Come On Tim!

Whilst Ian and Roo are busy on site, keeping the virtual Wimbledon wheels turning and evangelising as they do best, I’ve found myself spending more and more time hanging around the build on “IBM 7”.

So much so, I felt I needed to show some good old-fashioned biased support for the Brits. My suggestion of making the virtual Henman twice the size of the other players didn’t get very far. These views are my own and not necessarily those of IBM. 🙂

Come on Tim

Update: seems my support wasn’t quite enough.

Explaining Web 2.0 state of mind – great slides

I saw this posted on our internal blogs. As many of you may know every IBMer has access to blogcentral powered by lotus connections and much of what is in these slides is what many of us try and do already.
The patterns of working and simple reasons expressed here are really powerful. It was these sort of approaches that got us to where we are in Virtual Worlds, and why eigthbar exists at all.

The principle of starting small and just letting things grow from passionate user contributions is a hard one for many people to grasp. It is not the only way, but it seems to be a good way.

Wimbledon is Live – Learning all the time, and yes we do need Sir Cliff

Well despite lots of rain we have seen some play at Wimbledon and had our first day of visitors. Andy and I have been busy talking to people and taking feedback.
Several interesting points have come up.
We don’t have scripts running on the public IBM islands to reduce griefing. This has a knock on effect for people wanting to bloghud and twitter from in world. This is a pity, but its better to be safe.
Secondly, we have some things we would like to automate but have never had to with the regular scoring feeds at Wimbledon. Things like player change overs and rest breaks take time. The regular score feed has been about getting the point data out to the web. Point data is that, not data about the rest of the things happening around it. So whilst we might imply from the tennis data what is happening we don’t have the direct instrumentation to saying player A has stopped to change his raquet. Interesting set of things that need to now be gathered.
Picture from snapzilla
Also whilst we have created seats, many people choose to stand where the other people are standing. This is actually good as it is because are interacting, which is the whole reason I am in the Wimbledon build to help.
The other comment was that it was hard to find. We have not advertised as such. This is a deliberate ‘soft’ launch. Though people who read this blog will know about it, or follow me on twitter. That combined with 4,000 IBMers is more than enough to be going on with!
With the rain I have also had lots of conversations about Cliff Richard and needing an AV of him. I bet there is not one already!

Eduserv revisited

Back in May I shared the presentation I gave at the Eduserv Foundation Symposium. It was an interesting conference, bringing academics and policy makers together to discuss the opportunities of virtual worlds. Very interesting for me, as it was the first time I’d spent much time seriously getting to grips with what education in virtual worlds might mean (something I’ve been increasingly doing ever since actually).

On Wednesday the organizers ran a follow up event; a discussion in Second Life.

Eduserv had set up a chat queuing system. While on the seats we pressed page-up to request permission and speak, and page-down when we were done. This might have been useful as a tool for moderated conversation in really big groups,  but for the 35ish of us it felt like overkill, and we soon agreed to drop it and chat normally.

The chat was being simultaneously tweeted on Twitter, and the complete transcript can can also be found online here.

Two choice quotes:

Babbage Linden: It’s easier for it [SL] to be a chemistry set than a chemistry class I think

Four Bailey: I think it’s compulsive for human beings to build – why do we enjoy the beach so much – its creative and constructive and helps you represent your thoughts regardless of your subject specialism

Andy Powell (AKA Art Fossett), who organised the event, wrote up his thoughts about the moderated vs unmoderated session as well as blogging a couple of areas which come up in the discussion; ‘being where the students are‘ and ‘building as pedagogy‘.

Wimbledon 2007 – Virtual Worlds video

With qualifying for Wimbledon starting this week and the official website up and running with live scores and information ,and the Second Life presence reaching readiness on IBM 7 for monday, I decided to finally look around at what was being officially said about everything this year, before I descend into the Wimbledon bunker for 2 weeks of virtual world and Real life presence at the event.
I very soon came to our official advert/micro site this has some very nice flash, very rez like, but also click to the Wimbledon on the web link to see this humble Eightbar metaverse evangelist discussing the merits of all things virtual world like.
Wimbledon has been a very special part of my working life since 1998, so this video makes me very happy. Also the fact that we are being somewhat more official than my mini proof of concept from last year, which had some interesting challenges thrown its way but managed to survive, really does make me feel like something has been achieved.
The experience of the real bond we have all formed centred around Wimbledon is very powerful, it may seem a clique to some, but it is very special to all those who end up being part of it. As John Tolva wrote over on his Ascent Stage blog. Some projects and experiences bind. Just as the rise of the virtual worlds this year and last have formed quite a buzzing community inside and outside of the company.
All this makes for great experience and analysis of what works with people, what does not work which I guess I put into practice on a day to day basis.
Maybe I should write that book, 10 years of Wimbledon and 16 months of Virtual Worlds in a corporate environment may make an interesting intersection of joy, war stories, mistakes and successes.

