Another Second Life First for Me

Timeless Prototype, a long time and very influential member of Second Life and I met in Real Life today and had, as you would expect, a very interesting discussion around Second Life and around metaverse concepts.
We were both already aware of one anothers standing in the community and various contributions. Timeless is the creator both of the London Eye I blogged about recently and the famous Multi Gadget.

Timeless Prototype shop

I will not expose any Real Life details as that’s for Timeless to choose to do.
However, we certainly are on the same wavelength, and are both totally committed to the future that we can see, feel and already experience with these metaverse concepts.
As with the ‘business’ exchanges with various key influencers in Second Life we all seem to be very experienced people, who have mentally qualified this direction as extremely significant.
Significant enough to invest our own time and money, and convince people around us to join the cause. Those of you who look up our Second Life eightbar group will notice the membership topping the hundred mark. All individuals around the world, who all have the same employer.
I came back home from our meeting, even more inspired to find that my wife was sitting reading the Saturday Times and a 2 page spread on Second Life. Also mentioned on game tommorrow my Andy Piper
Anyway, thankyou Timeless, and I hope we get to work together somewhere and ride this incredible wave.

That certain something that needs explaining

I have recently been trying to consider, in order to explain, why there is such an effective and instant bond created when people collaborate in Second Life. Giff Constable from electric sheep
explains a particular interaction within a team and also adds “The one thing you hear over and over about Second Life is how it triggers some sort of psychological reaction in the brain that makes you feel like you are WITH somebody else, even though in reality they are thousands of miles away in front of a computer screen.”
I have a few theories. One is that currently the people who are using SL are the people who know how to communicate in this sort of way, the sense of ownership and investment being a self fulfilling virtuous circle. Which could equate to believing our own hype.
The other is that we have evolved to become more literate in electronic communication, and up to now we have been restricted by the interface. Having the experience that we all tend to have had up to now SL is such a breathe of fresh air that it opens up some things that have been squashed for so long by emails and documents. Like suddenly moving from B&W silent movies to colour surround sound and a plot we can influence.
A few of us have said also how it is changing how we look at real life, I certainly look at the architecture buildings in a new way. An adrenalin charged game entertains, enthrawls and then you need a rest. Metaverse interaction in Second Life is a continuing flow of ideas, chance meetings, humour filled interludes, discovery of other things as well as a design and tech geek environment. I can be talking cross corporation collaboration one minute and writing some code the next. This makes it more fulfilling, without a context break of changing systems, travelling to meetings, dealing with bureacracy etc.
This is not to say it is better than real life but it does allow for a more flowing approach to operating in multiple threads and modes. When you know the other people in the environment are there for the same sort of reasons you are then immediately more on one another wavelengths.

Amazon interfaces in Second Life

“Hugo Dalgleish” a fellow eightbar member in SL pinged to to say I should come and see his Amazon interface in Second Life. Spookily there were also some posts on New World Notes, and on the Amazon Web services blog about similar ideas.
we could be on the edge of a very exciting development.
Updated: with this bigger article on Hugo and his SL partners work at

The Darren and Roo Show: Gala Dinner

Last night was the Institute’s Gala Dinner, the bit where people dress up, there’s eating and even a little dancing. The meal was nice, Roo and I got to catch up with some people we knew from giving a previous Emerging Technology pitch. After the meal there was some live music by The Sun Band, who were pretty good. I liked their varied set list, a little bit of The Kinks, some Blondie, The Bangles and some Curtis Mayfield. Live music is always so much better than having a DJ.


Some of the entertainment was definitely provided by this IBMer who turned out to be a bit of a mover. I think he had a good 20 years on his partner. He started off fairly slowly, just like everyone dances, but suddenly he was spinning and throwing her all over the floor, it was actually fairly impressive. She could obviously dance too, but did looked exhausted afterwards. I’m not sure who either of them are, I’ll try find their names today.


It’s pretty cool to see people’s hidden talents coming to the fore and it seemed to get everyone else up on the dance floor, though some of us weren’t given much of a say in the matter! Anyways, it was fun, just need to prepare our presentation for today now.

The Darren and Roo show: Day 1

We’re still in Nottingham, enjoying the first full day of the IT Specialist Institute, 2006. Since we’re staying in the University halls, the rooms are not quite hotel-quality, but definitely not bad. Probably the worst bit (for a 6’4″ freak like me) is the small bed.

