Conferencing and Market Research Services Get Second Life

secondlifeDepending on who you ask, Second Life is either an early pioneer in what promises to be a brave new virtual world of peer-to-peer interaction, rife with business opportunities, or a non-starter that got way too much hype way too early and won’t live up to any of it, no matter how long we wait. I believe my fellow WWD writer Aliza Sherman is very much on the former side of the fence. I’ll only say that Second Life’s rise hasn’t been as meteoric as Twitter’s, for instance, but that I still see potential for it to grow.

Yesterday, a couple of new tools were announced that made me stop and reconsider how much of that potential is actually being capitalized upon, how soon the virtual world’s appeal might broaden, and what that might mean for working on the web. The services in question are a Virtual Conference Centre and Real Time Research, joint venture projects by Second Life development vets Rivers Run Red and consulting group Futuresource. Read More about Conferencing and Market Research Services Get Second Life

Warning Sign: Metered Broadband Already a Hassle

We’ve talked before that metered access is a boneheaded idea that is bad for innovation, bad for Microsoft and Google, and ultimately bad for you. Until today, the idea seemed like an eventuality, not an immediate reality. But then NBC and TonicTV launched a new service that lets you download video from the Olympics and watch it offline. Right next to the installation instructions was this “important”note:

That’s the first warning I’ve seen about a particular service not being recommended for folks with metered broadband access. But the real bummer? That is just a taste of things to come — especially if you’re a fan of video services like Hulu.

We’re not even talking P2P throttling, just straight video consumption. In fact, P2P isn’t even a huge deal for networks anymore (but not because of that slap on the wrist the FCC gave Comcast). DSLReports writes that as of June “AT&T traffic was about 1/3 Web (non video/audio streams), 1/3 Web video/audio streams, and 1/5 P2P.” Those audio and video streams — that’s Hulu and YouTube. And as they provide more content at higher quality, those streams are only going to increase. [digg=]

If metered access becomes standard, there will come a day when you spend less time watching videos, and more time counting the number of videos you watched to avoid going over your cap.

You have been warned.

Virtual Goggles Track Real Carbon Emissions

Carbon offsets have been available for purchase for avatars of the user-created world Second Life for some time. And now, thanks to a cool educational heads-up display, you can literally see the carbon emission levels of all the virtual cars, planes, and appliances around you, too.

Carbon Goggles is a personal side project of Jim Pubrick, a programmer with Linden Lab, the company behind Second Life. He developed it last month while at a London mashup fest. His Goggles combine a virtual object tagging system and real-world carbon data gathered from AMEE, the open platform that measures global energy consumption.

But what’s the point of associating real-world emissions with virtual objects? Read More about Virtual Goggles Track Real Carbon Emissions

Vermont OKs the Creation of Virtual Corporations

Ah Vermont, that lovely New England state known for its maple syrup, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream…and now, limited liability corporations that only exist online. [digg=]

On June 6th, Gov. Jim Douglas signed an inauspicious-sounding bill entitled “H.0888, Miscellaneous Tax Documents” that could revolutionize the way startup companies are formed and run. As New York Law School professor David Johnson explained to me, up until now, U.S. law required LLCs to have physical headquarters, in-person board meetings and other regulations that have little relevance in the digital age. Read More about Vermont OKs the Creation of Virtual Corporations

We Have A Winner!

Congratulations to Nico Kaiser for correctly identifying the subtle change in the PGP security contest! See, it literally pays to read “stodgy” security articles. 🙂

Nico received a $20 iTunes gift certificate (since Apple no longer offers $15 e-mail iTunes gift certificates) for his eagle-eye (or ability to run diff or use Changes).

Tiny Pictures Raises $7.2M for Mobile Media

Tiny Pictures, a mobile media company whose product is called Radar, has raised $7.2 million in Series B funding led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson and including Mohr Davidow Ventures. The three-year-old company is focused on the consumer market, with a free service that enables users to share photos and videos from their phones to small groups of friends.

Tiny Pictures has 750,000 users around the world, with the U.S., UK, India, and South Africa being its biggest markets. The San Francisco-based company’s main effort is universal accessibility. Radar works as a WAP site and users can submit via multimedia messages. “We’re not building this as a product for 4G devices,” said Tiny Pictures founder and CEO John Poisson. “We’re building a product for legacy devices already in the market.”

Read More about Tiny Pictures Raises $7.2M for Mobile Media

T-Mobile cuts EDGE & WiFi Hotspot plan price


I had read several sources indicating that T-Mobile was revamping their data plans and in some cases, cutting prices. All in all that’s good news, but I was disappointed since we still haven’t heard any details of T-Mobile’s high-speed 3G network rollout. In any case, one tidbit of the new plans is worth sharing, 3G or not.

Ron P. wrote in to highlight that the T-Mobile Total Internet Add-On plan appears to be $19.99 a month. Presumably, the $20 plan includes unlimited EDGE access as well as WiFi access at the thousands of T-Mobile hotspots. If I’m not mistaken, this plan also includes 300 domestic text messages, but check me on that before adding it to your account. You’ll need a qualifying voice plan of course and at this price, it actually trumps AT&T’s data plan for the iPhone. For the same $20, you’re getting WiFi access with T-Mo and not just for iTunes purchases at Starbucks. Thanks Ron!

More VoIP Sales Coming?

The demand for VoIP related consumer gear is going to jump quite nicely in the first quarter, according to some reports from Taiwan. It doesn’t surprise me since most players are pushing fancy wifi VoIP phones and adapters to the consumers in the US.

Shipments of voice-over-IP (VoIP) customer-premises equipment (CPE) from Taiwan are expected to climb 25% sequentially in the first quarter of 2005, according to the Taiwan-based Market Intelligence Center (MIC).