Thursday, November 30, 2006

Second Life Catch Up

Between Thanksgiving and some out of town trips this week I am way behind. Here is a quick run down of recent events in Second Life.

Second Life's first Millionaire (CNN) with write up from James Wagner Au on GigaOM.

NBC's virtual Christmas tree sets in-world attendance records.

Centric integrated advertising agency launches Second Life office with a park buy back program.

AKQA launches office to target job hires.

Judge Richard Posner to give Creative Commons presentation:

December 7th, 6-8pm Second Life Time (PST)
Center Auditorium in Kula
To reserve a seat, IM Creative Commons' Genevieve Junot (or e-mail her here)

Autodesk enters Second Life.

Adam Reuters interviewed Nintendo's Fils-Aime on Wii and Second Life.

Forex comes to Second Life.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Next post Monday the 27th.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Danny Hillis of Applied Minds

I wrote about Danny last year and now has more on the Applied Minds project.


"Earlier this month in San Francisco, I met with William "Will" Randolph Hearst III who is an investor in Applied Minds. He told me about the work the company is doing in creating "smart" video systems that can create scenes based on complex sensing and analysis technology. The computer listens and watches and knows when to do a close- up or long shot based on physical action and speech. The most immediate application will be some kind of advanced video teleconferencing." also points to this interview from Technology Review.

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Next Stop: Two Million

Tateru Nino has a post on New World Notes about the approaching 2 million residence number for Second Life.

From the post:

"So, how about two million signups, this year?

Well, yes. In 45 days at the time I write this on the 14th, we'll real 2 million accounts close to New Year's Eve, GMT. The numbers are self-evident-– assuming they remain steady-– and the arithmetic was what they taught me when I was eight. A subtraction, an average, and a division. 45 days.

We crossed the million line about 28 days or so ago. That means a million in 73 days. I can't even have a baby in 73 days. As always, assuming the figures remain steady. Last time they didn't. The signup rate increased, bringing our millionth signup in at least a month ahead of the initially predicted date."


Turner's David Rudolph on Super Deluxe and Second Life

I was fortunate enough to get an invitation to last night's MIT Enterprise Forum of Atlanta event on "TV Transformed."

From the website:

“New media” companies are being snapped up as industry stalwarts realize that they’re staring at a new reality. Despite the predictions for a new world of video on your PC, phone, MP3 player and even set top boxes, issues remain: how do you deliver TV-quality content over the Internet? Who delivers it? How do you make money? Who makes money? Is this the end of the TV Star? The technologies adopted will determine the future of what we’ve always known as television."

The panelists were Jim Louderback from Ziff Davis, Michel Billard from Itiva Digital Media, David Davies from Scientific Atlanta (A Cisco Company) and David Rudolph from Turner.

I thought the panel was strong and gave a good overview of upcoming issues for video content distribution and consumption. Most of the questions were handled by David. It easy to see why he is a rising star at Turner. He commands and communicates a strong understanding of the content business.

I got a chance to ask two quick questions:
  1. What is going to be super about Super Deluxe?
  2. When is CNN going to open a news desk in Second Life?
David said Super Deluxe is going to offer high powered original content in a social network type of environment. Earlier in the presentation David made some great comments about meta-tagging content both from a content production and from an end user standpoint. It seems Super Deluxe will employ both methods of tagging content and thus will seek to provide an easier way to find relevant video entertainment online.

David said CNN was going to open a Second Life news desk "very soon."

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Video Search: CastTV, Dabble, Pixsy and Nexidia

Bambi Francisco has a nice article on Always On about video search companies.

From the article:

"CastTV doesn't search inside the video, but does a good job identifying files associated with Flash, Javascript and media plug-ins, such as the video players from Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows Media Player, Apple's Quicktime and RealNetworks'(RNWK) media player as well as the more recent players from Brightcove to VideoEgg. doesn't crawl the Web for videos, but rather receives video feeds from around the Web, including bookmark services, such as, and community sites. As for relevancy, Dabble is ranking the videos based on how often they are included in the most channels or playlists, and how much authority the channels or playlists have.

Pixsy launched its first video search engine in July 2005, and it's similar to Dabble in that it relies on feeds. Pixsy is licensing its database to other destination sites, such as PureVideo,, and, that want to enhance their content by giving users access to video content from around the web.

Nexidia has been around for a while and is different from the aforementioned engines because it uses phonetics. Phonetics relies on the study of sounds and the human voice and deals with the sounds themselves rather than the meaning of the words or the contexts in which they are used in languages. It works pretty well. It's also fast. It took 4 to 5 minutes to make an entire baseball game searchable."


IBM's Todd "Turbo" Watson on v-Business

From his bio you can tell that Turbo is a player. "He later led the development of the IBM e-business Web site, and most recently has been responsible for helping drive the strategy and optimization of the IBM Software Group Web presence."

Tuesday, Turbo took some time to write up his thoughts on the recent IBM announcement to invest $10m in a 3D world initiative.

From his post:

"For those of us who have been early advocates inside Big Blue around the notion of "v-business," particularly in Second Life, this is very exciting news, as it clearly indicates our own bullishness about the promise of virtual technologies in business, educational, medical, and other organizations that can benefit from a more visual Web environment.

Just as we did in the early days of e-business and Linux, our goal is to build a community and drive the business opportunities for virtual business, or "v-business."

Having been at an Internet World press conference where IBM's commitment to "e-business" was announced over a decade ago, I'm very excited to see a similar commitment to these emerging virtual worlds, and to see them announced very much in the spirit and energy this new frontier presents to businesses and organizations around the globe."

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Steven Bochco and Metacafe

What is it with Metacafe? They have been all over the place lately. (Well at least all over digg.) Today Variety reports that Metacafe has signed a deal with big time producer Steven Bochco.

