Tag Archives: second life

Dogear Nation: me, on a podcast

I took part in the Dogear Nation podcast last Friday, alongside my fellow IBMers and regular show hosts Michael Rowe, Michael Martine and Matt Simpson.

It was an excellent experience – really good fun to talk to these guys – just chatting about up-to-the minute links, hacks and mashups. The initial reason that I got involved was to talk about Slorpedo! from HackDay, but we managed to cover a whole range of subjects including the new Google Maps features[1], Second Life in Real Life, Internet time, Wimbledon and Veodia, and all kinds of other stuff.

Sounds like I managed to overuse the word “neat” and umm and err too much, but overall I think it worked well. Apart from the massive ummming session around 16 minutes in when I completely forgot the words, for which I apologise.

This was actually my second podcast – the first one was an interview I did for our intranet recently. Who knows, there might be something in this podcasting business…

Dogear Nation is available on iTunes as well as directly on the web

(NB, since Friday, I have signed up for Pownce, although I still use Twitter a lot more)

[1] The new Google Maps routing features, incidentally, are awesome… Autoroute, my standard directions application before the Internet got good, never had drag-and-drop re-routing.

SLorpedo revisited

A much-reduced Team Supernova was at SLUK 07 this weekend and managed to get SLorpedo finished off – complete with torpedos, explosions, and sinking subs.

Check out the YouTube video.

Well done to JimNigel, Paul and James


We just presented our team’s hack for HackDay in London…

An awesome team effort inspired and led by Paul Johnston and Nigel Crawley. A mixed reality naval game from the Supernova team.

Here’s the science part.

Camera rig The real world part(s) of the hack involved a DV cam feeding Nigel’s G4 iBook with a live feed of some pieces which represented two teams, “crabs” and “sharks” (cut from O’Reilly postcards). The camera rig – managed by Jon Hadley – was a highly technical setup involving gaffer tape and a borrowed tripod – thanks to Twitter! The iBook then used the TUIO protocol to update the coordinates of the game pieces to a web server.

The second RL part of the hack was my MacBook Pro rigged with Quicktime Broadcaster and Darwin Streaming Server, pointing at the game board. This provided a video feed that could be used within Second Life. This was technically challenging to set up due to issues connecting between the laptops on the BTOpenZone network… so someone donated us an Airport hub (again following a Twittered plea for help), and I shared my connection with Jim Purbrick who was then able to tunnel through to Second Life, as well as seeing my Quicktime stream. We experimented with a cheap USB webcam too, but the iSight just worked a lot better (positioning was “interesting” though!)

View from the blimpMeanwhile… in Second Life, the team of Jim Purbrick, Ben Hardill, Chris Mahoney and James Taylor built an amazing setup. We had a floating blimp (on Arcanum, the sim that Linden Lab had donated for the Hack Day event). The blimp contained a table which showed the live video feed of the game being played in real life. Below that, the sim was submerged. During the demo, Babbage Linden showed off the live feed, and then flew under the blimp. When he hit the floating buoy, a group of submarines were rezzed in that corresponded with the movement of the pieces in real life. Oh, and the subs were named after names found via the Yahoo! Answers API.

We didn’t quite have time to sort out the audio, but there were supposed to be some sonar noises as the subs were rezzed. Pretty easy to add, but we got moved around a couple of times prior to the demo, and had to disassemble our rig each time.

Someone managed to capture the blueprint for the hack on camera.

Oh, and as a complete aside – it is interesting to see the distribution of hardware and operating systems at the event. I’d say Macs dominate, Windows are probably second (I’ve only seen one running Vista but there may be more), and there are quite a few people running Linux too. Almost all of the demos and presentations seem to be run from Macs. W00t!

I had a spot on stage earlier in the afternoon as the “glamorous” helper for the MyBlogBunny hack, holding the Nabaztag – thanks Lance 🙂

[ edit 19/06 – links and photos added, minor edits ]

[ edit 21/06 – added some more links to interesting Flickr photos ]

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WSTC – the reading list

I’m about to head over to Amazon to order a bunch of the books I browsed through on the conference book stall.

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Voice coming to Second Life

(reposted from eightbar, since Roo wrote a more comprehensive entry on the subject)

It’s a love-it-or-hate-it feature, but voice chatting is coming to Second Life.

Alerted by some twitterings, I downloaded the beta voice client. Algernon Spackler and I met up on the Beta Grid to give the voice support a try. I found a small group gathered at Space Port Alpha. Initially I couldn’t hear anything… but having disabled and reenabled the new voice chat preferences, it all sprang into life.

Users who are speaking have a little coloured voice print above their heads. The sound system is spatially-aware, so if you move out of an area people sound further away (the same applies if you zoom out with your camera, incidentally), and people with surround-sound capability in their headsets should get an idea of where other avatars are standing in relation to them.

It all seemed remarkably smooth, although people seemed quite quiet, shy and less ready to talk all at once, which is what tends to happen with text chat. The group I was in was only around 10 people – I think that more were present at the NMC sim and I’m not sure how smoothly the system went over there.

We did have a conversation about how many people would react strongly against this… one member of the group suggested that a large number of people on the main grid will prefer the anonymity of text chat. I guess over time it may become less easy for people to say “no, I don’t want to voice chat, I don’t have a headset”, and perhaps people will become more cautious about interacting with other avatars.

There’s an option to only have your microphone enabled when a certain key is pressed, so that you don’t have to worry that any little noise will be transmitted to the grid… as a Mac user, I found this a bit awkward – the available keys to toggle this were all very Windows-centric, but perhaps that will change before this goes live.

Interesting times ahead!

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