Monthly Archives: November 2012

Class 8 WE ARE NOT WORTHY!

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What can I say!  Our guest speaker at the class on week 8 (29/11/12) was none other than the concept creater and owner of Second Life Dublin (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Dublin/125/188/25) Ham Rambler.

You need to understand that, to me, who was a pimpled faced noob when I first duck-walked into the Blarney Stone virtual bar some four years ago,  Ham was something of a legend – a guru and an unknowing mentor to all.

So what did he talk about?   I DONT KNOW! …. I was so busy being in a trance at the very IDEA of hearing Ham speak that strange Anglo-Irish-American brogue!  I was brought back to earth abruptly by the sound of Sitearm reminding us to turn to “slide 22”.   I managed to type in a dot to let all know I was actually conscious.  It was fascinating to hear that the real bar in Dublin, (the one that the bar in SL was modeled on) has been visited by residents of Second Life and that ‘non- virtual’ pints have been shared.  This class was co presented by Sitearm, who gave us a very good overview on content creation and copyrights.  Ham described the ‘copying’ of builds from real world to virtual ones as no different than an artist who paints a picture of a building onto canvas.  I like this argument for reproducing what we see.  It doesnt seem the same to me as copying work, then calling it your own.

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It was nice to see us all gathered in class – our last ‘formal’ one.  I missed seeing those who couldnt make it.  I will miss Thursday evening in D.I.T. and will definitely miss the awesome team of tutors – who tried so very hard to be serious – (not realising we could hear the snort laughs through the mikes!).   My only regret has been that this course did not last longer – so much to take in!

Oh!  and sometimes the heating was not on in the room!!!!!!  🙂

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Until next time

Inish 🙂

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Week 8 – progress group work

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With just 2 weeks left to present the project we all met up for pow wow at the campfire.  After Seranox swapped seats with Ace (because he felt his sit animation was too ‘girly’) we chatted about the project.  I remembered Sitearm’s words of warning, and first made sure that everyone understood what we aimed to present.  That done – all seemed fairly confident that they did.  Ideas are still flowing, but with little time left, we need to move on to phase 2.  We have arranged to meet up, and to take the finished ‘exhibition’ out for its first journey into a public area of Second Life.  It will be interesting to see if we connect with more people through our exhibit on connections!

Looking back over the past weeks and this project, I have time to reflect on my own contribution to the group.  I feel I have been lucky to have the experience and skills that I have learned through the time I have spent previously in Second Life, and have been able to offer these to the group.  I was able to provide a canvas that the rest could add to with thier thoughts, artistic talent, and skills.  With anything that you do, I think the hardest part it to get started. The starting line – I was able to provide.  When the ‘GO!’ bullet fired … we were all off running.  I would also like to say that I have offered genuine friendship and some fun to our meetings – providing ice breakers such as a ship voyage and our cozy fire.  I will say that there is little I would do to improve how things have gone so far.  The main improvement would be in getting us all together.  We overcame that by working on individual tasks, and then bringing those together in the exhibit.  Even if our presentation falls apart, Ace’s computer blows up, B.ro’s hair catches fire, or Seranox breaks his avatar again by turning into a rabid rabbit….  I can honestly say that it has been a privilege to know these people, and that we HAVE connected and made our own ‘Ties that bind’

TO BE CONTINUED….

until next time Inish 🙂

Progress of group

This is me (inish working with the groups design textures

Comparing ties that bind team work with the theory

BRAINSTORMING

BRAINSTORMING WITH GROUP

We had a very enlightening and thought provoking talk from Sitearm Madonna,on teamwork and roles in the virtual environment.  We listened and followed a slide show http://www.slideshare.net/sitearm/virtual-collaboration-tips-and-tools#btnNext

After talking about leadership, we took a look at the slide below, which breaks up the roles needed for a successful team into 9 categories

Two things I found very interesting about this are:

1) THERE IS NO LEADER ROLE

2) THERE ARE 9 ROLES AND ONLY 4 IN OUR TEAM!.

Seemingly the assumption was made by other classmates that I was the ‘leader’ of our project group.  Not something I saw myself, but can understand why that assumption was made.  Firstly I have had experience in the virtual world of Second Life, and each group was set up with one person with experience in each – therefore language like “you three go with Inish” can lead us to believe automatically that I have some responsibility to ‘lead’ the group.  Secondly I could possibly be accused of having a rather big mouth, am pretty vocal and have an opinion on most things.  Lastly I have green hair and could be heard in twitter threatening the group to meet up or feel the sharp blade of my sword!!!! – this may make me stand out a tad at times.  In all honesty, the only things I have done in terms of leadership is to provide a place to meet, and to put the groups ideas and concepts into a 3D visual – this is entirely down to my experience and skills built up from time in Second Life.

