This is surely the coolest Second Life machinima you will see in quite some time: Created by Aimee Trescothick (Twitter profile here), a British programmer with fairy wings, it depicts Aimee using a plug-in she made to connect the Lindens' new LLMedia API to a Virtual Network Computing port, remotely connecting to another computer via her Second Life viewer:
Or to put it in plain terms which deserve further emphasis: Aimee Trescothick has figured out how to log into Second Life from within Second Life.
Rez Magazine has a nice profile of Ms. Trescothick, which is where I first saw this video, but it's so innovative, I had to know more from the source.
"You just run the VNC server software on the remote machine," she explains to me in her office. "On a Mac it's just a case of ticking a box in the system preferences and setting a password, and then you put the URL of the remote machine in as the media URL on a Second Life parcel." This is possible due to the VNC plug-in she herself wrote, which she plans to open source at some point, and add RDP protocol, for Windows machines. So someday soon, this VNC capability will be possible to anyone in Second Life. "It will be about as easy to set up as to set up a DJ stream for an event is now," she tells me.
"The SL-in-SL thing is just one application of the remote desktop feature, really," Aimee continues. "It will probably see more use sharing other applications such as Powerpoint for presentations or demonstrating other software for teaching. Sharing SL that way could be useful for building and scripting classes, though. For example, as the students could actually watch on screen what the tutor is doing, besides neat video effects for machinima projects." As the video itself suggests, it could be used to fake a mirror effect.
The remote connection could even work as a quick and dirty way to connect different virtual worlds. "The second machine could log in to another grid entirely," she suggests, "an OpenSim grid like OSGrid to share an event."
"Or play World of Warcraft from within Second Life?" I suggest. She nods, laughing.
Another potential application is connecting Second Life to the iPhone:
"In theory you could install a VNC server on an iPhone, and then carry a working copy of your real iPhone in Second Life," she suggests, as her fairy eyes flare blue. "Right now, though, it would still be tied to using the parcel media stream, so it wouldn't work outside that parcel." But if you're looking to link your iPhone to SL, someday, yes, there'll be an app for that.
All that innovative goodness awaits the Lindens' adding the LLMedia API to the official viewer, and Aimee, who describes herself as a virtual world specialist for a social media agency, is developing her VNC plug-in in tandem.
"Be patient," she says, smiling. "[Residents] will need to wait for now for the LLmedia plug-in API to find it's way into the normal Second Life viewer, right now it's still under active development and only available in a developer release that is not guaranteed to be stable. I would hope to release the VNC plug-in around the same time that happens."