From the article:

"Producer has entered into a strategic alliance with Metacafe, a YouTube-like video-sharing site that tries to cut through the user-generated clutter by paying producers based on the popularity of their content. Under the deal, Bochco will create a variety of content for Metacafe, including a Bochco-branded online channel.

Bochco said the key to success on the Net will be creating content that takes into account the unique nature of the medium.

In the past, "People were trying to fit a square peg into a round hole," he said. "They were trying to impose our old entertainment model on their new platform. You're looking at a vastly different medium."

"I would hope that if what we're attempting to do captures an audience with any enthusiasm, that'll give us the opportunity to use the channel to expand what we do," Bochco said. "I have all kinds of ideas I'd like to implement, some of which are different ways of doing fiction, others of which aren't. It's a fun medium to try to figure out."

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

CDC in Second Life: Interview with John Anderton

I didn't see this until now but Spare Changes has a great post up about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launching in Second Life.

From the post:

"How widespread within the CDC is knowledge and interest in internet-based applications like Second Life and other social media?

CDC is always looking into better ways to understand its audiences and the public, and to communicate its messages in timely, credible, and relevant ways.

How did you personally become involved as a CDC representative within Second Life?

I created an avatar with purpose; Hygeia was the Greek muse of health, and the last name of Philo means 'lover of,' thus a CDC av with the metaphoric moniker of Hygeia Philo (lover of health) seemed perfectly appropriate. I have been working in SL on a daily basis, part time, for almost 8 months now. As far as others at CDC - the National Center for Environmental Health is exploring how to educate about toxic waste in SL, and the Strategic National Stockpile is exploring training issues in SL.

What has been the response of SL residents to the CDC’s outreach in-world?

Almost without exception, I have been warmly greeted by old and new SL residents. People are kind of amazed that CDC would treat it seriously, and that we are not there for profit. I hope that CDC can continue to grow and evolve in the SL space, as it grows and changes itself. With such rapid development, it forces us to stay on our toes!"


eightbar covers the IBM event

eightbar has some information and pictures from the IBM event this week.

From the post:

"The event itself was a ‘townhall’ IBM meeting, held in an IBM location in China, in front of more than 6,000 employees. Sam Palmisano presented in person, but when he started talking about Virtual Worlds and the 3D Internet, he first handed over to Irving (who recently blogged about signing up to Second Life) whose avatar was surrounded by a decent sized bunch of IBMers from across the world.

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SocialText Press Conference in WoW

I guess this is legit but either way its pretty funny.

Ross Mayfield:

"To further advance the state of the art, the next Socialtext press conference will be held in World of Warcraft.
  • Time: December 1st, 5pm server time
  • Location: Goldshire, Elwynn Forrest, Eitrigg Server
  • Rules of Order:
    • No ninjas.
    • Questions will only be taken from journalists in PvP mode
    • We have developed means of determining if you are a Chinese Gold Farmer, so do not outsource your participation
    • Safe passage will be provided to Horde characters, but your questions may be lost in translation
    • Keep your armor on, do not /dance unless you are an orc, use of other emotes are encouraged
    • If the spokesperson is not forthcoming, you may duel for information
    • Those that survive the experience will gain 1 gold piece and a Socialtext tabard"

Xin's House Closing Party: Mixed Reality Event

The Xin's House project is having a closing party mixed reality event this Friday the 17th at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, GA and on Sheep Island in Second Life.

Xin's House made it on Rik's New World Note's event picks for the week! Many thanks to Rik and Hamlet!

From the Second Life Event Board:

Sheep Island (SLurl)

"Join us at 7:00 EST, Friday November 17th for the opening of Xin's house in Second Life.

Richard Sudden's Xin's House is a long-term project that he is working on with Agnes Scott students, faculty and staff. This is an all inclusive meditation on the world, expressing inter/national cultures, their languages, symbols, philosophies, music and speech, sciences and medicine, geography and more--brought together in this small house.

Xin's House is installed and is open for visiting, now, outside the Dana Fine Arts Building at Agnes Scott College. The official premiere will be the night of, Friday November 17th. A Second Life replica of the house built by The Electric Sheep Company will be on display at the real life premiere, and the Second Life community is invited to come experience it simultaneously to the real attendees."


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dell in Second Life

TechCrunch doesn't have an update yet but there is this from the Direct2Dell blog.

From the post:

"Just a few minutes ago, Ro Parra, our senior vice president for Dell’s Home and Small Business division hosted a virtual press conference along with Founder and CEO of Linden Labs, Phillip Rosedale to kick off our presence there.

Dell Island consists of a 64-acre area of land that features a welcome area, a Dell factory, a conference facility, a museum and more. Residents will have lots of ways to interact in world with Dell. In the factory, for example, residents can see 3-D interactive views of products, build their own systems in world, and even order real systems from

Initially, we’ll offer the residents the option to order XPS M1710 notebook in world. The XPS 710 gaming desktop that we launched today will be available for order soon. "

Images from Dell/SL:

Dell Island

Dell Conference


"Second Life residents can use the in-world scripting language to configure their new virtual Dell PCs to perform a number of simple tasks, such as alerting a resident when their friends are nearby, said Rosedale. But for the most part, the virtual PCs are "accessories," he said. "Linden dollars," the in-world currency, will be accepted for virtual PCs but good old-fashioned U.S. dollars are required for a real PC."

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The Grid Review

The second big announcement from Edelman and The Electric Sheep Company is The Grid Review.

From Giff:

"The Grid Review will host 1-to-2 minute machinima clips on important or amusing SL news, with occasional interviews. One of our anchors is the talented Moo Money, and we are also opening up the site to citizen/resident journalists and will welcome submissions from individuals or teams. Want to cover an interesting story? Time to get your machinima on! We should open up The Grid Review website in a few weeks."

Steve Rubel:

"Coming soon is The Grid Review, a video blog that will come to you in machinima format. It will cover the entrepreneurial spirit inside Second Life. Electric Sheep and Edelman will co-create this not alone but with you - video citizen journalists. Submissions are welcome. The 3PointD blog - one of the best covering SL - will also serve as a key advisor. I too may even get to contribute."


