Being a delegate : Brighton Develop

Yesterday I got my pass/ticket through to the Brighton Develop conference. I am attending the Evolve sessions on the first day, and then the first day of the develop track. I am excited about going to this as for the first time (probably ever) I am going to an industry conference but not as a speaker or booth person. This means the only obligation I have is to Feeding Edge and myself of soaking up the entire thing and getting to know yet more people in the industry. As I see the virtual world industry and the games industry as very much on a collision/merger course seeing who is doing what fits nicely on this companies mission.
So as per usual if you are there come say hi or track me down. I wont be hiding in any corners, though if the weather remains this hot I may have to just carry my leather jacket ๐Ÿ™‚
Heading for Develop 09

Update: It will of course mean I will miss the excellent Southampton based @tuesdaytweetup at Dock Gate 4 so hi to everyone remotely.

You are able to confer – virtual gatherings all over the place

The last few days have seen a good few events in both virtual and physical space. It is a mini conference season.
The first (that I had to drop out of half way through) was Raph Koster talking to Cory Ondrejka in Metaplace.
metaplace talk raph and cory
This was notable for several reasons. The first was the number of Second Life friends in there. With a back channel conversation about how we were all happy to have both SL and Metaplace as places to gather for different reasons. The second was that Raph was kind enough to pick up on my question that relates to avatars and what they actually are. I asked “Can we have our avatars be the room?”. Cory spotted the similarity with the concept of being a Dungeon Master which is the though that got me on this track a while back.
Also Metaplace has now become embedable in pages. So your event can be seen live by people sitting on your blog as Cory did.
The other event has been Cisco Live, with some spin off panels in Second Life. I was not able to attend the first of these on Virtual Universities but the excellent treet.tv has this archived already In addition they have archives of all the Metanomics shows including my first outing as Feeding Edge should wish to listen to what I said again and pick me up on any of it down the line ๐Ÿ™‚
I managed to attend the other SL event though. This was about the sensor networks and the Stirling “internet of things”.
cisco live

spimes at cisco

There was a great crowd there and the panel expanded and explained the trend we are seeing of a massive amount of simple connected devices being spread over the planet. Spimes (Space+Time) being one of the main descriptions of them as championed by David Orban
In the post event I sort of changed from audience to presenter as I showed off my mini wearable presentations which turns me into a virtual peacock to show off some ideas. It was not a spamming or griefing excercise but just sprung out the conversation.
Another post event discovery was when the audio stream switched to Kona Radio Gospeed Racer was at the event too. They played a fantastic mashup that I had not come across. (Sorry to the cool kids who alread know of this artist). It was called Boulevard of Broken songs by Party Ben. This was an incredible mash of Green Day and Oasis (Plus Travis and Eminem). I checked out some more of the songs and they are all fantastic, cleverly technically but also creatively. Well worth checking out.
This of course highlights the importance of the post event mingle that we get in virtual worlds again. The 10 mins after the event let me connect with a fellow SLer who often came to SL Wimbledon (Hi Sean), show of some ideas live to an interested audience and also have my ears opened to an artist I had not come across. (You don’t get that on a telecon do you !)
Finally in the events list there is the event that I did not get to in physical or virtual form, but that instead had some great coverage from my good friend Roo Reynolds.
He always takes great notes and shares the salient points on his blog. In this case the Guardian Activate 09 gathering.
The official site is also still live
In particular I liked these lines by Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief, The Huffington Post

  • Mainstream media suffers from attention deficit disorder. New media suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder.
  • You consume old media sitting on your couch. You consume new media galloping on a horse.
  • The cost of launching a new business is now so low that sometimes itโ€™s indistinguishable from starting a new hobby
  • The Guardian covered Arrianna’s speech in an article
    As a gathering and conference with the tag line “Politics, economics, technology and society: Building a better future through the internet” the whole thing was well aligned with my interests as Feeding Edge, so I am thankful as I could not attend that I got a version in Roovision.

