Progress of the final presentation and thoughts on SecondLife

25 Apr

Sorry for the lack of updates as of late. Even though my blog hasn’t been active that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been. I’ve been working with Q and Itz creating a video for our end of the year presentation in Second Life. We had to try to come up with a concept and through many talks over social networking sites such as Facebook we came to decide on the idea of how Second Life parallels with the real world, its similarities and differences and the depth of the relationships one can have on it. Using Facebook chat for example is such a fast and effective way of communicating with my fellow team mates we could brainstorm out ideas quickly because the chat is sent instantly rather than waiting for a reply through an email. At the beginning, our ideas were very broad and we were focusing on creating content rather than generating concepts on which to base everything on. Itz immediately knew that she wanted to try and record a song on Secondlife and proposed the idea that it will be using new technologies and will also integrate our project within second life itself through streaming. It’s a commonly used method of broadcasting music through SL radio and for Djs to use on the nights the hold events etc… because the sound is much clearer and there is no disturbance etc…

            At first Second Life appeared to be a very image based site with many blogs dedicated to photography and models, much like in the real life gossip magazines.

Of course for a person to create a wholly different avatar to themselves is probably going to reflect what they aspire to be or what they wish they could have. For some people it’s all about the latest internet trends, the nicest hair and best clothes which most definitely reflects real life in a big way. We are all taught to be very aware of our appearance and the appearance of others through TV, advertisements’, magazines etc… There are many products trying to be sold in order to “better” your appearance so you can fit into a certain social ideal and to be accepted. Much is the same in SL, you can purchase make up, new hair and buy different skin colours and body types. It’s much easier to adjust your body in SecondLife rather than in real life, for a smaller cost and no worry of infection or problems. Therefore it’s understandable that people would be very image focused, also there is the appeal of buying wings, mermaid tails and other mystical parts that aren’t realistic but are fun and different. With all of this in mind one would perceive SecondLife to be shallow and a lacking in connections with people. But I have come to understand it’s not like this at all. SecondLife has many levels to it much like in the world we live in now. Many people create deep and meaningful relationships on secondlife. It also has created this issue of people cheating on their partners over the internet.

There are support groups for people who have joined SL because they have a disability in real life and find an escape online where they can walk freely without being stared at or treated differently. I found this to be the most surprising aspect of SecondLife. I haven’t heard of many online gaming sites that create support groups to help each other with different problems and worries. In my opinion I think this is really encouraging and it really shows the strength of the community there.

Trying to find people to talk to on second life is pretty easy via it be in bars or clubs but trying to find people with similar interests as you is a complete different story altogether. As part of our project we were asked to have an audience to attend the presentations as this will show our skills at communicating and creating relationships online. We have to try to convince people to come to our presentation, we have to make it seem worthwhile so an idea we came up with was to post a poster on Facebook every few days promoting it.

            Right now we’re at the point where we are trying to create the scenes for the video, so we meet up every 2 days on secondlife and record the next section. We have created a storyboard of a few of the scenes we want to include. It will first start off as us falling around the place, acting clumsy in order to show us trying to get used to this virtual world. Then it will continue on to seeing us visiting shops, bars and support groups in order to show how SL parallels with real life. From there we will show the part of secondLife that cannot possibly exist in real life and that is the fantasy side. We will visit a few very mystical places and record how SL can be a get away from real world problems. Itz will be singing her song over the video and this will (hopefully) tie everything together. 


Copyright Infringement

21 Mar

“Copyright is protecting the original work from an author for writing, recordings, photos, etc. according to federal laws and regulations. As of 1978, copyright lasts for 70 years past the death of the person who has the rights to the product. Anything created before 1923 is considered public domain and isn’t copyrighted anymore. Neither is anything prior to 1964 that wasn’t renewed. If the item was created as a part of someone’s job, the copyright lasts between 95 to 120 years.

The current U.S. Copyright Act grants copyright owners total rights to the future reproduction of that work, anything that was expressly derived from that work, distributing or selling the copied work, publically performing that work (in the case of music), public displaying that work (as in photos) or otherwise benefiting. The one who owns the copyright, however, can give someone permission to do any of these things.”


Someone has stolen my work, what do I do?

From a legal standpoint the person whose work which has been stolen, a civil law has been broken. To begin a claim against this, if the person involved wants to take action they first have to be sure they have evidence that they created the work first. Have dated proof of the time of creation of the piece of work and even dated proof of it being uploaded on the internet. They must have the original files and be able to prove without a doubt they created the work first, because in court it will be all based on evidence.

Before the case is even brought to court, you should speak with the person who stole the work in the first place because they may not even be aware of copyright infringement. They may have just across it and didn’t realise it was someone else work; people can be naive and completely innocent of any malice or of any greed. On the other hand bigger companies may try to steal someone else’s work and make a profit off it because they won’t think that one person will try to sue against a large corporation:

If the person denies using the work without permission what do you do then?

“The legal or beneficial owner of an exclusive right under a copyright is entitled, subject to the requirements of section 411, to institute an action for any infringement of that particular right committed while he or she is the owner of it.”

