Wednesday, 29 August 2007

I cultivate my garden, visitors, plank, block

Hours spent on new land: too many (bad); Visitors: 2 (good); Housewarming gifts: 2 (good); Free outfits shared: 15 (good); Neighbouring houses turning into giant planks: 1 (bad); Days blocked from buying Linden$: 1 (bad)

Have realised that am not SL explorer, but SL home body, since I seem just to create nests, buy clothes and have occasional forays to conference venues. Meanwhile others are exploring virtual Rome, Amsterdam etc.

Anyway, have now even larger Japanese tea garden with multiple water features, various viewing and meditation points and 12 named goldfish. Also bought animated antelope and picked up free Chokabo, but that's another story.

Have encouraged Sabine Littlething into SL, and here she is with me in the hot tub. Also showed her office and shared some of the freebie garments that I picked up at the NMC conference venue. They turn out to be good stuff, though too many wedding dresses. I also show myself and Miss Gibbs trying some of them on.

Citril gave me v. nice Japanese light and Ishbel a pretty musical windchime, and they are both incorporated into the garden ambience.

Only blight (apart from the fact that am behind with everything else in RL because of time spent in SL) is that attractive large Japanese house in neighbouring plot has suddenly turned into a giant square wooden plank. Presumably they are rebuilding. Hope they don't turn to brutalist architecture in reaction to my twee japonaisarie.

A blight with a silver lining (ie that havve less incentive to spend time in SL) is that credit card provider blocked payments last night because of some automatic trigger thing that detected all the micropayments as suspicious. (And I was just about to buy an animated rabbit!)

However still having problems - Citril mentioned trading limits although a cursory glance had indicated my limit was now 2, 500 US$ and certainly have not spent anywhere near that amount, even with current extravagence.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Plaque, strawberry plant

Strawberry plants removed (good): 1; Plaques mounted: 1 (good)

Dashed into SL to remove errant strawberry plant leaf from tea house seat, and found could kill 2 birds with one stone. Had assumed it was strawberry plant next to teahouse window. Moved this back and forth but to no effect.
By manipulating camera discovered was in fact rogue strawberry plant growing UNDER teahouse, left over from earlier planting before moved house into place.
So happily TOOK plant and thus freed up 2 prims which enabled positioning of plaque on side of house. Also when rotating plaque typed in degrees to be rotated (i.e. 90) rather than using free rotate thingie, which I can never turn accurately & most of my rotated things end up at slightly odd angles with a corner stuck inside the wall. Here is a pic of me in the house with the plaque outside, plus one of Citril on a visit earlier today.
You will see have returned to pink kimono mode in honour of teahouse.

Land, Japan, lost hours, tea garden

Sq metres of SL land bought: 1536 (good, bad, good, bad, can't decide); Hours spent landscaping same: lots (v. bad); Number of trees bought: 32 (good); Number of tea houses bought: 1 (v. good); Number of hot tubs bought: 1 (good); Number of carp bought: 1 (etc. etc. etc.); Number of RL pounds squandered on same: prefer not to count (v.v. bad)

Was inevitable that after upgrading to premium would fall down slippery slope in to ownership. Found that could not wait 5 weeks or so for island to arrive, and also deluded self with idea that having on land would be good practice. As noted before, all you do in SL is right click land, select buy and confirm and it's bye-bye Linden Dollars.

Of course is just another deep black hole into which I pitch time and money.
On the other hand: this is my new home in SL - isn't it cute? Had started with minimalist ambitions - some homespun sheets of semi-translucent glass - a strategically placed tree - a modernist chair artfully arranged.
However, once I saw the tea house (really nice quality) it was hey ho for a Japanese tea garden with a hot tub, 2 linked ponds, a rather expensive carp, lots of trees, chinese lanterns, iris, bamboo and a tasteful japanese tea table set. Eventually had to stop when ran out of prims (for non landowners, only get small rations of prims allowed per sq metre). Get something like 15,000 with the island, but I can see will still run out v. quickly.
At moment fear will have to chop down one of the trees, since am having to go offsite to even open a bottle of sake because of having reached prim maximum.
Am calling site "Sakura", Japanese for cherry blossom. Top pic is house sign have made. Actually 3 problems with this. 1) In fact no cherry blossom in gardenment, just plum tree. However think that one of the tatami mat edgings in the tea house has got sakura on. 2) Plaque says "Welcome" but in fact am currently not welcoming at all since have set up land so only about 4 avatars are allowed on. 3) Because of aforementioned prim problem, cannot actually put up plaque until take down something else.

