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  • subQuark 11:00 am on May 1, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , opensim,   

    Second Life: a distraction for universities 

    Many universities are using Second Life as a learning tool. However, the place to watch for longevity as a true tool is in OpenSim deployed worlds. Virtual world adoption has passed the initial media hyped stage of three years ago and now we will see those that are finding it a useful and valuable educational tool and not a distraction.

    The initial hype swept up many educators and institutions as it seemed that Second Life was this incredibly immersive learning environment. It certainly can be, if enough time and talent is involved.

    Many universities have found that without a substantial effort by skilled individuals, their sims are of little value and indeed just a distraction. There are some very good programs in Second Life, such as an associates degree offered by Texas State Technical College but there are also examples of the complete abandonment by significant institutions. Notably, Princeton University pulled out of Second Life this month.

    Princeton certainly has a pool of skilled individuals, and the monetary resources, to be in Second Life (even with the educational discount, Second Life is still fairly expensive – especially compared with other collaborative education tools such as wikis, Google Groups, BuddyPress, etc.).

    OpenSim options are far less expensive and can either be deployed through a virtual world hosting company or deployed on the institution’s own hardware (as opposed to Linden Lab’s yearly $55K option for a private Second Life setup). In researching hosting companies be sure to read Hypergrid Business who maintains a list of hosts as well as articles about them. I am biased toward Reaction Grid who has stellar service and a very stable deployment.

    OpenSim can seem to not be as robust as Second Life but it is very close (and in some ways, superior – MOODLE is typically part of standard OpenSim deployments). OpenSim is still considered alpha software but our experience after six months with Reaction Grid is that it is just as good for our purposes as Second Life (Linden Lab’s latest changes to their terms of service give us pause in developing any tools within it and if whether we will always retain full copyright – three years ago Philip Rosedale, founder of Linden Lab, declared that your creations are real and that you should be able to profit from them, now that language has changed to being granted a license from Linden Lab for anything you create).

    In my opinion, virtual worlds are not quite “there” yet for mainstream adoption by educational institutions. Second Life has too many issues, politics, and policies that cripple it for education (policies such as age limit and copyright) and is too costly with difficulty in showing a true ROI.

    OpenSim is developing quickly and, as it becomes more widely adopted, it may become a clearer choice (there are currently  more “private” sims in OSGrid than in Second Life).

    Virtual worlds are another communication channel and will continue to evolve and become easier to use. Once they become easier to access, hold more people in one place, and get past some of the negative stigma that Second Life has created (mainly adult content and over hyping by he media), then we will see more widespread use. Once that happens, more developers will create activities and materials that can be leveraged by others (we are a very small example of that with Ener making free office furniture and buildings and having spaces for creative people like the rest of the iliveisl team).

    Right now virtual worlds are very much at the stage where everyone is still printing their own books in a manner of speaking and building many things from scratch. It would be hard for a real world Princeton to excel at education if they had to build their own chairs, LCD projectors, and so on.

    For many institutions, Second Life was a distraction, for a few it continues to be effective. It takes passionate and talented people to shape any technology into a truly meaningful and effective tool.

    Does Linden Lab have those people?

    With the loss of Pathfinder Linden and the abhorrent treatment of Jokay it would seem that the educational focus is over. OpenSim is open source and very talented people are developing it with many individuals actively using it for education.

    Will OpenSim be “the” virtual world for education?

    Only time will tell. The web changes quickly. Five years ago MySpace ruled social networks and Twitter had not been created yet.

    reposted from the iliveisl blog

  • subQuark 11:27 pm on April 20, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , opensim,   

    Enclave Harbour sandbox now open 

    Our virtual world sandbox is now open for public use. Just grab a free Reaction Grid account, log into the Reaction Grid world, and head northwest.

    The sandbox is in the northwest corner of the Ener-gy Hotel sim in the Enclave Harbour Estate.

    So if you have been curious about trying an OpenSim world, come give it a shot! See you in-world!


