Frans

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Welcome to Franscharming.com

by on May.16, 2009, under Virtual Worlds

It is about time that I have my own blog and own my content, so here it is. :P

I have just set things up, without much fine tuning yet, that will happen eventually.
I ported all my own Slog posts over to here, so you can find my past virtual world/second life musings in one place.

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1 nov: physical virtuality: “what’s the weight of an avatar?”

by on Oct.31, 2008, under Virtual Worlds


FEEL the presence of virtual world avatars in a cross-world interactive installation, connecting virtual life to our physical world.

On saturday the 1st of november, visitors of the NEMO Science Center in Amsterdam will be physically connected to inhabitants of the virtual world Second Life through an intervirtual balancing plateau.

The total weight of avatars standing on the virtual side of the plateau will be calculated and processed along with the weight of all people standing on the physical side of the plateau. This outcome will trigger the synchronised real-time movement of both the hydraulic powered and script controlled side of the plateau, resulting in an experience of indirect physical contact between real and virtual beings.

A two way videoprojection will visually connect the virtual and real-life participants standing on the installation.

web-location: sndrv.nl/physicalvirtuality
physical location: Science Center NEMO, Oosterdok 2, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
virtual location: Brooklyn is Watching project space in Second Life. http://slurl.com/secondlife/Popcha/72/140/27

Date/time: saturday 1st of november 2008

18:00 – 1:00 GMT
19:00 – 2:00 CET
10:00 – 17:00 PST

I will be there in real life helping out, come by and say hi.
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Paralysed Japanese man takes a walk in Second Life.

by on Jun.02, 2008, under Virtual Worlds


This is realy a great story:

A paralysed man using only his brain waves has been able to manipulate a virtual Internet character, Japanese researchers said Monday, calling it a world first.
The 41-year-old patient used his imagination to make his character take a walk and chat to another virtual person on the popular Second Life website.

The patient, who has suffered paralysis for more than 30 years, can barely bend his fingers due to a progressive muscle disease so cannot use a mouse or keyboard in the traditional way.

In the experiment, he wore headgear with three electrodes monitoring brain waves related to his hands and legs. Even though he cannot move his legs, he imagined that his character was walking.

He was then able to have a conversation with the other character using an attached microphone, said the researchers at Japan’s Keio University.

This is very amazing news, and something many people have hoped that virtual worlds could be used for. I wonder if the man feels like he has gained some freedom back.

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Free your hands

by on Apr.12, 2008, under Virtual Worlds

Mitch Kapor and Philippe Bossut from Kapor Enterprises designed a interface prototype that makes it possible to operate Second Life with out a mouse or keyboard, and called it Hands Free 3D.
3 months ago they started to work on this idea, they modified the open source client to support a 3D camera as a input device. This following YouTube movie demonstrates the possibilities:

It is pretty good what they already got done, but one does wonder how comfortable it is to navigate this way, it might be fun for a presentation, but I’m skeptical if this really is a superior control system. Besides they don’t show a example of building, which I’m more interested in. I can envision something where you pick up prims and mod them with your hands.

They mention that 3D cameras aren’t available for the mainstream yet, but I would think a larger screen or a beamer would be needed to, to better see where you are.

It is a cool development, and it is only the first phase. Now we have to figure out how this could be best used.

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Second Life on The Daily Show

by on Apr.08, 2008, under Virtual Worlds

The Daily Show has a short piece about the congress hearing on the Virtual Worlds. Of course all the old old old jokes about virtual worlds and the Second Life name come by.

Disappointingly they didn’t actually used Second Life for the in world reporter bit.

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Opening of the International Justice Center Today

by on Mar.20, 2008, under Virtual Worlds

IJC launch logo



The International Justice Center, a virtual clearinghouse for public education and action in support of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and related human rights concerns. Based both on the web and in the virtual world of Second Life, the International Justice Center will host news, information and live events in support of the ICC.

Today they will be hosting a series of events as part of our official launch, featuring an address by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo. After an introduction by Mr. Lloyd Axworthy, the former foreign minister of Canada, the prosecutor will appear “in-world” in avatar form to address the virtual audience, followed by a Question and Answer period.

Schedule of Events

  • 3:00-4:00 PM EST: In-world remarks and Q&A with ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. Mr. Lloyd Axworthy, former foreign minister of Canada, will introduce the Prosecutor.
  • 4:30-6:00 PM: Panel discussion by major human rights officials on the topic of “The Emerging International Justice System”. Featuring :
    • Jonathan Fanton (President, MacArthur Foundation)
    • Moderator: Lloyd Axworthy (President, University of Winnipeg)
    • Louise Arbour (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights)
    • Francis Deng (United Nations Special Adviser for Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities)
    • Juan Mendes (Director, International Center for Transitional Justice)
    • Allan Rock, Former Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations
    • Kenneth Roth (Executive Director, Human Rights Watch)
    • Luis Moreno-Ocampo (Prosecutor, International Criminal Court)
  • 9:00-9:40PM: Award ceremony and keynote address by Mr. Kofi Annan


How to Participate

  • Via Second Life: Teleport to the International Justice Center, on the Justice Commons sim at this link
  • Via the Web: Click on this link to view on the web live.
  • Via the Web: streamed video during the event.
  • Via There.com: Sign up here and attend the event at the stage zone.
  • Via Whyville: you can attend the event live in the Greek Theater.


You can read more about the event and the International Justice Center on their website, Justicecenter.net

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Second Life Statistics: 23-Feb-2008

by on Feb.25, 2008, under Virtual Worlds

SL Stats 23-02-2008

Another currency record. First time we break the 60k on a Saturday as well.

Statistics compared to Saturday, February 16th:
Peak concurrency grew 1,299 users, a increase of 2.18%.
Minimum concurrency grew 983 users, a increase of 2.79%.
Median concurrency grew 1,043 users, a increase of 2.12%.

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Second Life Statistics: 23-Dec-2007

by on Dec.25, 2007, under Virtual Worlds

Merry Christmas Everyone!
SL Stats 23-12-2007

Made some adjustments, been polling every minute now for the last few days instead of once every 5 minutes. This gives better results because depending on which server you hit you can get old data.
As you can see I also added the SL logo as a background, what do you think, is that nice or to noisy?

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Virtual University Twente

by on Mar.21, 2007, under Virtual Worlds

A local project tickled my interest, while nothing to do with SL, it is another step towards the virtual enhancing the real.
To entice new students to their University, the Univeristy of Twente has created a virtual campus in a Habbo Hotel style.

twente01


You can walk around with a avatar and click the buildings to get basic information about what they are dedicate too, find out at what bus schedule is, learn about their sport facilities, etc. My first reaction was why not using something like Google maps and overlay all that information, seeing the RL layout would be more useful. But considering the target demographic,16-18 year olds, it is understandable. They have grown up with virtual places like these.

After exploring the campus I did notice that it had a lot more stickiness then the usual 2D maps have. Partly because of added game elements, like preventing moles from digging up a yard, teleports to farther off areas or a naked pixelated avatar in the woods.(It is The Netherlands after all.)
All these added things wouldn’t be as easily possible in a 2D map, but in a 3D world they invite you to explore more. And now if I ever would be there and a flat tire on my bike I would now know where to go to get a pump or where the campus market is to buy some supplies.

If this would help people decide to go this University or not, i don’t know. I hope quality of the University will still be the determining factor. It is certainly a interesting way to learn in a playful way more about the campus you are about to spend your next 4+ years on. But it might also be a indication of how virtual worlds will enhance the way of providing information about real world places.

Towns and Cities could do something similar and with some polishing and added community tool like myspace who knows what will happen.

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