Birch trees are prime candidates, since the big ones have over 20 prims. However are really good quality (from the HEART garden centre) unlike the 4-prim plum tree which sways around disturbingly and turns odd colours. Am going to have to replace it with something better.
Also has been pointed out that a strawberry plant is poking up through the tea house (had though it was amusing "dropped leaf" detail) and the garden is somewhat pose ball city (these can be seen in 2nd pic, taken from hot tub), although I should stress these are DECENT poses, drooping hands idly in water, sunbathing on lawn etc.

The Nara Tea House is from Mezzanine BTW. And I haven't planted all the trees; the remaining ones will come in useful on the island.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

SLCC conference (2)

Days of conference attended: 2 (good); Info science lecturers contacted: 1 (good); Freebie dresses picked up: about 50 (baffling); Freebie academic gowns picked up: several (v. good)

Started this post totally alone in Muriel Cooper Coliseum, on NMC (New Media Center) conference island, listening to first session in today's Second Life Community Convention conference. The slideshare tag is (though not everyone used it). Link to proceedings is There was audio-only broadcast in SL, and at least today you could hear it. Wondered if people in RL in conference centre could see me (turns out, not). ppt of 1st talk is here - experiential learning with different activities.

More people came along for 2nd session, about the Nutrition Game. People took a day's virtual meals in SL, and the food had nutritional info on it. At the end of the day the participants were told the implications of their diet and asked various questions e.g. whether they had learnt anything (answer: they thought they had). The paper is in the proceedings and there is a wiki which has info on this, and on the subject of the third session, the Appalation environmental game.
With third had curious experience of listening to a video being played to people in Chicago - some clear description but quite a few pauses while people in Chicago could watch things on screen. Quite soothing and we were given web address for the video, namely Sneblen Dagger and Desideria Stockton did a grand job of trying to find slides, web addresses etc.

"Gosh, this is cool" (I wrote at the time) "I'm listening to a transmission from Chicago sitting in my Cossack Jacket and First Blush dress with others from different parts of the world" Well, mostly different parts of the USA. An alternative view, of course, would be that I was one sad person sitting at my computer on a Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon.

The fourth speaker talked about Violence Prevention in Second Life: creating a simulation of a violent city area in the USA so that people training "violence interrupters" in RL can give these people opportunities to train without exposing themself on RL violent streets. Their SL island is CeaseFire Island. They use voice - that's probably quite important for this application. There is also a full paper from them in the proceedings.

One of the issues that was touched on in questions and backchannel was when you needed to create something tailored and contained, and when use what was there in other parts of SL already.

Crashed out a few times, including annoying interlude during question session after these 1st set of talks, when decided to log back in using computer with superior graphics card in student lab, but had (v.stupid) forgotten they have no sound at all so experience became just a bit TOO soothing i.e. sitting in virtual conference centre where is no movement or chat. Even stupider, then tried to log back in on other computer and was ejected for trying to log on from 2 places simultaneously.

When finally got back in, was talk on Salamander project (see ppt here), aiming to index educational objects, builds etc etc in SL, with people joining in on this, indicating what the objects etc. a useful for and evaluating them. It builds on Merlot which has been a project to archive, index and evaluate educational resources in the real world. In fact think that I have something nominated in Merlot, but to be honest have not used it myself. Am always a bit sceptical about this "reuse of learning objects" business. Is interesting to look at what others do, but have not found much would want to reuse directly (mean more generally, not just Merlot). The actual wiki is at I wondered whether library and information professionals were involved, and someone said they were.....

