Posts Tagged 'business in virtual worlds'

Blurred Vision

Vision can be blurry because something is interfering actively or because the focus has not yet resolved. When I look at the future and virtual worlds, my vision blurs from both causes. This post was triggered by my reaction to Gwyneth Llewelyn‘s post “Innovation, yes, but wrong turn“. Gwyneth is one of my favorite bloggers. I find her comments to be sound and well-supported, and her tone is always equable.

I still believe that all of us will have an avatar in virtual worlds in the fairly near future. I believe that more and more business meetings and collaborations will take place virtually. There will always be a need for face-to-face. But the workplace is global and for short-duration meetings and conferences, unless we have a major breakthrough in transportation costs (“Beam me up, Scotty!”), the most cost and time efficient solution will remain electronic. I no longer believe, however, that SecondLife/OpenSim will be that virtual means. And therefore my vision is blurred from the unshed tears in my eyes. I am still unable to articulate why my SL avatar resonates so strongly for me. I am unable to identify which particular aspects make the experience so powerful. I have tried to bring friends and coworkers into SL. I’ve failed. I introduce them to friends. To live music. To building. To the ability to hold business meetings simply. Many many things. (No, I didn’t try introducing them to Zindra. Was that the problem?) But to date I have failed to convince anyone to see it as I do.

I think that not only is there something in my eyes, but I think the view-finder has not yet been turned to the correct focus. At the moment the virtual world is beset by a storm about anonymity, pseudonymity and “real identity”. I tend toward seeing the pessimistic future and I fear that we, advocates for pseudonymity and anonymity, are going to lose this argument. But moving beyond this moment, I think that the business world has still not identified why it needs virtual worlds. Because of that lack of vision – the WHY – virtual worlds still lack the WHAT. I think we have the “HOW” – we can get there. Once we are there, however, there’s little to do. There’s no “HOW”. We need TOOLS in the virtual worlds. Those tools are coming. But not fast enough and not “sexy” enough. We need tools that allow our avatars to do that which our organic bodies do: easy note taking, modify the same objects (think whiteboards, sketching). Picture yourself in an organic conference room in a brainstorming, problem-solving session. Now, imagine your avatar doing the same thing. The trick here is that all of those tasks that are seamless in the organic world need to be as seamless in the virtual. So yes, there are whiteboard tools and there are ways to modify the same object, etc. But they are not seamless to the avatar experience. The business world and LL only thought to the point of getting people IN.

Not only are we lacking the tools, but there are not enough people being encouraged and supported to envision. I state quite clearly – I am NOT a visionary. I am the person who can get your vision done. But we NEED the people who will look at the conference room I described, will look at the work being done, look at virtual worlds, and make the leap that says: ah, because we are freed from the constraints of the physical world, we can visualize the problem THUSLY. I had the good fortune to work on a project with people who ARE visionaries. We began work on such a business application tool. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the backing (substitute “funding”) to keep working so that they had time to learn the virtual worlds sufficiently to make that quantum leap into hyperspace.

In her article, Gwyneth Llewelyn says:
However, I still think that LL (and not only Rod; he’s just starting to think like the rest) is working from a totally wrong assumption: that virtual worlds with user-generated content are somehow a mainstream product, if only “done right”, and that the trick is how to figure out to “do them right”. To be very honest — and you can check it up on my blog — I used to think like that as well. But the more time passes, the less likely I believe this is going to happen.
… I’m quite convinced these days that Second Life (and these days there is nothing else that compares with SL; I’m considering OpenSim to be just a variant of SL running under open source software, of course) is simply a niche product.

I’m sad to say that to a great extent, I agree. I think that SL/OpenSim is a tool, an environment. Now take that tool and customize it to what you need. Businesses need specific business tools, specific ways of manipulating data. Businesses need specific ways of interacting. Like the government, corporations have specific concerns that drive innovation. Think of how many inventions and every-day appliances we now have due to the government needing a tool. If business took virtual worlds seriously, used them, put the energy into adding tools and applications and seamless integration, virtual worlds would have a bigger niche. I believe that once such tools are there, other people will take them, bend them shake them and leap them into the future. As that happens, the niche expands to a mainstream product.

Brrrring! Time for School!

It is only fitting that I return to my blog as I send my son back to school. *grin* I’ve been doing a lot – both RL and SL. I’ve made new friends in very SL-fashion. Work is going well. Family is good, pets are okay. So it’s time to stop dancing and partying and get back to LEARNING and BUILDING!!!

Although I don’t expect to post anything on it, I attended SL Pro! back in February. I thought it was worth the price and I learned a lot. I followed the builders’ track. Without a doubt there are people doing some amazing things in SL. For me personally the most useful thing was the explanation and introduction of the Beta Viewer 2.0. I LIKE it, although I LOATHE what they did to the camera controls. BLECH!! Put them back as they are in v1!!!

