Saturday, December 20, 2008

MPEG-V step #2: A Call for Technology Proposal for Standards in Virtual Worlds

Here’s an update on MPEG-V – our efforts to create standards for virtual worlds and real worlds (as you may recall I’m involved in Metaverse1 which is one of the leading forces behind MPEG-V).

Here is our time table:

Step Status Due Date Description
1 Done 2008/10/17 Final version of Requirements / Call for Proposals
2 Now 2009/01/28 Proposals due
3 Future 2009/02/01 Evaluation of proposals (in an Ad Hoc Group meeting)
4 Future 2009/02/06 First draft of MPEG-V WD
5 Future 2009/04 Working Draft
6 Future 2009/10 Committee Draft
7 Future 2010/01 Final Committee Draft
8 Future 2010/07 Final Draft International Standard
9 Future 2010/10 International Standard

MPEG, a working group in ISO/IEC, has produced many important standards (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MPEG-7, and MPEG-21). MPEG feels that it is important to standardize intermediate formats and protocols for “Information exchange with Virtual Worlds”, MPEG-V in the areas of “Data representations between virtual worlds” and “Data representations between virtual worlds and the physical world”.

The intended standard for ‘Information exchange with Virtual Worlds’ will adders these areas (see also the illustration below):

• Area1: Data representation between virtual worlds and the physical world
• Area2: Data representation between virtual worlds
• Area3: Real world data representation

The standard will be based on an overall architecture that can be instantiated for all the foreseeable combinations of virtual worlds and real world deployment

MPEG has produces “MPEG-V Requirements Version 3”. Based on these requirements MPEG would like to be informed about technologies that satisfy them.
All parties that believe they have relevant technologies for MPEG-V are invited to submit these technologies for consideration by MPEG.

Parties do not necessarily have to be MPEG members. The review of these requirements is planned in the context of the 87th MPEG meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland. Please contact Joern Ostermann ( for details on attending this meeting if you are not an MPEG delegate. The submissions shall be received by the 28th of January, 2009 23.59 hours GMT, by Joern Ostermann, chair of the MPEG Requirements sub-Group, ( who will upload all proposals both by MPEG and non MPEG members to the MPEG site after the submission deadline.

You should read all the details of the call for MPEG-V Call for Proposals.
And you can also access the current “MPEG-V Requirements Version 3.”

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yesha's talk: Teachers, Kids, and Virtual Worlds (Hebrew, 21-Jan-2009) The Mofet Conference

Click on picture to full screen view.
In Hebrew, this is the central conference that connect K12 and Computers. I will cover a bit of the history, the present and the future of computers and education.

See Details.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Brands in Second Life - a good example - Orange Island

In an earlier post, I spoke about Brand - Why the came and why they left. One brand that really care about heir brand is Orange.

Orange, a key brand of France Telecom Group, is running Orange-Island.
A key factor in their program is an holistic approach to the new media that embrace community and creation.
Their creation program is called -- surprisingly -- Create:
As part of an ongoing endeavour to share and collaborate with the Second Life communities, Orange launches the Create Programme, an initiative that aims at encouraging creative expression on Orange Island.The idea is quite simple: Orange offers to support artistic and/or innovative projects by granting land and tools to residents who show promising material in order to help them achieve their project. We have selected three spectacular projects for this first batch of the Create Programme.

Brands in Second Life -- Why They Came why they Leave?

These brands came in 2007 the likes of Reuters, BMW, Sony BMG and Ericcson, BigPond, Reebok, Vodafone, IBM, ABC TV, Showtime, Pontiac, American Apparel, Virgin, Dell, NBC, Apple (unofficial), Sears, Circuit City and AOL. (see source)

So why did the came:
It is cool to see your branded store in 3D. You can allow your users to interact with your products in new ways. They can talk about your products in new ways. Users can bring their friends and talk about the products; users can test the products; they can even design a product and feel the service.
So why did they go away:
Well, most of these firms are no longer in Second Life (or no longer in a meaningful way). Reasons include: a lot of work to have a maximum of 40 avatars. A simple web site can deal with 400,000 users. Difficulties to turn visitors into sales. Difficulties to connect second life into web and real commerce systems.
Yet... I want to remind people that it was probably difficult and not very productive to build the first web site of Amazon. It takes time. Virtual Worlds as a medium need to mature. We should not expect to gain "internet" value with the current level of maturity.
For a good example I would look at This firm seems to take it slow, learn the topic, experiment.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Real Virtual Worlds SOS (State of Standards) Q3-2008

In the latest issue of the Journal of Virtual Worlds I had the opportunity to capture the essence of our work on standards for virtual worlds, why they are so important, and how we are going about it.

The purpose of this think piece is to call for inputs for an emerging worldwide effort to develop standards for virtual worlds. Such inputs will go into the build up of MPEG-V (Moving Picture Experts Group Virtual Worlds Standard) in the next three years. The MPEG group is part of the International Standards Organization (ISO). (This is a short summary of a presentation I gave in the Virtual Worlds London conference in October, 2008).

The entire paper is here.

Here are my assumptions from the paper:

1. Virtual worlds are destined to become big, in the sense of meaningful, influential, and making money for various current and new players. Every aspect of our lives will be affected by virtual worlds. Virtual worlds are not only going to be part of our lives, they are going to enhance, improve, and better our quality of life. Much like the Internet, virtual worlds will allow us to do “older” things more effectively, and do other things anew.

2. Real virtual worlds are defined as an integration of four factors: 3D view of the world, community, creation, and commerce (3D3C). The more we have in these factors the closer we get to real virtual worlds. In that sense IMVU, Second Life, and Entropia are more real virtual worlds than Club Penguin, World of Warcraft, and SIMS online.

3. Standards, as a concept and mechanism, are often misunderstood. People often link standards with competing concepts: open and free on one hand, propriety patents and limitation of creativity on the other hand. Like many other human constructs, standards are not inherently good or bad – it is what you do with standards that gives them value, be it good or bad. (see my model for standards).

