The art of philosophy

The Philosopher's Stone: Pixels Sideways
The Philosopher’s Stone: Pixels Sideways

Sunday March 31st saw the opening of The Philosopher’s Stone, a further entry in the round 6 Artist In Residence series run by the Linden Endowment for the Arts.

Curated by Pixels Sideways and Georg Janick, the installation is a collaborative piece featuring the work of 16 artists, including Pixels. The installation grew out of an on-line article Pixels had read about in which a teacher asked a group of young pupils to draw what they thought a philosopher looked like. Forwarding the article to Georg, in real life Gary Zabel, Professor of Philosophy at University of Massachusetts, Pixels mentioned the idea of doing an art piece on the subject of philosophy.

The Philosopher's Stone: Freewee Ling - Nietzsche
The Philosopher’s Stone: Freewee Ling – Nietzsche

The result is 15 artists paired at random with 15 philosophers selected by Georg, and charged with the task of interpreting the latter through art. The artists and the selected philosophers being: Aequitas – Plato; Ama Avro –  Descartes; Artistide Despres – Deleuze; Barry Richez – Heidegger; Bibi Rives – Wittgenstein; Feathers Boa – Marx; Freewee Ling – Nietzsche; Leoa Piek – Hegel; Lollito Larkham – Kant; Misprint Thursday – Leibniz; Robin Moore – Aristotle; Scottius Polke – Hume; Stardove Spirt – Epicurus; Ub Yifu -Spinoza; Winter Nightfire – Arendt.

These works are displayed on a series of islands above the region, and reached by clicking on the urn located at the arrival point. Urns also form teleport points for moving between the islands (or you can fly). Note that some of the pieces are interactive as well, and some contain local windlights – check for notes / warnings if your viewer doesn’t automatically change windlight setting – and streaming audio.

The Philosopher's Stone: Barry Richez - Heidegger
The Philosopher’s Stone: Barry Richez – Heidegger

In addition, Pixels has set-up a series of pieces at ground level which explore a number of ideas: the Philosophy of Love, the Philosophy of Struggle, the Philosophy of Media and Politics, etc. These can be interactive in nature, and require careful exploration if you are to fully uncover their secrets. This ground level area also includes an amphitheatre for special events  – SaveMe Oh featured during the opening – and displays of 2D art by the participating artists.

Given the nature of the installation and the broad range of participants, this is something of an eclectic mix, which may have a mixed response depending on your familiarity with the subject matter presented in each of the pieces – although there is enough here to encourage those wishing to understand more to go out and learn (Wikipedia can be your friend in this).

The Philosopher's Stone: Winter Nightfire - Arendt
The Philosopher’s Stone: Winter Nightfire – Arendt

There are also some delightful twists of humour to be found throughout – either visually or within some of the texts accompanying the pieces (Pixel’s write-up for the Philosophy of Struggle should raise a smile or two, for example).

While on the ground, I did experience a couple of issues with audio streaming clashing with local sounds, so remember to toggle media on / off when moving between pieces, and having a listen to the ambient sounds as well, just in case you’re missing something.

The Philosopher's Stone: Lollito Larkham - Kant
The Philosopher’s Stone: Lollito Larkham – Kant

The Philosopher’s Stone is likely to have additional events occurring during its time on LEA13 – which should be through until the end of April / early May. I understand Pixels is considering an additional exhibit on the region prior to the LEA round 6 drawing to a close at the end of June.

Addendum: I’ve swapped-out some of the images from this review in favour of others since first published, as I subsequently discovered that Ziki Questi had selected the same pieces for her coverage of the Philosopher’s Stone, and we’d opted to use similar angles for our respective shots. I do apologise to her for retaining the opening shot in this article – again the same as Ziki has used, and she published ahead of me – but Galileo’s words do serve as a perfect frame for a review. 