"Edelman and the Sheep (who sponsor 3pointD) are also launching a cool new site called the Grid Review, which will feature short machinima news pieces about things going on around Second Life. There will be one or two regular reporters, I hear, but residents will also be able to submit their own news stories about the cool things they’re stumbled across on the Grid. This sounds like it’s going to be a very cool project, and I’m looking forward to seeing what people come up with."

Moo Money:

"I am very excited to announce that there is a machinima news site coming to Second Life. Edelman, PR firm extraordinaire, is sponsoring a weekly news site, The Grid Review, and I’ve been asked to be an anchor. What can you expect from the site? Event coverage, hot topics, amusing stories, and occasional interviews. This is my first week at it, so stay tuned for more news!

They’re also interested in citizen journalism, so if you have a story you’re interested in airing, let me know!"


Edelman's Second Life Business Plan Contest

Edelman and The Electric Sheep Company announce a Second Life business plan contest.

From the announcement: ( Go here for all contest details)

"Over the next few months, we will be accepting business plan entries, and the winner of the contest can gain sole access to a Second Life private island for 6 months, as well as L$350,000 seed money, and strategic guidance from Edelman and The Electric Sheep Company. Two runners-up can win L$100,000.


11/17/2006 1pm SL Time: Business plan live panel
12/20/2006 Deadline for entries
1/12/2007 Finalists narrowed down for follow-up interviews
1/12 - 1/24 Interviews and follow ups
1/25/2007 Final panel meeting to decide winner and runner ups
1/26/2007 Awards Ceremony"


"As part of the business plan competition, we have organized a live audio panel this Friday at 1pm SL time on Edelman island for SL entrepreneurs to come ask questions about how to think about designing a business model, and how to create an effective plan. The panel will have Rick Murray, head of Edelman’s me2revolution practice, Susan Wu, venture capitalist at Charles River Ventures and a longtime proponent of virtual worlds, Sibley Verbeck, CEO of Electric Sheep Company, and will be moderated by John Swords, aka Johnny Ming of Second Cast."

Steve Rubel:

"Together we're launching a competition searching for the best Second Life business plan. The prize - seed funding - will be awarded next year. The competition kicks off with a special panel event this Friday on, yes, our own island. Here's a shot of it..."


Sam Palmisano's $100M Bet

The Next Net is reporting that one of the things IBM CEO Sam Pamisano will be talking about at the Second Life event is the winners of the Innovation Jams.

The list:

"He is putting $100 million into the final ten ideas in the hopes that a few may turn into billion-dollar businesses. Here is where he is placing his bets:

Smart Healthcare Payment Systems: Speeding healthcare payments by connecting patients, doctors, and insurance companies through smart cards.

Simplified Business Engines: A suite of Web 2.0 business apps (running on blade servers) for small businesses.

Real-time Translation Services: Seamless speech-to-text-to-speech software that can translate one language to another like a Babble Fish (based on IBM Research's impressive MASTOR technology).

Intelligent Utility Networks: Bringing network management and monitoring to the utility grid.

3D Internet: Build a technology platform for virtual worlds so that businesses can conduct meetings, presentations, focus groups, product demos or run virtual stores in a "standards-based 3D Internet" (sort of like Second Life).

“Digital Me”: Online storage and management for personal digital photos, videos, music, files, identification documents, and health and financial records.

Branchless Banking for the Masses: Sell technology to financial institutions that lets them provide basic banking services to the unbanked in remote parts of India, China, and other fast-growing emerging markets.

Integrated Mass Transit Information System: Back-end systems for connecting and managing real-time data for all of a region’s transit systems, and coordinating among buses, rail, highways, waterways and airlines.

Electronic Health Record System: Create a central repository for health records that accepts data from any provider, integrates with the health payment system (see above), and offers personal healthcare records to consumers and their doctors.

“Big Green” Innovations: A new business unit that will focus on emerging environmental opportunities, such as advanced water modeling (looking for water like today we look for oil), nanotech-based water filtration and efficient solar power systems."

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Say No to UMG

Interview: Jeff Bezos

TechCrunch grabbed Jeff Bezos after the presentation yesterday at the Web 2.0 summit.

From the post:

"Jeff is emphasizing that new services like Mechanical Turk, Simple Storage Service (S3) and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) are going to be a key business line for them in the future, and they are planting the seeds now.

While these services are still in their infancy, a high profile group of companies are starting to jump on board: Microsoft, Xerox and Second Life are all customers. And SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill recently wrote a long blog post gushing about the amount of money they are saving using S3 over alternative solutions - $500k so far and an estimated $1 million or more in 2007."

Listen to the interview at TalkCrunch.

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Interview: CBS's Quincy Smith

Broadcast & Cable has an interview with CBS's new digital czar Quincy Smith.

From the interview:

"Is your priority buying new businesses or building them?

We’re looking to do everything we can to make sure our content is seen and we’re getting paid for it. We’re all about generating a community around user-generated content, but there’s also commercial application that can get our content out just as aggressively and effectively as an acquisition. So I’m going to be looking a lot of times at larger commercial deals."

danah boyd defines social networks

danah defines social networks:
  1. "Profile
  2. Traversable, publicly articulated social network
  3. Semi-persistent public comments
A "social network site" is a category of websites with profiles, semi-persistent public commentary on the profile, and a traversable publicly articulated social network displayed in relation to the profile."


Dell to Announce Second Life Initiative

Dell is set to announce some kind of Second Life initiative today at 10:30 PST. They are making the announcement in-world to the consternation of many big time reports. So much so that one invited reported passed his creds to TechCrunch. Check out TechCrunch later today for the news.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud: EC2

Amazon has announced its Elastic Compute Cloud.