4. Currently the virtual worlds industry operates more like the computer gaming industry than the Internet industry. Each developer, be it private (e.g., Linden, Forterra) or an open source (e.g., Sun Darkstar, OpenSim) is developing its own server, client, and rules of engagement. The inherent rationale of these efforts is a combination of “we know best” and “we will conquer the world.” While this may be the case (see Microsoft Windows, Apple iPod, or Google Search), the common public good calls for a connected system like the Internet where different forces can innovate in particular spots of the value chain.

5. On a personal note: I have a specific take on this work that should be disclosed. I am part of the EU based Metaverse1 project. It is a consortium of 35 organizations mostly based in Europe to set “Global standards between real and virtual worlds.” This work will feed into the previously mentioned MPEG-V effort. Having said that, the efforts to develop standards for virtual worlds are just starting. It will take time. At this point, we are defining the path. We have a long way to go.

The entire paper is here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Art of the day: Annie Ok: My Life as Avatar 06-08

Enjoy this unique movie about one avatar (see source):

Right Sizing Real and Virtual: Google Lively, Second Life, Lehman and AIG

Following the last weeks, we really need to ask ourselves what is real and what is virtual? (picture Source)

In the real world:
Here's one angle of the Lehman Brothers story (source):

... at the end of every trading day, the Asian and European operations [of Lehman] would remit their (very large) cash float back to Lehman Brothers in New York. That makes sense: it helped to strengthen the New York trading operations during a time when the cash would otherwise be sitting unused. Then, come the weekend, they'd get their cash float back, and continue operations.

Except ... before he declared bankruptcy, Dick Fuld decided that Lehman's Asian and European operations would not get their cash back. Instead, it stayed in the US -- where it was bought as part of the Lehman US operations by Barclays.

Maybe all this was necessary, like some kind of medical emergency triage where only one of the triplets can be saved, and you have to put all of your resources into that one. But it's still easy to see how the Lehman operations in Europe and Asia would be extremely unhappy about it. After all, they weren't the ones who loaded up on dodgy residential and commercial real-estate assets -- to the contrary, they were making lots of money, for themselves and for their parent.

This was just the beginning. AIG got $150 Billion (source), and other financial firms will need to be saved. Lehman was founded in 1850; AIG was (is?) the largest insurance firm in the (real) world.

In the virtual world: This week we also heard that Google is closing Lively -- Google's foray into virtual worlds. Google urges members to make videos and pictures of their creation, in their web page about the shut down. See Longer post here.

In addition, Second Life has lost 1025 islands (from Nov 1). That means the creations of 1025 island owners are gone forever. This is not the first time people shut down their islands. Some of the best creations in Second Life were wiped. (See the amazing Watch the world(s) - revisited story of the lost island of Starry Nights).

Welcome to right sizing. Both in the real worlds and the virtual worlds.

Both the real and the virtual is readjusting to what is really needed and wanted. We will focus on the core things: food, shelter, family, fun.

Firms that create real value will survive and thrive. Google will probably re-focus their "virtual" energy in Google Earth (see for example Google's work on Virtual Rome). And Second Life?

Well, we will get better user experience with better islands. Hopefully Linden (the God's of Second Life) will be able to correctly right size -- commit their energy's to a solid virtual worlds experience.

While I may be too optimistic, I see the latest right sizing as good. It will allow the good players to blossom.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Second Life has lost 1025 Islands since Nov 1, 2008

Nov 13, USA time (post from original) -367
Nov 15, 23:00 Israel Time: -608
Nov 21, 19:36 Israel Time: -1025
Nov 25, 21:43 Israel Time: -1420
Dec 9, 18:51 Israel Time: -1977 (this is the final number for November 2008).

OMG OMG OMG... I am really unhappy today. Wagner James Au from the blog New Worlds Notes is reporting that Second Life is loosing private islands.
To those unfamiliar with these statistics, Linden has added 1045 island in October, and dropped -367 island in November (and this is Month to date! - and we are in the middle of the month.

See Linden Page.

There is a lot on anger in the community around land pricing + the economy is taking its toll on Second Life. People and organizations do not even bother re-selling their island. They are simply dropping it. If it continues -- we will probably see this item go away from the official stats pages.

This is -- yet another -- call for action for Linden. I hope -- and pray -- they will listen.
"You have something very good... don't kill it."

Discover Ancient Rome in Google Earth

In my last talk I spoke about Google Earch as a platform for virtual worlds. The following sample demonstrates this. We now miss some Gladiators. have fun.

see the video or jump to this address:

Friday, November 14, 2008

New issue of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research on: Consumer Behavior in Virtual Worlds

I am happy to report on the release of a new issue of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research ( on the theme of "Consumer Behavior in Virtual Worlds" with 5 peer reviewed articles, 3 non-peer reviewed research papers, and 6 brief think pieces. The second issue was edited by Natalie Wood and Caja Thimm.

Editor's Corner

Guest Editor's Introduction
Natalie Wood

Peer Reviewed Research Papers

Consuming Code: Use-Value, Exchange-Value, and the Role of Virtual Goods in Second Life
Jennifer Martin
Abstract | PDF
Virtual World Affordances: Enhancing Brand Value
So Ra Park, Fiona Fui-Hoon Nah, David DeWester, Brenda Eschenbrenner, Sunran Jeon
Abstract | PDF
On the Relationship between My Avatar and Myself
Paul R Messinger, Xin Ge, Eleni Stroulia, Kelly Lyons, Kristen Smirnov, Michael Bone
Abstract | PDF
The Social Construction of Virtual Reality and the Stigmatized Identity of the Newbie
Robert E. Boostrom, Jr.
Abstract | PDF
The “New” Virtual Consumer: Exploring the Experiences of New Users
Lyle R Wetsch
Abstract | PDF

Research Papers

Ugly Duckling by Day, Super Model by Night: The Influence of Body Image on the Use of Virtual Worlds
Enrique Becerra, Mary Ann Stutts
Abstract | PDF
Symbolic and Experiential Consumption of Body in Virtual Worlds: from (Dis)Embodiment to Symembodiment
Handan Vicdan, Ebru Ulusoy
Abstract | PDF
Demographics of Virtual Worlds
Jeremiah Spence
Abstract | PDF

