Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Lag and its effect on conversation

So I teleported to the junkyard (see previous post) planning to check out free stuff. when i tried to walk tho - it was like molasses. I couldn't walk or fly. Just slow motion flaying. Then all of a sudden - poof =- i was walking - actually I was falling because when the lag caught up with me, i was supposed to be in mid-air. Talk about a wicked first step.

I got tothe junkyard - talk about visual overload. I'll have osme pics tomorrow - no time to do photoshop right now to turn the bmp's to jpg's. There were a few people talking but they were all noticing hte lag too.

Here's the problem - you walk up to someone you don't know and say hi. Then you wait....and wait....and wait. You don't know if they're blowing you off because you're a newbie or what. I think in this case - they still hadn't seen the message I typed. THen I'd have to wait for them to think of something cool to say and type it and then for the lag to clear up enough to send me that message.

Not exactly conducive to the conversational give and take that I think people re looking for in the world.

So - what are the rules for polite conversation in such a situation? How long do ya wait before you wander off to talk with someone else?

Two sites to check out

a search engine that looks for locations in SecondLife - -

a junkyard - - leda (224,32) - you can teleport kind of close, then you have to fly, lots of stuff to look at, stuff to buy for a buck - textures, clothes, info

wouldn't it be cool to start something like this with student projects - share with others in the world, get feedback

Friday, November 18, 2005

might be interesting to look at

how close do people stand in second life when they're talking - might be hard to tell when people are actually talking to each other and when they happen to be standing next to each other but talking to others

could make a nice comparison exercise - do second life - do real life - talk about differences (more than just duh one's a game, ones real life) - gotte be better answer

Playing in the sandbox

I found a new sandbox area on the list of most popular places - at least it was tonight. Here are some pics I took.

In the sand box you can create stuff. So far I just know how to build shapes. I can color them and give them textures. I can twist them. Above is a pic of a big ball I created. The texture is a floor tile from the provided library. You can tell it to apply gravity laws - i discovered i can sort of push it. I can pick it up and drop it to watch it bounce which is pretty cool.

Here is a pic of two shapes I created propped up against each other. I was trying to drop the point of hte pyramid into the circle and stick them together but that didn't happen. I like the texture on the pyramid - it's part of a waterfall texture but i changed the color from blue to green.

Here's me trying to bounce the ball i built - i can lift it up but not very high. when it drops tho - it bounces into the earth which is weird but then it comes on top and you.

All I can make so far is shapes. But check out these people - they have programmed scripts tomake the cows dance. There's music playing - tonight it was that theme song from the Six Flags commercials with the dancing old guy. All the lights flash and change on the dance floor. There are sparkles int he sky. It's very chaotic and really has no purpose except to show off what the owner can do.

so I made a box. A big box. And covered it with repetitions of a photo they include in the package. I wanted to make something big - some people have built buildings in the sandbox; all i can figure is that the public

I discovered that several dance moves come in the standard moves inventory. i neeed to take a couple of hours and check those out. Here's a pic of me dancing, which is hard to show in a still photo, but I was having fun.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Here's my avatar - well at least the way it looked when i started playing yesterday. I figured out some of hte camera controls and got it zoomed in a bit. I used the snapshot feature in Second Life to take the pics. It makes .bmp files so i had to edit them in photoshop - made them smaller in size and saved them as gif files.

I played with my avatar again. Someone gave me some free clothes. I was playing around with them and really liked the black leather look. I think in another life I was a biker chick. So I guess my avatar is going to play out that fantasy.

Here's a different view - i found a cool chair that you could snuggle up into. And you can see my cool leather pants. I think the black really looks good with the blue and pink.

I started talking to people too. I saw a guy practicing some kind of "magic" - scripted actions - to balance a chair in the air. It was in the welcome center.

One thing I noticed as I was flying around - there are a lot of empty areas in the world. I wonder how many people actually log on each day. And where they all go. That's my job this weekend I guess - find the people. And those junkyards I read about.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Some tidbits i picked up online

There are junkyards in SecondLife where you can pick up cool stuff for a buck or two. Not sure how you find them though.

Another good place to pick up stuff is supposedly called "Yadni's Yard" which can be found by searching under the Places tab.

and we're supposed to check out the den of randomosity in the Baku region, coordinates 170 by 173

there's supposedly something called Learn Island - with educational stuff (I'm a prof ok - educational stuff is exciting)

but so are comics and here's a SL comic -

another blog named SLOG -
and another -

Playing with the look of my avatar

I decided to play dress up with my avatar - some ofhte blogs i've been reading talked about how hard it was tso make the avatar look like the user. I look at my face everyday inthe mirror - I don't want my avatar to look like me. I want to look completely different. Then i can act however I want.

