Thursday, July 27, 2006

Amazonians Thinking About Second Life

I ran into Dave Shappell a while back at a local eatery that has wireless internet access and I was working on my SL project. Through Dave I was introduced to Jeff Barr who works for Amazon on their web services initiative. Jeff posted a really bit on a prototype store being built in SL using AWS to support looking at books, searching, etc. Check it out here. And related news in Business Week here.

This is just the start of a massive wave into 3D shopping, business, and other fun stuff. Hang on!

Amazingly, just a little later today, this snippet showed up in the monthly E-zine from Linden Labs:

Search Amazon and More in Second Life! Visit the Second411 Shop for a free copy of a cool HUD (Heads-Up Display) device designed by Resident Hal9k Andalso. This gadget allows you to find Second Life objects both inworld and on the Web, and also uses Amazon's Web Services so you can search for products on Amazon while inside Second Life. To search Amazon, simply wear the Second411 HUD and type "/411 amazon: [keyword]" in your chat window. Amazon's own Web Services Evangelist wrote a great description of the tool on his blog, and Hamlet Au has more details on New World Notes. An amazing example of how Second Life and the Web are growing closer every day.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

LamdaMOO, Second Life, and Julian Dibbell

I've been reading a fairly old book (Jan 1999) by Julian Dibbell, "My Tiny Life: Crime and Passion in a Virtual World". You can pick it up from Amazon for $2.00. It basically is a travel log of his time spent in an on-line virtual world called LamdaMOO. I'll not go into the lengthy background on multi-user virtual spaces, but suffice it to say LamdaMOO was a more social form of a MUD (a text based virtual world). Unlike typical MUDs of the day, which reserved creation rights to the elite/long-timers, LamdaMOO allowed anyone to create things and in that way is very similar to Second Life. In fact, much of what he writes about is very relevant, helpful, and serves as perhaps a cautionary note for those in Second Life land.

Which leads me to more recent news and that is the publishing of Julian's latest book "Play Money: Or How I quit may day job and struck it rich in virtual loot farming". He is selling this both in SL and in RL so here is an SURL. You can buy both the virtual and real copy in SL and it will show up in RL. This is great news for me as I too am working on a book on SL and am happy to see some of this SL/RL sales path trodden before I get there. See what Hamlet "Who put the PR in SL" Au has this to say about it here.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Russian Roulette

I was invited by a former neighbor from the original first land hood of Seu by the name of Herb Greenspan to a game of Russian Roulette in Second Life.

Russian roulette (Russian: (Русская) Рулетка, (Russkaya) Rulyetka) is the practice of placing a single round in a revolver, spinning the cylinder and closing it into the firearm without looking, aiming the revolver at one's own head in a suicidal fashion, and pulling the trigger. The number of rounds placed in the revolver can vary, though as a rule there will always be at least one empty chamber. As a gambling game, toy guns are often used to simulate the practice. The number of deaths caused by this practice is unknown.

I arrived in a paint stained, post-industrial location with a single table and four chairs. Herb was there with his business partner and a newbie. The game basically goes like this, everyone sits down and pays the table some number of $L. The last person who leaves the table takes the money. You go around the table, taking turns, making bets, and essentially hoping you don't shoot yourself.

Well after the first two games, I had shot myself on my first try both times. At a 1 in 6 chance of death either luck or the table itself (perhaps rigged) were not in my favor. However, before I had a chance to truely determine what was what, the entire SL grid crashed. It was an interesting experience. First, Herb vanished. The three of us left, could move around, but then we couldn't even though we could chat. I crashed next (that is everything locked up on me). I logged back in only to find myself immobile in an empty room with the table. It was a kind of virtual death if you will.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Virtual Weddings

On July 8, I attended my first virtual wedding. No seriously, all virtual. In fact, the bride and groom, were not really married or ever planning on getting married in real life (RL). They were just getting virtually married. I can't really "get" this because I'm too old, but I do want to say, that it was just like a real-life wedding (well except for a couple things which I'll go into later). First, it was beautiful and well boring. You sat there and fought with the virtual lag because of how many avatars (avies) were in the same spot. A friend Kymber warned me about this.

Anyway, the worse part was when I arrived. And this does N-O-T happen in RL. I arrived at the destination on time (ok I was one minute late). It was a reasonably large plot of land and I was not sure where to go. I saw the cluster of attendees on the mini-map, but deciding not to be so unruly as to fly there I located a nearby teleport sign. This promptly teleported me into a very small room several meters above the action where the groom and his groomsmen were preparing. I uttered a startled "Hey " and they all teleported down to the wedding.

Anyway, beautiful, much weeping, but I had to wonder what is it all about. Will we be married in virtual life and real life, or will society decide that this is essentially the Morman ploygamist view and you should never by committed to two spouses.