“Think pieces”

Surveillance, Consumers, and Virtual Worlds
Douglas R Dechow
Abstract | PDF
Second Life and Hyperreality
Michel Maffesoli
Abstract | PDF
Having But Not Holding: Consumerism & Commodification in Second Life
Lori Landay
Abstract | PDF
Metaverse: A New Dimension?
Yohan Launay, Nicolas Mas
Abstract | PDF
Virtual Worlds Research: Global X Local Agendas
Gilson Schwartz
Abstract | PDF
Real Virtual Worlds SOS (State of Standards) Q3-2008
Yesha Sivan
Abstract | PDF

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Video: Real-time Satellites in Google Earth

This collection by Analytic Graphics Inc. shows real-time positions of 13,000 satellites around the Earth in Google Earth.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Virtual Worlds SOS Q3-2008 State of Standards Slides

The slides from my talk in Virtual Worlds London about the State of Standards are here. I made some minor corrections based on the tons of feedback I got. Thank you. This is a journey ... and it will take time (about 3 years according to the MPEG-V plan).

See full 45 page presentation with active links in pdf" Virtual Worlds SOS (State of Standards) Oct-2008.

Here's some description mainly for search engines.

Goal of Talk –For you: Invite people to participate in the MPEG-V Process (A formal process)
–For me: Gain feedback and inputs

Assumptions 1.Virtual Worlds have immense potential which can ONLY be fulfilled with a global standard.
2.Currant state of the art will be enhanced much faster if we focus on establishing common stack (“innovation points”)
3.We are just starting; we do not have all the answers.

Standards are usually misunderstood. At best – people have a very limited knowhow about what they are, how they work, and their different dimensions.
And… they go against human nature.
A typical meeting is like Tom Lehrer song about “national brotherhood week”
So here is a Typical Standards meeting:

Define Virtual Worlds We define Virtual Worlds as a combination of
3D: controllable environment, one can both, zoom, change camera position, etc.
Community: it is with real people, people can create groups, there is a system that allow communities to blossom.
Creation: there is a way to build content, services, and stuff.
Commerce: there is an ability to connect real economic value (real money).
The goal of the definition allow us to focus our efforts.

About Metaverse1 Metaverse1is a consortia of about 35 firms (big, small, universities).
Working under the ITEA-2 program (for building industrial research)
Most (but not all) are partially funded by their government -- about 25%-60%.
Players from Netherland, France, Spain and others.
A lot of energy on action – not enough on standards 

MPEG-V Approch Time Driven Process
Why MPEG and not this or that group (SDO – Standard Development Organization)?
Because we have access to it; and it has worked in the past
Is MPEG open?
What is Open? What to do with Patents?
I have a good technology? What do I do?
NOTE: Personally – I’m not 100% clear about the process – but I’m clear that ISO/MPEG is very formal.

About standards: The diverse uses of “standards” define the goal of this work, namely, to develop a general framework of standards and to reflect on the process and outcome of the development of the framework. My intention is to devise a theoretical framework that may be translated into practice at some future point. The principle outcome is a framework of standards that includes five dimensions: Level, Purpose, Effect, Sponsor, and Stage, each of which contains five categories that together define the dimension. The dimensions show:
how standards can be produced and used by entities from different Levels individual, organizational, associational, national, and multinational);
how they can have one or more Purposes (simplification, communication, harmonization, protection, and valuation);
how they can cause diverse Effects (constructive, positive, unknown, negative, and destructive);
how they can be developed by different Sponsors (devoid, nonsponsored, unisponsored, multisponsored, and mandated); and
how they can be in different Stages (missing, emerging, existing, declining, and dying).
In presenting the framework, the chapter also touches on the roles of standards in the industrial age, their potential roles in the knowledge age, and the current turmoil in the standards community. It includes reflections on designing and judging the framework.

Key points:
For virtual worlds to success we must have standards.
OpenSL ecosystem (Linden+OpenSim) seems to be in a good position… (with some “buts” of a unsponsored standard).
Other players have lots to add.
MPEG-V is a formal process – gears to standards between worlds, and between virtual and real.
Ultimately standards is a political “give and take” process – where we have to find the best solution in a given time -- let’s work together.

Feedback Welcome.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

World Usability Day. Nov 13, Israel: Virtual Worlds - The Mouse That Cried

Update: You can get the 55 page presentation in PDF here.

As part of the World Usability day, The Israeli Chapter -- I will give a talk about something that is bothering me for a long time. "Do we have the right interface for virtual worlds?" This is a technical presentation aimed at usability experts. Mainly I will raise some core questions and opportunities in this growing field.

The program is here

The title "The Mouse that Cried - Interface challenges in Second Life and other virtual worlds."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Eduverse Video of Yesha - 10 Trends for Q3-2008

As part of the Eduverse Conference I gave this talk. It is a summary of 10 interesting trends in Virtual Worlds. (see other talks here) -- If it does not play .. go directly to Google Video and down load the video.

See Original post for the conference description.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Free Expo tickets for Virtual Worlds London Oct 20-21

I'm back from a very productive meeting of the Metaverse1 team (yes, we are working on standards for virtual worlds). I'm already working on my talk: "Virtual Worlds SOS (State of Standards)." Chris Sherman, has inspired me to use this name. And yes, I like the duel meaning. If you are around London at the time.. feel free to grab some free tickets:
I'm speaking at Virtual Worlds London taking place 20-21 October at the The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London and as a speaker I have an extra Expo-Only badge (£95 value) and thought you might be interested in attending. The Expo Hall showcases the latest tools, technologies, products and services. 20 companies are exhibiting. This gives you the opportunity to network with all the industry leaders in one place.

