Monthly Archives: May 2007

Footage of the inauguration

I see Johan over at Second Sweden was prescient enough to record the cutting of the ribbon today, and was kind enough to put it up on his blog via YouTube. Here’s what it looked like — acting by Olle W√§stberg and Carl Bildt, cinematography by yours truly:

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Launch day – and Second House of Sweden is live

What a day this was! This morning Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt came to the Swedish Institute in Stockholm and inaugurated the Second House of Sweden at a press conference that was broadcast live into Second Life.

We had a really good setup: Bildt and the rest of us each sat in front of our own laptop, each of us controlling our own avatars in Second Life. Behind us, a large screen either showed a closeup of us in real life or else what my avatar, Belmeloro DiPrima, was looking at in-world. Whatever was on the screen behind us was also being broadcast to the auditorium at the Second House of Sweden, where in-world journalists and other invited guests were able to watch the proceedings. The same feed also went to Second Sweden, where more people watched.

All this provided plenty of opportunities for wonderful feedback loops. The feed into Second Life has a delay of 12 seconds — that’s just the way it is with Quicktime Streaming Server — and if the camera was pointed at the screen showing my avatar looking at the screen in Second Life — every 12 second a new iteration of the screen would appear, slowly fading into infinity; real life, Second Life, real life, Second Life…

But enough geeky wonder:-) We also had two music acts (Natalie Moody and SL Art Ensemble), and one comedy act when Bildt maneuvered his avatar to the ribbon-cutting place. He’s quick-witted alright, Bildt: When a Norwegian journalist asked him a question he ended by promising to visit the Norwegian virtual embassy… in a few decades.

And then the embassy was opened to all-comers. The only hiccup was that the account-creating tool that we have on Sweden.se wasn’t working for Internet Explorer, though that got fixed a few hours later.

And tonight, we had our first protesters. Some Danes stood outside the embassy with placards denouncing Sweden for entering Second Life in an official capacity. What was interesting is that an entire crowd outside Second House of Sweden started arguing the question; and luckily for us, most found the Danes’ arguments unconvincing:-)

With hindsight, I think the press conference today was actually a bit daring — a technical high-wire act that could have gone wrong in so many ways. But since it didn’t, nobody needs to know about this:-) And after not having had much sleep last night, I am going to get an excellent night’s sleep tonight:-)

I’ll add some photos tomorrow — but you could always go look for yourself in the meantime. Search in-world for “Swedish Institute” or use this SLURL.

May 30 is launch day for the Second House of Sweden

Suddenly a lot of news:

  • The inauguration of the world’s first virtual embassy in Second Life is almost here. On May 30, at 9am Stockholm time, we’re going to be holding a press conference, or rather, three press conferences: A real-life press conference at the Swedish Institute in Stockholm, a simultaneous press conference in Second Life at the Second House of Sweden, and finally, a press conference set up by the Open Society Archives in Budapest. (Why the last one? Read on.)
  • Sweden’s foreign minister Carl Bildt will be attending the press conferences in Stockholm and Second Life (hence the relatively short notice for the launch date — Mr. Bildt is a road warrior, albeit for peace:-))
  • While this isn’t finalised yet, I’m hoping to be able to have live streaming video of the real-life press conference piped into Second Life, where it will be shown on the Second House of Sweden’s screen, and if it works out, at other Swedish SL locations as well. This would help solve the capacity problem we may have — Linden Lab servers can only really support about 50 avatars per sim/island at any one time before lag sets in, so the list of invitees to the inauguration is necessarily going to be way too short. (Yes, I still need to send out invites — I’m trying for later today.)
  • The reason for the simultaneous press conference in Budapest is that one of the main inaugural exhibits in the Second House of Sweden is a re-enactment involving the legacy of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat stationed in Budapest at the end of WWII who helped save thousands of Jews from Nazi concentration camps. OSA Archivum (The Open Society Archives) have made a number of archival sources available and has been intimately involved in the process of recreating Wallenberg’s last day of freedom as an interactive multimedia exhibit. The net effect is not only educational, but engages emotionally as well, and I think it pushes the envelope for what you can do with a technology platform like Second Life.

Kalmar University College to enter Second Life

Kalmar University College, in Southeastern Sweden, is planning on setting up a presence in Second Life. The project is a collaboration with the University of Central Missouri in the US, and Molde University College in Norway:

The three colleges will build virtual buildings and virtual classroom spaces on these islands. The partners will also develop a variety of activities that support different segments of their real life student populations as well as allow for cross communication between the student bodies.

The combined space wil consist of two sims (“islands”) called the Kamimo Islands. You can read more about the project here.

Update: Of course there is a blog, Kamimo Islands.