Archive: October 2007


What would Watson do? [UPDATE]


You know the little easter egg messages in Second Life client, right? So far I could get the meaning quickly. Bananas are the new plywood cubes - that's scultpties. Viva la LiberaciĆ³n! - that's message liberation and optional viewer updates. But what's with the Watson thing? The message in this SL release is:
Mr. Watson -- come here -- I want to see you.
Shall we expect some new features? Are they asking us to start looking for something new? /me is definitely too curious :P

Well, the other thing is that in the book Watson would always guess wrong.. If Lindens assume we're Watsons, not Sherlocks, we're not going to find out by ourselves anyway, eh? Oh well, I'll just wait until they blog it :P

Pssst... hey... pssst.. if you know something, post it in the comments ;)


[UPDATE: A few minutes later] We have the answer!

Daedalus posted the answer in the comments (take a look). As a way-too-curious person I started googling, and found that you can actually scroll through Bell's lab notebook. A bit more searching and I found the page in the notebook, where Bell describes this part of the experiment. It says (if I read correctly):
Mr. Watson was stationed in one room with the recieving instrument. He pushed one ear closely against S and closed his other ear with his hand. The transmitting instrument was placed in another room and the door of both rooms were closed.

I then shouted into M the following sentence: "Mr. Watson -- come here -- I want to see you." To my delight he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said.

I asked him to repeat the words. He answered "You said '
Mr. Watson -- come here -- I want to see you'".
Yes, I actually read those little letters in the notebook :) In case you can't locate the text I quoted, it starts on the left, close to the middle of the page, and continues on the right page of the notebook. So.. I learned something new today. Yay! :)


On a golden autumn day


Autumn has officially started. It got cold and rainy (at least in Poland). We're going to adjust our clocks soon and prepare for autumn blues. But autumn can be fun, so I made a list of positive aspects for those of you who already feel sleepy and tired. Here we go:
  • More sleep on the first day (just one hour, but still)
  • Raspberry juice in your tea
  • Evenings spent with calming sound of rain against the window
  • Golden orange colour everywhere (so positive!)
  • Warm blankets and good books on weekends
  • Leaves rustling under your feet
  • Chocolate eaten without any guilt (hey, you need nutritious food)
  • Apple harvest time (and preparing the yummy yummy apple jam for winter)
  • Chestnuts suddenly falling from the sky (it's funny, you have to admit)
  • Drinking delicious self-made liqueur (you waited for that all summer, didn't you?)
  • Hot cocoa with cream
See? It's not so gray now, is it? :) Maybe you got more of these...? Post them in the comments, the more the merrier!

falling leaves
hide the path
so quietly

John Bailey, "Autumn," a haiku year, 2001

Autumn in SL

Autumn in SL

Autumn in SL 3 - Hot Cocoa At Home


Plopp goes the sculptie


I came across a fun little program (free!) for those of you who want to make simple sculpties without learning Blender or any other 3D software. I'm talking about PloppSL. Creating sculpties was never so easy before.

Basically you have a canvas, where you draw your object (in 2D, just like you did as a kid). Then you flip it, and paint the other side (or just use the same picture for both sides). And then you "inflate" it. Sounds weird, so I'm actually going to make a sculptie and show you what I'm talking about.


Let's say we want to create a sculptie heart. This is what we would draw:

Plopp 1

I actually didn't draw it in the program itself. With Plopp you can import pictures (draw them in Photoshop for example) and that's what I did. The program then "inflates" the picture into 3D:

Plopp 2

Now you can save the sculptie shape and the texture and upload those into Second Life. The shape you get is not perfect, but these sculpties are great to use as seasonal decorations (hearts, pumpkins, Christmas stars). Here I made Mary Poppins style ballon flight helper:

Mary Poppins style ballon flight helper

Just think outside the box and I'm sure you'll find creative uses for these.

The good news is, according to the website, that the program will be developed in the near future, and this includes better conversion to sculpties, adding sculptie preview and support for sculpties with holes. Neat!