This promo code will get you into the Expo Hall during both show days, 20-21 October 2008. The pass also allows you to download the latest virtual worlds market research from 3 major research houses, attend the Virtual Worlds Roadmap keynote and FastPitch London on 20 October. To get the free pass register online at prior to Thursday, 16 October at 23:59 London time using a special code.

this is the code: siva88

[By the way, I'm trying to write with less shortcuts, and SMS-text style, because I now have auto voice on my blog. I need to help it to read it.]

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Second Life Keyboard: The best SL parody today ... SOOO..... Funny

By Prad Prathivi... (original is here in flicker)

This is only for mega users of Second Life... this is THE funniest picture I have ever seen in my life!!!! So smart; So cool; I want to pay them 1000 linden for doing it!!!

You will need to zoom into this picture... to see the rest... a bit big ... but so cool...
(click on the picture and ask to open in a new window).

Thanks to Bevan Whitfield for the tip.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cigna / vielife health education in Second Life

A demo of a unique virtual worlds health education program of Cigna. An interesting and unique example.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cutter Journal: Finding the Real-World Value in Virtual Worlds: Issues and Challenges

Cutter Journal (September, 2008 issue) has just published a 35-page report aimed directly at traditional IT managers -- exploring the meaning, value, and actions needed for virtual worlds.

And since I wrote a paper there, and you are my reader.. you get the entire issue in PDF free :-) see here.

In Cutter's tradition of debate they start with the contradiction:
Virtual Worlds Pose Real Problems: Virtual worlds are immature and rife with
problems, from service outages to avatar harassment. Though they offer great promise, they aren’t yet ready for fielding mainstream applications. Many early adopters saw no substantial benefit and have beat a hasty retreat.

Virtual Worlds They Offer Real Value: Virtual worlds offer a rich immersive environment where anything you can imagine is possible. From training applications, to sales tools, to real-money commerce, virtual worlds offer a wealth of entrepreneurial opportunities. Get ready to embrace these brave new worlds, if you haven’t already!
Table of Contents:
  • Opening Statement by San Murugesan (the Editor) 3
  • 3D + 3C = “Real” Virtual Worlds by Yesha Sivan 6
  • From 2D to 3D: Making the Transition from Web to Metaverse Retailing by Savvas Papagiannidis 14
  • Virtual Worlds as Real-World Sales Tools by Matthew Ganis, Garrett Hall, and David McNeill 19
  • World of Workcraft: Educating and Training “Digital Natives” by David C. Wyld 26
  • Look Before You Leap: Issues and Challenges in Managing a Virtual-World Presence by Anjali Kaushik 32

About Cutter:
Cutter Consortium is a unique IT advisory firm, comprising a group of more than 150 internationally recognized experts who have come together to offer research, consulting, and training to our clients.

About Cutter Journal:
Part of Cutter Consortium’s mission is to foster the debate of, and dialogue on, the business technology issues challenging enterprises today, to help organizations leverage IT for competitive advantage and business success. Cutter’s philosophy is that most of the issues that managers face are complex enough to merit examination that goes beyond simple ronouncements. Founded in 1987 as American Programmer by Cutter Fellow Ed Yourdon, Cutter IT Journal is one of Cutter’s key venues for debate.

I would like to thank Raz Hyperman, CIO of Direct Insurance, Israel; and Gil Bickel, CIO of SAP Labs Israel. Special thanks to my long-time friends at STKI (the Israeli affiliate of the Cutter Consortium), Dr. Jimmy Schwarzkopf, Research Fellow and Managing Partner; Galit Fein, VP and Senior Analyst; and Einat Shimoni, VP and Senior Analyst.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sep 23, 2008: Amsterdam - Eduverse Symposium 3- Amsterdam.

I will participate in the Eduverse Symposium 3 in Amsterdam.
I quote from Christian Renaud's Weblog

On September 23rd, the Eduverse Foundation will be hosting a pre-Picnic event Symposium 3. Looking at the intersections between Serious Gaming, Virtual Education, Web3D Technology and Social Networking, the event looks certain to be worthy successor to June's Symposium 2 event.

For those of you who are not familiar with Eduverse, it is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting virtual spaces for educational uses. On their blog, they list six over-arching goals of their mission:

1. To promote Virtual Education and detail the Virtual Paradigm

2. To set standards for what should and should not be done in virtual space

3. To create tools and interfaces to help facilitate virtual education

4. To explore and promote technologies which can be leveraged to aid virtual education

5. To create test cases to justify our claims and act as templates for future research

6. To promote Science and Scientific Research in virtual environments

I will give a short talk about the latest trends in Virtual Worlds (using my own perspective -- of course). Other speakers include Chuck Hamilton, Philip Rosedale, and Julian Lombardi, and Christian Renaud.

Ohh Update: As we were listening to the talk... someone started to create fire balls and almost burned us. Lucky for us one smart builder protected us by adding a net... wow I feel good.

Robert Talking...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sep 21, IBM Israel: Second IVWF meeting: Virtual worlds in the literature + the top 10 trends from Virtual Worlds LA

In the September meeting of the IVWF (Israeli Virtual Worlds Forum - a SIG of the ISOC - Israeli Internet Society group) we will cover virtual worlds from two angles:
  • A talk by Gur about virtual worlds in the literature.
  • A review of the latest news by the members and especially the latest 10 trends from Virtual Worlds in LA.
All the details are in the facebook event.
More details about IVWF in the facebook group.

BTW, we just got our 50th member. Horay!!.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Short SL movie: Life on Life

A short movie (using the Machinima Style) by LifeFactory Writer

Life on Life
"Life on Life" is a docu-narrative produced inside the virtual reality platform SecondLife and is composed of vignettes narrating one avatar's path through her first year in the metaverse. From magical safaris and artificial lifeforms to hackers and virtual suicide bombers, the real world plays itself out around her in virtual space, and Life passes through with hope and wonder intact!

The film explores an intersection of the first and virtual worlds--the drawbacks and the potential.

Please come watch this on the big screen and sit in the scene at SecondLife slurl:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

August Nokia Connection Event

I had the pleasure of participating in the latest Nokia effort to connect with virtual worlds.
Nokia is really using Second Life; the meeting was not your standard session -- after a bit of confusion we were able to listen to a panel (all done in Second Life using Second Life voice) that talked about... social aspects of second life. I did not participate in the entire event.. but it was fun..

