Friday, 29 June 2007

RL replica, vicarious wedding experience

Visits to SL: 0 (bad, v.bad); Visits to RL location previously only visited in SL: 1 (oddly exciting); Weddings attended by SL Friend: 1 (good)

[Added 6 Aug: as can see from comment from someone at the LRC, in fact SL campus is replica of different part of Herfordshire Uni; feel v. embarrassed about this. They do look quite similar, though, ahem]
Today attended RL conference at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield. Have previously held up their SL replica of their RL Learning Resources Centre as epitome of dull pointlessness (see end of entry here, but will also upload pic of SL building when have access to SL again). Am therefore unnerved to find self in state of strange excitement when bus approaches campus and realise that am about to enter this dull building in RL.

Indeed, find self racing off bus to discover whether is in fact replica or whether are subtle differences. Seems to be the latter in that car park does indeed front the building, but does not appear to be same dull staircase leading up. These pics show RL building including said car park.
In fact RL building (as perhaps would hope) is more interesting, not least in that has RL people and RL resources inside, not to mention RL networked computers which am now using to blog.

Other excitement somewhat vicarious, in that IH has attended wedding and taken lots of nice pics and indeed provides transcript of whole event. These can be found on her (Ishbel Hartmann's) flickr site at

Friday, 22 June 2007


Trips into SL: 0 (bad); Photos uploaded to flickr: 0 (bad)

Currently in Scotland giving talks etc. in RL, all very well but reduced to blogging in internet cafes where cannot even upload stuff from memory stick let alone venture in SL. V. frustrating. Bit like early days of internet before internet cafes widespread and few people had networked desktops. Now problem is in fact that hotels assume everyone has wifi enabled laptop which for me is not case. Thus stuck in basic internet cafe with loud music not of personal choice. Colleagues here also not SL-enabled and indeed give one strange looks for asking. Oh well. Perhaps will be opportunity at conference next week. Hope Phil the Phoenix is managing without me. Meanwhile Friend IH is attending wedding tomorrow which sounds v. exciting. Perhaps can link to her pics to make up for lack of activity here.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Two chairs and a water feature

Chairs purchased: 2 (good and bad); Water feature purchased: 1 (good); Groups joined: 1 (good); Ducks animated: 0 (bad)

Receive IM "PhilThePhoenix Philbin: (Saved Mon Jun 18 05:56:42 2007) hello", presumably in response to my IM responding to his. However this is somewhat enigmatic response, leaving many vital questions unanswered.

Examine Phil's SL profile, which reveal that he has no Picks, Interests or 1st Life, nor does he belong to any groups or have a Partner. Not promising in social gaiety dept. Was born on 19 Feb 2007, thus presumably counts as Older Avatar (I was born last month). Could be maniac masquerading as friendly Phil the Phoenix, though as born in Feb at least can't be created specifically to exploit documented attachment to virtual wearable Phil. Decide that IM best unanswered.

MK has agreed to become my Friend. What is more she has joined the Information Literacy Group, bringing total to 6 people. Hurrah! Small, but select. Think Group will probably expand if publicise it better, but will leave that til after RL trip coming up.

Other news is that have accepted invitation to join Eduserv Office Owners Group. This currently an even more exclusive Group, since the only members are AF (owner) and self. It says "Membership of this group enables building anywhere with the Office Space area. However, please limit your building to your chosen office. PLease also limit yourself to 150 prims per office." Keeping to 150 prims currently no problem in that have not yet learnt Creation. On other hand, if (e.g.) buy cat for office, how will I know how many prims it consists of???

Go in search of cat. Search for cats problematic as many SL groups etc. for furry avatars in search of exotic activities with like minded people, ahem, rather than people wanting honest reproductions of felines that move round a bit and purr. End up with water feature and problematic duck. Install water feature on roof of new office (see first pic). Have always had soft spot for water features. Feature includes one duck (immobile but quacking). Also buy extra duck (only $10 linden!) but it remains balanced on beak in vertical position and am unable to follow instructions to get it in more convincing pose.

Get inspired to do more shopping. See second pic for further reject potential pets. Furniture shops in SL prove as dull as in RL & as in RL furniture mostly hideous and overpriced. However can try out furniture, even walk on it, without assistants rushing up and asking to assist. Find reasonably OK goods and try out all chairs (see 3rd pic) and buy 2 "conference chairs" with inbuilt animation. Cool.
Tranport to office and place chairs. 4th pic illustrates problem i.e. both chairs face in same direction and if possible to turn chair round don't know how. If had more of them could play buses or trains. In end give up and put them side by side.

