Tuesday, June 30, 2009

News on Arthole - Season 3 Coming Soon

I was cruising through my RSS feeds along with the blogs that I follow and saw that Arthole is near to releasing information on their next season, which will be their third. Ara and Neb along with their "guest" artists have done some amazing works the past two seasons. We eagerly await more news and the start of season 3 in mid-July.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Experience the Magic of the Vision Quest

Join writer, educator, and storyteller Jenaia Morane as she shares the tale of how the blind community and their guide dogs inspired the Second Life Vision Quest.

Vision Quests are journeys of self-discovery designed to spark your imagination and encourage you to "see" in new and thought provoking ways.

The Second Life Vision Quest is an interactive, immersive adventure designed to let you experience and write stories about what it's like to be blind. It was created to celebrate the launch of Max, the first virtual guide dog here in Second Life.

Participants in the Quest can choose to experience their journeys from the perspective of a blind person or from the viewpoint of a guide dog. Both versions of the Quest utilize Max (free to everyone) to help navigate and find clues.

When: Monday, June 29

Where: Olde: (please IM Marty Snowpaw, Saxet Uralia, or Louise Later if you have trouble locating us)

Time: 4:00 pm SLT

Who: Open to Everyone who loves adventures and stories

Ready to Start Your Vision Quest?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bid4aCure Sponsors All Day Benefit Concert

Don't miss the amazing "All Day Concert" benefitting Bid4aCure – which is an annual effort conducted within Second Life to raise awareness of and contributions to diabetes research. All proceeds go to The American Diabetes Association and Diabetes UK. The concert will be showcasing an all star lineup of Second Life performers. The concert starts and noon on Saturday, 27th of June and ends at 7 pm. (All times are PDT/SLT). The concert will at the fabulous GLAMNATION OPEN AIRE THEATRE (G.O.A.T.) in Holmesk.


12:00-12:30 p.m. Friendly Fire

12:30-1:00 p.m. The Rails

1:00-1:30 p.m. Truelie Telling

1:30-2:30 p.m. CelticMaidenWarrior Lancaster

2:30-3:00 p.m. Onehempcat Oldrich

3:00-3:30 p.m. Freestar Tammas

3:30-4:00 p.m. Anek Fuchs

4:00-4:30 p.m. Grateful Stryker

4:30-5:00 p.m. Clairede Dirval

5:00-5:30 p.m. Eliz Watanabe

5:30-6:00 p.m. Bones Writer

6:00-7:00 p.m. Tone Uriza

Exhibit Opening Three Immersive Artists

Saturday, the 27th of June at 6 pm PDT/SLT …

Three fully immersive installations you do not want to miss!

The Aho Museum

StormEye by Douglas Story and Desdemona Enfield
Flickr Gettr by Mencius Watts and Taggert Alsop
Cosmosis by Thoth Jantzen

Friday, June 26, 2009

Helen Keller Day in Second Life

PRESS RELEASE: Helen Keller Day in Second Life

Contact person: Saxet Uralia

The 24-hour event PDT will be held all day Saturday, June 27 at the four The Ye, Olde, Supporte, Faire sims.

Linden Lab is collaborating with and assisting Virtual Helping Hands and a coalition of community volunteers who are proud to announce Helen Keller Day in Second Life. Helen Keller Day is a community-event exploring how and why to employ, educate, entertain, and engage everyone through virtual worlds.

Helen Keller Day is a day that is set aside for information acquisition, education, exploration of employment opportunities, social engagement, and enjoyment of arts and entertainment… There will be vendors, employers, presentations, and pure, unbridled fun.

It's a day dedicated to raising our level of awareness for our fellow Second Life residents who cope with disabilities. At some time in our lives, we've all felt what it feels like not to be able to participate… not to be included. Knowing how to include someone with a disability, and make them feel welcome, is an important social skill, and a small but significant kindness that we can all benefit from and feel good about.

Participants will meet people learn things, get freebies, and be entertained for their efforts.

You will hear keynote speakers Keller Johnson Thompson, the great grandniece of Helen herself and Linden Labs Education and Healthcare Developer, John Lester, aka Pathfinder Linden. You will hear from experts in the fields of virtual education, employment, social engagement and entertainment. There will be building contests featuring skilled builders doing accessible builds before our virtual eyes. There will be a world premier "movie" featuring "Max," the virtual guide dog developed in Second Life for SL users who are blind or sight impaired. Also featured will be an exhibition of Max's abilities, a fashion show, chess, a Braille chat display, dancing, singing quests and storytelling... even a virtual goldmine!

