July 27, 2008

Bill Ward and I have arranged for another outing for our control panel, this time as part of the NYC Resistor Art of the Game Show it’s been hooked up to Pong, with Pong itself running in the sandbox in Pi.

The control panel installed in NYC Resistor's Gallery.

The control panel installed in NYC Resistor's Gallery.

Pong in the Pi sandbox.

Pong in the Pi sandbox.


Particles a go-go

October 1, 2007

Particles a go-go

At the beginning of the month a note originally posted to the SL Educators list by Hilary Mason about her script generator was reposted to the SL Scripters list. It read in part:

I’m interested in making scripting (and programming in general) more
accessible to everyone. Over the last few days (procrastinating from
prepping for my courses 🙂 I created a script generator for LSL…

at the time I was walking to the DMV and reading this on my cellphone and I kind of expected only the two age old fates of endeavors to bring programming to the masses: obscurity or a new programming language. Actually Hilary has done something rather different, her tool does not attempt to cover all of the possibilities of LSL scripting, but rather is a sort of code generation wizard that lets you pick a few options and fills out a script based on that.

Ron Blechner and Jeroen Frans got to talking about how the same approach would work for particles and that seemed like a good little project to me. After some coding and some settling I’m opening the tool to the world at http://something.newworldelectric.com:8885/particles. The web form there will let you fill out settings for a particle system and then both generate the LSL code and send the system to a particle source on my lawn i Pi. It’ll give you a slurl to the exact source and take just a couple seconds for it to load, lag in Pi permitting.

This is a spin off of the same technology I use in my basement and other projects and I do plan to develop it somewhat further based on any suggestions I recieve, I’ll be happy to take bug reports by e-mail to andy -at- New World Electric or the comments here.

– CF

The Writing on the Wall

September 19, 2007

So, the Linden’s have posted the next step in their identity verification program.  Look! you can now flag stuff restricted, you know, if you want to.  Estate owners, you can now encourage your residents to flag stuff restricted, you know, if you want to.  Restricted content will get extra warnings and bar anyone who’s not verified.  Verification isn’t fully open yet, but we can assume that’s soon.

The interesting thing here is that there is no penalty specified, content that should have been flagged but wasn’t might be abuse reported, and then something might happen.  Until some further revision an AR would probably fail if the content is on a mature sim to begin with.  Odd.  Let me read the writing on the wall to you, the key phrase is:

As has always been the case, Residents are morally, socially and legally responsible for their actions and content in Second Life. Clearly, any illegal activity or content will be investigated and appropriate action will be taken.

and the key analogy is gambling.  The way I read this is that somewhere there is a decency law, California logically, and it says one cannot show “adult” material to people under the age of 18 unless you check their age.  Now, since Linden Lab stopped checking for credit cards at the door, and arguably even before that, there’s been no effective check on the age of new users signing up.  Thus, anyone exceeding the limitations of that law is in violation.  Now the terms of service say we have to obey the law even in SL, that’s 4.1.iii:

[ you agree that you shall not:] (iii) take any action or upload, post, e-mail or otherwise transmit Content that violates any law or regulation;

that’s the same reason running an illegal casino in Second Life is illegal, it’s against the law and we have to obey the law.  Now then, the next step will be a nice little note in Linden Blog reminding us of all these facts together and pointing out that unflagged adult content is against the law, and hence a terms of service violation, and thus subject to pretty much any penalty LL wants to apply.  Probably as weak as the law will let them get away with, but the law may not give them much room.  Of course, LL can’t afford the staff hours to do a sweep of the grid, but vigilantes, maybe even griefers will get to you eventually.

Now, there are plenty of voices saying that this is a bad thing.  It’s definitely a hole in our utopia, a division in our community, and a reduction in our privacy, with degrees we can argue anytime you like.  But let’s look at the way this is a good thing, remember, the law is not changing, if you have adult content and you are not checking the ages of your visitors then you’re in violation of it already.  A sufficiently bored assistant attorney general can bring criminal charges against you today and if a check box where the user says they’re over 18 is not sufficient, then you get to be a test case.  Now that could be fun, but you may have some other things you’d rather be doing so maybe you just want to shed a couple tears, tidy up your poseballs and see what comes next.


Literature Factory Chapter II

September 5, 2007

So, while the Literature Factory is intended for a somewhat limited run it looks like it will be getting one, probably two new chapters, the next chapter is the Literature Factory Bookstore, which is coming together as a build for Burning Life at Burning Life (Diablo) (65,206,25) we will be selling books from the factory for 0L$ so if you want one, drop by. Chapter III is in progress, but not ready just yet, I will however say if you are interested in teaching a class or promoting particular pieces of literature in Second Life I’d like to hear from you at (my SL First Name) @ gmail . com.

Also, the Literature Factory has drawn a number of media responses and I wanted to pull together a run down here:

* SLNN – This factory is a fine example of vertical product development, as the robots start the process by making words, sorting them into the correct part of speech, assembling them into sentences, then finally scanning them into a giant book which is finally shrunken into a more manageable sized tome.

* The Philadelphia Inquirer – And as we put down the paper and finish our coffee, the Word-o-Mats are still working away, not unlike those hypothetical monkeys typing for eternity. Who’s to say what they’ll come up with?

also a number of blogs:

* Second Tense – Yeah, it’s a farce. But why not? It beats 1000 monkeys banging away on typewriters. Maybe this is the modern day equivalent?