    • Maria Korolov 4:32 pm on April 21, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Is Enclave Harbor hypergrid-enabled?

      – Maria

      • subquark 6:57 pm on April 21, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Hello Maria, it’s always nice to hear from you and you likely are more certain of this than I am! When we signed up for Reaction Grid we were a private grid and at that time I believe Reaction Grid shut down hypergridding for security reasons. We have now connected to their main grid and as far as I know, hypergridding is not enabled. I have just put in a ticket to see if I can learn more about this.

        Hypergridding was one of the criteria we used in selecting Reaction Grid and hopefully will be available soon.

        *heads over to favourite VW blog – hypergridbusiness.com to learn more* =)

    • Maria Korolov 7:00 pm on April 21, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Oh, ReactionGrid is very much hypergrid-enabled.

      In fact, I’m there now, hypergridded from OSGrid.


      — Maria

      • subquark 7:02 pm on April 21, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Lol! You answered faster than Reaction Grid! I need to read up on how to take advantage of this! I would love our sims to be reachable by anyone on OSGrid.

        Thank you Maria!

        • Ener Hax 7:24 pm on April 21, 2010 Permalink

          ha ha ha! you got schooled! and i have an easy blog post for tonite!

          thank you Maria for letting us know =D

          this is exciting! w00t!

        • Maria Korolov 7:28 pm on April 21, 2010 Permalink

          It’s an easy thing for them to activate, in the OpenSim.ini file.

          They’ve already got several other regions that are hypergrid-enabled, so it should be really straightforward.

        • subquark 9:19 am on April 22, 2010 Permalink

          Thank you Maria for sparking this conversation. Chris Hart from Reaction Grid will enable hypergridding on our 16 sims. A miscommunication in December had me thinking it was not possible at the time. Your comment was just the impetus needed to get this done.

  • subQuark 5:28 pm on November 30, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , opensim,   

    First video test in Reaction Grid blows away my expectations 

    I had cooled down on making video tutorials in Second Life for many reasons that go blah, blah, blah.  =)

    However, I still find virtual worlds an excellent, fast, cheap, and easy way to create video scenarios (and even still images) for use in corporate eLearning. Thanks to Jokay’s experience and her grace in dealing with it, I learned about Reaction Grid.

    I had looked into OpenSim as an alternative last year and after installing it on my own machine came to the conclusion that this was more than most eLearning providers would care to do. It certainly was challenging for me anyway.  ;)

    After all, the idea is to be easy!

    I have been in Reaction grid with my private four sim estate getting ramped up again and finally have had time to create a test video.

    I was able to maintain frame rates of 70 (zomg!!!) with antialias cranked up to 8x.  Compare that to 20-30 with antialias set to 2x in Second Life. The OpenSim application has been rewritten and scrutinized by truly gifted and talented people who work for free to make virtual worlds as good as possible.

    I’d say from my little test that they succeeded.

    credits: Ener Hax for a nifty spaceship orbiting through four sims, as is the camera (try that in Second Life – these sim crossings are amazing)

    [blip.tv ?posts_id=2933019&dest=-1]

  • subQuark 11:08 pm on November 29, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , opensim,   

    Why Reaction Grid is much less expensive than Second Life 

    The Reaction Grid team is very small but amazingly passionate and talented. The cost for Reaction Grid is about 7% that of Second Life.  I can attest to that first hand.  I have 12 sims in Second Life and have been in Second Life for three years.

    In Reaction Grid, I have 4 sims and since it is my grid, I can do far more than I can in Second Life.  Last month people would state to me “but it’s not Second Life” and I would be somewhat defensive and list that it did have pluses that Second Life did not.  Like 45,000 prims to a sim and the ability to make up to 256 metre prims.

    Now, after a month in Reaction Grid, I answer the statement “but it’s not Second Life” with a thank God and Yes! There are so many good things about Reaction Grid.  It is what Second Life promised to be years ago.  But Linden Lab has grown, Philip is off on a new venture, and it has simply changed.  It’s too bad.  I was a huge evangelist for them.  Spending my own money to speak at conferences, creating video tutorials showcasing Second Life, but no more.

