Second Life R archive

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For 2007/2008, see (Marie / Fox’s) user page

Fox's bliki 2006

History and heritage

Liked this aquarium on Arcata

Thought there wasn't a meeting on Monday, so didn't turn up (not that I would have turned up anyway as I was zooming down the wild water rapids in Centerparcs at just that time). Sorry I missed the team sports.

I'm investigating history and heritage in SecondLife at the moment. Might set up a page about that elsewhere as I think it's an interesting subject.
I note that once a month is not enough for the OU SecondLifers and there's a part tomorrow night, though opinion seems divided as to whetehr it's in the Three Lions or on our island.
Spent some time fiddling around with the wiki and with SecondLife to no greta effect. Finally got round to visiting some junk yards, and came away with a freaky plant that makes me laugh. Not sure what Terrence will say next time he goes in his party house, though :-) Removed the Christmas trees which were getting in the way of Cetlment's flying chairs, and replaced them with a fire and some potted plants.
Checked out the hippy bank to try to get some more money, but found that almost all surveys were confined to US residents. Decided that I didn't want to clutter my letterbox with reams of junk mail in return for a small amount of Linden dollars, so I left again.
I'd like to get some trees and plants in on Schomebase, which seems very barren, though excitingly terraformed. Apparently only Peter can plant trees, which seems weird. However, I can plant Japanese maples and cherry trees, as they don't appear to be defined as trees. On the other hand, they look completely bizarre dotted on the edges of a precipitous volcano

I didn't know that I was the only person who could plant trees! I've been resisting doing stuff like that for the time being - wanted to get the overall design/layout of the island sorted and then prettyfy (you know what I mean). PeterT 08:17, 29 December 2006 (GMT)

SecondLife diary: Week three

Watching a film

Another thing I did last week was visit Avalon, which is over near the BBC islands. Avalon is running a film festival and has a series of screens which show QuickTime movies, though you do have to wait a long time for them to come up. However, anyone who's interested in building screens or noticeboards might find them interesting.

Xmas.gif Found a free Christmas tree over on Purple, so I've been making Cetlment look festive.

OK, may have overdone it on the Xmas trees ;-)
Were they meant to go into the chair area? I'm not sure that some of the chairs can take off with them there. -Dan

Anesa, Gill and I were trying out the chairs, so left some Christmas trees there. Just delete them if they're in the way.
I think they can only be moved/deleted by the owner of the item or the owner of the land. It would be nice to have one dead centre in the middle of the chairs to brighten them up, and it wouldn't impede their use :-) -Dan

SecondLife diary: Week two

It's snowing

How cool is that?

Flew to Purple, as I'd heard it has a working railway. I arrived at the railway station, but the movement controls were acting weirdly. Either I couldn't move, or I moved in great bounds.
By the station was an ice rink, and it was snowing over the ice rink.
Flew up to see what was going on, and the snow was coming from a large translucent globe. You can sit on this and it spins round under you. Cool!

The snowdome

More gardening

Spent a while getting the site map into columns, so it would mostly fit on to one page. It doesn't need a Contents section, but I haven't had time to fiddle with the headers until the Contents goes away.
Went online last night and visited the Forest of Kahruvel, which you can find if you do a region search for Rodeo and teleport there. Spectacular thunderstorm with sound effects.
I flew into a lookout post and was joined by a beefy-looking avatar who addressed me as Ma'am and told me he was an SL Protector. He said he was looking for a guy in a Star Wars suit who had a 'ban stick' and that anyone shot with the ban stick would be banned from Second Life. As I'd only just arrived, I had no information, but he gave me $2 for helping with his inquiries.
So far I've been paid in SecondLife as a podium dancer and a police informer. Neither of them professions I would choose in real life.
Gill and I don't spend much time snogging in real life either :-)

Wiki gardening

Just spent an hour sorting out a site map to the Second Life part of the wiki. We've amassed a huge amount of material, and this is only the end of week two. The 'recent changes' log on the wiki shows a huge amount of changes each day, and the main Second Life page has now been accessed over 1,300 times.

Schomebase, underwater caves and the wiki

I've put lots of my thoughts about this in other places in the wiki. It's also encouraged me to try to formulate what ought to be on Schomebase, so I've built a new Schomebase page to contain these plans.
I've also thought of a big new underwater caves project which might incorporate lots of things we have been working on in the last few weeks. See the page about that.
The wiki seems to be growing really fast now. Some of the pages are getting very long and need to be broken up. We MUST get the search feature running properly. Does anyone know how to do that? And an index page would be good. It's getting so big that you can't find everything just by clicking on every link in sight.
The pub meeting last night has encouraged lots of people to visit the wiki. I know its URL went round Social Sciences and IET today, and there was some discussion about the group photos on the IET mailing list today. Interesting, that group photos of events in SecondLife seem to provoke the same amount of interest and discussion as group photos of real-life events do.

