Posts Tagged Second Life

Lively, Vista, iPhone, and YouTube Ads

At the beginning of class today, I relayed the story of one of my students from last semester and her quest for a job.  I hope she’ll be blogging about it soon on WebPubNET, but basically she was successful in securing employment for working a personal network. She made a point to come to a guest speaker engagement (consisting of one of my former students and her employer), asked questions during the session, introduced herself afterward, traded contact info.  Had a few followup conversations, received an invite to a lovely party, and then ultimately found herself getting called in for an interview.  She is now gainfully employed by Trademark Media as a Design Technologist! Participating in a community really works. And, this isn’t a random situation or one-shot deal.  I have been constantly impressed with the power of tapping my former students to place my current students.

We talked about the frenzy for the new iPhone and Apple’s processes to handle the demand come the release of the 3G version on Friday.

Google just announced its own entry in the virtual space with Lively.  It’s sort of a Second Life competitor, but right now, it is different in that it is not one cohesive “world.” Here’s the YouTube video we looked at for Bobcat Village, TX State’s Second Life island.

We looked at an article on Microsoft’s Vista, the much criticized operating system.  Apparently, Microsoft is going to take a harder line, not letting customers purchase new hardware with XP on it, the old, reliable OS.  This looks more like a PR move, in combating criticisms from competitiors (read “Apple”).  Good luck with that.  Anyone I know that has used Vista thinks it is a piece of junk, a big step backward.  Now that Bill Gates is gone, I think you will see more of this hard line approach to customer issues  via the management style of Steve Ballmer.

Finally, we discussed YouTube’s strategy for adding pre-roll and post-roll ads to some of their videos.  Most of my students felt that it was something that was bound to happen eventually, the free ride was going to be over sooner or later.  As we know, Google owns YouTube.  They are only going to be placing ads on a small percentage of videos that are preapproved by advertisers.  That does two things, insures advertisers that their products/services won’t be associated with potentially questionable material in some YouTube videos and it limits their liability for potentially generating revenue on copyrighted material.

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Republican Congressman Proposes Ban on Second Life in Schools, Libraries

Chicago Rep. Mark Kirk has sponsored legislation that would ban access to social networking sites for schools and libraries. His recent target at a press conference was Second Life, the online virtual world. Kirk has concerns that there is no age verification on the site and there are several spaces on the site in which inappropriate activities are occurring, citing virtual prostitution and drug deals. He has introduced the Deleting Online Predators Act.

The American Library Association opposes the bill because “it ignores the value of interactive Web applications as a learning tool, could block helpful sites, and would inhibit librarians’ ability to teach youngsters about how to use the Web safely.”

This is really no different than conversations that have been going on since the beginning of the Web. There are bad applications and good applications. His bill asks for a “technology protection measure” that will filter these sites from public institutions, but does allow them to be “used for an educational purpose with adult supervision.” That’s easy to say, but in actuality, these approved uses will be stifled if there are constraints to their access and creative development will be slowed. I think the sites themselves are going to have to get more aggressive about the types of activities they allow on their sites and how they monitor things like age verification. Parents, teachers need peace of mind that children won’t be exposed to inappropriate content, but they also have to take some responsibility in learning and exploring, so they can help kids understand the right way to use them. On a related note, Facebook has reached an agreement with the attorneys general of 49 states to institute some policies that will protect young users. The policies include requiring under-18 users to read safety tips on signup, adding a prominent Report Abuse icon, not allowing a significant change in users’ ages, and taking down flagged material within 24 hours. This is a good example of the social network taking responsibility. MySpace did the same earlier this year. And, although the article above doesn’t specify it in this case, for MySpace, the 50th state, the only one not on board, was Texas.

I’m still not sold on Second Life, waiting for it to generate some relevant usage, but I have seen some demonstrations of its usage in academic settings. It holds a good deal of potential. What remains to be seen is, do we need a visual 3-D rendering with avatars to communicate the way we have been on the Web already?

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