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Sun Holds News Conference In Second Life 134

Posted by kdawson
from the avatars-of-the-press dept.
mikesd81 writes, "Internet News is reporting that Sun held an in-world news conference in the online game Second Life. From the article: 'Tuesday, Sun became the first Fortune 500 company to hold an "in-world" press conference to show off its new pavilion in Second Life, the popular 3D online world. Sun said it plans to invest in the Sun Pavilion as a place for developers to try out code, share ideas, and receive training.' Sun hopes to reach millions of Java developers, as opposed to the 22,000 that show up at its JavaOne conference each year." Good luck with that goal of "millions" — the total population of SL is under 800,000. And, who knew that Sun has a Chief Gaming Officer? Good quote from him in the article. He said Second Life isn't a game, "It's an amazing platform for global communications."
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Sun Holds News Conference In Second Life

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  • Too bad... (Score:5, Informative)

    by revlayle (964221) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @04:11PM (#16413053) Homepage
    ... Linden Labs has no intention (at this moment) of using Java for their scripting language. Mono is the next step, from the developer logs.
    • SecondLife mono log [secondlife.com]. Looks like mono has been the "next step" for almost a year.

      • by moro_666 (414422)
        Well to me it looks really odd.

        #1 Isn't he supposed to hype about T1 cpus and ultrasparcs (these don't run this app)
        #2 Isn't he supposed to promote another programming platform (java) ?
        #3 Isn't he supposed to sweettalk about solaris which doesnt "do the app" ?
        #4 Is he trying to get clients that have to give up the environment where they are convinced ?
        #5 Is this posted on a website where neither windows nor macosx are very popular amongst users ?

        This looks li
    • Arrgghhh!!!! Java is NOT a scripting language!
      • by revlayle (964221)
        Geez.... Splitting hairs much? I meant for "scripting in the game". Mono is not a scripting platform either, didn't bitch about that did you? LET ME REPHRASE: Linden Labs in not planning on using Java as their user-generated-byte-code-for-a-specific-JIT language. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?
  • Do I need to pay for access to Second Life to communicate globally? I prefer to communicate globally in my First Life, so to speak... it's amazing! ;)
    • by truthsearch (249536) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @04:19PM (#16413161) Homepage Journal
      It's cheaper to get a free Second Life account than to travel to the live conference. I'd rather be in the oderless Second Life than a room full of developers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gunnk (463227)
      No, a basic account is free.
    • by Solder Fumes (797270) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @04:38PM (#16413397)
      The base account is free, and that includes a weekly stipend of $L (inworld money) and the ability to go to a sandbox and build/script anything your heart desires. You are also able to go anywhere in the world that paid residents can go. The only advantage of a paid resident is a larger stipend, and the ability to own a permanent land location.

      However there are some not-so-hidden cost barriers to entry. You need a good cable or DSL connection, and the SL client is able to bring even the most modern gaming machine to its knees at high settings and certain locations. If your setup is already able to play Counterstrike:Source nicely, then Second Life should work OK.
      • by goldarg (227346) <[john] [at] [meatkite.com]> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:00PM (#16413723) Homepage
        There are three levels of payment information visible to everyone via your profile:
        No payment information on file
        Payment Info on file but not used
        Payment Info used

        Locations can be restricted based on your payment information to keep out people who have not provided billing information.

        New free accounts no longer get a weekly stipend of Linden Dollars.
      • SL Hyperinflation (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kadin2048 (468275)
        How do they keep the economy from hyperinflating?

        If they're giving everyone a constant supply of money in their weekly stipend, isn't that just like a country's central bank printing money? How does the price of goods not spiral out of control?

        Is it just because they're constantly pulling money out of the economy through land rent, that they can do it?
        • Re:SL Hyperinflation (Score:5, Informative)

          by Erbo (384) <obreerbo@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @06:25PM (#16415047) Homepage Journal
          Well, they don't give stipends to everyone anymore...just premium accounts. And they've reduced the size of the premium stipends, too.