Related Links

 

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Viewer release summaries 2014: week 13

Updates for the week ending: March 30th, 2014

This summary is published every Monday and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of  all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy
  • By its nature, this summary will always be in arrears
  • The Viewer Round-up Page is updated as soon as I’m aware of any releases / changes to viewers & clients, and should be referred to for more up-to-date information
  • The Viewer Round-up Page also includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release updated to version 3.7.4.288138 (formerly the FmodEX Hotfix RC, dated March 18) on March 24 – core updates: assorted MAINT fixes (download page, release notes)
  • Release channel cohorts (See my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Merchant Outbox RC updated to version 3.7.5.288408 on March 28th – fixes for accurately detecting Merchant status and improves recovery for Merchant Outbox errors (download and release notes)
    • Google Breakpad RC updated to version 3.7.5.288464 on March 27th (download and release notes)
    • “Project Interesting” RC updated to version 3.7.5.288404 on March 27th – improved scene loading (download and release notes)
    • StatTest RC version updated to 3.7.5.288371 on March 27th – Tthis RC is not intended for formal release, but assists in bug-fix support for Google Breakpad (download and release notes)
  • Project viewers:
    • Project Zipper viewer updated to version 3.7.5.288507 on March 28th – faster viewer installation (download and release notes)

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V3-style

  • CtrlAltStudio updated to version 1.2.0.40751 on March 26th – core updates: convergence of release and alpha versions; parity with Facebook through to 4.6.1; small fixes / tweaks (release notes)
  • Kokua updated to version 3.7.4.32111 on March 28th – core updates: parity with LL 3.7.4 code base; attachment inventory edit + assorted TPV and Kokua team updates  (release notes)
  • UKanDo updated to version 3.7.24.27968 on March 25th – core updates: new UI skin & skinning option; revised Preferences floater; revised menus; Kokua scene refresh capability (release notes)

V1-style

  • Cool Viewer updated on March 29th to the following versions: Stable: 1.26.10.16; Experimental: 1.26.11.16; Legacy: 1.26.8.53 – core updates: numerous backports from LL code trees, bug fixes, code-clean-ups (release notes)

Mobile / Other Clients

  • Pocket Metaverse updated to version 1.9.0 on March 31st – core updates: parity with iOS 7; bug fix to address Second Life sign-in problems (release notes)

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

UKanDo 3.7.4

logoI actually managed to miss this earlier in the week, but on Tuesday March 25th, UKanDo updated to version 3.7.4.27968.

This release brings UKanDo up to parity with the LL 3.7.4 code base (so HTTP et al included), and also includes a number of additions and updates. It also updates the viewer’s RLV to version 2.8.5.11.

The following is a short overview of the release.

Viewer Skin

The last version of UKanDo (3.7.2) included the option to swap between the viewer’s own skin and the original LL viewer skin. At the time, while the option added a further degree of customisation to the viewer, I was a little critical of it because of the need to download a ZIP file, shunt files around, restart the viewer etc. I also mused on whether or not UKanDo would move in the direction of other TPVs offering skinning options, and provide a less cumbersome means to select and change skins via a Preferences option.

With the 3.7.4 release, the LL skin has been included as a part of the viewer installation, eliminating the need to download it separately, and an option has been added to the viewer to switch skins without manually moving (and renaming) files. In addition, the default skin used by UKanDo has been changed, and is now the Starlight Orb Blue skin.

The new default skin is one I hadn’t used prior to taking UKanDo 3.7.4 for a spin, and it is certainly very stylised in comparison to the likes of Firestorm’s skin options and the LL viewer skin, utilising rounded or oval buttons and drop-down list items. For those who prefer the previous look, it is also included under the title Nostalgia Blue.

Unlike other v3 TPVs offering skinning options, UKanDo doesn’t provide the mean to change skins through the viewer Preferences. Instead, the option is found at the bottom of the viewer’s log-in splash screen, alongside the log-in options. Simply click on the button drop-down and select your preferred skin and restart the viewer to log-in.

UKanDo 3.7.4 allows users to set the viewer skin from the log-in splash screen
UKanDo 3.7.4 allows users to set the viewer skin from the log-in splash screen

Should you choose, once you have switched to your desired skin, the skin selection option on the log-in splash screen can be hidden via Preferences > Advanced > uncheck Show Skin Selection at Log-in.

Preferences Updates

UkanDo 3.7.4 sees further updates to the Preferences floater. The most prominent changes here lay with the removal of the UKanDo tab and its replacement by the Building tab. The latter now contains all of the options which used to reside under the Preferences > UKanDo > Building sub-tab.

