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Friday, February 29, 2008

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Luce Imaginary

inworld browser is coming *very* soon.

Pavig Lok

Oh Hamlet why oh why did you have to call it "blogswarming". Whenever popular support for voting on a jira issue appears on the web the group of naysayers put on their indignant hats and who then dismiss the phenomenon. After all now it's been "blogswarmed" or "flashmobbed" obviously it isn't a valid feature anymore, just some internet rabble getting excited about all clicking on the same link before they go back to trying to crack 1000 friends on their social networking apps.

Unfortunately, spurious as this argument is, it won't be gone until one can vote in the negative on jira issues - at the moment only the lindies can do that. Then arguments that number of voters constitutes popular opinion will be moot.

Until that time, unfortunately, the use of terms with negative connotations; swarms, mobs, other such things you wouldn't want in your neighborhood, will strengthen arguments based on negative emotional responses.

Opening the internal web browser is something I've evangelized myself over the last year, and folk who react in the negative usually do for emotional reasons. For some reason it just isn't SL, a browser is a browser and our lovely pristine VW is a world seperate. Few of these folk have protested on technical grounds that the current browser already in the client should be removed.

For a year though we've had a perfectly good browser in the client that we haven't been able to do anything with - we could hack it to play youtube but were stuck looking at the scripting wiki instead.

This is in a VW where we don't have even the most rudimentary user interface elements, such as a box to type into. Think about it for a moment, we are simulating an entire world here, but the only way of doing the most basic type of computer input is to type incantations on the chatline like we're talking to an IRC bot. It's so '80s :P All the while we've got a current generation standards based browser sitting there under the help menu. There's also no way for a script to write a notecard either, so our main in world text system is frozen in time.

Eventually opening up the browser to be available to scripted applications for user input is the perfect solution. Eventually given that we could wrap a nice web form around script configuration menus, or give someone a box to type in. We could integrate editable text in world (through integration with external servers/storage) and seamlessly mesh it with our inworld scripts and systems (without having to write to notecards). But none of these future dream enhancements are possible until we open up the browser to the most basic function, browsing. Something which we know it can do already.

There are two arguments against this line of evolution in the client - one is technical, basically that the browser is too borked to work - the other social, that in world is in world and the internets is not in world.

To the first I say Firstlooking the browser should sort that out, by puting it in the focus of lots of clever coders (who'll find all the holes in a codebase they're familiar with).

To the second argument I say this: immersion is one of the great benefits of sl, and of use in entertainment of course, education particularly, and business too. Taking people out of world and into an external browser to do the simplest tasks defeats the purpose of SL, why not just do it all in the browser. The web provides another channel of immersion which, say in a classroom context, lets folk be with people, and do something useful at the same time, without breaking immersion. "Ok class let's discuss this article...*appears on screen*" Surely more engaging than "please minimize sl, boot your browser and read this url, meet you back here when you're done."

But that's just my two cents.

Hamlet Au

That's a lot more valuable than two cents, thanks!

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Wagner James Au
Wagner James "Hamlet" Au
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