Here are two pictures:
Nokia meeting place
"Another day in the office - of Nokia"

Here the offocial note (more details are in the facebook event:
The August edition of the Nokia Connected Worlds events will be held this thursday (August 28) at 11 am to 2 pm SL time. This will be a special installment of Connected Worlds as it is a 3 hour event focused on the value of social networking. Please sign for an account on OVI if you do not have one already. , as this will be used as a major component of the event. Adding some content to your Ovi account ahead of time would also be a very good idea!

At any rate, please come expecting to share your social networks with other people attending. Everything from Facebook, to Twitter, to Blogspot - whatever it is you do, share it with us!

The first hour will be themed as "Get Connected", in which attendees will exchange social networking sites to connect them to eachother. A free scripted device will be handed out to facilitate this and make it easier and a lot of fun! Event hosts are Hydra Shaftoe and Digistar Brouwer.

The second hour will be the Nokia Virtual Business Panel discussion, where panelists drawn from various business disciplines within virtual worlds will take questions from the audience and discuss them. This is your chance to get the down-and-dirty on how business operates within virtual worlds from some of the best and brightest in the field.

Moderator and Host - Hydra shaftoe

Booperkit Moseley
Robbie Kiama
Stephane Zugzwang
Bevan Whitfield
Ken Ogg
Digistar Brouwer

The third hour will be both a continuation of the Get Connected event, and an after party hosted by Nokia's live Mediterranean DJ, Ren Diqui.

For current information on the event, please watch Hydravelsen and Oobio on Twitter, and please sign up if possible at the event's Facebook site, , and also feel free to browse for current information.

We hope to see you there!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Wiki/Time Line of Virtual Worlds

"Time Line of virtual worlds" uses a unique technology that allow you to peg events on a time line with all the needed multimedia.

Origin here

10 free expo passes for the upcoming Virtual Worlds Expo in Sep 3-4 LA, USA

10 free expo passes for the upcoming Virtual Worlds Expo (September 3-4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center).
These passes will not get people into the full conference but they will get people into the Expo Hall (a $195 value) during both show days, Sept. 3-4, 2008, allowing them to visit with exhibitors, network, and attend the Virtual Worlds Innovation Awards (on the 3rd).
The Expo Hall showcases 41 companies showing the latest tools, technologies, products and services. This gives you the opportunity to network with all the industry leaders in one place. You'll also have access to Disney Online Senior Vice President Steve Parkis' keynote where he will talk about the future of virtual worlds and unveil a new product for the first time! Free draft beer is available in the Expo Hall during the Virtual Worlds Innovation Awards on Wednesday, Sept. 3rd from 5:00pm to 6:00pm.
To receive the free pass you must register online by August 29th (last day of online registration). Click the registration link at, choose Exhibit Hall-Only Registration option and insert the following promo code in the promo code box:
Your free Exhibit Hall-Only Registration promo code: sivan4

Sunday, August 24, 2008

SLCC 2008: Yesha to talk about Real Businesses in Virtual Worlds: Understanding the immense potential and preparing for it

In the yearly Second Life Community conference I will give a talk about business and virtual worlds.

See the full agenda of the business track or community track or general conference site
My talk on Sat:
3:45 PM -Real Businesses in Virtual Worlds: Understanding the immense potential and preparing for it
Dr. Yesha Sivan
A new medium is emerging — real virtual worlds. Today there are more than 100 different worlds where millions of dollars are involved… and this is only the beginning. A full Virtual World — much like Second life — includes 3D, Community, Creation and Commerce (3D3C for short). When such a full 3D3C world matures we will be blessed, bombarded and engulfed with new features and abilities that are destined to change the lives of many businesses. In the same way Amazon, eBay, and Google Emerged and Rand McNally, Tower Records and Barnes and Noble suffered, Virtual Worlds will give birth to new companies, and “kill” old companies.
This talk will first briefly define “Real Virtual Worlds”. Then we will review some potential case studies. The bulk of the talk will be allocated to specific tips and tricks for organizations to start learning about virtual worlds from both the I.T. and marketing perspectives.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Funny Video: Social Networking Wars

OK. A fun video that will show you how to deal with all these social networks. MySpace, Facebook, and even Second Life.
A fun few of the complex life of social life... :-)) Funny.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Spore E308 Trailer: The new SIM

The industry is buzzing. Spore the game by the inventor of Sim is about to be OUT... this would change all that we know about games. The ultimate training for real virtual worlds.

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Randy has just passed away. His style is an inspiration to all of us.

Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch (Oct. 23, 1960 - July 25, 2008) gave his last lecture at the university Sept. 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium. In his moving presentation, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals. For more, visit

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Video: 50 Virtual Worlds to choose from report on amazing video of 50 virtual worlds.

Here's what she says:
Great overview of 50+ virtual worlds (although I only count 43 ;)) current open (or in beta) by Gary Hayes for This video collection of machinima and stills from different virtual worlds, is a perfect overview of what Second Life’s competitors look like. By following Gary Hayes’ ‘2008 Metaverse Tour’ you can (quickly) visit the following virtual worlds without having to create an avatar for each: in order of appearance, Kaneva, YoVille (Facebook), RocketOn, Prototerra, Gaia Online, HiPiHi, Google Lively, Habbo Hotel, Laguna Beach (vMTV running There), Whyville, Twinity, Cyworld, Football Superstars, Weblin, IMVU, Second Life (yeeeey!!! let’s hear an applause! ;)), Club Penguin, Active Worlds, vSide, a Tale in the Desert, Barbie Online, Amazing Worlds, Webkinz,, Spore (only the creature creator), ExitReality, Open Croquet, Metaplace, Mokitown, Moove, The Palace, Spine World, Tower Chat, The Traveller, Virtual Ibiza, Stardoll, The Manor, There, Vastpark, Qwaq, Playstation 3 Home and Go Supermodel. Definitely a lot more ‘metaverse parts’ then I even knew existed!

