Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Bionic knee

Following my RL knee operation yesterday Josie Fraser asked me via my Facebook wall if I now have a bionic knee! Ha, lol - feels anything but to be honest.

Got me thinking though... to commiserate with myself about my current lack of mobility, I've given Art F a new knee as well. As per RL, it doesn't quite work perfectly, though for different reasons. The SL knee uses a transparent prim to hide the middle part of the right leg, allowing you to see the metal ball and so on Unfortunately, from some angles, it also hides parts of the left leg.

Oh well, it'll do temporarily.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Second Life: Guidelines for Educators

Dan Livingstone has created an educator's FAQ in the simteach wiki.

There's not a lot there yet, but worth keeping an eye on, or even contributing to.

What's surprising is that this kind of resource didn't already exist!

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Second Life brain power

Is this - using brain waves to control SL avatars - for real? If so, it is amazing.
All a user has to do to control his/her avatar is imagine performing various movements. The activity monitored by the headpiece is read and plotted by an electroencephalogram, which relays it to a computer running a brain wave analysis algorithm that interprets the imagined movements. A keyboard emulator then translates the data into signals which can be used to control the movements of the user's on-screen avatar in real-time.
(Found via John Lester's Facebook profile.)

Monday, 15 October 2007

Say hi to Labrat Ninetails

I've been playing with libsecondlife over the weekend. My original intention was to get it running on my Dreamhost account (under Linux) so that I could try out RESTbot. Unfortunately, compiling everything under Linux isn't as straightforward as I'd hoped and I've more or less given up for now.

Instead, I've installed libsecondlife on my laptop along with a copy of Microsoft Visual C# Express Edition (available for free) which allows me to develop client applications.

The libsecondlife distribution comes with some example programs, so getting started is pretty easy. Here's my slight modification to the basic 'my first bot' application.

For the in-world part of my experiment, I've created a new avatar called Labrat Ninetails. The avatar shape is based on the previous work I did for Pandora Bot. Here's a shot of them side-by-side - remember that one is an avatar, the other is just a pile of scripted prims.

My simple application rezzes Labrat in-world and allows me to chat with anyone that happens to be standing nearby using a very primitive 'console' interface on my laptop. Labrat can't move or fly or doing anything else for that matter - though I have added the default typing animation so that you know when he is about to say something.

In short, my first bot isn't much to write home about! There is also a minor annoyance that avatars rezzed using libsecondlife suffer from being 'ruthed' - which means that their shape defaults to that of Ruth, the first female avatar. I haven't yet been able to find a working fix to this problem. So here's what Labrat looks like when he is rezzed using libsecondlife :-(

I'm not a C# wonk, so I don't know how far I'll go with this. But the pleasing thing to report is that developing an initial application using libsecondlife is very easy to do and not more than a few hours work.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Art reaches 1

Art Fossett is one year old today. Seems like longer in many ways.

I should be celebrating in proper-job one-year old style with a party and cake and those cheesey-pineapple-on-stick things! But I haven't arranged anything so any party will have to wait for another year. This picture of a virtual cake will have to suffice.

I've recounted before how the first words that anyone ever said to me in SL were, "You're ugly". Here's an old shot of one of my more successful early trips into SL, meeting up with TalisPaul Fossil on the then very new CybraryCity sim. It looks surprisingly primitive for some reason? (Art's hair had a hint of being spikey, but I hadn't discovered prim hair at that stage.)

Happy days!

SL and the rugby world cup

Is it my imagination or are a significant number of the surnames being offered to new residents based on players in the rugby world cup?

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Second Friends reaches 100

Second Friends has reached its 100th member - i.e. 100 people have successfully added the Second Friends application in Facebook and gone in-world to click on the SF kiosk on Eduserv Island and get their secret key.

To honor this landmark, I've given the 100th member, Chica Digital, a small token of my appreciation - L$500 and an exclusive (well, almost exclusive) t-shirt.

OK, I know it isn't much. I'll work on something better for the 1000th member.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Second Life in Education Wiki

This is a neat resource (found via Peter Miller's TidalBlog). The Second Life Education Wiki, created and maintained by jokay Wollongong and Sean McDunnough, provides links to and information about a whole host of educational resources in Second Life.

Good stuff!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Second Friends

I've recently been working on a Facebook application called Second Friends with the intention of giving people a way of integrating a view of their Second Lives into their Facebook profile.

Thus far, Second Friends is pretty simple. To use it, simply install the application in Facebook, then go in-world to Eduserv Island and touch the Second Friends kiosk. This will give you a secret key. Finally enter your avatar name and the secret key into the Second Friends form in Facebook.

Voila. Your avatar name and image (assuming that you have a profile image in Second Life) will be displayed on your Facebook profile.

Click on the 'My Friends' tab in the application to add a list of all your Facebook friends that are in Second Life (and that have installed the application) to your profile.

That's about it so far.

For future reference, I'm also working on a couple of extra features - neither of which is quite ready yet. Firstly, I want to provide a way of updating your Second Friends 'status' (just like the more general Facebook status but specific to Second Life) from within Second Life. Secondly, I want to allow people to create Second Life notes that can be added to your profile alongside the notes created by your friends. At the moment I'm leaning towards doing this by building on the existing BlogHud facility.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Scripted object HTTP request gotcha

If you create a scripted object that makes HTTP requests against an external Web server at fixed intervals and then use shift-drag to make multiple copies of it, watch out! The timer in each replicated object will be exactly the same as in the first - meaning that all your objects will make their HTTP requests at exactly the same time.

Create enough copies and you run the risk of over-loading your Web server.

Much better to build some randomness into the llSetTimer() call, to make sure that the objects make their HTTP requests at different times.

Monday, 1 October 2007

T-shirts as presentation tools

My t-shirt-based presentation, given as part of the Joint Eduserv/JISC CETIS Second Life in Education meeting, is now a featured slidecast on Slideshare thatks to Sheila Macneill who took the time to merge the audio with the Powerpoint slides.