Friday, March 28, 2008



A one-day conference, London, 22 May 2008
* Attendance is FREE *

BBC Children's and the University of Westminster invite you to the first conference in the UK to draw together producers and researchers working on virtual worlds and immersive gaming environments for children aged 7-11 online.

Keynote speakers include Richard Deverell, Controller, BBC Children's and Dr Adrian Woolard, Head of Innovation, BBC Future Media and Technology.

Other speakers include representatives from Club Penguin, Moshi Monsters, and Lego Universe; Prof David Gauntlett (University of Westminster), Lizzie Jackson (University of Westminster), Dr Diane Carr (Centre for the Study of Children, Youth and Media), Marc Goodchild (Head of Interactive and On Demand, BBC Children's), Aleks Krotoski (Guardian Unlimited), Tamara Littleton ( and Paul Massey (K&L Gates).

In addition to the panels and presentations there will be demonstrations of technology to do with virtual worlds and 3D media.

The conference will be of interest to academics, producers, online community managers, game creators, teachers, and technologists. It aims to facilitate the exchange of ideas between producers and academics on virtual and immersive media for children and to stimulate the production of high quality, creative, social media content for children in the UK.

Thursday 22nd May, 10.00am - 5.30pm

The University of Westminster,
35 Marylebone Road,

To register go to

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

International Workshop on Intercultural Collaboration

The Second International Workshop on Intercultural Collaboration (IWIC 2009)

February 20-21, 2009
Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA USA

Program Co-Chairs
Pamela Hinds (Stanford University, USA)
Susan R. Fussell (Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
Toru Ishida (Kyoto University, Japan)

The main theme of this workshop is intercultural collaboration, from both technical and socio-cultural perspectives. Topics will include collaboration support (such as natural language processing, Web, and Internet technologies), social psychologicalscientific analyses of intercultural interaction, and case studies that increase mutual understanding in our multicultural world. Submissions will be considered for papers, panels, demonstrations, and posters.

The workshop will feature several prominent invited speakers (to be announced).

Papers are solicited on any aspect of intercultural communication and collaboration. Papers can describe studies of intercultural communication and collaboration or present new technologies to assess and support intercultural interaction.
Examples of suitable paper topics include:

- Field studies of intercultural collaboration in global organizations or in local communities

- Laboratory studies of intercultural collaboration

- Surveys studies of cultural differences in collaboration styles

- Case studies of intercultural collaboration using information technologies

- Cultural responses to cross-cultural interaction

- Computer supported intercultural collaboration

- Ubiquitous/ambient technologies for intercultural collaboration

- Internet and web technologies for intercultural collaboration

- Frameworks for manual or automatic measurement of properties of intercultural communication

- Multilingual communication technologies

- Interoperability of language resources

- Usability of language resources for intercultural collaboration

- New methods or measures for the study of intercultural collaboration

All papers are expected to be suitable for a multidisciplinary audience and focus on issues of intercultural collaboration. Long papers will be published in the ACM Digital Library. Full papers should be no longer than 10 pages. Papers should be formatted according to the ACM SIGCHI template and submitted in PDF format. Details on the submission procedure will be provided in the near future. Please see the SIGCHI author instruction page ( for more information and downloadable templates.

All full papers will be evaluated using a double-blind review process. Authors should omit their names and affiliations from the title area of the paper and conceal references to their own prior work by referring to it in the third person (e.g., authors should say "In an earlier study, Jones and Smith found" rather thaninstead of "In an earlier study, we found "). Papers that have not been appropriately anonymized will be returned without review.

Panels, Demonstrations and Posters
IWIC will also feature three categories of nonarchival submissions: Panels, demonstrations and posters. Submissions for these categories should be no longer than 3 pages in length using the ACM template (see above).

Unlike paper submissions, panels, demonstrations and posters will not be blind reviewed. Authors should include their complete names and contact information at the top of their submitted PDF file.