I heard of another VW builders’ conference coming up. Please note how grown-up I am being. *I* am a Nittany Lion. Yet I am giving press to another school, not even a Big 10 school. The University of Arkansas in collaboration with IBM is holding an Extensible Virtual Worlds Workshop March 29-April 2. The timing is extremely bad for me. Sheesh – don’t these folks KNOW that they are supposed to check with ME before setting dates and times??? I mean, it IS all about ME, after all. I hope to make the end of the conference. It’s free, it’s in SL, and it sounds very interesting. Note – this isn’t about building prims – it’s about constructing worlds. The conference covers 4 themes:

Extensible Virtual World Architectures
Virtual World Applications
Integration with the Real World
Enhanced Capabilities

I am interested in the Apps and Integration. *grin* I confess – I looked up the definition of extensible, which apparently means that implementation of the system takes into consider the future use/construction of that system. I guess I’ve always been associated with the design of extensible applications without knowing the terminology. This is what happens when a classicist ends up as a software developer. *grin*

I hope I’ll see you there. The papers are posted and I see some well-known names there.

I miss you all

working, workingI am SO busy!
Excited. Challenged. LEARNING!
Oh I LOVE my job!!!!!

I have some photos
of great SL music times
but no time to write.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Fine, it was only one day. But it was vacation. I have two laptops going – my work one and my gaming computer. I was on vacation. So I was inworld on the gaming computer (thank you again my dearest husband for my wonderful wonderful setup – I’m hoping this year’s birthday is MUCH better than last year).
Oura provided entertainment
I also had my work laptop up and running. I had my email and my calendar set to vacation. We have an internal IM system. I had my status set to away. I thought that should cover me. Because, you see, I was actually sneaking INTO work. You read that correctly – INTO work. Because I LOVE what I do – part of it, anyway. The other part I enjoy but it requires that I take vacation time. There was a meeting that I, omg, WANTED to attend. I had VOLUNTEERED (sheesh – not even a bus this time to run me over) to think up some ideas for an action plan. So I was on that computer also. And someone from the enjoyable part of work IM’d me, starting in on his issues. I watched the text grow and thought – I need to nip this in the bud. Now. /me blushes because I suspect my answer could be construed as “snarky”. Maybe even “rude”. I basically stated that I was on vacation. *grin* I suggested he take his issues elsewhere or he could wait for my return. I then changed my away status to the slightly stronger “Away on Vacation”. Since I was actually communicating with people about work through the work IM, I couldn’t really turn it off. See – life is so COMPLICATED when you lie about being at work. No – NOT at work. At work?
jonah, Oura and Ahuva in the pool
But most of the day I wasn’t working. I was playing. All day into the wee hours of the morning. Oh yeah. 🙂 That may have been the most marathon session I have ever spent. /me smiles happily in recollection. Most of the day I spent with Oura, but lots of other friends dropped by or IM’d. We spent hours in the pool, without undue harm. 🙂 Oura entertained us by dancing in her chains. 🙂 What guy in the other tube? Later in the day Jonah dropped by to join us. The 3 of us splashed and played some more. Oura is right – I need many more animations for the pool, now that it is summer. Especially when people go AFK in my deck chairs so that they can work.

I spent time working on my AO for opensim. Although some people appreciated the AO I was using, I suspected that for an unanimated world, it might be a bit too strong. All of the poses were really bland by SL standards. But surrounded by newbies in default everything, the gestures seem more overstated. So what do you think of this new one I was trying? *grin* No? Or is it just the attire?
new AO pose
I love my SL house and friends. Last Friday’s vacation day was at the RL shore and was heaven on earth. This Friday vacation was at my SL pool and was wonderful. You can have your cake and eat it too.

New Creations

I’m a tad frustrated. Work is going great. We had a concept. We made a demo of that concept so that we could show it to other people so that they could say “Hey! There’s an idea here!” We have found people who do indeed think we have an idea and maybe even more than an idea. We may actually have something that could become something REAL. *grin* You need to know something about me – well, if I were a REAL person, and not a construct of an imagination (please see the disclaimer in my profile. LOL). I have been in a group that brings products to market. I LIKE selling real products to real people for real money. *grin* So it’s incredibly exciting to me to think that yes, we may indeed have something here. BUT. I can’t tell you about any of that. Probably I shouldn’t even admit that we have an idea. 🙂 That is why I am wearing aluminum foil on my head – so that you can’t beam your mind-ray machine at me and see what it is. 🙂 So I can’t tell you about what *I* am doing. What I am creating. Go back and look at pictures of my office. That’s all I can share.

