We’re doing a live event in Second Life this afternoon. Yes, we will all sit in rows of chairs, and listen passively to a lecture… no wait a minute, that’s what some people think happens in there.

Actually what is happening is that Henry Jenkins is making a first official in world appearance in visiting the Teen Grid, where the Global Kids Island is hosting an event, A World Fit for Children Festival – teams of kids have attended seminars (in Second Life) from UNICEF on world issues, and the kids are building exhibits with their ideas for solutions. Nope, there is nothing novel there, is their doubters? No one is creating?.

Anyhow, Jenkins will bed doing an audio address to the students on “We’re not playing around here!: The pedagogical potential of computer and video games”, interspersed with some times for… dancing. We at NMC are helping out by coordinating and providing the live audio stream. Since us old folks cannot get to the teen grid and be a part of it, but since it is a regular audio stream, we are also setting up a place on the NMC Campus in SL where we can have our own gathering to listen in and run our own back channel. As setup, we have available before the event in the Huntley Ballroom, a video of Jenkins’ presentation at the NMC 2005 Summer Conference, and audio interview with him we did in September 2006, and 2 screens with some random stills of Jenkins as well as some snapshots provided by the Global Kids of the UNICEF project (see event details).

As a warmup we will have a first hour of music being DJ-ed by one of the teens, then the main program starts, and after an hour, well, dance til you drop.

There is always a bit of a dice roll of SL events done live (and egads, its a Wednesday! fortunately this is not a day for a software update) and a lot of stuff behind the curtains, which is what I intended to write this about (see my previous overview of the audio tools, including a gliffy image)

So the pieces in this working include:

* a teleconference bridge for the audio portion (plain old telephone works more reliably than Skype). I even go more low tech in just using the speaker phone and my computer’s built in microphone (using headphones to wipe out the feedback). I experimented with the $30 Radioshack gizmo that patches in my phone line with an audio out I can put in the computer, but the noise on the phone line is worse than the noise from my microphone.

* I have music loaded in iTunes that we will stream out as well. These are songs that the teens selected (thankfully there are plenty of google-able song lyric sites to weed out inappropriate tunes). Actually the music provided by the teens has its own stream, but if you switch stream URLs within Second Life, it requires avatars to stop and start their music player to recognize the new stream. But I can just attach the stream in iTunes, and send it out using our stream. So I make a playlist for the event with the songs plus a live stream in the mix.

* I use NiceCast to stream the audio from my laptop to our streaming server at Limelight Networks. By using the filters, I have a mixer that allows me to crossfade from music back to my audio input, allowing my to DJ the audio smoothly. NiceCast also has a nifty archive option, so it records the entire streamed content as an audio file we can post later as a podcast.

* We use IM to message each other behind the scenes.

* Desktop stickies keep the URLs and such handy

The desktop gets crowded:


And on top of this, we need to monitor chat/IM layers in Second Life.

But nope, nothing really happens in Second Life….

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Um, hmmm….

    You write, linking to me: “we will all sit in rows of chairs, and listen passively to a lecture… no wait a minute, that’s what some people think happens in there…”

    How many times have I seen images like this?
    Oh, more times than I can count. I don’t just make up the stuff I say. I actually do research and report back on what I have seen.

    Oh, and what is it that is supposed to prove me wrong? “Actually what is happening is that Henry Jenkins is making a first official in world appearance in visiting the Teen Grid, where the Global Kids Island is hosting an event, A World Fit for Children Festival.”

    Which is to say – something that has never happened before, happening in a place where adults (like me) are prohibited – that shows that I was mistaken in my observations?

    Disagreement is fine, and of course I don’t expect everybody to agree with me on everything. But the evidence that I am wrong has to be rather better than this. I can come up with an endless stream of photos illustrating my point, while you respond with one inaccessible first-time-ever event.

    p.s. Skype works well enough for free, and these days you couldn’t convince me to give money to a telco.

    p.p.s. Inappropriate tunes? *sigh* Pretty clear that the users don’t own *this* space…

    p.p.p.s. Do you feel yourself sliding into the arms of the commercial web…? Is it your new job?

  2. Well, not to get in a leg-lifting pissing match Stephen, and honestly I have learned and gleaned more from your research and publishing then I likely give credit for. But I have no ego stake in being “right” in this case, but prefer to stoke the conversations, and get others to join in. That’s why I lob the links, not to prosecute.

    As far as images og people i chairs, the same goes for RL. When I visit universities and colleges, I like to walk the hallways and peek in the doors, and most of the time you can see the same thing. And 99% of our professional gatherings. Not unique at all to SL.

    And in SL, the image does not tell the story. It looks frozen, but what you do not see is the intense conversations in the back channel. I know- I was at this event.

    I was not trying to prove anything to you or stockpile evidence points. Which you missed in my one example. We cannot go to the teen grid, but we are using the technology to build a parallel, partly connected event. Not the best? You should have been there for the 12 days in October when we ran 34 events, some live, some asynchronous, 15 of them audio archived, many others chat transcripted

    But see I can agree to disagree, and still respect your work. I do not have to be “right” and honestly prefer being wrong as I learn more.

    p.s. Skype works great, duh. We use it for our regular work, our international live speakers, we had 5 at a time from Australia. But you get a conference call going, you get the boings and weird echos. We are not asking people to give any money to telcos as we provide a toll free conference call line.

    p.p.s. Mayeb someday you will have a 13 year odl daughter if you want someone playing music talking about “humping and sticking banana fruits towatd her taco”? We are not being censors but respecting the requests of an organization that works with and knows kids much better than you and I.

    p.p.p.s. I have no idea what you are suggesting at this swipe– and am rather taken back at a low blow.. Oh, yes, I spend all my time crafting ways to still your liberties, content, and freedom using my commercial wiles- I am sitting in the Porsche I got for doing ths. Sheeeeesh. Go outside and get some air.

  3. While I’m counting down the minutes to escape the confines of this office I posit that the only mistake you made Alan was to declare that you ( CogDog) were going to do a live event in Second Life.

    What amazes me ( continuousness ) is web 2.0 sliding quickly into virtual web 3.0. I had a conversation with a colleague last night about SL and we came to the conclusion that if SL could punch it’s way back into the rarified climes and blogs of the yesteryear then maybe SL would have a little more buy in.

    It threatens some and will alienate others. Afterall who wants to converse with a fat, frumpy, misguided avatar on the verge of a total digital collapse. I’m struggling still to find reasons why I need to be anything other than a tall blonde 22 year old in SL entertaining deviant professors and revealing the code behind the character just to shock them back into virtuosness.

    Dont be taken aback ie ppps. or perhaps you too can remember that time when chairs were designed to actually fit perfectly under tables whilst we sat in groups, smoked cones and told stories about nuthingness.

    Bananas are still better than meat.


  4. Thanks Alex (I think- you speak in a bit of code).

    Happy holidays. I think I will be working on becoming more blond or more 22 in one of my lives.

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