#WolfieTU Tweetup

19 10 2010

A tweetup is defined as a twitter users get together, usually in a local area.

The general idea would be to gather a set of people who you regularly talk to, who live close by, or who might be in the area visiting, and meet at a pub, a gallery or a park for instance.

Now the world is a lot smaller because of the way we communicate online, and although we may chat to friends in Amsterdam, Stockholm, Tokyo, New York or Hobart, it’s obviously going to be really difficult to get those people in the same place, at the same time, in a real life setting, although that would be very desirable.

So what I’m proposing is to have a global tweetup in Second life, possibly next week.

Second life is a virtual reality meeting place, and in my opinion is more Social Media than a game, some disagree, but whatever position you hold, the fact remains that people do meet there and talk.

Why we’d use Second life is because you can have multiple people in one space, possibly twenty or so, and use voice.

It sounds as though if we had twenty people all talking at once, then conversation would become very difficult to follow, but not really. Being in Second life is a bit like being at a party, it’s only the people that you are standing near who can be heard clearly, so by mixing in and moving around, voices fade in and out just like in real life.

Since the feedback on Twitter was positive, I think we should try it out.

But I would like to get a few things sorted out first, namely a suitable day, and a suitable time.

Some time towards the end of the week would probably best, Thursday, Friday or Satuday night, possibly around nine in the evening, Melbourne time. (+10 AEST).

Those who would like to try this out and hear the voices of those who they tweet with, should create a Second life account as soon as possible, please don’t leave it till the last minute as the software does take a while to download and install, and then there’s an awkward bit as you suddenly try to come to grips with unfamiliar software… don’t be too worried as I can help you with this when we’re there.

We will naturally enough, be using ABC Island as the location.

Secondlife registration and software is available here and is completely free of charge. (Mac/PC/Linux)

If you have questions, you can ask here or tweet with #WolfieTU

A Tragic Waste of Life, A Reply.

18 09 2010

Recently, Myf Warhurst wrote an article about her own experience with Secondlife, which sadly had been rather negative. As those of us who have gone through the early stages of avatar childhood have found, it’s not easy.

Chiming in at the comments section were a band of the usual suspects who claim the internet is an oubliette of everything evil… while ironically using the same mechanism to vent their frustrations, how bizarre.

Social media can be like choosing a musical instrument to learn and play.

I’ve seen people do really well with one social network, yet completely flop at another. if you find that you’re no good on the piano but do well on guitar, it doesn’t mean the piano sucks and is only for idiots, right?

Therefore if Twitter and Facebook don’t do it for you, then perhaps Skype is more your thing.

The Movie “Beautiful Kate” demonstrated a great use for Secondlife, Rachel Griffiths played the Daughter of a dying Father. Alone in the outback with nobody around for miles, she used Secondlife to meet with a group of people, it would have come in handy on long lonely outback nights.

I have mentioned before that users of Secondlife are often stuck in remote locations or not well enough to get out of the house and meet people, as according to those who would never use the internet insist we must always do.

A friend of mine works as a miner in NSW, he works really hard, often at odd hours. He lives about 200km away from his family and shares his home with his animals.

But naturally he wants to have some sort of human contact, quite difficult when you’re way out in the bush and the local pub and cafes are not open at 4am, and frankly, who wants to go out again when you’re utterly beat?

About four years back, after some persuasion by friends on other social networks, he decided to try Secondlife.

Initially he was against it, he had some pre-conceived ideas about Secondlife and it’s users, but once he tried it
he was sold. He even went as far as buying an entire island with a friend, which can be quite an expensive thing to do, most people who use Secondlife don’t buy an island.

When I pay him a visit, his avatar is frequently standing with a group of three or four others, they don’t role play or play a game, they talk about exactly the same things that people would if they met in real life, and so do I.
Talking on Secondlife, with a group of friends is far better than speaking to just one on the phone, and if your friends are interstate or overseas, then it also works out to be a very cheap conversation.

