The education effect of Web 2.0 is creating many ground breaking initiatives in the rapidly growing Virtual World of Second Life. The premier media academy down under, The Australian Film TV and Radio School (AFTRS) offers the only diploma courses in the real world that explore the link between games or virtual worlds and the cinematic story. There expertise in computer animation and interactive writing has been coupled with their experience of rapidly prototyping digital content through their Laboratory of Advanced Media Production (LAMP)The average age of people in Second Life is in their young 30’s, and they tend to be good at creating unique experiences. The current generation coming has a lot of personal experience gaming and multitasking. They are used to collaborating on projects together on many kinds of platforms at the same time. Gary Hayes who has created the AFTRS Virtual Worlds course and led the LAMP initiative understands the true effect of designing an immersive experience can have. Actively engaging in Second Life doing things creates your own story that others can experience with you. The students are given the tools to create this kind of experience and leverage it across other types of story rich creative media. Such as previsualisation for films, virtual scenes that aid the filmmaking process, real life motion capture, cinematic writing, sound and music for virtual worlds and the roll of artificial intelligence. AFTRS virtual location in Second Life known as Esperance Island is very creative visually and audibly offering an easy to navigate interactive virtual environment for future Oscar winners. Esperance Island immerse students and up skill them by teaching them how to make Machinima’s rich in story developed with improvisation and identity experimentation, hosting screening festivals, presentations and other learning events. They get an E for Effective.
As you may have noticed we’ve just updated the design of the Cisco.com home page. First, let me note some things that we didn’t change:
- The top of page navigation works the same way and has the same items. We looked at changing these, but they’re working well today and we felt there was no reason to toy with success.
- We haven’t removed anything from the page. You can get to all of the same destinations as before.
Here’s a picture of the new home page design as it rolled out this past Sunday: The changes from the last version of the home page are subtle, but we hope you’ll like them:
- A bolder, interactive center area (see more below)
- A section featuring new products that you can click through to see a series of new featured products (not just the one product we used to show)
- A new link to the Cisco blogs.cisco.com site area
- An overall cleaner, simpler look
I think a really neat feature is how the center area expands out to become more interactive when you click on the “expand to learn more button”: We’ll be posting more about the new home page in coming weeks. Enjoy!
Lately I’m having flashbacks to the browser wars of the last century. For those too young to remember, that was the era circa 1997 when browser purveyors (Microsoft, Netscape, the Opera team, etc) were releasing a browser update about every week, and those of us in the business of running Web sites were constantly scurrying to make sure our sites For those of us who work on Web sites, this was an exciting time but also a nightmare of browser compatibility issues, where every new browser release held the possibility of making some of the millions of our pages appear inexplicably broken. As the world stabilized a couple of years ago with Internet Explorer 6 and 7 and Firefox, it seemed all was right in browserland, and we could move on to other challenges. But, it was the calm before the storm. First, of course, there are all the new “web clients” in the form of browsers on mobile platforms. At Cisco, we’ve made a conscious decision to keep our mobile interface simple and fast, since we know that’s what users on the go really want. You can visit it at our Cisco.com mobile site, m.cisco.com. But new desktop browsers are flooding in again, too. First, Safari for the Mac — which sometimes behaves differently from the other two — appeared on the scene. IE7, of course, has undergone several updates, all of which need testing. Firefox 3 was recently recently released (or escaped), with a much faster renderer but enough bugs and incompatibilities to drive some early adopters to downgrade back to the earlier version. Very recently, the Chrome browser from Google was released — which of course drove our team to scramble in testing various key pages to make sure they behaved well with this new kid on the block. And, if all that weren’t enough, when I was visiting the Web 2.0 Expo this week I was reminded that Microsoft is readying Internet Explorer 8, which is available for beta download today and should be ready for the masses in a few months. Here is Microsoft’s Sharon Cohen demo’ing it: This first thing that indicated trouble brewing was the “compatibility” mode button built right into the IE8 interface. I am sure this will go away with the final release, but it’s scary to anyone like me who works on the Web because it means some of my pages might not work in the new browser — even if they have been painstaking tested to work today. For instance, mostly our Cisco.com site looks fine in IE8, but one page that Sharon and I looked at had an odd layering problem. This is a page that works fine in all of the browsers today. There’s actually a line of code that Microsoft is providing us Web types to make sure that our pages will be compatible with the new browser if you can’t test and fix each page. You’re supposed to put this in the header of every page to ensure compatibility: <meta http-equiv=”X-UA-Compatible” content=”IE=EmulateIE7″ /> or make sure the equivalent is send in the http header on a per-site basis.All of us here on the Web team are hoping this won’t be necessary. Oh, I knew there was something I didn’t like about the last century!
There’s so much happening from Cisco that sometimes I have a hard time keeping up, especially when I’m on the go. Fortunately, Cisco has a few mobile options to keep you connected. There’s our handy mobile site, of course, which you can access at m.cisco.com (and usually your phone will auto-sense when you go to the main Cisco.com URL as well).And, our SMS service is really taking off. Today, you can subscribe to text alerts right to your phone on a range of topics such as:
- Field notices
- New and press releases
- Security advisories and recommended responses
- General security news
What a jam packed week it was in LA this week at the Virtual Worlds conference. I am beyond sorry to have missed it but folks did a great job of blogging and tweeting about the activities so it felt like I was there. Here is my list of the most interesting announcements made during the conference.
What did you think was the most exciting or interesting announcement?