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
URL: http://meital.iucc.ac.il/conf2008/

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