Tag Archives: Secondlife

2D Internet in 3D Internet – or better APIs?

During the Virtual Worlds Think Tank last Thursday, I got to thinking about what the 3D Internet may mean. I was considering some of the limitations of Linden’s current engine, which is one of the technologies that may move us in the right direction.

Linden have stated that they want to put the Mozilla engine (Gecko) inside Second Life. This is potentially a great move. Right now, in order to display a web page on a prim or surface, you have to take a snapshot of the page on some proxy outside of SL, and then grab and render the image inside SL. By putting the browser inside the engine, you potentially have access to all the richness of the browser as an application platform.

But, let’s wait for a minute and think about how useful this is. I’m a 3D person in RL, sitting at a 2D computer interface which enables me to deal with information. Now I start using Second Life or some similar technology, and all of a sudden I’m looking at a 3D representation of myself moving around a 3D environment – a 3D Internet, if you will.

So, if we just put the browser inside that environment… don’t we have a 3D person in RL looking at 2D screen… which contains a 3D person in SL looking at a 2D screen?

You can already perform an HTTP request from within LSL (the scripting language of Second Life). This is great – standards-based integration, providing a way of getting data from the rest of the Internet into the environment, to enrich any objects that are built there. Our own epredator Potato and colleagues have been using this to get data from various external systems, to great effect.

The problem with llHttpRequest is that once you’ve got the response, you have no easy way of parsing it. There’s no XML parser in LSL – you are back to good old-fashioned string parsing. This makes SOAP/HTTP calls cumbersome to impractical; it’s a good argument for REST-based services, but even then, if you are getting back anything more than a tokenised string, it can be a pain to deal with.

To me, the point of this exciting new environment is that we can present information in an entirely new way. Once the current stability issues are sorted out, I’d really like to see LL make it easier to deal with the information that we can pull in from the outside world. An Embedded web browser would be cool, but I think it (partially) misses the point.

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More on Virtual Worlds

Roo has posted more detail on today’s event over at the eightbar blog (which I think is the closest blog there is to a “spiritual home” of IBM and Virtual Worlds, given that both of our Metaverse Evangelists started out there).

I was delighted to be able to play a part in the day. I think we’ve been doing some amazing stuff, particularly in terms of our use of social networking tools, and it was great to engage with people to discuss our use of blogging, social networks, and virtual worlds.

I thought I’d post a few additional shots of the Think Tank session that Roo mentions.

We split into two groups to make the conversation slightly more manageable. Timeless Prototype’s magic table and chairs were put to good use!

Algernon Spackler moderated the discussion group that I was in. All our base are belong to him!

As well as journalists, we were lucky to have luminaries from across the Second Life community join us to participate in the conversations:

The event was held in one of our conference domes. The virtual Hursley build can be seen in the background.


Footnote: I spotted another Second Life reference in coverage of another event that is underway at the moment, the SWG Analyst Briefing in Stamford, Connecticut.

Virtual Worlds media event

I’m at IBM Bedfont today participating in a media event around the impact of virtual worlds.

One of the attendees, Katie Lee from Shiny Media, is live blogging the event at Tech Digest (coverage: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

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Game Tomorrow

The current front-page feature on ibm.com mentions one of the blogs that I contribute to – Game Tomorrow – and also discusses Second Life.

IBM is involved in all of the new games consoles, is huge in the chip market, and is on the cutting edge of all of the current developments. Exciting stuff. Especially for a lowly WebSphere consultant… 😉

[non-Flash version of the ibm.com feature]

[PDF version of the ibm.com feature]

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Second Life roundup

Some interesting things from Second Life:

  • the property mogul Anshe Chung has made her first, real, million. It was page 3 news in the Metro, the free London morning paper. In theory, thousands of Londoners will create themselves Second Life accounts today, in the hope of making a mint. Maybe not though, since this is in the “Weird” category on the Metro website…
  • Linden Lab have announced some significant changes around the visibility of Friends in the next update (tentatively, tomorrow). This is certainly welcome news. You can now set more granular controls as to whether people can see you online, and on the map – bringing an end to “mapping” whereby someone can teleport in to your business meeting or presentation.
  • As part of the same update, all private islands are going to become visible on the world map. Interesting!

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