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Hello Avatars “It’s October” And Other Sleep Disturbance Facts

It’s October already. Thursday evening around 7:00 PM I find myself recovering from a pulled muscle in my neck after nodding off while sitting at my desk watching a video of a Second Life tutorial. Apparently the extra weight from my headphones was just enough to make my head fall forward more violently than usual. As I glance up at my screen I’m not surprised to see my own Avatar assuming the same position leaning forward in a rag doll posture arms out floating and head pointing downward. I have to admit my Avatar and many others are officially afflicted with a serious case of Sleep Apnea.Sleep Apnea: A disorder of breathing during sleep. Typically it’s accompanied by loud snoring. I have personally witnessed many Avatars sleeping in public during meetings or events; however, I have yet to hear any snoring. I wouldn’t be surprised to search and discover an A/O Avatar over rider that exist somewhere in Second Life that makes your Avatar snore when it falls asleep.Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep. Typically I find this accompanied by fellow Avatars who are multitasking during virtual meetings or classes. They may be busy looking at other documents or on their cell phone. They find it difficult to keep their fingers off a keyboard or mouse wheel. Hence the constant Avatar up and down arm flapping. Not to mention those afflicted will find you every time you log on and are ready to engage in some chat. Bordering on the temptation to make an abuse report its better to block those who just can’t seem to leave you alone or refer them to a RSS.Narcolepsy: Some Avatars, no matter how much they sleep, continue to experience an irresistible need to sleep or yawn. Avatars with narcolepsy can fall asleep even with friends in clubs or while building something in a guest sandbox. When you see a fellow Avatar standing near a dance floor in a ‘Rag Doll’ position just type BRB or politely excuse yourself. The Avatar is most likely showing the first signs of having trouble finding a dance ball or cannot pick a texture from their overwhelming inventory. Teleport Lag: Sleep disturbance induced by a major rapid shift in environmental space-time continuum during travel to a new Landmark. Typically involves popular places in Second Life and often accompanied by several other Avatars Teleporting into the same Landmark at once. Avatars found sporting extra prims, such as flexi hair or glow balls are easily susceptible. The first three signs of this is either gray skin tone, the inability to rez beyond a ghostly cloud or unexplained loss or slowing of motor skills. If you have a business computer this may be the norm until you invest in an upgrade or downgrade your viewing preference settings. Restless Legs: (RLS) Restless Leg Syndrome is a discomfort in the leg’s, which is relieved by flying or simply floating. This feeling is difficult to describe and commonly referred to a as a crawling, tingling or prickling sensation. Typically involves Avatars who have fallen off a skybox platform or simply tripped over a step. During incidents such as this an Avatar will find their lower limbs moving in random directions uncontrollably until they reach a solid surface or have been safely removed from a restricted area.Bruxism: Grinding or clenching of the teeth during sleep. Other sleep disorders may be present at the time, e.g. Apnea, RLS. This can be treated with a slight mouse movement or keystroke. Stronger relief can be found by accepting a Note card to Teleport by a friend.It’s October!

Fashionable Footers

October 7, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

There once was nothing lowlier than a footer of a web page. It used to be — and still is — where sites put all of their necessary-but-ancillary links that needed to be on every page: Copyrights, Privacy links, Feedback, Company overviews, etc Recently, there has begun to be a trend of sprucing up footers. Here are some pictures we took recently: IBM has a pretty standard footer, but the visual treatment of the bar allows for extra goodies like the “sandbox” polling: image ZDNet has a “mega-footer” that’s almost bigger than some of these pages. I bet this keeps a lot of people on their sites whom otherwise would wander away, since it’s full of interesting things. image CNET also has a rich footer similar to the above.Facebook not too long ago added a static “utility” bar to the footer that’s always visible. This is a nifty way to show persistent functionality that feels “built into” the browser as long as you are on the site. image And, LiveWorld has just introduced a tool called “LiveBar” that companies can, for a fee, drop on their web pages to provide an outlet for commentary and other social participation on the page. Like the Facebook bar, this toolbar is fixed to the bottom but when you interact with it, it overlays itself on top of the page in a translucent layer so that you get a lot of functionality but don’t lose context of the page you are on. image Footwear is becoming fashionable!