So how to put that into Belbin’s theory? http://www.belbin.com/rte.asp?id=8 (modified 25th November 2012)

So far I can place myself in a few of the categories:

Plant –   I am good at solving problems in creative and unconventional ways – but I would also say that all of us are that way in our team.

Co-ordinator – Up until now I have been the one to focus on the team’s goals, facilitate team members, and give choices on tasks based on skills and abilities in the team.  I can see this role being taken on by others in the team, as the tasks ahead of us change.

Implementer – There is an agreed plan in place, and each team member has some work to complete.  Again this is a role that all four of us agreed on, based on skills, IT capabilities, and experience.

Teamworkers  – This is the role I most identify with.  I believe we ALL fit into this one the best.  We have  bonded well because of all our  different personalities.  The lads are boisterous and noisy where the girls are serene and ladylike (there is no link or citation to prove that last remark – so form your own thoughts on that!!).  We have all also identified our own skills, and are completing work individually, on behalf of the team to present a final project together.

Shaper – I have a sword – what can I say??   I would have prefered to have this role named ‘team nag’ – as it is something I do very well.  It comes from years of experience of parenting alone and learning quickly that a virtual ‘ear twist’ has more impact than gentle persuasion.  That said, I have passed a virtual slap animation to all team members to use on each other – including me, should the need arise.  This has been used on me several times when I pronounce B.ro’s name wrong (said like BEEEEE roe, not Bro.)

The group is still fairly new, and still jumping around from forming, storming, norming, and performing.  I am pretty convinced that by the end of the project we will see all nine points of team roles be apparent in all four of us equally………… though I will always be best with the sword!

My progress on the project so far

I have built a 3D piece that represents the concept of things we have learnt in this module. Textures have been made and shared between us in the group and I have included them in the build.

Sometimes this has involved visits to shops that have the perfect textures that we need to portray the ideas.

Out and about

I have tried to take the ideas from the group and change and adapt  the build to represent the different inputs.  This can be a tad frustrating when I don’t have instant access to group members to ask if things work or not.  It is important that we all feel ownership of the project, so I have to be mindful not to ‘race’ ahead without the rest.  Our intention is to take the final build, and display it at various ‘sandboxes.’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-JNQsI_KAI  We are hoping to get some discussions going with others – on our group build.  We will film these interactions, and present our experiences for the final presentation.

Sometimes skills are stifled by technology. This I discovered when Ace, who can make films, had problems when trying to download software that will work in second life.  We will try to all film some pieces and pass to Ace for editing, but this may not work as we all have different operating systems and such.  We may need to call upon a Specialist (HIDE SITEARM!) to help us out with this one.

Project build

Evolution of build

Evolution of build

Many thanks to Sitearm not only for the lecture, but also for the chance to dance like a professional dance group after class – and also for the solid ideas and advice.

Snapshot_002

Until next time Inish 🙂

experience of working in the group (so far)

After the first session of the class ‘is one life enough?’ http://virtualenvironmentsmodule.wordpress.com/  I kept looking out for classmates on Secondlife.  Remembering that Secondlife is like real life in so many ways,  I had as much chance of seeing them as I did of bumping into them in Grafton Street on christmas eve!  I did  however manage to make contact with one participant  – Dudley Dreamscape, who has been a great help to me and also has experience in Education as well as in Second Life.   We met up with Sitearm who helped find the problem with Dudley’s lack of voice, (his voice is just fine, but his equipment didn’t work)

Duley, Sitearm and me

Dudley, Sitearm and me

Then to class – Just before the groups were selected for the final project ‘ties that bind-20’, in pops a new face – ‘Seranox’  who was certainly making a grand entrance!  There he stood wearing a bicycle and bumping into things.  At first I thought he was a random person who had drifted into the class by mistake, or worse – a ‘griefer’ http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/subcultures/griefing (modified 17/11/2012)  Looking round the room I noticed ‘Ace’ having problems sitting down. ‘b. RO’  I recognised from the first week, when in the pub he had plowed though a host of  revelers and totally missed any of my friendly attempt of “hello”.  selection time was here – I kept my virtual fingers crossed ” please let Dudley be in my group ….oh and not the bike guy or the person bumper anything else but that! ……..please please!”

