Inventing the Future

Oh. Canada.

Our weekly engineering meeting has a conference table and a huge projection screen. On this Monday, the Vancouver Olympics had just closed, and our three Canadian engineers were celebrating their climactic hockey victory. Being virtual, it was ridiculously easy(*) to find a flag image on Google, drag it in-world, and throw it up on the projector. No mess, no fuss, and no disturbance of the meeting. It might have been an afterthought, but it was appreciated.

In public social virtual worlds, a lot of attention gets paid to avatars — that’s your primary dimension of expression. But in private business worlds, the whole environment is yours to personalize, and it’s easy to change frequently. The discussion referenced in my previous post spoke of spontaneously creating a whole meeting room reserved and named in honor of a visitor.


* Much easier than the mechanics of adding a picture to this blog. See this video, and especially the last minute.

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My Thoughts Exactly

R.I.P. Jon Swift — a good man gone

The funny, kind, decent and fiercely democratic (note the lower-case “d”) blogger Jon Swift has died, much too young. See Tom Watson’s appreciation here. Swift, whose “real world” name was Al Weisel, was a friend to Wetmachine, having twice or thrice blogged about this site as “a great site you’ve never heard of” or similar. I never met the man in person, but in email correspondence he was kind and helpful to me. As a blogger, he was an inspiration.

In honor of Al/Jon Swift, this week is Blogroll Amnesty Day at Wetmachine. If your blog is not spam, porn, or blatantly offensive and you’re willing to put Wetmachine on your blogroll, I’ll put you on ours. Leave details in the comments or send me a note to [my first name] at [this a-here website].

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Inventing the Future

Taking the Red Pill

Under a banner that says “make a difference in the world”, there’s a wonderful piece at active rain about using collaborative virtual worlds for Web 3.0 activity in the real estate industry.

I think we made a difference.

Read More »

Posted in history: external milestones and context, Inventing the Future | Also tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

Asset Risk

Julian Lombardi makes some terrific points about asset risk for virtual worlds on his blog. I think the issue is a pretty fertile area for exploration as we all continue to invent new ways of working together, but Blogspot simply doesn’t allow that much content in discussion, so I’ll have to fork it here.

I see the asset risk issue-space as breaking out into at least two dimensions:
* Bit storage vs bit usage
* Point assets vs context

Read More »

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My Thoughts Exactly

Hey Verizon: You hijack my url, I hijack your customer support

If you get Internet from Verizon (as I do) you’ve probably mistyped an URL from time to time and been redirected by Verizon to their “did you mean” spamo site. If you’re like me, this has probably pissed you off.

Well, Dennis Jerz is like me, and over on his Jerz’s Literacy Weblog he’s written an amusing account of how he got rid of the Verizon intruder, and cost Verizon a few dollars for so doing, just to make things fair.

The blog is generally interesting on other topics as well. Check it out.

Posted in I Fear These Things, My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

On Writing

I’ve been bumming about my postings (or lack) lately. I want to write about cool possibilities and what they might mean, but most of what I do can’t be talked about until it is released. It seems like it shouldn’t matter whether you write about what you’re doing versus what you’ve done, but I think it does. I feel like everything I write about the latest cool thing my colleagues or I did ends up sounding like an ad. Not an effective and entertaining thing, but just that it sounds like I’m trying to sell something.

Sorry about that. As far as I am aware, I write to sort out ideas. I was taught that if I can’t name something or talk about it effectively, then I don’t understand it. And I write to to document my journey. In both cases, I should be discussing work in progress. But even the entries I made while working at the University of Wisconsin all seem to be about actual working results, rather than projects that I was still designing. And I’m not sure why, but it feels like the out-of-sync aspect is getting worse. There is a commercial relevance. For example, way more than a year ago I had been very happy when a new reader told me what a delight it was to find my blog, and he offered some interesting comments. But it turns out that this fellow was from a ginormous company that is now a (hopefully) happy repeat customer. While I don’t clear anything I write with anyone at work, I can’t pretend that I am unaware of any potential commercial impact. Not sure what to about all that.