    The team at Reaction Grid are wonderful and passionate.  And caring.

    Here is one reason reaction Grid costs less – it is simply architected better.  Read what Microsoft has to say about them here.


    not glamorous, but ramping up on our Reaction Grid estate

    • J 2:08 pm on November 30, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Very nice but Reaction Grid will never amount to the diverse user-base that Second Life has, nor will it serve as wide of a product base. People can get what they want in Second Life and Reaction Grid as it is… they can’t…

      I was in Reaction Grid for a time myself so I am speaking from Second Life experience as well as Reaction Grid experience.

      • subquark 2:23 pm on November 30, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Perhaps. Currently the user-base is much larger in Second Life. But changes to Xstreet SL are affecting many content creators. In time, more goods will be available in OpenSim grids and I think that the concept of OpenSim grids will become more mainstream. Just like AOL was “it” for years, and is till there, but there are many more choices now.

        The largest downfall that Second Life has at the moment, is the inability to move beyond it’s grid. It needs to be more like the web, where I can go as David Miller to Amazon.com and buy a book, then pop over to BestBuy.com and buy a CD, all with the same money that I have.

        If Linden Lab can become open, then it will stay the leader. But seeing that they are becoming more closed, imo, with offerings such as the Enterprise solution, I find it hard to believe they will stay the top dog.

        As a customer with a $3,000 a month subscription to Linden Lab, I can say that from my perspective, they don’t care about accounts of my size and certainly not of the typical user. They are also pour at embracing their evangelistic users, such as Jokay, or their latest blow – the Second Life Mentors. It’s amazing that a company that has 1000’s donating their time to help new people out are not able to foster that and decide to close that down.

        With Philip pursuing new ventures, the direction of Second Life has changed in the three years I have been there.

        Reaction Grid is geared to education and business and for those purposes, they are superior. If you want to go to a dance club and socialize with friends, then Second Life is better.

        I find it hard to recommend to educators and business why a $55,000 per year Second Life solution is better than a $3,300 one from Reaction Grid. Especially considering that the Reaction Grid team is attentive to me, wants me to succeed, trains me – all for a $75 a month subscription.

    • Myra Foil 2:44 am on February 1, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I just made an account on reaction grid. I’m on secondlife now for more than 3 years and i rent a half homestead sim. One thing is clear: Secondlife is FAR to expensive. BUT: i’m a social girl who loves to roleplay. For roleplay i need lot’s of other people and i doubt i’m going to find that in reaction grid. I can build my own houses, furniture and other stuff needed to use and decorate my land but i don’t have a shop. Just do it to create my own world. I don’t like to start a business and wasting my fun time on supporting my customers and the need to keep creating new stuff to keep the sales up. I’m on secondlife for the fun of it and not to make money.

      But, i’m going to take a look at reaction grid and see if this is a better alternative as many other opensims who still have a lot of problems getting everything to work properly. I also hope i can use my program “second inventory” to transfer items from and to the two grids. Because i do think i can use reaction grid to create stuff and save me land on secondlife. I have a half sim now because i need spare prims to build.

      First thing i’m going to do on reaction grid is look around. Then transfer item from secondlife to test if scripts will work in there because that’s the main problem in a few open sims. Also i will test the sim crossings to see if that goes smoothly. Just testing the speed, performance and quality of reaction grid before i put much time and money in it.

      Too many opengrids promise golden mountains and not making that true. That made me a bit skeptic.

      But i most admit, the secondlife experience is changed in the last 3 years from a free wide open world to a governed ruled world which starting to look more and more like a police state. And that effects the fun more and more in a bad way, mainly caused by the habit of USA people to be overprotective and paranoia instead of solving a problem. Secondlife grew big because it was a world without rules where people could be really free into the same shit we have in RL: Too many rules and laws holding us down and (government) leaders and CEO’s “earning” too much money extorting their citizens.