Friday, August 01, 2008

100 Tips for Second Life Island new Owners

In the last year I have worked with several organizations that started islands in second life. There are many things you will need to consider. Small tips that could save you time, effort, and money. So I am collecting them. For now, I have 15... but I plan to get to 100. Your feedback is needed.

So here are ome Technical Tips for active hands-on research in Second Life:
  1. Time to get Island – Getting the island from Linden takes 2-3 weeks. You will need a credit card and a budget to buy things in world (in world = in the virtual world).
  2. Teen Grid islands take much longer because you need to follow a background check process.
  3. Firewall. Second Life uses various non-standard ports. You will need to open them.
  4. Permissions and ownership – make sure you fully understand the permissions schemes of second life. For business related items, you may want to insist on full permissions. Such products usually cost much more.
  5. Strong computers. Running Second Life calls for a relatively strong computer (see System Requirements in the second life web site). Running Second Life and makeing a video at the same time, calls for an even stronger computer.
  6. Full view. Make sure you use full graphics and you set the distance to 512 meters – this will enhance the look and feel of the experience.
  7. UI size. For demos you may enlarge the UI size – in preferences.
  8. Media on a Prim. Use the added features of HTML on a Prim, Music on land, and video on land. Such features demonstrate the integrative nature of virtual worlds.
  9. Training videos. View training videos by using The fastest way to learn.
  10. Programming – Second Life has a full programming environment based on LSL (Linden Scripting Language). There are lots of materials on the web re this.
  11. External systems. There are several ways to connect between in-world objects and out-side objects. There are some complex demos in-world to show this.
  12. Measurement. There are several tools to measure how many avatars visited your space. You can install listeners in various objects.
  13. Company Family Names. There is a method to buy a family name from Linden for members of the firm.
  14. Voice Chat. Using voice in world can be a good way to start and to collaborate. Saves texting.
  15. Harness power of other users. Work with other users to help you. There are many people in Second life that would gladly help; if you pay a bit you will get a lot of energy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

MEITAL 2008: "New Directions in E-Learning in Higher Education" (Hebrew)

When: Wednesday, Aug 6, 2008
Where: Haifa University, Rabin Building

This is the yearly conference of MEITAL - who is working on University level usages of technologies. I will give a short discussion about my course "Intro to virtual worlds."

MEITAL 2008: "New Directions in E-Learning in Higher Education"

The 6th Annual MEITAL National Conference

The MEITAL 2008 conference, in memory of the late Prof. Nechemia Levzion, will take place this year at the University of Haifa on Wednesday, August 6th, 2008. The conference will focus on the achievements and challenges in e-learning in higher education and on future development avenues.

The conference is a multi-participant, national gathering that is held once a year at one of the academic institutions that are members of MEITAL. The conference comprises a unique experience for a formal and informal professional meeting of all those involved in e-learning and e-teaching in higher education. It will include lectures dealing with the integration of e-learning in academic teaching in Israel, an exhibition of posters and presentations, round tables covering various areas of interest and specialization, workshops and more. The conference will provide diverse opportunities for social and professional encounters in a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere. Members of the academic staff and others interested in e-learning in higher education institutions in Israel are invited to participate!

The conference's Program Committee is headed by Dr. Dani Ben-Zvi, Head of the e-learning Center at the University of Haifa.

Monday, July 28, 2008

K Zero ‘Universe-graph’ updated

K Zero is a leading consultancy in the field of virtual worlds. Just published their
Updated virtual world data for Q2 2008 for their famous 'univese-graph'. For those who are looking for a quick historical view.

Monday, July 21, 2008

New facebook look

OK, there is a new facebook interface:

Read more about it in cnet

Facebook starts to look more and more like... plaxo: better organization,
more features, more control over how much you see of what, ability to customize the look and feel.

Yet -- some of the editing tools are hidden so deeply that you barely know they are there. You need to move the mouse all over to find the hidden menus. Nice use of internal menus, zoom in/out. etc.

You can always go back to the old interface.

Nice tool to build a virtual shirt

Torley Linden has given us yet another cool video tutorial. About how to build a shirt using a cool pain-like free tool.

See "Make an awesome shirt with ArtRage - Video Tip of the Week #41"

Note the high quality video is much better.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My initial reaction to Google Lively Virtual world

OK, big news in the Virtual Worlds industry this week. Google has released its "Lively" world. This is a short review aimed at people who are well versed in virtual worlds (so sorry for the tech speak).
Dera Kit in the room

Dera Kit says Hi from Israel -- in Hebrew (WELL DONE)

Look and Feel
1. Lively is a plug in (for browser) that allow you to present, edit, and use 3D rooms.
2. It takes few min to load the plug in (one time) and then you can visit rooms.
3. The rooms can appear on any page, using gadget, HTML, etc.
4. The room itself include the background, objects in it, avatars. there are 2 special objects to show pictures (or stream of pictures -- and u do need Picasa for that). and to show video (and yes you do need You Tube).
5. Avatars are very carton-like -- the entire system look and feel like IMVU (with the ability to move your avatars freely in the room).
6. As in IMVU you can make the other avatar do things (if you kiss someone it will animate both). There is no permissions on that at this point. not even what IMVU has and not request (like Second Life has).
7. Loading speed is terrible. Very slow. You may need to wait 10 min for a full room with avatars to load.
8. once all is loaded speed is reasonable to fast. You can move your avatars quickly.
9. The editor for building rooms is cool. Lots of options to move around objects and connect them to URLs.
10. Any user can comment on an objects. This seems like a nice features.
11. There is an infrastructure for buying and selling virtual goods. Although all prices now are zero.
12. HEBREW -- Yes it is working fine. COOOOL.
13. The name "Lively" -- is Google stabbing Microsoft Live? am not sure. Kind of fun.


1. This is a good development for the field. Google will be able to connect this easily with other services, and truly build a 3D tool.

