Friday, January 05, 2007

Some Thoughts on Second Life


Second Life reminds me a lot of LambdaMOO, where I met my wife. While Lambda is entirely text based, Second Life is a sort of strange hybrid of LambdaMOO and the Sims wrapped into one. Lambda's appeal was, and still is, the immediacy of the experience. I am fortunate enough to have made some pretty terrific friends there but it did prove to be a tremendous time suck. I still visit occasionally and it is nice to note that the old characters are still there engaging in the same word play.
Word play--that is an essential element in keeping text based environments interesting. Without the rhyming, non-sequiteurs, and puns, places like LambdaMOO would become deadly boring. That said, the environments that folks are creating on Second Life make half the fun exploring.
Second Life now has a greater GDP than some small countries. That is a remarkable feat. Many things are for sale like land and clothing.
What does this have to do with the Arts Nonprofit community. Interestingly, quite a bit. First off, many non-profits have taken up residence in Second Life setting up virtual offices. Reuters was one of the first real live companies to do this but since then hundreds of others have done the same, including the 110th Congress. Tech Soup is setting up a virtual community--an experiment with tenants who will have space in a Commons. Gallery owners have set up virtual galleries of work. The list goes on and on.
What started as a curiosity is taking on a life of its own. It will be interesting to see what comes out of this massive experiment. If you have a little time to kill, get a character and see what the fuss is about. You might find that you enjoy it.

Thursday, January 04, 2007



Tonight I decided to set up ImageSpace with TinyMCE. TinyMCE is a platform independent Text Editor and HTML editor. It allows you to cut and paste from most other word processing programs and maintain formatting. Best of all, it is open source. While you might not see anything significantly different on this site, my job of formatting text has become significantly simpler.

How can this kind of technology help Arts Non-Profits? It goes back to the idea that open source, when used wisely, can significantly reduce the time and effort an agency/organization has to put into publishing online. Once the templates are setup, it becomes very simple for an arts administrator with very little experience on the Web to publish, edit, and maintain content. When the WYSIWYG IS the content management tool it reduces the cost and time one needs to take to publish.

So what kinds of tools can you expect from TinyMCE? Check it out...


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Second Life and Congress


The Democratic Party has taken an interesting tact with the 110th Congress. They have spent in the neighborhood of $60,000 creating a Second Life version of the Capitol Buildings. It will open to the public tomorrow. It is supposed to have been set up as a bi-partisan space for sharing of information and ideas. I, for one, will be interested to see:

1) How many members of Congress use the space

2) Truly, how many will be tech saavy enough to actually capitalise on it--will it be the Interns who "ghost" as members of Congress?

3) Whether it starts out being used heavily and then drifts.

My friend Beth Kanter has shared her thoughts on the new space.

This could be a brilliant move on the part of the Democrats. While they say it is intended to be bi-partisan, the hype behind the Dems CREATING the space will surely colour the perception of it. This could well reach the 20-somethings who have never voted before. With all studies indicating that the younger you vote, for the first time, the more likely you are to vote for the party you started with in subsequent elections.

It seems like the Dems are set on making themselves relevant to the upcoming generation.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Battery Update


Yesterday I submitted a request for a new battery for my work laptop, a Macbook Pro. The serial number it fell under indicated it could be defective and it was covered under the Apple exchange program. Indeed, I had experienced shorter battery life and then the machine would spontaneously shut down (presumably to the lack of charge) even when the battery indicated it had 60 minutes or more life in it. Finally, over the long weekend, it failed completely. The battery failed to charge at all and contained 0% charge.

Well, much to my suprise, a new battery arrived today, less than 24 hours after the request was put into the Apple site. While I was not happy that Apple failed to be pro-active in contacting the owners of these computers, I am very happy with how responsive the company was in replacing the battery. The old battery is happily boxed up and on its way back to California.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Macbook Pro Batteries


The battery life on my office laptop, a 15 inch MacBook Pro, has been getting shorter and shorter. Recently the computer would conk out at, what looked to be, half a charge. As you can imagine, if you are travelling and working on a document and suddenly your computer dies it can be somewhat distressing. Last night when I powered the machine up to do a little work, the computer indicated that there was no battery available at all. I flipped the computer over and verified that the battery was installed correctly. This battery has completely ceased to charge.

I had been thinking about taking it to the genius bar at our local Mac Store--Metro Denver has three--when I googled "Macbook Pro Battery Charge Failure" and was suprised to find this exchange page which indicates that they are doing a battery swap. Normally Apple sends a notice to all those who could be affected by a recall. In fact, my wife recieved two such notices on her iBook.

After doing some additional research, it appears that this recall has been going on since at least May of 2006, quietly. It also turns out that there are a slew of instances strewn across of the Internet of others with just this same situation.

If you have the following symptoms:

1) Reduced Battery Time
2) Unexpected system shutdowns when on battery power
3) A completely dead battery

You should head to the exchange page and check to see if your computer is one with this problem.

Come on Apple, you *should* be proactively contacting folks. I know that the failure I'm experiencing doesn't cause fires, but it sure is an irritant.

Monday, January 01, 2007



Last night, Paula and I, hosted our first Smorgasbord. The meal included:

2 kinds of smoked salmon
pickled herring
deviled eggs
beef tenderloin
Danish red cabbage
Danish pickled cucumbers
dilled and buttered potatos
Jarlsberg cheese
dilled Havarti cheese
rye bread
melba toast
little tiny toasts
pinot noir

The Table

Deviled Eggs with Anchovies



Dill and Buttered New Potatos

Pickled Herring with Dill and Capers

Danish Pickled Cucumbers

Danish Red Cabbage

Smoked Salmon and Shrimp

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