Hi Fox, the search engine seems to be working ok for me, is it not working for you or is there a functionality we need to tweak/add? (I've been playing with wikis for a while so sometimes overlook the obvious, so used to their geeky ways...) --Mgaved 21:25, 8 December 2006 (GMT)
Mark - you need to put the colon before the quotes if you want it to indent PeterT 09:11, 9 December 2006 (GMT)
The search also works OK for me in the wiki - its the search in the forum that is not working. Though the wiki search is case senstive (at least in terms of page names). There is an index page for the wiki - but keeping it up to date is impossible, believe me I have tried. Mark and I were looking for an automatic website map generator - if you know of one then tell us about it. PeterT 09:11, 9 December 2006 (GMT)

What futures do we envisage

Took a moment to do some real work, so I'm back to cultural-historical activity theory (don't ask). This raised the interesting idea that people have visions of their possible futurs and tend to work towards their expectations.
So, what futures do we envisage in SecondLife? If we're still there in a year, what will we have done? What will we be doing? Where will we be going? Do we buy into the schome identity, or are we students who happen to be being paid to be in SecondLife for a while?
I'm still at the wandering around stage, so I'm not sure I'll have answers for those questions for a while. I saw a blog from a SecondLife tourist yesterday, and that's how I feel. I arrive, have a look, and then move on. n real life, I don't like being a tourist, so I'm not sure I'll be able to keep doing that for long.
In another blog I found details of a circumnavigation of the mainland. Apparently, it took seven hours to walk all the way along. Virtual hiking? Might be fun to do in a group, and discuss what you found as you travelled around.

Meeting in the pub

Kissing under the mistletoe

I've managed to get on to SecondLife at home a couple of times recently, though the set-up is not ideal and I crash if I do anything much. Down in the Digilab, things are getting better. The Macs are both connecting now, and there are plans to create a secondary Applications folder so that we can install SecondLife's many downloads without having to find the person with the password every time.

Gill and I went to the Digilab yesterday - she logged on via her laptop, and I went on one of the Macs. We went to check out the Three Lions pub: had an arm wrestle and a snog under the mistletoe. While I was awaiting Gill under the mistletoe, a complete stranger arrived and took her place. Very forward :-)

Today I went in again, and visited Campus for the first time. I went to try out the introductory activities, and was counting goldfish (!) when I got chatting to a student. Didn't really want to chat, but he was standing in the middle of the pond, so it was difficult to get on with my goldfish counting.
Went off to visit Peter's waterpark, and spent some time relaxing by the pool. Might have been better if I wasn't wearing trousers and a long-sleeved top - but the swimsuits cost 200L$. Anyway, got bored with 'daydreaming down the pool' so I teleported to the pub ready for tonight's meeting. Oops, forgot to stand up first, so I moved with my action stuck on my avatar and found myself lying face down in the pub car park. So when everyone else from the OU arrives at the pub they'll find me legless.

Who is Squid Yallock?

Underwater.jpg I don't know, but he's built an underwater house just off Cetlment island (82,11,8) with a dance mat, hammock and machines which give out free coke (drink) and ice cream. That lump at the front of the pic is my head!


Just pasting these in until I have time to link them with the references I posted earlier.


Purpose of education We tend to work from the point of view that education is for the individual. However, education is also there for society - it equips people to be members of society. Is schome designing education that will meet the individuals, or education that will meet the needs of a society (and, if so, what sort of society). I know, in an ideal world, the answer is that it will do both of these, but can it do both of these? Aren't the needs of society in some ways incompatible with the needs of the individual?
To take a crude example, society is probably always going to need people to empty the bins and clean the toilets and stack the shelves. However, if everyone is educated to the extent they feel they have the right to better paid and more prestigious jobs, then we all have a problem. I'm not saying you can't do these jobs happily if you have a degree - I've known graduates who did cleaning and rubbish disposal by choice - but are there really enough of those people to keep these things going?
Things to do: Play god

Svarga2.jpg I reckon one of the best things about SecondLife is that you get to play god - you get to create a world, landscape it and make its rules. Can we use this power on a small scale on schome. For example, can we set up small closed ecosystems? Svarga (see pic) is a large example, taking an entire island, but what if we had a house with clouds, rain, plants, seeds, insects. Could we keep it going?

Could we create lots of these with controls to adjust the clouds/rain/insects etc and see what happens to the ecosystem?
Things to do: create life Programmers have created 'life'inside computers - starting up with a series of 'small creatures' or pixel collections which follow rules and mutate. They've done it with lines of computer code, allowing it to mutate until it does something quickly and efficiently in ways which programmers can't even quite explain. Could we get visitors to our island to create life, or to watch life forms which we have created, as they evolve?