There will be experiences designed to spark the imagination and "see" and "hear" the world with all the senses in new and thought provoking ways. Join the pioneers in virtual worlds who are inspired by the spirit of Helen Keller to explore ways in which everyone can participate…and create a world that richer for all.

Please come and learn, connect, explore, be entertained, and pick up freebies while sharing this positive and uplifting experience with us.

National Health Care Day of Service Projects in Second Life

June 27 National Health Care Day of Service Projects

This summer, Organizing for America will fight to ensure Americans receive much-needed health care reform in 2009. Community service is a critical piece of our health care campaign. National DOS events are taking place all over the US in RL on June 27th 2009. Organizing for America - SL is organizing the effort in SL.

These health care service projects give volunteers a chance to make an impact in their own communities and improve the lives of their neighbors in the short term while we simultaneously fight for long term, systemic health care reform

To stay informed on Day of Service events please join the Organizing for America SL Group.

Current events planned for Saturday June 27th include:

· SLHealthy is a community of volunteers who collect information about health locations, communities, and events in Second Life, then make the information available to the public and easily discoverable through the SLHealthy wiki. For more information, contact: Perplexity Peccable

· SL Service Opportunities with Virtual Ability Island: The mission of VAI is to enable people with a wide range of disabilities to enter into virtual worlds like Second Life®, and provide them with a supporting environment once there. They are seeking volunteers to assist in publicity efforts and services to members. Contact Gentle Heron in world.

· Service Opportunities for Hospice Development: Kaznats Oh is an SL Builder and owner/operator of a hospice in RL and SL. Utilizing VW's to facilitate meetings with relatives and friends is an important component of Kaz's hospice work. Since LL TOS do not allow children in SL, there is an effort underway to develop a private grid on Open SIM. Grid space has been offered. The vision for this project is a comprehensive health care area with a portion of the grid dedicated to hospice care. Kaz is looking for synergies with other health care related groups that would like to explore expansion to this new grid.

· Organizing for America SL Group membership and participation: As part of the ongoing effort to provide accurate information and a forum for discussion and debate on the Health Care Reform currently being developed in Congress, Organizing for America will be holding weekly hour long meetings at the Nosotr@s cafe on Cedar Island. The first meeting of the OFA in SL group will be on June 27th 2009 as part of the National Day of Service.

· Service Opportunities with Pixel to Pixel: Pixel To Pixel Foundation (P2P) was established by Jadyn Firehawk in 2009 to enhance the Second Life experience for people living with disabilities.

· Helen Keller Day in Second Life: The 24-hour event PDT will be held all day Saturday, June 27 at the four “The Ye, Olde, Supporte, Faire” SIM’s. Contact person: Saxet Uralia

Please contact Siri Vita via note card in world if you can spend a little time on Saturday June 27th helping any of these amazing organizations.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Art Donations for PeaceFest 09 Auction

A group notice from SL resident and good friend Siri Vita greeted my arrival in world on Sunday afternoon. Ms Vita is one of several members of the team that is planning for "PeaceFest '09". This year's festival is scheduled for early August. PeaceFest '09 is "a global, interfaith, cross-cultural effort to create lasting peace through mobilizing support and learning for RL Peace organizations". Organizers are currently setting up works of art that will be auctioned during the festival. She is asking patrons and artists in Second Life for donations to the cause.

Proceeds from this year's festival will go to benefit the following RL organizations:

The Edith Benson Babies Home in South Africa
Amnesty International's work to end child soldiering
Peace Direct - the Escuela for peacebuilders, in Colombia, South Africa

She asks that any donated pieces be sent to her (Siri Vita). They will be part of the auction taking place at Cedar Island during the festival.

More information can be obtained on the PeaceFest '09 web site, including plans, schedule of events, how to donate and stories to share.