Phil the Phoenix and I are agreed: That purple wall has got to go.

Friday, 15 June 2007

A social evening

IM received from Phil the Pheonix: 1 (bit spooky); Updates to SL: 1 (yet another! version 1.17.0 (12)); Offices chosen: 1 (good); Encounters with Friends: 2 (good)

Receive message "My name is PhilThePhoenix Philbin. I was reading your blog and thought you might like to meet the full size version of Phil." I reply " hi Phil, how would I do that?". Fortunately Phil currently offline.

Not sure about this. Have already been too upfront about relationship with Phil, all very well when one is talking of virtual wearable object, but this becomes rather tangible. Am I being IMed by the actual orange plush Phil the Phoenix, available via mail order for AUS$16? Common sense says no. Is there a life size Phil the Phoenix avatar? Of course may be offering me free trip to Oz to meet Phil on the Southern Queensland campus, but somehow one doubts it.

Offer friendship to MC who is librarian here in RL. Then notice IH is online and say hi. IH says hello back (this is exciting). IH has started photo stream on flickr. We IM each other only to discover are both on Eduserv Island & spend some time failing to find each other, circling round Eduserv office block & falling through transparent bridge. Have a nice chat. Forgot to take pic (bother), IH currently has interesting red hair. Am offered friendship by IH's friend CH. Am acquiring healthy lengthening list of Friends.

Now AF is online! A profitable evening. AF has offered us office space on Eduserv Island and am able to show him which office would like (see top photo). Finish the evening by posing with Phil over soon-to-be office (2nd photo).
Note to self: Is there something sad in spending time tinkering with photographs of SL in Adobe Photoshop? I think I know the answer. And I'm calling them photos. Oh dear.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Tour, Link

Guided tour to SL given: 1 (good); Objects returned: 1 (bad)

Receive message "Your object 'Phil the Phoenix' has been returned to your inventory lost and found folder by DM from parcel 'Terra Incognita'."

Embarrassment. Must be initial "Phil the phoenix" which had Touched but thought hadn't actually Bought. Too many Objects are having to be returned by unknown benefactors. Feel like baby who keeps dropping furry animals and odd shoes from pram. Dilemma: what to do with 2nd Phil? If delete him will old Phil also disappear? Would be v. traumatic now have formed Meaningful Relationship with him. On other hand, inventory clogged with useless stuff already.
Give tour to RL colleague NF who hope to lure into SL, for purely reasons of research and teaching hasten to add, since Phil the Phoenix occupies Meaningful Relationship niche. Give usual tour, and encounter Artificial Intelligence avatar called Anne, who attempts to engage in game of SL Weakest Link. About to make excuses and leave when computer freezes, all for best really.

PHOTO: TOP - whilst demonstrating to NF how to SIT encountered poorly animated rustic seat which tried to eat me. Phil is attempting resue. BELOW: A quiet moment with Phil the Phoenix atop a column in Eduserv Island, where I returned later in the evening, safe in the knowledge that AI Anne is unable to Fly.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Relationship, haori problem

Coursework marked in RL: 0 (v. bad); Kimono, Haori and fans bought in SL: 1 of each (mixed); Clothing bought in RL: 0 (good); Merchandise worn: 1 (odd)

Searched for Queensland re: RL friends at Queensland University of Technology. QUT not there but University of Southern Queensland is, so teleport and USQ (aka "Terra Incognita") proves Bedfordia type of uni i.e. parrots, tropical plants, lounge chairs etc. Presence of shop showing Aussie entrepreneurship but also free stuff, so get popcorn, coke and strange orange merchandise "Phil the Phoenix". Phil has own group on flickr as is USQ challenge to photograph plush Phil in locations round world. Resist urge to spend RL Aus$ on same but take free Phil and Wear him, thus acquiring floating orange pet.

Immediate urge to take pics of self and Phil in various venues. Begin with seminar area on Terra Incognita (see first pic) which overdoes marbling somewhat but has v. good ocean views. Then transport to Cool Sushi Bar (second pic) though disappointment that cannot animate food. Have they not heard of Jumping Sushi (true fact, is sushi so fresh that said to jump with muscular spasm of just-dead fish). Finally hang out on new (I think) transparent bridge on Eduserv Island with fashionable cyclamen coloured seats, would almost match a RL swishy skirt.

Examining pics, Phil and I appear to have Meaningful relationship. Bit disturbing. First relationship in SL with floating orange merchandise. Hmmm.
However, leads to natural urge to get new clothes to show off in Phil pics. Purchase kimono, haori (kimono jacket) and new fan. Transport self to Abo and unpack excitedly. After much faffing about decide must be missing parts to haori, namely top and front (see flying pic) as new flowered kimono shows through. In end remove Back, leaving RGT and LFT sleeves.

