Wednesday, June 6, 2007

MediaCamp BUCKS 07: An un-conference digging on games, blogging, casting and new-media

MediaCamp BUCKS 07

An un-conference digging on games, blogging, casting and new-media for anyone wishing to get involved


What is MediaCamp BUCKS 07?
It's an UnConference with a strong educational flavour for gamers, bloggers, casts, and new media professionals & amateurs for one day to share, explore, challenge, and grow our abilities in new media. Learn about audio and video podcasting, blogging, photography, Second Life, Twitter, and all kinds of other new and social media tools. Whether you're a veteran or interested in getting started, MediaCamp is for YOU.


When?
Friday 19 Evening - Social get together in local venue
Saturday 20 October 07 (entry on upcoming.org - useful for calendar reminders: http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/190813/)


Where?
Buckinghamshire Chilterns University, England, UK
BCUC website

BCUC had 9,000 students on part-time and full-time courses in 2005/6 – including 4,246 who are studying for undergraduate degrees. A potentially rich hot-bed of new future rockstars eager to embrace new-media.

Created by YOU!
The beauty of ACHUB MediaCamps is that YOU are the experts. Bring what you know about the above topics and share your knowledge. Learn, grow, make new relationships, and discover the fun of an unconference.

Cost: FREE! Did we mention this is free? No money. No Euros. No pounds. No dollars. Free.

How to get started:
Register for free - MediaCamp BUCKS is free to attend!
Sponsor - help make the event happen and get involved in the new media space
Present - anyone is free to participate. Sign up for a session now!
Perform - we are seeking some musical elements for the venue
Promote - tell friends, colleagues, and associates about MediaCamp BUCKS

MediaCampBUCKS Guidebook
Directions and travel info - what you need to know to get there
Lodging and Hotel - where to stay - we need High Wycombe residents/frequent travelers to help with this!
Dining and entertainment - where to eat - we need High Wycombe residents/frequent travelers to help with this!

Organizers/Assistance Wanted
Chris Hambly chris AT gamil.com
Peter Cooper (gaekwad At gmail)

Resources
FlickR
Facebook


Host a future MediaCamp!

There are 7 rules which govern what may or may not be called a MediaCamp. If your planned event meets all 7, you can call it a MediaCamp.

1 All attendees must be treated equally. Everyone is a rockstar.
2 All content created must be released under a Creative Commons license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
3 All attendees must be allowed to participate. (subject to limitations of physical space, of course)
4 All sessions and events must be free of charge to attend.
5 All sessions must obey the Law of 2 Feet - if you're not getting what you want out of the session, you can and should walk out and do something else. It's not like you have to get your money's worth!
6 The event must be new-media focused - blogging, podcasting, video on the net.
7 The financials of a MediaCamp must be fully disclosed in an open ledger, except for any donor/sponsor who wishes to remain anonymous.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Ask.com: The Other Search Engine?

Ask.com has stepped up its game, launching a new multi-faceted search interface that sets it apart from other search engines and aims to give users a legitimate reason to give Ask.com a try.

The new version of Ask.com has been dubbed "Ask3D" for its three-paneled search results representing the three stages of each search: type a query, review results, and click through to content. While other search engines tend to treat this process as a step-by-step undertaking, Ask3D is presenting all three steps on a single page, to align more closely with the way people actually search, according to Doug Leeds, VP of product management at Ask.com.

"Google and other search engines, including Ask.com until now, have looked at search as a linear process, where one step follows another in a strict progression. What we actually know is that it's not linear at all," Leeds said. "People will type a query, review results, click through, then come back to review results, refine a query...it's an iterative process."

By putting information needed for each step in the process on one page, Ask3D makes it easier for users to search in that manner, and gets users to the information they're looking for and off the page faster, he said.

That strategy, as a pure search play instead of a portal strategy, is what will help Ask.com differentiate itself as the one search engine alternative to Google, Leeds said.

"Outside the industry, when people think about search, they think about Google. Yahoo ceded that territory to Google, and it shows in the way Yahoo has built its products. People don't go to Yahoo to search. They go there for e-mail, news, finance – these are all loss-leaders that can be monetized with search," Leeds said. "The only other search brand that's anywhere on the map is Ask.com. We're positioning the brand as the place to go for search."

The quirky, attention-getting billboards proclaiming that "The algorithm killed Jeeves," or "The algorithm is from Jersey" have been stirring up conversation in the industry, not all of it positive. While some have praised the billboards, and the ensuing TV campaign centering on the algorithm, for piquing user interest, others think that some of the billboard messages, such as "The Unabomber hates the algorithm," go too far.

The edgy campaign was created by the Ask marketing team and ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, best known for its "Subservient Chicken" campaign for Burger King, and its recent "Un-pimp Your Ride" ads for Volkswagen. The goal of the campaign is to get non-tech users to wonder what an "algorithm" is, and ask their tech influencer friends, who will hopefully say good things about Ask.com, Leeds said.

