A new Automated Hypergrid Directory with Great Potential

Mike Leopard, creator of the iDreamsNet Hypergrid List

Mike Leopard, creator of the iDreamsNet Hypergrid List

Two of my biggest challenges when exploring Hypergrid-connected regions across the multitude of Opensim-based grids have always been: 1) finding places where people are currently visiting and 2) not wasting time trying to connect to places that are offline.

And over the years, there have been commendable efforts to manually create lists of Hypergrid-connected places (e.g., Hyperica) as well as strong work to create networked inworld devices (e.g., TheHypergates).  All this work has been wonderful and very helpful to the growth of the Hypergrid.

However, I’ve always felt an ideal tool to really tie together the Hypergrid would be an automatically updated (i.e., # of current visitors and online status) and simple searchable web-based directory that was very easy to join.

Which is why I’m very excited by the new iDreamsNet Hypergrid List created by Mike Leopard.  He’s nailed all of those features right out of the gate.

There aren’t many regions listed right now since the system is brand new and opt-in, but it’s incredibly easy to join and therefore could grow very quickly.  To get your own Hypergrid-connected region included in the list, you just rez an object on your region which phones home to the iDreamsNet website and immediately creates an entry for your region on the Hypergrid List.  You are given a special link where you can go edit your listing (add photo, descriptive text, tags, website) and, over time, this object communicates back to the iDreamsNet website to let it know if your region is currently online and how many people are currently on it.  More details can be found on the iDreamsNet website.

My entry for Pathlandia.  You can see I was logged in by myself when this was taken. ;)

My entry for Pathlandia. You can see I was logged in by myself when this was taken. ;)

With the recent elimination of the 4096 region distance bug, there’s no need anymore to complicate Hypergrid directories with grid coordinates or “upper, middle, lower” categories.  Now, anyone can jump from any Hypergrid location to any other Hypergrid location.  We just need a simple, automated and powerful directory.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how this new service evolves, and I love the clean Google-esque design of it.  Simple, automated and powerful.  Great work so far, Mike!

Take care,
-John “Pathfinder” Lester

How to convert a prim-based object in Second Life or Opensim into a mesh object on your hard drive using the Singularity viewer

prim cube

ye olde prim

This is pretty cool.

The most recent version of the Singularity viewer (version 1.8.1) adds a particularly interesting feature:

  • Wavefront (.obj) and Collada (.dae) Export by Apelsin, Inusaito, and Latif Khalifa - Allows export of your creations into Blender, Unity3D and other modeling applications and game engines

This means you can now take a prim-based object from within Second Life or Opensim and export it to your hard drive as a mesh object (either .obj or .dae file format).

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Breakdown of Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset and Integrating with Unity3d and Jibe

Oculis RiftI’m eagerly awaiting my own developer version of the Oculus Rift, which should arrive in about a month.

My plans are to immediately start working on how to best integrate it with Jibe and Unity3d.

In particular, our newly released Jibe 2.0 has a built-in 1st-person perspective mode that is ideal for things like virtual reality headsets.

Exploring a test Jibe 2.0 world in 1st-person perspective

Exploring a multiuser Jibe 2.0 world in 1st-person perspective.

Keep an eye on this blog for future details.

Needless to say, I was very excited to see the folks at iFixit posting a great teardown of the developer version of the Oculus Rift headset.

oculus-rift-teardown

If you have an Oculus Rift and would like to brainstorm with me on how it can be integrated with multiuser virtual world applications, please drop me an email (john.e.lester@gmail.com) or post in the comments.

Perhaps we can also schedule a Team Fortress 2 game while using our headsets!

-John “Pathfinder” Lester
Chief Learning Officer, ReactionGrid Inc.

P.S.  ReactionGrid’s Lead Developer Matthew Bertrand is also getting an Oculus Rift dev kit.  He’s pretty psyched about it, and we all expect amazing things from him!

