Saturday, September 27, 2008

Spirit Dance at Burning Life

The 6th Annual Burning Life celebration for the arts and creativity runs September 27 - October 5, 2008. Over 600 Burning Life events are scheduled amid a host of campsites, exhibits and free items.

Join me (Lyr Lobo) in a discussion of movement and dance in Second Life on Monday at 9AM SLT (Pacific), 10AM Mountain at Spirit Dance in Tigris and receive some lovely free items.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Serious SL Meetup #18 - Virtual Worlds, Business, and the Law

If you are in the Boulder area Thursday, September 25th at 6:00PM, check out the next Serious Second Life Meeting where Dr. Lindsay Moore, CEO, President and Founder of KLM, Inc. will speak on intellectual properties rights for virtual products and services.

Univ of Colorado, Boulder
Classroom 104
1125 18th Street Boulder, CO 80309

For more information or to RSVP, visit the Serious Second Life Meetup site.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Closing Thoughts on Socio-technical Futuring and Innovation

Thank you for making CS 855 such an invigorating exploration in predictions, forecasting and Web 2.0 Tools. Final grades are posted on the Student Portal. Feel welcome to contact me if you have questions.

As you reflect back on the term...

Did you try any tools that were unfamiliar to you?

Did you learn new information (or a new way of categorizing it) from the textbooks and discussions?

Can you identify the differences between creativity and innovation?

Did you explore the techniques employed by think tanks and a research consortium to identify and forecast innovation?

Despite the challenges and risks associated with long-range forecasts, there is a reason why we do it. No, it is not simply to torture you! *chuckles*

We need a vision of the future, even one that is subject to change, and a strategy for achieving it. We need tactics that help us plan and strive for it, and tools that help us to make better estimates and manage risks.

We need to be aware of many considerations that may impact the success of our predicted innovations:

1. Technological capability - can we do it?
2. Social impacts - people and how they collaborate and feel
3. Cultural issues - groups and their subcultural influences
4. Political issues - without political support, hard to foster innovation
5. Financial - few good ideas thrive without financial support
6. Legal - avoid litigation and protect innovation
7. Ethical - do no harm, respect others, respect their values

As time passes, these influences need to be reassessed to see if the need for the innovation has declined, if the technological capability has redirected future paths, or if the political or social climate has changed dramatically, making it less viable.

Despite the likelihood that our prediction will need to change, our leadership employs good practices to forecast the future and to strategize for it.

As doctoral students and soon to be graduates, many of you are poised on the brink of becoming leaders, if you are not already performing these tasks. How you retain your credibility while planning innovation for your company depends on you.

Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing... As the Future Catches You! I will miss you and hearing your wonderful thoughts in your posts, comments and Second Life discussions. *smiles*

Have a wonderful break, and if you are graduating, an excellent future! *grins*
Cynthia / Dr. C.
a.k.a. Lyr Lobo in Second Life

Educause Review's Back to (Virtual) School Edition

If you are unfamiliar with the Educause Review, the award-winning magazine for the higher education IT community, check out this month's Back to (Virtual) School edition. Editor Teddy Diggs has gathered the featured articles and virtual worlds research from a dozen educational institutions in the web-bonus section.

These articles discuss the future of virtual worlds and the viewpoint ranges from the institution, teaching in a virtual world, student learning, the workplace of the future and an examination of the issues that impact the use of a virtual learning environment.

Back to (Virtual) School
Many thanks to Teddy Diggs for her exercising her vision and creativity with editorial zeal. She gathered us into a virtual community to discuss virtual worlds and the journal reflects it.

Educause Review, Volume 43, Number 5, September/October 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Prototyping 3D Designs in Second Life

Our last class was a blast as we explored how to model our ideas using Second Life's built-in creation tool.

Our goal was to review everyone's project ideas, identify the desired behaviors for these models, study examples of analogous problems and identify how to blend what we know into a prototype that analyzes one or more properties of the innovation design.

