Friday, July 20, 2007

I'm Outa Here :-D


All SL land fees paid, last SLRFL jobs done, work in safe hands and ticking along, ETC at Mayfair.

I'm off to Scotland to walk up stuff and bike down stuff. I can already smell fresh air, whisky, and hong. Lets pick up some Munro's.

See ya in a week or so. Will post pics retrospectively and Twitter as I go ;-)

More Great Journalism

Ooh, ooh, look at the funny little pixel people and their online bonking. Watch as they fight over a matress. Sometimes I wanna go Hungerford on the media I really do...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Taking Liberties

I went along with Daz last night to see Taking Liberties at the Belper Ritz.

I can't add to his comments really, so I'll refer you direct to his blog - HERE.

It made we want to shout at things and wave placards. Not felt like doing that since they banned fox hunting.

Cool, but the people who need to see it never will.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Need Dimension to Your Email?

Do you find dealing with email boring?

Would your day be brighter if your email was rendered as 3D personalities in a super swanky virtual world?

Want to see those Viagra adverts swimming with spam eating sharks?

Are you prone to buying in to utter shit?

"3D Mailbox turns your emails into people: In the first level, Miami Beach, beautiful models represent good email, and goofy Sumo guys represent spam. Chill with your email poolside and in private cabanas, and feed your spam to the sharks! The beautiful locales and Brazilian background music make you feel like you're on vacation any time of the day."

Heaven help our species, if this is how we use the Information Age...

Friday, July 13, 2007


Watch this....

...then Google 01/18/08 or 011808.

I found, and Any more? There's a forum thingy at Livejournal.

I seem to have missed this and I'm a bit late to the party, but I do like my JJ. Hmmm, Slusho.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Weapons Grade Mentalist

This is Dr. Megavolt.

AKA, this is particle physicist Dr. Austin Richards (which is a damn good comic book name to be fair).

This is a bloke in a metal suit with a Victorian anti-psycho cage on his head who stands between two million-volt tesla coils, dancing about like a monumental spaz, waving a huge metal fork with 9ft-long sparks crackle all over him. He is a spaceman amongst monkeys.

Dr. MegaVolt is available for a wide range of events, concerts, festivals, product endorsements, bar mitzvahs and hen parties.

When I get the Super Lair (TM), he can join the gang.

Christmas Comes Early

The first still from the Who Christmas Special is available in a short Who article on The Reg this morning with the antipodean pint-sized song thrush (playing the a waitress called ' Astrid' on the Titanic) saying the usual production platitudes.

No mention of Sir Ian Mckellen in the line-up (for that Celestial Toymaker I was hoping for), but a fine collection of Brit irregulars non the less.

Cheers for the link Daz.
Reports on the publicity picture can also be found at BBC News Online, The Sun, The Times, the Daily Mail and This is London.

Help With an Urban Myth?

There's an Urban Legend (and I do love my Urban Legends) that goes thus:

You can put lifts (or 'elevators' for you colonials) into 'express mode' by holding in the "Door Close" button in combination with your desired floor number. Then voom, it's Charlie Bucket all the way to your floor without stopping.

I heard this a while ago and need help working out if it's true. Is this fact or fiction?

I was told this works with Otis elevators (and allegedly some other lifts too, but just Otis in the UK). Testing would require one person to operate an lift (elevator) and a second to attempt to interrupt the elevator (lift) from another floor. Alas our lift here only go up a floor so it's a bit of a non starter.

If anyone can try this I'd be really grateful. Give it a go and let me know? You don't have to worry about the scruples but probably best not do it in a hospital - this is purely for research purposes.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tesco? - Every Little Helps

Nice, and sadly true. Most poignant considering the great collection of outstanding small shops in Belper town centre and the monstrous great woppin' Tescos they want to flop into the middle of the community.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Backlash Begins?

Okay, from time to time SL gets some flack.

Usually this is reporters who've never even been into the metaverse. People with deadlines to meet, just hopping on the media bandwagon and riding it for a quick disposal article in the 'look at the funny geeks playing at foxes with willies' vein. I even read an introduction once, called 'Becoming a Reporter in Second Life', from a bloke who rang up The
AvaStar for an interview but had never been on the grid in his live.

On the whole, the press love it. SL has been made by the media. In many ways SL is the media. Most people who are heavily involved in content creation are broadly definable as 'geeks and media types'. We tell you it's ace and you go try it, if your an arty geeky media type you love it, you blog it, write about it, froth around the net, tell people it's ace, default goto 0.

