Second Life tour

As part of the Law Librarians in Virtual Worlds workshop I’m participating in, I took a tour of some sights around Second Life. Here’s an album. ETA: LINK FIXED.

That album in a Power Point presentation converted to the web by Calameo. It’s a nice alternative to Slide Share. I can’t seem to make in embed, but that might be a WordPress problem.

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back in the saddle

-After a week of easing back into work post-vacation (read: chatting with co-workers, catching up on correspondence/reading and watching out for rats…um, without going into too much detail about that last one, let me just say this: THERE IS A REASON WE WANT YOU TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT FOOD IN THE LIBRARY, KIDS!!!), I am now back at 100%. And I learned about and/or experimented with a whole bunch of neat stuff this week. Let’s review:

– I decided to give my Twitter another chance. The last time I tried it, it seemed to be plagued with technical problems and, as I didn’t have many contacts that were real people, it all seemed sort of pointless. However, this go around I’ve added a bunch of real people and many of them are in contact with each other. Now I can see that Twitter can be used almost as a substitute for Instant Messaging. It also is a really great way of sharing links with people, especially when you don’t have a lot to say about them. As an added bonus, it hasn’t crashed on me once.

-The long awaited Facebook Chat has finally hit my network. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. The good:

  1. I don’t have IM addresses for many of my Facebook friends, so this would be a way of contacting them if for some reason I wanted to chat.

The bad:

  1. Much like Meebo, I found it hard to remember to keep a tab open to Facebook (which is necessary to remain logged in from what I can tell) and there was no sound notification that I had a new message.
  2. The IM box was too small for my taste, but I guess I could have used the pop-out IM function.
  3. I have IM addresses for everyone I like to chat with, and I’ve consciously kept people on certain networks so that, for example, if I want to talk to X I log in to Google Talk, but if I want to talk to Y, I log into Yahoo. And actually, I’ve sort of fallen out of the chat habit lately.
  4. I’m not actually FB “friends” with my students, which is necessary for the chat function. I keep my profile open to my network and they’ve messaged (aka emailed) me through FB, but I can’t see that I’d get much student use out of it.
  5. I am peeved that it has co-opted the “notifications.” I have grown accustomed to looking at the top right hand side of my FB homepage when I log in to see if anyone has started a scrabble game or superpoked me or what have you. And now that area is blank and I am saddened by this until I remember to look down. Does that make me pathetic?

The Law Librarians in Virtual Worlds workshop had its initial webcast this week. The rest of the workshop will take place in Second Life, a platform that I heretofore have not been wildly enthusiastic about. However, I am hoping that this will be just the kick in the pants I need to really get in there. I’ve created a (new) account and have started playing around so that I’ll be able to really devote some time to it after finals. Meet my alter ego Gemma Szarbark:

Gemma Szarbark

I thought I was being all creative in having her initials being “G.S.” (whereas mine are S.G.) and making her hair blue and eyes brown (whereas mine are the opposite.) And you know, gosh darnit, I thought she was kinda hot. And then my sister posted on my Facebook wall, “Why is Mom your second life avatar?” *sigh* Oh well, back to the drawing board. Maybe I’ll become a turtle.

Thus far I’ve made it off of Orientation Island, although I think I may have left a little too early. I can walk okay, but I do seem to have the awful habit of bumping into people and things. Flying is definitely much easier. I’ve done a little exploring. This weekend is supposed to be cold and rainy, so I think I’ll spend Saturday getting better acquainted with everything.

-Found some neat blogs that have found their way into my RSS feeder:

– In the four months since I last posted about it, my FB friends list has grown significantly. Some people from high school found me, I gained a couple because of my SEALL talk, and I gained lot because of the Blue 2.0 module. I’ve sort of given up on being actual friends with my entire FB friends list. And I guess that’s okay. It’s certainly not impeding my contact with my actual friends (none of whom live in my area code) nor with my UK students and colleagues. Anyhoo, here’s what the old Friend Wheel looks like now:

Hopefully that’s too small to read any of the names clearly. I’m posting it to show the connections (green is UK; reddish orange is IU; purple is high school; light blue are law librarians). But just know that Yoko Ono finally has a mutual friend on my list.

-Typepad has created a Facebook application called “Blog It“. Instead of being a feeder for external blogs to appear in your FB newsfeed, in this case you create a post within the Facebook plateform and it sends it out to your externals sites (blogs, twitters, etc.) Does that make sense? It sort of turns the standard set up on it’s head.

The various tech blogs seem to be excited about it, but my reaction can be summed up with “meh.” Personally, I have different presences on different Web 2.0 sites because I put different types of content on each. I can’t imagine any content that I’d create that would be appropriate for all of these services. Like the FB Chat, this is just another step by the Facebook creators to make FB a one stop destination for all of one’s Internet needs. I don’t know that I see that happening, but what do I know?

Law Librarians in Virtual Worlds

Hello everyone…I am back from unbelievably beautiful Northern California.  Fortunately I came back to a spring-like and blooming Lexington, Kentucky.  If it was as gray and depressing as it was when I left, I probably would have thrown myself under a racehorse or something.  I’m slowly adding pictures to my flickr account, but don’t look for a few days because I want to add titles, tags and descriptions.

I’ve also come back to a pretty freed up calendar.  One of my goals over vacation was to decide what I want to tackle next work-wise as  I think I’ve gotten the social networking thing licked.  Coincidentally, today I got an e-mail forwarded via the ORALL listserv about the Law Librarians in Virtual Worlds webinar/workshop.  I’m taking this as a sign from the universe that I should play around with Second Life next.   This…should be interesting.

University of Kentucky Island to Open in Second Life

I used to really hate Second Life. (Wikipedia entry on Second Life for those unaware of it.) However, over the past few months, that has changed. I still don’t really ever foresee myself creating an avatar and diving in – after all, I don’t have time to fully explore my first life. I also find that there are huge technological aspects to Second Life that make it impracticable for the computer novice and generally my goal in using technology is to expand access, not limit it. And then finally there’s the fact that I get motion sickness if I look at Second Life stuff for too long. Like “need to lay on the floor and hold my stomach” motion sickness. It’s a pretty bad scene.

That being said, I have come to respect Second Life and understand that it may have some really neat applications in an educational context. Fortunately, I have many colleagues here at UK who are fans of Second Life and have been exploring these applications so I don’t have to. On March 20, the Official University of Kentucky Island in Second Life will be opening. Here’s a video with some pretty cool scenes of it, including the awesome looking virtual William T. Young Library.

There’s also a blog with updates on the project here.

You may notice in the video a woman wearing Victorian garb dancing. I’m not sure about Second Life protocol and if it’s cool to reveal who that person is in real life, but I know her. (At least I think I know who that is.)  She’s wearing those clothes because apparently in Second Life there’s a group somewhat similar to Society for Creative Anachronism – but not the SCA – where people create old fashioned clothes for their avatars and SCA sort of stuff in Second Life. So, just to be clear, not only have they created a virtual version of themselves, but they also then take an extra step of doing the SCA thing. Virtually.

That is so wacky it almost makes me want to join Second Life.