Wednesday, June 13, 2007

We invite you to our Awards Ceremony on 1st July, 2007

Tom Paine writes [this is also at Blogpower]:

Where in the world, we asked ourselves, could we hold the awards ceremony for the Blogpower Awards 2007?

Our nominees are from all over the world. There is simply no convenient place for them all to meet. So I suggested to James Higham, founder of both the awards and of Blogpower itself, that we hold the ceremony in another world entirely; in Second Life.

For those of you who don't know it, Second Life or "SL" is a virtual world hosted on the servers of Linden Labs in California. Linden Labs provide the landscape. All the buildings and objects to be found there were built by SL "residents." Anyone can get an account, download the free software and wander about for free.

You only have to pay if you want to own "land". For this purpose that's entirely unnecessary as you will be my guests. I invite you to join me for the ceremony in my "sky box", 500 metres above my SL "home", "Last Ditch House".

The award ceremony will be on Sunday 1st July and will begin at 0900 New York time (1400 in Britain, 1500 Central Europe Time, 1700 in Moscow and 2200 in Australia). Please put it in your diary and come along. The drinks are free and you will be most welcome. Please tell all your friends.

If you don't have a Second Life account, please download the software, register and set one up entirely free of charge. You must select a surname from SL's standard list, but you can choose a meaningful first name. My SL name is "LastDitch Writer" and that's my "avatar" you can see in the pictures (click to enlarge). If you can also choose a first name that corresponds to yours, or to that of your blog, it would make things easier in a crowded room at the ceremony.

Between now and the ceremony there is plenty of time for you to set up your account, change the appearance of your avatar to suit your taste and work out how to get around. Don't worry though. On the day, you won't need to navigate to find us. There will be links like this one here and other Blogpower blogs which will launch the software and connect you directly to the venue. You will materialise on the welcome mat you can see in the picture, so step quickly away before the next guest arrives!

Send me a message in SL when you have set up your account. You are more than welcome to visit the venue in the meantime and take a look around. The right hand teleport on the balcony leads to my home on the ground. The left one takes you to my office in another sky box nearby. Make yourself at home, but watch out for the security robots!

The drinks robot will provide whatever you like so ask away. It's free but also virtual and (sadly) tasteless. I look forward to meeting you - at least virtually - at the awards.


  1. What a cool idea!

    I will be otherwise occupied on the first of July as I have to work at 8:00 a.m. that day. I wish I could do this.

  2. Great Idea...but I sadly will still be away in Corsica ... so hope you have fun playing !!

  3. Jocko Cioc will be there if he can figure out how to get around Second Life. Very confusing.

  4. Tom, that's really cool! The Internet never ceases to amaze me with its continuing march forward.

  5. Woa, that is really spooky! I understood very little of that, but I'll investigate. (Using my unquestioned technical skills.)

  6. Ruthie, Colin, we specifically timed this with you in mind as the "time extremes" of Blogpower. It would be great to see you both there if at all possible. Even if you are working that day, Ruthie, can't you get access to a computer on a coffee break to drop in? Colin, you don't need to figure out anything. Just click on the SLURL (Second Life URL) link that's featured in this post, on my website and at the Blogpower Express. It will open SL and take you directly to the venue when you click "connect". Very neat.

    Likewise, Sally, if your hotel in Corsica has broadband, why not? You can be anywhere when you are there (that's the point!).

    Liz, Matt, you'll be amazed how banal it seems when you get used to it - having your avatar stroll, fly and teleport around while chatting to people from all over the world. I have even been practising my French with my ex-neighbour - and my Russian too (less successfully - reading their Cyrillic slows me down until they get bored waiting).

    Even if you can't be there on the day, stop by and have a look at the venue. Ludicrously, I have put quite a lot of work into it. Leave me a message while you are there. My SL name is LastDitch Writer and you can Instant Message me from anywhere in SL. If online, I will respond. If not, the system automatically forwards your message to me by email.

    SL is about to go from text chat to voice chat - so you talk quite naturally to each other using your computer's microphone and speakers (earphones, actually to avoid feedback). I have tried the beta version and was chatting happily to someone in Australia as if she was right there. No delay; the volume varies with proximity (like in First Life). It was really quite amazing to an old geezer who used to be adept at allowing for the time delay while doing business via transatlantic phone calls! I guess voice won't be in place in time for the awards ceremony, but it's going to transform SL. If 7 million people use it with its funny text chatting (the avatars type in the air when their owner is typing you a message), imagine how many will use it to talk naturally to friends all over the world.

    I know this is all very Web 2.00; but social networking on the internet is what bloggers are about, isn't it? I hope as many of you come as possible. Having talked him into this weirdness, I shall be very embarrassed if James and I end up there alone!

  7. Free drinks? - I'll be there! Besides, I want to see "Last Ditch House"! It's a brilliant idea and I can see I'll have to get the computer shop guys over again to help me get to grips with the technology. Thank you, Tom.

  8. What worries me is this. I have avoided going into Second Life up till now, because I have worried that I might end up preferring it to First Life and become addicted. This could open up a whole Pandora's box...
    Having said that, I'm sure I'll be there. Is it OK to bring other bloggers?

  9. It would be very nice if we could support Tom's initiative and I think Blogpowerers really should en masse.

    Of course no time is convenient but sometimes we really should do something.

    So come on, people, you all supported the Awards - now it's our ceremony.

    As for non-BPers, I'll personally invite as many as possible.

  10. People, it's never the right time for anything. I appreciate that we'll be at far flung corners of the pub ... er ... globe at the time but please, please support Tom in this.

    I've just been following his trail and he's already put a lot of work into making this thing work.

    I'll personally e-mail an invitation to those outside of BP whom I have the addresses of. Matt - you're a particular case in point.

  11. Many thanks. What an imaginative idea.

    I'll certainly endeavour to get to the party, but I'm having a few problems with the Second Life software, possibly because I run Linux.

    I've downloaded the SL software and have got it running OK in its own stand-alone window, but neither Firefox nor Flock seem to understand how to open the link to Tom's Second Life residence. Presumably there's a way of getting to Chez Paine from the stand-alone window -- can anyone suggest how it's done (I'll do my best to figure it out on my own, but I'm a bit short of time).

  12. TP: I've poked around SL now and I think I (sort of) get how it works, but I'm still not sure I'll be able to make it on the 1st of July until at least 10:00 a.m. Central Time, 2 hours after it will have started...

    What a lovely virtual house you have, incidentally.

  13. No mention of me in the extreme :(

    I will try to be there anyway ^^


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