      • subquark 8:30 am on February 1, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Nicely put Myra. Yes, Reaction Grid is certainly not Second Life. For social uses and shopping, Second Life is far ahead. Without an in-world way to pay, or collect, money it attracts a different set of users. However, I think there are strong role playing communities out their based in OpenSim.

        I use the Meerkat viewer to bring things over and it works very well for me. Second Life scripting does work as well. Now my feet do bend funny when I stand! So lots of bugs and OpenSim is still considered to be in its alpha stage.

        I fully agree with your perspective on how Second Life has changed. Ener goes off about that pretty well (and I agree for the most part – a store selling skins should not have to cover female nipples). That is the puritanical American perspective at work in my opinion.

        Thank you for your comment!

        • Myra Foil 2:35 am on February 2, 2010 Permalink

          hehe, yes. I’m a dutch girl and we here in Holland don’t cover nipples and stuff… instead we show them. In that respect we are free here. If i want to do it with every guy here no one looks weird at me. Instead they think that i’m enjoying my life and my body. We don’t judge eachother here on those things. I have to laugh sometimes about the prudish American life style and think by my self: people dare to life and dare to enjoy what life and your body has to offer you.

          I made an account also yesterday at OSgrid mainly because i wanted to try to run a sim on my own computer. And it worked. But indeed, it’s not SL. I mean, lot’s of small things are not working well. Overall it’s working fine, but little things that are no problem on SL give probs in OSgrid. Like i put on prim hair. After that i TP’s to my own sim and wanted to edit it and could not move my hair a little higher. Only after i removed my hair and put it back on again i could move it. But i was proud at myself to get the sim running on my own home PC:)))))))

          Normally i use second inventory to transfer items between SL and other grids but can the meerkat viewer also bring over items like hair, houses, anims, ect?

          Any way, i haven’t been able to log into reaction grid but i will give it a try and look around. I hope the opengrids solve the little problems soon and become a grown up grid to compete with Linden Labs and i still have to hope that LL connects their grid to the open grids so we can enjoy the best on both sides:)

          Thx for your reply subquark, hugzzz, Myra.

        • subquark 11:14 am on February 2, 2010 Permalink

          My step-father is Dutch! Small world! In the US (and to a lesser degree in Canada) we are not as balanced when it comes to body image and we could go on for days on its own blog. It is a shame and dictates many things that it should not.

          Congratulations on installing OpenSim! You are obviously technically savvy! I have not tried the new somewhat self-contained deployment made by a professor (her name escapes me at the moment) but that one looked more approachable by people like me.

          The hair thing you mention is a perfect example of the little bugs that can drive you crazy!

          I like using Meerkat to copy items and have not tried Second Inventory yet.

          I would think it would be a solid two years before OpenSim is close to Second Life for most users. Their focus is on fixing bugs but also on pushing the envelope with OpenSim for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn logins. Reaction Grid has a working Facebook login and it’s very nice. They use Unity 3D to make it browser-based. Another big “win”.

          Thank you for comment, people with passion and talent, like you, are what make all of this possible. That is so cool about your own OpenSim installation!

        • Myra Foil 2:39 am on February 3, 2010 Permalink

          Hi Subquark,

          Cool, you have dutch ties. How cool:)

          I won’t live here for long tho since we’re planing of moving to the states. To Georgia to be exact. We have family there. But that will not happen this year. Hopefully next year.

          Last night when i got home my sim didn’t work. think something went wrong in my router but didn’t had the time to check so i will look into it during this week.

          I will try the meerkat viewer to transfer things, see how that works.

          Two years before opensim will reach maturity? wauw. Linden labs is lanching secondlife 2.0 this year (so they say). So i’m afraid that by the time opensims solved the litte bugs they will look old compared to secondlife 2.0. Have you seen the preview clib about SL 2.0? Looks really neat. And no client needed anymore, just a browser. But it will still be LindenLabs running it. So nothing will change to their way of governing the virtual world. I kinda like the “no one owns opensim” thing. Like the open source Linux OS. Gives the power back to the people instead of the CEO’s and their selfish way of ruling.

