Thursday, August 9, 2007

Google Reader - get yours today!

RSS Feeds. I’ve preached about this one so many times but folks don’t “get” something new until there is a need for them to have it. My favorite thing to say is, once the “why” is apparent, the “how” usually falls into place.

Recently (thank you Sarah) I discovered Google Reader. Now, those of you out there that are NOT using an RSS aggregator (or perhaps have no idea what I just said), you know what Google is….and you know what a “reader” is. But you might be scratching your head and saying “why would I need something that is going to help me read Google. Well, its not exactly like that.

Many information outlets (news, other media, blogs, web pages, etc…) change the information on their sites, some rather quickly. News outlets are only as good as the current information they provide and blogs are updated regularly. Some, more so than others. :- )

Now, you want to get information from these sources, they are of interest to you. Lets say you are into basket weaving and widgets. You are surfing the web and find four or five sites about basket weaving and widgets (not together, of course, since you would never need a basket woven widget). You notice that there is a place no a few of the sites that have current news and even one or two that allow anyone to leave a comment. Instead of having to remember to check back with these sites every so often to see if the information has been updated, wouldn’t it be great for them to let YOU know when the information is updated. THAT is what RSS is all about. RSS tells YOU when information on sites you are interested in are updated.

Best way to figure out what this is all about, just do it (sorry, Nike). Go, right now, – it will explain everything to you there. You’ll need to set up a Google account to use it, but that’s ok, you should have one anyway. With 3GB of storage space, I’ve found I’m just forwarding all of my other email accounts to here and I have everything in one place. But that’s another blog.

Go check our Google reader. When you do, if you have, or if you use it, post a comment here about your experience.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Metaversed's Tue. Geek Meet

This week’s Tuesday Morning Geek Meet from the folks at Metaversed is a presentation with Biz Stone, co-founder and creative director of Twitter. The session was moderated by Ziggy Figaro.

The format to start was Ziggy asking some questions and Biz providing brief answers. Here are my notes:

Stone explained that the limits on characters is set pretty much by SMS standards and that, although most people are posting fairly innocuous things (what I had for breakfast, etc…) it has also proved useful in getting information out fast, and the recent bridge collapse was an example. It’s a quick and simple way to get brief information to the folks in your network.

There are a number of Twitter bots that will do things like remind you to do something (by sms) give the weather, subway schedules, etc….

The future – they are following how people are using the service and trying to make improvements based on that. Search and groups are both often requested.

After just under 30 minutes the floor was opened to questions.

Apparently someone who uses Twitter is called a Tweeter. I was calling my self a Twitterer – which I like better.

I asked “If you had to pick the number one area you are focusing efforts on right now, what would it be?” The first answer was hiring. The second answer, more hiring.

There was conversation about an SL/Twitter item called Twitterbox, I’m trying to find out where to get one.

The event lasted 45 minutes and then a bunch of folks stood around and chatted, which is a part of each meeting.

Biz Stone has a blog –

This was a very well attended event, more so than the Metaversed Live event I went to last Thursday. My guess is that SL geeks are also Twitter geeks (like me).

This picture proves that there ARE people in Second Life. These people either heard about this event and planned to be here or, like me, got a notice while I was already in-world and decided to rearrange what I was doing to attend. Of course, being a Twitterer, I was interested in the guest. But this shows that Second Life is well served as an event based medium.

A nice event, informal, informative, and a good networking opportunity. I added a few new folks to my Twitter, which is

If you want to find out about these events, you can join the Metaversed group (which you can find from the SEARCH function in the GROUPS tab) or by joining the group THINGS TO DO, which covers more than just Metaversed stuff – although it does generate a lot of activity.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Virtual Worlds Hot Topics Discussion in Seattle

The announcement should be posted shortly, there will be a Virtual Worlds Hot Topics Discussion from 12:45p to 2:15pm on Thursday, October 25th, in Room 211 of the convention center.

More details to follow as we get closer.


Just wrote this in Twitter, liked it so much I decided to put it here, too.

"Ignorance is bliss, but only for the one who is ignorant."

Awesome Experience with a Hosting Company

As you know from my last post I just register a few domain names. I already have two others registered for other projects but I didn't like the experience I had with my existing company. So I went back to a page Chris and had visited last night.

The company is

I compared them to my existing company and whois and they were the lease expensive by far! I had some questions after the sale and wasn't finding what I was looking for. I realized that I had done something wrong in the order so I called their 800#. Yes, that's right, they have an 800# where a human being answers the phone.

I was connected to Winston and he did a superb job helping me out. If the whole experience is half as good as what it has been so far, this will be a long and happy relationship.

Master of my own domain!

Yes, thats right - I'm not talking about THAT domain! I'm talking about THESE domains:

Mine, mine mine! down, down, down! go, go, go! I'm rich, I'm a wealthy mizser.

get it?

Double Dose of Good News

Two big news events to talk about, one educationally related and the other not – both SL related.

I have an alter ego in Second Life, two avatars. There are two main reasons for having two avatars. The first is that I have things I am doing that are educationally related and other things that are not. The second main reason is that I must keep my work related account separate from all other things financial, since it is the University that is paying for the CHSS project.

AJ Brooks is my work related educational avatar. Everything I do within Higher Education is via AJ. AJ is the leader of the AcademicCIO Group; he belongs to almost two-dozen educational groups, including two NMC groups and a MacArthur Foundation group. AJ is very active in the higher education community and a regular follower of, and sometimes contributer to, the SLED listserve.

Wealthy Mizser is my non-MSU related avatar. Everything I do in Second Life that is NOT related to higher education is where you will find Wealthy. Some of those efforts include The Center for Learning in A Virtual Environment, various real estate investments, and The Gallery Beleza at Avendale.