I want to show you this oddly biased bit of statistical reporting. This is great. Look at this.

To back up the Time Magazine special report on '
50 Best Websites 2007' they have listed a 'Top 5 Worst Websites' and guess who's at number 5? Yes I know, technically Second Life's not a website but lets not quibble on the first line.

So we're not the next big thing any more then? Finished riding us for news? Now, are you sure you checked this is the company line before you published? Build em up, knock em down? Times Warner v's Linden Labs (the sceptic in me says "Maybe they are planning on releasing their own branded metaverse"). This has come out of left field for me. I'm a bit surprised (and journalists rarely surprise me these day).

I'm all in favour of constructive criticism but come on, " are crazy people around every corner - disruptive types that spread graffiti and get in your way and throw you off your groove...". There is? Not in Caledon old man, that wouldn't be cricket. Maybe if you go looking for it, but with new Lindonslation you'll need a passport to find that soon.

I bet his grid savvy pals at the watercooler were having a laugh with this one. "Oh, you wanna go to Baku mate, if you want to see a good neutral cross section of SL life". "Yeah, and wear that big hat I sent you that says reporter". "Nah, you'll be fine with a default avatar, no need to customise it or spend any time on it, folks are really helpful to noobs".

I mean, some comments are standards and justified. Yes, we know it's slow. It's not a computer game. It's a flexible environment and your just going to have to swallow it. Yes it's a bit laggy, turn off some fx mate it's not 'World of Warcraft'.

I mean, the very words " and buy sneakers and real estate (that's fake stuff for real money) and dance..." just reek of a person who 'didn't get it'. To me, technically, it's not 'fake'. Dismissive is an interesting style, but cheap and doesn't lend itself well to accuracy. It's server space or someones creative time and skill your buying, for micro- payments, thought one of the most advanced virtual economies ever created. Am I wrong here?

Still, they might be right, I'm not a journalist. I'm just a long term resident who uses SL to create, interact with real friends, engage in social research, work, and as a creative and role-play outlet in a celibate tech-savvy environment of equals. What do I know?

Knob Jockey at 15

The Media Guardian has ignored my recent post on Doctor Who's executive producer Russell T Davies, well I don't suppose you can shoot the messenger, and today reported he's the "15th most powerful player in UK TV". Davies, the jiz moppin' cock knocker, was placed 28th last year and is apparently described as "the person who made family TV drama cool again" with his award-winning reinvention of Doctor Who and who put BBC1 back on top in the Saturday night ratings war. I would describe him differently, but there you go, no one listens to me.

The good Doc himself, David Tennant, is 24th and quoted as "the most powerful actor in television". The Media Guardian says the definition of a star is "someone who can get a project off the ground simply by agreeing to be in it". Tennant, bless him, can.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Monthly Metrics

SL have just published their public metrics, which are available through their Economy page or kindly linked here in Excel, Open Document, and Google Docs format.

459,785 a week logging in, lets say 20% are alts, yada, yada...

...not exactly a ground breaking market is it?

Hmmm, and is that just me, or is that a slump on the last load of stats? A slowdown in the growth of Second Life’s population and economy is just what the sceptics have been looking for to say no to investment. Once a trend like that starts it's a bugga to break. I don't hear a bubble bursting yet, but I can see apin on the horizon is the wind don't change.

Headline numbers:

  • Registered accounts = 7.7m
  • Increase of 12.7%
  • Unique accounts = 5.2m
  • Increase of 19.5%
  • Hours per month per unique account = 4.18

In terms of active users by country:

  • US 26.45% up 3.3%
  • UK 7.16% up 22.0%
  • Brazil 7.35% up 52.5%
  • Italy 5.46% up 12.3%

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Not always, but mostly, plus you can bum foxes...

217 Million No Lifers

217 million people worldwide play online games, according to figures from comScore. That's approximately the population of Malaysia or Peru.

The study apparently took into account all sites that provide "online or downloadable games" but excluded gambling sites. The 217million users account for 28 percent of all people online.

Yahoo! Games led the pack, attracting 53 million unique visitors. The fastest-growing Top 10 gaming property was the WildTangent Network. Okay, not the sort of thing I'm involved in but still an interesting static.

The report appears to count visits to the actual gaming sites as opposed to actual user numbers. Under this methodology, online worldslike SL and WoW attract a smaller share of the market as many users would not regularly visit a central page (such as with Yahoo Games) but play directly via a desktop client. Notably though, traffic to is surprisingly close to the visitor numbers for

Not that that will stop my hack and slash mates from thinking they have the moral high ground.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Atomic Laser is Go!, this morning reported a method to achieve Einstein's so-called 'atomic laser', a breakthrough predicted by Albert in 1925.