During questions from this session it emerged that North Lamar is also in an information Dept. He owns TWO islands and has a blog at I offered him Friendship and he accepted. In fact remember he presented at the conference the other day, plus I think I might have looked round one of his islands. Will make contact after conference as looks like could have common interests.

In the break I zoomed round the area near Ishbel's and Citril's looking at the possibilities and what sort of neighbours there were. Some looked promising, some ..... possibly didn't e.g. the owners who mostly seemed to belong to sex groups.

Anyway, back at the conf. it was the session on SL library and Info Island. Barbara Galik, Bradley University, US (RL name) talked about what they have done for students and staff at her university, where it was sounding like they have been pioneers in their institution & have got a Dean involved in SL. Dewey Jung (SL name) talked about his involvement including with school librarians. He mentioned the Elven Institute "The ELVEN Institute's mission is to assist preK-12 educators and librarians to envision, construct, and use engaging virtual learning environments in order to demonstrate and document their value in increasing student achievement and growth." ( this didn't have anything except a home page & list of board members when I looked)

I crashed out in the final session and just came back for questions at the end. Some people in the RL conference said that the conference had seemed rather transmissive (though that not actual word used) and that interaction with SL would have been good. I said I thought that there could have been more in SL perhaps with participation from those who couldn't attend RL conf. Also thought afterwards that ideally would be reciprocal - some sessions in RL where they observe/hear SL sessions and engage us in discussion. Would have to be short "presentation" part, though. Would seem odd to be in SL conference session where can't immediately zoom off to web or indeed zoom off for coffee or a RL chat without anyone at the conf. noticing.

Apparently there was no coffee at the conference. Cannot conceive of conf. in UK being organised without tea/coffee breaks, riot would ensue. Not saying this is good thing, of course, but golden rule for organising events in UK is to make sure refreshments turn up on time and preferably exceed people's expectations.

After conf. was finished flew round NMC conference island. Interesting, lots of nice inlets and mountain paths, would like to have similar on my island. Means there is less usable land, but think make sit lot more exciting. Discovered there was the Darumi Picnic "A capella" artwork installed (see pic with coloured objects). This is the 3rd place I've seen it, it gets everywhere. Also v. good conference shop with immense no. of freebies making up for lack of SLCC conference bag. Took one item with innumerable dresses, and another which included female academic gown (see pic, think I would look cuter in academic gown if had blue hair like this). Think can only get on island if at conference, so took copies of male and female academic gowns for various Friends, can have fun parading round in them. Wonder if Ede and Ravenscroft exists yet in SL (this is UK firm with gown monopoly in RL).

Left this freebie-grabbing orgy to meet Harumi (in Luna - see 2nd-last pic- , then Bedfordia after we got trapped in the basement of a sinister looking factory) and then have chat at Ishbel's house. Ah, the social whirl.

SLCC conference (1)

Conferences with "audio streaming" attended: 1 (good); Audio streamed; practically none (bad); Games of primtionary played: 4 (good, mostly because didn't win)

Before the social visit mentioned in last post attended first full say of SL conference - education track of big SL convention being held in RL. Conference in Chicago (USA) apparently in hotel which not really geared to the needs of hundreds of bandwidth-hungry delegates, and net result was that audio streaming to SL mostly did not work on Saturday.

In fact got muddled about time so missed first inworld session, but arrived for session on disability and SL which think was put together to compensate for lack of audio streaming. In fact this turned out to be best thing of 2 days I think, probably because all inworld. Had not thought much about problems of students with special needs, but certainly need to. Up til now SL has been good for those with hearing impairments, but as voice comes in gets more problematic again. In RL group work & discussion is more of problem that "lectures", would imagine is same in SL.