We internet users take quite a lot from the media, and even other internet users, which is quite strange really.

There have always been passive hobbies where people sit for a long time, especially during winter when it’s too cold for anything else. Some people sit for days knitting, sewing, painting or writing, is there anything wrong with that?

For me, I loved being home with my parents and my animals. as long as I was home, I was happy. and besides, I had stacks of 45s which I loved to sit and listen to, I was obsessed with music, and nobody had any objections to it… Well no, there were some who thought that I should have been down the park, kicking a ball around, but that was simply not me.

The internet is mocked by all and sundry, they roll their eyes and sigh, things were better in our day. when a womans place was in the home and there weren’t any poofs, and we all went to church on a sunday.

Of course, television was acceptable, although our teachers hated it, “Chewing gum for the mind” they called it, and warned that our generation would grow up unable to think for ourselves because of the stupidity on the tube.

I doubt they considered Jim Henson, Professor Julius Sumner Miller, David Attenborough and shows like Beyond 2000, New Inventors and Catalyst which routinely broadened the mind instead of stunting it like our teachers thought it would.

I often watch TED which is an internet program of sorts, where intelligent people get up on stage for about fifteen minutes and tell us what they’re into, it’s a bit like show and tell for adults, and some of the talks are completely brilliant.

Facebook is all this, Twitter is all that, It’s ruining kids brains, eyes and postures, whatever will come of the next generation?

Relax, it’s just a little bit of history repeating, what became of us with our monophonic colour TVs, Countdown and Walkmans? We grew up mostly intact like everyone else, and I’m certain the next generation will too.

In fact, according to one TED speaker, we’re getting smarter, despite what news stories about Tea Party members would have you believe.

I’ve tried it all, and it’s all good, I’m sure that Today Tonight would be most bitter that I haven’t come to a terrible fate such as being stewed up by some sort of Hannibal Lecter character who found me on Facebook.

Being through what I’ve been through in the last five years, if anything, the internet has saved me, and I’ve met many wonderful friends who, yes, I’ve met in real life and continued to be good friends with them after the fact.

If there was no internet, then chances are that I would have sat at home and not gone out to meet people, as I’m a very shy person who keeps a very low profile in public and rarely speaks to anyone, having had the internet and engaging with people, I’ve come out of my shell a heck of a lot and am no longer scared to say hello or ask a question.

The internet as a whole has done me a lot of good, a waste of life? surely not.

And Myf, I invite you to try again, please do!

Myfs original article from National Times


Myfs article also spoke about The Laneways Project at ABC Island. I have seen the real thing as I live fairly close to it, I can get on the train and be there in about thirty minutes. But the fact is, Friends and Family rather inconveniently tend to live in other states and countries, and as much as I’d like my friends from Oklahoma, London, Perth and Amsterdam to join me for a cuppa at the laneways, they can’t, at least not until someone invents teleportation.

The Laneways Project gave people an idea of what a part of Melbourne looked like, it appealed to Secondlife users and I dare say that some who may not have considered visiting Melbourne before, may have decided otherwise because of what they’d seen there in Secondlife.

I’m Blue.

11 06 2010

I finally decided to try Blue Mars, after some coaxing by a couple of friends, but alas my experience was not a good one.

After logging into Blue Mars, looking something like a drugged zombie, I stood there and couldn’t move my camera,
obviously I had a bit to learn and was quite happy to spend some time with it, Secondlife took a while to master too.

I couldn’t move my camera, but was told that it was controlled by the right mouse button and scroll wheel by some helpful
volunteers on the island. It’s always good to find real people who will help, so this at least was a plus and I thank them for

Walking is controlled in a very awkward manner where a small blue marker
is dropped on the ground, the avatar walks towards it and stops.

Now I have a reasonable computer and a fair internet speed, but if this
was SL, I would have called for an island restart, it felt like walking
through a pool of maple syrup.