A Florence University research team led by Massimo Inguscio and Giovanni Modugno used potassium isotopes to build an "atomic condensate" squeezed into a harmonious whole by a magnetic field, similar to a theoretical model envisaged by Einstein and fellow physicist Satyendra Nath Bose. They presented papers for this, detailing and postulating the Bose–Einstein condensate phenomenon that should appear at very low temperatures if light could be understood as a gas. It was not until 1995 that the first such condensate was produced experimentally by Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman using ultra-cooling equipment built at the NIST-JILA laboratory at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Einstein's sketches for this project can be seen in the Einstein Archive in the library of the Leiden University Instituut-Lorentz.

"In this way, the interaction of atoms is virtually non-existent," Inguscio said.

"Unlike photons, atoms bounce into one another so much that an atomic laser -- eagerly awaited in the field of microelectronics - has proved impossible to achieve up to now."

Very, very cool indeed. Staggering applications for orbital based super villainy :-)

Seal of Rassilon

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Multi-Learner Vids

I've been a big fan of the work of Aleks Krotoski from SocialSim (aka Mynci Gorky of the Social Simulation Research Lab on Hyperborea [slurl]) for a while now. When other folks do good well presented work it makes my life a hell of a lot easier. I was chuffed to find a video of her very good presentation (at the Massively Multi-Learner event in Paisley back in March) on Social Networks in Virtual Worlds. This discusses interactions in cyberspace, collaboration, friendship, trust and social learning theory plus general social network principles within online/virtual communities.

Also worth checking, at the same site, is a great presentation by my old RL mucker AB, on Integrating SL into Education. Essentially, using Second Life to directly support or simulate art and design plus the progression of skills and professionalism in a 3 year degree program. She also chats a bit from her perspective as a long-standing practising artist in the metaverse.

While entirely educationally based, I also enjoyed the potential in the one by Jeremy Kemp on Sloodle (an integration of SL and Moodle which Gabbi R put me on to a while ago) a mashup of the two systems. The video is watchable here.

Sneak Preview

Thanks to my good mate Steve at TellyTunes for this.

Funny as hell mate ;-)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Proteus Effect

The armchair psychologist in me just loves this dissertation from Nick Yee at Stanford, where he addresses the issue of transformed identity in virtual environments.

Below is a short section of the abstract (viewable here in total) and here's a link to a
PDF of the full text. Well worth a shufty.
...facial and behavioural mimicry can make us more likeable and persuasive. In addition to gaining social advantages, our avatars (digital representations of ourselves) can also change how we behave. This occurs via conforming to expected behaviours of the avatar - a process referred to as the Proteus Effect.

I conducted a series of four pilot studies that explore the Proteus Effect. In the first study, I found that participants in attractive avatars walked closer to and disclosed more information to a stranger than participants in unattractive avatars. In the second study, I found that participants in taller avatars negotiated more aggressively in a bargaining task than participants in shorter avatars. In the third study, I demonstrated that the Proteus Effect occurs in an actual online community. And in the final study, I showed that the Proteus Effect persists outside of the virtual environment. Placing someone in a taller avatar changes how they consequently negotiate in a face-to-face setting...
This I can TOTALLY see, in micro, since Oolons regeneration.

This change has not n
ecessarily been in a noticeable reactions of others, but in my own confidence and attitude with those around me. People conform to the stereotype of their avatar. Essentially, while the same character and the same person sat here as observer watching the same social relationships, my attitudes have noticeably changed. The new 'physical' AV has made Oolon 'feel' quieter, slightly more passive and 'isolated', and yet this new AV seems to have (and yes, I know how oddly esoteric this sounds) a greater inner strength than before.

This is great work. Truly fascinating stuff. My hat is off you Nick.


Russel T Davies Needs a Good Kicking

On the Press Association website today:

Comedian Catherine Tate is returning to the Tardis crew for the full fourth series of TV hit Doctor Who, the BBC has announced.

Tate will will reprise her role as Donna, the runaway bride, as the sidekick to David Tennant's Doctor in the next series which will hit screens next spring.

What the fuck is Russel T Davies thinking? Was bollocksing up my childhood in 9 out of 13 episodes not good enough for him last season? Does he now need a shite one gag character actress for 13 episodes to ram the final nail into the 'Coffin of Rassilon'?

