Sweden, Second Life, Big Money, Scandel and Bleeding Edge Technology

There has been talk here in Sweden regarding Sweden’s decision to participate in the Online Game “Second Life” with the installation of a Virtual Embassy. This is a little strange to me that a Country would choose to participate in a Computer Game that is played by Gamers around the world on the Internet. As it turns out the Maldives government has beaten Sweden in opening a Virtual Embassy in Second Life. What is Second Life? Why are newspapers, colleges and governments talking about it so much?

Why would Sweden want to do such a thing?

Second Life is much more advanced then other online games. I mean really more advanced.

It is developed using OpenSource and allows users to participate with additions to their own virtual properties. As I understand it that users can also be granted patents for features that they develop. Users on the other hand can develop virtual online characters to offer prostitution services to other online characters. There are also online communities of Internet gaming gamblers. There are stores that sell products in the real world who actually sell their products in this alternate Universe. It seems that some people can substitute face to face of phone business interaction with this computer game interaction.

On the technical side this Internet Game offers technical people an environment that is utilizing the latest and greatest technologies. This is a place to learn, develop and show off your skills in technology and business savy. There is actually real money that can be made in this virtual game.

Second Life has recently emerged as one of the cutting-edge virtual classrooms for major colleges and universities, including Harvard, Vassar, Pepperdine, University College Dublin, Elon University, Ohio University, Ball State, New York University, Stanford University, Delft University of Technology and AFEKA Tel-Aviv Academic College of Engineering. Second Life fosters a welcoming atmosphere for administrators to host lectures and projects online, selling more than 100 islands for educational purposes, according to a New York Times article. The article quoted Rebecca Nesson, an instructor at Harvard who brought her Legal Studies class to Second Life in the second half of 2006. “Normally, no matter how good a distance-learning class is, an inherent distance does still exist between you and your students,” she says. “Second Life has really bridged that gap. There is just more unofficial time that we spend together outside of the typical class session.” Joe Sanchez, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin evaluated the use of Second Life in education in an interactive qualitative analysis, finding that once students overcome the technical and interface difficulties with Second Life, they “indicate a preference to social learning activities and find it enjoyable to interact with other avatars while learning in this space”.

Among the more active educators in Second Life are librarians. The Illinois’ Alliance Library System and OPAL have teamed up to extend the programs currently offered online to librarians and library users within Second Life. There are numerous libraries within what is referred to as the Info Islands. A virtual reference desk in SL is staffed by real life volunteer librarians for many hours every week. They also teach workshops there to help librarians and educators learn more about Second Life.

Late in 2006, a trend emerged whereby large consortia purchased several islands comprising an archipelago of education-focused land. The land is then subdivided into smaller parcels and rented to colleges, universities, and educational projects. Typically, land is rented for as little as $200 per year and comes with permission to use some common space for larger events. Two prime examples are the Info Islands, which includes EduIsland I and II, and the New Media Consortium‘s NMC Campus which includes many Teaching Islands and a wide range of educational tools, services, and meeting spaces, a museum and library, and a planetarium. The consortial model has allowed for many more institutions to offer participation to students and faculty within a learning-centered environment. As a result, there are now hundreds of colleges and universities experimenting with Second Life.

Sweden as a country that prides itself in being a world leaders in technology may be using Second Life to put Sweden front and center in this Virtual World that may actually become another way for many of us to interact instead of email, chat, SMS or mobile phone. Who knows? A lot of real money is being poured into this technology and many people haven’t the slightest clue as to what “Second Life” is all about.

For me, at the present time I haven’t the interest in participating in this online virtual community and game. My wife, The Monkey Princess, she gets involved with her Sims 2 world, developing her little virtual community, perhaps this Second Life might be something she gets into in the future.

Check out some of the videos below. Read some of the links above. There is a lot more to Second Life then a Online computer game. Regardless of what you or I may think, this is something that many companies and even the governments are stating publicly is BIG.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b72CvvMuD6Q

Introduction to Second Life
04:13

Introduction to Second life. Meant as an explanation for people from the business world not as familiar with virtual worlds, or second life.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=et1Qjyq3onM

Second Life
01:44

Second Life a Common Occurance

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-whUTxVQaB8

Fun In Second Life
03:43

This is more or less a home movie. Several friends and I have in out own way the past few days in Second Life been celebrating Indepenence Day. This is just some shots of our celebrations. Fire Works Fun!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCLSkTEBj2k

Virtual Suzanne Vega Sings “Tom’s Diner” in Second Life
05:19

The singer’s avatar explains how her original acapella version of “Tom’s Diner” became the basis for MP3s, then proceeds to sing it.
More info here:

http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2006/08/nwntv_the_secon.html
And here:
http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2006/08/nwntv_the_secon.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AULw9Oa_1Bw

Second Life Tutorial – How to manage your inventory
12:25

secondlife.com/knowledgebase


Second Life has had some problems

One problem is that this alternate life has become home to some of life’s less desirable elements.