Diabetes Fund Raiser Campaign in Second Life

I wrote a piece that appeared in the SL Newspaper a few weeks ago about the Second Life group, Bid4aCure. Their campaign is an annual fund raising event in support of a cure for diabetes and it launched in early in June. Late on Sunday afternoon and shortly after the end of Sundays "Goods and Services" auction, the team happily announced that at today's event they'd raised a total of $L 674,227.00. The funds raised will be donated to the both the American Diabetes Association and Diabetes UK. With two weeks to go in the campaign the team is working toward its next two events scheduled for the 27th and 28th of June.

If you've not had an opportunity to donate, there is still time. Sponsors and kiosk locations can be found on the Bid4aCure web site. The kiosks are easy to spot as they're shaped like a hypodermic needle, symbolizing those diabetic's who are dependent on insulin injections.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Save Our Small Publishers Campaign

The following came to me by way of Adele Ward (AKA Jilly Kidd) from the Written Word Group in Second Life:


Buy just one book and keep our invaluable small presses afloat.

Publishers are among the first to be hit in a recession and small publishers are at risk at the moment. We need our small publishers because they're the ones who invest in non-mainstream forms including poetry and debut novels. They work on a tight budget, sometimes getting into debt, to give these writers a chance. Novelists get the opportunity to be picked up by larger publishers thanks to these risk takers.

In the UK we're trying to keep our small publishers going and this can be international. Salt Publishing was at serious risk and had a widely publicized campaign asking people to buy just one book. This helped them raise the finance they needed to keep going thanks to a fantastic response. My own publisher, Bluechrome, has said that if each writer who submitted a manuscript actually bought just one book to see what they publish this would be enough to stay afloat.

We give publishers free space on the Written Word area as part of this SOS Publishers campaign, which I'm also organizing on other websites including Facebook.


Buying a book from a publisher you want to submit your manuscript to is essential and it's necessary research so that you can see you're submitting to a publisher who takes your kind of writing. If we all took the trouble to buy a book from a small publisher this would also make a massive difference - if we don't buy these books then small publishers will fail during the recession and there won't be enough outlets for new writers.

Buying just one book each could show that the internet can keep publishers successful during a recession and this would increase the outlets for new writers. Publishers could keep accepting more new work. At the moment they are having to cut back.

As a poet I need to read as much poetry as possible, and as a fiction writer I'm constantly reading the work of debut novelists. I'll be increasing the number of books I buy to help the SOS Publishers cause. I use Facebook to contact poets direct to ask them for signed copies of their books, and this supports the poets as well as the small publishers. It's also building up a very special set of collectable books for me, so I suggest this as a great way to help during the recession. It also forges links with the writers and builds your contacts list. I find it very inspiring.

I'm not going to put forward my publisher alone, but want to suggest buying a book from any small publisher or direct from the author. There's a list of all the small poetry publishers in the UK on the Poetry Library website (and if you have similar links for your own countries let me know):

If you join the British Poetry group on Facebook you'll see this discussion on their discussion board with writers and publishers joining in, so you'll get more ideas there and perhaps find some authors who you'd want to ask for signed copies.

We have some small publishers, including Bluechrome, Cinnamon Press, and Snowbooks, at the Written Word on Cookie Island. Bluechrome has a buy-one-get-one-free offer as part of this campaign and Cinnamon Press encourages buyers to support small publishers with a fantastic range of wonderful poetry and fiction. Snowbooks has very good advice on submitting manuscripts - so pop over and follow the links to their websites.

The best place for books at a good price with free international delivery is the Book Depository or use this Book Depository Muse Harbor link to help us fund our area.

You'll find some larger publishers on our area too with guidance on how to submit manuscripts online.

Publishers at Muse Harbor

Written Word at Cookie Island

Keep writing but don't forget to buy a book to keep our publishers going. I'm broke and I'm doing it! Poetry books keep their value for years and can be sold secondhand on Amazon. I'm lucky enough to have a publisher, and if we all buy a book then more aspiring writers will get into print.

Adele Ward AKA Jilly Kidd

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hypatia of Alexandria Casting Call

The following came my way by the Written Word Group:

We are looking for males and females with great, expressive voices who can act! We are particularly interested in giving newcomers a chance.

Auditions will be held on Wednesday at 3.30–6.00 pm PDT/SLT
in Hemingways.

Come and be a part of the most exciting new play of this summer season! Below are two speeches that you should be prepared to read. Bring along something else that has a fast dialogue form which you can take a part in.

