Monthly Archives: August 2007

Estonia to ope virtual embassy in Second Life

Looks like Estonia will soon be joining Sweden in getting a virtual embassy on its own dedicated sim.

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NationalMuseum’s Gallery Talk redux

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Nationalmuseum had their first gallery talk at the Second House of Sweden today, and quite a few people showed up — I haven’t seen the statistics yet, but it looks just from counting that we nearly had a full house as “Uggla Fredriksson”, aka Helén Hallgren Archer, Nationalmuseum’s curator for art education, gave her presentation on four different works of art hanging i the lobby.

The talk itself took around half an hour, which felt like the perfect length, and the voice technology that Helén used to speak worked well. There were a couple of issues with sound levels, but this was mainly people figuring out how to use the new controls: Remember that you can choose to hear the loudest voices from where you are standing, or else from where you are looking at. I haven’t decided myself which is more natural. Additionally, you can set the loudness of individual voices.

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The feedback we’ve gotten was very positive, so I think this means we’ll be doing more of these soon. If you want to find out about future events at the Second House of Sweden, subscribe to this blog or join the “Second House of Sweden” group in Second Life.

Polarbear Podcast comes to Second Life

Andy Nyman’s Polarbear Podcast, a weekly radio show about all things Swedish in English, is now being piped into the Swedish Orientation sim. Press play on the music player while walking around there, going for a swim or while sitting in the Sauna to listen to the latest edition.

Andy’s show joins Radio Sweden’s daily English language podcast, which is broadcast daily from the Second House of Sweden on the main sim.

The only tricky bit — moving from one sim to the other interrupts what you’re listening to. That, alas, is the limit of Second Life technology today:-) Best to stay put in the sauna then.

We’re getting staffing help

Since the launch, we’ve been manning the Second House of Sweden for a few hours every weekday, using our own existing internal resources. But we’re short on manpower at the Swedish Institute (in real life), and an embassy needs to be manned for longer than that — even a virtual one, as people can visit at all hours.

Starting September 1, we’ll be raising the number of hours you can find somebody staffing the sim to a minimum of six hours per day, seven days a week. If you want to learn something about Sweden, its virtual embassy in Second Life, or even just Second Life, come and pay us a visit; chances are good you’ll find someone to talk to.

To help us in this endeavour we’ve hired Praetores Laboratory AB to recruit bright and knowledgeable Second Life residents. You might have heard of Praetores Laboratory before: They’re the very talented people behind the “Second Sweden” sims.

We’ve had many people responding to the “We’re Hiring” sign at the reception desk. Praetores Laboratory will now be interviewing people, with a view to hiring suitable candidates.

Test broadcast

This is what we’re playing with right now:

test broadcastClick to enlarge

Nevermind the mugshot quality of the mug on that image:-) On the left, the computer is encoding the built-in iSight camera’s video stream in real time using Wirecast, and sending it on to a server hosted by Qbrick, where it is broadcast to the internet, including to the screen at the Second House of Sweden’s auditorium, seen on the right.

All that’s different between the two video screens is 12 seconds of lag, because the QuickTime technology likes to buffer. Second Life, then, is just 12 seconds behind real life:-)

The upshot? We’ll be able to do live broadcasts of Swedish jazz concerts, DJ sessions and debates straight to Second Life, as well as to the web (which is the usual way to broadcast). Why is the Second Life stream much more fun and groundbreaking? Because it can be viewed socially; comments can be made among the audience, questions can be sent to the real-life event, or — just as likely — spontaneous dancing can erupt.

There are plenty more other things we’ll likely be able to do with this cool setup, but first, we need to test a bit more. Watch this space.

Nationalmuseum to do a gallery talk on Aug 22

What: Gallery Talk by Nationalmuseum at Second House of Sweden
When: Wednesday, August 22, 15:30 Stockholm time (06:30 Second Life time)
Where: Second House of Sweden, Swedish Institute, Second Life
Who: Helén Hallgren Archer, Nationalmuseum’s curator for art education
How: Using Second Life’s new voice technology

Helén writes:

I will give a gallery talk about four of the artworks from Nationalmuseum that are on display at the Second House of Sweden. These four motifs were made at the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century. We can see how nature inspired these Swedish artists in different ways. Nature reflects the inner moods of these artists, while at the same time the artists express Swedish tradition and culture through these motifs.

The four art pieces are by these artists: Ernst Josephson (1851-1906), “The Water Sprite”, painted 1882; Anders Zorn (1860-1920), “Midsummer Dance”, painted 1897; Prince Eugen (1856-1949), “The Cloud”, painted 1896; Märta Måås Fjetterström (1873-1941), “Unicorn in the forest”, textile from 1920.

See you there! It’ll be interesting to see how the new voice technology can be used in this setting.