Posts Tagged 'conference'

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.

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The Bus Redux

Triumphant View under the busIt was almost a year to the day. September 2008 I threw myself under the bus – I volunteered to make trees for a conference inworld. Remember? It changed my life. It was perhaps one of the smartest things I have ever done in my life.

Well, it’s conference time again. New world, new sims, new approach. As you know if you read this blog, I have come a long way from staring at the underside of the bus. I have managed to turn a good deal of my “real life job” into virtual world work. Our company has many programs to encourage employees to learn new skills, to try out new careers. My manager, E, attended a career planning seminar. My manager is the BEST. Always. There is no one like him. I will put E up against anyone and E will always come out as the best. *grin* Anyway, he came to me and said “Hey – there’s a program where I can lend you out for a limited time. Maybe you could find someone who needs your help in virtual worlds. You may as well get credit (recognition) for the work you are doing volunteering.” I thought it was a wonderful idea and I loved how supportive he was. I contacted my mentor (yeah, my company does THAT too – we can find mentors to help us navigate life). Um, I guess I should confess….. My mentor is J. Yeah, the infamous J of conferences and gardens past. The same J who is always telling me my gardens have to go. *grin* I’m learning a lot, despite the pain. (It’s sooooooo much fun to paint J as the evil nemesis of my life. But – it’s not really true. J is incredibly helpful and supportive. But it makes a much better story the other way.) So….. I asked J “what do you think? Would this be a good idea? Do you have any suggestions where I should look?”

bambooI was thrilled. J put me on the team to build the sims for this year’s conference. LOL – oh YEAH – she wants TREES again. ROFL. OMG. I don’t think that I can count on Honour to pull me out of the fire THIS year. Actually, J is encouraging me to do more than plant trees and plants. She is encouraging me to learn to build more, do more. Build fountains. Write the scripts for various objects (sitting, etc.). Basically she is doing all that a mentor should do.

I repeat: I’m thrilled. I’m dancing on air. I’m scared. Oh yeah. Besides being beside myself with joy and the thrill of the challenge, I am really nervous. I do NOT want to let down the team. The people on this team are really really talented. This is a major project. I am playing with the “A” team here. I do NOT want to be the weak link, the one who screws up, the one who can’t do their part. While I was working out in the gym at work yesterday I asked my friend there: “Do other people feel this way, or is this a ‘girl’ thing?” Bless his soul – he looked at me and told me he’d just got a new assignment and that he felt the same. *smile* He quoted the movie “The Right Stuff” to me – said that even Chuck Yeager prays: “Don’t let me f*** this up”. So maybe some of you out there recognize how I feel. *grin*

ivyIn the meantime, my brain is spinning all the time about landscaping, textures, builds, what to do. I walk around with my camera taking pictures of botanical gardens, rock walls, brick walls, wood benches. I am looking for ideas. I am looking for textures. Honour has promised to give me a day and try to teach me about sculpties and textures and things like that. I covet her weeping willow trees. *grin* I have soooo much to learn. I don’t even know if I can turn my photos into textures – that will be part of my learning.

wooden boardsI have a growing list of what I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEED. LOL. Bamboo trees. Ornamental grasses. Better flower textures. Graceful wood benches. I’m not even going to tell you about the conversation J and I had about sculpture and art. Sigh. That will be another post. Oh yeah, what a surprise. LOL. We butted heads already. *grin* I think Honour is running a pool about how long it will be before I try to “do in” J. You may want to contact Honour if you want in on that.

But you know what? I AM going to do this. I figure for the next 5 weeks, my life belongs to this project. No social time, no sleep. Oh gee – sounds like last year. But I am not going to be the weak link. The view from under the bus can be a very triumphant view.
It aint heavy

Beyond Blogging Conf photos

sasha
I forgot to mention this…. I posted some pics of the conference up on my flickr account. Check out Sasha – she looks great for someone who only rezzed 48 hours prior. 🙂 It helps to have experience in other virtual worlds.

honourHonour was beautiful as always. Of course, who knew THEN that it was all the scripts in her hair that were causing lag…. 🙂 If she didn’t love scripts and scripting so much, I’m SURE this could have been avoided.

And shared Arnold with us. Arnold is elegant AND extremely well behaved. Unlike my fowl…..

arnold

Snapshots of the Past Week

Some weeks I have nothing much new or interesting to report about my life. Other weeks – I can’t catch my breath. This past week was breathless. Since I’ve become a bit sporadic about posting, I figured I’d get these snippets up while they were still fresh in my mind, giving me joy. Shengri La turned 3 years old recently so a great deal of my week was involved with that. That will all figure in the next post. But there were a few other things happening as well.