[Hypatia] Father, do you see the sky?
It is God’s greatest Glory
Heavenward we turn our eye
Beyond creation story.
Gifts of science from our Lord
The mysteries, and then
Man draws upon a fearful sword
And gives it back again.
Why must we bide in ignorance?
In dogmatic nature caught
At end of day there is a chance
That wisdom may be taught
Forsake my beauty and my youth
And turn their ears instead to truth!

[Theon] Daughter, while you are so fair
You are sweet Plato’s muse
A philosophy beyond compare
Yes, lead them if you choose.
But understand the world is dire
It is not common place
For reason to defeat denial
From such a pretty face
While maidens set forth to beguile
Consume your fervent pages
Men will lust, as you compile
The wisdom of the Ages.
My child of forthright clarity
Divinity! Divinity!

IM Leonardo Zimring or Skylar Smythe for additional information.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Interview with Tessa Kinney-Johnson, Developer of the Virtual World SpotON3D

Through an associate, I was invited to a meeting conducted by Second Life® Resident Tessa Harrington (aka Tessa Kinney-Johnson), developer of the virtual world, SpotON3D™. Ms Kinney-Johnson, the CEO of UnReal Designs, LLC had recently begun holding a series of introductory meetings with interested Second Life residents to layout the scope, nature and plans for the venture. The evening of the meeting arrived and so did I at the headquarters of Unreal in Second Lifeď˝®. There were just over twenty avatar's present for the session, in which the attendee's and Ms Kinney-Johnson engaged in a lengthy text chat where they exchanged information and she responded to the questions posed. Residents were provided an opportunity to collect information on the proposed term of service agreement and an overview of SpotOn3D through note card givers at the site.

After the meeting, I contacted her and we arranged for a date and time to meet for an interview.
Nazz: "The goal of SpotON3D™ is to make the first intentionally designed 3D Web Application – an alternative to Second Life®" Intentional how? Why as an alternative to Second Life ®?

Tessa: We are really not trying to replicate anyone, but rather create a virtual network that is intentionally designed to be a three dimensional expression of what we now think of as the World Wide Web. Our focus is on business, providing content protection measures, and a clear separation of our general population area and mature population community so that corporations, individual businesses and virtual designers can all exist together and have their needs met as much as possible from a very business centric point of view. That's not to say we won't have recreational users, because where there is great content you'll find users.

Nazz: I read from a note card I received, "I opened the world's first 3D internet mall with paying renters and everything". Where at and was it successful?

Tessa: It was called Bizworld and was located in the Active Worlds.com virtual world network. We had four different areas offering shopping of real world product through web on a prim type click and go. We had real world vendors even in those early days, because there wasn't a mechanism or demand for virtual product to be sold there or even land, as there is today. This was primarily because the programmers of Active Worlds didn't integrate it into the system we see it is now. Was it successful? I'd say the fact that the owners of Active Worlds did their own virtual mall to illustrate the power of their offering at their IP opening in 1998 was a pretty good sign we'd hit on a idea of value and the fact that Second Life® is filled with them now is just one more example of their success.

Nazz: I'd also read in the note card, that there is the intention to address the challenges to content provider. What are the challenges and what will you do differently to protect their rights?

Tessa: Well, the biggest challenge is getting the programmers to put content protection on their TODO list. It seems they feel like if they can’t make things 100% protected than why should they try? Others seem to follow the idea that because it wasn't implemented in the 2D Web, then that standard, or the lack of it, should be followed in the 3D Web too. We disagree. We feel a functional level of protection can be created and are doing that now. On the software front we're creating security at three levels - at our entry point, educating the community on the grid to what rights they have and don't have over virtual content they purchase, and by forming an affordable and community driven legal option for the designers, so their concerns and disputes can be handled in a more professional and effective manner. With those options we think we have a very good chance of cutting out 80-90% of the risk of content abuse and/or theft, which is comparable to real life statistics.

We’d also like to contribute to the OpenSim core developer community to help steer the discussion on how content sharing is done through Hypergird. As content begins to cross grid lines we’ll see a growing concern with OpenSim grids, because your content is only as secure as the honesty of that grid owner and their team. Once you rez product on their grid, they have possession. The risks are, if a rogue group or company wanted to, they could lock out the owner of the content and retain product, leaving the creator with only the right to take them to court for a resolution ... a very costly endeavor. That's why there's so much talk about Trusted Grids and respecting content rights and permissions these days.

