Category Archives: news

It’s the end of the world!

See? It may be 9 years late, but here it is, finally.

Happy new year one and all.

Dipping with Google maps

I love this. This is the impact of digital media. People are scouring Google maps to locate posh pools in order to party in them at odd hours – often when the owners are asleep or out. Called “Dipping” (no shit), they are obviously and quite practically using Facebook to organise their events. Hilarious.

The dippers often bring a bike, says The Telegraph, to make a quick escape and they like to dress up. Which seems a bit odd since you are supposed to be swimming. Hey ho.

Furries hit the mainstream?

So I couldn’t help smiling reading the Metro* on the Tube this morning** when I came across this piece on Furries. Yes, Furries in the Metro.

It neatly explains and quite successfully normalises the motivations behind the human desire to dress as an animal and hang around with others who like the same.

It even gives readers some tips on furry lingo. Says the piece:

A common misconception about furries is they want to have sex with real animals. This confusion often comes from hardcore sites which contain sketches of a half-man, half-zebra figure having sex with a lion or orgies of lesbian wolves. Others describe the beauty of busty cows and curvy, doe-eyed donkeys. However, this is an unfair reflection – furries are far more interested in the idea of humans and animals ‘as one’.

Of course, Furries have been a big part of online cultures for a long long time, and they are very visible in places like Second Life.

But I am tempted to check out the furry meets, especially the world’s largest furmeet which, according to the article, takes place in Pittsburgh. Around 4,000 furries are expected at Anthrocon, next week.

I especially like this comment from one of the contributors, FoxB:

I know of relationships that evolve in the furry community between two people but I just like dressing up and looking like a prat. It makes me happy.

Nice to see the Metro shining a light on the furry fellas.

*The Metro is the free newspaper every commuter in urban areas across the UK know and sometimes love.

**Despite many irritating delays today.

***Image from the Metro. I love the bunny at the end fiddling with his/her head.

Second Life and “TV”

So I was going to give a quick Second Life news update, but have been aware for quite some time that this is a futile effort – although the media frenzy around SL has died down somewhat. All the big media wigs are most likely sitting down in important meetings trying to figure out what to do in 3D immersive spaces.

It is much more effective to keep up with the news via something like World of SL or SLCN. While I was on the latter, I stumbled upon this titbit about an in-world “TV” network which has set up to challenge residents to make their own shows.

I think there is indeed a gap in the market for this kind of thing, and the people themselves will make the cream rise to the top, and start gathering around common points and people of interest. I can’t wait for proper shared “TV” playlists. This kind of content is something that I would probably like to watch through Joost. Except, it would have to be an aggregated set of shows – a network – which included machinima programming from all immersive spaces – 2 and 3D. Granted, a lot of shows might be a bit shit, but then so were most podcasts when they started a few years’ ago. But a deal through Joost could be about a premium, best of content offering, as decided by all of us first – around the web.

Anyway, here is what SLCN says about the venture:

In the coming months SLCN will become the, “voice of SL” the group says. The programming will come from residents and encompass all different areas and cultures. It will be a way of showing the real world what SL is and what the people of SL are all about. The idea behind SLCN is to open up the world of television and put it in the hands of everyone within SL.

They add that it means that anyone who has an “idea, a pitch or talent or anyone who thinks they can”, can. Now all I need is some imgination and decent computer.

News on Twitter

I am all for news feeds on Twitter and find them useful. But I don’t especially find an alert with no actual content in it useful really.

Sony’s 3D mall

While we are on the subject of virtual worlds, was thinking about the annoucement that Sony is create a virtual “mall” world for its Playstation community, complete with IM, voice and video. Apparently it “could help Sony jusify the high price of the PlayStation 3”, says Information Week.

I doubt that. See video here (looks like really nice graphics)

The online world also would include places for public gatherings, and a hall of fame for players who reach milestones in PlayStation games. In addition, Sony planned to lease space in Home to game developers and other third parties interested in setting up shop. “Think of it like a mall,” Sony spokesman Dave Karraker said. ‘They can lease space, and put anything they want in it.’

I wonder if the avatars you can create will be from game characters? When will I be able to be a tourist in my Second Life form to parties at the PlayStation world? (via my PS, obviously.) Will there be any PSP version, ever?? I can imagine it being full of a lot of “cool kids” showing off their high scores.

I like the way these things are heading, although they are all such walled gardens and don’t allow for much cross-metaverse pollination. Interesting stuff anyway.

Goodbye “Play” TV

Good. Those annoying premium “quiz shows” which have, in recent months, plagued my late night TV viewing, have been suspended from UK TV networks after a series of scandals and official probes* – for now.

There is nothing more irritating and more likely to drive people like me to YouTube than these stupid money-spinning shows which squat in prime B-movie, post club slots to pose questions like “What word am I thinking of? Hmmm? Come on, tell me, who’s going to call in??”. And the mugs always do.**

Of course, this does also include voting lines for more mainstream entertainment shows such as Falling Over on Ice and so on, but I am sure they can still make money with normal rate calls and texts – or maybe not. They just have to be a bit more innovative. Those late night “quiz” phone ins are not innovative. Nuh uh. Nope.

