Wednesday, 22 October 2008


Last Wednesday and this evening we started teaching a group of music tech students Second Life. They all seem very enthusiastic! So far, they have created and designed the look of their own character, gone through induction on Orientation Island and have learned how to teleport. They are full of questions and pick up everything we show them very quickly. Some have expressed in interest in continuing learning about Second Life, if there is a possibility for them to be involved in streaming live sound and music into it.

300 Universities using Second Life as a Teaching Aid

This is an interesting article. Seems many educational establishments are finding considerable educational value in SL.

Friday, 17 October 2008

My First gig!

Late on Wednesday night I attended my first gig in Second Life at Jade’s Jazz Lounge. On first impressions, I thought the turn out was quite good as there was around 20-30 Avatars there. There were two things that were annoying though. The first was a constant haze of names buzzing around amongst a sea of ball gowns and tuxedoes which made it hard to see the singer! (Flying was against policy) The second was the live stream that was very intermittent until I turned the speaker icon off and on again which seemed to sort it out, This was fine until someone spoke to me and I was back to square one again. This could have been down to my broadband connection, so I’ll try it again on a collage system when I get the chance.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


We have introduced Second Life to some game Music students. At the moment it’s just a few but so far so good. The students instantly loved the way it works and the idea of exploration and meeting new people. They picked up the controls very quickly and soon got to work on their appearances, quite extravagant of course. When we asked the question “what do you think” one student replied “addictive” we thought this was quite positive.
The session went quite well and the students were keen to come back and have another go. The question is: will they take to it when it comes down to real work???

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

More building

Following encouragement by some members of senior management, we have decided to develop our college presence in SL a little more. Darren is, as I type, engaged in building a reception area. We are also currently debating the best way to lable areas of the building i.e what kind of fonts to use for doorways, room, etc and how to position them. I have been trying to build a reception desk.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Proposal for Continuation of Project

We have now written our proposal for the continuation of the Second Life project. Satwant (Director of Academic Planning and Cirriculum Technology),has asked us to submit our proposal in person at a meeting next Wednesday morning and break down for hewr what we have acheived so far. Hopefully, this we will meet with appproval and we will then back on track. Our avatars have their fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

New Project Proposal

We are currently writing a proposal for an extension to the project. This is following some very positive feeddback from both other teachers and senior management alike.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Money, money, money

We are starting to realise that certain aspects of Second Life are not quite as free and easy as we thought they were. In order to have our rented part of SL listed with an option to teleoport there directly, for example, we need to pay for the privelege... Well, they are a business.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Our home

This is our new home. Preston college have been kind enough to loan it to us for now until we can get more funding. We hope that in the near future it will be possible to gig and collaborate with others. fill free to pay a visit.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Stream update

We are still waiting to hook up to Preston College's server, in order to stream music form the college here at Hammersmith into SL. Won't be long now though, so we're told. Then we can rock.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

(Temporary?) End

The project has temporarily ended. We ae hoping, though, that it will continue in the future. In the spirit of the venture we have decided to keep on with the blog in the hope that we will secure more funding and that it can soon be resumed.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

We have land.

A few teething problems setting up a laptop as a temporary server. We now have land in Second Life, however! This means that, as of next Tuesday, we should be up and running streaming audio from here into SL via the servers at Preston College, from whom we are renting our land.

Darren has been refining his building skills: when creating an object, keep it square to the grib. This makes it much easier to bolt additional parts onto your object.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Streaming Server

We have started exploring the possibilities of streaming from the college directly into SL by using a server. Initially, we are trying to use a standard desktop machine as a server. So far, we have set up Shoutcast and Winamp for this purpose. We haven't tested it yet. Experiments to follow.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Arranging Meeting

We have decided to puchase land in SL via Preston College who, as previously mentioned in this blog, are already at an advanced stage in assimilating SL into several college areas. We are hoping to meet with Django tomorrow evening, one of the representatives from there with whom we met in May. This will enable us to both iron out details in our arrangement and to quiz him about other issues we are unclear about.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Avatar Registration

We have realised that several participants in our teacher training session encountered difficulties in registaring their avatar. Upon completing the process and requesting email authentication in order to gain validation and enter SL, some people found that the expected email was not forthcoming. This may be due to problems with the college's server being overloaded or SL having an issue with so many users attempting to create accounts at the same location simultaneously.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Music via local chat

This evening we experimented further with sound in SL. Sound quality was gerneraly good, but plagued with occassional glitches. It seems that these are worse where there are more 'prims' (objects). On a golf course, we experienced the least cutting out of sound. There also appeared to be a disturbance to the received sound when the receiver began to type.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Staff Party

