- Bad Astronomy Blog: Big Moon Tonight? – “You only get the illusion when the Moon is near the horizon; when it’s overhead the illusion vanished. Because this month is the summer solstice, tonight the Moon stays close to the horizon for northern hemisphere observers. When the Moon is full, it’s opposite the Sun in the sky.“
- YouTube: Sailplane Emergency Landing – “Charlie, this is Bob. I’m in the model airplane field.” – Via Jeremy.
- NewpaperGirl: Blog Tip: Saying Thanks – “Tip: Take a moment and write a short email thanking bloggers who link to you. Do the same for people who make comments on your blog that you appreciate. It’s easy and simple to do and you’ll make people feel good and remember you.“
- IT Conversations: Sara Ulius-Sabel – “She describes design metrics as one of the tools that Whirlpool uses to bring objectivity to the trade-offs between Useful, Usable and Desirable, ultimately helping to drive both coherence and differentiation in a multi-brand portfolio.” – Very interesting podcast.
- The Simple Dollar: Seven Ways To Overcome Social Awkwardness That You Can Practice Anytime – “Most of these require significant practice, but the truth is that you can practice almost all of these any time that you want. If you’re socially awkward at all – and you probably know it if you are – just give some of these exercises a try.“
- CNN Money: How David Allen Mastered Getting Things Done – “He’s talked with Linden Labs CEO Philip Rosedale about adding a GTD island in Second Life where an Allen avatar could reach millions with virtual seminars.“
- BBC: Second Life Win for Paris Garden – “The main prize in the competition went to Joshua Culdesac and Piper Pitney for ideas which include ambitious water features and an ice rink.” – More info and pictures here.
I’m at the Burton Group’s Catalyst Conference today, getting ready to deliver a 25-minute Amazon Web Services presentation.
Joe covered the basics of Second Life, focusing on its utility as a platform for communication, community, and collaboration. He also provided some informative statistics on the state of the Second Life world, some of which I’ve heard or seen before, and others of which are new. Here’s what he told us:
- They now operate 12,000 servers.
- There are 12,500 profitable businesses.
- Transactions are now running at a rate of $50,000,000 per month.
- 800,000 items are sold every month (Joe said that this was the equivalent of 17 Wal-Marts).
- 8,000,000 new assets are created per day (100 per second).
- The asset server now holds 55 Terabytes of data.
- There are about 500 events every day.
- User hours are now at 350,000 per day and growing at 20% per month.
- Aggregate bandwidth usage is 12 Gigabits per second.
- 40% of the users are in North America, and another 40% are in Europe.
- 5000 IBM employees are in-world.
One interesting thing is that Joe referred to the Second Life client as a browser rather than as a client. Second Life was the topic of discussion at my lunch table and it turns out that this relatively small change in nomenclature helped a lot of people to understand the architecture of Second Life. I also handed out some of my “Jeffronius Batra” business cards.
Joe also provided a few tantalyzing details about the promised “grid of grids” — the ability for entities other than Linden Lab to host a sim (the active code behind a particular parcel of land in Second Life). He noted that this architecture has been under development for quite a long time (this must be part of the Día de la Liberación project.
Update: Yoz Linden informed me via Twitter that grid of grids isn’t the same at the Liberación project.
From what he said, it sounds like Linden will continue to host the presence, search, and currency/payment services (or at least the default, global instances). As part of this effort they are apparently paying attention to emerging standards for cross-world portabilty of avatars.
He said that more details would be forthcoming (including white papers) in the next 90 days. I can hardly wait.
Of course, it would be very cool to host some sims on Amazon EC2, opening the door to such exciting possibilities as an on-demand world. This would open the door to large conferences, events, and so forth — all of which can attract many people but for a relatively short amount of time. I’m planning to meet with Joe at the end of the summer to see how I can make sure that this happens.
One of the first audience questions had to do with the steep learning curve and the less than stellar quality of the Second Life browser user interface. Joe agreed and called it “atrocious.” He did mention that the open source community is stepping in and making some progress in this area. In fact, there’s a very timely post on the Second Life blog on this very subject today. There’s also a private build (the so-called “Nicholaz Edition”) of the browser and an accompanying blog.
- Conference: Achieving Real Business Growth Through Second Life – “As a marketing or business development professional, if this all sounds just all a bit too far out for you, you need to wake up to this virtual reality. Make sure you don’t miss IQPC’s inaugural conference on how to use the Second Life world and really grow your business in this rapidly expanding virtual world.” — I will be speaking there as part of a European speaking tour this coming September.
- MySQL: The 12 Days of Scale-Out: Booking.com – “By dividing one main MySQL database into three separate master servers and then replicating their distinct data on multiple low-cost machines, Booking.com was able to significantly increase their site’s speed, lower their infrastructure cost and improve their uptime through MySQL’s new high-availability solution, based on DRBD Linux technology.” Also see days 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12.