Not sure about dyslexia - can see arguments both ways - will perhaps consult student who has nearly finished PhD on dyslexia and acquiring information. Here we have notetakers (usually students) for people when is identified that they have special need and can't see why you couldn't have same in SL. Full transcript of this session is up at
After this audio streaming resumed but only in strange muffled way, and could not understand what people saying, not even when was James Dearnley who is Brit (from Loughborough Uni) moderating session on Scilands.

Therefore was proposed that we avatars have game of primtionary. When first announced paniced, esp. as to begin with was talk of TEAMS and it brings back schooldays and no-one wanting self in their netball team, and rightly so as was rubbish at netball. And rounders. And hockey. Compounded this panic by, meaning to IM Ishbel saying something like "arghh now they are selecting teams", instead speaking out loud to conference room.

Turns out primtionary based on pictionary. Someone IMs a word to builder and then builder has to build something out of Prims to represent word, and first person guessing words is next builder. Catch was pretty easy to spot, and as am not v. good sport nor v. good builder knew better than to guess.

However not as daunting as thought, esp with easier words, one pictured is MOUTH. Last one was INTEGER though - well, I mean.

Parallel organising of RL/SL conferences seems horrendously complex and fraught. Think will continue with SL only events for now, gradually increasing their scope.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Social visit

Homes visited: 2 (v. good); Adventures in loft: 1 (bad); Baths: 1 (v.good)

Have backlog of entries, namely further adventures in clothesmaking and slightly strange session at Second Life conference (SLCC). However will now blog on pleasant social outing after exit from conference session which was meandering to close.
Was invited to visit Ishbel and Citril in their ajoining homes. At 3rd attempt managed to teleport across (one of those situations where say goodbye to everyone then it goes ping and you fail to transport and are hung there like a lemon still in the same place).
Ishbel has rebuilt in style and had fun going round remodelled house and esp. using bathroom. Enjoy baths in RL so no surprise that enjoy them in SL but interesting to be sharing bathroom with Citril using, as they say, the facilities.
After brief struggle with doors also visited Citril's house next door, and the 3 of us are shown outside it. Other 2 had moon in background, and at time was asking "where is this moon you see" but of course realised afterwards that had Forced Sun so no wonder moon not in evidence. Ability to make it time of day (light-wise) you want in SL is useful feature but means that have no idea what time it is for people you are with, v. confusing.

Citril is still adding furniture, but already has impressive 4-poster bed in bedroom with fine view through large picture window. Tried out bed. 1st time this was successful (see pic) but when tried 2nd time ended up on top of 4-poster and when stood up was in loft. Unfortunately turns out loft has no exit so batted round like baffled moth in lampshade until Ishbel took pity and offered to transport me back to room. V. hilarious. Well, it was at the time.

Finished by tour of neighbouring land of which much is for sale. Am contemplating buying hideaway to use to escape from students (nb if there are any students reading this of course I do not mean that) but must work out finances first. Turns out all you do in SL to buy land is right click and select BUY just like for frocks and boots etc. V. different from RL. Probably just as well NOT so simple in RL, to be honest.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

I communicate with Lindens and order an island. And upgrade to Premium

Islands ordered: 1 (v. good); Emails sent to Lindens: 1 (OK); Emails received from Lindens: 2 (good); Upgrades to account: 1 (pointless)

Cannot remember if mentioned previously that have been granted money by Centre for Inquiry based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences (CILASS) to buy island (!!!) and pay island fees for a year. In fact also tried to get money to cover a bit of colleagues' time, but no go. However colleagues still up for it so am going ahead with bit less teaching than hoped for.
Order form short but puzzling, namely it asks for Tax ID no. to prove nonprofit status (there being 50% discount for same) and not sure what to put there, since am not in USA. Ask our Finance office and they suggest Charitable Status Reference number. Decide that should ask Linden Labs in advance if this OK.
There starts my quest since SL site cunningly devoid of email addresses and before get to query form on website have to navigate through one of those multiple choice thingies where none of the choices are actually what you want to ask and they don't even provide an "other".
Anyway, negotiate form, fill in to best of ability, click send and hope for speedy reply. Reply indeed speedy, taking form of email telling me to bog off as only a Basic resident and thus only entitled to ask q.s if avatar vanishes off face of SL or similar dire circumstance. Of course email does not actually say "bog off".

