[iDC] Anyone using SL

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Wed Jan 6 21:50:19 UTC 2010

Hi - I just want to point out that uploading textures and movements etc. 
is extremely easy in SL, as is creation - I could literally show you in 
five minutes! As far as 'our sense of ourselves' is concerned - you can 
either think of being in SL as an interactive (cinematic) diegetic - or 
spend a while there; like driving a car it takes a bit of time to feel 
comfortable. It's a lot easier than a MOO. What some of us are interested 
in, by the, _is_ the feeling of the real (however defined, that's a long 
story) in SL - if we want just straightforward fantasy, we can run to 
Avatar (instead of running an avatar (sorry)).

- Alan

On Wed, 6 Jan 2010, Cynthia Beth Rubin wrote:

> HI All

At the recent DAC conference (Digital Art and Culture), Sneha 
Veeragoudar Harrell and D. Fox Harrell gave a great paper on some of 
the issues surrounding SL. (Exploring the Potential of Computational 
Representations for Enabling Learning: Examining At-risk Youthsʼ 
Development of  Mathematical/Computational Agency)

Although they are specifically addressing the issues of "at risk" 
teenagers using Teen Second Life (TSL) the concerns that raised by 
Sneha and Fox pertain to all of us.  The teens in their study were 
uncomfortable taking on new identifies, especially when those 
identifies fit certain stereotypes.

SL is a strange paradox in that it tries to mimic the real world in 
many ways, but forces us to enter this world by giving up the one 
thing that gives us grounding: our sense of ourselves.  While no doubt 
many people welcome this, I am among those who find this bizarre and 
less than appealing.  We do not all want avatars - we want other means 
to break into new experience that SL almost offers, but not quite. 
What I want from SL, or any VR experience, is a lack of reality in the 
world itself, while keeping a sense of myself.  I want the opposite of 
SL.  And I want an easy interface to be able to creative rather than 
just experiential, which includes being able to easily import fanciful 
colors, textures and 3D forms built in whatever software works for my 
own creativity.

This is reminiscent of the history of so much software.  Developers 
begin with a narrow focus - remember the early digital imaging 
software when "PhotoMac" and "Photoshop" were supposedly only for 
manipulating photographs, with great color control but no layers, no 
easy interface for creativity.  All of that was left to "Pixel Paint" 
and "Studio/8" , which had layers from the start, as well as opacity 
changes (even in 8 bit) and all kinds of interesting tools to prompt 
creative play.  Eventually the behemoth Adobe bought up or drowned out 
every one else (but Painter), and the success of Adobe Photoshop is 
that it promotes creativity and invention while still providing the 
basic tools for those who just want to crop their photos.

I am guilty of not exploring the creativity within SL - and I do 
understand that there are workarounds, but it is my understanding is 
that constructing in SL is cumbersome.  I have other things to do 
while I wait for a desktop VR interface that will fit into my ongoing 
workflow.  And this includes one in which I can really share and 
communicate with others - in whatever form they choose to present 

Cynthia Beth Rubin

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