Our activities included:
  • Build and deform some primitive shapes
  • Texture
  • Adjust the shiny, transparency and glow settings
  • Modify a particle script
As a warm up exercise, everyone created a sphere, cut it in half, hollowed it, and studied how to set one facet or side of it to glow.

Student project ideas focused primarily on two categories: hovercraft and the future of medicine. For hovercraft, we discussed the requirements for simulating movement, noting the 31-primitive (prim) limit for objects that use Second Life's Havok 4 physics system. If a vehicle can carry 5 passengers, it can have no more than 26 linked primitives or shapes - each avatar that sits on it counts as one primitive.

As we began to plan a hover car prototype, we considered how avatars would sit in them and how to design it to support the behavior of novice users. This led to a discussion of shape and common vehicle characteristics. Rather than develop a new paradigm for hover craft travel and traffic patterns, we elected to preserve the behavior of today's motor vehicles in this design.

Next, we explored sample vehicles, discussing how avatars sit in them and how to plan the orientation of each avatar. The class tested various poses for orienting the driver and passengers in the vehicle.

As we discussed the link order of the hovercraft, the students debated the usefulness of making the passenger or the driver the root prim.

Several students demonstrated hovercraft using one of the sample vehicles from an earlier class. At this point, several students flew off into the sunset and two students remained to complete their prototypes.

We modeled different designs for a medical device and discussed how nanoparticles might look as they moved through it. Our prototype featured a laproscopic surgical tool with particles flowing through it to simulate the nanoparticles.

The final prototype was modeled over two sessions and used some evolutionary designs. It began as an encompassing medical diagnostic tube derived from Vanilla Jessop's Genie Chair design and it evolved into a futuristic diagnostic and treatment center.

As we examined how it would be used, the integrated entertainment center concept came to mind. One day, a family might watch television from within the entertainment center. As the program is projected around their bodies, the medical diagnostic system would analyze their health and offer diagnostic advice. Advanced models would include treatment for minor ailments.

This has been a wonderful class and I will miss you! Share your research with the world and do not forget to keep in touch. *smiles and waves* Congratulations to the students who are graduating! Live long and live well.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

CS 855 Assessment Checklist

Thank you for working so hard on your blog assignments, Second Life activities and projects! To reduce the need for rework, please check your CS 855 activities using the following requirements checklist:

Five Web 2.0 Tools:
  1. Blog - done!
  2. Web 2.0 Tool
  3. Web 2.0 Tool
  4. Podcast
  5. Web 2.0 Tool or Second Life activity
Includes a name and description of the tool, a url for it, and an illustration or example of its use. The blog activity is already complete and needs no additional work. If your example is in text and not visual, note it to ensure that it receives credit.

Your analysis of a:
  1. Failed Prediction
  2. Successful Prediction
Includes a description of the prediction, a url for it, an illustration, model or example of it. In some cases, the posts do not state failure or success, making assessment difficult.

Your Innovation Prediction:
  • Description and analysis - 1 or more blog posts
  • Discussion of risk
  • 2-3 models that depict it and analyze risk
  • Examination of the technological, social, cultural, political, financial, ethical and legal issues
  • 2-3 citations (your choice of format)
Final Project:
Gather all of your blog posts, the analysis of each prediction and your innovation posts into a Final Project document (.doc or .pdf format). Include any information that helps it to connect and flow well, demonstrating your research this term. Include your illustrations and models. You do not need to include your podcast, but do add a url for it. See the rubrics posted in the News forum.

Post your final project in the Week 11 forum on the IAS website. The file size limitation is 24MB in the Week 11 forum.

Feel welcome to edit your original post and add information or an image as needed. Note the source of your information if it is not original content. Tip: it is easier to upload .jpgs to Blogger than to point to a Flickr photo until permission is given using Blogger's Help instructions.

Writing feedback is time consuming. Make it easy to evaluate your work by using good labels and checking each assignment. Send me an email message if you are still working on an activity.