From the press release:

"Amazon EC2's simple web service interface allows you to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction. It provides you with complete control of your computing resources and lets you run on Amazon's proven computing environment. Amazon EC2 reduces the time required to obtain and boot new server instances to minutes, allowing you to quickly scale capacity, both up and down, as your computing requirements change. Amazon EC2 changes the economics of computing by allowing you to pay only for capacity that you actually use."

From the beta test email: (Chris Pirillo)

At this stage, we’re only accepting a limited number of beta customers, so if you’re interested in Amazon EC2, we recommend you move fast. If you find that our beta is full by the time you sign up, please accept our apologies and stay ready. As soon as we can accommodate more participants, we will e-mail those of you who have given us your e-mail addresses and you’ll have another chance to try Amazon EC2…"

From Engadget:

"Each virtual server instance they get gives 'em the equivalent of a 1.7Ghz Xeon CPU, with 1.75GB of RAM, 160GB of disk space, and 250Mb/s of network bandwidth, of which they can of course get as many as they like (or can afford), with prices starting at just $0.10 per instance-hour consumed and $0.20 per GB of data transferred outside of Amazon."

From Maluke:

Just in case you missed it — your instances can be web servers, database servers, load balancers, anything. The traffic within Amazon EC2 and S3 is free, so you can have setups as funky as you wish. Remeber what it takes to build Flickr or Livejournal datacenter? Now you can do similar setups from home (unbelievable) and just let Amazon take care of the networking and hardware. This is so much more ‘WebOS’ than Google’s walled garden."

From the Washington Post: (China Post)

"For instance, they said Linden Lab, creator of the Second Life virtual reality Web site, needed extra storage to accommodate a surge of viewer downloads on the first day of a software release. Powerset Inc., which offers a natural language approach for searching the Web, announced Wednesday that it would use Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud to run its business."

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IBM's Irving Wladawsky-Berger gets an Avatar

Irving Wladawsky-Berger, IBM's Vice President of Technical Strategy and Innovation, is "responsible for identifying emerging technologies and marketplace developments that are critical to the future of the IT industry, and then organizing activities in and outside IBM in order to capitalize on them."

Irving recently got his first Second Life avatar. From the post:

"My SL avatar or icon is a fairly realistic representation of what I look like in First Life - again, unlike most inhabitants of Second Life. My IBM colleagues designed my avatar along with the clothes my avatar wears. I have a suit and tie to wear for business meetings. But most of the time I go around Second Life dressed informally in a Pedro Martinez New York Mets baseball shirt, slacks, tennis shoes and a Cuban baseball cap.

My colleagues have built virtual world sites that replicate the IBM Hursley Labs in England and the Almaden Research Center in California. They are building a virtual Beijing Forbidden City.

All in all, this feels to me just like the rise of the Internet and the Web did in the mid-90s. As was the case then, the underlying technologies now being discovered had been in use for a while in the scientific and technical communities – especially among those doing research in supercomputing applications.

We are poised for the next major step. We can now bring these exciting capabilities, already in wide use in science, engineering, defense and consumer applications, into the worlds of business, education, health care and government. This was the step that led to IBM’s e-business strategy ten years ago. Could we be at the onset of v-business? Based on my initial experiences in Second Life, we are all in for an incredible ride. "

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Hunter Walker on Google Video Ads has an interview with Hunter Walker who is working on Google's video ad product.

From the post:

"Hunter tells Beet.TV that Google will soon place ads in clips created by a variety of small producers and on select user-generated content. (I wonder if this will be in case for YouTube, but no one at Google will comment on YouTube matters until the transaction actually closes.)

Hunter also shared some insight into how Google Video searches video on the site. He outlined the three components: searching metadata or the text surrounding a post, community information meaning comments and rating of clips, and other sorts of content analysis including speech to text. He alludes to more edgy technology when he referred to processing "search signals that we fold into search ranking and discoverability."

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Bring Real Companies into Second Life

Rodica works at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at the Harvard Law School. Her most recent project is assisting in setting up an open cyberlaw course taught in the fall of 2006 by Professor Charles Nesson.

She recently gave a presentation on how to bring real companies into Second Life:

Highlights from the post:
  • "Know and understand consumers -- where are they? what do they do?
  • Realize that your consumers -- a part of this generation and certainly coming generations-- are increasingly unpredictable.
  • Second Life is a way to explore this trend, to really understand how people wish to be approached and how they wish to engage with brands."


Second Life Stories: Nov 13th, IBM, Amazon and Sun

So I couldn't keep up with everything last week and need to make sure I have time for everything this week. I may do the "Second Life Stories" as a weekly catch all for things I missed. We'll see.

CNN/Fortune: "No, Second Life is not over hyped"

"Yet Second Life may be more important, longterm, than even this much publicity would suggest. That's because what it really may represent is an alternative vision for how to interact with information and communicate over the Internet.

So far Second Life is way too hard to use. The people who do best there are still techie types. It requires a fairly powerful computer. You have to download a special software application to use it. It can't be used in many corporate offices (like mine at Time Inc., for instance).

But Second Life is important as much for what it represents as for what it concretely offers today. Looking at Second Life makes me realize just how much the Web, wonderful and useful as it is, still mimics a print model.

Second Life goes much further. It took a radical approach to design from the beginning. It offered itself as a mere platform for the creations of its occupants. Essentially everything seen inside the software today was created by its users."

Information Week: "IBM gets a Second Life"

"IBM is set to invest $10 million over the next twelve months to increase its presence in the market for technologies that enable so-called virtual worlds such as Second Life, a 3-D Web environment in which people from various walks doff their everyday identities to assume online alter egos, a company spokesman said Friday.

"Just as AOL and other early Internet services were early entry ways into the largely undeveloped World Wide Web, Second Life, other virtual worlds, and massive, multi-player game environments are the precursor to a 3-D Internet," says the spokesman. IBM wants to create 3-D business environments that mirror Second Life's interactivity and sense of immersion. The company envisions scenarios under which, say, a team of healthcare researchers from around the world could enter a virtual meeting room to tackle a disease outbreak. "Big Blue expands into Second Life"

"Chairman and chief executive Sam Palmisano is set to visit Second Life on Tuesday, following a "town hall" meeting with some 7,000 employees in China, and speak with the more than 250 IBM employees on one of the company's virtual islands.