Additional fan problem. When WEAR fan, attaches to right hand. Right hand immobile and left hand does rather creepy fumbling. Evidently is putting fan in right hand but animating left. In end ATTACH fan to left hand, which still animates, but fan sort of upside down. Oh well.

Doubtless should Take Them Back and Complain. However in RL am v.v. hopeless at that sort of thing, and am no better in SL. Feel would be marked out as suspicious whiner. On other hand, whole caboodle cost about half the price of cappacino consumed this morning in excellent RL cafe Remos.

Like pink kimono more, but will wear flowery one for a while.

Noted photo

Have discovered Notes feature on Flickr. Wheeeee! Here is the photo from Thursday's ILG meeting, with notes added:

Friday, 8 June 2007

Meeting in Abo Akademi in SL

Meetings in SL: 1 (good); Coursework marked in RL: 5 and a half (it's a start)

Arrive yesterday in SL for inaugural Meeting of Information Literacy group feeling Nervous. Loiter under cherry tree. See AM at transfer point and dash up. Say "Hi, I'm Sheila ;-)", somewhat superfluous when one has
B5 fan
Sheila Yoshikawa
written over one, as noted before, but introduction seems only polite. However AM stands unresponsive. Dash back to cherry trees. Is time wrong? Is AM in fact not member of group? Can now see AM chatting Finnish to friend, so evidently not dead.

Note that IH is now online. Search function is "down" in SL. Will IH know coordinates? Offer IM Friendship so can IM privately. IH accepts (quickest Friendship bond yet). AM has in meantime solved problem by sending landmark to IH (are they already Friends? Feel left out). Hurrah, IH arrives, an awkward moment, then take initiative and suggest sitting in coloured chairs, namely ones in which am pictured in white skirt in Profile photo at top of blog.

Here we are in above photo (left to right: IH, me, AM) looking v. cool in SL. As this blog has become learning blog, will Reflect on Learning.

Lessons learned about communication:
1) Good to speak in short lines, need not even be complete sentences, but keeps people's attention and also signals you have more to say. Can tell people are typing because avatar makes keyboard gestures (thought at first this was failed clapping), but if avatar waves hands for long time with no output temptation to ignore, however ...

2) ... be patient, as if everyone types simultaneously all time, chaos ensues. Actually quite like this waiting business. Soothing to watch other people's avatars waving arms while think what to say next. Also we felt that disjointed chat had liberating aspect.

3) V. useful to record chat and read through afterwards. Realise now were still interesting things said that missed because was typing. Also can connect up lines of thought that were separated because people started new thread before contribution on old thread had appeared.

4) If want privacy go somewhere private. In RL if someone chatting at next table in restaurant voices normally quieter and can tune out. In SL all chat is equal e.g.
"Me: AF is in Eduserv [was showing off Friend at this point]
"II [random interloper]: See ya!
"DB [2nd random interloper]: see ya
"IH: [referring to next IL Group meeting] That might be an idea then
"DB: [not talking to us. I think] do u know some cool places to visit"

Am now in quandry. Have v. interesting points re education, libraries and information literacy, but should I make them on Serious Information Literacy blog or here? OK, here, but people interested in kimono and waterslides may tune out now. Well, except if (like me) interested in kimono, waterslides and all of above.

1) Not much point in going into SL to use web tools better used direct (IH "At the moment, for example, I can see no earthly reason why I would want to search PubMed from within SL")

2) Is SL useful for developing traditional kinds of RL searching (journals, databases) type of skills? Not sure about that.

3) Interesting issues of how establish reliability & trustworthiness of information & people in SL; identity important (e.g. AM was chatting with someone "who said that he/she would never trust someone who does not have payment info on file")

4) Was discussion of Virtual Learning Environments, clunkiness of WebCT, IH mentioned custom VLE, which was integrated into curriculum and worked better, at her place.

5) Pressure to communicate with students wherever whenever. IH quoted speaker at conference who said "we have to be ready to meet them on their terms or we will lose them [students]". Agreed that this all very well but in particular librarians spread v. thin already. Also [frankly] is student choice to come to uni and need to make effort to learn. Though of course in RL job am thinking of getting facebook for next cohort of customers, sorry, students ;-((

5) Visual stimulus of SL. IH mentioned looking at art more in SL. I'm interested in importance of visual clues in interpreting information in SL.

6) AM mentioned information encountering and I got v. excited.

