Saturday, January 26, 2008

And they're off...

This semester’s ENWR class seems to have started well. As usual, there has been some dropping and adding – although a few things have surprised me. One is, the student who added the class on the Tuesday night AFTER the first meeting, but then never showed up for the Thursday class. Then there is the student who added the class AFTER the Thursday class – so this person will have missed the first two classes.

Now, I’m not saying this person can’t make up for lost time, but if it were me I’d have reached out to the instructor right away and said “what have I missed”, or something along those lines. I’m not sure I’d be waiting for the next class, which is the 3rd of only 26 classes, to get started.

Then there are the people who are not checking their email daily and also not signing into BlackBoard. This course is a hybrid class. I reached out to everyone twice before the course even started letting him or her know to check BlackBoard. There is a ton of stuff posted there and by not checking it students are creating an unnecessary hardship on themselves.

Things have not been all doom and gloom. During the second class we went over BlackBoard, and everyone seems to have down the basics –great. We went over Google, which we’ll be using a great deal, and everyone seemed to understand – good. Regarding Google, we’re using Mail as a back up email account, Calendar for the class schedule, Blogger (Blogspot) for class blogging, Documents, to be able to share documents not only with me but also with peer reviewers, and Groups. I went through them briefly, we’ll have to see if they get it.

I then devoted the last 30 minutes to Second Life. Nearly ½ the class set up the account as instructed prior to the class meeting. A few others did also, but hadn’t added the name to the Discussion Thread. So we got the few remaining folks up and running and then I let them loose on the NMC Orientation Island (which is MUCH better than the main Second Life Orientation Island). While they tooled around I collected a few things from each of them, including their RAVE Wireless phone numbers. Most of them had their phones already, a few are straggling.

While I left them on their own to explore, I heard chatting in the room, I heard people helping others, I heard lots of clicking, and what I didn’t hear were any complaints. That’s a great sign for this class, so I guess the hybrid designation and the first day of school chat I had with them has paid off.

All in all I think we’re off to a great start and I’m really looking forward to the semester.

Friday, January 25, 2008

second picture

Just snagged this second picture, I think it gives the scope a bit better.

We are not alone

No - I'm not talking about little green men or thin metal scraps. I'm talking about the lonely existence the CHSS Island has led for these last 9 months.

For 9 months we've been way out here all by ourselves - nothing but water as far as the eye can see. Don't get me wrong, we've been very happy to have the peace and quite compared to the mainland, but we've always looked forward to the day were we'd have neighbors to play with.

That day has come. Congratulations to Gregg and Joe over in the ADP Center, part of the College of Education and Human Services. Along with Suchita, from OIT, Gregg and Joe have given birth to a bouncing baby sim. With a little assistance from me, the island has been moved along the northern shoreline of the CHSS Island.

The CEHSADP Island is so brand new that land textures and building have not even begun, but it'll get there soon enough.

The Amphitheater will be pivoted clockwise 45 degrees and moved so it straddles both sims - this makes it a wonderful shared resource. Now, instead of being able to host 40-60 avatars, or whatever one sim can hold, because its on two sims, that number effectively doubles.

The CHSS Resource Center will come down and will be replaced with a shared Orientation Area, which will also cover both sims. The brick and wood two story building, which will soon become the home of the Sprague Library, will be moved over right along the sim line and then both entrances will be well used.

Ok - so, now its time to plan a Welcome Party!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mac Problem with SL may have a long term solution soon

For those of you using newer MacBook Pro's to access Second Life, you'd had to deal with freezing and then needed to hard reboot - never a good thing for a computer. There was a work around published not that long ago, but that is still only a work around and not a solution.

Well, it seems as if the Linden Gears are hard at work. This noted from todays Linden Official Blog
You’ll notice the top bug on there is NVidia 8600 Mac Book Pros are dropping to software shaders. This had effectively made WindLight unusable for a vast number of MacBook Pro users. It was no small feat as it required an entire re-factoring of how we do our shader loading, to get around some known issues with how Apple links their shaders. We got some fringe benefits with this too- better framerates on some machines, possibly some improved stability, etc. Many kudos to BigPapi Linden for his tireless work in this field. So play and have fun!


This does not solve two major issues that are known with these machines:

* VWR-1979 - Memory leak with 8600m GT on MacBook Pro
* VWR-1749: Second Life viewer client freezes on MacBook Pro

These are major issues that can cause the viewer to crash and system resources to get taken up, to the point where a system reboot may be necessary. These are bad issues. But there’s good news. Apple knows of the cause and a fix is on its way- trust us. These issues shouldn’t remain in the wild for long. So, to all of those with 8600s, play for the first time, but it may be in short spurts for now!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Need help finding Second LIfe builds

Below is a list of the social issues my students will be provided. They will have an option to choose several to write about throughout the course of the semester. I am looking for builds in Second Life that would be appropriate to send them to to "experience" some aspect of these issues.

If you can think of any builds, or have the SLURLs, or would like to add an issue, please do so in the comments.

Social Issues
Abortion, Adoption, Affirmative Action, Ageism, AIDS/HIV, Alcoholism, Alternative Energy, Animal Experimentation, Animal Rights, Assisted Suicide, Athletes, Biological Weapons, Birth Control, Censorship, Chemical Weapons, Child Abuse, Church and State, Civil Rights, Cloning, Creationism vs. Evolution, Crime, Criminal Justice, Death and Dying, Death Penalty, Discrimination, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Drinking, Drug Abuse, Drug Control, Drug Legalization, Drug Trafficking, Drugs and Athletes, Drunk Driving, Eating Disorders, Education and Education Systems, Endangered Species, Environmental Policy, Environmentalism, Ethnic Relations, Euthanasia, Evolution vs Creationism, Family Relations, Gambling, Gay Marriage, Gay Rights, Genetic Engineering, Genocide, Global Warming, Gun Control, Gun Rights, Hate Crimes, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance, Home Ownership, Homeland Security, Homelessness, Human Rights, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Internet, Islamic Fundamentalism, Juvenile Drug Abuse, Juvenile Offenders, Legalization of Marijuana, Mafia, Media Violence, Medical Ethics, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Middle East Conflict, Nuclear Weapons, Nutrition, Oceans, Organ Donation, Outsourcing, Pollution, Population Growth, Pornography, Poverty, Prisons, Public Assistance, Race Relations, Racism, Rape, Religion, Religious Fundamentalism, Right of Privacy, Same-Sex Marriage, School Violence, Sex Education, Sexism, Sexual Behavior, Smoking, Social Security, Stem Cell Research, Suicide, Teen Pregnancy, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign Relations, Underage Drinking, Video Game Violence, Violence, War, War Crimes, War in Iraq, Water Pollution, Weightism, Welfare Reform, White Fight, Women in the Military, Working Poor, Working Women, Youth Issues