Certainly possible, but these kinds of Life simulations are non-trivial to code, especially if you want a 3d representation of what is going on (which you inevitably would). I think it sounds like a truly fantastic idea, but it sounds like visitors would need a lot of knowledge to be able to do it. However a swarming simulation could be adapted to include predators, along with feeding and breeding behaviour, and this could be observed to view how things naturally balance (and perhaps twisted to see what happens when things are knocked irreversibly out of balance). I'm certain there are some important life lessons to be taken from such simulations. --Dan 15:09, 5 December 2006 (GMT) :I found someone had done the Life simulation on a small scale on Help Island. See pictures. Fox 14 January 2007

Some nice musings Fox. Might it be possible to do a Conway "Game of Life" Simulator within Second Life?'s_Game_of_Life ? --Mgaved 17:56, 7 December 2006 (GMT)

Quidditch I still think it would be cool to play Quidditch or some variant, in the sky over our island. Couldn't we mutate quidditch so it didn't require so much speed - for example, what if the little golden ball wasn't moving enormously quickly, but was only visible for one second in every five, so you had to spot it and predict its course in order to grab it?


These questions from an article I'm studying today, seem relevant:

  • What does social learning mean?
  • How is it organised and supported?
  • What is the position of the individual ibn this context?
  • How do we change as persons in consequence of this?
  • What is group learning?
  • What are its processes and coutcomes
  • What are the key social learning competencies and skills?
  • Do we need teachers?
  • Do we need traditional educational boundaries?

Reminders to self

New Scientist article on quantum version of prisoner's dilemma
Software evolution
Biosphere Two

SecondLife diary: Week one


So, I off-loaded the kids and came into the Digilab to spend the morning in SecondLife.
Problem Number One: You can't swipe into the Digilab at weekends, so went to get the security guard to let me in.
Problem Number Two: The university's wireless connection is STILL down. Check on my PDA, just to check it's not some computer glitch but, no, it is still down. OK, I'm obviously destined not to get into SecondLife this week. My avatar has been stuck for days flying through the dorrway of the flying house, exactly where it was when the entire world closed down last time that I was in there.
OK, so I won't waste my time, I'll go and do some wiki gardening.
Problem Number Three: Move to other computer. Hmm, that one won't connect either, even though it's plugged in to the network. OK, reset it so it's using the network rather than the wireless connection.
Problem Number Four: (Hey! Maybe I could connect the SecondLife computer via the OU guest connection. Pause. No, can't turn that one's wireless connection off without an administrator password, can't install Second Life on this one without an administrator password.)
Problem Number Five: Finding my password. OK, access my OU email. Scroll through several pages to find the obscure combination of letters and numbers which acts as my password. Sign into the schome website. Change my password. OK, that's another three quarters of an hour spent achieving yes than nothing - I could have been logged into the schome website in about three seconds on my computer at home.
Made myself a sandbox Go to the sandbox
Put minimalist breadcrumb trails onto every page.
Edited the Schomebase page. Noticed too late that someone had deleted the Schomebase page and tied its link to the bliki, so the bliki has now become a tidied wiki page. Think that's OK, though - all the info is still there.
Right, three hours, that's me done. I've been through about half the threads in the discussion forum and pulled out info to add to the main wiki pages. Once I get into SecondLife, I'll collect a load more pictures to liven up the pages.


Came into the OU specifically to go to the Digilab, as I was spending the rest of the day working on a poster with my graphics software at home. The SecondLife computer was free, but it wasn't connecting to Second Life, because the university's wireless network was down. And it stayed down for the hour I was at the OU.
So I thought I'd while away the time updating parts of the wiki. Unfortunately, though I could remember my password for the discussion forum, I'd absent mindedly left my password for the wiki elsewhere. Why two passwords? Can we sort this out? Alright, I know I could change them to be the same, but I don't think I should need to.
Eventually amused myself creating a 'When bad things happen to good avatars' page. I love that picture of Ollie stuck inside a wall!
Feeling really frustrated that after thre hours in the Digilab this week, I've only been in SecondLife for an hour.

We have been exploring ways of merging the wiki and forum info - but it appears to be very complex cos they both have totally different underlying databases - and if we hacked it to work then when either system was next updated all the changes would be lost. Nigel (the saint who looks after the server) is looking for an open source solution, so far without success. However, if you know of one .... In the meantime - why not register for both the wiki and forum with the same username and password? PeterT 07:47, 2 December 2006 (GMT)

Use same login and password for both - yup, that's been my hack too! --Mgaved 17:20, 3 December 2006 (GMT)

More about the digilab

Went down the digilab today. Great, another Second Lifer - we can compare notes while in there. So I go on the other Mac. Hmm, it hasn't got SecondLife. Download SecondLife - it's not too happy about that. Move to the PC. Hmm, it hasn't got SecondLife either. Download SecondLife. Ah, haven't got administrator privileges. Find librarian.
Turns out that the PC is inside the firewall, and only one of the Macs can be outside the firewall at a time. Grrr. OK, go to see what Terence is doing. He can't get into SecondLife because he needs to download an update. (He can't get into the schome website either, but that's another matter.) Downlaod the update. Find the librarian again, get the administrator password into the computer again. So, half an hour in the DigiLab and one of us is in, but I have to give up and go back to the office.

