Category Archives: VWER

Freewheelin’ Again

I’m going back to a free account in Second Life® because I just can’t justify the expense anymore. There hasn’t been any interest among our faculty for years and the small plot of land we leased from the NMC went the way of our institution’s NMC account. I tried to keep up with the VWER meetings, but I was increasingly irrelevant in that group of educators who have actually taught in SL.

So, I had to release the land that came with the account in order to change it from premium to free–kind of unfair, since my account won’t switch over to free until late January. Anyway, it’s gone and that’s too bad, but it was just a showcase. The prim limits were so low that I could only furnish it sparsely and no one came to visit. My spouse and SL partner even stopped visiting.

So, now I have about L$34,000 left from my premium stipend to spend as I wander around homeless, just as I did in the beginning. More hair, more shoes, more otherworldly clothing. And I might be dropping in to your sandbox to take out my Barcelona chair every now and then.

As close to the real thing as I will ever get.

field trip to Pixieviewer

At today’s VWER meeting, we all took a field trip in our browsers to Pixieviewer–while our SL© avis remained waiting in world for our return. Pixieviewer is a browser-based world, not working in mobile devices yet, and very interesting in terms of VW progress. It was a little clunky and old-fashioned, but it was working. I could build and walk and chat, nothing fancy, but it’s a start. Soon browsers will be able to compete better and that will be a huge advantage for educational access. I’m not sure my avi has a face, because there are no camera controls to be able to rotate your view, but I’m assuming I looked okay.

another missed meeting

Yet again, I’m going to miss tomorrow’s VWER meeting in Second Life® because of two other meetings. This has happened all too frequently since they changed their US Eastern time. For me, it used to occur just after work, so I could attend at home without being bothered. I try to attend now at work at the new 2:30 PM Eastern time, but that’s such a hot time for meetings that I often have to choose something else. It’s also annoying to try to attend from work because our network is not friendly to virtual worlds and voice is always blocked. But you and I both can look at the transcripts that are posted on the VWER site. Not as good as being there, obviously.

So, just for old time’s sake, here are a few pics from my past on the land we used to have at my current institution. A little item I built after being inspired by the  General Motors Futurama exhibit at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Yes there was a 1939 World’s Fair with similar views of the future–I wish I had seen either one of them in person. I think you can tell which one was the model that inspired me. I had much enjoyment from building campuses in Second Life.

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branching out into the first world

Residents of Second Life® are buzzing about Linden Research’s recent forays into other platforms with two new products, Patterns and Creatorverse. At a recent VWER meeting, a number of fears were expressed about Linden moving further away from education, if that could be possible in some eyes. But frankly, their past moves kind of set education free to plot its own course, and drove a lot of exploration into open source platforms, and plenty of educators have remained in Second Life. If educators are feeling abandoned, I optimistically think it’s a storm we will weather. So what are the new Linden products all about?

Patterns looks a lot like what I’ve seen of Minecraft, but more colorful, and it only operates on the Steam gaming service, which I can’t run at school. I’m not really interested in having it, but would like to hear what other gamers think of it. Follow the link to see a video of the game. Obviously, Linden is using its building tools expertise to move in this direction of a building game, and the experience might help them advance the current SL tools.

Creatorverse is an iPad app, or it will be soon, we are told.* The video shows it to be a drawing canvas, with the nice added attraction of being able to add physics to any objects you create–so balls can roll, for example. If you are familiar with the iPad app Crayon Physics, where you have to draw the right shape with the right physics to complete a task, Creatorverse is similar, but there is no task. As the ad says, it’s more of a “sandbox.”

*Well, I had signed up to be informed when Creatorverse was ready, but they did not inform me. Found it on my own today and have tried it. It’s interesting, but I need to work on my skills in designing things that actually work. It’ll happen, and I can see this being a good educational app for kids and adults.

All in all, these products seem to build on what Linden Research already knows, and I hope it means they aren’t abandoning any one product for another.