My Top Five Virtual News Posts

October 6, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

I had planned to cover the Virtual Worlds Forum event this week but it was cancelled because of an incident in the parking lot at the venue which forced the venue to close. So instead I thought a round-up of some of the recent virtual world news might be a good alternative, see below for my top five virtual posts from the last couple of weeks.1) A new study by Penn State University found that groups worked together better in online world Second Life than in face-to-face meetings and teleconferences.2) My mother is a drug abuse social worker so I got very excited when I read about real world addiction getting virtual treament.3) Reuters write-up on Coca-Cola reigniting their virtual world presence in Second Life with the Nestea sponsored “Junkyard Blues” venue.4) The University of Texas will hold the first Carter Academic Service Entrepreneur (CASE) grant program for virtual worlds. Students will have to use Second Life to serve real-world communities to be eligible for the grant. 5) Some might argue this as not being virtual but I for one think it applies…Hexolab announced the first interactive YouTube clip with “A Car’s Life”, view it below.Of course, I was looking to cover a wide range of topics with my top 5 but don’t expect that everyone agrees with my line up… ;-)So, what virtual news do you think should have made the list? I encourage you to submit a comment with your contribution!

BtoB Magazine: Cisco.com is One of 10 Greats

September 30, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

We’re blushing a bit from the nice review of Cisco.com in BtoB Magazine.BtoB, the magazine for marketing strategists, polled five industry experts about the best sites in online business-to-business marketing, culminating in a list of 10 Great Web Sites for 2008. In particular, Cisco.com’s Small Business area got kudos for:

  • SMB-centric web content that’s more business-oriented than technical
  • “High-tech elements to give site visitors personalized content”
  • Collaboration including click-to-chat and WebEx Connect for sharing spaces
  • The MyCisco feature for bookmarking
Other sites making the top 10 list include Adobe, InFocus Corp., and the US Postal Service. Enjoy the full article on the BtoB Magazine site.

Virtual Cornucopia this Weekend with Burning Life and Warhammer

September 26, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

Someone asked me at the last TechChat if I only participate in virtual environments for business reasons. It made me pause because I have found myself getting away from exploring purely for personal fulfillment since I spend more and more of my time in virtual environments for professional reasons now, all though I must admit that sometimes personal and professional can get blurry when you love your gig. That being said if you are into gaming, creativity, exploring new virtual environments, and making new or connecting with old friends like I am for personal and/or business purposes then woot for you and me because Warhammer is now available (and all ready 500k+ strong) and Burning Life opens tomorrow for its 6th year running.Warhammer is supposedly the bell tolling the demise of World of Warcraft (WoW)…remains to be seen for myself as I didn’t get my act together to take part in the Warhammer public beta but have been playing WoW for years. It was early 2006 that WoW starting getting touted as the equivelant of golf for techies and it is amazing to me the number of my professional contacts who are now personal friends as a result of WoW. Now many of my friends have been and still are raving about Warhammer; this weekend will be my first toe dip into those waters. It must be somewhat up to the hype as 500k+ folks have all ready logged on to Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Now that is an impressive number for sure for a first week release of a massively multiplayer online game (MMO) and from what I read is a record. However, for me to I retire my WoW account (hard for me to even type that) I need a bit more proof that this pudding is the pudding to shame all others off the shelf. For me what has always defined WoW’s successful was its ability to go beyond the launch with continued growth in player numbers and players engaging and playing for years.In addition to Warhammer I know I will have lots of interesting activities to partake in via Burning Life. Burning Life is modelled [somewhat] off of Burning Man…

Dusty Linden explains the Burning Life concept, “Because Burning Life is a mirror in spirit of a real life event, albeit with the unique and creative twists only Second Life can offer, we follow suit. Together, we will build a city, and we voluntarily accept many of the same restrictions that Nature imposes on the real thing. We do this to see how creative we can be with the same palette of materials and to revel in the beauty of simplicity. We use the same blank, desert landscape, and many of the things we build are naked or primitive in structure, easily revealing to the casual viewer how they were constructed. Just pretend that you’re bringing everything you need with you in your car or truck and you’re going camping. Extreme Camping. Really Extreme Camping.”

Watch the below to get a feel for what you can experience by participating in Burning Life.There are some excellent pics of various creative builds over on the Second Life Conceptual Creations blog site. The unofficial blog for Burning Man will help one get a lay of the playa and has links back to the wiki event listings and a map of the area.So what are you doing this weekend? Me I’ll be at Burning Life and trying Warhammer out!