Tuesday night's classes at 6PM Mountain and 8PM Mountain will cover prototyping in Second Life. These are working sessions and do not include lecture material on Futuring and Innovation.

Have a great week! *waves*

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Last CS 855 Class Session in Second Life

Tonight's CTU doctoral classes wove a discussion of innovation prediction techniques with an overview of expert systems, risk assessment, and the technological, social, cultural, ethical and legal issues that affect the success of a socio-technical innovation plan.

We reviewed the requirements for the project, including 2-3 models, 2-3 citations, good coverage of the risks and a discussion of one or more of the issues that affect success.

Our Second Life activities focused on testing how to improve voice interaction, using the physics system and setting physical, phantom and temporary properties on our objects. The class worked on a collaboration activity and discuss when to use phantom and the physical settings.

As we turned our attention to the recent activity for Burning Life, the second class session analyzed how to simulate a fire that consumes a sculpture. We rezzed particle and textured fires, blended them, then discussed the alternatives for simulating it.

For the final project, document your ideas on your blogs, then continue it by gathering your entire blog into a document and weaving it into a coherent story. Look at the News forum for additional requirements and feedback throughout the next two weeks.

Class concluded with a discussion of how to find attachments using the Edit menubar and Detach object listing, then searching the inventory. Cheers to the student who discovered and reattached his head!

Next week's classes are informal prototyping sessions where we will build models for our projects and discuss alternatives for simulating behavior. These prototypes include data visualization models and medical diagnostic systems. These sessions are optional and some students are scheduling them at alternative times.

Monday, September 08, 2008

CS 855 Feedback and SL Skills Class

It's Week 10 and Tuesday's class features a discussion of our last two weeks of course activities, questions about your research and a new Second Life skill for you to enjoy.

We will hold sessions at 6PM Mountain and at 8PM Mountain - same time, same place. If you need a teleport, look for Lyr Lobo in the Second Life by using the Search button and People tab, and send me an instant message.

Grades and feedback reports will be available and if you have questions, do not hesitate to call or write me at

Have a great week! *waves*

Saturday, September 06, 2008

SLEDcc 2008 Best Practices in Education exhibit

Greetings from the Second Life Education Track at the SL Community Convention, held in Tampa, FL and in Second Life. The posters were excellent and as Lyr Lobo, I had a blast setting up our Colorado Technical University in Second Life booth and chatting with the educators, researchers and visionaries who made it possible for us teach and learn in a virtual world!

Sloan Skjellerup of SL's Rockcliffe University and I observed that Second Life changes rapidly, making it a challenge to stay current with the growing number of universities and educators teaching in a virtual world. Ellie Brewster shared her research in Women's Studies at Ohio State University and noted that Virtual Praxis: A Conference on Women's Community will be held in SL on Minerva island in November.

Tab Scott and Troy McLuhan came by to share their research activities in Second Life. Troy McLuhan was active with the International Spaceflight Museum in Second Life and is now prototyping several science exhibits and museum collections in Second Life. Tab's research at Montana State University blends student culture, architecture, art and music into a learning mashup that extends beyond the classroom to promote sustainable community.

Featured in this image is a panorama of educational highlights in Second Life, including the NMC Symposium, the Testis exhibit and much more. These research highlights were included in last week's Tour of Second Life landmarks.

While most of the exhibits focused on tools and SL education at universities, the K-12 community recognizes that the future is here. The USDLC offers teacher conferences, curriculum and content development in Second Life.

Interested in cool rezzers and science in education? Be sure to check out the StoryMachine and other data visualization tools by Graham Mills (scripts by Troy McLuhan). Graham distributed a copy of it and offered a session during SLEDcc on the Worlds within Worlds.

Due to the wonderful educational discussions, I did not get a photo of every exhibit, and recommend that you visit the SLEDcc 2008 wiki to see the podcasts, Flickr photos, blogs and other media that depicts the state of education in Second Life.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Rezzers, a HUD and Innovation Project Discussions

Our CTU Week 9 class activity explored scenes that render at the touch of an object, a Second Life tour HUD, and how to complete the socio-technical innovation projects.