The company is looking to build a private 3D intranet where it will be able to discuss sensitive business information. It is moving to champion what it calls "v-business" - short for virtual business - just as it championed "ebusiness", or electronic business, during the dot-com boom.

Sandy Kearney, IBM's director of emerging 3D internet and virtual business, said: "We always ask the question, 'if you knew 20 years ago what you know about the web today, what would you do differently? The web took decades. This will likely take half that time."

Reuters: "IBM accelerates push into 3D virtual worlds"

"Big Blue has already established the biggest Second Life presence of any Fortune 500 company. It is also looking to build a 3D intranet where its clients will be able to discuss sensitive business information.

The company’s move into virtual worlds is due in large part to the efforts of its “multiverse evangelists,” Ian Hughes (Epredator Potato) and Roo Reynolds (Algernon Spackler in-world), who said last month that IBM wanted to make “v-business” a priority just as it championed “e-business” during the dot-com boom.

“The essence of ecommerce today is built around the idea of catalogs. That’s very useful, it fits with the idea of Web pages and catalog pages, but most people don’t think of shopping in terms of catalogs and pages, but in terms of stores that they go into,” said IBM chief technology strategist Irving Wladawsky-Berger (Second Life name Irving Islander).

“In addition to our desire to work more closely with Linden Labs, we’re exploring how we can work with many virtual world players, including companies like Multiverse and Bigworld Technology, as well as open source platforms like,” the spokesman said in an email. “IBM’s ultimate aim is for inter-world integration, instead of separate islands of virtual worlds, where you cannot cross over from one to the other in a consistent way.”

Second Life Insider: "Quite achievements"

"That's got to be one heck of an island that they've got going on there, I must say. 250 on an island is quite a stretch. 250 on a four-sim corner is still a stretch. Either IBM is getting much better toys, or they're planning to do this in shifts."

Information Week: "Second Life residence build stores around"

This one is important. Bezos is an investor in Linden and SL uses S3.

"Whether becomes a fixture within Second Life will be left up to its members, who build the revenue-sharing virtual stores and write the scripts needed to integrate with's Web services for third-party retailers. Second Life residents do a total of about $6 million worth of business a month, up from about $2 million a few months ago.

"Our strategy is to provide tools that let residents create and enhance their own experience in Second Life, and to let them decide what can be done and how to do it," says Glenn Fisher, director of marketing programs at Linden.

Life2Life (SLurl) is one of the retail projects built around's product services. Second Life residents Tabatha Hegel and Hugo Dalgleish, their names in the online world, are using the search and shopping tools they've created in at least four locations."

Millions of Us: "Sun and open source java Q&A"

"I’m really excited to announce that Sun’s Tim Bray and Simon Phipps alongside Mark Shuttleworth will be hosting a Q&A session in the Second Life Sun Pavilion this coming Monday, November 13th, at 1:00 PM PST. The Q&A session is to follow an announcement that morning by Sun via webcast and other media channels. We will be broadcasting the webcast at the Sun Pavilion to kick off the Q&A session.

A bit more about the hosts, as these guys have really interesting backgrounds: Tim Bray is Sun’s Director of Web Technologies and a co-inventor of XML and Simon Phipps is Sun’s Chief Open Source Officer. Joining them will be Mark Shuttleworth, the Founder of the Ubuntu project (and one of my favorite Linux distributions), and odd tidbit, the version of Linux I used to run (and test) the Second Life Linux Alpha when I worked at Linden."

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Social Network Numbers

Liz Gannes at GigaOm point to some new numbers from Hitwise:

"Today Hitwise sent out its measure of U.S. social network market shares by divvying up visits to the top 20 sites in the sector (see chart). MySpace has more that 80 percent of this category."

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

TechCrunch Reviews Microsoft's Entertainment Play

TechCrunch has a detailed review and analysis.

From the post:

"Microsoft has a serious strategy to dominate digital entertainment. Microsoft already has a very successful gaming console (Xbox 360) that allows users to play games, watch movies, buy movies, buy TV shows, stream video from their computer, stream music from their computer, and I’m sure buying music from URGE is in the gameplan — not to mention the social networking features that allow Xbox 360 users (and maybe Zune users, considering the wi-fi built-in?) to chat with each other in games, send messages to each other, add users to their friends list, etc."

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HotList 2006 and Second Life

Phasing Grace has an nice post looking at the Innovation Lab's HotList2006 and comparing the points to things in Second Life.

From the post:

"8. Mixed Reality
The fusion of digital, virtual and physical products is near. The remote control of tomorrow will juggle the programmes; and, at the smallest flick of your wrist, your new telephone will scroll through the menu – and then it can also be used in a virtual game of table tennis .
Some say that active SL Residents have moved too far out of the real world and into Second Life, what if you moved more of Second Life *into* the real world? Ingenious second lifers have already started to investigate haptics technology to extend your Second Life experience. What if you could interact with the world of Second Life in an entirely new way?"


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Sheep Find Kaneva

Chris at the Electric Sheep has uncovered Kaneva. Kaneva is an Atlanta company backed by Chris Klaus, that "empowers anyone to create their own Profile or Channel for total self expression. Whether it's creating their own easily customizable Profile all about them or a topically rich, Channel, Kaneva provides the ability to share, comment, rave, tag and search a wide range of media including videos, blogs, photos, music/audio, games, and even a 3D virtual world. "

From Chris' post:

"Social networking site Kaneva has a Virtual World in private beta. Meet people, get an apartment, decorate, you know the deal. It looks very Second Life’ish and there is a developers program. The world is in private beta but you can sign up and play with the 2D social networking site."