2. It will take Lively a lot of time to get to the level of IMVU and much more time to get to the level of second life. BUT many many people will be able to use LIVELY. From my perspective, (see 3D3C Framework for real virtual worlds) Google Lively is has 3/5 in 3D, 3/5 in Community, 3/5 in Creation, and 1/5 in Commerce.

3. Google is in an excellent position to continue this development with connection to their
  • Vast user system (no need to develop one);
  • Connect (using Sketchup),
  • Earth (your avatars can visit together Disney
  • Money (with Google Checkout that already have your credit card).
  • Ads -- need I say more. Google AdSense/AdWords can easily connect with this.
4. Second life will no be affected so much by this. If at all, people that play with Lively with graduate to Second Life. Linden -- and I'm sure they are doing it -- will have to focus its efforts on their direction.

5. IMVU-Like worlds: wow these guys really need to think about their position. They may need to connect with Yahoo or Microsoft if they wish to survive.

6. All of us. I really want to see how LIVELY is developing in the nest 3 months -- I want to see that Lively is not Google Answers (shell I say the late).

BTW: If you have specific questions please comment here and I will try to post answers in the blog.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Talk in Haifa Jul 14: Real Virtual Worlds: When Facebook, Youtube and eBay merge

Time: Monday -- Jul 14, 2008 12:15-13:35
Location: Haifa University, Education building, Room 570, 5th floor

For my friends in the North of Israel... I will come back to my hometown for an open talk
(there will be a closed session afterwords).

Real Virtual Worlds: When Facebook, Youtube and eBay merge.
A real virtual world is described as a three-dimensional world in which human characters spend their time, play, work and live. A definition is proposed – 3D3C: 3D for the three dimensions of this interactive world and 3C for Community in which people connect with one another, Creation that allows people to express themselves and Commerce that links real monetary value to actions in this world. Current business models as seen today in Second Life, the first sample real Virtual World, are described.

Real Virtual Worlds Defined: The Journal of Virtual Worlds

I am happy to announce the publication my latest work re virtual worlds:

3D3C Real Virtual Worlds Defined:
The Immense Potential of Merging 3D, Community, Creation, and Commerce

See the paper on main Journal web site or a backup copy).

Image taken from the conclusion section.

This is my most updated version to the 3D3C definition for virtual worlds that calls for no prior knowledge.

The goal of this paper is to define the term “Real Virtual Worlds.” It is the assumption of this paper that this new field is destined to become a major force in 5-10 years. Much like the internet, Real Virtual Worlds, will change, enhance, and sometimes hamper how we learn, have fun, work, and perform human action.
Because the goal here is to expose the field and generate awareness and action, no prior knowledge in virtual worlds is called for. Those familiar with the field may enjoy a fresh perspective that takes into account the integration of factors that lead to new applications and services.
The short background will present the fields of “virtual reality” and “gaming worlds” as the parents of the field. Then, Real Virtual Worlds will be defined using (a) the detailed example of Second Life, (b) a formal definition of 3D3C (3 dimensions, community, creation and commerce) and (c) a short comparative analysis of several worlds as a method to explicate the 3D3C definition. Further exposition of the Community, Creation and Commerce will use Second Life to further describe the 3Cs. The conclusion will connect the supply (of powerful technology) and demand (from both young and adult users) with the sustained innovation that stem from 3D3C – to create a reinforcing cycle that will propel Real Virtual Worlds forward.


1. Background: The Parents of Real Virtual Worlds

1.1 Father: Virtual Reality
1.2 Mother: Gaming Worlds
2. 3D3C: 3D, Community, Creation and Commerce
2.1 An Example: Second Life
2.2 A Formal Definition
2.3 Typical Worlds via the 3D3C Prism
3. Community
3.1 Background
3.2 The Individual
3.3 Partnership and Family
3.4 Groups
3.5 Conclusion
4. Creation
4.1 Background
4.2 My Avatar
4.3 Objects
4.4 Land
4.5 Editing
4.6 Conclusion
5. Commerce
5.1 Background
5.2 Linden Dollars
5.3 Services
5.4 Products
5.5 Conclusion
6. Conclusion: Towards Real Virtual Worlds

Monday, June 23, 2008

Summer Teen Workshop "Creation and Exprience in the Virtual World" in MadaTech (The Israeli Science Museum)

I'm involved in build a five-day workshop that will bring teens aboard into the virtual worlds. The work shop will be conducted in the new advance center of the Israeli MadaTech Science and Technology center

For more details see

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Walt Disney World Resort Lands on Google Earth: the Next Bes

OK... things area really moving forwad in the "virtual worlds" see what Disney is doing.

See more details in this page:
Now you can explore every inch of Walt Disney World® Resort in 3D, in Disney's incredible Google Earth™ tour. With 3D views of all four Theme Parks and over 20 Disney Resort hotels, you can zoom down Main Street, USA®, fly around Cinderella Castle, explore Spaceship Earth and climb the Tree of Life.

This tour will transform how you plan your Disney vacation, offering attraction descriptions, videos and photos, and links to menus, event calendars, and tickets and reservations.

Just follow the download instructions below. Once in Google Earth™, select the Gold Mickey Ears icon to get the official Walt Disney World info.

Let your magical journey begin!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Second Life for Virtual Museums

You will hear more about this... but lately I am interested in how museums can use virtual worlds. This is one of the best examples. The next presentation will cover it. It is the Tech Museum in San Jose. (Source: Nina's Blog)

Off -- and this presentation (Voice Thread) tool is amazing...

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Israerli Forum for Virtual Worlds: IBM Talk on Tech. and Bus.

Update: Please join us this facebook group.

I am happy to announce that the forming of the "Israeli Forum for Virtual Worlds." This is a working group of the Israel Internet Association (ISOC-IL). We (Gur Shomron, and Yesha Sivan) are looking to build a community of people who are interested in various aspects of virtual worlds. This will be a real (ah ah) group... with virtual life...

Our speaker will be Eyal Levin from IBM -- who will share with US IBM global interest in the field. (Eyal IS NOT in the picture. Picture Credit).

