One of the ways you I think you can tell is that stories are not just about what has been done with a technology, but start to get stories and general interest in the people doing things with them. Much of Web 2.0 is dotted with Rock ‘n’ Roll personalities. Virtual worlds have created another set of names to know and personalities to track around various companies.
With the various moves around Linden Lab, Philip Rosedale stepping aside and Mark Kingdon joining as the CEO it was interesting to see that this was news that appeared in all sorts of business journals and publications.
The most recent, and significant story this week has been Cory Ondrejka, former Linden Lab CTO is now Senior Vice President of digital strategy as EMI. There can be lots of discussion about the media industry and the benefits that EMI will have hiring a known name in the Virtual World and game industry. As Richard Bartle pointed out on Cory’s blog announcement this has made it to the UK Guardian business news
So we have articles not about whether virtual worlds make sense, whether working in or on them has value, but instead about how a media business is going to find new ways to reach audiences and customers. That’s business taking this all very seriously.
p.s. Good luck Cory from eightbar

Second Life live and active web pages on a prim – I never knew it did that

I have to admit to be rather excited about what we just discovered about the web page on a prim elements in Second Life now. For some reason I had assumed that the new drop downs on land management that let you replace a texture with a web page (as opposed to a video or jpg image from a URL) were simply going to render a flat image of a page. This is the pattern that had been used by third parties and also by some of out internal work in the early days of SL.
I had experimented a little with the new drop down when it went live some time ago, but today I happened to hit a page (in this case our French Open site whilst investigating some Wimbledon options.
The page rendered very well, lots of detail, readable etc, but I then noticed that the clock was flashing on the page. It was changing in real time.
Apologies to all the people who have been working on this, probably blogging to, but I had made an incorrect assumption. The web page is being rendered by the client and on top of that, whilst it cant run flash, it can cope with html and javascript based changes. For those of us on corporate networks it can also render things inside our firewalls as its client side once the URL is set by the land parcel.
Interaction is still a problem of course, but we have ways around that. The ability to get to web information in a shared fashion always seemed to be a killer app. There is so much content out there and people don’t always want to rebuild everything. So in the hunt for interoperability at the data level we also now have some tools to hand in Second Life for interoperability on glass.
To highlight the dynamic nature of this here is a video of twittervision doing its thing in SL.

Jump Around, Jump Around get up get up and get down – Interoperability

As has been blogged and reported and twittered there was a little experiment that had some success yesterday involving common login’s from Second Life and OpenSim. A form of avatar interoperability, albeit across very similar platforms.
One of the best places to read this is here at Zha Ewry’s blog as he’s running the IBM side of the experiments.

Lego Augmented Reality Kiosk from Total Immersion

Augmented reality, we love it here at eightbar. The blend of the real and the virtual. Roo recently wrote about the Radio 1 band in your hand now you need to see this excellent Lego AR kiosk. (Thanks to our collegue Alex Phillips (a.k.a DK) who pinged me a similar demo from a conference by the same people)
It is by Total Immersion

The Metaverse 3

Forces gathered in IBM Hursley House yesterday. Whilst we cant see which briefing we were doing there were three of us there from the industry. Roo and Ren (No relation) Reynolds and myself were swapping anecdotes, ideas and whats been going on from an industry point of view in virtual worlds to a very interesting group of people, who did not need convincing.
As this was officially and through our briefing centre we had name plaques. So being the interweb tech geeks and camera enabled we all took the same photo.
The metaverse 3
Click through to the notes on this Flickr photo to see what happens when the Metaverse 3 gather 🙂
We may not have as many metarati as the US West Coasters or as Brooklyn, but there is still a lot of shared knowledge over here in the UK and quite often centred around Hursley.