Another problem was a big sign which was stuck on my screen like a HUD,
it blocked about half of my view, and although I was advised to upgrade
to flash 10, and did so, the sign remained and could not be removed.

After about the third relog in less than 20 minutes, the problem remained.

And in the time it took me to walk just a few meters… the marker on the ground does
not always set… I could have checked ABC Island and Eragon in SL, flying and walking freely around them.

The regulars suggested that I buy a better computer and get faster internet speed, my computer isn’t that old and tired,
I can happily edit HD video on it, and Secondlife works like a charm, my internet speed isn’t too shabby either.

I wasn’t about to go out and spend big bucks just so I could use this rather awkward looking virtual space, Secondlife may have it’s problems, but Bluemars was just asking far too much of a person, I shut it down, most likely for good.


ABC Island Open Day

10 06 2010

You may have heard about Secondlife, The virtual world. and you may have also heard that ABC has a space there which is visited by people from every country on Earth

You may have been tempted to try it yourself, or have done so in the past and simply got lost… I will admit that coming in alone can be daunting as a new visitor needs all the help that they can get, not from an on screen menu, but directly from the mouths of real people, who have used Secondlife for years, and would be more than happy to welcome you and give you a hand.

So, This Saturday, We’ll be having an open Day on ABC Island, from 7pm, Melbourne Time.

Secondlife is an amazing way to gather together with friends and chat about anything for as long as you like, I frequently talk to friends in the US, the UK, Canada and other countries, and with friends from other states with Secondlife. it’s a brilliant social network, and the added visuals can be a lot of fun, and also really useful… you’ll be surprised by what you can do with Secondlife, you’re only limited by your imagination.

To begin, you need to sign up at the Secondlife website and download the free viewer, a kind of web browser for Secondlife. I’ll explain some of the cool things that the viewer will let you do once you arrive at ABC Island.

It comes in Windows, Mac and Linux varieties. (Click here). The browser is roughly 80megs, so be prepared for a fairly large download, however installation is quick, painless and free.

If you have a headset, make sure it’s plugged in now… However if you don’t have one, don’t fret, it’s not essential.

Once you have installed the Secondlife browser (or viewer, as it’s known), sign in with your name and password and hit the little green button. Give the viewer about a minute to log you in and you’ll find yourself on an island, probably with lots of others. Now typically these islands are slow and difficult to move around in… and the idea is to get you to ABC Island.

So the next step is to get you out of there.

This is how you do it.

At the top right of the viewer,
you’ll notice a space which looks like this ( search ) click it and seach for me, Wolfie Rankin.

Wolfie Rankin should appear in green text at the top of the list, click my name and a different box will appear with three green buttons.

“Offer Teleport”, “IM” and “Profile”

Choose “IM” (Instant Message)

And Say “Hi Wolfie, I’d like to visit you and ABC Island, Could you please send me a taxi?”
(You can cut and paste that if you like, or be creative, it’s up to you).

And I’ll respond as soon as I can, but if I don’t respond straight away, please just wait for a while…
I might be on the phone, the cat could be coughing up a furball, the cake might have exploded in the oven… you never know, things happen right when they’re not wanted. 🙂

Anyway, when I do respond, a box will appear on your screen, something to do with teleportation, accept the invitation and seconds later you’ll find yourself standing on ABC Island, Next to an orange wolf with a blue mohawk and a t-shirt with the same wolf logo as on this page… yes that’s me, Wolfie Rankin.

From there, we’ll just have a friendly chat, and I’ll help to explain how things work in Secondlife.

If you like Secondlife, then you can come back at anytime to visit us, and you’ll learn more and more about how it works, and of course you could find some real friends who you may meet at some stage, face to face, in real life as I have.

I hope that your stay in virtual space will be a good one, all the best.


BTW: If you have any questions at all, please ask below and I’ll try to answer as soon as possible.
you can also ask me on twitter at @Wolfie_Rankin or use the hashtag #ABCisland.