Details about the meeting here.

He will cover both technology and business. This will be a good place to start the discussion.
Soon -- there will be call for speakers on the ISOC web site.

We are looking for a logo... so let us know what you think. See you there... (looking for Free tickets let me know... I may get some).

Harvard: Video game technology may help surgeons operate on beating hearts

There was an interesting news item about using 3D glasses to train heart surgeons. So all those days in Halo could make sense if you want to be a Doctor (see full report).
Surgery has been done inside some adults’ hearts while the heart is still beating, avoiding the need to open the chest, stop the heart and put patients on cardiopulmonary bypass. But to perform intricate beating-heart operations in babies with congenital heart disease or do beating-heart complex repairs in adults, surgeons need fast, highly sophisticated real-time imaging that allows them to see depth.
In an NIH-funded study featured on the cover of the June Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, cardiac surgeons from Children’s Hospital Boston report good results with a simple technology borrowed from the gaming industry: stereo glasses.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Keynote Talk: Real Virtual Worlds = 3D3C

Update (03-July-2008): See the full presentation in PDF.

When: July 2, 2008
Where: Tel Aviv. See location on web site (link at the bottom).


In the Summer MOACH conference (Technology in Education, Hebrew) I will give a general introduction to Virtual Worlds including a section on Educational usages of virtual worlds.

Conference program in PDF.
First Day Program.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

IBM Users Association in Israel: Virtual World Workshop

I had the pleasure of hosting a secondlife/online workshop for the Israeli IBM User Association in Israel. We had about 100 people who used 10 stations for 2 hours. Top level IT mangers in Israel became avatars. Lots of fun.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Kids in Virtual Worlds: Panel in "Eshnav" conference - June 17, 2008

Yesha will give a short talk about "kids in virtual worlds." As part of a panel in the yearly Eshnav conference. Eshnav is a non-for-profit organization dedicated to the "right" usage of the internet.

When: June 17, 2008 8:00-16:30 (my talk: 13:45-15:00)
Where: Build A; Hall 50 - The College of Management Business School.
Rishon Lezion.
Register: here

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Starry Night in 3D - video

One of the most amazing creations of Second Life -- both the method and the result are amzazing. Well Done :-) (read till the end)
From here:
June 1889 (210 Kb); Oil on Canvas, 72 x 92 cm (29 x 36 1/4 in); The Museum of Modern Art, New York

The Starry Night was completed near the mental asylum of Saint-Remy, 13 months before Van Gogh's death at the age of 37. Vincent's mental instability is legend. He attempted to take Paul Gauguin's life and later committed himself to several asylums in hopes of an unrealized cure.

Van Gogh painted furiously and The Starry Night vibrates with rockets of burning yellow while planets gyrate like cartwheels. The hills quake and heave, yet the cosmic gold fireworks that swirl against the blue sky are somehow restful.

This painting is probably the most popular of Vincent's works.

Yet the SIM (the land which held this creation is gone). I'm not sure why (please tell me).
See this latest movie.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Google Earth API

Good news from Google. Now you can use Google earth as a base for virtual worlds. Note the last example of the video where you see a car driving in Google Earth (looks cool).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Play YouTube videos in Second Life - Second Life Video ...

What we looked for ages. Ability to play you-tube in second life. Now that You-Tube supports MP4 you can stream them directly to Second life. Mega cool. Ahhh the power of standards.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Call for requirements: ISO MPEG-V (mpeg for virtual worlds) Deadline: July 16, 2008

My dear friend, J.H.A. (Jean) Gelissen from Philips continues to work on MPEG-V. This is the major official (read: global) work on establishing standards. Most of you are aware of my "push" for global standards (see Five dimensions of standards, and the metaverse1 project)

I fear that the virtual worlds industry, will end up like the gaming industry -- small islands that stifle large scale innovation. In contrast, the internet model, with its defined stack, is a much better example to arrive at the full 3D3C real virtual world. In any event, the call state:


ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11/N9903 Archamps, France, May 2008

Title: MPEG-V Extended Call for Requirements

Source: Requirements

Status: Approved

MPEG, a working group in ISO/IEC, has produced many important standards (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MPEG-7, and MPEG-21). MPEG feels that it is important to standardize intermediate formats and protocols for “Information exchange with Virtual Worlds”, MPEG-V in the areas of “Interfaces between virtual worlds” and “Interfaces between virtual worlds and the physical world”.

As stated in the w9424 “Information exchange with Virtual Worlds 'Context, Objectives and Use Cases'” [1] the intended standard for ‘Information exchange with Virtual Worlds’ will consist of at least three parts:

· Part1: Architecture

· Part2: Interfaces between virtual worlds

· Part3: Interfaces between virtual worlds and the physical world

The first part (Part1: Architecture) will describe an overall architecture that can be instantiated for all the foreseeable combinations of virtual worlds and real world deployment.

The second part (Part2: Interfaces between virtual worlds) will allow for the interchange of characteristics between virtual worlds taking native formats and scalability into account.

The third part (Part3: Interfaces between virtual worlds and the physical world) will allow for the interfacing of sensors and actuators to the virtual world taking native formats into account.

MPEG has produces “Draft requirements for MPEG-V” [2] based on the contributions received on a request for requirements issued at the 83rd MPEG meeting (Antalya, Turkey, January 14 – 18, 2008). To complete the requirements for MPEG-V MPEG would like to be informed about the existence additional requirements applicable to this work item.

All parties that believe they have relevant (additional) requirements for MPEG-V are invited to submit these requirements for consideration by MPEG. These parties do not necessarily have to be MPEG members. The review of these requirements is planned in the context of the 85th MPEG meeting in Hannover, Germany. Please contact Joern Ostermann ( for details on attending this meeting if you are not an MPEG delegate. The submissions shall be received by the 16th of July, 2008 23.59 hours GMT, by Joern Ostermann, chair of the MPEG Requirements sub-Group, ( who will upload all proposals both by MPEG and non MPEG members to the MPEG site after the submission deadline.

See the initial draft.