          Opensim login through facebook? that would be really cool. Is it possible to IM my friends in SL from the facebook website? Cos there’s no possiblity to keep in contact with my friends in SL when i’m not logged in. Okay, IM to mail, but that’s not really chatting isn’t it?

          Went to the film Avatar yesterday. wauw, if that would be possible in RL. THAT would be real secondlife! hehe, well.. talk to you soon… i hope to have time to log into reactiongrid this week. i’m having a very busy week this week:(

          xxx, Myra.

        • Myra Foil 7:40 am on February 3, 2010 Permalink

          Cool that your stepfather is dutch. Is he also living here or did he move to the states?

          We’re also busy getting a greencard to move to the USA. To Georgia to be more exact. Maybe next year we can fly on a one way ticket to the states:)

          I will try meerkat viewer and also log on to reactiongrid. Haven’t got the time until now. RL is busy sometimes (Can we just delete RL? hihi)

          Opengrid connecting to facebook? that’s interesting. Can we log into SL through facebook in a browser in the future? That would be neat…. er eehhmm… maybe not… because that means i can play Opengrid at work, ahhahaha oooh no work will be done, LOL!

    • Serendipity Seraph 3:47 am on March 22, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I tried ReactionGrid. I had a Moon Mission and then switched to a Mars Mission. I switched to get access to the sim commands (backups, loads, terrain commands, etc) and to hypergrid so I could move stuff more easily between my other grids (desktop and Amazon cloud and osgrid) and ReactionGrid. I noticed though that an Amazon small instance (basically a 2007 i386 single core) running diva distro on ubuntu was much much snappier and performant than the Mars Mission. Not sure why. ReactionGrid charges $75/mo min for Mars Mission. A reserved small instance of the kind I am running on amazon costs $20/month when paid for a year upfront. And I can put that instance wherever I want like up where the OSGrid stuff is. For that matter I can join it or not to the OSGrid and expand it easily.

      Hypergrid – bottom line is that it didn’t work from RG out to either osgrid or my cloud instance. Not with the RG avatar. But if I started with my osgrid avatar then I had no problem to my cloud and back. So I used it to come to the RG gateways down to its coordinates which are “too far”. Seemed ok except that at the gateway I wasn’t seeing most prims. But I kept going to my sim in RG. Whoa. 1st landed somewhere with very different terrain. Map jumped to another region in my Mars Mission and the terrain was right but almost all of my prims were invisible. I wrote all this up and tried many combinations to have good data. I figured it could be used to debug this. But when I gave it to RG they basically told me to take it up with opensimulator although I had just shown it seemed RG specific. I could understand if they simply said they couldn’t address it right now and thanks for the information. But they basically disowned the problem. As hypergrid is critical to me and the Mars Mission seems too slow (unless I pay $100/mo more for another core and a bit more for more memory). But If I do that I am starting to push sharing or even having a whole region in SL. Going easily to osgrid and back is important for content access, socializing, events, and so on. And like SL I am relatively isolated when signed up with the RG grid and take it or leave it since I can’t hypergrid. And there is almost not database support for finding people, or where what is available for free or sale, or even groups. So I left it.

      And Microsoft? You are going to take their word on it when ReactionGrid is a very dedicated Microsoft shop? You think they will give a fair technical analysis of architectural differences in these circumstances when RG is their poster boy in virtual worlds? Really? Do you really thing MS is superior to Linux/mono for the opensim codebase? And using MSSQL Express beats mysql? I don’t think so.

      • David Miller 7:49 am on March 22, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Well written, thank you. I heard that hypergridding is a challenge or does not work at all. I keep in mind that OpenSim is alpha and for my needs of a place to build, film video for external use, and author an environmental science activity series, it works very well.

        I have the plan you mention – Mars Mission with Nitro pack and hum along very well (always frame rates of 55 with antialias set to 4x).