* Probes by the premium rate watchdog, Icstis. I think I read in the paper at the weekend that the chairman, Sir Alistair Graham, allegedly said he wanted to change its name because it currently sounded too much like a “urinary disease”.

**I do know someone who did win some money. About the amount he paid to get through.

Baudrillard dies

Very sad to hear* about the death of Jean Baudrillard, the French philospher and sociologist. He was 77 and had been sick for some time.

He heavily influenced my thinking in my undergrad and postgrad years, especially when I started getting interested in the internet – or cyberspace as we all called it then. I remember being surprised he was still alive at the time I was reading him. I wish I had seen him at a conference. I wonder if he actually ever *did* any mmos or virtual worlds?

* I actually heard it on the radio while washing my face in the bathroom. The news reader didn’t half pronounce his name in a very odd way. Maybe it was a postmodern homage?

Old people’s Wii

No kidding. The Wii is proving very popular amongst retirees, reports Engadget. They like the bowling. Won’t be long until they all start getting into Second Life, Wow and the like. Hehe. The penny dropped for my muther recently and she suggested a booming business model for SL and old folks homes after hearing me yabber on about it. She already owns nansummers.com.

They should be out getting fresh air! (kiddin.)

You Say We Pay scrapped

Just days after posting about the Adam Buxton piss take of Richard & Judy’s quiz You Say We Pay, I find out the competition has been scrapped.

Turns out the quiz was a little bit of a money-spinning con. Callers have been demanding refunds after they found out they were still being allowed to call in to enter the competition even after potential winners had been chosen each day.

This is more bad news for Channel 4 after the Big Brother kerfuffle. The papers (The Mirror) here say that Channel 4 will be investigated – could be trouble. The Mirror also reports that a 62 year old player had raised this on the show’s forums ages ago, but claims she was kicked off and her posts were deleted. If this is true, then that is really quite sinister. Channel 4 claims she had made libellous comments about the presenters and that was why she was banned.

A spokesperson said people should use “proper channels” if they have complaints to make, instead of the forums. I say they don’t get it do they. They should be using the forums to pick up on exactly this kind of thing. It’s called audience partipation.

Britney’s hair auction

Britney’s hair is being apparently being auctioned off.  Bids no less than $1m. What on earth would you do with it?? More importantly, does it come with a DNA test for proof of origin?? Place your bid here.

Ads, DVRs, people and their dogs

This article has some interesting new Nielsen data to show what TV viewers who own DVRs already know – that you don’t always forward through the ads even if you own a DVR.

Indeed, some people actually enjoy ads – my sister loves them. Some of the are completely relevant to me – I am a sucker for new cleaning goods. I don’t shop in supermarkets, so the ads are the only way for me to find out about stuff like that.

Even when I am watching a DVR-ed programme, sometimes I a) forget to forward through them or b) use the ad break as a nautral toilet break/social time/drink-and-snack-making moment.

People are also still quite likely to tune into their fave TV prog at the same time as the rest of the world, which I still think is something a lot of people like to do – it’s that feeling of remote connectedness.

Technology like this lets you have more control over how you use your time – it can help you create breaks to do or experience other stuff.

What I especially like about this article is the dog in the picture (which I shan’t post here). He looks like he is fed up watching the ads and is desperate for his owners to fast forward. Or he has just seen a great ad for the latest dog chow. Or he is desperate for a wee and is urging his parents to take him for one during the ads.

Fujitsu’s “magic ink” picture technology

This is interesting (even if it took me a while to get my head around the story). This could add some fun into ARGs (alternate reality games) in the future, if it became pervasive enough. Clues could be everywhere and anywhere. Essentially, the technology encodes information and data into images in the way that can’t be seen well by the human eye – they can be seen by cameraphones however.

All sorts of unintended consequences from uses we would never imagine right now, I suspect.

New look

I am very pleased with My New Look blog. Kosso has been nagging me for ages to change to WordPress. Now that I am here, we shall see what fun it has in store.

Big thanks to Kosso for helping me tweak the CSS! ;0)

I actually have readers

So my absence has been inexcusable, but you all know what life gets like sometimes.

However, what IS inexcusable is that I failed to notice that somehow 55 comments have been waiting for my moderation – I used to get emails telling me when someone had commented, and I DID select no moderation!!

Jeez! Sorry people! Wow though… there I was thinking I was in an echo chamber (which, OK, I know I kind of am), but all you lovely people have actually been commenting!

So, apologies for that.

Normal services resumed – especially now that I have upgraded to the new blogger system which – finally – lets one use “labels”… sheesh – can someone standardised the language already?*

*Why am I suddenly speaking like an American teenager?