Wealthy Mizser has been working with Chris Lynch, a New York City photographer (, to bring his work to SL via the Gallery Beleza. A customer would buy a photograph and not only get the virtual version for SL but would get an original signed version delivered to an address of their choosing - in real life. The opening for this should be soon, which is good news in-and-of itself. Chris is a very talented photographer and I’m looking forward to seeing his work in the Gallery.

In October Chris will most likely be doing a show in Chelsea (NYC) and he wants to tie that show to Second Life, having a mirror event in both places. He’s got some great ideas and I spent nearly 4 hours talking to him about those ideas last night. He clearly sees the impact SL can have, and its benefits (without being blind to some of the challenges) and he is looking forward to moving this forward with me guiding the Second Life part of this effort. Woot!

In educational news, EDUCAUSE seems fairly confident that there will be many people interested in the Virtual Worlds topic so they have canned the Birds-of-a-Feather and turned this into a Hot Topics Discussion (formerly Current Issues Roundtables). I will be leading this effort and I am also hoping to work with them to form a Virtual Worlds Constituent Group. A good turnout in Seattle will seal this deal.

Yesterday was a good day.

Monday, August 6, 2007

EDCAUSE Annual Conference

I am all set for the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference in Seattle.

My busiest day, ironically, is always the date BEFORE the conference officially starts. I have the Constituent Group (CG) Leaders Meeting in the morning followed by the EDUCAUSE Quarterly Committee lunch meeting. After that I head over to the last hour of the CIO CG meeting.

This years the Distributed Technology Support CG Meeting will be on Wednesday at lunchtime. On Thursday, I've arranged for a Virtual Worlds Birds-of-a-Feather. The BoF meetings are held at lunch and usually they allocate two tables in the lunch area. More on this as it comes up but if we have good showing I hope to spearhead the effort to start a Virtual Worlds CG. It looks to me as if things are moving in that direction. Again, more on that as I have it.

So I'll be leaving for Seattle on the 20th, Saturday. This will give me some time to see the city as it is one of the major US cities I've never been to. I'll be coming home right after the conference on the 26th.

Are you going to EDUCAUSE? If so, let me know and we can meet up.

Blogger Toys

I just added a survey functionality to the blog, check it out (to the right) and vote!

Have a questions you'd like to see asked? Drop me a note here in the blog or by email.

Multiversed Live - notes

On Friday, Thursday, August 2nd 2007, I attended the Metaversed Live at 12pm PDT (3pm EDT) on Bertaggia. The guests were 57 Miles, Goedeke Messmer (John Lopez), and Navillus Batra (Jacob Sullivan) along with a few other people who were part of the voice stream. This is being staged in Second Life and also being streamed through Talkshoe. This Metaversed Life is the first of what will become a weekly event.

An operational note from 57 Miles, starting tomorrow (8/3 – I had planned to attend but was not able to due to a scheduling conflict) will be First Friday, which is the replacement of the Geek Meets, and will actually happen every Friday. 12pm PDT at Dr. Dobbs island At this meeting there will be a discussion and debut of the Linden Scripting Language (LSL) Harness.
Below are the topics that were discussed and the notes I took while the meeting was going on (and while I was trying to multitask).
  • Multiverse – a new multiuser virtual environment by some of the original founders of Netscape. They have created a platform for building virtual worlds. They give you the tools to build your own virtual worlds and they ask 10% of the revenues in return. Avatars created in one Multiverse world will be able to travel to other Multiverse worlds.
  • SL Grid Meltdown – After the recent serious problem starting on the 27th and running into the following week, rumors were flying, but no matter what happened it had an impact on us all. There was discussion about the fact that the rumors seemed plausible and that in the absence of real information are what is being talked about. The rumor involved griefers (virtual world hackers and those who interrupt events, operation, etc…, some times to prove a point and some times just because they can) exploiting a know flaw to create serious database problems.
  • Voice – Apparently it is really tough to get good voice from the native SL voice chat so it might not be so good for events. There was discussion about needing to pan the camera to keep the voice level, otherwise the 3D voice technology created problems. The media stream seems better for events right now but requires additional equipment and a level of expertise. There are those who are “old fashioned” who like text chat, especially since there is a transcript to go back to. The options need to still exist that allow for chat, audio stream, or voice chat if one prefers. During the presentation someone passed along an Information Week article indicating that as of 3pm today, an optional viewer with voice built in will be offered for logins. Someone talked about the idea of developing a script that can be stored into an item (such as a virtual microphone) that one holds and then where the voice gets recorded into can be determined. Voice events are enhanced when the audience can use chat as a back channel.
  • Priorities – there was a discussion about where LL is putting their efforts and why devote time to voice when there are other, much more critical issues that need to be addressed. Some disagreed that LL really had that many problems and that the time spent developing voice is ill placed.
  • Linden Scripting Language – there was a rather heated (but civil) discussion about whether the LSL is a great tool or not.
My note – I am sitting here watching a bunch of avatars sitting around watching other avatars that are not really talking, while we listened to the media stream. So, a question that was once asked of me was what makes this better than, say, video conferencing. With the products that are out there, what IS the benefit of this type of events in Second Life.

I don’t have an answer except that SL a a vehicle JUST for this type of activity would be senseless. Using SL as one vehicle, a tool, to do other things as well as deliver content in this manner is much more appropriate. Case in point, if this had been offered by video conference I may not have attended.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Showing off

Hey gang. I'm here at home with my friend, Chris Alvino. [he says "Whad's uppppp?"]. Anyway, Chris and I are heading over to Giant's Stadium for the Police Concert! [Did I mention, Chris really Rocks!]

He and I are talking about web 2.0 and stuff like that so I am showing him how easy it is to post a blog.

Everyone, say hi to Chris.