Rivers Run Red SLTV

The Guardian has an article with a good bit of detail on the recently announced Second Life television project.

From the article:

"Rivers Run Red is partnering with 10 big content companies to provide material for TV channels on

By the end of 2007, the company aims to have more than 100 specialist channels streaming a mix of branded content and original programming 24 hours a day.

User content will also be featured, picking up on the trend of "machinima", or virtual world film, as well as distributing music and video.

The channel will help users with the financial costs of hosting video, particularly as video blogging becomes more popular. Distribution will initially be capped at 400,000 units due to bandwidth costs.

At launch, the Second Life broadband TV service will be free, but pay-per-view channels may be introduced later, and advertising will not be based on traditional broadcast models."

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IBM's Ian Hughes: SLNN Interview

Ian Hughes, of eightbar, is one of IBM's leading Second Life developers.


"SLNN: How does IBM expect to contribute to Second Life's already-enormous potential for business?

Ian Hughes: My main interest has been how to get data in and out of Second Life and integrate with other systems. Given that I work at IBM Hursley (a software development Lab near Winchester, UK) which is home of MQ and CICS, two pieces of middleware that deliver messages across platforms and deal with transactions, it is something that we are able to look at with some knowledge."

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Blog Caste System

Change is Good has a really great post today about types of bloggers. S/he compares bloggers to the caste system of social orientation.

From the post:
"How to become one: There is almost no way to become a Brahmin Blogger unless you have an advanced degree (or you’re ABD) and have published some iconoclastic insight on a lightening rod issue, like copyright, commerce, social networks etc…

How to improve your status: A true Brahmin Blogger does not seek to overtly enhance their status, especially since being a Brahmin Blogger is the height ofblogging success. The next step up from here is Blogging Divinity and only Matt Drudge has been able to achieve that status, although he uses his powers for evil rather then good…"

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Six Apart's Mena Trott on Vox

I saw Vox profiled on TechCrunch. It looks like a great application with super timing as MySpace and Facebook continue to have issues. Wired interviewed Mena Trott, co-founder of Six Apart.

From the interview:

"Wired News: What is Vox and why did it come into existence?

Mena Trott: It's really a service intended for small group communication. We started working on this about two years ago. It was intended to be the next generation of TypePad, but when we started to think about it, TypePad was really a product for professional bloggers. We realized both TypePad and Vox could stand alone as unique offerings from us.

WN: What are the key features that make Vox tick?

MT: A real attention to privacy and control, which allows you to feel that you have a lot of flexibility in who can see your stuff. And then the ability to play well with other web services. We integrate well with Flickr, YouTube, Amazon, Photobucket and iFilm -- all those services that people are already using online and don't really have one place to gather it all."

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Big Brother in Second Life

Adam Reuters broke the story yesterday that the TV reality show Big Brother is coming to Second Life.
From Adam:

"The popular reality TV show will select 15 Second Life contestants in three time zones. Contestants will have to spend at least 8 hours a day in the transparent virtual Big Brother house for a total of one month, and will complete various tasks such as building replicas of famous buildings. Their fate will be decided by other Second Life residents, who will vote on which contestants will be allowed to stay.

Big Brother Island (SLurl)

From the press release:

"Endemol is the first television producer in the world to establish a branch in Second Life. Managing Director Paul Römer: “The role of online communities is becoming increasingly important. As a producer of cross-media content, Big Brother Second Life represents a fantastic opportunity to amass knowledge of the virtual world. In the future we will use this experience to develop specific content for online communities. Big Brother is the perfect format. Now that it’s been seen by 2 billion viewers all over the world, it is now time to conquer the virtual world.”

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World of Warcraft Social Network

Mashable reports the launch of a World of Warcraft social network by Warcraft Social.

From the Warcraft Social site:

"Warcraft Social Network is beta launching! We hope you all will enjoy the site. It has been in the works for a while, and we are so excited to finally see it materialize. Thanks everyone for your support. Please join so we can expand our community and features. We will be making tweaks, adding new features, and making everything more user-friendly as time goes on."

From Mashable:

"Looking beyond the Warcraft theming, it’s a fairly standard MySpace or Friendster clone, with profile pages, messaging and comments. There are a few Warcraft-specific features, however: you can add your character name, race, class, profession, realm and guild, and find members of the same guild or realm.

The bigger question, of course, is whether virtual worlds need social networks - aren’t they social enough already? It’s tempting to say that Warcraft users might not be crazy about MySpace-style sites, but that doesn’t appear to be the case: WoW’s MySpace page has over 100,000 friends and some excellent tools to customize your profile. There are also plenty of popular forums related to MMOGs, so there’s an outside chance a social network could work."

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X-Box Movie Downloads

Paidcontent has a review of the Microsoft announcement on additional X-Box features.

From the press release:

"Beginning Nov. 22, on its first anniversary, Xbox 360 will be the first gaming console in history to provide high-definition TV shows and movies directly to gamers in their living rooms. Xbox 360 gamers will have access to the full-length TV shows as downloads to own and movies to rent via download from the Xbox Live® network, the worldwide leader in online distribution of high-definition gaming and entertainment content.

“We are thrilled to be part of this launch and bring some of our most popular and targeted programming, including Adult Swim’s ‘Robot Chicken’ and ‘NASCAR.COM,’ to this platform direct to gamers via Xbox Live on Xbox 360 as part of their online gaming and entertainment experience. Partnering with Xbox Live represents the ideal environment to extend the relevant Adult Swim and NASCAR.COM brands and reach our fans in the coveted 18–34 demographic.”

- Dennis Quinn, Executive Vice President, Business Development, TBS Inc."

CNN Money:

"The move to digital distribution of video programming is not entirely surprising for Microsoft. The company faces stiff competition this holiday season from Sony (Charts) and Nintendo. Sony's PlayStation 3 is expected to offer a similar service, though this will not be available when the system goes on sale Nov. 17."