Web 2 is Web Do


I think that we are in the age of just being able to get on and do thngs. It changes the nature of many interactions people have and “power” structures. In web 2.0 if you want to do it, you just start. No great plans, just some ideas and using channels that suit

Our recent press conference, the Wimbledon Build, the presence in Second Life, this blog etc. all just examples of using whats there and just doing things. That does not mean it has to be reckless, nor does it mean it has to be unambitious. However, just start by starting and see where you end up, using whatever is available and fits

57 Miles Friday Night Geek Meet

Last night I was invited to a Geek Meet by 57 Miles of Metaversed in Second Life. 57 is part of my twitter network and it is clear that he is very interested in pushing the way the metaverse is going through doing things. Consquently I knew that we would have a great collection of people at his event. Despite being 9pm on a Friday night in the UK it seemed a great way to meet lots more interesting people and share some ideas. I only mention the time because the way we all use these bits of technology to interact and meet means that we are able to thin slice the work day. There is a fine line between work and social, and in this case I considered it both. I met with both some friends, some new contacts and even what you might call competitors. We are all sat together, in our various timezones sharing some ideas live. Now imagine trying to even consider that over a telecon, or organizing a meet like that in real life. It just would not happen. I was able to pop on the computer and engage with people.

geek meet
Photos from snapzilla

I was up to talk about our internal metaverse projects with the CIO IQ team, as well as presence in Second Life and the future considerations of standards across multiple virtual worlds. My fellow speakers from Sun and Intel also did related pieces.
57 ran it very well, we had 5 minutes to blurb, then mainly take questions.
As usual for these events too we had pre event and post event mingling and it was good to see some people who I had only really conversed with on IM, Blogs and Twitter. e.g. Aleister Kronos, where we had never met in the same space in SL.

geek meet 2

It was good to be able to take so many questions, though I htink we could have gone on for many more hours. We are “forever N00b” in these environments. Everyone has as valid a set of ideas as anyone else. We learn by doing and sharing, and that applies to individuals and corporates alike.
For me it was also good to be in a room with some people who do know what this is all about, very often I am evangelizing to people who are coming to the concepts with some confusion or fear. Having a group of 40-50 experts together really sparked my thinking on some more issues.

Here is a little video of everyone there.

Practice makes better – IBM press conference at Wimbledon today

Ian Hughes, Mark Alexander and I are joining Andy Burns and the rest of the IBM team at Wimbledon today, helping out at two mini press conferences. Excitingly, they’re taking place in…

  • Wimbledon itself (in the physical realm of London’s SW19),
  • a conference call,
  • Streaming video (on ustream),
  • Second Life (at the IBM 7 sim),
  • Flickr (mine and Ian’s),
  • … and probably more.

The first one happened this morning, but you can join the SL portion if you come along at 8:20am PDT (4:20pm BST) for the second event today.

In attendance in the real world this morning were Dr Ann Quinn (Head of Sports Science at the Lawn Tennis Association) and Ian Ritchie (Chief Executive Officer of the All England Lawn Tennis Club). Joining on this morning’s conference call was tennis star Ivan Ljubicic, though he’s playing a match this afternoon so I don’t think he’ll be able to make this afternoon’s event as well. In fact, I’m delighted he made the time the morning of a match to join us today.

Of course, all of the web-speed work can mean instant results; the first press coverage from this morning has already been blogged by the New Scientist.

These mixed reality press events are always a little improvisational, but are something we’ve been practicing for a while now. As early as November 2006 a bunch of us ran something similar with Irving Wladawsky-Berger, which was attended in the real world by several journalists – including Tim Guest, whose recent book actually covers that event in some detail. In the months since then, many more journalists seem to have already become users of Second Life (and some, of course, of several other virtual worlds too). Certainly, the general level of knowledge of virtual worlds is much higher now. So much so in fact, that today’s event was largely not even about virtual worlds, but simply used Second Life as a medium to extend the public reach of the event, just like the conference call, the web stream, and everything else.

Update: Ian has posted his own thoughts on the event too.

Update: coverage from New Scientist,, vnunet, Le Monde, Times Online, Sporting Life, …