In the video below, the Germans are launching an investigation into elements within user groups that are promoting pedophilia and child pornography.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wk8uNWF77gg

Report Mainz – Second Life
07:07

Fernsehbeitrag von Report Mainz über Kinderpornografie in Second Life

Maldives opens first virtual embassy on Second Life

May 22 02:19 PM US/Eastern


View larger image
The Maldives on Tuesday became the first country to open an embassy in the virtual reality of web-based Second Life, a fantasy world inhabited by computer-generated residents, the Maldives mission to the United Nations in Geneva said. The Maldives thus pip Sweden to the post; the Scandinavian country had hoped to be first off the block when it opens its own virtual embassy on May 30.The embassy will be located in the “Diplomatic Quarter” of Second Life, and visitors will be able to talk to a virtual diplomat about visas, trade and other issues.An official from the Maldives mission in Geneva will actually create their own ‘avatar’, or computer-generated character, to deal with visitors ‘face-to-face’.”Just like a video game, it will be very interactive,” Marc Limon of the Maldives mission told AFP.Second Life, created by San Francisco technology company Linden Lab, has attracted several real-world companies, including car manufacturers and sports clothing makers, which created 3-D stores.Officials from the Indian Ocean archipelago said a presence on Second Life could boost the Maldives’
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=070522181911.9nj7dnu6&show_article=1&cat=0

Virtual world of ‘Second Life’ is starting to look a lot like Sweden

It’s getting harder than ever to tell where reality stops and Linden Labs‘ “Second Life” begins. After all, just about anything you can do in real life you can now do in pixels, with “Second Life” avatars running around, going shopping, taking in concerts, starting businesses, hooking up romantically and even buying virtual real estate.

Now international bureaucrats want to be part of the fantasy. This week, Sweden announced it will be the first country to open a virtual embassy in the game. Online visitors at the “embassy” can learn how to apply for a visa or read about Ikea’s early days, which the Scandinavian nation hopes will help encourage real-world tourists. No word whether it will be serving virtual meatballs.


With up to 400,000 regular users, known as residents, “Second Life” has become a testing ground for myriad groups. Music acts like Duran Duran and Suzanne Vega played “live” concerts on stages in the game. Professors have used it to illuminate the experience of schizophrenics. Businesses from Wells Fargo to Starwood Hotels to apparel makers have established online stores (some of them taking real money). Several hundred thousand dollars of virtual currency (convertible into the cold hard variety) changes hands daily.

http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2007/02/05/tidbits1.html

 

Virtual style? In another life…

By Fiona Harkin

Published: May 23 2007 12:54 | Last updated: May 23 2007 12:54

Second Life – you know, the online virtual world created by US-based company Linden Lab that is officially classed as a game but has evolved into big business, spawning real-life millionaires who have made a killing in virtual real estate – is at tipping point.

No longer the domain of tech-geeks, Second Life is currently inhabited by around 6,035,000 avatars (digital alter egos of players), while Titanic director James Cameron is currently shooting a film called – yes – Avatar, to be closely followed by Battle Angel featuring an entirely computer-generated female lead. The currency of Second Life, the Linden dollar, is fully convertible to US dollars, and real-world businesses are vying for a virtual presence – especially fashion businesses. After all, think of all those perfect-bodied avatars to dress.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/d4b19a12-053a-11dc-b151-000b5df10621.html

Rolling out the virtual red carpet

Ansche_chung_neverdie Virtual worlds are to get their own Oscars and two of the richest and best known in-world characters are behind the new Virtual Academy.

Ansche Chung, a real-estate developer in Second Life, and NeverDie, a nightclub owner in the Entropia Universe, announced the academy on Tuesday and said its first award nominations

http://blogs.ft.com/techblog/

Swenglish Rantings Radio – 070523

http://swenglishrantings.com/swenglishrantings/SRR/mp3/SwenglishRantingsRadio20070523.mp3