    Painting with physics – Kinetic Sketch

    AnnieOK just tweeted a link to this kinetic sketch web application. Its a Flash based application that the brushes are objects that are responding to one another and acting as physical simulations. i.e. a round brush rolls and square one will tip from its corner. In addition to simple physics like gravity there are lots of creativity settings for the trails that are left behind. You can even use live video (though on my Mac I had to tell flash to use the USB video class (a right click on the background and quick menu select in settings to sort that out) in order to get me as a brush. You can then post to multiple places such as I did here with going straight to Flickr (so its suitably social media aware as to be useful too ๐Ÿ™‚ )
    my kinetic sketch
    I still find the most basic of physics simulations interesting, as they used to be the things I wrote with my first computer (a ZX81) intertia, collisions and gravity even just in 2D have an organic feel to them. This though takes that even further with the painting aspects leaving a digital echo of the physical movements. Wonderful stuff IMHO.

    I did a little extra with it that was not camera based.
    Accident in a Tetris factory evolved

    It started to remind me of the recent Tate Modern show on the futurists that I went too.

    Futurism postcards - Tate Modern

    It is interesting what those talented and revolutionary artists may have done back in 1911 with the technology we have today.

    It also reminded me I had not blogged about the wonderful sculpture that I did not get a photo or postcard of byย Umberto Boccioni (who also did the running man above) entitled “Development of a bottle in space”
    Bottle in space

    This was a very striking piece but also one that looked more like prim twisting in Second Life than anything else I had seen.

    This is what a mobile device is for. AR

    In the quest for mobile communication the telecoms companies have tended to stick with the same principles. We need a mobile phone to carry voice, we need a camera to take pictures so that we can have a video conversation (that has not quite seemed to take off). Text messages with SMS was a bit of a suprise and point to point MMS is not quite what people wanted. The rise of the social web, communicating in plain site online has more than ever driven the take up of data plans. Far more than downloading movies, or on the move TV it would seem.
    Augmented reality is in a gap though. When you take the cameras which accidently evolved to show the world not show the user, you take the processing power onboard and the recent huge rise in combined device capabilities we start to see yet more Augmented Reality.
    This is a great IPhone example from some guys at Oxford in the UK.

    It is impressive at it is in effect markerless using the environment to figure registration points.
    The new Iphone 3GS with its compass and even more ways to tell which way is up lends itself also to this sort of game control mechanism. Which is not Augmented Reality as such, though is a branch of the field. Here the real world is used as the control mechanism for the virtual world, and it does not matter where in the real world you are, but the virtual world is always “inside” on the device.

    3d Printing multiple materials with Objet

    I just received a sample from Objet of the results of their new PolyJet Matrix(tm) 3d printing technology. Why is this important? This particular technology means that in one pass an object can be constructed of several types and forms of material. In the example sent through, a rendering of Zebedee from the magic roundabout the various components all feel very different. Given my original 3d print sample was a small ABS plastic box from a few year ago things have really come on.
    Objet 3d print sample
    The hat and nose are actually made of a rubbery substance and soft to the touch, the spring flexes when you push on the sides of it and the body and head have some intricate detail and colour to them (such as the tiny buttons on his front).
    It was an Object printer that was used by the creators of the Coraline movie in a very interesting way too.

    Objet.com 3d printer sample

    There is a whole stack of information in particular on the entry level 350 printer here and you can follow @3d_printers on twitter.
    I am even more convinced than ever of the impact of this sort of technology when combined with the digital design and distribution channels we have. It will continue to get cheaper, better and faster and as in my previous post about some uses of the printers we have a whole host of new business and entertainment uses to consider over and above pure manufacturing of products. This is akin to the differences in virtual world technology usage of mirror worlds and mirror builds compared to more expressive and unusual environments. Mix that all up with Augmented Reality applications and we have one very interesting leap and trends forming.
    As experts in the field of design in this space also warn such as csven on ReBang there are responsibilities in learning to design these sorts of products. Making people aware of the opportunities in their product design profession will bring along safe usuable products.
    Either way, like virtual worlds and Augmented Reality, 3d printing is not going away, in fact they are on a march together it would seem. So join the march I say ๐Ÿ™‚

    John Bull printing set for digital natives – gives me an AR idea

    I just saw a great link from Shapeways about using the 3d printer to create a stamp of a QR code. Using ink on the stamp and pressing it on a surface leaving a valid QR code impression.

    This of course works as an idea on so many levels. It did remind me of the conversation we have round the invention of the printing press and the liberation of thought through that. It also took me back to my childhood with the John Bull printing set. We had small rubber and wooden letters that we lined up in a holder to print sentences.
    Metaltype.co.uk image of John Bull printing set
    (Image from http://www.metaltype.co.uk/ )
    It also struck me that this is a great way to place Augmented reality tags too. QR codes are great in that they encode URL information, they can even be updated live as in Andy Sc’s QR code clock. However placing the markers and tags means they need to be physically rendered somehow if your are doing AR.
    The marker here from this old demo was printed via a regular printer and pasted on a board. How cool would it be to be able to place those markers using a 3d printing stamp?