I can take Kylie Minogue in this year's Who Christmas special. That's the whole 'guest star' thing and a fine and noble Who tradition. I can especially take it if it is Celestial Toy Maker with Sir Ian McKellan in the lead. But Catherine Tate, again, is just inexcusable on an incalculable number of levels. This is an actress with all the class of dwarf pornography. A weak catch-phrase motivated talent, made famous by the ring-tone obsessed, illiterate, chav mouth breathers that Davies is so pathetically desperate to appease.

Face it, nobody likes a smart arsed, fat, spotty, ginger bird on their telly at 7 every Saturday. Especially if they have a gob that big and clearly want to be centre stage. From the reactions and commentary I've witnessed when this ladies name is metioned, I can only presume her agent (and her agents identical twin sister) occupy the positions of personal dometrix to the poor misguided statistician who is telling the world this woman is popular.

I've been a Who fan since I saw Green Death back in '73. Okay, I tuned out in the Colin Baker years (who didn't) but you've really lost me this time. I'll give Christmas a go, but I won't be tuning in next season and ya can ram ya TorchWood where the sun don't shine while your at it. You are now making popularist cock, and no amount of nostalgia will blinker these eyes any longer.

If I ever see you in the street, Mr Davies, I will gleefully punch you in the mouth in the name of quality family drama and the longest running sci-fi series of all time.

Angry of Belper

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bikini Girls With Machine Guns

No post today, not as such, I'm knackered and can't be arsed so here's some 'Bikini Girls With Machine Guns' to keep you warm. Oddly, this track was the only time The Cramps got in the UK top 40. Go figure.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Mad Max Propeller Trike

Check this bit of video from Popular Mechanics.

I swear to god, I want one of these just so I can cycle backwards through a zombie horde. I got the calf muscles, bring em on.

The bloke in the well deserved yellow jersey here, one Mr. Damon Vander Lind, spent 3 weeks and £250 geeking this little post apocalypse special together, and god bless him for doing so.

Just add a couple of hang glider parts, a fit grunge bird in goggles, 6 Beanfeasts with a trangia, an' that's ya Burning Man weekend right there.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Pulling MindQuiz

I see Ubisoft is pulling the Euro versions of the DS MindQuiz off the market due to "comments in the game which have been labelled as offensive".

Japenese QA seems to have missed this one and I bet it's gonna be an expensive recall...

...personally, I think they were a bunch of soft 'eaded remo Joey Scopers for letting it passed in the first place.


Headed back to SecondFest after Who (which was psudo-religious shite) for 'ColdCut' (the top drawer dance music duo of Matt Black and Jonathan More, probably best known for "Doctorin The House").

'Coldcut' would have been awesome, I've seen em' live in RL before, if my 'First Look Voice Beta' hadn't crapped out out 10 minutes in and if they had actually been live. I then tried standard SL and still no dice and no video. The lag was shafting me up the Gary Glitter anyway. Arse biscuits.

I made the best of it, put some on iTunes, and carried on dancing in a nice safe lag free movement loop while everyone gave the insane old bloke with the stick some space. To be honest, it was bit lame just looking at obviously recorded footage anyway, it was like we were all pretending and not saying anything. Like having some unspoken group suspension of disbelief. Looks like 'Intel1' is the only live sim there.

I'm gonna give it up. Other stuff to do and SecondFest somehow has the air of being 'not quite ready' yet.

My post yesterday was obviously coloured by a good set from Jenns and that early morning 'atmosphere'. Nice idea and some pretty nice interactive social bits. Some good live sets (like Jenns) and imaginative flavoursome architecture, but mainly streamed videos of live performances and machinima available off YouTube. A few lame newbie-style freebies (why in gods name would I want a glass of orange juice, some roller boots, and a slice of melon with a script error) do not a festival make.

Nice try folks, but it's not sold the SL festival experience for me. You go to a festival to see LIVE BANDS. Duh! Just cos this is SL and we're sat on our arses at home, doesn't mean we expect less. We stayed in for this. I could be at the garden centre or out at the gym pretending I have a real life. We're no less of an audience and far less disposable than you're giving us credit for (and actually probably more sceptical). Maybe I'm just bitter cos I didn't bump pixels with some patchouli smelling hippy chick in the back of a camper van, but I doubt it. This just feels like a half arsed marketing stunt to sell a Guardian SL colour supplement. I must confess, I'm also slightly disappointed nobody tried to sell me drugs.

Ah well, maybe next year, but I'm not paying for it and it better be live. I'll nick over the fence or get one of them hooky UV stamp things in the queue. Sorry Guardian, I was looking forward to that, and it was all a bit bollocks...