"Peter Moore, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for interactive entertainment, said the service was initially intended to make the Xbox more versatile and therefore more attractive. “Direct revenue from this over the long term could be important,” Mr. Moore said. “But this is also another reason to buy an Xbox 360.”


"The Xbox Live Video Marketplace opens for business Nov. 22—the anniversary of the Xbox 360 launch— with content from a variety of companies including Turner Broadcasting, Viacom, Paramount Studios, CBS, Warner Brothers. and Ultimate Fighting Championship This was one of the expected directions for Xbox 360 but, as I wrote earlier this year, the chokehold on supply that kept the core gaming audience from being served initially, effectively postponed outreach beyond gaming. This latest move plays off the already existing Xbox-TV connection. It’s also a one-up area for Microsoft: Xbox 360 owners won’t need Apple’s iTV—unless they’re big Disney fans."

Pixel Trade:

"Pricing has yet to be announced, but I’m told that movie rentals will be competitive with Blockbuster or pay-per-view rates and TV shows will likely match iTunes.

And it really all makes sense. Microsoft will soon launch its music/video player Zune and its console is already capable of streaming aural and visual delights off Media Center PCs. This neatly ties together the various media lines.

This move is the first of its kind in the console realm. Now Microsoft must wait to see how its 4 million users react when the service goes live on the 22nd."

Don Dodge:

"The Xbox 360 launched just one year ago. The combination of Xbox 360, Windows Media Center, and the soon to be released Zune music device puts Microsoft in a great position for home entertainment. Games, music, TV shows, music, photos, and interactive communities all working together on one device and viewable on your TV screen. Oh, and there is more coming. Stay tuned for more Live services. It is going to be tough to keep up with all the announcements coming from Microsoft over the next few months. It just gets better every day."

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Second Life Stories

Another round of articles on Second Life.


"For those of you immersed in "first lives," a virtual world is an interactive Internet environment which can be accessed by multiple users. Not all of these worlds are games. In Second Life, some people have businesses that generate thousands of dollars in real money, some socialize, and some attend events that blur the line with the real world."


"IBM used to talk about taking bricks and mortar companies and turning them into e-businesses. Mr Reynolds (eightbar) now talks to them about the possibility of becoming v-businesses.

"It's not a comparison between doing it in real life and online," said Mr Reynolds. "But not everyone can afford to go to Wimbledon, but what they might be able to do is share some online experience in a virtual world."

IBM is already hosting meetings in Second Life, although because it does not own the servers that it runs on, attendees cannot discuss sensitive company information, such as patents."

NYT Travel Guide:

"It may have been virtual, but it sure felt like a Friday night. Except that I woke up at home, in my own bed. The great thing about weekending in Second Life is that you don’t need a place to crash — you just log off. Neither did I have a hangover — a surprise since Urge Gainsbourg had fallen off his barstool after drinking too much Duff."

The Street:

"To Jaffe, entering SL is not just watching a civilization birthed. "You're actually a part of it," he says. "I tell marketers it's not a reach-play. Second Life is about a very special group of people that are opinion leaders, innovators and early adopters. These people are pioneers just by being, as opposed to by doing."
The Street 2:

"On the whole, a majority are accepting commercial businesses like Nissan," said Giff Constable, vice president of business development with Electric Sheep, the company hired to construct Nissan's virtual home. "A handful of people are worried about what brands are coming into Second Life. It's all about whether the company is providing something fun to the community, like the Nissan driving course does."

Eric Rice:

"This is Second Life’s problem (and many others’ worlds). No one is there to show you. This is also a similar problem of the YouTubes of the world. EVERYthing is there. Who can show you the best? Is a filter better than a network?

In Second Life, regardless of field of industry, I see a much higher retention of people and an easier grasp and understanding of the world when a guided hand is there. When I see the negative experiences, I’m almost confident in my speculation that they went at it alone."

Nussbaum On Design:

"3- Mining intentionality has to be a big part of your reason for going to Second Life. Finding out what people really want when given opportunities is a key factor for entering."

Business Week:

"Opening a virtual office, selling and market-testing digital replicas of products, and asking employees to create 3D online personas or "avatars" are quickly becoming action items at companies seeking to brand themselves as hip, or simply wanting to reach Second Life users, nearly half of whom are female and whose median age is 32.

This has made the online world a hot advertising outlet for brands ranging from Warner Bros. (TWX) to Adidas (ADDYY) to Microsoft (MSFT). While advertising's traditional media seem to be losing eyeballs, the population of Second Life is growing at 35% per month and its economy at 15% per month. Or in terms of annual growth rates, the population is growing at 978% and the economy at 270% to date for 2006."

Second Life Insider:

"Some of the marketing agencies and businesses will deal with Second Life at arm's length, still fumbling one handed with your bra, trying to get it off while you sigh and look through the foggy windshield at the moon. Others, well - your friend since Beta may work for a large marketing agency that's looking for ways to leverage Second Life.

Personally, I think I'd rather have the latter than the former. A virtual world's sense of 'presence' certainly helps to function as an effective leveler for everyone who comes to experience and study that world. We're all better informed, at least insofar as we want to be. We can only hope that we'll see fewer of the same mistakes repeated."

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Quincy Smith: Prophet of the Obvious

Quincy Smith is the new head of CBS Digital. Quincy use to be a VC guy with Allen & Co. The move signals CBS's new found desire to buy things.

Check out Quincy's game plan:

"I’m looking for the next YouTube, only a year earlier, when they were 1/32nd of their size, without building out stuff that we would find duplicative like sales force. The core engineering team is always important."

Good call Quincy!


Friday, November 03, 2006

Advertising in Second Life

The MIT Adverblog has been tracking a break out conversation about advertising in Second Life. The discussion was kicked off by David Berkowitz's MediaPost article titled, Second Life Optimization.

