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Terasem update, online Hangouts and Second Life conference (July 20)

Terasem holds its yearly conference in Second Life on July 20, and its monthly gathering on the 10th of each month via Google+ Hangouts. I thought yesterday’s hangout was at 9am EST as usual, and didn’t realize it was one hour later. I had a scheduled conference at 10am EST, so unfortunately I could not attend. But thanks to Hangouts On Air technology, I can watch the recording on YouTube.

Hangouts, on Google+, are video meetings with up to 10 participants. With the new Hangouts On Air the live stream of the discussion is broadcasted in real-time on Youtube, so other participants can watch. The live stream is recorded and becomes a normal YouTube video when the hangout is stopped. Only 10 persons can participate interactively. These are the first 10 persons who show up (no way to “reserve a seat”) and the latecomers can only watch the live stream or the recording on YouTube. In this first exploratory meeting, we found a simple workaround: The person who starts the Hangout should share it only with those who reserved a seat, and start broadcasting after they join, at which point the Hangout becomes public. Besides video-chat and broadcasting / recording, Hangouts permit local screen sharing and collaboration in Google Docs.

Two years ago, after Google I/O 2010, I wrote: “the most interesting development to watch, still a rumor, is Google Meetings [then rumored precursor of Hangouts]: a multiuser videoconferencing application for the Google cloud. If Google Meetings is integrated with the other applications in the Google Apps suite, it could very rapidly become the favorite solution for desktop business videoconferencing and collaboration.” Now, it is evident that Hangouts will have an important impact on the way we interact online, and transform / democratize traditional TV broadcasting. Though I prefer more immersive, feature-rich and professional collaboration solutions, I think this is a very important development and a game-changer.

The video above is the recording of the Terasem gathering.

Major Transhumanist Event in Second Life — July 20 (reposted from Venus+X)

TERASEM ISLAND CONFERENCE CENTER, SECOND LIFE

JULY 20, 2012, 1PM – 4PM EDT

This year’s workshop theme:

PRINCIPLES OF GEOETHICS & THEIR APPLICATION TO LIFE-SAVING NANOTECHNOLOGY

WHAT: The workshop is an exchange of scholarly views regarding the varied applications to life- saving nanotechnologies, including the impact of its use on others, the accessibility of it to all, and independent means of monitoring its compliance with widely agreed-upon norms.

WHEN: On the 43rd anniversary of the first lunar launch, July 20, 2012, 1PM – 4PM EDT.

WHERE: Terasem Island Conference Center in Second Life (coordinates: 129.195.34). The workshop proceedings are open to the general, virtual public and are subsequently archived online for free public access.

WHY: To exchange scholarly views regarding the varied applications to life-saving nanotechnologies, including the impact of its use on others, the accessibility of it to all, and independent means of monitoring its compliance with widely agreed-upon norms.

If you are new to Second Life, you may want to familiarize yourself with the meeting environment and the way an SL viewer is used to control your avatar and to interact, through speech and text, with other avatars. We highly recommend that you experiment with SL before attempting to attend the conference. Some very helpful pointers have been provided by our good friend, Khannea Suntzu, via her personal web site. Here is the key information, in Khannea’s own inimitable words:

What is a SLURL?
A SLURL is a Second Life Universal Resource Location. This is the SLURL for this event. It does not get any easier.

How to attend this event? How do I get inside Second Life?
You need a client, of which I recommend Firestorm, and you need to create an account. Then you may need to enable access to mature sims in advance. You need to test if access works – dozens of dumb-asses discover on the day of such conferences they can’t enter specific sims with big meetings/gatherings because they still need to figure out what this whole business with “maturity ratings” is. They are invariably the ones complaining “SL Is Too Complex.”Guess what? so is a bike the first day. Effectively you also need some expertise to work with Second Life. Proper (or even minimal) SL expertise is actually more difficult than learning to operate a smart phone. Don’t prepare means fail. Tolerance towards shambling/clueless SL virgins is diminishing sharply these days, so you will receive very little sympathy when you waste 30 minutes unable to walk. My best suggestion is to train up using Second Life in advance. Getting your bearings will take 4-8 hours of “playful” advance exploration. It will take you about 12 hours to get full situational awareness going in SL. I can reduce this time by tutoring you, and for this tutoring process (which comes with a well-styled avatar) I charge 25,000 Lindens. Actually that’s low. It is a lot of work, and requires a lot of patience on my part.

What is required to follow events in SL?
You need to test your sound functionality inside Second Life. Very few people will actually like explaining anything to you under stressful conditions, how to use a mike, how to set your sound, and how to fine-tune these interface aspects. If you like attending an event in Second Life make sure you know at least several days in advance how to hear sound, how to produce sound, how to NOT produce sound. (There are always clueless people around that leave their mike open, so half the conference can actually hear them devour spaghetti or use angered patriarchal blasphemy to their wife and children. Seriously – this kind of stuff happens.) And, most important, how to not produce reverberation (loud screaming mike echo) while doing so. The best way to do so is in advance, at your leisure. Get a headset. Switch off your mike by default, and understand when (how) it is switched on (and off again).

Avatar Presentation and Code of Conduct
Terasem maintains a strict morality code. This reflects in use of PG styled avatars, sophisticated discourse and interaction, and a zero tolerance to sexually explicit content. If you’d get arrested for it in front of the White House, don’t do it at the Terasem sim, ok?