The new Preferences > Building Tab in UKanDo 3.7.4
The new Preferences > Building Tab in UKanDo 3.7.4

The Avatar and Chat (- IM) sub-tabs previously found under the UKanDo tab have been relocated under the General tab, together with the Camera, Inventory and RLV sub-tabs.

Film Menu

The Starlight Film menu in UKanDo 3.7.4
The Starlight Film menu in UKanDo 3.7.4

This release of UKanDo includes the Starlight Film Menu as well.

Turned off by default, this can be toggled on / off via Preferences > Advanced > Show Film Menu.

When enabled, the menu appears at the top of the viewer, between the RLV and Help menus, providing quick access to those options which may be of assistance when involved in shooting in-world video.

Scene Refresh

UKanDo 3.7.4 includes the Refresh Scene option from Kokua, which can be found under the UKanDo menu (or use CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-R). This is primarily aimed at mitigating the missing prim issue, and when selected, carries out a number of tasks in quick succession, effectively re-rednering the in-world scene:

  • Basic Shaders are deselected, increasing the viewer’s frame rate and allowing the viewer to more quickly pull-in the basics of a scene
  • A message is sent to the viewer log, allowing the viewer to run a little longer without the shaders
  • Basic Shaders are re-enabled to complete re-dressing the scene, which should now be correctly rendered.

Along with this, the UKanDo menu also includes an option to toggle wireframe on / off (also: CTRL-SHIFT-R), also to assist with missing prim issues.

Other Items

The 4.7.4 release also includes:

  • Alt-Shift-S now toggles sit/stand
  • Removal of the multi Username login box
  • Ability to temporarily derender objects, attachments, and/or avatars until a region change or log-out
  • Addition of a “Teleport Here” option to go along with the “Sit Here” in context menus
  • New status bar widgets hidden when in Mouselook mode
  • Help->About Release notes now points to the UKanDo Release Notes URL.

For a full list of updates and changes, please refer to the viewer’s release notes.

Feedback

Another small, tidy update. The addition of the skin selection option is an improvement over the 3.7.2 release, while the Scene Refresh capability from Kokua could well be welcomed by UKanDo users.

Related Links

Devilish detection, fairy tales and romance

It’s time to kick-off another week of fabulous story-telling in Voice, brought to Second Life by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library SL.

As always, all times SLT, and unless otherwise stated, events will be held on the Seanchai Library’s home on Imagination Island.

Sunday March 30th,13:30: Tea-time at Baker Street: The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot

Tea-time at Baker Street sees as Caledonia Skytower, Corwyn Allen and Kayden Oconnell reading stories from His Last Bow.

A 1917 anthology of previously published Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, His Last Bow originally comprised seven stories published byThe Strand Magazine between 1908 and 1917, but an eighth was added to later editions.

In this episode, Holmes and Watson find their break in Cornwall interrupted, apparently by none other that Satan himself, in The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot.

Having gone to Cornwall on account of Holmes’ health, the two friends find their holiday interrupted by an unexpected visit by a local gentleman, Mortimer Tregennis, who is accompanied by the local vicar, Mr. Roundhay.

A distressed Tregennis reports how, after visiting his two brothers and his sister the previous evening, he had returned to their house in the morning to find all three still at the table where they’d all played whist the night before, his sister dead and his two brother apparently insane.

It had been the housekeeper who had first discovered the three, prior to Tregennis’ return, and she had fainted shortly after her discovery. Similarly, a doctor called to the house also collapsed for a short while. Tregennis, who has been living at the vicarage, is insistent what has happened is the work of the devil. Then, the following day, comes word that Mortimer Tregennis is also dead!

Find out more by joining Caledonia, Corwyn and Kayden!

Monday March 31st, 19:00: From an Alien Point of View

When humans interact with aliens who are actually alien, we run into the fact that we’re as weird to them as they are to us. This can cause the most remarkable misunderstandings…. More thought-provoking sci-fi from the collection of Gyro Muggins.

Tuesday April 1st, 19:00: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

FairylandFaery Maven Pralou reads from Catherynne M. Valente’s tale about twelve-year-old September. Living in Omaha, she has a very ordinary life until her father goes to war and her mother goes. leaving her at home on her own.

One day, she is visited by a Green Wind who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland, where the new Marquess, of about the same age as September, is unpredictable and fickle.

