Wednesday, December 29, 2010

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Logging Into Second Life From a Plane -- Metaverse at 30,000 Feet!

Second Life from a plane

My friend Dave Zeeman was flying home from the East Coast recently, and since he was on a Virgin Air flight which has wireless Internet, and since he's been in Second Life longer than me, I challenged him to log into SL from 30,000 feet. Above you see what the metaverse is like, as seen from high above West Virginia. But while it is possible to log into Second Life from a jetliner (and presumably World of Warcraft and other MMOs), as you might imagine, it's not exactly an optimal connection:

SL Plane

"You can log in, see immediate surroundings, then nothing will load past that," Dave told me in mid-air. (We were communicating via Facebook instant message, so at least we know that works.) "It's some weird QoS throttle on their airplane router."

Second Life from Virgin Air

Dave then tried logging into Second Life using the new cloud deployment system, but no go there:

"I got a page from the Internet provider on the plane saying it refuses to load that," Dave reported, laughing, possibly with a touch of pride. He thinks Virgin's net connection may not generally play nice with streaming: "[O]ther streaming services also kinda spurt and crap out, including YouTube, Ventrilo, and Skype." He tried downloading the Pocket Metaverse iPhone app, but that proved impossible, so tentatively, we know you can't access SL that way on Virgin, or for that matter, download iPhone apps.

All in all, however, a pretty excellent first attempt. Dave tells me Virgin is giving away free wireless for December, so if you're flying during the remainder of this month, maybe you can try this out yourself. If you succeed more surely than Dave, please send pics!


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Jack Abraham

I find it symptomatic of Viewer 2 that half the visible space on the photo is not the world, but the sidebar. But congrats to Virgin for even trying.

Laetizia Coronet

See that >> Jack? Click - gone. No problem at all.

Arcadia Codesmith

Communication based on quantum entanglement might allow almost unlimited data transfer from anywhere -- airplanes, Antarctica, Alpha Centauri -- with no need for a barrier, oops, I mean carrier.

And while quantum computing sounds like some really weird science-fiction mojo, the first working quantum chips have already been made and quantum entanglement has been demonstrated over 16km.

That's a long way from being on store shelves, but if quantum mechanics has taught us nothing else, it's that "a long way" may be much closer than anybody expects.


I logged onto SL a year ago on an airplane (Air Tran) for several hours and it worked fine.

Laetizia Coronet

I would rez my Cessna and fly around, just because that is weirdness to the extreme. Somehow.

Mitch Wagner

Regarding streaming on planes: I've never tried logging in to SL from a plane, but I did watch an entire streaming movie on NetFlix. It only stuttered once or twice, for a second each time, no problem at all.

Dave Zeeman

I left the sidebar open because without it, it's kinda hard to tell that I even had a Second Life window open. Trust me, I keep that thing closed most of the time. ;)

Also remember that I was on an airplane with around 200 other people. If it worked fine on your flight, you may not have had 200 people with computers logging into the free Internet they already knew they were getting.

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