Group 3 is………. (fanfare) Inish, Seranox, B.ro, and Ace.  TAAAAAAAA DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

I should have realised that my wishes suck, I have tried that method many times when playing the Lotto and have yet to be a millionaire!

Everything happened a bit fast after that,  class over Ace vanished  just and just managed to grab B.ro and Seranox after class to try to get to know them both a bit better.

As the others are new to Second Life, I decided to use my island campfire as a place to meet.  I think a fire creates a positive mood whether or not its real or virtual (and there is also a free bar!)

Group meeting place

We didn’t discuss anything about the project on that first meeting, we ‘chilled’ and virtually ‘smoked’ very large cigarettes.  My first reservations were quickly dispelled.

The next time we got together, Ace managed to link up as well.  This was a focused meeting on joining a social network together (https://inishblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/ties-that-bind-2-0%E2%80%B2/) and this time we arranged a date and time to all log in.  This seems to be the best method to link up with each other (jus as it is in real). Strange that with all this social media that we are all members off, arranging the next time we meet at the end of a meeting (all be it virtually) is still the most effective way to gather.  Word of mouth still has a place in these virtual platforms!

This meeting we had on a ship, and again the group ‘gel’ took more of a piroity than the disscussion on work.

safe on the dock

safe on the dock

The next time we met up, we finally discussed the project.  This time we all managed to be together, we discussed our skills, and I AM SO LUCKY! .  The group have a mixed bag of skills that compliment each other.  We have  a graphic designer, a graffiti artist and a media (almost) expert, and me who can build, knows a bit about most things in Second Life, and who is awesome with a sword!

Such a talented group! and together we may even come up with something amazing!  I just wish that we had more time to work on things.  I am lucky that I am not having to dive into the Second Life ‘learning curve’ but this is an added task for the others in the group.

TO BE CONTINUED ……….

It started with a prim!

ON CONTENT CREATION

Social networking sites rely on the users to supply the content.  There is a set format, and can include sharing of links, posting of own photographs, as well as artwork.  Virtual worlds such as Second Life differ because, apart from ‘sea’ and ‘land’, there is no set ‘format’.  The user is given the opportunity to create all forms of content –  3D builds, textures, clothing, animations, music, machinima, mesh,  sculpties, and scripts.

http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Creation_Portal (accessed Novemer 13th 2012)

The world of Second Life provides a blank canvas for creation, and a learning platform for those who want to learn, or to rediscover hidden talents.  Creation can cost nothing – there are many free places to build,  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Builders%20Resource/142/127/23

(visited 13th November 2012)

free textures to use,

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Oleg/111/11/21

(visited 13th November 2012)

and even free programmes to download to help you to create content, e.g.  http://www.getpaint.net/ (last modified 10th October 2012)

There is a cost to export content from your computer into Second Life.   However, you can place content on the marketplace at no cost (you pay a commision if an item is sold). This is one way to cover the cost of downloading content.

When I first joined Second Life in 2007, there were hordes of people rushing to buy full permission items to resell.  Now in 2012, people crowd into full permission texture and scultpy shops, where they can create an item using an already created map and texture.  Personally, I think that this is both a good and a bad thing for the Second Life environment.  Good, in that people can create with very little skill as a builder, but bad because you do tend to see sims with similar, or the same objects all over the Second Life grid.  When you create full permission items, you run the risk of the item becoming tomorrow’s ‘freebie’.

Even though the Terms Of Service offer a creator some rights and protections, it is difficult for creators to keep track of their creations.  One protection for creators is in the way they set permissions for the next owner.  You have a choice of giving full permisions on the item,  or to modify and copy it , to give away or sell the item, to tranfer only, or  to copy only.  Using the right combination of permissions for the next owner is an important element of protecting content.

Copy bots have discouraged many content creators from spending time creating http://news.cnet.com/2100-1043_3-6135699.html (November 16th 2006)

“The essence of the creativity in this world is largely because of creators and their work being protected,” Mallon said. “This tool defeats all protection. So if you labor to build a business like we all have, your work can be stolen.”

The best defence in the war against unauthorised copying is LindenLab’s commitment to expel offenders, and the alertness of Second Life residents to spot and report offenders. Neither of these efforts will completely eradicate devious use of the Copybot, but they will slow down the crime rate.  In the mean time creators are less and less motivated to create.