We attempted to stream a live music improvisation into Second Life. This presented some unforseen technical difficulties, which we will soon be examnining in order to solve.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Graphics Cards

We now appreciate that the overriding factor in determining whether SL can be run on college machines or not is that of their graphics card. It seems that those with the in-built version are the culprits. This means that we either ask for all the machines in the college to be updated(!), ask for specific machines to be upgraded (one per department, for example) or simply make staff aware that this is something that will have to be assessed and dealt with by individual users.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Learning Centre and Staff Base Room

We have been considering the relevance and possibility of having SL installed on machines in the Learning Centre and Staff Base Room. This would allow for staff to share ideas in an informal setting away from training sessions and for staff who have not attended these to be introduced to it by those that have. The specification of these machines would, of course, have to be checked.

Monday, 7 July 2008


We have been examining computers in the music department in order to determine how effective they will be in running Second Life. It seems that several machines are completely incapable of the task! This will represent a serious issue for us, if the interest in SL increases as we hope and expect once we start showing it to students at the beginning of the new academic year. We suspect that this will also mean that some teachers who attended the session will be unable to recapitulate and add to their learning on their own machines, in their own particular departments.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

More feedback

More comments from staff who attended the session on the 30th: all very positive. Staff who have had little experience of interactive environments have said that they are now enthused by the idea and the possibilities it suggests for future work within the realm of their own work at the college. Some have suggested that they would like more tuition before embarking on in-world activities on their own and have asked if another session could be timetabled.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Introduction for Staff

We receieved an excellent response to the first introduction to Second Life for other staff members. The session concerntrated on explaining what SL is, how we navigate around it, how we can design and alter the look of our own character and what can be built there. Guests were invited to ask questins about our research and then to participate in setting up an account in SL before going "in-world" themselves. At this point guests underwent in-world training in order that they could adequately conbtrol and orientate their "avatar" (character.)

Everyone enjoyed the seeion. Sereral staff members commented that that could see the possibilities for the medium within their own teaching schemes and would be lloking further into realising this.

Monday, 30 June 2008


Both Gareth and I have just completed a test using a headset with a microphone attached.
Voice chat is a standard feature In-world which you can set by opening Edit/Preferences. Then select Voice chat/ Enable Voice chat.
We found this was very easy to communicate with each other but limited in the sense that you have to be within a certain distance of each other, just like in real life where the further you move away the quieter your voice becomes to others.
This feature would enable us to play music or do a performance without using applications like Shout Cast. This of course would be limited to a small venue.

The restraints that we found were loss of signal. After running some tests we rectified this with a different headset that seems to have solved the problem.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008


Here is my first object that I created 'Bling Ring'
I made it from two objects, a sphere and a cylinder, then linked them together

Friday, 16 May 2008

Buying Land

We have made contact with Dreddpirate Bob at Preston College and arranged to meet him (in real life!) in Paddington next Wednesday. Dreddpirate Bob is responsible for Preston College's Second Life presence and is prepared to dicuss the possibility of us renting some land from him.

Leaving Notes

We have worked out how to leave notes which will be able to be retrieved by those parties who have been given the correct permissions. This will enable us, for instance, to leave assignments for students and for them to return completed work.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008


We have learned how to:

build and modify objects.

how to set permissions enabling selected users to copy and alter those copies, and how to save objects to the inventory.

how to create entire buildings, save them and copy them any number of times to the adjacent or entirely different locations.

We also explored the inventory i.e. learned how to drive a car and access saved, self-made objects. There are build kits with which one can very easily create and modify a building.

Thursday, 8 May 2008


We have begun researching the price and cost of land.

Instant messaged Susan Wiiliams at Education UK within Second Life enquiring after cost of rent and availability of space.

Investigated new terminology such as "tier" (fee)

Conversed with other residents and enquired aboout cost of land.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Interaction and Location

We are now able to:

find one another using a simple search function,

communicate using the built-in instant message facility,

"make friends" (which means we can be in totally diffrent places on-line and maintain communication at all times.)

teleport to the location occupied by another visitor.

observe gestures made by friends.

send exact url coordinates to friends (very useful for directing students to assignments!)

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Second Life begins

Hello everybody,

welcome to our Second Life blog. We will be updating you on our progress as we go along.

So far we have designed our two characters ("avatars"). They are called:

Darren Goldlust and Gareth Apfelbaum.

Exciting times lay ahead!

Gareth and Darren