High Fidelity: a further $2.5 million. Now on the radar?

HF-logoThe latest Drax Files Radio Hour  drew my attention to new that Philip Rosedale’s newest venture, High Fidelity, this week gained a further round of investment capital.

The news on the move appears to have been lost amidst all of the noise coming out of Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR, however, VentureBeat covered the news on Wednesday March 26th.

Whether the latest round represents new investors or those already involved increasing their stake or a combination of both, remains unclear. However, the amount pushes the total level of investment into High Fidelity received close to some $5 million, including the $2.4 million obtained in April 2013 from Linden Lab, Kapor Capital, Google Ventures and True Ventures. Not bad for a company often referred to as “flying under the radar”.

Since Facebook’s move on Oculus VR, there has been a lot of speculation as to what might be next for the acquisition bag – and whether it could be Second Life. I’m not that convinced on the latter. But what about High Fidelity? In terms of Facebook, there might seem to be something of a fit – of not right now, then potentially down the road a bit.

Mark Zuckerberg, in describing his future vision for VR talks grandly in terms of “social VR” – VR which promotes “real” interaction and communications and which has real-world applications. That’s pretty much the space High Fidelity seems to be aiming at. I say appears, because High Fidelity seems to have a finger in a lot of idea pies, but most of the talk is in generalities rather than specifics when it comes to product(s).

Philip Rosedale: could his High Fidelity start-up be on Facebook's radar?
Philip Rosedale: could his High Fidelity start-up be on Facebook’s radar?

But given this commonality, and given High Fidelity is building on the kind of cool, sexy hardware – including the Rift, which apparently will work “out of the box” with whatever High Fidelity is / will be – it’s likely to have more of a bleeding-edge golly gee appeal than the decade-old, over-the-hill and decidedly unhip Second Life. Indeed, where it gets reported in the media, it already has.

Philip Rosedale is also something of a known quantity to one of the key players in FB’s acquisition of Oculus VR: Cory Ondrejka. They co-founded Second Life together and worked together as CEO and CTO until a difference on opinion separated them – and I assume that difference wasn’t enough to prevent them ever working together again. High Fidelity itself has attracted some of the key technology players from LL as well, who will also be known quantities to Ondrejka.

There’s also the matter of timescales. Facebook, as I’ve mentioned previously, seem to be jumping into the VR market-to-be for the long haul, they’re content to let Oculus VR test the waters for them in the gaming arena while looking towards more distant potential markets (and better, lighter and more ergonomic headsets that a broader cross-section of consumers will find attractive). As such, the slowly, slowly approach High Fidelity appears to be taking could synchronising rather nicely with FB’s approach.

Of course, this is all predicated on a number of things: exactly what it is that High Fidelity really has, how it fits a bigger technology picture, etc., right through to matters of equity stakes and controlling interests in the company.  However, in this latter regard, were High Fidelity to demonstrate they have something FB could leverage, it’s pretty clear that Facebook has the financial clout to make a deal worth everyone’s time.

At the very least, might be interesting to see where things go with any third round of investment into High Fidelity in the future …

 

 

 

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A nostalgic Invasion

Invasion - A Tribute to the Greenie's Home
Invasion – A Tribute to the Greenie’s Home

Sniper Siemens kindly allowed me an advanced look at her LEA Artist in Residence (AIR) installation, which opens at 15:00 SLT on Friday March 28th and will remain open through until the end of June. Like Da Vinci’s World, her installation from the fourth round of AIR works, this is another historic piece – but one of a very different nature!

Invasion – A Tribute to the Greenies Homeis just that: a loving tribute to the world of the Greenies, the tiny green aliens created by Rezzable, who were trying to get to grips with a slight matter of scale during a visit to Earth in the 1950s. Prior to their departure to Rezzable’s own OpenSim grid, they were pretty much a staple part of SL’s “must see” locations.

Invasion - A Tribute to the Greenies Home
Invasion – A Tribute to the Greenies Home

As with the original, the visitor is placed on the scale of the mischievous aliens, who have found their way into a home somewhere on Earth, and who are both exploring it, and setting-up residence in part of it. While the original was set in the 1950s, the home here has been considerably updated: there are DVDs, a boom box, flat-screen TV, CCTV and so on.