Nazz: Also from the note card, "Doing our utmost to make content theft a priority" In your talk and in response to previous questions, you'd discussed a "mediation panel", how well do you think that will work and how well do you think it'll be accepted by content creators?

Tessa: We've spoken to about 75 people on this and other topics concerning the SpotON3D™ grid in our presentations, and not one had expressed a negative comment on our processes. Of course, it's easy to like it now, but I think they appreciate the additional efforts that are being proposed to help make their concerns truly heard. I don't want to make the other grid owners out to be the bad guys. In all honesty, the pioneers in our industry had no idea where this quest would take them and could not have anticipated the many challenges we've seen about content theft and protection. They try to remain very neutral on these issues and offer the simple solution of the DMCA as a tool to combat it.

We've elected to be a bit more proactive, primarily because of my partnership with Stevan Lieberman, of Greenburg & Lieberman, his copyright and IP practice, and his experience in this field. The Mediation Panel is an extension of our vision for content and contract disputes for virtual grids. Its designed to be ran by the community for the community by calling out for voluntary participants to hear disputes, preferably from all sectors of the grid's population, i.e., designers, land barons, users, scripter's, builders, and even techy legal eagles. The idea is to allow the complainant and the alleged offender a means to present their sides of the dispute, with the Mediation Panel members asking questions as they see fit. In the end they are to make a joint proposal on a suggestion for resolution. This is step free. If it turns out one or both parties don’t agree with the Mediation Panel’s proposed solution, then one or both can ask for arbitration with a real world Judge. That decision would be legally recognized not only in the states but in most of the overseas courts as well, so it has real teeth. This also means that the only way either party can dispute the judges’ decision is to go through the typical civil court process in a non-jury case, which would cost thousands of dollars – a big incentive to settle amicably through our system.

The arbitration process we're offering should be priced between 100 -300 USD, depending upon the case and its complexity that's something most business people can readily afford. It's a solution tailor made for micro businesses, because let's be honest ... in reality, justice of this type in the real world is only available to those with money, either because the alleged offender has deep pockets, or the accusing party has deep pockets. We're hoping this makes it more accessible for everyone to participate in.

Nazz: In your comments at the meeting I attended you'd mentioned "Distribution rights as far as sending content through the grid systems" What does that mean?

Tessa: That is in relation to our TOS. If you read the other virtual grid TOS’ closely you'll see that they either take all rights to any content or require that you share IP rights with them. This is a problem for big corporate and even medium sized companies, because they will not spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to pay for the software development and content to use Virtual Environs if they can’ own the content and have some measure of control over its use into the future. It's not a cheap thing to set up a grid or to design content that acts as an interfacing application between the people, places, and the things. Companies want anything they invest in to be protected, so their competition can't just right click and walk off with it and set it up in their stores or worse yet, have their virtual stores spoofed and fool the public into thinking they are in the official 3d web site for their company.

Our direction on TOS and the rights and distribution issue recognized the need to distribute across our grid network, but does not ask for IP rights as well. We feel asking more is uncalled for and too far reaching. Now eventually, as we establish relationships with other trusted grids, distribution of content will exceed our server perimeters, but they will have to agree to these same standards and to have all disputes handled through our Mediation Panel system, basically honorinig the way we've set up our business model. They’ll also have to prove they are a legitimate and legally run corporation with a solid standing in the community and agree to pay for and use our grid software created to protect content. This allows for growth without opening up everyone to huge risks when Hypergrid becomes truly integrated.

Nazz: "There are many problems we've all recognized over the years with how avatar accounts are setup on virtual grids, and while we haven't found a way to solve all of them we feel we've made great strides in overcoming many of the big challenges and hope you agree." What strides have been made and what are the plans to address the remaining gaps?