What I CAN do, however, is share what my friends are doing and creating. I’ve told you all about Honour’s Drama Dolls. Have you gotten YOURS yet? I’m sure that sometime in SL you encountered DRAMA!

genie bottle outside
Bailey Longcloth
is also creating. She has a business, Longcloth Ltd. for furniture, animations and homes. If I say Tony, Jeannie and Howard – do you know who I mean???? Either you are showing your age or your predilection for old TV. *Grin* Whereas Jeannie’s home was made from a Jim Beam liquor decanter which was simply painted with gold leaf, YOU can do better than that! Bailey has made a genie bottle that is much more elaborate and detailed. It is beautiful and fun. She sent me a photo while she was building it. I immediately started smiling from the sheer fun of it all. She is selling it through Xstreet. I have already curled up in MY bottle. It’s cozy and snug and I feel like a little-girl’s fantasy come true. 🙂 Okay – I’m wearing my silks from Beautiful Sin, so maybe I look a little like a big boy’s fantasy. But it’s MY bottle and I’m not inviting anyone to join me. Even though it has a couple pose. I’m not telling who is in the picture, either. If you REALLY want to know, contact me discreetly. LOL.
inside the genie bottle
Sigh. Maybe soon I can tell you what *I* am doing…..

My Friends, We’ve Got TROUBLE

racked and ready
Right here in River City!!! With a Capital “T”! That rhymes with “P”! And that stands for POOL!!!!

You may have noticed that I love my life in SL. I have a great time and I am always trying to encourage other friends to come live here too. *grin* Or at least visit. (Gwyneth LLewelyn, one of the most articulate and learned bloggers out there, has the most provocative post on this subject. I am still pondering what she wrote and while I’m not sure I’m exactly comfortable with this realization, I think she has me ‘pegged’.) I have been telling my coworker J for MONTHS that he needs to come inworld. I have answered him on blogs, IM’d him, chatted on the phone, always to the same point: he can have team meetings, work, be productive and bond with other coworkers in a virtual setting.

DZ went firstHallelujah! J came back from a corporate indoctrination session. *grin* Hey, I like those courses too, but let’s be honest. J and 21 others were together for a week. He told me they bonded in “our” old-fashioned way (J and I used to meet when we all came together for the yearly corporate extravaganza.) I laughed and said “Beer?” J replied “And POOL!!! Never forget the POOL!!” I laughed. I will never forget Pool night at MacClaren’s. McClanahan’s? McGovern’s? Okay. I can’t remember the place, but I remember the fun. And the team building. And oh yes, the photos. I paid a LOT for those photos. *grin*

J has come around to my way of thinking. He wants to bring his classmates together monthly so they can continue to work together and build on what they accomplished this past week. See – indoctrination DOES work. 🙂 So J wants my help. Time to put your money where your mouth is, Ahuva.

Celestial Game TowerI told J who to contact officially in the company, to get into the corporate vw systems. But. J kept saying “Pool. I want to play pool. We all played pool. We could build on that.” /me rolls eyes and sighs dramatically. I checked but I knew it before I checked – even our wonderful corporate game master has NOT created a pool table. No pool yet in the corporate world. Ah, Oura, what would I do without you??? I sent an agitated IM to Oura saying “Find me a sex-free, working pool table!!!” Being Oura, of course she found one. In less than 30 minutes. Perfect. FW Supplies at Celestial Game Tower. Calli tp’d in to give her opinion. Turns out she has used this table – another friend has it. She said it really does work. The sex animations are an additional purchase if you are interested. 🙂 I did buy the cue stick rack. I am still considering the overhead lights (“If you got the optional pool lamp, rezzing it will make it automatically jump in place over the pool table. The lamp is MOD allowed, in order to extend its support up to your ceiling.”).

orange and white in the side pocketThe other night Oura, Jonah, DZ and I unpacked my pool table and gave it a try. First, I had to change the felt to green. I don’t play pool in RL (nor in SL) but I DO know that the table has to be green. Not blue. There are 3 sets of instructions: for the owner, the player, and basic 8-Ball rules. You wear a HUD to play. DZ and Oura racked up first, Jonah and I cheered them on. Although I have the table at home right now (*giggle* it’s on the same level as my pool) I intend to move it to my SL office. I’ll take out the sofa and chairs, add the pool table and cue rack. I’ll leave the big conference table for the pizza and beer.

with a capital PThere were realistic sound effects, you can add power and spin to your shots. I have been assured that yes, this really IS like playing pool. *grin* I am going shopping for the beer and pizza NOW. I hope J and his gang remember to clean up after themselves. *grin*

So…. taken from my notecards, and yes, this is probably copyrighted, etc.:

