Its 2:15am and I am at a virtual conference session

I am currently watching a streaming video session at the electric sheep company’s media island hooking up with san fan and the real conference. At the moment they are piping in Dire Straits which is the only problem so far!

supernova conference

A few of us have a had a good chat and made a few contacts, so its doing what it needs to. Over 40 people here to, and its running well.

ThinkPad tilting revisited

Back in March we started talking about some hacks which demonstrate the coolness that can be achieved using the accelerometer inside the ThinkPad (the ‘Active Protection System’).

Thanks to Steve Farrell for pointing me at something which Mark Smith (of IBM’s research center in Almaden) has been working on; a modified version of SDL (the Simple DirectMedia Library) which supports the ThinkPad accelerometer in any game (on Windows or Linux) which uses the SDL to provide input. Using Mark’s modified library means you can tilt your way to a high score on all these games and more.

Happy Birthday Second Life and well done Supernova

It is a strange concept that the users and providers of Second Life are having a party, a virtual one. Its been a focus for the past few weeks to gather together plans and venues for various celebrations for the third birthday.
It is an inidcation of the sense of ownership and community, combined with the type of platform this is that causes this sort of outburst of planning and activity. There are even sites in world that are advertising the various events. Something for everyone. Speeches, music, tutorials, races the whole shebang.
I hope I will be able to attend a few events, as happens with the real world, its good to be seen at these things.

It looks like the Supernova conference (which has IBM as a partner and Linda Sanford from IBM speaking) is going to be held with a virtual extension in Second Life. The electric sheep company have done the build and I believe there is a Yahoo branded HUD to go with it.
This link is the SLURL for it June 22nd 5:30 PDT
So hopefully a few of us will be able to attend the conference without having to fly to the US.

Eat Friday!

Where can you sit out in the sun amidst a beautiful country estate and have a full english breakfast and pot of tea served to you for £3? In Hursley’s clubhouse of course. Are you sure you still don’t want that job?

The emerging tech group I work in has started having regular team breakfasts, first Friday in every month from now on. It’s a chance to have breakfast, sit in the sun and talk about work, the world cup, big brother and diet coke and mento chemical reactions.


Meet some of the emerging tech team. From left to right: Rachel, Roo, Katherine, Dave, Richard, Pete and John.

Ever wanted to work at Hursley?

If you’ve been following our adventures here on eightbar for a while and have always wondered what it’s really like to work at IBM Hursley, now may be your chance to find out. Hursley is hiring. Current job openings in research and development include…

The above list is not exhaustive; several more openings are listed at the Jobs at IBM Career Center too.

Internationalised URLs

One of the web projects Rob and I are working on at the moment has some internationalisation requirements that are pretty key to its success. The standard user-application interactions aren’t that problematic, there’s some things to think about encoding/storage wise, but it’s a well understood area.

The tricky bit is that URLs are ASCII only. You can encode non-ASCII characters and handle things in the application to make it look and act like it’s coping with different character sets, but this only really works if you think of a URL as a pure reference, that isn’t containing any information in itself. For web 2.0 type applications (and when using REST), this doesn’t really work as the URL contains information in itself. If you want a piece of information referenced by a URL like http://mysite/user/page1 making that URL make sense in languages not using ASCII is hard.

Chain of events, links and circumstances. Regina Spektor in SL

OK, Regina Spektor has, with Warner Brothers previewed her album in Second Life. (She also uses Myspace for such things). Now, I had not actually come to this a fan. Not becauase its not very good, but just because I had not heard her work. Bear that in mind as I gush forth with a tale of serendipity.

So being into all things SL I had noticed some blog entries about the upcoming album in SL event from a major artist, it was on my list of things to do but I had not until tonight been. It only happened a few days ago BTW!

Chain of events….. My Flickr RSS feed for the second life pool had some pictures from Pathfinder Linden (who is Community manager/Rep for Linden Labs). So I saw the photos, clicked on the tiny url which led me to the SLURL. This sparked up my second life client and ported me straight to the location. A small New York style loft apartment. A really nice build by Aimee Weber. Taking up a suprisingly small amount of real estate.

Regina Spektor Album preview

A reel to reel was playing very high quality music that instantly caught my attention.

reel to reel

So I am sitting in a loft apartment in New York, which is effectively a 3D album cover listening to an album preview.

That would have been enough, yet somehow the words of the song playing were so spooky that it is untrue. Song 4 – “On the radio”. The lyric being something like “On the radio we heard November Rain, that solo is really long but is sounds pretty nice. We listened to it twice, cos the DJ was asleep”

November rain (Guns and roses) is my Wife and I’s “song” we had it played for the first dance at our wedding. She is away this weekend doing a charity walk so the whole thing brought a lump to my throat. Soppy I know.

Anyway, Advertising works but not always on me, but if we could bottle these sort of connections and make it seem like fate or somehow personal. Well……?

So I will be buying the album, just I am not sure. Do I download it for my iPod, order the CD on Amazon, Walk around town and enjoy the experience of shopping for it?

BTW I just noticed that the album on the table in the apartment is clickable, it opens up the album sleeve, click once more and it flips it to show the lyrics. Beautiful.

Marketing executives get a futureshock

This article which I happened upon via the river run red, red papers has some very interesting briefing level material for marketing executives. Rivers Run Red are one of the top design and delivery agencies in the Second Life economy (and some others). They did the radio 1 gig, the xmen iii premier and a few other things.

The CMO article says watch these things as they will be changing the future. Some you may recognize from our previous blog posts about other work we do here.

1. Internet Data Mining
2. Virtual Worlds
3. Decision Markets(Attention Markets)
4. Neuromarketing – (admittedly not our specific bag, but medical imaging falls into this)
5. Automated Behavior Recognition – Which revolves around sensors actuators, motes and data mining

Yes just one article, but interesting how Second Life/Web3.0 etc is linked with the elements of emerging technology

Just so this does not get too serious though.
Here is me shooting myself in the head playing russian roulette in SL
Robby Dingo's russian roullette game/social development tool

OK So Second life is not a game, but you can do games in it

In talking about Second Life to people, and in particular the late night building sessions with new people coming along to my Hursley item all the time to ask how things are going, I realized that in all the protestations of ‘this is not a game it just look like one’ I was starting to get asked why it was not used for games too.

Well those of you have have experienced the mainland in Second Life will know games exists. There are casinos and gambling games to get your precious dollars from you virtual pockets. There are racing leagues and race tracks. Large scale quake style combat arenas.

My personal favourite though is “Les White” and his Sim invaders. A cabinet that looks like the real thing and rezzes the space invaders in 3d above the cabinet. There is something very circular about all that as back in my youth seeing space invaders got me into computers. I hope thats a virtuos circle not a vicious one!

Its a nice example of function in a box. Homebrew coding mixed with old school design, re-rendered for web3.0.
Game3.0 anyone?

Also check out Wagner James Au’s review of Russian Roulette sweeping SL

sim invaders by Les White