Panels: Individuals may submit proposals for panels of three or four talks on a related theme in intercultural communication. Panel submissions will not be archival, so panelists may discuss previously published work. Submissions should provide each panelist's background and contact
information, as well as a brief statement of his or her position on the panel theme.

Demonstrations: Individuals may submit proposals to present demonstrations of new technologies for intercultural communication. Demonstration proposals should clearly describe the motivation for the tool and how it will be demonstrated at the workshop. Demonstration descriptions will not be archival; therefore, demonstrations can include both previously
published work and work that is not yet ready for publication.

Posters: Individuals may submit proposals to present informal posters during the workshop. Poster descriptions will not be archival; therefore, posters can describe both previously published work and work that is not yet ready for publication.

Review Process:
Submitted papers, panels, and demonstrations will be reviewed by a panel of distinguished researchers in the area of intercultural communication and collaboration.

Important Dates:
Deadline for papers, panels, posters and demonstrations: June 30th, 2008
Author notification: September 30th, 2008
Deadline for camera ready papers: November 30th, 2008

Organizing Committee:
Susan Fussell, Carnegie Mellon University, General Co-Chair
Pamela Hinds, Stanford University, General Co-Chair
Toru Ishida, Kyoto University, General Co-Chair
Carolyn Rosé, Carnegie Mellon University, Treasurer
Chen Zhao, IBM Research China, Works-in-Progress Co-Chair
Qiping Zhang, Long Island University, Works-In-Progress Co-Chair
Vanessa Evers, University of Amsterdam, Panels Co-Chair
Mary Beth Watson-Manheim, University of Illinois at Chicago, Panels Co-Chair
Masahiro Tanaka, Kyoto University, Demonstrations Co-Chair
Ravi Vatrapu, University of Hawaii, Demonstrations Co-Chair
Rieko Inaba, NICT, Publicity Chair

For further information, please contact iwic2009[at]

Researching Learning in Virtual Environments - ReLIVE08

Researching Learning in Virtual Environments - ReLIVE08

The Open University is pleased to announce an international conference for Researching Learning in Virtual Environments to be held at its campus in Milton Keynes on the 20th and 21st of November 2008.

This conference will be of interest to anyone researching learning and teaching in virtual world environments such as Second Life.

The conference organisers are keen to construct a programme that features diverse and innovative research approaches to learning and teaching in virtual worlds. Given the emerging practice associated with virtual worlds, the conference committee are also keen to receive papers reporting on the experience of learning and teaching using virtual worlds that relate practice and outcomes to literature and research in this area. We anticipate that submissions will reflect a range of research methods and will examine issues such as rigour, methods of sampling, relationships between researchers and researched, and the ethics and politics of the research process.

The keynote speaker is Edward Castranova, Associate Professor in the Department of Telecommunications at Indiana University, Bloomington. Dr Castranova is an expert on the economies of large-scale online games and has published extensively on the topic, including his most recent book Exodus to the Virtual World.

Call for papers

The Committee will be pleased to accept abstracts and proposals via our online submission system, which will open shortly.

We invite abstracts for papers, workshops, symposiums and posters.

We also invite innovative proposals for inworld events to support the conference, hosted on the Open University Second Life island Open Life.

All submissions should be in English.

All submissions should clearly indicate which of the conference key themes they address.

Authors wishing to submit a paper for the conference should submit an abstract of no more than 500 words by May 12th 2008.

Abstracts should include the full title of the paper, full names and affiliations of all authors and a list of key words.

All papers will be published in a conference proceedings.

Authors will have a 45 minute session in which to present their paper. We recommend that 15 minutes of this session is allowed for questions.

Authors wishing to submit a workshop or symposium proposal for the conference should submit an abstract of no more than 350 words by May 12th 2008.

Proposals for workshops or symposiums should include the title and focus of the session, provide an outline of topics likely to be covered, and indicate the proposed format, audience, and any special requirements.

All workshop and symposium proposals should include the name of the authors or contributors and their affiliations, and state who will facilitate the workshop or chair the proposed panel.