The aliens, too have changed somewhat. The original Greenies were / are the property of Rezzable, and in respect of that, Sniper has – for the most part – used her  own M&M-like aliens.  However, explore long enough, and you’ll find that the little green chaps are to be found in a special tribute space on their own, as the images topping and tailing this piece show.

Invasion - A Tribute to the Greenies Home
Invasion – A Tribute to the Greenies Home

In terms of exploring, there is a lot to see and discover, through big and little doors. Visitors can walk or fly or ride bikes or, again in a touch of nostalgia, race karts (which can take a bit of handling!) around a course, and more.   There are also some darker elements to discover as well, particularly through some of the doorways …

When you’re done on the ground, there is a teleport up to the aliens’ ship where some odd goings-on are evident. Are these attempts by the aliens to transmorgify themselves into humans? If so, they’re choosing some interesting subjects in two cases; although one appears to have been supplanted (in a clever touch of irony) by a naked young female out of the Boris Vallejo school of modelling. Look out, as well, to a small nod to Sniper’s previous AIR installation from May 2013.

Invasion - A Tribute to the Greenies Home
Invasion – A Tribute to the Greenies Home

For those who remember the original Greenies, a visit to Invasion is going to be something of a trip down memory lane. For those who arrived in SL after the Greenies departed, the installation offer a glimpse into why their world was so admired. Either way, there’s more than enough here to keep people smiling and engaged during their visit, and Sniper skillfully avoids falling into the trap of trying to re-create the original in every nuance and look, offering something that rightly stands as a tribute, and on its own.

Well worth a visit. As noted, Invasion – A Tribute to the Greenie’s Home will be open from 15:00 SLT on Friday March 28th, 2014 through until the end of June 2014.

Related Links

Invasion - A Tribute to the Greenies Home
Invasion – A Tribute to the Greenies Home

 

SL projects updates week 13/2: group bans, group chat

Server Deployments: week 13 – recap

there was only one update in week 13. The Magnum Rc received a new server maintenance project, comprising:

  • Crash mode fix.
  • Fixed a rare case in which certain users were unable to log in (BUG-5130)
  • Fix for a case in which multiple scripts in the same prim calling llTakeControls() with heterogenous ‘accept’ and ‘pass_on’ parameters would not receive a control() event correctly in some cases (BUG-5281)
  • Updated LSL syntax file to use a new schema (fixes STORM-2000) related to a viewer in testing and apart of STORM-1831.

beta-270314_001

SL Viewer

The StatTest viewer was updated on Thursday March 27th to version 3.7.5.288371. This viewer makes one change related to crash statistics gathering  has no functional changes compared to the current release viewer (download and release notes).

Also on Thursday March 27th, the Interest List RC returned to the release channel, having been temporarily removed on March 21st due to the number of RCs occupying the channel.  The return sees the viewer updated to version 3.7.5.288404 (download and release notes).

Group Bans List

Things have been a little quiet in this of late. speaking at the Server Beta meeting on Thursday March 27th, Baker Linden explained why. “I pushed a new version of the group ban viewer, but unfortunately, it’s still a tad unstable. I don’t know how I managed to mess up the merge this bad … I think I lost some code. Well, I’m sure I lost some code. So I’m trying to go back and fix all that, but it’s coming along.”

The latest versions of the test viewer can be obtained via the links on the Server Beta wiki page. This can be tested on Aditi, and the server-side code in active on Morris, where the Server Beta meetings are held (and the code for which has been updated to prevent people with group ban rights from banning themselves from the group…).

Group Chat

There was a further test of the group chat back-end changes during the Server Beta meeting on Thursday March 27th. This involved around the same number of people as the first test, with some remaining in one location and others moving between regions while chatting.

In both instances, viewer freezes were noted when swapping between the group chat sessions and between local chat and one or other of the group chat sessions. These would last between 2-10 seconds depending on the volume of chat going through the group channel session being swapped to, with the average freeze being around 5 seconds.

Commenting on progress with the work, Simon Linden said:

I’m cautiously optimistic I can increase the performance … which should help reliability. From what I can tell, it just can’t handle the load at times. At a small-scale group chat isn’t that difficult a problem but with possibly 42 groups per online AV, the numbers involved can start getting big … I didn’t write the group chat servers, but am just the lucky guy wading through it now. Like I said, I’m cautiously optimistic I can improve it. A re-write to a new engine would be a pretty large project … and has already been tried once.

 Further testing should be progressing to Agni and a large group in week 14.