Tessa: First you have to address the griefer risk. Many have lamented over the problem of griefing and pointed to the free accounts as a reason behind that problem. With anonymity, griefers feel comfortable playing havoc on virtual communities. SpotON3D™ combats this with a reasonable solution for that, with our Freebie 30-Day Trial Account. It will allow interested persons to explore, chat and shop as much as they want for 30-days. Their account abilities are limited, in that they can't rez, build, script or own land during this time period. This gives them plenty of opportunities to experience the social aspects of the 3D web, then rewards them with a fully interactive experience once they upgrade. Non-SpotON3D™ clients will be given limited access to a region called “The Lounge”, where they can hang and chat with others who go there, but we seriously hope they will want to become a member of the community and contribute to its success, rather than just hang out and look to the paying community to pay for the grid’s infrastructure. That kind of business model is not only unfair to the paying class, but could very well be one of the reasons why we’ve seen wild pricing fluctuations over in Second Life®. To their defense, these avatars we walk around in are hungry beasts and they want to be fed with lots of bandwidth and computer power and that doesn't come cheap.

Second, we had to balance that with a need to make the membership fees we do charge more reasonable and serve a purpose as well. SpotON3D™ has addressed this in a unique way. Access to our grid requires registration for what we call a Web Account. This is the main account that stores all the data for the avatars made and are kept via a web page interface. Each Web Account is responsible for membership fees and funding of up to five avatars through the Web Account's Master Wallet that is funded via a verified PayPal account. This means there will be no anonymous accounts, even for our Freebie 30-Day Trial account, greatly reducing the risk of the SpotON3D™ grid being attacked by griefers and minors coming in without their parent’s consent. This also means a user will only pay one monthly membership fee for those five accounts, allowing businesses to create a unique avatar for each of their employees, or a family to create avatars for each family member under parental guidance and moderation. This also provides far more reliable accounting for our registration numbers than the usual way accounts are made, which should appeal to investors. They can be sure the SpotON3D™ user numbers are valid and have a reliable means to chart growth.

Thirdly, we needed to address the issue of how to separate mature content users from the general public to allow for a family friendly atmosphere for business and communities to dwell in together. What we saw in Second Life® was PG property positioned right next to Mature. To avoid all that confusion and chaos, SpotON3D™ took the high road and designed our grid from the start, with separate area for each, thereby establishing a responsible tolerance stance. It works like this. There are two sections to the SpotON3D™ grid - General and Mature Population. Each has their own membership fees of $1.99 a month, an introductory price and is just enough to cover any accounting and processing fees. All members are required to have a General Population membership and can add on the Mature Population access if they wish for another $1.99 a month. All payments again are processed through an established PayPal account, which isn’t impossible for a child to get, but far less likely than just using mom or dad’s credit card or driver’s license to verify their accounts. They’d have to have access to banking statements, which would require minors to take far more invasive measure to get in through our doors without a parent’s consent and approval. It also limits the ability of griefers to access the grid anonymously.

The rule of thumb as to what is acceptable behavior on the General Population is this- If you'd not do it in front of your Mother, Grandmother or an eight year old, then it's probably not a good idea to do it on our General Population areas. This is a simple concept that most people can understand and appreciate. Those who would argue they’d have no problems with performing adult behaviors in front of children and family members are probably not the type of audience for our grid. Eventually we may open an 8 to 15 year old grid, when a sponsor willing to moderate it can be partnered with.

The Mature Population is dedicated to individuals 21 years of age and over who desire to have adult conversation and interactions without the distractions and/or worries of the company of minors. Because SpotON3D™ is committed to a zero tolerance stance on child abuse behavior, be it virtual or real world, no minors, age play or even adolescent looking avies will be tolerated on the Mature Population grid. Anyone found doing so will run the risk of having all their SpotON3D™ avatar accounts immediately banned and eventually deleted.

And lastly, we had to find a means to fund these avatar's activities, respecting real USD currency and a virtual currency for those who use it in game play. Each Web Account has what we call a Master Wallet. This is funded directly from the user's Paypal account. The owner of the Web Account and Master Wallet can choose a monthly monetary value or budget for their SpotON3D™ grid activities, and then distribute those funds to each individual Avatar Wallet, again up to five. The avatar accounts can be controlled from the Web Account, determining what grids they will have access to, what products they can buy, and what inworld images they can view. It will also determine how much money their wallets get funded by.

The remaining gaps aren't really recognizable yet, but we're sure to find reasons to improve upon even these innovative ways to solve user account problems.

Nazz: "We hope to participate in an identification system that allows us to truly ID a person without them exposing their ID's online." Who is developing the system and how reliable is it?