For me personally, sales of what I create are not so important to me.  I view Second life as one huge art class, and, in an art class, you dont put pencil to paper with the thought that you will make thousands for this ‘work of art’ or that another student will peer over you shoulder and copy your drawing!

I wonder how many times the Mona Lisa has been copied? and how does Leonardo feel about that?????

until next time Inish 🙂

Essay

The importance of regulation,

convention and etiquette in

online communities

One definition of online communities that I like is written by Jeremiah Owyang, (using the input from the communities themselves), “Online communities are bodies of people joined together by a common interest”

http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2007/12/28/defining-the-term-community/ (modified 5/11/2012)

There are various online platforms which are communities and host smaller communities (or groups) within them. The main platform has its own governance or terms of service (T.O.S), which all members must agree to on joining and abide by them or face expulsion or in the worst case scenario, legal proceedings. Smaller groups may set their own set of regulations for their members which, if breached, may result in ejection. In this essay, I will focus on the virtual 3d world of Second Life http://secondlife.com/ and discuss the importance of the rules.

End User Licence Agreement (EULA) or Terms of Service http://secondlife.com/corporate/tos.php ( last updated and effective Date: December 15, 2010) are a contractual agreement between the owners of the virtual world and in the case of Second Life – the resident or user. These rules evolve over time, usually in response to litigation or changes within the ‘world’ that they are intended for. These terms of service work both ways – the obligations from Second Life to residents, and visa versa. A benefit to linden labs in this form of governance, is that resident disputes can be resolved swiftly, if there is evidence of violation of the T.O.S..

Linden labs set the ‘norms’ and the management of every day interactions is led by the community itself. Residents are given the means to file abuse reports, mute and block other residents. Virtual land owners have the power to freeze, eject,, return objects to, or ban other residents as they see fit. They may apply their own rules to the land by using a covenant e.g. http://reachisles.com/sims/covenant this enables a group or the user to define rules that suit the setting. These things all help maintain the etiquette that is acceptable in that area or group.

As residents can ‘buy’ virtual land within Second life, the terms of service have been adjusted to define this as purchase of a limited license to access the space. They now define the purchase as acquiring a virtual land licence and reserve the right to revoke this licence at any time without notice under certain circumstances. This prevents litigation such as the Brag verses Linden case 2007 http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=583434033289222111&q=bragg+versus+linden&hl=en&as_sdt=2,5 (modified 05 November 2012 ).

Linden Labs reserves the right to use content for the purposes of promotion, but the creator retains all intellectual property rights. Action is taken when content has been obtained without purchase, or the creators permission. I have had personal experience of this. When innocently obtaining copied content – it was deleted from my inventory and I was informed by Linden Labs.

In conclusion, good EULA’s are important as they serve as protection for both the owners and the users of virtual worlds . Covenants and group charters give users clear guidelines on etiquette and conventions.

Ross A Dannenberg – Computer games and virtual worlds: a new frontier in intellectual property law /- 1st edition ( American Bar Association – ISBN:13-978-1-60442-750-9) 5

Tom Boellstorff – Coming of age in Second life – (Princeton University Press ISBN 978-0-691-14627-0 – 2008) 234 chap 8

Networking visit 2

Paat decuir Owner of MaMia

Located in Second Life

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Woodland%20Park/87/152/22 (visited 01/11/2012)

My second visit to someone in Second Life was to the shop owner and role player Paat decuir.  I made contact with Paat through clicking on one of her vendor boards and inspecting to get her profile.  Paat joined Second Life in 2007  and  has had a lot more experience than I have.  She sells antique furniture, musical instruments, and now has also branched into more modern mesh clothing.  I hoped to get some ideas from her.   I have been aware of her creations throughout my own role play worlds, and knew her shop was a well established business.

When I explained to Paat what it was I was doing  – her response was  “Well,  I am flattered but see, I am just a simple merchant, Inish .  It’s true, Inish, I don’t build a lot, I don’t advertise, I am no good at marketing. I do things for people, and love customising – because I learn so much in creating.”

This was the second time I found that a creator did not quite realise how her own personal brand had taken on a life of its own within the Second Life community, and how well known her creations actually were.