This Green Wind tells September that only she can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t, then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. And so begins an extraordinary adventure, which sees September travelling through Fairyland, accompanied by a book-loving dragon, and a boy named Saturday …

Wednesday April 2nd, 19:00: Tír na nÓg

Tir-Na-nogTír na nÓg (“Land of the Young”) is, in Irish folklore and mythology, one of the names of the “otherworld”, in part a supernatural realm of everlasting youth, beauty, health, abundance and joy. It is also the title of the first volume of Marni L.B. Troop’s The Heart of Ireland Journals.

In looks, the Faerie are folk little different to humans, other than their pointed ears, although they are vastly different in other ways, and Casey is a princess among them.

She is horrified when a stranger from Iberia arrives on the shores of Ireland, home of the Faerie, believing them to be the gods of his people, but the kings of the Faerie respond to his overtures by having him slaughtered.

Thus the Faerie kings bring down the vengeance of the Iberian people upon their own folk, and war comes to their land. Caught in the middle, and herself in love with an Iberian called Amergin, Casey tries to find a way to bring peace between the two peoples so that they might live together. Unfortunately for her and her beloved, things do not go as she had hoped.

Join Caladonia as she continues reading this intriguing faerie tale.

Thursday April 3rd

16:00: Stories from Ozland Pictures

With Llola Lane.

19:00: Geraint, Son of Erbin, Part 1

One of the Three Welsh Romances associated with the Mabinogion, the other two being The Lady of the Well (or Lady of the Fountain) and Peredur son of Efrawg, both of which have featured at Seanchai library. All three are version of Arthurian tales that also appear in the work of Chrétien de Troyes.

Geraint, son of Erbin is analogous to de Troyes’ 12th-century poem Erec and Enide. It tells of Geriant’s courtship of, and marriage to, Enid. A knight of Arthur’s court, Geraint is derided behind his back as having gone soft after his marriage. Enid become distressed on hearing what is being said, and Geriant mistakes her upset in not being a true wife of a knight as meaning she has been unfaithful to him. Not trusting to leave her at court, he command her to join him on a dangerous journey …

Join Shandon Loring to learn the rest of the tale.

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

Details still TBA, so please check with the Seanchai Library blog as the week progresses.

—–

Please check with the Seanchai Library SL’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule. The featured charity for March and April is Project Children: building true and lasting peace in Northern Ireland one child at a time.

Related Links

SL projects updates week 13/3: TPV developer meeting March 28th

A TPV developer meeting took place on Friday March 28th. The core items discussed in the meeting are reported below, with timestamps in the relevant paragraphs indicating the point at they are discussed in the video embedded here. My thanks as always to North for the latter.

Release Candidate Viewers Status

Stat Test RC  and Google Breakpad RC

[00:10] The Stat Test release candidate viewer (version 3.7.5.288371 at the time of writing) is not intended to ever move to a formal release status. Its function is to help with identifying how big an impact a bug within the Google Breakpad RC was having on viewers by comparing crash rates.

The fix contained in the Stat Test viewer is now also in the Google Breakpad RC, which was updated on Thursday March 27th to version 3.7.5.288464 (download and release notes). It’s thought that this RC is getting “pretty close to final form”, something that will likely be confirmed once the new update has been in the release channel sufficient long enough for decent statistics to be gathered in week 14 (week commencing Monday March 31st).

Interest List RC and Merchant Outbox RC

[01:00] As noted in part 2 of this report, the Interest List RC returned to the release channel wither version 3.7.5.288404 (download and release notes). This RC had been removed from the release channel on March 21st due to the number of RC viewers in the channel at that time.

The Mechant Outbox RC, which contains fixes for accurately detecting Merchant status and improves recovery for Merchant Outbox errors, was updated on Friday March 28th to version 3.7.5.288408 (download and release notes). This update means that as of Friday March 28th, all RC viewer in the release channel were up-to-date with the current release version of the viewer.

Voice RC and Sunshine / AIS v3 RC

[01:35] These two release candidates were withdrawn from the release channel on March 21st to reduce the number of RC viewers vying for promotion to release status. These have yet to be updated with the current release viewer code, however, it is anticipated that the Voice RC will be returning to the release channel early in week 14, and that the Sunshine AIS will hopefully reappear later in the week.