You are entitled to bring the person to court and to get compensation for any damages that may have occurred. Copyright infringement is a civil law so you would have to get a solicitor and pursue under that law. “A claim based on breach of contract or libel must be brought within six years of the breach or publication”

In order to prevent against copyright infringement you can do one of the following steps:

  1. Upload a smaller image file on the internet so that the quality would be poor if transformed into a larger size, making it unusable for outside of showcasing the work.
  2. Adding a watermark to the work such as a piece of art. A watermark is a transparent logo or the name of the person along the image.
  3. Or perhaps using a creative commons license if you want other parties to use your work but for you to get a percentage of the sales. Therefore allowing people to use your work under certain rules in which they have to follow.
  4. Finding an intellectual attorney who will draw up the papers for copyright. You can email your work to your solicitor every time you create new work, so that they will have a back up of the work dated in case something like this happens, you will have legal back up.

From a critical point of view the law isn’t really of much help because the person whose copyright has been infringed upon they have to take action themselves rather than the law doing it for them. For the person involved it has a lot to do with prevention and if the work is stolen it can be very costly for them in time and in money to take up a case against the other person. There are many helpful websites for artists and other people alike in which they can educated themselves about copyright and it really is a personal matter of doing it yourself. There is ACTA but it seems to be protecting bigger companies such as Sony from copyright rather than the lesser known artists.

Coffee & Pyjamas: My experience (2)

22 Feb

Coffee & Pyjamas was a relaxed and friendly place. Full of art and friendly people, I didn’t know what to expect when I first turned up.

The atmosphere of the room itself was a bit lack luster at the beginning because of the small turn out, but overall the room itself looked artistic and colourful. This created a warmer environment I think, which in turn allowed me to relax a bit because I could see this was not going to be a formal event.

As the jazz club became fuller with people of all different personalities it became a friendlier and livelier environment. It simulated the real world to a better degree than I had originally thought it would have. In my mind I was comparing Second Life to “Sims” or “World of Warcraft”, in which you can personalise your character to a certain degree but the settings and overall control the user can have over those games is limited. Whereas from what I could gather in the jazz club it was more interactive as everything was made by the people in second life, including the paintings.

SL tries to simulate as many real world gestures and mannerisms as it can in order to truly make it a virtual world experience. It’s a vital part of Second Life to learn these gestures because in order to socialise and to become more involved in this virtual world you need to know basic mannerisms and phrases.

I found Elfays voice and speech understandable and very clear, but her way of explaining the reason for the Jazz club was obscure and unhelpful. The other members of the Jazz club were helpful and I found it easy to talk with them and ask questions. Even though Second Life wants to simulate a parallel virtual world, it can’t avoid technical problems. There was a lot of lag and sometimes my viewer would freeze and I was unable to do anything. Similarly my character got stuck dancing and it took me a while to be able to stop it. The lag seems to be a problem in SL because the chat kept telling people to turn off any special features their characters may have. I didn’t bother me as I knew there would be lag considering this is the internet, it can’t escape that fact.

I found the overall experience educational but a little bit boring because all the other characters knew each other so they were chatting amongst themselves. I thought we would’ve been doing more than chatting but I did learn how to dance, sit and customise my profile. The room was dull at the beginning but became more atmospheric towards the end. I didn’t particularly enjoy the music as I’m not a fan of Jazz but it wasn’t so extreme that I couldn’t listen to it.

Overall I found Coffee & Pyjamas a worthwhile experience because I learned more about second Life and even made a friend.

Coffee & Pajamas: My experience

13 Feb

Being a complete beginner at Second Life it was an interesting experience to go to this virtual Jazz club. Even though I’m not a big fan of Jazz it was fun seeing all the different outfits everyone wore. Especially Elfays character, beautiful pink skin with wings! They were really helpful and gave us pjs, a mug of coffee and a heart wand that made you dance uncontrollably. At one point I couldn’t stop dancing and was freaking out, haha! 

“TP” means Teleport as I came to find out. They seem to have their own little phrases and things so it’s going to take a while to learn all the shorthand! I really wanted to know how to change your clothes, because I’m getting quite tired of my plain jeans and tshirt. They told me you can type in “free clothes” and some stores will give you some pieces for free, awesome! 

For the most part what I can gather with Second Life is that people meet up in these virtual worlds which are carefully constructed by real people themselves, in order to chat and have fun. Basically life in the real world but behind a persona. You don’t even have to be human! One annoying thing is SL sometimes lags and my character can get stuck, especially when flying. It seems the more people there are the more laggy it gets. In chat it was telling everyone to turn off any special features their character has to lower the lag, so it seems to be a problem SL has. Considering everyone has different internet speeds and computers it probably can’t be easily solved. But for the most part everything was smooth sailing and interesting to look at.

Your character can basically do everything that you can in real life. I was excited to sit down! How silly haha! One thing I really like about SL is just how crazy you can make your character/ place look! There was an Egyptian/ artistic theme to the Jazz club. I spotted Picasso’s Guernica on one of the walls. Some people had gigantic hair and really flamboyant clothes. I can’t wait to learn more about styling your avatar and personalizing everything. 

In relation to talking with everyone, I found the chat hard to follow and very fast paced. It was probably hard for Elfay to see every comment and to follow up on them but she did try her best. Everyone was very courteous and I enjoyed it. I had fun learning how to dance, change my clothes, Im-ing people and just chatting. 

I’m slowly but surely learning my way through this very vast world! Its a completely different experience to what I was expecting, there is more customization and SL tries hard to simulate movement and gestures. I can’t wait to explore more of this world 🙂 

Here’s a screenshot of me and two of my classmates from college that I already know in person. I’m sitting down on the stool looking very bored (haha)


Hello world!

12 Feb

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