I wanted to know how important selling her products was to Paat.  She explained that selling was important to her as it covered her costs and expenses. Her problem was time.  She really has no time for the marketing end of things that would be required to take the shop to the next level.  She doesn’t use access other social media for bushiness or personal use, and does not make enough profit to hire anyone to take care of that side of things.  At the moment the tools that Paat uses to promote her shop are grid -wide hunts, her group, and the search function in world.  She has a few vendors scattered around various role play Sims but has not yet taken part in any event ‘fairs.’ http://antiquesgridshow.blogspot.ie/p/autumn-grid-wide-hunt.html (accessed 01/11/2012)

Second life Marketplace shop https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/73821 (accesed 01/11/2012)

I totally understand this, to some in world, it is a second life, leaving it to use other online social networks, is almost like entering the ‘real’ world.  Building for me, is more about community than it is sales, about creating, learning,  and friendships.  It was a relief to learn that so far both new people I have met, feel exactly the same way – and yet I viewed them as successful businesses.  Maybe I am more successful that I thought! (note to Linden Labs…..”please give  us a ‘like’ button!“)

In the future I would love to work with Paat, helping her using what I have learned on this course.  For now I will show of some of her fantastic goods as a thank you for giving me some of her very precious time.

Mesh inlaid Edwardian coffee table 199 L$  

Roses 80 L$ 

Antique smoked

armchair 199 L$

No self discerning gent should be without this set. Imagine the impression your business associates will receive when they arrive to meet you and find you reading the latest edition of the news!

Education starts with books! so if your college, home, or village is lacking in quality rush over and grab one! Paat may even consider a custom fit for your needs!  You can even greet you students and guests from the top of the ladder which contains several poses including one that has you searching for that special book!

Library bookshelves with posing ladder 499 L$

Mesh Winter Outfit

Promotion 199L$ includes Boots, skirt, leggins, waistcoat, arm warmers and sweater!

Trapper Hat 89 L$

Knitted natural wool Jumper and scarf (adapted for piracy) 159 L$

until next time

Inish 🙂

Networking visit 1

Naem NoLameLastName (AKA denise.rowlands)

Naem NoLameLastName (AKA denise.rowlands)

This blog is the result of randomly contacting people with similar interests as me
in Second Life.
As a role-player, I thought it would be interesting to find other role players who
also were creators, and shop owners.  
I searched through groups, then profiles, and then contacted
Naem NoLameLastName (AKA denise.rowlands). 
She has a varied history very similar to my own in Second Life,
so I sent her an im (instant message) and explained what it was I was doing. 
Her first question was ..."why me?" and my response was "why not".  
I think that in the Second Life environment, it is hard to gauge just how 
successful your personal branding is. Unlike sites such as Twitter and Facebook, 
there is no 'like' button to click on or ways to 'follow' other than personal
groups,and as these are limited, you do not have endless groups you can join.
Naem listed her activities in order of importance to her.
  1. Role player
  2. Fighter
  3. Builder/creator
  4. Friendships
  5. Shop owner
  6. Mentor

She has also been a model, taught modeling, and a photographer.

She owns a sim where she has her shop, el patio inc. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Crash%20Boat/225/67/29   (visited 31/10/2012)

A  friend of hers described her creations as

Everything from quaint little country tables to bloody mutilation tables.

During my visit to the store I was happy and interested to see the sign below.

Intellectual property rights and the abuse of in second life is an ongoing issue, one that deters many creators from creating.  I like the fact that Naem displays this information to her customers, and hope to learn more about this at a later stage.

I was interested to find out how important the business side of her second life was to Naem, and how she marketed her store.

Naem started off  as a model in world, but eventually gave that up as it was very time consuming and usually paid with clothing.  She went on to owning her own sim, half of which she rents to a friend who also has a store.  She admits that she likes the building and creating much more than she likes selling, and has an inventory filled with things she has created and will probably never put up for sale – however, the shop justifies her creating and building.  When asked about the development of a ‘brand’ she told me that she had not really focused on that, and that her goods were such an eclectic mix that she would find this hard to do.

At present,  her only other online presence is on the Second Life Marketplace, where she also has a store.  https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/66669  (modified 02/11/2012)

She also has a smaller shop in the seasonal Halloween town

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Elizabeth%20Town/142/216/23 (visited 31/10/2012)

When asked what advice she would give to anyone joining Second Life for the purpose of setting up a shop to make money, she said ….

“It took me four years to learn how to build anything more than a square box!”

Meeting Naem has been very useful to me.  Like myself the fun and social side of Second Life is her priority, and the shop and selling is secondary.

When she talks about her role playing and mentoring in Nor, http://landofnor.com/ (visited 31/10/2012)  she becomes enthusiastic – moreso than when talking about her shop – and yet her creations are imaginative, fun and reflect her role play life.

Until next time – Inish 🙂