The Sailors Cove Boat Show (Oct 14 - 20th)


This is a quick message to let you know about a boat show taking place this week. Here's official information:
The show will feature working sailboats -- no props (speed boats), no houseboats -- although we love those too. We felt we would focus strictly on sailboats which actually sail in second life along with their accessories. If room permits then motor vessels may be displayed.

Tents will be available for accessory/apparel makers -- nautical clothing, nautical decorations, hud makers, useful scripts, yacht club organizations, etc.

The show will be held in the entire marina of Sailors Cove -- home of Tradewinds Yacht Club.
I'm taking part in the show with the boat you could read about in my previous post, so be sure to visit. I've set up an exhibition tent at the boat show and I'd love to see you there. I'll be available in-world (at my boat) for a demonstration and to answer your questions at these dates:
  • 15th October at 14 SL time
  • 17th October at 14 SL time
  • 19th October at 11 SL time
Be sure to walk around and see all the boats - they're amazing and the show surely is a great event for all the sailboats lovers out there.


Water fun - here we come!


About two weeks ago I officially opened the land I was working on lately and I'd like to invite you to visit the place. The land is the virtual location of a Polish company, PPH Golba. The company produces sailboats, car hard-tops and laminate products. The place is focused on the sailboats part - which means... yes.. water fun!

PPH Golba - Virtual Location

The land is quite small, but there's a lot of fun things to do there. First of all, every Wednesday at 7 PM Polish time (10 AM SL time) I organise boat tours. The boat we sail is not just a sailboat - it was recreated after the RL boat:

PPH Golba - Pegaz 969 Recreated In SL

PPH Golba - Pegaz 969 Recreated In SL

PPH Golba - Pegaz 969 Recreated In SL

PPH Golba - Pegaz 969 Recreated In SL

PPH Golba - Pegaz 969 Recreated In SL

There are also Polish boat tours (we speak Polish during the event) on Thursdays at 7 PM Polish time (10 AM SL time). So feel free to come with your friends or just by yourself. It's not important how many people come - if there's at least one person wanting to go on tour, we sail! :) The tours take place around Arcata and neighbouring sims waters:

PPH Golba - Boat Tours

If you like fishing, you'll love the fishing hub. You get a free fishing rod and you can take home all the fish you catch.

PPH Golba - Fishing Hub

I also installed a swimming hub on the land, so you can finally actually swim in SL (and not fly in water). That's fun - you have to try it.

Water fun

Just come and see everything yourself :) And if you like it, join PPH Golba group for news. There will be mostly Polish notices there, but if I know there's many English speaking members, I'll post double-language.

In the building you'll find some free gifts, so be sure to take a look. Also, I've put a survey about real life companies in SL (it's on the table). If you'd like to help me a little with my master thesis, please fill the survey and send it to me. I will appreciate this a lot. Feel free to send the survey to your friends too - the more, the better :)

Hope to see you there.

Oh the rolling of the sea...

Oh the rolling of the sea is beckoning to me...


12 avatars to rule them all


I was observing the 12Avatars contest with growing interest and some kind of admiration. The contest is over now, so I think I can write about it without people thinking that I'm promoting/criticising it. The contest caused lots of controversy around and lots of press/blogs coverage (both positive and negative). I'd like to stay neutral in this post, though I can't hide my fascination from business point of view (and I'll explain that later). They did their mistakes too, some of which were very basic ones but I'm not really going to point them out here, since they were noticed by the community anyway, and I like to focus on positive aspects :)

If you haven't heard of the contest yet (impossible?), here's some description from the contest notecard:
12Avatars is the first-ever printed calendar of Second Life's hottest avatars. With stunning women from cover to cover, it showcases the heights of virtual world beauty and fashion.

The 12Avatars calendar features an avatar-voted contest for selected slots on the calendar, as well as two real-world beauties who have been transformed into avatars.

Distributed for free in-world, and sold for a modest price in the real world, 100% of the proceeds will be divided between the avatars who sell the real calendars in-world and real world charities chosen by the calendar buyer.

The 12Avatars calendar is produced by a solid team that includes Apollo Interactive, America's Leading Interactive Agency, and Centric, Agency of Change, who are looking to encourage in-world commerce and cross-promotion in Second Life.
So basically, it's a beauty contest with good cause. There's also lots of advertising behind the scenes, which I'll tell you about later in this post. Some things I liked, some things I didn't, but this contest is a very good example of how a real life company should enter SL (excluding the mistakes of course).