- New Scientist: ‘Dark Galaxy’ Continues to Puzzle Astronomers – “Galaxies are thought to coalesce from normal, or baryonic, matter that has collected in clouds of hypothetical dark matter. But surveys have turned up fewer galaxies than expected, suggesting that – for unknown reasons – some galaxies are stillborn, and simply fail to form stars.“
- This is what HTML tables are for – Via Digg.
- Mini-Microsoft: Guy Kawasaki for Microsoft’s Next CEO – “I overhead a lunch conversation with someone from a company’s HR department: what’s the first thing they do with a promising potential hire nowadays: zip over to Facebook or MySpace looking for them, and quickly drop the applicant if there’s anything fishy or disturbing associated with them.“
Earlier this week I spent about two hours in Second Life and on the phone (via Soundreach) preparing for my interview on Tonight Live. I met Paisley Beebe, the production crew (Starr Sonic and Yxes Delacroix), fellow guest and dress designer Natalia Basiat, and Rena Mayne, standing in for musical guest Keith Elvehjem, who couldn’t be there.
We fine-tuned the sound and did several dry runs of the entire show. This is a very serious production, with precise timing, crew behind the scenes to handle the audio and the video, and a “run sheet” for Paisley. The studio is looking great — the seats just showed up this morning, as did a set of dressing rooms and some backstage furniture in the green room.
Here are some pictures:
The crew and the guests:
Paisley (left) and the three guests:
The guests waiting at stage left for our cues:
The production crew:
In-studio video feed of the show:
- International Herald Tribune: Billionaire Pitches Supersonic Business Jets at Paris Air Show – “As private jets inch ever-closer in size to passenger planes, supersonic jets may become the next great symbol of exclusivity.“
- Aerion Corporation: The Dawn of the Supersonic Business Jet – “It will be possible to traverse the United States at .98 Mach, with operating costs equivalent to today’s large business jets. And to access all the airports where most business jets operate now, while meeting applicable noise and emissions regulations.“
- Evolution Blog: The Creation Museum I: Getting Our Foot in the Door – “Swimming in the lake, for some incomprehensible reason, was a model of a Loch Ness Monster. I guess the same dogmatic, closed-minded, atheistic scientific establishment that promotes evolution is also striving to keep knowledge of Nessie’s existence from the general public.“
- B.Places: Flying Your Way in Second Life With B.Places – “B.places is all about discovering new and exciting locations within Second Life. Brussels Airlines has created this website, together with a set of tools, to promote rapid and easy travelling to top destinations of your choice. Getting started“
- TeleGeography: Submarine Cable Map 2007 – “The Global Submarine Cable Map 2007 continues TeleGeography’s tradition of producing beautifully illustrated telecommunications maps. The latest edition of the submarine cable map has been completely redesigned and updated to include over 80 major submarine cables systems in operation today.” – Too bad there’s no “Add to Wishlist” option on this page…
- KZero: Mystitool: Metabrand no.1 – “SL is a thriving economy and when you delve into it a little deeper you beging to learn that there are people creating virtual products of all kinds of things. This means that the importance of having a brand becomes more and more important. The need to create differentiation, stand-out, recall and assurance will become increasingly more important.“
I was reading the release notes for next week’s release of the Second Life client and was amused by bug VWR-248: “Inexplicable folding of Avatars such that they are walking around with their heads up their arses.” It is entirely possible that this bug isn’t limited to Second Life, but may also happen in First Life as well.
- Journey of Mankind: The Peopling of the World – “The Bradshaw Foundation, in association with Stephen Oppenheimer, presents a virtual global journey of modern man over the last 160,000 years. The map will show for the first time the interaction of migration and climate over this period.“
- Wall Street Journal: – “Recruitment managers see an upside to conducting interviews through instant-messaging in Second Life: Job seekers tend to be more relaxed and open, since they are interacting with interviewers in the same way that they would chat with friends online.” – Via Alek.
- Susan Wu: Virtual Goods: The Next Big Business Model – “People spend over $1.5 billion on virtual items every year. Pets, coins, avatars, and bling: these virtual objects are nothing more than a series of digital 1s and 0s stored on a remote database somewhere in the ether.“
- Steven Livingstone-Pérez: First SL Event – “It was actually very, very cool. It has its rough edges but it was something i’m really glad it tried now and was also infromative. I even picked up something that was very worthwhile indeed around AWS.“
- Red Bull Soapbox USA – “Red Bull Soapbox Race challenges everyone from amateurs to engineers to craft outrageous human-powered carts to race against the clock in a downhill sprint to the finish line. On September 29, racing dreams will become reality on Seattle’s Fremont Avenue with a half-mile course that is sure to test not just speed but steering ability.“