Agreed next meeting will be at Eduserv Island if AF agrees OK. Must IM him. Date and time to be arranged. Also will have theme, will gather ideas for themes or topics to discuss. Anticipate IH and AM will add own comments if disagree/ remember things left out etc. etc.

All v. exciting. Hope does not become too like work, though.

PHOTO: After meeting, visited nearby Danish Biblioteksvagten and went on the walking machine. Hmmm. In RL consume oodles of calories and never do fitness training. In SL consume nil calories and go on walking machine & slide down watershutes. Something not right there.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Will write up SL meeting when have done more marking, meanwhile...

Whilst marking coursework (good) and following up references, start doing search on SL (bad). See that voice communication is coming to SL. Immediately align with Old Timers and find this v. bad idea. Clunky disconnected typing has faded charm. Next news story suggests "Collecting friends is the new philately" (Keegan, 2007), which seems true.

Further search on Lexis-Nexis reveals journalists' new way of creating quick and cheap copy is to cut and paste chat sessions from SL (Adams, 2007). Article has v.v. short intro paragraph and then transcript of mindless avatar conversation. Unless is making whole thing up? In which case is even more pointless. Must look out for Adams ("KENNY KESEY") and remind him about intellectual property rights, vis, random and poorly spelled chat by me is MINE.

On other hand, have already reproduced other people's conversation on blog. Justify this to self by thinking that
a) quotes were v. short and
b) no-one is paying me for writing this.

Adams, T. (2007) "Together in virtual sin: Dawkins cant escape the wrath of God, even online." Observer (Review), 3 June, 3.
Keegan, V. (2007) "Collecting friends is the new philately" The Guardian (Technology supplement), 7 June, 4.
PHOTO: Air balloon in Danish area, visited after meeting today

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Excitements, Reboot

Items marked in RL: 0 (v. bad); Instant Messages sent: 2 (good); Crashes whilst in SL: 1 (bad; Blogger's automatic save v. helpful, otherwise would have been v. v. bad)

4 Exciting things
1) BBC Radio 4 book of week Tim Guest's "Second lives", allegedly "revelatory journey through the electronic looking glass of alternative life online." Hmmm: extract this a.m. sounded v. Radio 4, SL evidently no longer cutting edge. Expect next thing will be Tom and Brenda selling Tom Archer Sausages in SL, & Jolene and Sid operating virtual pub/casino. (Archers is v. good radio soap, I am addict in RL, actually Archers in SL would be exciting too)

2) IM-ed members of Information Literacy Group to say that meeting at 11am UK time. Forgot to say what day (tomorrow), oops, so had to send 2nd IM. Have arranged to meet in Abo Akademi under cherry trees. This is really because kimono looks good under cherry trees, but don't say this in IM.

4) Visit Kansas State Library and adjoining Readers Garden. Recline and watch self doing strange hypnotic page turning gestures (see pic). Resist urge to sign up for book discussion. Actually not hard as don't want to discuss any books on list.

3) There is a Sculpted Prim contest. Enough said.

Notice that AF is online. Should I attempt meeting? Not sure. In RL AF has not answered latest email, BUT has offered friendship on Facebook. This all gets v. complicated. Decide will sneak away, but anyway decision taken out of hands as at this point computer freezes and have to Reboot.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007


Items of clothing bought in RL: 2 (bad); Items of clothing bought in SL: 1 (good); New members in Information Literacy Group: 0 (disappointing)

Decided to visit at least 1 new place per day. Today is Roskilde Library Hangout. Since Danish skills nil, missed out on full experience, however seems quite cool, globular watery objects, cushions, butterflies etc.

PHOTO: Me, listening to Danish sound work by Simon Glinvad.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

5 good things about SL

Trips into SL: 0 (good or bad? Not sure)

Am away from SL computer* for a few days, no chance to buy kimono or generate nice SL pic. Use time to ponder benefits of SL over RL.
1) Not only no need for handbag, but can transport entire wardrobe invisibly all the time. No more "I forgot to bring the right shoes" crises!
2) Instant transportation! Goodbye to overpacked rail carriages, trying to enjoy weak cappucino from overpriced Pumpkin cafe & delays from leaves on the line.** ***
3) No queues for ladies toilets, indeed no need for facilities at all.
4) Can fly. V. cool.
5) Price of kimono less than that of M&S prawn sandwich.

*Do use computer for other things too.
** In RL don't drive.
*** or delays caused by Planned Engineering Works, Signal Failure, Mechanical Failure, Points Failure or Person on the Line.

The blog of Sheila Yoshikawa on her adventures in Second Life. This may be very thrilling. Or possibly not.