The binaries for the Vivox updates are currently available to TPVs for testing an incorporation, so the removal of the Voice RC from the release channel should not have unduly impacted any work being undertaken by TPVs in updating or offering Vivox 4.6.x to Windows and Mac users. Unfortunately, Vivox have yet to supply updates for Linux.

Project Viewers

Project Zipper

[01:52] The Project Zipper “fast installer” viewer was updated to version 3.7.5.288507 on March 28th, also bringing it up to parity with the current release viewer, although it remains at project status (download and release notes).

Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift project viewer is currently on a closed beta, and so the code is not publicly viewable. The beta is reported to be going “really well”, although other sources indicate that there is a lot of dissatisfaction in how the UI works, up to an including demands that the entire UI needs to be re-thought.

Given any change in the viewer UI tends to attract a high degree of negativity right out of the gate (and also given the fact I’ve not actually seen the “Riftlook” UI), it’s hard to say how many of the concerns are objective as opposed to subjective in nature (e.g. the issue is genuinely one of ease-of-use as opposed to it being one that is considered “unusable” because it’s either not how it’s worked in the past, or requires a re-training of muscle memory) .  However, if the issues are objective and indicate significant issues of usability, it will be interesting to see how the Lab responds.

Upcoming Viewers

Group Bans

[02:24] The Group ban viewer is progressing, as noted in part 2 of this report, a new version is available through the Server Beta wiki page, and can be tested on the Morris region on Aditi. There is yet more work to be done on this, so it’s unlikely to move to an official project viewer or RC status in the short-term.

Snowstorm

A new Snowstorm RC viewer is in development, and Oz Linden is hoping to include a few more things in it. I believe this viewer may include the LSL syntax updates of STORM-1831, although the hope is apparently to get some more items into it alongside what is already there. As there are already so many viewers either in, or queuing-up for RC status, there is currently no rush to move this viewer forward.

Release Viewer

[04:02] Commenting on the current release viewer version: 3.7.4.288138, formerly the FmodEx Hotfix RC, Monty Linden indicated that there are almost a year of fixes the stream threading between the current viewer and previous versions. These include many fixes for issues where the viewer can drop a stream entirely. However, whether these include a fix for the issues where a stream containing externals ads (for cars, insurance, etc. – see FIRE-12798) can be completely dropped by the viewer and require a re-log in order to reconnection, is unclear.  However, Monty has offered to take a poke at things.

SLS Share / Facebook Photos Upload

[07:26] As reported on March 20th, the ability for users to upload photos from the viewer to their Facebook accounts was disabled by Facebook, apparently because of the inclusion of SLurl with the photo uploads.

The Lab has made changes in the viewer and in the intermediate server layer which should address Facebook’s concerns, however, Facebook has yet to unblock the upload capability at their end, and at the time of writing there has been no word on when this might be done.

The viewer-side updates have yet to reach the release viewer, but are currently in all of the release candidates in the viewer release channel.

The SL Share photo upload panel as it is in the current release viewer (), left, and as it appears in the RC viewers awaiting promotion, right. The SL option has been removed to meet Facebook's requirements
The SL Share photo upload panel as it is in the current release viewer (3.7.4.288138) on the  left,complete with the option to include a SLurl; and as it appears in the RC viewers on the right, with the SLurl option removed to meet Facebook’s requirements

Mac Issues

[08:30] A request has been made for the Lab to provide a list of Mac / Cocoa issues to help TPVs keep track of things. As reported last time this issue was raised, the Lab are hampered in trying to deal with Cocoa-related issues, as their Mac developers are working on a number of projects, and so specific issues are dealt with individually, rather than as a part of an overall project.

HTTP Issues

Monty Linden:
Monty Linden:

[19:53] The Firestorm team asked if the Lab had any data on how well the HTTP code changes were going and if they were seeing anything unexpected with server-side loads. The prompt from this question came by the fact that as downloads of the Firestorm 4.6.1 release have increased, so the number of user complaints which appear as though they might be related to HTTP have increased. Monty Linden replied:

Not that I can tell. Nothing is getting to me if there is any such story. I’ve heard the anecdotes, and whenever I’ve looked into them, the stories behind them are generally pretty random. It’s people associating recent changes with behaviour they’re seeing and assuming some correlation where there isn’t any.