• Truly realistic gameplay using extensive random physics, including possible strike miss
• Realistic custom pool table sounds and balls behavior, nice balls triangle animation and particle effects
• Balls roll on table and falls down in pockets, then slowly slide down the ramp on each side
• Really intuitive and user-friendly HUD-driven game, NO painful keyboard control NOR required MouseLook mode
• Includes automatic player’s camera control for table top view or cue view
• Balls tracking security system with automatic kill upon table eject, to avoid buggy balls remaining around on your parcel
• Owner can set table for pay-required games and choose felt’s color at will
• 8 Balls pool game rules strictly respected and handled by script

Player notes:
Player just needs to click on pool table frame to receive its Pool HUD, play instructions and pool rules. As soon as worn, the HUD searches for pool table around in a 20m range. If found, the player can then “Join Table”. Once table is joined by one or two players, the game can start by clicking on “Start Game” button. This brings the balls on table, then the triangle moves up and first player can strike (first player is always the one having started game).

8 Ball rules:
1. The game is played with one cue ball and 15 numbered object balls.
2. The balls are racked in a triangle at the foot of the table with the 8-ball in the center of the triangle, the first ball of the rack on the footspot, a stripe ball in one corner of the rack and a solid ball in the other corner, as the above illustration shows.
3. The object of the game is to make one group of numbered object balls, either stripes or solids, and then LEGALLY POCKET THE 8-BALL which then wins the game.

Games done, Oura won

Work Hard, Play High

I feel as if I am working all the time. That somehow my work day has blended seamlessly into the rest of my life. Maybe that’s what happens when you work in virtual worlds. Certainly the two people I know who appear to log even more work hours than I do both work in virtual worlds. Shenlei and I used to have time to take 15 minutes and ride horses. Go shopping for gardens. Stake out lucky stumps. But lately….wow…. we are lucky if we have time to IM for any extended time. Pretty much the only way I get to see Shen is if I go and attend her work events. Monday night I and several friends attended her presentation on her new Avatar Apparel Design Program. I wish I had the time and the required skill-set to take this course. Maybe the next time it is offered my Gimp skills will be at a sufficient level. Of course, that still means I need to find time.

The Art of the DealThis Thursday there is a fashion show for the business professional within SL. There are a lot of people doing RL business within SL. Sometimes even in SL there is a need to respect RL social conventions, such as clothing and appearance. As more and more corporations are coming into SL to do business, the need for business wear grows. Let me quote from the publicity:
Bull & Bear Careerwear is a new line of sophisticated attire designed exclusively with the business professional in mind. B&B was conceived and launched by Wollemia Sands, an up-and-coming talented designer. “The Art of the Deal” fashion show will feature 20 B&B creations — 10 women’s outfits; 10 men’s outfits — that are finely-tailored and appeal to the discerning professional. “The Art of the Deal” is a collaborative undertaking between Wollemia Sands of Bull & Bear; Shenlei Winkler, CEO of the Fashion Research Institute, Inc.; Suzy Yue of Running Lady Productions (RLP); and, is hosted by Sigma-Aldrich.

This Saturday – treat yourself to some jewelry. primal elegance(See – that Shenlei. She never stops working!!!!) “Twelve lovely ladies bedecked with opulent jewels in a darkly seductive set showcase the exceptional work of Fashion Research Institiute Marketplace designers Yoona Mayo (cocoon), Tiffy Vella (Eclectica), and Rosie Barthelmess (Sable Rose). Please join us for this unique fashion-meets-art installation of fashion displayed artistically.” I have to tell you – I saw this show being setup. My, my, my – those poses are HOT!!!! I played with each poseball and I STILL can’t decide which one I love the most. The jewelry is even BETTER than the poses. So get yourself there and treat yourself royally.

BounceSo if you work hard, you have to play hard. I decided that I needed to remind Shen of that fact. This weekend I dropped a present on her – a stress-breaker toy. I included a note that said the two of us NEEDED a break. *grin* After her presentation Monday, she rezzed it: a trampoline. LOL. We got on that silly trampoline and bounced up into the sky, over and over. Okay, I also went splat on the ground a few times as well but hey, that’s the beauty of SL – splat doesn’t really mean SPLAT! After bouncing for awhile, we relaxed on the lovely green professional looking couches. 🙂 Don’t we look like we’ve been sent to the principal’s office for misbehaving??? Anyway, we did manage to sneak in some fun, relax and laugh. Just what we needed. Just what we all need. So that’s my advice to you for today. called to the principal's officeFind a friend and share a moment to laugh. Yeah, there’s a lot of real bad news, stress, less-than-pleasant stuff around. I’m not denying it. Or even ignoring it. Life happens. But take a moment to catch some sunshine – find a friend and share a laugh.

Wishing you all a good day!


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