First: I know this is a little late – but do catch the end of the Beyond Blogging Conference today:

April 8th
08:00 PDT 11:00 EST Homesteading in the IBM Grid
09:00 PDT 12:00 EST Lessons Learned from IBM’s Academy of Technology Virtual Conferences (This should be VERY informative and interesting! But I bet he doesn’t mention the landscaping… *grin* )

contemplating-the-rezzerI have spent most of my work week sitting on the ground, contemplating my rezzer. I was quite alarmed at how much I’d forgotten from my scripting lessons with Hell. 😦 So I probably spent several hours just kicking my brain back into scripting mode. But by the end of the week, my rezzer worked, my graphs appeared, things rezzed in the right location and the right color. And my brain seems to be back in the proper mode for thinking and developing. If only I had more time……

reunionOne of the best things that happened this week was a reunion. I didn’t post on it here, but Dale posted on his blog. He had to leave his shack at Pier. That was my first home. Literally. When Dale rescued me from Orientation Island, SL set Pier to my home location. And it stayed my home until I finally moved here to McIntyre. If you go back to my posts on my first hours in SL, I’m sure that I mentioned the wonderful black kitty that lived on Dale’s couch at Pier. I LOVE Kitty. Kitty was my best friend on many an occasion. I’d go hang out with Kitty, model my new outfits for him, feed him tuna snacks (oh does Kitty have fish breath sometimes!!!). I’d cuddle Kitty and we’d confide in each other. And then… Pier was no more. Kitty was locked away in inventory. A little piece of my heart was broken when Dale and Kitty left Pier. But we were reunited this week. 🙂 After a party Dale and I went back to visit Kitty, and see his new home. Oh joy!!! We sat forever, talking and relaxing and loving Kitty. 🙂 It was heaven. It’s not Pier, but it was still Home. Ah Kitty – *hugs* I love you. /me fills back with tuna treats and marks calendar for next visit.

dealing-with-mainland-neighborsAnd there is the great Mainland is Ugly propaganda. Well, I live on the mainland. Yeah, my next-door neighbors put up a landing strip. You know what – it has never bothered me. THEY have never bothered me. Almost nothing that happens around my house has bothered me. Until this week. Finally a neighbor did something that I did indeed find not to my taste. I like to sit by my pool, at my table with my laptop, drinking coffee while I work or blog (as I am doing now). The other morning I sat down, looked up across the way, and there was a large revolving religious symbol. Very large. Very obvious. As close to my property line as they could put it without going over the line. It actually was brushing against some of my tree branches. So I stared at that a bit. Decided that I really did NOT want to see it anymore. They were entitled to their opinion, but having seen it, I didn’t need a constant reminder. So I put up a thicket hedge. Shenlei had given me this particular hedge when I moved in – she used it to block an ad farm near the back of my property. So I tossed the tree that was there, put up the thicket and there you go. Problem solved. I guess us Mainlanders are pretty flexible folks.

dancing-to-vonjohnI spent so much of the week not being “me” (I’ll explain that more in another post). It’s not so bad when I’m staring at my rezzer. I mean – I am okay with how I look there. No AO, which annoys me. No boots, which also annoys me. But the hair and clothing aren’t too bad. And I’m working, so mostly I don’t even notice. But by late Saturday evening, I needed a bit of comfort. Von Johin was playing the blues. I tp’d home, put on my boots, jeans, and hair, and headed over. I spent a wonderful hour chatting, dancing and admiring an extremely neat cat avatar. I think that maybe I will buy an av like that and spend a week as a cat. I need a break. 🙂

Wow. I didn’t think I had anything to say, but I went on and on, didn’t I? That’s because this will have to hold you through the week. It’s Pesach, and RL takes precedence this week.

Beyond Blogging Conference

The Beyond Blogging conference starts tomorrow: Tuesday, April 7 at 9am SLT. You really do not want to miss this. It should be very interesting and fun. Lots of good speakers lined up. I will be there for sure. There are some changes to the schedule and presenters since I posted this the other day. (Just look for IBM 9 on the map – you’ll find us there.)

