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My Top Five Virtual News Posts

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: is One of 10 Greats

We’re blushing a bit from the nice review of 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,’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

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!

Secure Unified Communications – Cisco Live in Second Life TechChat

This TechChat featured Craig Sanderson, Unified Communications Security Solutions Manager for Cisco’s Security Technology Group, and Danelle Au, Senior Product Manager in the Security Technology Business Unit at Cisco. During this TechChat, Sanderson and Au discussed secure unified communications in the branch and new features to protect against attacks.View this discussion to hear: – Cisco’s architecture for secure unified communications- An introduction to remote access options such as Cisco adaptive security appliance (ASA) phone proxy for secure endpoints and ASA mobility proxy to secure mobile endpoints- How businesses can select the right options for their needs in order to prevent security breaches in both unified communications and other applications Click play below to view the archive of the event.We need your feedback, please complete our survey.To learn more about Secure Unified Communications go to:Enterprise Solutions — Secure Unified Communications Empowered Branch SolutionSecurity in Today’s Empowered Branch webcast seriesCisco ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security AppliancesASA for Unified Communications Video Data Sheet

Up Skill’ Education Puts the E Back in Effect

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.