Thursday, June 25, 2009

2D Broswsing inside 3D world - Sirikata

Many people talk about merging regular 2D browsing inside 3D words.
One project that is actually doing it is Sirikata.

My take: it is possible.
One question: does all the other avatars in the same room
see the same browser?

More info: MaxPing
It looks simple at the start of the video, but the progress is really nice.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

05-JUL: IVWF Meeting: The Legal Side of Virtual Worlds (Hebrew)

In the Jul meeting of the Israeli Virtual Worlds Forum we will cover some of the legal issues that stem from virtual worlds. We will have two speakers Yuval Karniel, and Dan Or-Hof -- two of the leading legal minds in the field in Israel.

See FaceBook Page.
See IVWF site.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Max the Virtual Guide Dog: Special post for the Helen Keller Day Saturday, June 27th

"Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained though self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose." Helen Keller (1880-1968)

One of my favorite hobbies in Second Life is the Metanomics Show. I love the topics and the issues. What I love even more, are the people that come to the show -- and what they represent. Prof. Robert Bloomfield called this, I think, constructive cacophony (see video about the show and cacophony) -- as the interactions within and between the people generates lots of value.

In one of the meetings, I noticed a nice white dressed woman holding... a dog. As I got closer I was able the read the sign. Apparently the woman who was "wearing" the dog ... is partially sighted (I guess this is the correct term for legally blind) and she is using the Max (the dog) to help her.

I spoke with the woman (SL: Louise Later) and she explained (and I quote from memory): the technology behind Max is based on scanner that is located in the dog. The scanner looks around for objects, and people, and gives information about them to the user. You will also note the blue chair. It helps the blind person sit without needed to point and "sit" on the object. (See all the details here regarding Max and its home.)

A recent ireport (from CNN) states: (With many more details).
Louise, who is partially sighted in real life, arrived with a guide dog (called Max), I had not been aware that guide dogs existed in SL. Jolie, who is completely blind in real life, had a stick with her. There are three things in SL, the guide dog, the stick and a ring, which can assist sight impaired people. Louise explained to me that the dog (and it’s a similar system with the stick and the ring) ‘is assistive technology developed by our team’ she added ‘virtual helping hands.’ Saxet said ‘the power is Max Voice Plus, that reads the SL interface to the person who is blind or visually impaired.’ Indeed they are unveiling a new ‘Max’ at the event, the dog is the creation of Nogad Ay and Charles Mountain, and it is a brilliant idea!
Give them your support, and go and have a great time too, at the Helen Keller Day Event on the 27 June. Many thanks to Cat, Saxet, Willow, Louise, Jolie, and Polgara for this interview and the very best of luck for the future.

Standards should come into place. Here's a simple example. Every object should have an textual alt text field and a language code. A creator of an object can choose to state alternative text that describe the object in as many languages as they wish. While many will not fill this field, some will, there may be even a team of people who would want to do it. The result: blind friendly objects as well as textual content search on them and more.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Video: Israel @61 - June, 2009 (SL Israel)

In honor of Israel’s 61st birthday Second Life Israel will be opening an exhibit titled ‘The Israeli entrepreneurial Spirit’ showcasing some of Israel’s finest innovations in a variety of fields. The exhibit’s opening will feature technology expert and Metaverse Labs Founder Dr. Yesha Sivan as its guest of honor.

Music by (source) Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson (born March 18, 1986 in Stockholm, Sweden), better known by her Lykke Li, is a singer.

She was raised by artistic parents (her mother was a photographer, her father is a musician); she lived in Portugal for five years and spent winters in Nepal and India. At one point, she worked as a on Swedish TV.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Reflecting on a New Report on the Twittersphre

One of my colleagues have send me the "State of the Twittersphere June 2009" report.
The report from HubSpot is a short 8 page, number-packed, report on Twitter.

Key findings about users:
- 25% have bio (75% do not!)
- 31% have location (70% not!) (and location is just a text field)
- 20% have home page (80% not)

- 45% have tweeted at least once (55% never tweeted).
- 47% have at least one follower (53% have zero followers).
- 45% are following at least one account (55% are not following any one).

The numbers are based on a 4.5 million data base that HubSpot keeps from their service. (This is a nice tool that tells you how "good" you are in twitter).

Here's my grade:
One should note that these numbers stem from people who went and signed up (an easy singup) with Grader. These people are more technical and savvy than your common person. Meaning: actual number of Twitter users are much lower. Bottom line: people sign up to Twitter and don't use it. Is twitter hype?

I'm not a big user of Twitter myself so the following comments is more questions and ideas than answers:

1. Twitter is a technology that allow real time tracking. Such technology can be used in many ways. following what people do is just one thing.

2. Following something (or someone), and following many things (or man many someones) can be very powerful. Think: allowing students to ask questions in the class using the same system. Think twitting people the movie is about to start, or they have a seat in the restaurant.

3. Following your remote friends and knowing what they do every minute is interesting for 2 days. Then it is peeping a bit (still could be interesting but for how long?). People who write well, write interesting things. With 120 people that I follow I get ... how shell I say it... junk. I need some kind of a way to read just the interesting things.

4. Unified tools for publishing such as -- such services makes life easier if you are on the publishing side.

5. When Facebook acts more like Twitter? Why do you need Twitter? At the same time, when Facebook acts more like Twitter and hides its Facebook application -- why do you need Facebook (just use Twitter).

6. A year ago when Twitter was new, it was a direct way to connect with the few people that created value. Now, with more and more people, I'm not sure what is the value for me. Things have changed.

7. I do like to follow myself (@yesha) via RSS reader -- what was published about me. See this trick.

8. For those looking into the field. I recommend also looking at plurk. A twitter-like server with a twist.

9. If you have a burning question ("is Gmail down?") you can use It will show you updated answers about your question.

10. There is still a lot to learn about this real time medium.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yesha's TV Appearance re the Pirate Party and Copyrights (Hebrew)

Yesha's TV Appearance re the Pirate Party and Copyrights (Hebrew).. c/o London and Kirshenbaum.

See full 5 min video here

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Trick: Solving the Facebook Share to Outlook (loading facebook events via Gmail)

I have had this problem for ages. Someone posts an event in Facebook. Time zone is of course not where I'm. So I would love to use the "export" button that theoretically will download this event in the right time zone in my calendar. So you click on "share." but then you get an error : "
Cannot import vCalendar file.  Could not complete the operation.
One or more parameter values are not valid.
  1. When you click on Facebook export save the file (to the desktop for example). Do not open it with outlook. (The file will look like this: e84136312172.ics)
  2. Then, using some email program send it to your gmail account.
  3. Open the incoming email in gmail to see that Gmail was able to translate this file into your calendar.