I first heard about the contest soon after it launched, so as a curious avvie I decided to join and see what would happen. Those of you who know me, also know I'm more into intelect/creating/scripting contests, but on the other hand, what could be wrong about "stepping into the spotlight" every once in a while? :)

The first days were pretty calm. I went to the studio at Tellus, took some pictures and filled the entry notecard, as instructions said. I met other contestants there and loved the atmosphere - lots of support for each other and fashion advice involved (but I'm not going to bore you with that). I was waiting impatiently for the voting to begin (will I make it to the voting stage?).

12Avatars

Finally September 17th came, the people who made it to the second stage were announced. And that's about the time I understood what it's all about and how it's supposed to work. When I joined the contest, I thought they would choose up to 30 avatars, basing on their pixel beauty. Let's see.. We have 77 stands, each one with 8 contestants and 4 empty slots in the last stand, which gives 612 avatars chosen for the voting stage. Now that's crazy.

12Avatars

Even though the 4 corner sim (aka quad sim) strategy was used, the lag was just unbearable. Why? Everyone was bringing their friends to vote. The map was full of green dots, and getting from the landing point to my stand/booth took me about 30 minutes (with average speed of 1 step per 1 minute) :) I'd go as far as saying it was the most laggy place of SL at the time. But that's what it meant to be from the very beginning. Publicity. Very well thought publicity, thus my admiration for those marketing people. For relatively low cost (see list of prizes) lots of people heard about the companies, usually in a positive way. But it doesn't matter if they talk bad anyway - it's important they talk, right?