Now, that said, there are some patterns that continue to persist that have existed for the past few years that I’ve been dealing with transport issues. The simulators always have had problems in the lib services with connection quotas being exceeded, and that’s still going on today. A busy region on a busy sim hots is still a problem, but I can’t say it’s worse than before. It should be better, but the data I’m getting – which is almost none – doesn’t point to any problem. I’m sorry that’s not definitive, but it’s all I’ve got at this point.

It has been reported that HTTP downloads on sims which have a lot of textures and objects, but few avatars are significantly better than HTTP downloads where there is a large number (20+) avatars. In the latter circumstance, it has also been reported that switching back to UDP appears to improve downloads. However, Monty warned against this, as UDP puts significantly more load on the simulator, which can have a noticeable impact for every user connected to that simulator.

In discussing how to confirm whether or not users really are seeing HTTP issues, Monty continued:

The first thing would be to look at the log file. If you’re getting permanent failures in texture HTTP, it’s going to show up in the log file with a fail on a final retry with an error code and a bunch of related information.So you can pretty much confirm pretty quickly whether or not they’re getting serious permanent failures for texture operations … and these will be distinct from 404s. 404s are nots founds, and you’ll see those every now and then simply because the texture reference is not valid. But other reasons for a permanent failure would be interesting.

When I updated the texture console, I put mesh errors in, but I didn’t do anything about HTTP errors, but there would be another useful area to put things in the future for monitoring error counts. but for now the log file will have the truth. Let me know what you find, because that will point us in one direction or the other.

On our services, I absolutely definitely see busy sim hosts having their input channels saturated. And when that happens, you are going to have retries, and I’ve seen some pretty hard cases of that. Some of the big social things that get put on Second Life [such as RFL] often get put on concentrated sim hosts, and these really get victimised by this problem. But again, permanent failures, they’ll be in the logs and you can look at that. Beyond that, I’ll se what i can find out.

 A problem with obtaining logs is that people will often encounter problems like this a few times and the revert back to an earlier release of the viewer. So, if you are using a viewer (SL or Firestorm) with the HTTP updates and encounters persistent rendering issues or failures when moving around SL, please consider taking a couple of minutes to fill-out a JIRA, attach your log file and submit it. Monty is very sensitive to HTTP issues, but in order to respond to them, he needs data, not anecdotes.

Other Items

AIS v3

[02:56] Oz Linden reported that ther server-side AIS v3 code will be enabled across all three RC channels (LeTigre BlueSteel and Magnum) in week 14. As BlueSteel and LeTigre had AIS v3 enabled with server update 14.03.07.287758 and Magnum with  update 14.02.21.286985, I can only assume that it was disabled again with the Magnum update 14.03.12.288004 in week 13.

Male Avatar Chest Rendering Broken / Mesh Clothes Breaking on Male Avatars

This issue related to BUG-5537, where there is a discrepancy on how the AV mesh shape is rendered/viewed by oneself and by others in the male AV chest portion, so that while an item of rigged mesh clothing looks fine to the user when viewing his avatar, other people see parts of the avatar’s chest still poking through the outfit. There has also been discussion of the issue on the forums.

The Lab is currently investigating the issue, but have no definitive answer on the problem as yet.

 

 

 

VWBPE 2014: panels announced

2014 banner

The seventh Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) conference, taking place in both Second Life and OSgrid, will commence at 11:00 SLT on Wednesday April 9th, 2014 with an informal meet and greet between 12:00 and 13:00, and will close on Saturday April 12th with a special ceremony at 18:00 SLT, followed by a party at 19:00 SLT.

On March 9th, I provided coverage of the keynote speakers announcement. At that time, Ebbe Atlberg’s keynote address hasn’t been defined, however, this has now changed. The keynote is titled Reconnecting with the Education Market, and is described as sharing his initial thoughts on “the importance of supporting educational use of Second Life, the company’s interest in rebuilding and strengthening the connection between Linden Lab and the community of educators using the platform”, and will primarily comprise a brief opening statement so that the majority of his time can be devoted to a Q&A / discussion.

