Tateru Nino's weekly take on mixed reality...
The Second Life Relay-For-Life 2007 is coming up this year, and Moriash Moreau (well-known SL humorist, gadgeteer and closet genius) has come up with a novel way to walk the Second Life Relay in both worlds for the betterment of himself and others.
We'll look at Second Life in your purse, ThinkGeek, and our usual mixed reality traffic and shorts, as well as Moreau's walk between the worlds, after the fold.
Mixed Reality Perambulation
Moriash Moreau is a tinkerer with a delightful dose of mad science, as befits his last name. He's one of the twin geniuses behind Plywood: The Webcomic. He has spent the last decade driving a chair for work, and realized that Second Life wasn't really helping out with the old fitness regime. With the aid of some spare parts, some ingenuity and assorted second hand bobs, Moreau set out to change things.
Moreau took a second-hand treadmill (surplus from a fitness no-longer-enthusiast), a second hand USB keypad, and assorted wiring and contact switches, and wired up an input device where he could make his avatar walk by, well actually walking, using some press buttons to steer (his blog contains all the construction details.) Moreau performs regular walks around Second Life, exploring on foot, but it doesn't stop just there.
Moreau has found a way to contribute to others. Moreau is going to walk in the Second Life Relay for Life this year. His avatar is going to walk the course, and Moreau will be doing all the leg-work. Literally. To me, this is an amazingly cool idea. Moreau gets to contribute to a good cause, and get fitter at the same time. See for yourself just how cool this is.
Mixed Reality Mobility
Second Life on a mobile phone or other portable device? It's not the first time it's been tried, certainly. Several people have already used RealVNC and mobile devices to connect to a Second Life viewer running on another machine. Having done this sort of thing myself, I must confess to having had relatively poor results, but then the software wasn't really optimal for the job.
Comverse Technology is a technology company that pioneers new methods to interest people in spending more money through their mobile phones, for content and services. What they've come up with is an improvement on basic virtual network computing that appears to allow Second Life (running on a real computer somewhere) to stream screen updates to your mobile device, and to allow you to control the viewer through your phone. Your mobile device needs Java Internet connectivity to make this work, and there's as yet no word as to whether you'd be running the other end of the software on a PC of your own somewhere, or a PC provided by some mobile provider, and at what cost.
Second Life access in your handbag or pocket. So long as there's a solid PC somewhere thumping away and running the viewer. If you think Linden Lab's got a heck of a server farm, just imagine what these people would need if this took off. At least each of Linden Lab's servers can handle a hundred people or so.
Mixed Reality Geekswag
ThinkGeekFraize Niven, from ThinkGeek is a second-timer to Second Life. His initial experience was “laggy, buggy, and slow”. Stop that smirking, we're being serious here. The ThinkGeek store has just opened in the lower level of the Metaverse Unlimited building, and I think suffers a bit in performance for not being in a more open location. Niven understands the potential of combining Second Life and ThinkGeek, and is very excited about the potential of Second Life.
You can't get ThinkGeek swag with your Linden Dollars yet, but I'm rather looking forward to the day that becomes possible.
Mixed Reality Traffic
Each week we build an aggregate mixed-reality metric from the traffic figures of several notable sites, and match it to figures for a selection of "native" content (NCI, The Shelter, YadNI's Junkyard, the Ivory Tower of Primitives).
Let's revisit those sites and find out how they're doing compared to last week.
- The L word: 20,552 (up 5,038)
- Nissan: 4,837 (up 1,005)
- IBM: 2,698 (up 144)
- Usability Island: 2,080 (up 596)
- Adidas: 1,505 (down 17)
- AOL Pointe: 1,237 (down 264)
- Pontiac: 988 (down 81)
- Circuit City: 972 (up 133)
- Thomson training: 949 (up 124)
- Reebok: 851 (up 125)
- Sears: 644 (up 33)
- Sony BMG: 475 (plus 181)
- Magnatune: 309 (down 139)
- Cisco: 267 (down 638)
Tateru's Overall Mixed Reality Index: 2,740 (up 446)
Tateru's Native Reality Index: 27,964 (up 2,200)
We've had a number of suggestions for improvements in the overall data and processing of the data we use for these metrics and over the coming couple of weeks we'll look at incorporating those changes to see if we can't establish fairer and more consistent metrics.
Mixed Reality Shorts
- Automobile Insurance firm Unitrin Direct sets up house in Second Life, offering quotes there. Presumably for the Second Lifers who are actually residents of the USA (less than half of us, if memory serves).
- Cisco held a Synthetic Environments and the Enterprise Mixed Reality event this week. Nobody Fugazi attended and wrote up the highlights of the seminar.
- Resident Nerine Kasei organized a meetup in Cambridge, Massachusetts - gathering together not only those who were familiar with Second Life, but also demonstrating it to those who didn't have a clue and wanted to know what it was all about. That was on Wednesday, and further meetups are planned, both in-world and outworld.
- CBS invests US$7 million dollars in Electric Sheep. This is only slightly less than the first round of funding that Linden Lab were able to raise (they raised US$8 million).
- IBM Codestation island is apparently being constructed for the use of coders and developers. A delightful piece of placeholder content is a labyrinth where scripters can develop bots to navigate the maze. IBM provide a starter kit. The main island content is promised in a "couple of weeks".
Got a mixed reality tip for Tateru? E-mail her at Tateru.Nino@gmail.com.