The Magic (and Brilliance) of Particles in Second Life

18 04 2010

On Saturday, April 17 our ImagiLearning group was treated to an amazing array or sights and sounds as Jopsy Pendragon demonstrated his artistic and scripting skills.  Jopsy is the developer of the particle  tool called The Porgan that allows residents in Second Life to quickly create an endless array of particles that are special visual effects for the virtual world.

The beauty of The Porgan is that you do not need to know Linden Scripting Language (LSL).  Rather, The Porgan produces formatted LSL script to a website where you can copy the code to then create variations on the script when working in-world.

Some of Jopsy’s work is captured on Flickr and in this short video.

My basic understanding of LSL scripting is definitely growing as I start to understand the nuances and power of the code.  It’s always fun to experiment as I continue my quest to transform the way I think and create opportunities for immersive learning experiences.  I’m sure I’ll have more to report about my experiences with The Porgan and using LSL for specific projects in the near future (such as creating customized teleporters to instantly transport an avatar from one Second Life location to another).


Collaborative Text File Editing in Real Time: notapipe

9 04 2010

Let’s imagine you are writing a script (code) in Linden Language to animate your Second Life avatar and want to brainstorm the syntax in real time with one of your colleagues.  Well, wait no longer as notapipe is now available.

This is a  web service that allows you to edit text files in a realtime collaborative environment, from everywhere.  A free account will allow up to three users per document and then you can always upgrade to a Basic account at $9.90 per account that will allow six maximum users per document.

The service has some neat features:
1. A unique website address where you can store your documents and other collaborators can access your content.
2. Importing a text file into the current document so you don’t have to start from scratch.
3. A separate window for real-time chat while you are editing.
4. Color code indicator for the work of each editor.
5. Ability to create and then immediately name and retrieve revisions (versions) of the document.
6. Ability to tag a version of a document then generate a unique public website address for that version where others can view its contents.

Give it a test run and I’ll be interested in your feedback.  Happy editing!

Versatile web service:

2 04 2010

Recently a friend alerted me to, an excellent web services that allows you to instantaneously (in two clicks) create a “drop” (site) for real-time file sharing and download to multiple devices, collaboration in real time, and presentations.

In my opinion, this is an improvement over Google Docs as each “drop” has an associated (and unique) email address, voicemail box and conference call number.  The site allows 100MB of space for free before you need to sign-up for a premium account.  A free account is a great way to share and collaborate without the expense of a commercial-grade web conferencing service.  The “freemium” business model is definitely working wonders!

To date, I’ve used a “drop” to upload a variety of files instead of sending them as email attachments to colleagues and friend.   I’ll investigate other uses for this service as time progresses so on with the experimentation.

Spotlight on Machinima in Virtual Worlds

24 03 2010

Veronica Butler-Borrer (aka Pooky Anderson in Second Life and @PookyMedia on Twitter) is the owner of the award- winning video company Pooky Media.  She recently wrote a guest post titled “The Business benefits of Second Life” on the It’s All Virtual blog .  Veronica’s company specializes in the production of virtual world video called machinima (a combination of the words machine and cinema) that can be defined as: animated film-making within in real-time virtual 3D environment.

Other instructional and reference sites for Machinima include:

Web 2.0 Technology Spotlight: MOBL21

24 02 2010

The era of democratization with web 2.0 applications continues to evolve and expand.  Last week I attended another great webinar that was sponsored by Emantras Inc., developers of the MOBL21 platform.  The platform allows anyone to create, manage and publish learning assets for global distribution to both desktops and mobile devices.

The company has trade marked the term “adaptive mobility” which means learning “accompaniment” (not the replication of formal content) that extends and reinforces the learning experience via multiple devices and environments.  The learner chooses what learning nuggets they need, when they need them and how they will use them within context to enhance their overall experience.  This is a a new spin on the just-in-time, just-enough and just-for-me analogy.

I signed up for a free (restricted) account and downloaded the MOBL21 desktop client plus Adobe Air.  Within about 10 minutes of experimenting, I had created a short study guide, a flash card,  and one quiz (containing a photo and feedback) and published the content to a group (containing just myself for a test).  Within minutes, I received an email that provided URLs for downloading the MOBL21 and Adobe Air desktop apps and the iPhone/iPod Touch app.  The email also provided a login name, password and content code to access the learning nuggets.  The application worked flawlessly on my desktop but I have not yet tried the iPhone app.

Learning nuggets are not limited to text.  Mobl21 allows the content developer to use audio, video and images to make the content fun, relevant and engaging

For the paid plans, single user accounts start at $49,99 per year and allow one content developer to publish to 50 users.  A total of 20 topics can be created and each topic can contain one study guide, 20 flash cards and 20 quiz questions.  Additional users can be added for $24.99 per year for 50.  The cost seems very reasonable, considering the simplicity and intuitiveness of all processes for the content creator.

Screenpresso: Professional screenshots for free!

7 01 2010

It’s always great to find another useful web 2.0 tool that you can downloaded and used for free.  I recently started experimenting with Screenpresso that is an excellent alternative to Snagit (list price US$49.95).

One of the great features is screenshot history where Screenpresso stores up to 100 images (saved in PNG, JPG, GIF or PNG formats) sorted by date.  Screenshots are given automatic file names and these can easily be renamed or deleted.  This is a huge advantage over saving images to your hard drive.  You can drag-and-drop screenshots from history to any application that will accept images-neat and simple. The built-in editor provides an array of features including adding text boxes, callouts, annotations and arrows.

The features that really caught my attention were the ability to send screenshots to an email client (such as Outlook or Gmail) or to Twitter (thanks to Twitpic integration).  In the era of social networking, this provides yet another way to easily share visuals with online contacts.

Bravo to Screenpresso and enjoy experimenting!

EtherPad for collaborative online note-taking: Advantages over Google Docs?

14 10 2009

Around a month ago I learned about another web 2.0 application called EtherPad that is currently the only web-based word processor that allows people to work together in real-time.

A no-cost “public pad” can be created instantly without any sign-up.  On the other hand, a “team site” (“group pad”) can be easily created with a few steps and the first three user accounts are free.

I created a “group pad” that had private access where I need to set-up an account for folks I wished to collaborate with.  However, anyone can set-up a public EtherPad, give people the URL and then ask them to comment/collaborate in real time, for example during a presentation or conference, etc.  The big advantage I see over Google Docs is the ability to very quickly create a public document then have people collaborating instantaneously without the need to create logins and invite others (although creating a group is very easy for group/private collaboration).

Additionally, EtherPad has a range of import/export options and you can immediately see all the saved revisions by everyone.  Once a person has written something then they can click “Save Now”.  Color coding and line numbering are also neat features-each person’s changes/additions are in a different color and it is then easy to refer back to certain people making comments at specific lines.

EtherPad does not accommodate presentations and spreadsheets (as does Google Docs).  However, I think the above-mentioned features give EtherPad the advantage over Google docs for word processing.