"The idea is to stimulate discussion, and to reach a group one step past the tech influencers," he said. "To people in the industry, the message doesn't resonate because they know what an algorithm is. But if you don't know what it is, you're basically substituting the word 'technology' for 'algorithm,' and asking someone you trust. For them, it has a very different flavor."

The attention-getting campaign is merely the first step in a long-term strategy to position Ask.com as the only legitimate alternative search engine to Google, and become a brand people know and associate with search, Leeds said. The launch of Ask3D will give searchers that are already familiar with the brand a reason to give it another try.

The results in Ask3D go beyond Web pages to include images, video, news, weather, and other data. While Google's recent Universal Search release intermingles the various siloed search results into a single ranked list, Ask3D keeps those siloes separate, and only shows a certain type of media if it's relevant to the query.

For example, a search for rock band U2 returns Ask.com's usual Smart Answer at the top of the center column, followed by two sponsored listings and then organic search results. The right-hand column adds results for video or image searches, links to MP3 files from iLike, event listings from AskCity, and encyclopedia results from Wikipedia.
A search for Boston brings up a map of the city atop the center column, and results for image search, news images, a local music guide from AllMusic, a Wikipedia page, and weather.
You'll find a full review of the new features here: Ask.com Launches Major Updates.

Serious Virtual Worlds 07: First European Conference on the Professional Applications of Virtual Worlds

Serious Virtual Worlds ’07 :
First European Conference on the Professional Applications of Virtual Worlds.


13 – 14 September 2007 @ The Serious Games Institute, Coventry , UK


The Serious Games Institute and Ambient Performance announce the first Serious Virtual Worlds conference.


The Programme
The extraordinary success of virtual worlds such as ‘Second Life’ as virtual social spaces for play leads to the question ‘What is the potential for the serious uses of these worlds?’ The theme for this first Serious Virtual Worlds conference is ‘The Reality of the Virtual World’ and takes a close look at how virtual worlds are now being used for serious professional purposes. Many organisations are now actively researching and deploying virtual worlds. Serious Virtual Worlds is your introduction to the serious uses of virtual worlds.


Who should attend?
Professionals with interests in using technology for communication and collaboration, for education and training, scenario planning and for commercial activities,from corporates, the Media, multimedia development organisations, public sector organisations, consultancies, technology solution providers, researchers….


The Conference
Day 1 – Introducing Virtual Worlds: presentations and conversations introducing virtual worlds and the 3D web from Cisco, HP, Forterra, Giunti, Daden, Ambient, Visual 3D, Anticyp, closing with the launch of the Serious Games Institute’s ‘Second Life’ Island

Day 2 - Serious Virtual Worlds: Action & Potential: live virtual world presentations and conversations from PA Consulting, IBM, Reuters, BP, Trusim, Forterra.


For further information and to pre-book your place at this limited space event contact: dick.davies@ambientperformance.com

User Acceptance of Virtual Worlds: An Explorative Study about Second Life

Study: User Acceptance of Virtual Worlds: An Explorative Study about Second Life

A new report assesseing the user acceptance of Virtual Worlds, specifically Second Life has been released. By means of a survey with almost 250 respondents this report provides first empirical results of the user acceptance of Second Life. The data has been gathered during spring 2007. Our results show that 90% of respondents have less than a year experience, 70% access Second Life from home and 54% with a desktop. There are 67% of respondents who are not afraid of giving personal information. Almost 60% are very likely to buy virtual goods from Second Life, and 42% are willing to use their credit card to purchase on Second Life. About 70% perceive Second Life improves collaboration and communication, and more than 60% perceive that it improves cooperation between people. 56% of respondents perceive Second life as easy to use. Finally, our results indicate that people are using Second Life not to change their identity, but rather to explore and visit new places and meet people.

If users accept Virtual Worlds as a new way and channel to communicate, collaborate, and cooperation and if institutions arrive to provide value to users, Virtual Worlds might become then next generation platform for Internet users. However, in order to become mainstream, Virtual Worlds like Second Life have many challenges to overcome and where user acceptance is probably the most important one.

You can get the full report and much more on http://www.secondliferesearch.blogspot.com, which we also link to from our recommended links, which are always worth checking out!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Does Virtual Reality Need a Sheriff?

From an article by Alan Sipress in the Washington Post on Saturday, June 2, 2007:

Reach of Law Enforcement Is Tested When Online Fantasy Games Turn Sordid

Earlier this year, one animated character in Second Life, a popular online fantasy world, allegedly raped another character.

Some Internet bloggers dismissed the simulated attack as nothing more than digital fiction. But police in Belgium, according to newspapers there, opened an investigation into whether a crime had been committed. No one has yet been charged.

Then last month, authorities in Germany announced that they were looking into a separate incident involving virtual abuse in Second Life after receiving pictures of an animated child character engaging in simulated sex with an animated adult figure. Though both characters were created by adults, the activity could run afoul of German laws against child pornography, prosecutors said.

As recent advances in Internet technology have spurred millions of users to build and explore new digital worlds, the creations have imported not only their users' dreams but also their vices. These alternative realms are testing the long-held notions of what is criminal and whether law enforcement should patrol the digital frontier.

continue reading the full article at the Washington Post