As the class began, we tested rezzing the Mahjong tiles on this game table in SL. We also removed and rezzed the island's castle within 10 seconds, showing the speed and power of larger virtual world rezzers and visited a variety of context-sensitive scenes that appeared around us.

If you missed class, be sure to visit and pick up your copy of the Touring Second Life folder. Inside are two notecards, one that organizes a set of landmarks and the other features touring information and a copy of the Boracay Hitchhiker's Guide to SL Heads-up Display (HUD) device. The HUD is included both in the folder and on the touring notecard.

While we were wearing the HUD and testing its interface, I quickly demonstrated how to create a similar prototype and link it.

During our socio-technical project discussion, we explored space travel and hovercraft vehicles as project topics. Both topics may require long-range projections beyond our 10-15 years for non-research topics and 15-30 years for topics within our research areas.

For space travel, the ideas ranged from exploration to a trucking system in space. Naturally, that led to a review of the technological, social, cultural, financial and political influences that need to be considered.

Related technologies may also be needed, such as a mid-air traffic control system for hovercraft vehicles. While it is challenging to consider everything that will be needed, discuss the influences and how they may impact success within the socio-technical plan.

The projects need to include 2-3 models that analyze it and address risk. For Second Life prototypes, one is sufficient. Types of models for the projects include physical (in SL), analogue (on paper or in SL), mathematical and schematic.

During the second class session, we explored a variety of prototypes and particle emitters for project ideas from the residency session, including the diagnostic and treatment medical system.

How will it look, how confident will we feel using it and how will we get feedback from it? Aside from technological capability, how secure, safe and ethical will this system be?

While we will not be able to address every contingency, as we explore an uncertain future, keep in mind the influences that support and hinder your innovation plan.

Next week, we will continue our discussion of the socio-technical innovation plan and summarize the course content. If you plan to design a project prototype in Second Life, contact me for design ideas, textures and scripts.

If you want to hold a graduation ceremony in Second Life during the last week of class, let me know.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Touring Second Life Guide

Want to know how to tour Second Life, use a heads up display device and return to your current location?

Create a landmark - save your current location for returning later.
  • Under the World menu on the menubar, select Create a Landmark. Close the landmark that appears. It is filed in the Landmarks folder in your inventory.
Using the Tour Notecard
  • To teleport to a new location, you can open the tour notecard in your Notecards folder and click on a landmark (has a push pin symbol) to open it.
  • Select teleport to visit it.
Don't have a Touring Second Life kit? Send a message in SL to Lyr Lobo to request it.

Boracay Hitchhiker's Guide to Second Life

Concept by Roger Thunders, Editorial Team: Bibi Book and Sun Hainsworth
License: Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike
Distributed by Nick Noakes (Corwin Carillon in SL)
  • Click the Hitchhiker's device to copy it to your inventory from your Lyr Lobo's Touring in Second Life notecard. Skip this step if you already have a copy.
When you have the Boracay Hitchhiker's Guide to SL in your inventory:
  • In your objects folder, right click and wear the Boracay Hitchhiker's Guide to SL.
  • A Heads-up Display (HUD) device appears on your display and a Travel HUD requests permission to act on your control inputs in the upper right corner of your display.
  • Select the Accept button in the upper left corner of your display.
See an example of the HUD in the following image:

Using the Boracay Hitchhiker's Guide to Second Life

Menu and Help:
  • On the HUD, click the upper left green button of your HUD for a Help notecard or the upper right button to see a menu of options.
The tour categories include Art, Museums, Learning, Exploring, Shopping, SLeducator and Newbies. Select a tour category and wait a moment for it to load.
  • Use the arrow keys to cycle through a series of locations and click on the image to teleport to that location.
  • Select the green circle to minimize the HUD and the red circle to maximize it.
Questions? Contact Lyr Lobo in Second Life. Have fun touring!