“The effects of virtual space on learning: A literature review”

If you’re interested in the use of virtual worlds in education and immersive learning, it’s always a challenge finding good research papers on the subject.

Which is why I was so excited today when I discovered Olle Sköld’s paper “The effects of virtual space on learning: A literature review.”

It’s a fantastic resource full of great references and summaries, and it’s also very timely (was published in Jan 2012).  Best of all, the full paper is freely accessible online.

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I’m presenting at the “Midnight to Noon Conference for Second Life Educators and Researchers” on Oct 27

The folks at EduFinland are hosting a conference on October 27 called the “Midnight to Noon Conference for Second Life Educators and Researchers.”

Although the conference is being held in Second Life, the presentations will discuss a wide range of research across many different virtual world platforms.

I’ll be speaking on a panel at 8am EDT on “The Future of Learning in Virtual Worlds.”

At 10am EDT I’ll be giving a keynote presentation titled “The Significance of Contextual Flow – Exploring Jibe and Critical Affordances of Web-Based Virtual Worlds.”  And you can participate in my keynote by visiting my Jibe world on the web during the presentation.

For more details, check out the conference website.  Here’s a summary of the agenda:

A 12 hour conference in Second Life for educators and researchers on education and virtual worlds with invited speakers from Europe and the US. The conference features presentations, panels, workshops, excursion and many other types of activitities.

Mark the date Thursday October 27, 2011 in your calendar now and join us in EduFinland archipelago on the lecture theatre on EduFinland III from midnight to noon (PDT).

The researchers and educators at EduFinland have been doing outstanding work over the years, and I had the privilege of meeting many of them in my last trip to Finland.  So I’m really looking forward to this conference.

Hope to see you there!

My favorite coffee mug, courtesy of Finland.

Take care,
-John “Pathfinder” Lester

Summary of ReactionGrid’s ISTE SIGVE presentation in Jibe

ISTE SIGVE (International Society for Technology in Education – Special Interest Group for Virtual Environments) is a group of educators, administrators, and educational technologists who are interested in the development of 3D Virtual Environment platforms for connection and collaboration.

They hold online meetings each month, and on May 17th they invited me to speak to their group about Jibe and Virtual Worlds on the Web.

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Anniversary Celebration of the 1939 New York World’s Fair in ReactionGrid

On April 30th 1939 (that’s 72 years ago!), over 200 thousand people gathered across an acre of land that only a couple years earlier was an ash dump.  Thanks to four years of hard work and planning, those people were able to get a glimpse of the future.

They were attending the opening of the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

Paul M. Van Dort has organized a celebration of the Opening of the World’s Fair in ReactionGrid.  This is the first time an event commemorating the Fair’s opening in a virtual world has ever been done.  While only a few of the pavilions have been constructed so far, this is an opportunity to see the Fair and to actually walk around and explore it.  Walk through the Trylon and Perisphere, view Democracity, and travel down the Helicline. Visit the New York City Building, the Belgium Pavilion, and Westinghouse Electric.

And keep in mind that what you’re seeing is a vision of the future from 72 years ago.  It’s pretty mindblowing to remember that fact.

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Making the Most of Meeting in the Physical World: Evocative Artifacts

MIT’s Technology Review recently published an article on how CardCloud Spells the End of Physical Business Cards.

As someone who spends most of their professional life immersed in the online world, I tend to agree that physical business cards are not an ideal tool for information exchange in the physical world.

But I have a slightly different idea about why I feel that’s the case.

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Avatars in the Boardroom – A Presentation at Tuck School of Business

I recently visited Tuck School of Business and gave a lecture on virtual worlds.

You can read all about it on the ReactionGrid blog.

 

 

“The Everything Guide to Social Media” – quick review and my foreword to the book

Back in May of this year, I was invited by the author to write a Foreword for his soon to be published book “The Everything Guide to Social Media.”

The book is out now, and it’s a good read for anyone interested in exploring the current landscape of social media technologies.

Read on for more of my thoughts, and to see what I wrote in the Foreward.

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