Second Life has benefited greatly from growing in popularity alongside video sharing services. Many people’s first glimpse of Second Life or a particular Second Life experience is through the lens of a YouTube video. When promoting real world brands in Second Life, videos of the Second Life experience that can be viewed by a wider audience on the web are often an important part of the campaign. Even for experienced residents like me, it’s often a video posted on New World Notes that inspires me to fire up the Second Life viewer to take a look at an amazing new build or experience.
The goal of the Carbon Goggles demo and tutorial videos was to make it clear what Carbon Goggles do and how to use them, but videos are also a great way to make the Carbon Goggles visualisations themselves available to a wider audience on the web. As well as being an ambient augmented reality application that allows Second Life residents to passively learn about real world carbon costs, Carbon Goggles can be used to quickly create images and videos that illustrate real world emissions.
If you annotate new objects with carbon emission data using Carbon Goggles, please consider recording some footage of the newly annotated objects and adding it to the Carbon Goggles vimeo group. I’ve added a vimeo badge to carbongoggles.org to show the newest videos. As well as allowing Carbon Goggles users to share the locations of annotated objects in Second Life, carbongoggles.org now shares visualisations of carbon emissions data to everyone on the web.
There were a number of great projects at Mashed that I wanted to blog about. Unfortunately, by the time I’d got round to setting up a blog I somewhat missed the boat. So, instead I’m going to revisit some of my favourite Mashed projects and see where they are 1 week on. Carbon Goggles has gone live and grown an annotation interface in the last week. Hopefully some of the other projects have also survived the journey home and gone on to greater things.
Team Bob was undoubtedly my favourite of the many BBC/subtitles/video/web mashups. A great visual gag rather than a useful service, I’m not sure this will go live, but there is now a video on line that serves to show this technically impressive and very amusing hack.
CurrentCost Live was the winner of the social responsibility prize at Mashed (somehow beating Carbon Goggles!) and was a great project. Starting with a CurrentCost meter Dale from IBM and team published electricity usage data online, comparing and analysing it to award XBox Live style achievements and trophies for saving energy. It doesn’t look like the project is live at the moment, which is a shame as I have a slug. It would be great to hook it all up and pwn people by turning my lights off while saving the planet.
The project that struck me as the most useful was Opening Times, a service that takes your postcode and tells you the opening times for all your local shops. I was really hoping it would go live as a service as I could see myself using it all the time. Turns out I shouldn’t have worried: not only is Opening Times live and kicking, it looks like it has been since April…
Mashed gives you a straight 24 hours to kick off a project and break the back of it with a team of great people, but it’s great when the development doesn’t stop when the beanbags leave the building. Hopefully some of the projects that started in a crazy whirlwind of hacking, mashing and rocking will continue to blossom over the coming weeks.
2 years ago at [Euro FOO 2006] (http://wiki.oreillynet.com/eurofoo06/index.cgi “Euro FOO 2006]) I met a mass of great people and enjoyed a torrent of wonderful conversations, but 2 of them in particular stuck with me. The first was with [Gavin Starks] (http://www.dgen.net/biog/ “d::gen network”) who commented that climate change would be much easier to deal with if we could see carbon dioxide. The second was with Claus Dahl who observed that [Second Life] (http://secondlife.com “Second Life”) is a great platform to prototype large scale [augmented reality] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_reality “Augmented Reality”) applications as every object in Second Life has an Id and you can give away free augmented reality glasses in the form of heads up displays (HUDs).
A year later I started to experiment with the latter idea with SLateIt, an augmented reality application that can be used to find, tag and rate virtual objects in Second Life. Although I think tagging, rating and recommendation systems have a bright future in navigating the vast quantities of people, places and stuff in Second Life, SLateIt mostly came about as a way to demo augmented virtual reality in Second Life without a large data set to associate with objects in SL.
Finally, last week, the awesome team of Max Williams, Ryan Alexander, Andrew Conway, [Simon Willison] (http://simonwillison.net), [Natalie Downe] (http://notes.natbat.net) and Chris Waigl helped me bring the two ideas together by mashing up SLateIt, SecondLife and Gavin Starks’ new [AMEE] (http://amee.cc) emissions data base to create [Carbon Goggles] (http://carbongoggles.org). Instead of mapping Second Life object Ids to tags and ratings, Carbon Goggles maps Second Life object Ids to AMEE URLs. The HUD queries carbongoggles.org for emissions data for nearby objects and, if found, overlays a sphere on the object with a volume corresponding to the monthly carbon emissions of the object. In 24 hours we managed to hack together a working system to demo at Mashed and 2 days later added an annotation interface that allows new objects to be annotated with emissions data.
Carbon Goggles has had some great coverage over the last week, but I really hope the story doesn’t end there. The goal is to annotate objects across Second Life to produce a collaborative user generated ambient augmented virtual reality scientific visualisation the size of Denmark. Together we can add an extra layer of information to Second Life allowing people to learn to make more informed decisions in real life while living their Second Life. If you’re part of a group in Second Life that would like to help annotate objects, host Carbon Goggles vendors in world, create videos or images of Carbon Goggles visualisations or would like to help in any other way, please join the Carbon Goggles group in Second Life and get in touch.
![Carbon Goggles] (http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3090/2601623427_e1a3d3076b.jpg)
Well, not exactly. Having blogged previously on Terra Nova, the original Creation Engine and currently on the Official Second Life Blog, I’m not exactly stumbling blinking in to the blinding light of the blogosphere. Recently a number of things have come up that I’ve wanted to write more than 140 words about, but that wouldn’t fit on the Official Second Life Blog any more, so I’ve finally stopped mooching off other people and set up my own blog.
One reason I hadn’t got around to it sooner is that I’ve been torn between platforms. Although it’s been tempting to throw up a WordPress blog every time I’ve had something to talk about, I really wanted to build a blog in Django that I could tinker and experiment with. Although it’s just a matter of plugging bits together, it still takes a few hours to get a basic Django blog up and running and longer to add all the bells and whistles. I finally managed to break the impasse last week when I came across this list of Django blog engines and after some routing around decided to go with byteflow which has all the bells and whistles but is made of standard Django bits and is eminently tinkerable.
So, that’s what you see here: a default byteflow blog running on Django trunk running in mod_python as a virtual host (alongside the slateit.org and carbongoggles.org Django apps) inside apache2 running on ubuntu dapper on a virtual machine hosted by bytemark. It took long enough to get round to, but once I’d found byteflow it only took an hour to set up. I’ll be kicking the wheels and tinkering over the coming weeks, but if you find anything broken, please let me know.