Elves, hobbits, tigers, heroes, natives and pirates

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

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

Sunday July 6th, 12:00 Noon, Kitely: Selections from Lord of the Rings

One evening Frodo and Sam were walking together in the cool twilight. Both of them felt restless again. On Frodo suddenly the shadow of parting had falling: he knew somehow that the time was very near when he must leave Lothlorien.

lotr-poster“What do you think of Elves now, Sam?” he said. “I asked you the same question once before –it seems a very long while ago; but you have seen more of them since then.”

“I have indeed!” said Sam. “And I reckon there’s Elves and Elves. They’re all elvish enough, but they’re not all the same. Now these folks aren’t wanderers or homeless, and seem a bit nearer to the likes of us: they seem to belong here, even more than Hobbits do in the Shire. Whether they’ve made the land, or the land’s made them, it’s hard to say, if you take my meaning. It’s wonderfully quiet here. Nothing seems to be going on, nobody seems to want it to. If there’s any magic about, it’s right down deep, where I can’t lay my hands on it, in a manner of speaking.”

Caledonia Skytower invites you to join her at the Rivendell Terrace as your favourite Lord of the Rings character or a member of your favourite Middle Earth race. On offer are selections from Tolkien’s classic story of Rings, Hobbits, Elves, Men, Wizards and more, all bound together in an enduring tale of good versus evil.

Teleport from the main landing zone to Willow Island, walk through the White Gate and up the Elven Path

Monday July 7th, 19:00: Space Wars: The Colonel’s Tiger Continues

This week, Gyro Muggins continues another story from Larry Niven’s Man-Kzin wars, The Colonel’s Tiger by Hal Colebatch.

The colony ship Angel’s Pencil is the first human vessel to encounter the Kzin. Following a violent exchange, the Angel’s Pencil relays her situation and the attack on her by the Kzin, including detailed information on the anatomy and physiology of their attackers. While the reports are dismissed by many as an outbreak of psychosis on the colony vessel, for one ARM agent, they trigger a memory about a confrontation between a human and a “tiger man”, which took place in the 19th century on Earth …

Tuesday July 8th, 19:00: A Dog’s Purpose, Concludes

Reincarnation can be confusing for a human; reborn into different lives, trying to learn lessons of the past in order to discover one’s purpose … Imagine what it must be like for a dog.

That’s exactly what humourist W. Bruce Cameron has done in his 2010 best seller A Dog’s Purpose. Bailey, pup of a stray, is rather surprised to find himself reborn as a Golden Retriever after being euthanized. It surprises him even more when, after a happy life involving a young boy, a farm and more, Bailey passes from the world … Only to find himself occupying the body of a German shepherd bitch. Thus comes the realisation that he is serving some higher purpose.

The problem is, and as his lives continue, Bailey can’t figure out exactly what that purpose might be…

Travel with Caledonia Skytower and Kayden Oconnell as they continue their journey through Bailey’s heartwarming and funny tale of many lives, a dog’s-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend; a story in which love never dies, and true friends are always with us.

Wednesday July 9th, 19:00: Tall Tales: American Legends

Pecos Bill by Fred Davis

Davy Crockett, Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, John Henry and more.  Legends?  Or were they real people whose large lives have gotten even larger with the telling and retelling of their adventures?

From their origins in the days of the old frontier years. tall tales have become a major element of American folk literature. The tales of legendary figures of the Old West owe much to such stories, told in a way that makes the narrator seem to have been an eye witness; a good-natured exaggeration of the events and exploits becoming a major part of the story itself.

So come take a perch up on the top rail of the corral with Caledonia Skytower for some tall tales about the men and women of American folklore who cast long shadows. 

Thursday July 10th

16:00: First Nation Tales

Caledonia Skytower and Dubhna Rhiadra sit down to bring us more native tales from the first peoples of the North American continent.

Drawing on  number of sources and resources, Cale and Dubna have, over the years, drawn together collections of stories and legends from across a number of First Nation tribes, including the Zuni, Omaha, Paiute, and Hopi as well as legends from Kwaikutlsome in Western Canada. Some of these stories have been published, others of which have come from the long tradition of the spoken word, with archetypal tales handed down through successive generations.

“We have everything from Raven stealing the moon, to how Winter and Summer came to be, and the Creation of Corn,” Cale says of the stories. “The thing I like about them, is the imagery and the “themes” are almost Aesopian. They are all lesson/moral/cautionary tales.”

Join Cale and Dubhna as they delve into this treasure chest of tales and legends.