Somewhat cross. Decide to try and contact a British Linden (i.e. British employee of Linden Labs, they are all called Linden, cute or what). Had heard him speak at Eduserv conf and finally track down correct email at end of his ppt slide. Send off cogent yet slightly tetchy email.

Result! British Linden does not reply, but had evidently circulated it efficiently round Lindenplex as receive replies separately from Claudia and Jay Linden apologising for difficulties and saying that can ignore Tax ID field if from UK. Can give them constructive feedback in return i.e. in that case why doesn't it say so.

Am so bedazzled by this Linden response immediately sign up for Premium account. If had done this first would have not had this bother since now I am entitled to speak to live human being. Anyway, trying not to brood too much on my irrational behaviour, fill in various pages of island order form and finally receive emails confirming that Sheila Webber of University of Sheffield, 211 Portobello Street (that's me in RL) will take delivery of 1 island of 64K square meters in due course. Gosh. Undoubtedly first time have purchased island in any Life.

Have selected Island Shape 4, if anyone is interested.

1st 2 photos show me on other parts of Eduserv island: looking at poster for RL event which will be attending on 20 Sept, and with an art installation "Do Androids dream of electric sheep". Last pic shows me at poster session of SLCC of which more anon.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Garment Making

Garments created successfully: 6 (good); Garments created unsuccessfully and deleted: 5 (bad)

Decided that must follow custom and create freebie clothing to publicise Centre for Information Literacy Research. Have decided that if create clothes of any merit will offer them free as incentive to visit office.

In RL never wear t-shirts with round necks or t-shirts with logos and have felt no need to start in SL either, however seems de rigeur to offer logo t-shirt. Therefore sought out info on how to do this.

Found good powerpoint on how to make a customized t-shirt on that excellent resource Slideshire, namely by Heidi TeeCee and Corwin Carillon.

This led to link to their v. good "Hit the ground running" page which will bookmark for use by students & colleagues. Includes link to template of a shirt (for use in Photoshop) and also Robin Wood's Second Life tutorials site (template is his)

Followed through Wood's tutorial for creating t-shirt with logo in Adobe Photoshop. Already use Photoshop a lot, but only in elementary way e.g. had never really bothered with Layers. Found tutorial v. good and easy to follow. Would recommend it.

Had not previously realised that if don't want garments to look strange swirly mess have to use templates which have garment elements on them. Having created the template with patterns and colours of choice in RL, then import image to SL and use it as Texture when creating garment.

There is the SL official collection of templates, their Texture Templates and Chip Midnight's templates Also useful areTexturing Tips forum

Made some mistakes e.g.
- When using Linden Labs template forgot to hide background layer initially which led to garments all having strange lines on them. Photoshop Layers were in fact mystery to me before now and still have not quite got hang of them.
- Still can't work out where different parts of the sleeve end up (front, back or side of arm)
However, reasonably satisfied with first efforts. Pictured here are:
1) A Nigl Forder t-shirt (Nigl is one of my colleagues). There is also a Sheila Yoshikawa t-shirt.

2) Centre for Information Literacy Research t-shirt. This is female version (as with Nigl t-shirt - men's versions have higher necks and are longer)

3) Black Dept of Info Studies outfit. LL provide a black leather jacket template, which customised with Sheffield University logo on lapel, name of Dept on back of the jacket (not seen), Information Managers written on sleeve (not quite in position intended) and Information Managers down side of trousers. Also made clumpy black leather shoes.

4) and 5) Patterned shirt with no logos on (me lounging by the pool in Bedfordia, as in pic 2) It is worn with White Lily trousers, a white camisole from an ICING dress set (just seen, as they say in women's magazines), and some of the Earthtones jewels that I bought in their sale.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Search within Second Life: challenge or disaster?

