Sunday, 30 November 2008

Sheila Yoshikawa is unwell

Appendix removed in RL: 1 (v.v. bad); Appendix removed in SL: 0 (good)

Advantages of SL pretty obvious on this one. Started feeling unwell at Relive08 virtual world conference, but stoically refrained mentioning this. By last Monday afternoon was in RL lying in hospital bed with highly inflamed appendix removed and little conciousness of Where or When. Am now mobile and at home, but in a sort of slow-motion version of RL self with limited movement options and ability to multitask apparently removed with appendix. There will therefore probably not be much blogging going on for next couple of weeks.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Sheila Yoshikawa is, sort of, not at a conference

Conferences attended in RL: 1 (good); Conferences attendded in SL: 0 (bad)

Am in RL attending the Relive08 conference at Milton Keynes in UK. Can meditate later on differences between RL and SL conferencing. Have decided that since is not normal practice in this blog to give coherent, full and objective account of Life, then will not give full etc etc account of the conf either. So welcome to partial (in both senses) account of the Relive conf. Except suppose will edit out more critical observations in case people read blog and then come and trash my sim.
At the moment am listening about someone talking about using SL for teaching English as second language. She has interesting table comparing phsyical affordances of Skype, SL and RL compared. Must be said, most boxes are ticked in all 3. Haven't talked to people much about teaching in Skype although now use it (as evidenced by my Skyping-whilst-Voice-still-on incident blogged previously).Previous speaker (who I may blog separately) had talked about giving individual their own OpenSim islands to play in first, and speaker is now talking about teaching learners by giving them their ownl ittle mat or platform, but asking them to collaborate too. Of course, North uses dorm rooms for students to furnish, which others have taken up as idea.
Speaker (Margaret) uses the holodeck to create littlke scenes for people to practice their English in e.g. hairdresser, garage, kitchen. Apparently in hairdresser can have hairdresser conversations, something which have managed to almost avoid all my life by only going to hairdresser 3 times a year and keeping my hair long so only spend 10 mins standing up whilst hairdresser attempts to cut round me in a straight line.
"As yet little evidence of language learning communities" - despite the fact that learning environment is good for immersive language learning - is it that people just move into RL when have got enough out of SL learning? Speaker think it may be because ESOL scene is commercial dominated, with people herded in and then not particularly encouraged to stay.
OK well seem to default to trying to get down speaker's point of view at least when liveblogging. Difficult to break habits. Another issue is how to illustrate entry. Am not going to put in RL photos of people, because that just isn't right on this blog. Hmmm. In interim have a couple of pics of the conference SL cafe, including one with my poster advertising discussion session on Infolit iSchool.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Off to the conference

Conferences attending in RL: 1 (good) (I hope)

Am on way to Relive08 conf where will meet various people who only know in SL. As ever this seems a challenging business, in terms of getting used to differently-shaped people with standard hair colourings.

Have already visited SL conf centre in which there is v. artistic arrangement of avatar pictures. Such is brain degradation that had forgotten even supplying pic, but there it is simpering down from wall with everyone else's. Admire advanced photoshop use in giving different coloured backgrounds and arranging in coloured pattern.

Also admired display of customised merchandise, vis standard fare of t-shirts and less usual one of caps. In SL as in RL do not wear t shirts but does not stop me snapping them up.

Friday, 14 November 2008

More about Tuesday

Crawl through pipes bought: 1 (good); Novelty trees bought: pack of 5 (good); Novelty gravestone poses bought: 1 (v. good); Research seminars attended: 1 (good); Hours sleep lost: 2 or 3 or ... (bad)

Was flicking through pics and realised that did lots of other stuff on Tuesday that hadn't blogged. Notable was the regular Tuesday SL researchers seminar - planning researcher Olf Ort was talking about the elements in planning drawings etc. that might link to SL (elements of fantasy or imagination - I think) and how use of 3D renderings of potential planning sites leads logically to SL as the more immersive way of finding out people's reactions to planned environments.

Hmmmm, probably didn't capture any of the essentials there. Word "Affordances" was certainly used (as in "affordances of SL"), a v. useful word that I bandy about a lot now that I know what it means. Anyway, this session has has made a connection with the talk I heard from an artist who was saying how using social networking sites etc was actually enabling artists to extend practices that were very old (use of artists' notebooks with found ideas and new sketches etc.) through use of technology.
Similarly one can see how SL might be more useful (immediately) when it can build on and improve/extend existing practice, but (my not v. original thought) the immediately obvious application might not be the one one(s) that eventually proved to be most valuable. Think it could be that way with libraries/ librarianship.

On another note, stumbled across artist/designer's shop where purchased a number of items: namely a pipe with associated animation that makes you crawl through it (pictured), some unusual non-natural trees, a mat that you kneel on and when you stand up a flowerpot drops on your head, and a 2-person gravestone animation. Latter is v. cute and will feature it when find someone to be the other person in the animation.

Was pretty exhaused in RL and SL by the end of Tuesday what with education meeting, research seminar and all that having flowerpots landing on my head. Dropped into bed, lit the incense and didn't even have strength to turn out the light.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Ishbel is back

and, yay, she likes her office. Though from this pose you wouldn't neccessarily guess that.

