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Establishing Priorities in a Virtual Environment

July 30, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

I was asked a question recently that made me pause-the question was”does content matter in a virtual world?” Honestly, I paused because I couldn’t believe it was being asked. However, after asking a clarifying question I got to the heart of the matter, which was really about where should one dedicate the bulk of budget to: content creation or tool development. Basically the person asking was trying to determine if they should spend some of their precious dollars on enabling a virtual tools/heads up display (like a chat relay from virtual to web) within the virtual environment they are programming in or if they should hold that money for creating future content offerings. They basically felt they wouldn’t get money for both. Now this is an unfortunate situation but for most folks this is fairly standard dilemma when it comes to programming for a virtual environment.Of course the above is if you have gotten over the hurdle of demonstrating the value of programming in a virtual space. If you need some proof on why one should even go down the route of considering a virtual environment I think the below excerpts from a in-world note I got from a customer recently tells it all-

Dear Dannette:I and my staff at iFiber Communications would like to thank you, John Chambers, and the rest of the folks at Cisco Systems for bringing Cisco Live! to Second Life. We really enjoyed the presentations, tour, and the customer appreciation party. If it had not been for your bringing these events to Second Life, we would not have been able to attend Cisco Live. We are in a very rural area of Washington state, four hours away from SeaTac Airport, making both travel time and budget a limitation--We hope to attend more Cisco Second Life events in the future, and we look forward to Cisco’s expansion of its Second Life presence. It is a great way for us to keep up with technological changes, and it is also an excellent educational medium. And, we would love the opportunity to increase our Cisco training through Second Life events, if/when that becomes available.Lastly, I would just like to mention that although we attended through only one or two avatars, there were, at times, five of us watching the presentations at our NOC. So, there were actually more folks attending virtually than just the avatar counts!Sincerely,Cassandra HeideDirector of Information Technology

OK so what to do about that dilemma-? I recommend one take the following steps when thinking through this process: Read More »

Innovative Online Shopping

July 29, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

A few of us on the Web team have been chatting lately about alternatives to traditional web shopping interfaces. Coincidentally, blogger Dan Taylor has posted an interesting and interactive overview of alternative online shopping experiences which is worth a read: http://www.fabricoffolly.com/2008/07/innovative-online-shopping-interfaces.html Enjoy!

Second Life Can Teleport Open Source to a Whole New Level

Collaborative crowd sourcing is evolving above and beyond the norm through 3D virtual worlds such as Second Life. The use of Wikitecture in Second Life is emerging as something significantly different and is proving to be a successful way that we as individuals can effectively begin to form and collectively organize to act as a human network as never before. The increased speed and quality of the visualization and consensus process for groups who collaborate globally in 3D worlds reflects just how lightning fast new open source collaborative ideas such as a Wikitecture have been embraced. Trail blazing this area is Jon Bouchard (Keystone Bouchard in Second Life) and Ryan Schultz (Theory Shaw in Second Life). As co-founders of Studio Wikitecture, they have been using Second Life as a platform for architectural collaboration to create innovative architectural and urban design solutions. Harnessing the power of collective human intelligence and leveraging the open source paradigm applied in real life and Second Life. Their most recent project was chosen as winner of the overall ‘Founder’s Award’ out of over 500 entries worldwide in the Open Architecture Challenge. Their entry in this international architecture competition, was developed entirely in Second Life.How Wikitecture works is simply genius. Studio Wikitecture group developed a 3D-Wiki plug-in for Second Life known as a ‘Wiki-Tree‘. It works like a conventional Wiki but instead of tracking text documents in a linear history like Wikipedia, the ‘Wiki-Tree’ tracks versions of 3D models and stores them in a stylized 3D digital tree ‘canopy’. Watch how this continually evolves as it allows a self-organized group of contributors to share ideas, edit the contributions of others, and vote on which design iterations should be chosen. The ‘Wiki-Tree’ allows feedback from the client and end-user as the design evolves. Not only that, the exploration for prediction market voting procedures are used to assure consensus or ‘Crowd Wisdom’, plus a contribution assessment model can calculate and divide ownership from contributors in the development process.Dennis Mancini, Senior Art Director, Brand Strategy & Identity, Cisco Systems

Cool & Useful: Search on Mobile Cisco.com

July 14, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

Here is something that’s not only really neat; it’s also incredibly useful: We’re just added the ability to search for virtually anything in the world of Cisco.com via our mobile Cisco.com experience. And, once you find the results you’re looking for, you can pull up the pages and read them right on your phone. We even resize pictures to fit well with the phone.

Here’s a (ok, somewhat fuzzy) set of pictures I took from my friend Steve’s phone to show how it works. First you go to Cisco.com on your phone (we recognize most phones automatically, but you can also go directly to the mobile site at m.cisco.com. Choose the menu option to “Search on Cisco.com” and then you’ll see a screen where you can enter your search terms (by the way this works the same as the search on Cisco.com):

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When you follow a link in the search results, you’ll get a page nicely formatted for your mobile device — we’ve trimmed off some of the elements from the side of the page, and also resized the pictures to fit.

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Oh, and search in specific countries, too:

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Enjoy!

“One small step for an avatar, one giant leap for virtual worlds”

July 9, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

These were the closing words in a video Linden Labs and IBM created to demonstrate how an avatar can teleport between virtual worlds. If you haven’t heard, the creators of Second Life and IBM announced yesterday a major interoperability milestone. They have inched our avatars closer to mobility between different virtual world platforms. I’m not a tech wiz by all means, but even I was like, “That is just way too cool!” Yes, Tuesday was a very momentous occasion for Linden Labs and IBM in that regard, so kudos to them! We keep hearing about the intersection betwen different virtual world platforms as the future. Glad to see that future is actually a bit closer than we think. In other news, Google also grabbed headlines yesterday with the launch of Lively, it’s very own virtual world where you can “create an avatar and chat with your friends in rooms you design.” I haven’t visited Lively yet, but am planning to. If you’ve already been, please do share your experiences! Based on what I’ve read in the blogosphere, the reception has been anything but “lively.” Regardless of your feelings and opinions towards this week’s news, it is a giant leap for virtual worlds.