Meetings held: 1 (good); Computer crashes: zero (v. good)

Held 2nd discussion session in Centre for Information Literacy Research ( Eduserv Island 200 240 43 – the SLURL is ) Search within Second Life: challenge or disaster? Decided not to publicise meeting too much, as still learning about facilitating discussions in SL, also only just back from a few days on RL holiday. Meeting was at 9pm UK time, and had brief panic when took ages to login via computer in student lab which has better graphics than mine (sigh).

Attended by 3 people from UK, one from USA and one from France. Had prepared notecard with questions for discussion and put notecard in Butterfly picture for people to retrieve.

BTW if you want to read no further we agreed the answer to question posed by title was "disaster", point proved by fact that inworld search function was mostly down during our session. Have posted discussion, with permission of participants, on web at This is using a nice publishing tool created by someone at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Blurb and questions in notecard were as follows:
1. What are the strong and weak points of the inbuilt search function in SL?
2. What are the types of search where it is invaluable?
3. Are there good inworld search services developed by others?
4. Are there types of search where you always have to go outside?
5. Are there search engines on the web that people turn to repeatedly?
6. How could Search in SL be improved?
7. How can residents be encouraged to search effectively?

As can see from chat transcript, we identified a few strengths in inbuilt SL search e.g. that can do different types of search with tabs, and no. of visitors does give some indication of sites worth visiting. However, identified more weaknesses e.g. that search very crude, can't refine search, a good number of "stop" words that can't search on (which is not obvious), also people not always good at putting meaningful words in titles and description thus making stuff harder to find.
No-one had tried any of the inworld-type search options created by others except that Ishbel had tried second411 (see URL below) and at that time it didn't function. Old friend Google, and (in particular) using other people, in world and in RL, was more useful. Ishbel mentioned a specialist search site created by chemists to find molecular structures in SL (web address given in chat transcript).

Since we didn't know of a good place to go for advice on SL searching, the official help site being generally agreed to be rubbish, have decided will try to set something up e.g. a wiki. Don't want to duplicate others' work so will do a few checks first.

Also in notecard (which can be obtained in CILR office) were links to pages on the web, as follows:

Second Life Resident Resources (links, with descriptions supplied by suppliers): Search tools:
Second411: - search on the web and inworld using the search HUD (Ishbel had tried this but it wasn't functioning)
Second life search toolbar: (I just downloaded this, will report on its utility)
Second life search blog:
Sloog: - can add tags (keywords) to sites etc that you have found
An article on search engine optimization in SL: it's interesting to see things from the seller’s perspective: Berkowitz, D. (2006) Second Life optimization. October 24th.

Forgot to take photos til near the end of the discussion, so grateful to Harumi W for 1st photo. Last photo was taken after the meeting when was overrun by cats having discovered had 3 living and one deceased in inventory (Mitsy usually ends up falling out of the office to the ground below and being returned to my Lost and Found Inventory). One Mitsy is quite enough, frankly.

Earthtones sale

Bracelet sets bought: 1 (good); Money saved in sale: lots (good); Necklaces bought: 4 (bad, but in a good way)

Earthtones is favourite jewellry store, so must mention that there is sale on, lots of items lined up outside store with 50% off. Had gone there to pick up necklace to match new clothes that had made (will save that for later post) and discovered sale.

Of course this is invitation to consume madly so clicked happily until inventory weighed down with 2 Maya necklace/ earring sets, matching bracelets for one Maya necklace, multicoloured crescent necklace & more modest jewel pendant with changing colour stones. Wheee!

First pic shows me wearing one of Maya necklaces with granny shrug plus dress from ICING. Second pic shows me in Boho wooden necklace unfortunately not in sale, had bought this on previous visit. Am also wearing earrings in both pictures but earrings mostly waste of money with my new hair since it covers them up. Earthtones sale is on til 23rd August, coordinates in SL Bushido Bay (76, 236, 24).

PS am not being given any free stuff for this advert.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

First Information Literacy Meeting!