Beyond Blogging: Schedule
Here is the lineup of events for the Beyond Blogging conference. All events will start at the Lotusphere Parcel on IBM 9.
April 7th
09:00 PDT 12:00 EST Virtual Worlds Culture
10:00 PDT 13:00 EST Teaming in World of Warcraft
11:00 PDT 14:00 EST Stone Soup Stories
12:00 PDT 15:00 EST Roundtable: Achieving a Work/Life/Virtual Life balance
13:00 PDT 16:00 EST Roundtable: What’s in a Name?
14:00 PDT 17:00 EST Roundtable: Appearance Matters!
15:00 PDT 18:00 EST The Wonderful World of Colin Fizgig
16:00 PDT 19:00 EST Leaving a Virtual Legacy
17:00 PDT 20:00 EST Field Trip: Social Aspects of Virtual Worlds
April 8th
02:00 PDT 05:00 EST 100 students interviews in a SL theater
05:00 PDT 08:00 EST Language Learning in Second Life
08:00 PDT 11:00 EST Homesteading in the IBM Grid
09:00 PDT 12:00 EST Lessons Learned from IBM’s Academy of Technology Virtual Conferences

Opening General Session – Virtual Worlds Culture
7th April, 09:00 PDT / 12:00 EST

Virtual Worlds are more than just another medium for the exchange of information. Most of the venues we have for social interaction on the internet today, web pages, blogs, instant messaging, all revolve around the written word. Virtual worlds such as Second Life allow for user contribute content that spurs on social interaction in ways that are quite different from previous text driven interfaces.

Jessica Qin will open the conference with a discussion of this culture arising from Virtual Worlds.

Teaming in World of Warcraft
7th April, 10:00 PDT / 13:00 EST

Massively multiplayer online games, like any team environment, rely heavily on good communication and matched goals. Due to the lack of supervision by team leaders, organization and team identity are even more important. In teams who are geographically local, the team members can go to a dinner or some other event together. However, in a geographically dispersed team whose members are unlikely to ever meet face to face, these challenges have to be addressed differently.

Sasha Oliver speaks on the lessons she has learned to address virtual teaming through her experience leading a guild in World of Warcraft.

already-found-my-seat

Entertaining Education

beyond-blogging-confI’m not sure “education” is the correct word, but I like alliteration. My friend Jaymin is runinng a Beyond Blogging conference. “What’s that?” you ask. It’s a conference in a more-relaxed format. It is an opportunity for people to meet in SL and discuss what aspects of virtual worlds excite them, annoy them, help them, and have changed their lives. Or as Jaymin writes it:

The ‘Beyond Blogging’ Conference is about exploring the use of virtual worlds by IBM and IBMers alike in their social and working lives. Virtual worlds are used for the expression of ideas, new concepts, collaboration, communication and community building. We are looking for papers, posters or presentation sessions along the lines of the conference theme: how virtual worlds have affected IBM and IBMers.
Since the conference it taking place in public space, non-IBMers may participate if they wish. Those just wishing to attend may subscribe to the Developer Works Blog on “Return on Investment in Virtual Worlds” for updates. Those who wish to present a topic may do so. They just need an IBM Employee to “sponsor” them. You or your sponsor can contact the conference organizers for more details.
Beyond Blogging will take place on April 7-8, 2009, on the Lotusphere parcel in the IBM 9 region of Second Life.

Jaymin mentioned this conference to me a few weeks ago and then I saw that Tateru Nino was blogging on it as well. I’m providing a link to Jaymin’s website, but I have experienced some difficulties at times reaching it. So I will copy in much of the information here (*grin* the stuff that *I* find really really interesting).

Beyond Blogging: Schedule
Here is the lineup of events for the Beyond Blogging conference. All events will start at the Lotusphere Parcel on IBM 9.
April 7th
09:00a PDT 12:00 EST Opening General Session
10:00a PDT 13:00 EST Teaming in World of Warcraft
11:00a PDT 14:00 EST Homesteading in the IBM Grid
12:00noon PDT 15:00 EST Roundtable: Achieving a Work/Life/Virtual Life balance
13:00 PDT 16:00 EST Roundtable: What’s in a Name?
14:00 PDT 17:00 EST Roundtable: Appearance Matters!
15:00 PDT 18:00 EST The Wonderful World of Colin Fizgig
16:00 PDT 19:00 EST Leaving a Virtual Legacy
17:00 PDT 20:00 EST Field Trip: Social Aspects of Virtual Worlds
April 8th
02:00a PDT 05:00a EST 100 students interviews in a SL theater
05:00a PDT 08:00a EST Language Learning in Second Life
08:00a PDT 11:00a EST Stone Soup Stories
09:00a PDT 12:00noon EST Closing General Session

You KNOW that I am going to be therefor the Appearance Matters! session.  Actually, I plan to be there for most of the sessions.  🙂   Because these are topics that I find fascinating.  As you probably know, if you read this blog.  I will probably have quite a bit to say in the What’s in a Name? session as well.  *grin*  Ah yes, topics that are near and dear to me.

