Category Archives: ICM500
by complete coincidence, Sphere logged in the other day — and the next day, Red Rocks was gone. I rescued this “last bmp”
No SL access from QU campus, so only the “remote” students — Gigii, Wii, Kram and me — were able to make it inworld. Gigii called into the classroom by cellphone and took final instructions from the folks locked in meatspace.
We said our goodbyes, then coaxed Kram (who was “ruthing” again) into a souvenir snap at the Ecoutee store.
Gigii and Wii made all the final Marketing tweaks: 2D website URL on back wall (with click-link to site itself), and new email address for Flickr postcard collection (now at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ecoutee).
Gigii had great news tonight: Etopia has named her as the sim’s official graphic designer and she is opening a second store in the second Etopia sim, E2.
I suggested she try a repeat Grand Opening timed to the coming Etopia Winter Festival. I offered my help with anything she might need.
We took one final team snap and called the project DONE!
My next projects include: bringing Lalique crystal inworld, and finding a sponsor to help develop an SL kite-flying association.
My SLbizNet weekly inworld networking group meets Saturdays at noon SLT. Join us!
I’m happy to report that the Grand Opening of our organic clothing store in Second Life was a resounding success. Thanks to Jojo, William and the Etopia Eco-Village community, we had a nice turnout. Everyone loved Gigii’s designs and it was very gratifying to see folks wearing the freebie logo tee — and buying and wearing several of the others.
Completely coincidentally (I didn’t hire him, honest!), our very first official guest was jolly old St. Nick himself, who stopped by to take a snap in the wacky Double ee tee-for-two with Gigii. We had alot of fun with that gimmick — some really hilarious pairings (see for yourself in our Flickr photo album, which I see is just this minute rotating onto the main SL blog page). And we found a potential Ecoutee spokesmodel in Aiva Rayna.
We aren’t quite sure exactly how some folks found out about us: whether from the main SL Events List or from the snaps we posted the previous week to the SL Flickr group. But we were happy to see so many friends (like Kalok with his scary insect outfits and Wii’s friend Vicki the blonde bombshell who was the first to alert everyone to the QuickTime exploit).
Maybe it was just the Friday primetime hour, or the new viewer, or the particle snowflakes from our Santa Bench… but things seemed unusually glitchy. I could see how that might really upset some commercial enterprises but really at that point what else is there to do but laugh it off and keep sipping virtual Champagne?
Prof asks “what you think you learned, what you are proud of, what you were frustrated by, what you wish you (or we) might have done differently.” Let me take those one at a time.
1.) What I learned: that a successful commercial enterprise in SL is less about location, location, location than it is about community, community, community. We never could have done this without the help of the good folks in Etopia, who checked in on us often, encouraged us, offered help, and ultimately “were there for us” when it counted.
2.) What I’m proud of: that I found Etopia early and that Gigii and I were able to secure a place there. The sim has since filled up completely with businesses and residents and they are already building a second sim called E2. I’m also proud of the little marketing tricks I discovered and employed — with the help of other people inworld who responded to my inquiries. I must have IM’d a dozen perfect strangers on topics that ran the gamut from “how do I get two different avatars to wear the same shirt?” to “where can I buy a kite?” In nearly every instance, people got back to me within an hour or a day. Amazing!
3.) Frustrated by?: oh, that one is easy. I wish we had spent more time inworld working collaboratively as a team. On those few occasions when we were actually there together, we really accomplished alot of good stuff.
4.) Done differently?: hmmm, I may have to think about this one for a while, at least as far as the project goes. Vis-a-vis the class, I’ve mentioned before that I think we spent too much time at the beginning griping about the platform. Let’s get with the program folks: SL ain’t perfect but it’s still the most compelling online experience today.
We should have focused our class sessions on voice lectures by the prof with typed Q&A (which worked well once or twice) and for honing our building and scripting skills (I’d still hate it — but at least people wouldn’t think that was because I couldn’t do it). Oh and don’t waste inworld class time going over the next week’s assignments. Just post it to the blog — or send it as an SL notecard!
And if this course is given again — as I hope it will be, since every time we told someone in SL that we were in a class they were extremely impressed (hooray for QU!) — don’t bother to book a classroom with lousy PCs. Right from the start, make sure each student has SL-ready hardware and a convenient private place to log in from. In other words, no logistical/technical issues (beyond those that everyone else using SL regularly has.)
Sure, let’s get together once or twice in person, so we know who’s behind the avatars, preferably at someplace with food in New Haven. But after that, see you all inworld!
We’re timing the Grand Opening of our store in Etopia Eco-Village to coincide with the community’s weekly group gathering on Friday — which this week is very luckily taking place in the Community Garden near our shop.
Ain’t nothin goin on but the rent at our Etopia store.
So in the meantime, I’m trying to come up with some new promotional ideas. One day, I tried to log in and SL was down. The notice referred me to the official blog and when I went there, I saw that it displayed a Flickr SL Group feed down the left side. So I joined the group and uploaded a snap Gigii and I had taken when we first rented the store and put up a crude Ecoutee logo sign. Within a couple of minutes, it displayed on the blog page. I figure that’s good for a few impressions.
I also looked into how to list an SL event (which we later learned is one of Kram’s tricks for generating traffic). So as soon as Gigii, Wii and I get together and figure out when our Grand Opening will be, we can add it to the Event list. I’m hoping we can have it coincide with a scheduled event on Etopia for maximum impact.