Tessa: PowerSynch is the company that is spearheading the customization of SpotON3D™ software and will eventually create the ID verification system. The ID verifying system will be very reliable and voluntary for the most part, but may result in being excluded from premium services as a motivation to verify.

PowerSynch, LLC will also be creating most of the software implemented to enhance services to our business market, such as module plug-in-play business suite of tools that integrate the 2D & 3D Web to existing real world office tools. This will be implemented using open source products such as Open Office and other well known and increasingly recognizable software to build upon.

Nazz: How many designers have signed up or are willing to locate on SpotON3D™? Any recognizable names?

Tessa: We had several designers who have expressed interest and are waiting for us to finish the code needed to illustrate how sales are going to be handled. We'll be creating a dummy sales demo in our entry area in one of the four tutorial alcoves. Designers such as Fallingwater Cellardoor of Shiny Things, Phil Cinquetti of M&P Animations, Michi Lumin of Luskwood Creations, Javier Puff with Xcite products, and King Pascale of Prestige Prefabs.

We have a few who have publicly committed to SpotON3D™, such as DeeTaleZ, formerly known as Free Soul Designs, run by Dark Hennesy and his real life girl, who closed their old shop in Second Life® today and opened their new one, DeeTaleZ immediately after. They offer a bit of everything, so we are honored they have chosen our grid to be their home away from home, if you will. We don't expect to see them in till midsummer, because they are opening a kids section in their new store. Eladon Galsworthy of Pond Life Landscaping and Gardens has reserved a SIM in both the Mature and General Population areas and Language Labs has expressed a serious interest once we get voice working. We're shooting to actually have that available at or shortly after our opening. We’re still waiting on the OpenSim core development team to finish up a few things to tidy up the voice code.

We've also had quite a number of universities and non-profits requesting pricing into and details. And last by certainly not least, we're expecting a percentage of residents from Second Life® to come over the next six month as users prepare for the last price hike on the OpenSpace/Homestead regions to take effect. They'll be needing lots of merchandise and we’ll be offering lots of freebies to them from our extensive catalogue that’s never been up for sale before. But we really have no desire to compete with the designers, so we hope to get them in shortly after our first soft opening in June to set up their stores.

Overall, from what the interest we've seen and the response we've gotten from the few presentations we've given on our grid, we're relatively sure we'll be sold out within the first 60-90 days of opening. There are only about 21 islands open to rent and around 100 residential parcels in varying sizes for the first server setup, then we'll order another to host more islands as the demand dictates.

Nazz: Will the platform support live music?

Tessa: Media feeds were one of the first things implemented on the OpenSim platform, so yes! We're looking forward to some stellar live musical events on our Rent-A-Cloud Region Servers™ after they get rolled out.

Nazz: What about nonprofits, will there be consideration given similar to what Second Life® has done? Will they be able to operate fund raisers?

Tessa: Sure nonprofits will not just be able to operate from our grid, but we hope to be able to help sponsor some of the more notable ones such as the Run for Life Breast Cancer Foundation. We've had universities and other organizations that have ongoing concerns ask us about discounts and what we ask them to consider is how much lower our pricing is compared to the other professionally run grids. It is dramatically below market value for the services we are offering, in most cases a full 50% less than Second Life®, our closest competitor. We had our university and academic clients in mind when we committed to our pricing, so it's not that we've ignored their budgetary needs or feel they don't deserve special treatment. It's simply that we wanted to offer the same low pricing to everyone. To make it appear we had a discount for organizations like this we'd have to increase the prices for everyone else, and we feel that's the wrong message to send out in these tough economic times.

Nazz: There has been a substantial body of immersive art created in Second Life®, do you see SpotON3D™ providing the same opportunities for the arts?

Tessa: Being that our big push is to create a safe haven for artists and their content, yes we very much want to welcome artisans from all forms of media, and once we get open and making revenue I'm sure we'll find a way to reach out to them and have events, contests and virtual conference that will benefit all the community, including our creative community.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Anatomy of a Fractal Tree

On Tuesday June 2 at 6 pm at AI Gallery. Fractal Diverysity Artist Simulat Almendros will discuss his fractal trees. Simulat writes his own software for making fractals. His fractal trees are produced by a sophisticated, but conceptually easy to understand system called L-system. Simulat will present an easy to understand illustrated talk about how L-system works. He will also discuss his views on computer art and will be open to questions.