As well as the keynote speakers, VWBPE have also released details on the key panel discussions taking place over the course of the conference. These are:

Thursday April 10th

08:05-09:05 SLT: OpenSimulator’s Role in the Future of Virtual Worlds Research and Education

A discussion of OpenSim’s education community and AvaCon’s contributions to education and research, especially in regards to how the OpenSimulator Community Conference has been a powerful tool for this advancement.

Panelists: Joyce Bettencourt RL/Rhiannon Chatnoir SL, Chris Collins RL/Fleep Tuque SL, Crista Lopes RL/Diva Canto SL, Melanie Thielker RL/Melanie Milland SL, Michael Cerquoni RL/Nebadon Izumi SL.

Location: Second Life VWBPE Main Auditorium.

14::00-15:50 SLT: Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable: A Best Practices Influence

A discussion on the kinds of trends that the VWER has seen over the course of its existence, and to what extent it may have influenced and advanced best practices in the use of virtual worlds for education. The connections established by the group have bonded a band of educators that share ideas weekly, and it is the persistent popularity of these meetings that make it such a noteworthy group in Second Life.

Panelists: Evelyn McElhinney RL/Kali Pizzaro SL, AJ Kelton RL/AJ Brooks SL, Shailey Minocha RL/Shailey Garfield SL.

Location: Second Life VWBPE Main Auditorium.

Friday April 11th

09:00–10:50 SLT: The Science Circle: Connecting Different Disciplines, and Inspiring Creativity and Inventiveness

The Science Circle consists of over 200 scientists, educators, entrepreneurs, and students on four continents. The VWBPE Panel will share the story of its development and the challenges faced and overcome in establishing a functional and lasting community with members of diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Panelist: Chantal Snoek RL / Nymf Hathaway (Chantal) SL, Jesse Stannard RL / Jes Cobalt SL, Phil Youngblood RL / Vic Michalak SL, Hajime Nishimura RL / Yan Lauria SL, Steven Van Hook RL / Kip Roffo SL, Deepthinker Oh RL/SL.

Location: Second Life VWBPE Main Auditorium.

Saturday April 12th

09:00-10:50 SLT: Connecting the Past, Present, and Future of Second Life

“It is the essence of good management that an effective advisory board, properly composed and structured, provide informed guidance in the quest for superior corporate governance. That includes opportunities to seek out dissenting viewpoints that challenge the status quo and forces executives, and board members, to re-evaluate long-held beliefs which may be holding back growth and profitability. Third party expert opinion provides a safe harbour which new executives can realise new opportunities without being prejudiced by internal politics.”

The objective of this panel is to develop a position paper which can help guide and inform Linden Lab’s new CEO on the opportunities, risks, cost benefits, and potential returns on investment based on a thoughtful analysis of the issues facing our communities of practice.

Panelists: Botgirl Questi SL, Will Burns RL/Aeonix Aeon SL, Terry Beaubois RL/Tab Scott SL, Kevin Feenan RL/Phelan Corrimal SL.

Location: Second Life VWBPE Main Auditorium.

16:00-15:50 SLT: The Freedom Project: How Artistic Expression Transcends Real Life Challenges

The purpose of this panel is to discuss how The Freedom Project helped spotlight artistic expression for people with invisible illnesses or other disabilities. Through this effort, people who have real life challenges can develop a connection to a community and be able to transcend real life challenges.

Panelists: Jay Jay Jegathesan RL/Jayjay Zifanwe SL, Alice Krueger RL/Gentle Heron SL, FreeWee Ling SL, Dianne Elton SL.

Location: Second Life VWBPE Main Auditorium.

Notes on Attending

The VWBPE conference is free to attend, and those wishing to do so should register via the conference registration page on Eventbrite. Attendees will also need accounts for both Second Life and OSgrid in order to attend all events on both grids.

Follow-up Course

The main conference will be followed by a 3-week Massively Open Online Course (MOOC). This is intended to highlight examples of educational design from many immersive environments. In the past, presentations have included environments such as Club Penguin, Eve Online, World of Warcraft, Spot on 3D, inWorldz, Sococo, and a host of other virtual platforms. Details on the MOOC are generally posted to the VWBPE MOOC website, although information on the activities for 2014 have yet to be posted – check the main VWBPE website for updates.

Related Links

With thanks to Bevan Whitfield