Lip Sync Coming to Second Life… And Why This Could Be the Most Important News All Year

This is the best news I’ve heard in a while in regards to Second Life. Lip sync is going to be available to anyone using the official Second Life client. Its also possibly one of the most important innovations to come to SL in years.

Mike Monkowski, former IBM speech group programmer and currently in the IBM semiconductor development group, has been diligently incorporating lip sync code he developed independently into the Second Life client for over 6 months. According to an announcement from Mike a couple of days ago, his lip sync code has been added into the official Second Life client. (more…)

Wikisonic in Second Life – amazing interactive music generation

I have been running the Machinima feed at Twitter, http://www.twitter.com/machinima, since April and its been a great opportunity to find some amazing work people have been doing in Second Life.

Today it happened again. Jon Brouchard, SL name Keystone Bouchard, created a video about an amazing new interactive music project that he just launched in Second Life called Wikisonic. Even more, there is a real-life version of Wikisonic being built at a museum in San Jose, California. Details on that are at the end of the post.

Link to Jon’s blog and post about Wikisonic. SL teleport link here. Interview below the video.

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Linden Lab tries to fix long-term group chat delays

LAG ANNIHILATION GROUP

In Second Life, there has been a problem going back at least 6 months involving group chat delays. Typically this has manifested itself in the form of timeout delays, failure for chat to be registered, massive lag between the time you say something and when it comes through, and chats showing up out of order.Today Phoenix Linden closed one of the main JIRA bugs that people have been posting to about this:

Phoenix Linden – 03/Mar/08 02:28 PM The code now runs in parallel when possible. Large groups (>1000 or so) will still experience delays.

Given how large a problem this, its great to see some action being taken. Its still too early to see if the improvements will visibly be seen by the community. Group chat in Second Life is very important to the social nature of the residents of the virtual world and its frequent… problems… have been loudly and constantly complained about.

I had a short exchange of emails with Robin Harper, Community Development VP, a few months ago where she acknowledged the problem existed and promised it would be put on the radar of the Linden Lab dev team. To her credit, she has been very involved in the larger community’s needs around groups, such as Wagner Au posted on his blog recently.

To: Robin Harper <robin@lindenlab.com> Mon, Jan 7, 2008 at 8:31 PM
Hi Robin. I don’t expect a response, but hopefully you at least get a chance to read this.
There are major problems with delays and inability to communicate in groups. Two JIRA bugs that have a combined total of over 100.
https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/VWR-1298
https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/VWR-1298
This is something every single user of groups experiences everyday. Some days are better than others, but there’s no visible reason why and to my knowledge, no recognition or explanation of the cause from Linden Lab.
Please forward to whoever should see this.
Thanks,
Geuis Dassin

From: Robin Harper <robin@lindenlab.com> Mon, Jan 7, 2008 at 8:36 PM
Hi Geuis,
I passed your note on to the development team. I can’t promise any sort of immediate response, but please know that the right person has seen your mail.
Cheers,
Robin

So it seems like progress is being made. Phoenix does mention larger groups of over 1000 members will still have problems, but most are rather smaller than this. With that in mind, hopefully we will be seeing a better chat experience in SL. If not, on to JIRA!

Photo credit Codebastard Redgrave, http://www.codebastardredgrave.comhttp://www.codebastardredgrave.com

The Problems with Social Predictions

In the future, there is no “web 3.0” or “semantic web”. Whenever we start naming the next big thing before it even exists, later on that thing is called something completely different or it never comes to pass. Think of all the predictions made in the 1950’s that are laughably ludicrous today.

Bill Gates of Microsoft once stated, “Why would anyone need more than 640KB?”.

Its “internet” or “web” not “information superhighway”. When the mass media tries to predict the next big thing, they tend to fail dramatically and, more importantly, predictably.

“Virtual worlds” are not “virtual reality”. The key difference is that virtual reality has become culturally associated with completely immersive 3D environments. Whether talking about helmets or goggles, virtual reality as a concept is something else. Virtual worlds now imply community in virtual spaces. The original popularized concepts of virtual reality talked about the technology, not its social implications as much. What the rise of MMO games like World of Warcraft and environments like Second Life have shown is that human beings develop important relationships inside virtual environments. We are capable of becoming immersed in places that don’t require us to wear hardware.

The children that have been born in the last 5 years are growing up in a world where they will have relationships with people their own age anywhere in the world. We can extrapoloate and predict trends for the next 15 to 25 years with reasonable accuracy when those predictions are related largely to technology advances. However, trying to forsee the social actions and conventions of people growing up with completely new ways of interacting is chaotic and highly inaccurate.

The future unseen social mechanisms of the virtually connected populace will affect business to a greater degree than the adoption of the web and the internet have since the mid 1990’s.

The next time you witness a concept being pushed as the “Next Big Thing”, stop to think about the long littered history of the “Last Big Things”. Twist it, bend it, throw it in a blender with a twist of lemon, and then see if it still sounds like a world changer.

Where in the hell are the angels?

The website still looks bad. I am gradually banging it into shape. I would have preferred to have it completely wrapped up design wise before publishing stuff, but other projects and the holidays have completely thrown me off on that.

Anyway, apparently Metaversed.com is closing those doors and moving to something called CleverZebra.com. Nick Wilson, aka 57 Miles in Second Life, sent a notification out with a link to an intro Youtube video, here. Metaversed has been a very successful business blog and information service for information about businesses in virtual worlds. They have been running, and apparently will continue to, a series of talks/podcasts called Metanomics which are usually rather interesting.

From what I can tell, 45 minutes into watching, reading, and writing, is that CleverZebra is an idea to provide pre-packaged fully modifiable “open source” buildings to new businesses trying to get started in Second Life. Well, this sent my head spinning and I wrote a lengthy post in the freshly decanted forums expressing my dismay that they would be giving up Metaversed to give out free, utterly useless buildings. The last thing I want to say about that itself, is that I suspect Nick and gang have much deeper plans in mind than just free buildings. However, that is what comes across from the material they’ve put out so far.

Anyway, so one of the arguments I was making in that forum post is about investing in businesses based in Second Life, and more broadly, other virtual worlds. With venture capitalists throwing millions of dollars at fraking Facebook applications, why aren’t there VC firms and angel investors doing micro investments in virtual worlds? Not funding virtual worlds themselves, I’m talking about providing the same kinds of business loans to people running legitimate businesses in SL that they do to the clueless MBA that has a Web 2.0-social networking-pictures of cats sniffing glue-proposal for a business.

I am a successful business owner in Second Life. A good friend of mine makes quite a bit of money at hers, enough that the other day she let me in on the fact that she’s making more money doing her SL business than any other job she’s ever had.

There are roughly 50,000 people making more money in SL than they put in. This is a very sizable market of business owners, ranging from the fully self-sufficient to the extra bill money people like me. In many ways, we are not that dissimilar to eBay. Both eBay and Second Life provide a platform across which goods and services can be traded. Because of the open, democratic nature of who can use the platforms, it has primarily been small-business people who initially adopted their perspective platforms and were the first people to build entire businesses and careers around the transactions that take place there.

How many of us do we need before people will start looking at us as an opportunity, versus trying to bring in more external companies to fail and fail again at colonizing this early little sandbar of the metaverse we call Second Life?