While most applications are meant for only the user, this should mark a change in the way they can be utilized. Tokyo based Genkii has created an app that lets iPhone users connect with others. Sparkle is claimed to be the first virtual world that links your phone to Second Life and OpenSim grids. Send teleport requests and IMs or chat with others. Sparkle is available for $4.99 now but plans include a 3D version to come with personal space, social networking, virtual games and goods, and more.
Read More | Genkii
Remember when we told you about the woman who murdered her ex-‘s avatar on Maple Story? This story is even more bizarre. Amy Taylor met her husband David Pollard in a chatroom and married him in both Second Life and the real world. They had been together 3 years when she discovered his avatar having sex with other ones. She had even gone so far as hiring a virtual detective. When David said he didn’t love her anymore after being caught, Amy filed for divorce the next day. This is proof positive that if you are going to mess around with Internet dating/activities, expect to pay the consequences in real time.
Read More | Reuters
The r/t world isn’t the only place with housing problems. Some residents of Second Life were so upset at Linden Lab’s recently announced hike in their purchase and maintenance fees that about 800 protested on the virtual site with signs outside their SL office, some going as far as setting their avatars on fire. CEO Mark Kingdon claims that it will only be directed to select landowners, and will not apply to those on the regular mainland or private islands. Considering that there are about 8,000 less subscribers this year than last, we can understand their reasoning. Then again, you can always take up residence in another OpenSim neighborhood.
Read More | Gigaom
There is gaming, and then there is extreme gaming. A woman in Japan has been arrested for killing off her ex- online husband’s avatar in Maple Story. Apparently, the 43 year-old hacked into the game using his ID and password, then did the dirty virtual deed. Although she hasn’t yet been formally charged, she could face up to a 5 year bout in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.00. We think a fitting punishment might be a forced stay on Second Life for about six months.
Read More | CBS
Several ministries in New Zealand have decided that praying online is cool. The Rev. Paul Stanaway claims that much of his work is done with younger members through texting and plans a website where followers can light a virtual candle or go in a private chatroom for counseling. Rev. Wally Behan streams sermons via his website and claims that he gets thousands of hits per week. Mark Brown of the Bible Society created a cathedral last year in Second Life. Rev. Bosco Peters also has a site with a reported 1000 hits per day and twice that on holidays. We expect that if God truly exists everywhere, she/he wouldn’t mind.
Read More | Stuff
Think that Second Life is a safe haven for your kids? Thirty three year-old Kimberly Jernigan from North Carolina met a man, aged 52, on the site, but he broke off the relationship when they got together in person. She apparently went to his Delaware apartment with a stun gun, handcuffs, and the always necessary duct tape. Although she fled when he got home, the man called the police. Now the woman faces charges including attempted kidnapping. Jernigan is being held on $65,000 bail.
Read More | MSNBC
Google has finally launched Lively to try to lure some of those Second Lifers away. The site utilizes avatars and 3D graphics like the other virtual game, and meeting rooms for characters. After the download, you can also display YouTube videos on virtual TVs and show photos in virtual frames. Engineering Manager Niniane Wang wants subscribers to create their rooms in their own interests.
“If you enter a Lively room embedded on your favorite blog or website, you can immediately get a sense of the room creator’s interests, just by looking at the furniture and environment they chose.”
Note that you have to have Windows Vista/XP with Internet Explorer or Firefox to subscribe. We can’t anticipate its success but we did notice that the demo on YouTube already has received over half a million hits.
Read More | Lively
If you think your Second Life avatar is kewl, think again. Edd Hifeng is not just a typical virtual world figure. He is actually an AI created by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He can converse and reason to a limited extent. While he can answer limited questions, he only understands English that has been translated into mathematical logic. Director Selmer Bringsjord says Edd could be a hint of things to come and hopes that it will lead to more sophisticated holograms that can interact with people in 3D settings such as subway stops.
Read More | ABC
NASA is considering creating a multiplayer online game which would simulate some of their missions. They are hoping that it might attract the next generation of astronauts and are seeking volunteer companies to invest in their idea by February 15. As they put it, “Virtual worlds with scientifically accurate simulations could permit learners to tinker with chemical reactions in living cells, practice operating and repairing expensive equipment, and experience microgravity.”
NASA already has an island on Second Life called Co-Lab that may someday invite avatars to come along on future space missions. Perhaps willing organizations’ avatars can meet their avatars for virtual lunch.
Read More | BBC
Zwinktopia has followed in the path of Armani in Second Life now that Shoebuy has decided to sell its products through the site. Paying with her/his ZCard, an avatar will receive an “exclusive” pair that will allow the “wearer” to perform a specific action for each brand. While this particular gimmick will probably wear off quickly in the typical Zwink user, the company is smart enough to make it a tie-in so that the two of you can click over to the Shoebuy site and select similar wearing apparel. That obviously means real $$ for the shoe conglomerate.
Read More | Zwinky Blog