MSNBBC Coveres SL Katrina Relief
MSNBC put Second Life on the front page of its Tech section for our Hurricane relief efforts. It's great to read about our community, "For charitable activity, no virtual world matches that of 'Second Life.' " It's also personally gratifying to see something positive that I had a minor role in grab such attention from the media - or that media is willing to commend innovative ways of using technology to help the world.
Please remember that these fundraisers are not the end of things. In a few months, those of us not directly affected will worry more about higher gas prices than continuing donations. I encourage you to consider that it will take many victims of Hurricane Katrina many years to recover. (or should I say, victims of beaurocracy?)
Free Ways To Help
So a few months from now, when you feel numb to the tragedy, then is the time when aid will be needed the most. It's often reported how there's a glut of blood donated after a tragedy, and then a few months later, people forget and there's a shortage. Donating blood is free, takes 20 minutes, the staff are friendly, and you usually get cookies and juice out of the deal!
Linden Lab is also demonstrating other ways to donate to efforts without spending a cent.
Also In the News
Well Fargo has made news all over about its latest announcement of an island "Stagecoach" in Second Life. (pic) The island is a place where young people can learn about financing. It's the first example of a major corporation actively using SL as part of its business plan.
This is a huge, huge landmark in SL. Really until businesses start taking an active part in SL, SL will not be a Metaverse. Lots of people have speculated when and whom would be the first big company to take the risk.
The big roadblock, I suppose, is this silly notion that an immersive, 3-D environment implies "game". I just don't see how, for a big company, the notion that SL is just an enhanced Internet doesn't lay apparent. Ten years ago, companies were waking up to the idea that they needed a website for International exposure. Today, they need to wake up and realize that the quality of information and interaction in a 3-D environment is well worth the relative pittance of cost it takes to host a site in SL.
Big things, big things. As a community we should be proud of how we innovate - every one of us simply by participating!
MSNBBC Coveres SL Katrina Relief
- Speakers from Linden Lab and the industry
- Break-out sessions and panels
- 3-Hour open bar October 8
- Meet your fellow residents in person
- Giveaway bags
- In-world convention simultaneously occuring simulcast to and from the law school
- Sponsorship opportunities, including in-world booths
Thanks to Linden Lab, the other organizers, sponsors, and volunteers for making this dream happen!
Learning from Apple
A few weeks ago a buddy of mine, William Stewart, was showing me his Mac notebook setup. He's got a pretty sweet setup with a 23" widescreen hi-res monitor, and he was showing me OS X in all its glory. Now, I'm a PC person, but I've always hated Microsoft's clunky operating system, especially that insipid "Find" application. As Firefox's creator, Blake Ross, once 'blogged: Microsoft has its priorities in the wrong place. (And if you're not on Firefox, you should be!)
Metaverse Means Metadata
Contrasting to Windows, Mac OS X has an intelligent desktop search feature which is the first of two really cool features of OS X that I'll mention. The search application quietly files away metadata while you don't notice, and then when you go to search? Ka-pow! Keywords pop up files, e-mail, pictures ... anything! In fact, it was a little too good. It's a little unnerving how so much data can be searched so quickly.
If we expect to make SL into the Metaverse, this is the kind of functionality we need. Earlier this year, Linden Lab added the Inventory Search feature - which is so friggin' useful. (And if LL wants to quote me, they can!) Now why can't we have something like that for objects, for land, for anything in SL for that matter?
I'm working on it. *grin*
But not everything is as easy as PHP and LSL scripting. I want to have a calling card organizer, right? Why can't I give each card different metadata? I could tag Person A as both a friend and a club owner, and tag Person B as a scripter and animator. Then I could search in subjects, and pull up just the people I need. But this won't happen yet, because we do not have features to manipulate inventory, nor do we have features to read inventory into lists.
One thing at a time, I suppose.
Widgets is the second really cool feature I've seen in Mac OS X. For Windows people: imagine an API for your Windows desktop that let you make cool & useful mini-applications, have them not look like plain boring windows, and then have Microsoft promote them on their main website. Applications ranging from weather, stock tickers, a cheap gas locator, to something as simple as a coin flipper. There's no guessing whether or not it's spyware; they are screened by Apple.
With SL 1.7, we will have a an ability to have our own widget-like items. I recommend we choose another name, not to infringe trademark or copyright, so I'll dub them "Gadgets" (Partially in reference to Timeless Prototype's multi-gadget). A large gamut of useful gadgets could be integrated into a HUD - sales transactions, an indicator if you have customers in your store, FPS snapshot of the sim, a personal organizer, etc etc.
And with HTML coming soon, the potential for gadgets in SL screams with potential uses. How about RSS streams from your favorite 'blogs or news sites? Gmail recently integrated "web clips" that do the same thing. What about having a quick-search bar to your favorite SL sales site or search engine? (Hopefully my upcoming one!) How about a TV-guide ticker to show what you're missing on TV as you spend time on SL? There's just no end to the cool gadgets that can be done for SL!
Moral of the Story
We really need to start thinking big. Tools are coming our way soon to make SL much, much more robust than it is today. If we stick to our Microsoft mentality, all we will have will be endless ugly windows. Now is the time to open our eyes and plan, because the time to act and innovate is right around the corner.
Hurricane Katrina Relief, Part III
FlipperPA reported that over 175,000L$ was raised from Thursday night's fundraiser party! Thanks to all who donated and participated, thanks to Hamlet Linden for publicity of the event, congratulations to the winners of the raffle, and nice work to the Second Life Community Convention organizers who pulled this off!
When I saw this article in the BBC News online, it reinforced how important all of our efforts are. Front page of BBC News' Tech page! Hopefully this kind of attention will draw more donations, and it's also the kind of publicity that Second Life needs: we're accomplishing something big, here. Huge thanks go to Hamlet Linden a.k.a. Wagner James Au for being a main force gathering information about relief efforts and organizing them into one space. (and congrats for being quoted by the BBC!)
SLCC Kick-off Party / Fundraiser
Organizers of the SL Community Convention exchanged e-mails after the initial impact of Katrina, and we've decided to make our kickoff party centered around hurricane relief fundraising. Through SLBoutique, FlipperPA Peregrine had set up another way for residents to donate L$ to be converted to US$ for hurricane relief. As of yesterday the total was about half a million L$!
So please come to the kickoff party! We'll be selling raffle tickets and we have a whole bunch of prizes to give out that have been donated by generous members of the SL community. This is our way of responding to the tragedy, and it can be yours, too - and in a setting that may be a bit more lighthearted than previous responses to the tragedy. SL is about community, and so as a community we should come together and help people.
My prayers go out to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in this ongoing and escalating crisis.
Hamlet Linden has taken the opportunity to use his 'blog as a way to organize SL relief efforts. I applaud this effort, from publicity to organizers to donors.
And to tie this into my 'blog's theme, I'll point out that at no other time could global efforts of common citizens responding to disaster be directed so quickly until Second Life.