19:00: Legends of the Brethren Court

Shandon Loring takes to the high seas with none other that a young Jack Sparrow, Pirate Lord of the Caribbean Sea, Captain of the Black Pearl, and the youngest Pirate Lord ever admitted into the Brethren Court. With the Shadow Lord seeking to destroy the Brethren Court and it’s down to Jack – sometimes helped, sometimes hindered, by his fellow brethren Pirate Lords – to prevent it.

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

With Finn Zeddmore.

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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 July-August is WildAidseeking to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes by reducing demand through public awareness campaigns and providing comprehensive marine protection.

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The Drax Files Radio Hour: Tony Parisi and the web as the home of VR

radio-hourEpisode #26 of  The Drax Files Radio Hour was posted on Friday July 4th. Marking the 5th interview segment while the “regular” podcasts are on hiatus for the summer. It features none other than the remarkable Tony Parisi.

As usual, and as well as being available on the show’s website and on Stitcher, episode #26 is also on YouTube, and that version is also embedded at the end of this article.

For those not familiar with the name, Tony Parisi is the co-creator of the VRML and X3D ISO standards for networked 3D graphics, and a 3D technology innovator. He’s a career CTO / software architect and entrepreneur, has and is serving on a number working groups, and may also be familiar to some as one of the SVVR Creating the VR Metaverse panel in April 2014.

Tony Parisi (via SVVR)
Tony Parisi (via SVVR.com)

In June he published a blog post entitled Virtually Anywhere, which serves as the launching point for the interview. In that post, he makes the case for the metaverse being the 3D web, pointing to the work of Vladimir Vukićević and Josh Carpenter (who was also on the SVVR Creating the VR Metaverse panel) of Mozilla in bringing native support for the Oculus Rift and other VR devices to Firefox; work which is also being  being paralleled by Brandon Jones at Google for Chrome and also within Internet Explorer. This is something he sees as undoubtedly beneficial, commenting:

We’re now seeing attempts to develop Virtual reality for the Oculus Rift using web technology. There are a couple of browser extensions you can get for Firefox and Chrome that will talk to the Oculus headset, you can write some JavaScript code for WebGL to render in stereo. And so people are starting to experiment with that, which is a really good thing, because I believe that open technology is the way we’re going to build the virtual reality metaverse.

He admits that the post is something of a manifesto to get VR onto the web, rather than seeing it recycled through walled gardens utilising proprietary applications which must be downloaded and installed in order to be used. It’s a manifesto worth reading, and certainly one to give pause for thought. A 3D web has long been talked about – often in terms of the technology which will supplant the web as we know it (e.g. as SL was once glowingly described) – actually seeing the web itself evolve to leverage virtual and augmented reality makes far more sense, being a more logical evolutionary step.

Vladimir Vukićević and Josh Carpenter - working on
Vladimir Vukićević and Josh Carpenter – working on browser support for Oculus Rift and other VR devices – see their joint presentation (images: Wikipedia and Mozilla, respectively)

Through his development of VRML and X3D, Tony is no stranger to the potential of VR or, for that matter, virtual worlds. In discussing VRML, he points to Blaxxun Interactive (originally “Black Sun Interactive”, a name taken from virtual night club featured in Neal Stephenson’s Snowcrash), credited with the development of one of the first 3D community platforms designed for the Internet back in 1995.

While VRML didn’t catch on in the manner hoped, being an idea somewhat ahead of its time given the state of play with hardware, data transmissions speeds on the Internet, etc., it did give rise to X3D. This, together with improvements in home computing capabilities and better Internet connectivity, saw Tony and his colleagues poking at virtual world environments.

The famous Business Week magazine cover
The famous Business Week magazine cover

“We were sitting in a garage doing it together,” he recounts, “And then Second Life got on the cover of Business Week in 2007. Everyone probably remembers the famous Anshe Chung avatar on the cover; and that’s when the boom starter and hype started around Second Life, around ’07.

“And by that summer, literally two months, three months later, I had a lot of investment money from large venture capitalists to do the same thing in a web browser, lighter weight, a little more mainstream targeted. Second Life was thought to be for the geeks, the shut-ins, all these pejoratives you can imagine, disregarding the creative impulse and all the wonderful stuff that was built. And so a lot of folks, including management in my start-up, for example, felt that there could be a middle-of-the-bell-curve mainstream virtual world experience targeted at about everybody that would work just great.”

The product was originally called Flux, and while it didn’t quite go as planned, as Tony wryly notes, it did morph into Vivaty, which carried on through until 2010, and Vivaty Studio is still around today.

Continue reading “The Drax Files Radio Hour: Tony Parisi and the web as the home of VR”