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Off to Second Life

Virtual worlds are not normally something I'd have the time or inclination to play around with, but tonight I'm attending a seminar about The New Virtual Frontier in Second Life. The place has received a lot of media coverage recently, especially after Reuters set up shop there, and some of it has caused angry rebuttals from long-time Second Life residents, so I'll be a bit careful with how I phrase this: Swedish think tank Eudoxa claims to hold the first public policy institute seminar in the virtual world Second Life tonight at 7pm Central Europe time. That sounds like a bit of an adventure to me, and since I love adventures and am always curious about the new and untested, I couldn't pass up on this opportunity, even though I have two of my favourite people staying with me this weekend (which probably means I'm turning into a bit of a geek):

Okay, landed on the wrong side of the island where the lecture is held due to a bug of some sort, so one of the main organisers told me. Managed to walk to conference hall, but this life/avatar is all new to me so can't even walk straight and have absolutely no clue as to how to make my avatar sit down, ah... that's how to do it...

At this point I realise that my internet connection is simply not good enough to attend a lecture in Second Life and blog it at the same time. Besides, how do I turn on the sound, that is, not the background music, but the lecture? I did make one previous research trip to the lecture hall to make sure I would find my way there when the lecture was on, but there are many more obstacles for a newbie in this world to deal with than I had anticipated. For one, at times when I stand up, my avatar appears to scratch what would have been its groin, had it been a man, without me touching anything on the keyboard. Rather embarrassing that, perhaps a sign that the software was developed by men...

Still the quality of the software is pretty impressive, and though you do feel a bit like you are entering an alien world where the gravitation is such that you have to relearn how to do even the most basic things, like walking, it sure beats having to get on an airplane to catch an interesting lecture.

I expect I might be back for similar events in the future, but as my friends whisk me away for a rare weekend off work, I doubt very much I'd ever find the time to do more than attend the odd lecture in Second Life (notes on the lecture will follow later).

Update: a few impressions, and picture, from the event here


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