The Opening session should also be extremely interesting. This deals with IBM’s work with LL over the past year, using SL for conferences. LL has been blogging about this themselves, now we can hear about it from the IBM perspective. This session will be headed by Neil Katz:

In late 2008 IBM’s Academy of Technology held a conference on virtual worlds in a virtual world: a private instance of Second Life behind IBM’s firewall. As an experiment in virtual conferencing for researchers of the topic it was a success and might have been relegated as an indication of where the future could go. However, six weeks later, the crashing economy and emergency cost saving measures caused the travel budget for the annual general meeting of IBM’s Academy of Technology to be cut. Suddenly our virtual conference work was pulled from the research sidelines and given center focus as it became the only possibly way to hold the AGM within the economic constraints.

Neil Katz, an IBM Distinguished Engineer and chairman of the conference will speak on history, development, success, and ultimate lessons learned of the two conferences.

And don’t miss “Leaving a Virtual Legacy”!!!! That session will be led by our beloved Honour McMillan.

Nothing seems as ephemeral as the virtual world. What we perceive as land and buildings and accessories and appearances are just electrons, bits and bytes. Our concept of ownership is nebulous as they are stored on servers we have no control over, and do not represent something concrete we can hold in our hands. The general assumption is that our electronic creations are ‘writ on water’. And yet works of electronic media have been tenaciously persistent. What student of the late 80’s would have thought at the time their angst filled ramblings on usenet would be indexed and searchable 20 years later, prompting awkward questions from their children?
Perhaps we should take our creations more seriously. It may be that our exploratory fumblings of today, of all the efforts of our lives, are the most likely to end up ‘writ on marble’; recorded, indexed, and presented is some unguessable 3D wikipedia of 2030.

climbing-wallFinish up the first day with a social tour led by none other than Dale. *grin* Okay – if you know Dale (and if you read my blog you do), you know that this WILL be a fun. *grin* See you there!

Get there EARLY!!!!  IBM 9/Lotusphere has very good builds and games and is extremely interesting.  There is a climbing wall  – check it out!  To ascend the wall, you must answer the questions correctly!  *grin*   Look at me go!!!

So Now What do I Do???

So the conference is over. The all-consuming all-out effort of preparing and attending – it’s done. Suddenly I have all this time. I don’t remember what I used to do. I feel somewhat bereft, to tell the truth. What do I do now that I am not searching the world high and low for trees? What do I do now that I am not endlessly planting. And ripping out my plants. Will I ever see my ducks again???? Looking on the bright side, however, I added several friends to my contacts list. I hope I get to see them again now that the conference is over. It will be fun to see other parts of the world and meet new people.

Speaking of which…. I’ve followed my friend Bailey to her pub, the Crown and Pearl. What a blast! I have taken to going there after work to unwind and have fun. The conversation ranges from light-hearted to serious. You can tell that these are good friends who enjoy hanging out together, teasing each other, supporting each other. The music is good, the DJ’ing superb and I always come away in good spirit. And they throw fun parties as well. Had just finished listening to Noma live when a group chat opened up. Lingerie party in progress. It did take me awhile to believe that they were all in lingerie. You have to understand – I don’t know them all that well, but I know enough to realize that they would definitely tease by all being there completely dressed and convincing me to tp there in my undies. 🙂 But after being reassured by a trustworthy group member, I changed my clothes and joined the party. Definitely lingerie. 🙂 Amazing how far you can get with a well placed sock. 🙂

And I have my first friends also. After the lingerie party I ended up back at Shengri La. Shenlei and Michele were modelling some beautiful new outfits available at the Vintage Marketplace. Then Calli tp’d in, fresh from the honor of being inducted into the SL Photography Hall of Fame! Way to go, Calli!!!! Shen modeled another outfit for us all. It really was simply beyond words. So I am relying on Calli’s photography to show you what I can not describe. 🙂 You have to click this to see it at full size. You must!!!

So here I am. Another chapter finished, time to move on. Maybe I’ll even remember what it is to sleep. 🙂 Because it IS after 2am. Oh wait! Forget sleep…. I see a new friend has just logged on. /me waves – Hi T!


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