        As to taking the word of Microsoft – yes Reaction Grid is a Microsoft-based collection of technologies. I don’t see anything wrong with that and am thankful that because of Microsoft I have been enjoying much of my work in the last 12 years. If not for them, I doubt I would be using many apps such as Adobe’s or have been able to do as much freelance work without the large number of daily apps that make up my world (Outlook, Word, and so on).

        Would these things have developed without Microsoft? No one can say to what level (if you can, please let me know the winning lotto tickets for next week).

        By using Microsoft as a bit of a barometer, I simply note that it was good enough for them and it is more than good enough for me.

        At $175 a month, I am still far off from $295 and can certainly do much more with 16 sims than with one. Plus I don’t have the drama that is Second Life. I think I can speak fairly well of my experience in Second Life with having had many sims, being a mentor, and evangelising for them. But again, this is in response to why I like Reaction Grid.

        It is up to the individual to find their best fit. And your points are all correct and valuable for people to make decisions. Thank you for pointing out areas in which I have never delved (particularly hyppergridding, which will become increasingly important).

        For someone like me, without the technical expertise (or desire) to run my own installation of OpenSim, Reaction Grid is perfect at the moment. Would I like more? Sure, but it is meeting my needs.

        For anyone looking at Reaction Grid, do consider what Serendipity has pointed out. They are a knowledgeable source and seem very experienced with this.

  • subQuark 12:37 am on November 24, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , , opensim, , , virtual meetings,   

    Simple Sit Script: deconstructed 


    Is that a torus? wow!

    Ikea-wannabe chair designer Ener Hax was hoping to get Dream Walker to script some chairs but timing is everything (read: I should have gone to bed and not logged into the Level 2 Venue grid). =p

    Sit scripts are basic scripts to use, but can be a pain to set up when placing in prims that have been cut, hollowed, rotated, spindled, or mutilated (showing my age and the old, old days of computer punch cards! and what is spindling anyway?)

    Ener has been making a great collection of chairs for our new endeavor on our very own OpenSim grid hosted by Reaction Grid.

    The goal is to create all the furniture needed for making “filming sets” for use in creating video for eLearning scenarios and video podcasts, and also furniture for use in corporate meetings and hotel events. Including details that help raise environmental awareness for meetings in the real world are part of everything we are building (Ener points out the “we” part of this sentence). =D

    Apart from my love of eLearning, I taught college Environmental Science for 7 years and we have Matt Courtland from The Natural Strategy consulting with us for “best green practices” in meetings and events (see one of his blog posts on the greening of hotels).

    Now for the LSL sit script, hopefully it helps, especially with rotation.

    //place this sit script in a prim (poseball) or the root prim of a linked set
    //adapted by David Miller - 23 November 2009
    string text = "sit";
    //what you would like the float text to say
           vector rot=<270, 0, 0>*DEG_TO_RAD;
           //rotation in degrees of avatar on Sit
           //negative values may also be used
           rotation finalRotation=llEuler2Rot(rot);
           //convert rotation
           llSitTarget(<0.2,0.55,-0.3>, finalRotation);
           //x, y, and z position of avatar on Sit
           //negative values may also be used
           //do not use <0,0,0>
           //first 3 values are colour of text
           //single value is text alpha - 1 is opaque, 0 is transparent
        changed(integer change)
           if (change & CHANGED_LINK)
              if (llAvatarOnSitTarget() != NULL_KEY)
                 //hide string text on Sit
                 //llSetAlpha(0, ALL_SIDES);
                 //if this was a poseball, uncommenting the line above would
                 //hide it on Sit
                 //to uncomment a line, remove the double forward slashes //
                 //restore string text on Stand Up
                 //llSetAlpha(1.0, ALL_SIDES);
                 //if this was a poseball, uncommenting the line above would
                 //show it on Stand Up
                 //to uncomment a line, remove the double forward slashes //

    Good thing Ener wears shorts!

    reposted from the iliveisl blog

    • Cell phone GPS >> Miracles of technology...bring information on ... 6:12 am on November 25, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      [… – subquark.wordpress.com is other must read source on this subject,[… –

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