Discussions held: 1 (good); People attending: 3 (good); Percentage of conversation contributed by self: 85 (bad, and that’s counting lines not words)

Yesterday held first Information Literacy (IL) discussion in office. Not publicised much at all so no surprise that v. few people turned up but was what wanted really as enabled it to be Learning Experience though also hopefully not waste of time for others.

Was based on IL research map created for RL conference earlier in year. Map is on wall in office and can also download it from
Had created v. large version of map in advance and positioned it under office so could slide it up around to highlight bits was talking about. Had wondered about positioning it in air above office, but wondered if this might be too difficult for others flying about it. Think will try this out with colleague Yuxuan who was one of those to attend, to see which he thinks is best.
Was question early on about Delphi study (is type of survey, used when you want to get expert consensus, 3 pairs of students have done studies quoted on poster) so actually spent lot of time explaining that. Will put up extract from the explanation when get back to office, am currently away) On going back see that Yuxuan actually picked up on a particular point on the poster and I just steamed on regardless. Note to self: need to improve “SL listening skills”.
One question that came up was IL research and Continuing Professional Development for practitioners. At legal librarians conference that spoke at in June, when talked about legal librarians’ ideas of priorities for IL, a couple of people said that the Delphi method sounded interesting & they might use it. Thought this was encouraging in showing that learning about research methods can be interesting to professionals, when can see application in their own RL.
Also raised was whole issue of literacies. Yuxuan (shown in final photo) said “I think there is a danger in presenting literacies (e.g. computer literacy, e-literacy ... even information literacy) as if they exist in some objectivist way. It seems to me that [ultimately] everyone has their conception of a particular literacy, although there seems to be more agreement about some literacies (e.g. information literacy).” Also later Tiana mentioned SL as vehicle for literacy and possible interest in looking at overlap between IL and ICT literacy. Apart from twisting Yuxuan’s arm to lead a discussion in future, also thought that having session(s) on “literacies” might be interesting crossover event IL/education/ICT people.

Event v. useful in thinking how could do things better. Obviously can ask people to look at notecard or outside-world item like pdf or ppt, but not everyone wants to do “homework” before an event. This one was actually flagged up as me explaining, so think it was OK me saying a fair bit. Am thinking about ways to make next one more interactive, though also some people just like to listen and shouldn’t be forced.
One thing I thought was that could identify some colleague in group to IM with questions about SL basics e.g. for people who aren’t sure about moving round or touching things so can ask privately. First photo shows Tiana, Kristina (typing), Yuxuan and me (standing up)
On a more serious note, as you will see, wore almost same outfit as to CITASA conference. Different black top had shorter sleeves, exposing wrists and neccessitating trip to EARTHONES store to get bracelets matching necklace.

Monday, 13 August 2007


Conferences attended: 1 (good); Times computer crashed out: 2 (could be worse); People spoken to at conference: zero (bad)

Attended the CITASA conference in Second Life. Was a 3 hour event, which started at 10pm UK time. Talks were about identity in Facebook & SL, women & gaming, teaching in SL, Facebook & surveillance and some other related topics.

Slides are going up on Slideshare at and will not attempt to summarise talks esp. as now is 1.30am (i.e. conference has just finished). The actual programme is at

Sussed out venue beforehand (see first pic with me wearing New Shoes That Fit), but when tried to reenter 10 mins before start, SL seemed to hang, then RL friend phoned and in end was 10.20 before arrived. However organisers still fiddling with the data projector, so lateness not a problem. Some interesting points emerged, and also (as with previous conferences) useful to attend event to learn about how events run in SL. Somewhat depressing that found once more that, as in RL, when don't know anyone, more difficult to chip into conversation.

CITASA is the Communication and Information Technologies section of the American Sociological Association and although have something in common as researcher and educator, am not sociologist. Therefore worry more about appearing idiot - also quite a few people seem to already know each other - some attending RL event in the USA. Plus side is, of course, that (like BlogHer) this is conference which couldn't attend in RL, so experience is valuable and is first contact with community that may want to get to know better.