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My Thoughts Exactly

Awesom Newsom

Neutrino-class Wetmachiner David Newsom has his own blog. He’s a fine actor & photographer but a no-good bum, of course, because he now does most of his blogging on the above-linked site, instead of here at Wetmachine among us regular folks who might wear a tennis shoe or an occasional python boot, where he belongs. So why do I link to him at all, you ask?

Because of the photos, man. And the stories. The photos and the stories. Check ’em out. That is all.

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My Thoughts Exactly

Yes, Kat, it's true! I do love you! I love anybody who buys one of my books, especially if they blog about me!

Sure, my books are available for free download. But when you buy an actual printed copy, I’ll inscribe it any way you like, as for example, here:

cover page of the pains with my handwritten inscription

It says, “Kat, I love you madly, but it has to stop here. To continue on as we have been doing would be MADNESS!”

Yes, it’s like a Governor Sanford or Senator Ensign letter to a mistress, declaring love but calling off the affair. What’s different about the affair between Kat and me, however, is that we’ve never actually met each other. Or even had a conversation.

Details at her blog. Her review of The Pains is here. I do wish it had been a little more enthusiastic, but I’ll take what I can get. After all, Kat was probably a little bit heartbroken as she wrote it.

The key point is, buy my one of my books and you too can get your very own personalized declaration of undying love in permanent ink. Or whatever else you want me to write. (One of the best things anybody ever asked me to write was something like, “Dear _______. I wish I could write as well as you do. But this crap was the best I could come up with, so it will have to do.”) Go wild! Make me be your dancing monkey! Included FREE with the purchase of a book. As Billy Mays might have asked, “NOW how much would you pay?”!

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Inventing the Future

QRLs are not SLurls … but they play that role on the 'Net.

We’ve created ordinary http URLs that teleport you to places in-world in Qwaq Forums, Being programmers, we could not resist the pun of calling them QRLs. The most common uses today are:

  • meet me here – telling someone where to meet, in IM, email, or calendar invite
  • I was here – recording a history of where you were in a bookmark or some sort of audit trail
  • go there – even if working asynchronously, you can tell people where to go to explore more from a Web page, blog, or wiki

Most programs will recognize http://… and turn it into something clickable that starts your Web browser if it is not already started. Our QRLs produce a page that displays instructions, which is nice if you don’t yet have the Forums client installed. But if it is installed, the page can automatically launch the client and place you directly at the designated location.

Read More »

Posted in Inventing the Future, workflow | Also tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Do it yourself publlishing — R.W. Ridley style

Last week this fellow R.W. Ridley started following me on twitter after I tweeted about kindlizing The Pains. He’s a writer with a horror series called The Takers aimed at young adults. Turns out that like me, he’s a self-publisher. Like me, he’s won the Self-Published Book Award from Writer’s Digest magazine. Like me, he’s got a blog & is experimenting with kindle and various other ways of getting the word out. Unlike me, he seems to have good portions of his act together. For example his blog is streamed to his author page on Amazon. (How do he do that?) And he has a couple of other neat things, like a youtube video for his books. I have never met the fellow and haven’t read his books & so have no idea of how well he’s doing sales-wise and whether the books are any good. But I was impressed by this little audio book sample. It’s well read and well written and creepy, with nice sound effects. Check it out. And check out his website, there’s some other cool stuff there.

I also note with interest his blog posting about how this year print-on-demand titles outnumbered traditionally published titles. Wow. And then consider, there are lots of self-published books, like mine, that are not POD. (Mine are traditional offset books.) Things sure are changing in the publishing world. And so it goes and so it goes and so it goes, as the man said, but where it’s going, no one knows. . .

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Wetware | Also tagged , , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)
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