Workshop and symposium sessions will last for one hour and fifteen minutes and priority will be given to those proposals that indicate the highest level of delegate participation.

Authors wishing to submit a poster proposal for the conference should submit an abstract of no more than 350 words by May 12th 2008.

Proposals for posters should indicate the title and focus of the poster, a description of the work carried out and any results, as well as the full names and affiliations of all authors.

In-world events
Authors wishing to submit a proposal for an inworld event to support the conference should submit an abstract of no more than 350 words by May 12th 2008.

Proposals for inworld events should indicate the title and focus of the event, whether the event is to be synchronous or asynchronous, the timing and duration of the event and the skill level expected of participants, as well as the full names and affiliations of all authors.

Please find more details at

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Marketing opportunities in the evolving music business

Last week the Financial Times reported that Apple had talked with Universal about bundling music with iPods. Other publications mentioned various figures which still other publications promptly dismissed. The news was also said to be at least six months old.

Music labels have been pressing for subscriptions and other digital music purchasing alternatives for years. Nokia already has a "Comes With Music" deal for its music-playing phones. It is not inconceivable that Apple, which dominates the digital music market, would follow suit in order to defend its position.

Bundled players can include preloaded music or access to online music services. Consumer access can be set for a limited time, after which they would have to pay a subscription or other fee to keep listening.

This could be good news for marketers.

Pepsi, for example, has backed high-profile promotions for iTunes and Amazon MP3. Marketers could also be in demand to underwrite the cost of iPod-bundled music, according to Paul Verna, senior analyst at eMarketer.

"iPods aren't cheap, and many consumers already have large digital music collections," Mr. Verna said. "Would they be willing to pay upwards of $100 per device, as the Financial Times article suggests? It seems like a steep price point given that hundreds of millions of consumers already own iPods and have already acquired substantial collections through downloading, sideloading, file-sharing, borrowing, etc."

For any hardware-based agreement between Apple and the labels to work, the negotiations would have to be far-reaching.

Apple sold $8.3 billion worth of iPods on unit sales of 51.6 million in its fiscal 2007, ended Sept. 30, 2007. This translates to average revenue of $161 per unit. The global music industry made approximately $2.9 billion in digital sales, according to the International Federation of Phonographic Industries.

Forrester Research estimated that in the third quarter of 2007, 42% of all MP3 players owned by US adult Internet users were Apple iPods.

Applying Forrester's estimate as a market-share calculation, Apple could reasonably argue that any hardware-based iPod royalty should yield 42% of global industry sales, $1.2 billion of the industry's $2.9 billion total for 2007. That would equal roughly 14.5% of Apple’s iPod revenues for its fiscal 2007, or about $23 per iPod unit (assuming average per-unit revenue of $161).

That figure corresponds to the $20 Apple is said to be offering labels, according to The Financial Times. However, if Nokia is paying up to $80 per unit, as the article suggests, that would indicate a huge gap between Apple's price point and the labels' presumed expectations.

"Ultimately, the viability of this type of proposal would depend on price and availability of catalogue," said Mr. Verna. "The publishing licenses would also have to be negotiated, not just the master track licenses. For real impact, they'd also have to get all the majors. Getting three-quarters of the labels onboard wouldn't cut it.

"It's also hard to imagine consumers paying hefty premiums for iPods if they're not loaded with the catalogues of the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and any number of other artists whose digital archives have been notoriously inaccessible."

[for the full article with graphs and stats click here]

Blogging for Dollars

Blogging for Dollars

The Internet is full of words written for no money at all, just for passion. Now, though, more and more online copy is being cranked out by a hybrid class: people happy to serve as ultra-low-cost freelancers.

Associated Press news video:

Video: Obama speech a YouTube sensation

Video: Obama speech a YouTube sensation

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's speech on race in Philadelphia this week is an Internet sensation, drawing nearly 2.5 million views on YouTube.

[Please note that this video will not play in all feedreaders. Visit the site to see it]