Google+ Adventures of a Southern Gentleman: Dr Dobbs Island

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Dr Dobbs Island

As I mentioned in my blog entry (A Place in the Sun), in real life I'm a computer programmer, so one of the first things I did after I entered Second Life was search for programming related stuff in Second Life, searching both in world and out (Google, I love ya) , and so I found Dr Dobbs Journal's Island.

Dr Dobbs Journal is a programming magazine that's been around since 1976, I think I first heard about it in the mid 80's and it's always been one of the best programming magazines out there, if not the best. In the past year or so they've done some articles about Second Life and have really embraced the potential of Second Life. They've done a couple of in-world conferences (and done them quite well) and on a weekly basis they do presentations and stuff related to computing and virtual worlds.

So, the first week or so I was in Second Life, I visited their island in SL because I had read they were holding a virtual conference about Second Life called Life 2.0 which like a real life computing conference, spanned an entire week with presentations and displays largely dealing with Second Life and virtual worlds. I signed up for it and while I was only able to attend a portion of it, this conference was a huge success, in my opinion, and was a proving ground for doing virtual conferences. They have since done a second Life 2.0 conference in the fall of last year and a third is planned for this spring (March 15-21, 2008) and I'm looking forward to attending as much of the event as I can. Go to the Life 2.0 website for more information.

But you don't have to wait until they have a conference to check them out, every week Information Week teams up with Dr Dobbs to do what they call Grid Talks which are one hour talks on business, technology and news in Second Life. These are on held on Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. PST (SLT) and on Fridays at Noon PST (SLT).

These are always worth going to, and when time permits I try to attend them, though my schedule rarely allows me to do so. :(

The slurl of the island is


Here is the landing point for the island, though I don't think they're forcing folks to teleport directly to this spot any more as I've been able to directly teleport other places recently. Here you'll find some virtual swag and other information.


They've got teleport signs placed in a couple strategic places, with links to teleport to the main locations on the island.

They also give you a good idea what's on the island at a glance.


The sign for the other island, relatively new, it's not got much on it yet.

Let's take a look at the amphitheater, where most of the action takes place.


This is the amphitheater where the presentations and talks are held. If you will notice the yellow line there in the center, that is the border between the two islands, meaning the amphitheater can accommodate around 100 avatars, 50 per island.


A view of the amphitheater from the rear looking toward the presentation area, usually the speakers sit on the small stage in front and their presentations are displayed upon the large screens behind them. It can still be a challenge to get slides to rezz quickly enough during presentations, but over all it works pretty well, and they've even shown video up there upon occasion.

Originally, they had the speakers hooked into an audio stream and everyone listened to that, but lately they've been using SL Voice to do the presentations, they've even managed to stream it out on the stream too, though with a bit of a delay (anyone know of a good way to get the SL voice into a stream, let me know).

They also have a chatbridge on the Life 2.0 website where those who can't attend in world can still participate by listening to the stream and reading/typing in chat (when it all works). You do have to be registered, though, to use it.


Here's a snap from one of the GridTalks, as you can see there are quite a few people there and this is pretty consistent from week to week.


Another snap of the same viewpoint, but with the UI showing, as you can see by the sea of names, it gets pretty crowded.


A snap of Desmond SHang and Ziggy Figaro. Ziggy (in a snazzy green coat, not sure about those shoes though) is the avatar of Mitch Wagner a writer for InformationWeek who blogs quite a bit about Second Life and is very much involved with the events on Dr Dobbs Island.

Oh, if you're interested, here's the RSS feed for the Second Life Blog at InformationWeek.

This particular grid talk was with the creator of the Caledon sims, Desmond Shang, and it was very interesting to get his viewpoint on the phenomenon which is Caledon, and it's future.


Another view of the crowd gathered for the GridTalk.....

By my count, there were at least 45 people there, maybe more.


Ok, here's a quick tour of the rest of the island.

An aerial view of the island, you can see the amphitheater in the lower center of the picture, to the upper right side of the picture is the convention center where there are some displays from past presentations on sculpties and other things. To the left is the Cathedral and mini-bazaar tents (don't ask my why they have a cathedral there).


The Sun and IBM vendor booths near the amphitheater(on the left in the snap).


The Cathedral and a mini-bazaar (the tents) where you can find some items to purchase.


The Godel, Escher Beach Club....

This is where they hold their mixers and entertainment during the conferences and special occasions.


Another view of the beach with perspective on where it's located on the island, the Cathedral on the right and the Convention Center on the left.


And last but not least, the Life 2.0 Club where I hauled my big green newbie self (another blog post, perhaps?) the first week I was in SL to find out about the Life 2.0 conference.

And no post about Dr Dobbs Island and the Life 2.0 conference would be complete without mention of the two folks that make it all work John Zhaoying and Rissa Maidstone, they have done an incredible job of organizing and making it all work.

If you're at all interested in Second Life and virtual worlds, I very strongly recommend joining the Life 2.0 group in-world and attending the events they hold here.

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