Anyway, I finally took time to play around with the settiings for appearance. II gave myself blue skin, not tooo dark but not light pastel blue either. And white hair. It has some interesting colorful undertones. And its all long and wild - in my dreams my hair looks like that

Picking out clothes is tough - limited choices int he pants -tight or tighter Actually there were some good choices - long, not tooo tight, not too wrinkly. I made mine out of brown leather. And my shirt is out of something called pink toile - looks like sunset clouds to me. So I'm feeling stylish.

So I've learned to get around in second life by flying and teleporting. Got my avatar looking snazzy (ok -I'm old so snazzy is apropriate). Now I have to get out there and talk to people. I want to try out some of the games. I hear (well, read in a blog) that somewhere there is a DDR game.

Using the menus to create the new look was kind of clunky - lots of choices, but you have to wait for htem to load before you see them. You change one little thing and the menus all have to update to reflect it and you have to wait. It's not too bad a wait, but still when the caffeine kicks in, I'm impatient.

One thing you can do with the Linden bucks you earn is to buy outfits so i might do that in the next couple of weeks to try out new looks.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

SL Resources

you have to remember - i'm a prof - and specifically I'm a prof who teaches research methods. that means I like to read and poke around on the net for things related to topics in which I"m interested. Like SecondLife (and podcasting, and horror movies, and personal media, and video games - - but those are topics for other blogs)

Here are a couple of SL resources I found the other day.
- - a list of links about secondlife
- --- the Education Wiki at secondlife
- --- the blackLibrary on secondlife
- --- second life discussion forums

Plus check out the blogs by people who have second life accounts - some of the graphics are exquisite.

I really want to have the students in qualitative research methods next semester hang out in the game. It might be an interesting experience for them (and me)

Saturday, November 05, 2005


flying is cool - you watch the scenery sort of build up under you as you fly. there's the wind sound. you can rotate and hover.

But teleporting is cooler. I discovered some addresses in blog posts - for online class instructin stuff that I want to check out - and found the teleport function on the map. zoom - and away you go to the new location. It's disconcerting tho. You don't know how far you've traveled. You don't go right to the place you indicated - rather you go to the nearest teleport pad and you have to fly to your location, following the red beacon in the sky and hte red arrow.

Assorted stuff I noticed today:

1) All of a sudden, wherever I was (don't remember now unfortunately), the sun started to set. The sunset in the sky was really pretty. But then the world got dark and hard to see stuff. Signs glowed and were easier to find, but not so much fun flying around.
2) Where are the people? I can't figure out how to find people. I think it involves the map and scrolling. There's a popular indicator on the map and an event flag. SO I guess you ahve to be patient and just look around to find the typical hot spots.
3)Linden Labs has a plan for educators to use SL - for a semester you get a chunk of land big enough for events and for students to congregate. They hve alist of classes up too - quite a fwe about architecture which i thought were kind of neat. You can even buy your own island if you want to have private classes. I don't think I"m ready for that yet. But I am planning on putting 2nd Life into the curriculum for the spring semester. Be really good for when I'm at a conference or the weather is particularly crappy.

Friday, November 04, 2005


Ok - you can fly but sometime you have to land. I've just been clicking on the fly button and my poor avatar goes plummeting to the early. Crash. Like a trouper tho, she gets up, dusts herself off, and goes off in search of adventure.

So far - nobody has notice my graceless exits from the sky. Fortunately

One of hte problems with playing on the Mac is that we don't have all the keys on our mice that the game expects. We have to do unspecified key comboes - today i discovered that you push the fn key and the up or down arrow to fly/stop flying. Very graceful take offs and landings. Unless you happen to be under a ledge. Ouch. Made my real world head hurt just to think of how hard i smashed the head of little avatar.

so flying good, crashing bad.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

What's It All About Alfie?

(don't know who alfie is, but it was a movie and song - so - there ya go?

For a class I teach students get to choose to make a blog, a webpage, or create an identity in a game like or

I know how to blog (duh) and how to make webpages. So I'm going to be playing in second life along with the students.

My character is called Kim Gretzky. I'll be posting about my experiences in the game, putting up some screen shots as I develop my character, and describing things I think are cool.

You can now make basic accounts in both Second Life and There for free. Seems like they're trying to attract new players - a try the basic level of services, get hooked, and hopefully you'll want more and be willing to pay for it. so far - I'm not willing.

I really like that you can build stuff in SecondLife. I found a sand box area near the welcome center where you can create temporary items. I don't own any land yet, so temporary creation is all i can do right now. I like to build big geometric shapes and then twist them. there are a lot of textures you can apply too - i like the tile patterns right now. But there's also dirt and water and twirly colors.

You can fly in second life. I like that a lot. It even makes a whooshing noise as ya fly. Cheesy realism. One of my students found a money tree while he was flying around. He also found a Batmobile - and he took it. I wonder if there is grand theft auto in the virtual world?

The next post - should have some screen shots. that should motivate me to "dress up" my avatar. I found a frog prince costume. That should be interesting