And the beat goes on

J-pop playlists added to profile: 1 (good); Winter wonderlands created: 1 (good); Tours of island given: 2 and a quarter (good); Friends seen in shower: 1 (unsettling)

Was browsing through other SL blogs in way one does when came across REALLY CUTE picture of winter houses in the Milcaholic site. Spent some time trying to work out whether there was a location amongst all the Japanese writing. In the end realised could simply click on the link to Flickr and lo! the SLURL was there. 1st pic shows Dimitrova, overcome by the cuteness, slumped over a giant rabbit.

So now am proud possessor of the Winter House in Green, which is copy and has two sizes (for only 298 Linden). In a mere ... two hours ... the Halloween platform was transformed into a winter paradise complete with snow angel animations, Christmas tree with snowflake emitter and crunchy snow (see 2nd pic, Xmas tree is just out of shot). Had everything except new house already in inventory, so shows am developing formidable seasonal repetoire.
Also on Milcaholic site was playlist with artists called Coltemonikha which had liked before, but album seems unavailable outside Japan. Realised now that could sign up to service and get own playlist. Excitement. Also have added number of works played by Fictionjunction Yuuka. So this blog now has j-pop playlist widget, probably to itrritate majority of readers, but there you go.

Am intending to offer winter village as home to any students who fancy them. May also become location on future island tours. On Monday was hosting formal exploration of island for UK Educators group. Was volunteered at the end of the previous UK Educator's visit (which was to the Open University islands).

Had spent considerable time writing notecard with landmarks (text is here). But evidently Infolit does not have the cachet of the OU, since a few minutes before due to start had only one taker who (understandably) disappeared when was not joined by any others. So easy to do in SL (disappear, I mean). Feared that was going to be a "Just Me and Mitsy the cat" situation.

However, in a few minutes had assembled reasonable number - Adra, Robin, Jackie and a few others including Kattan from Teeside University launch. Had good ramble round the island, and Jackie able to explain plans for Education. Ended up in the new common room, watching Robin taking a shower. Not sure of the ethics of this. But then, was my choice to buy a house with a shower and no shower curtain.

Other tours were for New Literacies students introduced by Jackie and also an impromtu semi-tour when, on Tuesday, the person from the Open University who was due to be giving the School of Education a personal tour of the OU did not emerge inworld.
In absence of this entertainment, was able to point out delights of new witch-broom tour of the island, the sushi bar that dispenses giant sushi and (obviously best of all) the powerpoints produced by students in the Inf104 class.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Because I can...

Library talks attended: 1 (good); Grape harvest pressings attended: 1 (good): Fashion shows attended: 1 (good, laggy); retro objects bought: possibly a dozen (bad)

Generally give abiliy to dot in and out of meetings etc. as prime benefit of SL. However also means that am attending all sorts of events that would not otherwise, thus eating into time when could be sleeping, cooking, writing peer reviewed papers, conversing with RL friends etc. Over last couple of days:

1) went to talk given by Puglet Dancer, on issues to do with librarians - one interesting thing was that one of those attending had got a full time job as "Immersed librarian". Will have to get quote from her for my article for CILIP Update. Was on American Library Association sim which has some natty features (e.g. banned books exhibit) but is somewhat functional (as opposed to brimming with decorative yet useless objects). Flew across to nearby ASIST sim afterwards, which is even more basic. Suppose I cannot grasp how anyone can have 15,000 prims and 64,000 metres at their disposal and not want to landscape it and fill it with animated squirrels and amusing sofas.

2) Earlier in the day had attended fashion show given by SySy Designs. Took a table unobtrusively at one end. Had attempted to dress in something with a low Avatar Rendering Count. Seems to be considerable ire directed at people who turn up at shows, hunts etc with a high ARC, although as current thread on the SLED list indicates, actually ARC isn't the main lag-causer.

Anyway, it WAS a bit laggy, but seemed friendly event and I was motivated to drop into the SySy store and buy a couple of dresses afterwards. Have fashion blogged the more successful purchase here.

3) This evening had no intention of doing anything but finishing aforementioned fashion blog post and putting up some poppies (for remembrance day). However, Riven had dropped me an invite to a grape harvest celebration and once there was charmed by dancing, as well as by grape treading animation.

4) Previously had got into retro mood and had been hunting out records, psychadelic posters and the like. Was searching yesterday for a record player, without really finding anything, but today bumped into the very item when browsing round the new Hotel Dare area, and followed link to main location which turned out to be a shop/club in a build by Melino Style, one of my favourite designers (that is the top picture, me looking through the record collection, or, more precisely, me doing a "sorting through the records" animation ).

