My name is Ale Fernandez. I live in Barcelona, Spain and I'm Chilean and Italian.
I am a web developer, artist and technical researcher.
I've lived in Scotland, Italy, Spain and England and career-wise I am interested in distributed systems and their applications to improvised performance and ecology.



Art Fossett on SL

Yesterday I attended a very fun and immersive Second Life talk by Art Fossett, the in-game avatar, accompanied by his on-earth alter ego, Andy Powell of Eduserv. It was fun mostly because he'd organised it to take place on Eduserv island, in the conference room, and invited friends and colleagues to attend online. They kept chuckling like a misbehaving class, turning into dinosaurs, cartwheeling around, and calling him Chubster behind his back (on the projection screen, but he could spy them from his laptop so he caught them out). All very innocent fun though and it complemented his talk quite well.

The presentation was organised as a series of t-shirts, which took a while to res the next topic name on the avatar's chest. Interesting for the links it turned up, although they kept mentioning something called slideshare, (which I guess I should google!) where the slides will probably turn up soon enough.

There are a lot of mailing lists following Second Life activity in higher education, SLED being the main US one, from far fetched to down to earth discussion, and very US centric. More UK wise though was the
Facebook UK educators group, among a large amount of facebook groups popping up on this topic all the time.

Most importantly for me was the getting started stuff, although I've been a member for more than a year, I've only had about 3 memorable experiences there - going to the anarchist area and chatting with someone there about their online black block actions - invading virtual reuters etc. All a bit useless to me. Or the first time I went in, when I befriended someone who showed me how to build, resulting in lots of squares and circles left lying around like I hadn't housetrained my pet mini-me. And the other time was in a starting place like Orientation Island where I met an imperial stormtrooper, who tried to get me to join his multiplayer sub game thing with the bribe of a free jetpack suit and stormtrooper armour. Oh and once I found a sweet, closed up cottage on a hilltop playing irish music if you got really close to the windows...

Andy/Art explained that the best way to start is actually by arranging to meet a real life known person online and have them take you around. I will try this... He also said to try out the Berkman Sandbox Area or the Glidden Sandbox area for some impressive in world artwork.

He mentioned a growing trend of producing Machinima with SL, and the
Theatron project - I think a reproduction of ancient roman or greek theatres with costumes avatars and staged re-enactments of old plays. There's also the globe theatre somewhere I think. And to top it all a colleague lent me the book Second Lives, which is really brilliant - about people with disabilities and their use of it, or what's happening with gangs and real street violence in Korea...

So armed with all this new knowledge & inspired by the book, I went home to try it all out, and was dismally disappointed when my linux client managed to get in far enough to tell me I needed a new version of the client, then crashed so bad even X wouldn't start, and my windows client, after a few seconds, did the same thing and although the task manager worked, it was unable to remove the client's instance, or get anything else to work, and after a while I actually had to very drastically pull the plug out of the machine. So in conclusion, virtually pleased, in other ways, not.

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