A huge number of avatars had its impact on the contest. It turned from 'beauty contest' to 'who-can-bring-most-friends contest' (yesss, publicity) or even 'who-can-pay-more-for-votes contest' - even though the companies were obviously against the latter and stated clearly it's against the rules. But with this huge number of people, you can't avoid the drama, can you? So September 17th is when all the craze began. Contestants were very creative in ways of discouraging others. I 'quit' because of the lag and didn't want to spam friends either, but stayed in the group for the news. I think the best way to describe what happened is to state things in chronological order:
  • The voting begins. Contestants are invited to the group "Monkeyface Woodget Fan Club", with a charter stating "This is the group to be in if you are entered in the 12avatars.com Contest."
  • Notices with voting instructions are sent out since people can't find their way in the lag. Sim Maps are placed on the back walls at the voting area.
  • A rumour is sent to the world that there are already people with 35 votes out there (few hours after opening) and there's no way to catch up with them.
  • Contestants start to ask voting area visitors to vote for them.
  • Contestants who run businesses start sending the voting propaganda to their update groups.
  • Notices are sent, asking contestants not to campaign on the voting sim with possible consequence of removing entrants who do so.
  • Don't-believe-the-hype notices are sent, so that the entrats don't believe rumours as "I heard that someone has gotten over 200 votes so far...".
  • Contestants start to occupy the voting sims with friends, so that others can't get in and vote. Hot discussion on the group chat.
  • Contestants start buying votes from random avatars. This is funny, since most of them forget that only 2 avatars will be chosen by votes - 8 will be companies' choice and 2 will be RL beauties converted into avatar form.
  • Notices are sent out, asking contestants not to pay for votes in any form ("money, products, or favors are all considered bribes") with possible consequence of removing entrants who do so.
  • A scandal breaks out (one day before the voting ends). Monkeyface Woodget disappears. He's not in the group anymore, and actually his avatar is deleted (or can't be found through Search).
CF: Anybody know what has happened to Monkeyface Woodget's account? I need to send him an IM, but search does not bring his name up ("None found" is the search result).
MH: probabl just search issues..can you pull him from group?
DB: gone with the wind?
DD: he isnt in group anymore?
EK: he's not in the group
EK: scam?
KM: Nope he's not
JH: ohhhhh shit
DD: nope.. not in group
SJ: lol
  • People start inquiring what happened. Comments on the group chat range from anger to laughter:
"Man... this is funny."
"maybe he was getting too many IMs"
"im not in panic"
"o well i didn t care about this contest anyway"
"pfff"
"that must be fun for those who paid for votes"
"what about all the time you all put in getting votes for a week on sl ding this contest"
"thats just weird"
"we were part of it! it will go into the SL records!"
"I met some wonderful people in the contest"
"dont jump to conclusions, i mean it could be a glitch of some sort"
"why this commotion about a stupid calandar?"
"lol...oh, I'm all in a panic...stop it"
"lol its just the prinicple of all this, like i thought it was for charity"
"anyone can do this with their friends......just take pics and use a printing press : )"
"everyone one of you, we've had this experience no matter the number. That in itself is awesome."
"Hey, I got a magazine possibility, an invite to superb networking event with loads of possibility, and tons of exposure. I no longer care if I make the calendar or not. Heh. I didn't to early in the game. lol"
"yeah i dont need it just thought it would be fun i am well know already"
"o it doenst matter if your pic is good or not , the only things that matters is to have friends"
"thats true, this type of contest is about votes, dont matter how good looking or not you are, what matters is the vote count"
"i'd suggest just waiting til tomorrow when the "winners" are to be announced and see what happen"
  • As the investigation goes, a new rumour is out:
"actually i have just remembered something .... i was talking to him the other day and he said he had a surprise for all of you, Maybe this is it!!!"
  • Following group IMs becomes very entertaining.
  • Same day, a few hours later, it turns out the whole scandal was just a SL glitch:
CC: ok everyone, monkey HAS NOT LEFT THE BUILDING OR GRID
CC: HE'S ON MY FRIENDS LIST
CC: PROFILE COMES UP
CC: WE CAN ALL REST NOW AND GO LOOKIKNG FOR ELVIS!!!!
  • People in the group relax and get excited about the upcoming field trip to find Elvis :)
  • The news are soon confirmed by companies' associate, nice and informative, and by Monkeyface himself. Everyone gets back to the I-care-about-the-contest attitude.
  • The winners are announced: Babyhoney Bailey (Grand Prize Winner) with 403 votes and yolesa palen (Runner-Up Prize Winner) with 278 votes. 11179 Unique Total Votes, 3 avatars disqualified (though offering 15 minute lap dances for votes was kinda creative) and a party for the winner (another good move, though I couldn't attend).
  • A thank-you gift is given to all contestants. Very nice. We care about everyone, we love you, it's just we can't include everyone into the calendar.. But we hope the gift can sweeten a little the bitterness of not being included. It did :)
  • The avatars picked/"hand selected" by companies are announced 1 per day (sometimes more days). With the twelfth pick, the companies make a fun joke, which was so hilarious I need to paste the notice here:
The ultimate pick for the 12Avatars calendar--Ruthed Monkeyface! Yes, that's right! Monkeyface has decided to pursue his (now her) ambition to be the Most Important Avatar of Second Life, First Life, this universe, and any known or unknown alternate realities. Ruthed Monkeyface will be appearing on the cover featuring her famous poses such as Admiring Her 5 O'Clock Shadow, Crashing the Helicopter, How To Lose A Man in 5 Seconds, Famous Power-Mad Dictactors of Second Life. More at http://www.1avatar.com.
  • The notice included picture of Monkeyface as lovely (but tweaked a little) Ruth - we all look like her sometimes, don't we? I kinda like her looks, but my friends would always say "Oh no, the ugly Ayu again.." So I need to rebake :) Anyway, the real pick was announced shortly, before a new drama spreads out ;)
There was lots of emotions in this contest: anger, happiness, laughter, who knows, maybe tears too. All this is a lot for one beauty contest, isn't it? As I said before, I kinda admire these companies. The whole contest was a well thought and well carried out action. There were some things I didn't like about it, but from the business point of view, these companies did well. Their entry to SL is a textbook example of how real life businesses should enter: use a creative idea, become a part of the community, get people involved, bring SLerebrities, advertise (make it loud), tease (don't give away all the news at once), show your human side (joke/show people you are fun) and keep out the troublemakers. How simple, how complicated.