During the last session, our class visited Etopia and we met WilliamtheWise and Jojogirl, who founded and manage the Eco-Village. They are great folks and always helpful. I’m happy we decided to locate there. I’ve been spending time with them and the other residents, chatting and getting to know each other. The other night at the Fair Trade coffeehouse, one couple announced their engagement. The assembled group congratulated them and began asking questions about their plans for the wedding. I asked if they intended to announce it in the New York Times and wondered whether the paper would carry such an item. I intend to find out.
In a related development, I was contacted by a reporter for the New York Post who interviewed me for a proposed follow-up to this story. We’ll see what comes of it…
On the readings, we had Politics, the whole “performativity” piece – and that bizarre class session about gifting among the tribes of the long pig. I enjoy these Platonic Dialogues and I’m glad we’ve finally stopped complaining about “the platform” and are getting into the actual subject matter. Sometimes, though I end up missing the point of the discussion.
I think our experiment with voice a while ago turned out quite interesting. It forced us to finally acknowledge that this all works better when everyone is in their own space (rather than in the same classroom). At least that’s what I got out of it. We had one full session with voice that seemed to work OK. Then after that, we had a session where the Prof had voice and the rest of us typed (which is my personal favorite method). But the Prof felt weird and ended up typing himself. And then in the most recent class, we all reverted to typing. Hmmmm.
Was reading the Scripting chapter in SLOG and most of it went over my head. There was a line in there about “it works the same way it did in your high school physics class.” Now, I actually did take Physics in high school, but it was by far my worst and least favorite subject. The teacher was a giant of a man, with some kind of Southern drawl. His name was Mr. Mayhew and he would scare us by telling us this was what college was going to be like. In other words, very hard.
We were all terrified (at least, I was terrified; and I knew the guy sitting next to me was terrified). Mr. Mayhew would present the day’s problem(s) and go up and down the rows calling on us to see if anyone knew the answer.
“Come on, Billah!” Mr. Mayhew would bellow to a kid named Billy. “You got a Cadillac in the backyard and you’re walkin’!”
After several kids didn’t have the foggiest idea, he’d throw it open to the class. So on the rare occasions when I did have the answer — or a stab at an answer, or a little bit of something he could use to move the problem forward — I’d raise my hand and volunteer it. That was a great feeling and it made the terrified kid next to me suffer even more with envy.
When I did get to college, Freshman Calc was a required course. It was held in a giant classroom that was really like an auditorium or amphitheater. The professor seemed VERY far away (maybe that was because I sat VERY FAR AWAY from him, way up in the cheap seats).
I remember the exact moment I gave up on Calc — and Math altogether. The professor began a problem on the blackboard at the extreme lefthand side of the stage. He continued the problem onto the next board, then the next, then the next, filling up (I swear) five boards and ending up at the extreme right hand side.
Then he walked back over to the first board on the left, erased what was on it — AND CONTINUED WORKING ON THE PROBLEM!!! That was it. I spent the rest of the semester staring at M.C. Escher prints from my Art textbook.
Oh, so anyway… back to Scripting. It’s kinda like that for me: Physics, Math, Calc. But I did have one really neat thought while reading the chapter. I felt that it was trying to introduce me to basic computer programming. In other words, this SLOG chapter was like a classroom primer. And I suddenly had the feeling that, as one of a million-plus SL users, I was being initiated gently into this grand computer programming project.
So SL is one big giant collaborative programming project. Huh.
I’m on the Ecoutee Team with Christina and Cliff. Christina is the team leader and we are continuing our previous work to bring her organic t-shirts to Second Life.
We have met several times inworld, in various locations. On the first occasion, Christina/Gigii purchased a parcel of land from another classmate (the land baron known as Kram) and Wii and I helped her remove the For Sale signs, put a perimeter around the property and eject a snoozing land-bot. There were several avatars circling the parcel, and Gigii was excited to step up from resident to owner. She started building her Ecoutee headquarters there.
I gave Wii, who enjoys building, a vehicle object I had purchased previously and he was going to see whether it could be used for our current purposes. Then, as Chief Marketing Officer on the project, I went off to research the competitive landscape (heh-heh). I did an inworld search for ALL “eco” places and found a sim called Ecotopia (aka Etopia) with a related SL Group.
I visited Etopia and found it very similar in orientation to Gigii’s product and philosophy. When the team next met, I had some bamboo bicycles and other freebies I had picked up at Etopia and I invited the other two to tour it with me. We took the monorail and circumnavigated the entire sim. There was a store for rent in a prominent location and we pondered whether this might be a good place to have an Ecoutee outpost.
We also visited Yarn-Mart, which is in Plush Mega (not Etopia) and found it to be a good model for an organic clothing store — taking special note of the displays and links to an RL ecommerce website.
I returned to Etopia again another night to find that the store had been transformed into an organic restaurant. There were some residents chatting in the Fair Trade coffee house next door and I introduced myself. I was shown some other spaces for rent. I learned again the hard way that things change very quickly in SL, and opportunities should be seized or risk being lost.
Gigii by now had become fond of Etopia and wanted an outpost there. We returned again and finally secured a location that will serve her purposes in the long run. She is preparing our proposal presentation tonight using notes and snaps that I have provided (along with contributions from Wii). She will also unveil a surprise tomorrow in class.
I feel we have done a good bit of research (you’re never done with research) and have set out for ourselves a clear and achievable plan. The best part is knowing that it is not merely an exercise but the start of an actual small business that may benefit from our efforts.