3D Browser: SpaceTime is a Nice Change

One of the websites I check on a regular basis is MIT’s Technology Review. A recent article led me to try out a new 3D visual browser, SpaceTime.

At first glance, this browser looks like a nice improvement over what we’ve had to choose from up until now. I did a quick ebay search on “books” and I really like the way it brings up the images of books to select, rather than a list to scroll through.

This is new and different, and it’s amazingly intuitive. I often have multiple windows open and with SpaceTime I can quickly bounce around among them with no more effort than a peripheral glance. Nice.

Like so many things, you don’t always realize what you want until someone puts it in front of you. This method of searching is really more like a method of finding. Browsers keep getting upgraded, but essentially are not much different from what they were back in the 90’s, until now.

The download is free and it’s worth trying it out to see how it feels. There are some features that I’m accustomed to having which are not included in SpaceTime. In fact, the long lists of menu items are gone. Surprisingly, I like that. If you just want a quick, visual way to find something easily, this program is light on unnecessary features and heavy on findability.

And the customer service is great, too. I emailed a question to them and got a pleasant, helpful response back from Eddie Bakhash almost immediately. We could all take a customer service tip from these guys. : )

Rob Sawyer: Visit Recap

We had a wonderful visit from author Robert J. Sawyer last night at the Science Fiction Library in Second Life. His avatar, SF Writer, chatted with us for close to two hours about a number of interesting topics including his newest book, Rollback.

Rob is always a pleasure to listen to (or in this case, to read the chat log) as he is not only very knowledgeable, but also very amiable. He greeted every person who wandered into the discussion and he answered every question, despite being asked multiple questions at once in an environment where one has to be reading and typing quickly to keep up with the conversation. Rob talked about his books and the science behind them, which was indeed fascinating.

Rob will be going to China to receive an award and his publishing company, Robert J. Sawyer Books is receiving some recognition these days for publishing a new author, Nick DiChario, who’s first novel, A Small and Remarkable Life, has been nominated for the 2007 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best SF Novel. I hope to have Nick join us for an online book discussion and author visit in the near future.

I am looking forward to having Rob back again. There is some talk about hosting some science panels at the Portal and I know I want to get Rob back for those. Now I just need to figure out how to incorporate streaming voice.

Real Life Author to Visit Second Life!

Robert J. Sawyer will be visiting the Talis SciFi & Fantasy Portal, which is a library of science fiction and fantasy in Second Life. His newest book, Rollback, is the selection for this month’s book discussion, and we are delighted that the author will join us for this event with the help of his avatar, SF Writer. The event will take place at the outdoor auditorium on Info Island at 6:30 pm SLT (Pacific Time).

If you haven’t heard, Second Life is a virtual world that you join online. You create an avatar (online persona) and interact in real-time with other members of the virtual world. The world is created by its inhabitants. Info Island is a small part of this world, where librarians and educators are working to bring real life services to people all over the world.

 

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Info%20Island/233/125/35/?title=Visiting%20author%2C%20Robert%20J.%20Sawyer&msg=Talis%20SciFi%20%26%20Fantasy%20Portal

For more information on Rollback:

http://www.sfwriter.com/prrb.htm

Where on Earth have I been? : )

I’ve been off the blog for the entire month of May, haven’t I? I’ve been swamped with other things and have unfortunately been too busy to blog about it all.

I started May with a week of lectures on Dr. Dobb’s Island in Second Life. Dr. Dobbs is a tech journal put out by CMP Publishing. They put together a series of talks, lectures and classes that went on for a week. I learned about what’s coming up Second Life, learned some scripting and building, and toured some amazing places. I had some good, useful conversations with some of the people I met.

I also attended a talk in Second Life given by Pete Worden, Director of NASA’s Ames Research Center. It was fascinating to hear what NASA is planning to do to take advantage of the virtual environment.

I’ve been working on getting things set up for Robert J. Sawyer’s visit to SL as part of our monthly book discussion at the science fiction library on InfoIsland. We will be discussing his latest book, Rollback, and Rob has agreed to join us for the event. This has spawned interest from other science fiction authors, and I’m very excited to get them in-world to meet their readers in a new way and to promote their work.

I have also torn down the library I was building in Second Life, and now have a much clearer vision in mind of what I will do with that space.

It sounds like I’ve spent the entire month in Second Life, but really I haven’t. I’ve also been working on some business-related things which have kept me extremely busy. And I’ve had a major breakthrough in my CSS cross-browser compatibility issues, so I am once again working full-speed-ahead on the library’s site redesign. I created two networks on Ning: one for my extended family, which has turned out to be a ton of fun, and one for a group of like-minded technical people, where we are sharing resources and nudging each other toward interesting projects. I came up with a list of training workshops I’d like to conduct, and have sent them out.

Since it’s summertime, I’ve also been having some fun. I took a mini-vacation to Pennsylvania, and have been hiking and kayaking. : )