Spoke with them about this a few days ago - they are trying to get a wired guest network point in the Digilab - which would mean they could connect all their machines to Second Life - suspect it won't be long now before this is sorted - but do keep raising the issues with them so that it stays a priority ...  ;O) PeterT 07:47, 2 December 2006 (GMT)


Went down to the Digilab and tried out SecondLife inthere. It works with a reasonable speed, without crashing, though it took me ages to work out that I should be APPLE-clicking. I'm so used to ALT-Click being the equivalent of right click. I spent some time looking like a complete dork, unable to touch anything or sit down. Luckily there weren't many people around.

Hung out on and about CETLment island for a while, chatted with a Korean guy in the pool, checked out the Terraformed Svarga and went down to the garden centre (what on earth do we need virtual garden centres for?)

Anyway, I'm proud to say I have created my first object. It's a talking rubber igloo, it's cluttering up the floating house and it serves no purpose whatsoever except as a very uncomfortable seat.

And then the world shut down for five hours...

Comments: I tried out the DigiLab Apple yesterday - weird having a mouse with no obvious buttons at all, yet alone worrying about the right click! Re virtual garden centres - clearl for folk who want virtual gardens - I can see the attraction - you could speed up the growing season so you didn't have to wait so long to see the results - or am I missing something about the joys of gardenning I wonder?  ;O) PeterT 18:36, 29 November 2006 (GMT)

Where to go

  • Nogbad's house
  • Balloon tour of Linden Village: Ambleside 51,39,0
  • Boogie Nights: Get paid $3 to dance for 12 minutes
  • Gibson
  • Midnight City
  • FuturePerfect
  • Pixel Mode
  • Devils Moon
  • Taco
  • Yadni's junkyard
  • Cardova sandbox
  • Svarga (has a fully functioning eco system)
  • Timeless's shop to get a multigadget (apparently a must-have item)

SecondLife diary: Week zero

I need a crib sheet

Just spent some time trying to figure out why Mark's page has a contents and mine didn't, when I couldn't see any difference between how his page started and how mine started. Found out that I need to have at least three headings to generate a contents, so this is heading number three.
So where's my contents page??

You need three headings and at least one of them needs to be a level 1 heading - so I changed your 'Second Life Diary' text to a level 1 heading. PeterT 06:11, 27 November 2006 (GMT)
Mmm, but I'm not particularly interested in when I did it, I'm more interested in what I did. I've compromised and put week number headings. R

wikiGeek aside.. - I think it's level 2 headings or below... I think mediawiki treats the page as a level 1 heading? --Mgaved 17:21, 3 December 2006 (GMT)

Diaries normally have dated entries - would it make it more diary (and bliki) like if you put a date then a subject as the headings for each entry? PeterT 06:11, 27 November 2006 (GMT)

Different Responses

On Thursday I spent a chunk of the day with PeterT and others, accessing SecondLife from the Stuart Hall building.
I met a friend that afternoon, and described my morning:

  • First of all I teleported to the island
  • Then I sat on a frog, and bounced around for a while
  • The island is covered with giant toilet rolls at the moment, some of them zebra-patterned
  • I teleported to the mainland and took a balloon tour
  • Olly suggested I'd see more if I stood up, so I stood up, and then I fell out.
  • Then I headed to Boogie Nights disco, as suggested by Dan, and earned $6 by dancing while, in real life, I was off having a chat.

My friend was completely bemused, couldn't see the point, couldn't see why people would spend real money on this sort of thing.
That evening, I described my morning to my children. They thought it was brilliant. Especially the toilet rolls. I had to describe those in great detail. They wanted to go and play straight away, and were very disappointed when I said they couldn't even go to Teen SecondLife until they were 13. 'But, mum, that's another six years.'

Trying out SecondLife

Can't play on my Mac at home - it crashes if I do more than move three steps. Sometimes it crashes if I just look in another direction. One day I managed to spend some time editing my appearance, though it didn't manage to show me any image of myself, so it was like designing my entire body with my eyes shut. When I finally logged on at work on Gill's laptop I had a nasty shock - I looked like some sad burns victim with pathetic patches of hair.
Haven't worked out whether the problems at home are down to a dodgy Internet connection, or to anti-virus software or to the fact I've got a 1.25GHz PowerPC G4. Anyway, I'm intending to go online from the computers in the DigiLab just as soon as they let me in there.