    That then got me thinking……
    The problem with an AR code marker is that on its own there is not an indication of what it was intended to relate to. It is just a token marker. So stamping AR tags all over the place are meaningless without context. QR codes on the other hand are more detailed versions of a bar code containing things like urls and other indicators.
    So without having to reinvent any standards the AR marker could also include context with a QR marker indicating the context and even where to get the model or the rendering for the AR tag. That combined stamp could then be applied. Just as with any URL then the value of what the QR code points to could be adjusted as needed, updating what the AR does with the tag. An ARRI Augmented Reality Resource indicator.

    Happy 6th Birthday Second Life

    Second Life is turning 6 years old, and as per usual there is a party going on. I popped in to have a quick look (just missing the preview party) but the first thing I saw I loved.
    sl6b
    This build is animated too. It is a blend of Pac Man, Pong, Star Wars and Tron. I will give it a proper credit when I go back but had to share this picture as I found it instantly fascinating.
    It was also interesting that within minutes I bumped into a Wordle banner in there too on a Linden build. Wordle being something that seems to have swept into all sorts of places and created by Jonathan Feinberg from my old firm.
    wordle in SL
    There is a lot to see with a huge number of resident built exhibits. See you in there!

    Its not all Android and iphone AR you know?

    To keep the rolling theme of Augmented Reality going and highlight interesting applications Ron Edwards from Ambient Performance has recently posted this tagged AR demonstration but running on a Nokia N95.
    So that means there have been good AR demonstrations live on Android, Iphone, S60 and a quick youtube shows some on windows mobile too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    There is a definite technology way rolling based on the mass adoption of relatively powerful smartphones (probably powered by the user friendly nature of the Apple Iphone) with cameras and internet connectivity, combined with opensource development components to help build on these too.
    I would say watch this space, but the space will get filled with something rendered in realtime!

    Lie to me, avatars and actors

    I have recently got into watching Lie to me, running on Sky 1 at the moment. It is an intriguing programme that has Tim Roth as an expert of human behavior and in particular body and facial language when they lie (apparently based on the work of Paul Elkman) . If nothing else it is worth watching for Tim Roth’s performance with his typical style of flipping intensities and focus as he talks. I do find it interested how the various elements of betraying ones true feelings are portrayed in the programme though. I have said to people that I think the show is designed to make us all feel clever. Much of what happens is made fairly obvious at the time, highlighting a crooked smile, touching an ear etc, and as humans we do many of those things and know via instinct what they mean.
    There is of course an interesting loop here in that we are in fact watching actors, all of whom have a job which involves convincing us that they are something or someone else, yet at the same time they are convincing us that they are lying as part of that role.
    It got me to consider the things I often say to people about engaging in virtual worlds and online and how different people have a different Neuro-linguistic Programming balance. i.e. some people refer to things with visual metaphors even in speech “I see your point of view”, or with aural references, “I here what you are saying” etc. These basics of human communication need to be considered in having the right experience for the right people online, and show why some people don’t take to some platforms.
    In all this we have the overhanging spectre of people lying online. The accusation that people hide who they are online getting mixed up with people simply proxying who they are online via an avatar. It is these things that then remove our usual human facial detection systems to pick up on lies and truth. I believe the reason video conferencing in a social setting seems to be less popular that you might expect is because of the disconnect of these gestures and the direct feedback with the others on the call. However, when in avatar mediated space does the fact we have to decide on various ways to explicitly engage with people, gestures, sounds, words, position, pace, timing etc provide us with a different set of human detectors for deciding who to trust?
    I know there is not an easy answer to any of this and the spectrum of usage is huge, from method acting role play, to fast talking business deals. Though I do think each of us finds a way to blend what we instictively know in a physical meeting about who we are talking too to how we interact online and give out the right signals and react to the right signals. Some people, as in physical interactions are going to be better at it than others.
    I am not sure if the Lie to me script writers are going to delve into online interaction in a future show, but it would be interesting to see their take on the science applied to a very entertaining show and interesting subject.