The breakfast was great though, as was the opening presentation from Sudhir Chardha, who presented on innovation and the GIO (Global Innovation Outlook). We are not giving our presentation until tomorrow afternoon (2 – 3pm if you’re attending the Institute and want to attend). Today we’ve been mainly hanging around underneath Darren’s very cool posters, chatting to people, demonstrating Second Life and talking about why Virtual Worlds are important.

Darren and his posters

There has been a fairly steady stream of conversations. We’ve also managed to add two more people to our (probably not very comprehensive) list of over 100 known IBM SL users who can access Ian’s island.

Darren and Roo on Tour

Roo and myself are currently in Nottingham demonstrating and presenting on Second Life for two days. It’s the IBM IT Specialist’s Institute, a yearly internal get together for people in the IT Specialist profession. Attending the institute is often used as a reward, but it’s mainly about increasing your social network and learning about other things that are happening in IBM. As well as the two days of presentations and demos there’s usually (I’m a bit of a veteran of these things) some entertainment, a nice meal and a few free drinks.

Roo and I were feeling a little peckish last night when we arrived and weren’t too confident in how filling the evening hog roast snack was going to be, so we headed off to the local town center to find some food. There wasn’t much open, it’s a student area and we’re well into Summer vacation now, but we did manage to find a Subway. So here’s Roo posing for our first Institute photo (I’m sure there’ll be more).


Second Life Relay for Life Charity walk

I came back from holiday in France the other day so had missed some of the initial coverage of this build such as over at It did not take me long to hit Second Life and see how things were progressing. Hursley Island has grown, lots of builds and lots of people. I did, as per usual though, start to explore the wider world though.
The most impressive, awe inspiring and also touching, is the very large build by many of Second Life’s leading lights for the American cancer society Second Life relay for Life 2006.
I did the entire walk, though only once so far. I bumped into many of the famous Second Lifers, Spin Martin whom I always bump into!, Cubey Terra and Timeless Prototype to name but a few.
Timeless had an excellant build for the UK/London, having been on the real London eye a few weeks ago this made it even more personal for me. Personal experience being the cornerstone of social computing.

Cubey Terra was helping people base jump from the eiffel tower

The whole build has lots of interesting architectural points, experiences and generally has a more Epcot than Epcot feel to it.
My photo blog for the walk can be found here with the slurls to the individual element, but get a pedometer and talk the walk, donate as you see fit.

UPDATE : As Eric Rice has reported the relay raised $31,520.76 USD

We Love Computers Too

It’s a funny time in Hursley at the moment. With lots of people being away on holiday it feels a little empty. That’s not to say it’s been very quiet. The last two weeks have been work experience time in the local area, so there’s been a lot of school age people on site. Being such a big site, Hursley can cater for a lot of of work exp students and it’s a pretty cool place to come and spend a week or two. As you can see from the High Performance Computing office (Emerging Tech’s neighbours), they’ve been making their mark.

We Love Computers

It’s also about this time that people on our regular student schemes start to arrive. We have IBM Futures students (aka PUEs), who are taking a year out of education, normally between college and university. There’s also ITs (Industrial Trainees), who are on the industrial placement year of a sandwich degree. Finally, there’s Extreme Blue students who work on a specific project for 12 weeks during the Summer.

These schemes are important to IBM as it’s a good way to get some of the best people in. A lot of people who start on IBM’s student schemes end up coming back as graduates. Roo, Ian and myself all started in IBM as students (though this was a long time ago). It’s also good experience for the students as they work on real projects right from the start and help keep us (slightly) older people on our toes. There’s normally a pretty active student community, Winchester and Southampton’s nightlife does very well out of IBM students. It’s a great way to spend a year.

Hursley’s Melting

Over Christmas we were having lots of debate about the temperature and lack of a cold snap, in the Hursley area. To be a little more scientific about it I climbed out a stairwell window, braved the thorny raspberry bushes and attached a thermometer to to my old office window (now belongs to Roo and Rob). Anyway, it’s been in the shade all afternoon and its still showing a rather pleasant 32 degrees.


Emerging Tech T-Shirts

As well as producing software products, IBM Software Group has a high output of T-Shirts. If you work in Hursley as part of the Java, MQ, CICS, WebSphere or Lotus development teams, the chances are you have one/several/a shop of team T-Shirts. Now, computer geeks like T-Shirts and not being part of an IBM brand, us people in Emerging Technology were lacking in any group merchandise. So, a couple of hours in Flash and a few experiments with Cafepress later and we have T-Shirts.

ets tshirts

Check out the full range of Emerging Tech fashions here. Coming Soon… EightBar products!