From the article:

"What happens when you're looking for shoes or sneakers in Second Life and don't know where you want to buy them? Right now, searching for such terms won't bring up the Reebok store, which is only optimized for its brand term. This is why marketers will need to engage in Second Life Optimization, or, on a broader scale, virtual world optimization."

Prokofy Neva responds:

"Erm...did they put it in SEARCH? It can't search itself, you know -- you have to go on the about-land menu where all this is done and click off the right boxes, put in a picture with all permissions opened up to make it go in the land (that means "anyone can copy" etc) and also write a coherent description."

Prokofy Neva's 20 Tips for Advertising in Second Life:

19. Talk to people who spend time living and working as avatars in the virtual world to see what they think and what they want. Don't just believe metaversal marketing companies -- do focus groups."

Peter "Urizenus Sklar" Ludlow's post:

"But this wasn't the future calling: you don't blaze a path to the future by charging into a new space and ignoring what is happening around you, nor by recycling your old rust belt industrial design ideas in a new medium, and more importantly, if the discourse of cyberculture offends your delicate ears, then just keep the fuck away thank you very much."

New World Notes digs into some stats to see how traffic was responding to all the new corporate locations:

"Take the private islands of the "big three" metaverse developers. Early this morning, the aggregate traffic to the HQ of Millions of Us (a sponsor of this blog) was 1451; Avalon, home to Rivers Run Red, was 1164; The Electric Sheep Company's Sheep Island, 486. Traffic for some of their leading corporate clients are comparable, as well: For the Sheep, Reuters Island was at 2578, while Sony/BMG's locale ranks at 970; Rivers' Reebok Island had 519, and Radio 1, the BBC's island, 902. Millions' new listening booth for Warner Brothers hip hop artist Talib Kweli scored 344, while the Wired Magazine office brought in the highest among that sampling, at 6338.

I discovered only one exception to this rule, and that was totally by random browsing, because unless I missed it, this particular corporate-funded island has come into Second Life with little fanfare: for the last three months, a company called Thomson has been providing SL-based instruction for using products from Cisco, Microsoft, and other leading tech companies, on an island of the same name.

Thomson island's Traffic this morning? That would be 23328."

That last piece is amazing. Someone needs to figure out how Thomson is managing those kinds of numbers.


Turner's Super Deluxe Team

Digging around a little reveals some of the Super Deluxe team. From the announcement we know about Mark Lazarus and Drew Reifenberger. Then there is Greg Tyree's blog mention. Greg is the TBS, Inc. VP of Web Development for Internet Technologies.

The creative director, Todd Dominey makes a brief mention of the project. Joseph Trotz is working on the ad technology. Dead Frog says that one content contributor could be Eugene Mirman.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

2006 Machinima Festival in Second Life

Rik Riel reminds us that an advance screening of several films will happen tonight at 5 PM SLT. In keeping with the theme SecondCast created a machinima piece for its 39th podcast, "Let's Skate."

More details from Rik's blog:

"The metaversal festivities will begin on Thursday, November 2 at 8pm EST with an in-world showing of several of the machinima being nominated for awards this year, with special guest appearances by the machinimists themselves to discuss their work. This will take place in the movie theater in the Laguna Beach sim, organized by the Electric Sheep Company. (Direct SLURL.)

This is just the lead-up to the main event, an in-world video simulcast of the awards ceremony direct from the Museum on Saturday November 4 at 9pm EST. Be there in the Laguna Beach theater, live, as the winners are announced."

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Social Networks Ad Spend: $2B by 2010

An eMarketer study points out the rapid growth of ad spending on social network sites.

From the press release:

"Just four months ago, marketers were sitting on the sidelines of social networks and watching the traffic surge. Now, advertising on social networks has become a top priority. In 2007, ad spending on US social networking sites is expected to spike to $865 million from $350 million in 2006, according to eMarketer's new report, Social Network Marketing: Ad Spending Update. By 2010, eMarketer estimates, spending will hit $2.15 billion.

MySpace will continue to dominate social networks, accounting for 60% of total US online social network ad spending in 2007. eMarketer estimates MySpace will generate $525 million in 2007, up from $180 million in 2006. Competitors such as Facebook, Bebo and Piczo will make up the second-largest chunk of revenue, followed by social networks offered by portals and "niche" networks.

International expansion remains a key area for audience growth and will shift into high gear in 2007. eMarketer estimates that worldwide social network ad spending will reach $1.1 billion in 2007, up from $445 million in 2006. By 2010, spending is expected to rise to $2.8 billion.

"The longer existing social networks take to develop adequate ROI metrics, the bigger the opening for a next generation of networks that are built from the ground up to accommodate advertising," Ms. Williamson says.

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Clifford Geertz: RIP

Clifford Geertz died on the 30th. He will be remembered as a great anthropologist. I first read "The Interpretation of Cultures" in the 80's and it greatly influenced my thinking on how societies use symbols and how those symbols are communicated. I also learned the word "meme" from Dr Geertz.

From the obituary:

"Peter Goddard, Director of the Institute, said, "Clifford Geertz was one of the major intellectual figures of the twentieth century whose presence at the Institute played a crucial role in its development and in determining its present shape. He remained a vital force, contributing to the life of the Institute right up to his death. We have all lost a much loved friend."

"Cliff was the founder of the School of Social Science and its continuing inspiration," stated Joan Wallach Scott, Harold F. Linder Professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute. "His influence on generations of scholars was powerful and lasting. He changed the direction of thinking in many fields by pointing to the importance and complexity of culture and the need for its interpretation. We will miss his critical intelligence, his great sense of irony, and his friendship."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mashablelabs: Top MySpace Slideshow Tools

Mashablelabs is really on a roll. Out today a review of the top slide show applications on MySpace.

From the post:

"In this round-up we looked for which external slideshow creators users were using. If a user’s page had multiple slideshows then that page was counted for each slideshow creator. Multiple slideshows from the same source were counted only once. Slideshows embedded in comments were eliminated because it’s a common target for spam."