* Beth’s Second Life – Someone best wake up Walt Whitman, cuz‘ I think he is dying all over again…

* Second Seeker – One has to like the idea of grinding out letters, words, stories, books … one wonders what gets left on the factory floor! The factory’s motto, “The finest literature that a factory can produce — you have our word on it!” seems particularly apt.

* Natalia Zelmanov’s Second Life Diary – Well, this was bound to happen one day. Factory robots have been building everything from cars to kitchen sinks. Now, theres a factory full of robots building literature in Second Life!

* Lythe Witte – Just discovered the Literature Factory by Ciemaar Flintoff. Tis a great work that is a lot of fun.

Also Lludmila Mirrikh has posted a Flickr set from the factory so let me link that here too.

– Ciemaar

A family business for 10 generations

Ever wonder what it would take to create Burning Life out of season? Turns out it takes months of building and scripting, like from May to August. Something to be said for the power of a deadline to focus the mind. On some land loaned out of Joi Ito’s Kula2 sim myself and some of my teammates from Burning Life 2006 have been building a Literature Factory in a Burning Life like folly build since May. Thanks to exterior work by Binnie Zander, a huge amount of interior building(including about 15 different robots some of which you see here) by Sandhya2 Patel, and scripting from yours truly it’s finally done. So, we’ve scheduled a grand openning for this Saturday. While I’m naming names I should also thank Alondria LeFey for additional scripting, Enki Stardust for sentence making rules, and Roger Thunders for help concepting.

Now, the natural question here is what a Literature Factory might be. Well now, that’s a silly question, it’s simply a factory that makes literature. Now, according to Wikipedia:

The term “literature” has different meanings depending on who is using it and in what context. It could be applied broadly to mean any symbolic record, encompassing everything from images and sculptures to letters. In a more narrow sense the term could mean only text composed of letters, or other examples of symbolic written language (Egyptian hieroglyphs, for example). An even more narrow interpretation is that text have a physical form, such as on paper or some other portable form, to the exclusion of inscriptions or digital media.

Well, we certainly meet that criteria, excepting the physical form bit, but I hope you’ll let that slide.

Now, I have things to do and people to see, so we went ahead and automated the factory. This row of Word-o-Mats runs tirelessly day and night, manufacturing words for the factory, the Bin Bots with them take charge of ferrying the words from the Word-o-Mats to the sorted bins on the other side of the factory.

Word-o-Mat Row

This is a view from the other side where the Bin Bots drop off their words and other bots build sentences and transfer them into the new works of literature under constant production.

Sentence Assembly

But pictures only convey so much, so drop in to the Literature Factory at Kula 2 (189,9,25).

Sometimes the time just flies buy and certainly my time in Second Life has. It seems like only yesterday I was congratulating Hiro Pendragon on making the move to full time and chuckling as he told me I’d join him soon, and now I am, where has the time gone? What do I really have to show for a year and a half of puttering and working in Second Life. So here then is a roughly chronological review of my work. The first project I ever did in Second Life that wasn’t merely for my own use was this set of waterfalls and the surrounding landscaping for the vow renewal of a couple of friends I met in-world. It’s been taken down now and built over with a club, but I still have the pictures and love how it came out.

Wedding Waterfalls

My next major project was in the fall of last year, the Dessert Island for Burning Life 2006. I headed up a team of four builders to bring to life this dessert in the desert, complete with a chocolate well feeding a creek, self pouring and boxing bonbons, a hot cocoa hot tub, milk bridge, cake house, snow cone Gatling gun, Trojan bunny, and pie planetarium in the sky.

Dessert Island

The same team also worked on a second build for Burning Life 2006, the Oasis of Hope, but I didn’t get any good pictures.

Since then I’ve been doing some contracting for Infinite Vision Media as well as a few “device projects,” my control panel and Weather Wisdom, each of which has it’s own blog entry here. The control panel was in partnership with Bill Ward and Weather Wisdom with both he and Sandhya2 Patel. My latest major project has been the Literature Factory, an automated factory staffed by automatons and dedicated to producing books. Again I’ve been proud to have the help of Binnie Zander and Sandhya2 Patel on the building.

Literature Factory

Hmm, what else? Well, lots of little bits, like the products in my shop, from left to right, my metal and glass furniture, peace stompers, dance floor, comment boxes, and couples bracelets.

CFP Store

…. and also the toys out at my workshop, again from left to right; my underground lair, galleryzebo, soccer set, and in the foreground, the weather maker built for one of the aforementioned IVM contracts, Weather Island, from February of this year.

CFP Workshop and Office

And none of this is counting the projects that aren’t ready to show yet of course, so I guess I have been busy.


Going Full Time

June 25, 2007

Just a professional update, I’ve quit my job at The Burgiss Group and will be working full time as a meta-verse developer. I will be working on a contract basis, primarily with Infinite Vision Media. I will also be forming my own company New World Electric along with Bill Ward. With Infinite Vision Media I will continue to develop some of the most creative projects in the meta-verse. New World Electric is a smaller venture at the moment focused on some products and smaller projects which Bill and I are particularly interested in and possibly consulting on some related projects.