Hmmmmmm. Think I should get some sleep.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Displacement activity

Fireworks parties attended in RL: 0 (bad); Fireworks parties attended in SL : 1 (good); Unexpected encounters in bicycle and balloon section: 1 (good); No. of assignments not marked while doing all this: 3 (v. bad)

Tonight is Guy Fawkes, the night when brits celebrate said person not blowing up Houses of Parliament some considerable time ago. IN RL is damp and cold, so was probably good move to go to SL fireworks party instead. This was in the new Teeside Uni island, opening today.
Must say that fireworks were first rate. Didn't have some of the spookily impressive big wheels of one attended last year on Info Island, but v.v. pretty (see pics) and less scarey. Also had quick fly round island including exhibition which displays Bayeaux Tapestry round 3 walls of special hut - well done, and you could see the tapestry quite clearly.

Was multitasking again in that had got email from student at another Uni asking if could advertise survey on the Infolit Group. Said yes, but some to-ing and fro-ing in IM about ways it might be improved.

After bonfire went back to island to look at new building again (which realise haven't blogged properly yet). Tomorrow is inaugural event and am having it on a wooden terrace at the back, which juts into sea. Have already put out a couple of rubber rings, but suddenly remembered Swan Boat. Rezzed it, and then steered self gently round island. Had forgotton how pleasant it was. Decided that this joy should be shared and did search for swan boats in hope that would find one that others could use to punt gently round.

After some fruitless searching ended up going back to place where had bought balloon ride. They had indeed added some water rides (for you to programme round your sim) but nearest to swan was a gondola ride (with cuddles, not sure about that). Suddenly noticed that Graham was in Chat Range. He was looking for a greeter bot.
Had a good chat about students and what we'd been doing.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Adventures in Voice

Successful uses of voice: 4 (good); Embarrassing Skype-related voice incidents: 1 (bad); Appearances in video: 1 (good)

Have been using voice bit more than usual recently, with mostly good results. Have twice made guest appearance when Bluewave was giving demo of SL to educators in RL in the USA. This involves going along for 5 mins and saying e.g. "Hi I'm from the University of Sheffield in England and it's 9 in the evening here!!!" thus showing international nature of SL etc. etc. Most recently did this last Tuesday - cannot produce pics for this at present as turned out that at some point had ticked some option to take pics in compressed format and do not yet know how to uncompress this batch
Anyway, turned up, said piece, then accepted tp to next part of Bluewave's tour which was interesting exhibit of strange mathematical forms which can also be bought as sort of scultpture for 2500 Linden. At this point seemed to get left behind, but soon anyway it was time for the SL researchers meeting, so off I went to Monash University.

This featured Sleepy Littlething talking about her research, which was v. interesting. However, was at this point that had Unfortunate Incident with Voice, since had decided to multitask and phone friend on Skype to arrange time to meet in RL later in the week. Had forgotten to turn off voice, so went through whole "Hello" "Hi, I'm phoning you on Skype" "Yes, it's raining here too" type of thing before realised that text messages were flying around inworld telling me to turn my voice off as was broadcasting this banal conversation to all assembled researchers.
Double embarrassment as
a) Was incompetent and
b) Showed that wasn't exactly giving 100% of attention to Sleepy.
Hey ho.
A couple of days before had exercised Voice more productively in Poetry Slam. Several people including Rolig Loon presented their own poetry and then others were encouraged to read from their own poetry or just poems they liked. Volunteered to read two short poems, one by Alasdair Grey and one by Thomas Hardy. Whole event was enjoyable. Interesting how much impact poetry had when it was simply typed into text (as happened for most of the poets). You really concentrated on the words and some of them were very moving.
Had volunteered to be part of panel at EDUCAUSE conference last Wednesday (important American educational conference) and whether because were not many volunteers or because added international flavour, was asked to do my bit. This consisted of talking about teaching on Infolit iSchool for 2 minutes in Voice. Useful exercise in conciseness. Lineup was described in notecard sent to panel as "impressive" but adjectives of this nature were not used in emails to SLED, so presumably "impressive" was just to make us feel special.
Arrived in good time for panel, and was unusual experience in that could see video feed from RL conference AND Voice worked fine. Robin was in audience: pleasant to see friendly face. Additionally was on second, so could sit back and relax quite quickly, and feel (of course) deep empathy when 2 of the other speakers couldn't do Voice - one was silent and the other kept cutting out. Pathfinder Linden appeared late but people tend to be rather deferential around the major Lindens so no-one made cutting remarks.

Finally, in this vein, was immortalised in another video, this from HVX, who was presenting in RL form at a conference in Singapore. She produced v, good video in which am featured twice: once talking about libraries in SL and once about the conference platform and the texture I used for the base (which was a RL photo of an aircraft vapour trail).
Here it is embedded (I hope) otherwise go to Video is called "I am Library".

Sunday, 2 November 2008

New Office

Offices created: 1 (good)

Well, I think it's "good" but final judgement must rest with intended office occupants, namely Ishbel and Nigl. Have not yet broken it to Nigel that he is office sharing but hopefully will take it in good part.

Can see that is not trad. office, but aim is vaguely 70s, with hip messy undertones. Have linked from Nigl's laptop to his home page and from Ishbel's laptop to her new blog about her current visit to Malawi. First pic is her end of the office, 2nd pic shows Nigl's with his special wall of records and obviously that's me sitting exhausted after moving them in.

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