Certainly overlap with information science/management agenda in terms of privacy issues, social networks, and very interesting to hear research approaches described by others. Magellan Egoyan said that "In the Embodied Research Group [which he's part of], we have identified at least four scientific methodologies in use by different members of the group – behavioural experiments, a quantitative means of study ; conceptual design approaches ; computer simulation studies ; and qualitative research." He noted that to get rich picture, would use all of these, so collaboration between researchers valuable.

JoannaTrail Blazer's talk on “Participatory Pedagogy: Challenging ‘Real Life’ Practices of Educational Institutions in Virtual Worlds” identified useful points about student behaviour. Since don't intend to use SL for transmissive type teaching, useful to hear from those using facilitative or challenging approaches.

Some other references etc. are the website for Educators Coop (where educators can get little plots of land) at , and a reference from Joanna, “101 Uses for Second Life in the College Classroom” (Conklin, 2007 Similarly, have started to compile thoughts on things to do or avoid when organising SL conferences, but shall save those for another time. Final pic shows me in obligatory freebie t-shirt from conference bag plus badge which was originally stuck in rather unfortunate position so good that now know how to move objects about.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Shoe success

Pairs of shoes worn straight from box: 1 (good, but men's); Pairs of shoes modified successfully to fit: 1 (v. good)

Have managed to buy pair of shoes which successfully modified (i.e. stretched) after purchase.

Had initially thought was doomed to life of slippers and men's shoes (see first pic) which are actually OK for some outfits but lacking in certain delicacy.

However managed to buy pair of flattish shoes which even go with outfit and have cute dragonflies on which stretched to fit nicely.

Bought same style in red. Name of maker is IDENTITY and there is actually a dress to go with shoes, but decided against purchase.

Alarming event

Virtual cat corpses discovered: 1 (bad); Virtual live cats discovered in inventory: 1 (good)

Made alarming discovery when walking round under office by Art's secret cave, namely what appeared to be Mitsy on her side stiff and motionless.

She had evidently fallen out of office and used up all 9 lives in one go. As can see from second pic her eyes had strange glazed look, but to be honest she always looks like that. Stared at her for a while and appeared to discern movement so took her into inventory, moved to office and them placed her on floor. However she remained inert.

Panic over when discovered have another copy of Mitsy in inventory and when place HER she scurries around in normal random and wilful fashion. Phew!

Live Mitsy has scant respect for motionless twin, pushing her around just like she does everything else.
Took twin back into inventory. Seems disrespectful just to DELETE her.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Feet; First shrug

Time spent editing feet: 30 mins (good); No. of pairs of shoes bought which still don't fit: All, except a pair of white slippers (bad); Time wasted trying to discover where bought these slippers: 1 hour (bad)
Have realised that have serious problem with feet, namely are so large that shoes disappear into them. This is illustrated in first pic.
Had cherished idea that fact they looked strange was due to rubbish nature of my graphics card but now see that feet look dreadful in other people's photos too.

Now have additional access to computer loaded with SL software in students' computer lab. This has better graphics card and so spend some time editing feet (as have previously said on own computer when try to edit self or clothes it crashes at once). Make them thinner and shrink to size 38. This is smallest that can make feet without them looking weird in relation to rest of body. However, most shoes still smaller and fail miserably in attempt to try and get them to stretch. Surely must be able to unless everyone in SL immediately shrinks feet down to miniscule size.

Apart from white slippers (see pic.), when wear shoes just see odd parts of them poking through flesh which is rather disturbing. Spend some time fruitlessly searching for place where bought slippers, to get some more in different colours. Will have to seek further advice.
Meanwhile, also make first attempt at clothes. Create new jacket, shrink sleeves, make shorter and have small opening at front to create shrug effect. Use texture of cherry blossom. This is illustrated in photo. Realise that easy to make clothes, but that creating all the fabric, seam and detailing effects needs expertise, which currently lack. However, may be possible to make simple CILR promotional items.

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