          There are other "sinks" in the economy as well. Uploading a texture or sound file costs L$10 and that money basically "disappears." Ditto with the fee for creating new user groups (L$100).

          Linden Labs has actually found that, to help stabilize the exchange rate, they have to sell L$ on their currency market themselves. The exchange rate, after peaking at around L$330/US$1, now seems to have stabilized at L$275-280/US$1 for the present.

          • by cgenman (325138)
            Linden Labs has actually found that, to help stabilize the exchange rate, they have to sell L$ on their currency market themselves.

            I'm sure that was purely accidental.

    • by teslar (706653)
      I prefer to communicate globally in my First Life, so to speak... it's amazing! ;)

      Yeah, agreed, I'm a big fan of First Life myself... the graphics are mindblowing, the resolution retinal and the only lag is a deliberate feature to simulate 'drunkeness'.... wish they'd implement a quicksave and quickload though...
      • by kalirion (728907)
        wish they'd implement a quicksave and quickload though...

        Well, those features are lacking in all MMORPGs, aren't they? It's the need for farming/grinding that really puts me off First Life.

        Almost as serious is all the rampant PKing. We really need PvP combat to be optional, so that players cannot become involved without opting in.

        Finally, while there is a lot of speculation on what happens to the character after death (respawning on another server? respawning as another character? /dev/null?) there is no
        • You forgot: First Life fans are total Nazis about RP. Either you stay in character, or they lock you up.
      • by kinglink (195330)
        What do you think Deja Vu is. It's when you load a state previous to the time that you learned about quick saves.

        Unfortunatly it's only way you can load a state, every person who loads a save state immediatly forgets how to :)
    • by Lordfly (590616)
      No, SL is free. You don't even need a credit card anymore. You only pay if you want to buy the virtual currency or buy virtual land. Otherwise, rock out. :)
  • It is *very* important for companies to learn to market to people using the Internet. Where I work they are comtemplating myspace accounts, already have iTunes U going, use Blogger, and are looking for even more ways to capture those that are "jacked in".

    Second Life users scare the shit out of me but so do Myspace, Okrut, and Friendster users. Hell, I won't even go on IRC anymore ;) It's just nice to see that companies are finally realizing that the market is huge out there and to embrace it as best they
    • by plover (150551) *
      Nothing wrong with using Second Life to host a virtual trade show booth, though. It costs the attendees absolutely nothing. I just created a free account and downloaded the client earlier this week, and last night spent a few minutes learning how to navigate. It wasn't hard, and I'm sure I could now find my way to the Sun conference if I had to.

      Just don't look for me to be a continually on-line participant. At this point I consider it only as a tool to reach someone else's services, more like a specia


    • And yet you hang out and post on /.

    • Second Lif is very different to the social networking sites you mentioned. They have no purpose OTHER than social networking. Second Life is more like a 3D design client and scripting engine, spliced with IRC. Many people use the former and stay for the latter.
  • by Stickerboy (61554) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @04:13PM (#16413071) Homepage
    Any channel spammer from the Starcraft/Diablo II days could have told you about the potential to reach millions of customers...
  • by mpapet (761907) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @04:15PM (#16413105) Homepage
    and it wants it's bubble back.

    Seriously though, I think this is another sign that Sun isn't focused. Yes they have product and technology, but I don't see them turning it into sales. Company hasn't kept up with market changes in this way.

    Warm and fuzzy this may be, but show me the money!
  • Cost a factor? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by KalgarThrax (984520) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @04:16PM (#16413133)
    I would go to the Java One conference if it wasn't for the cost. So from that point of view this is great. Still, you would need some pretty craetive presentations that are SL aware to make this work. Wouldn't work if you just had a bunch of avatars standing next to each other talking about code. I can picture some custom objects that work as powerpoint screens/laser pens. Uuuu time to use all those neat 3ds plugins for SL now!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by truthsearch (249536)
      Well SL is working at getting a browser built in so objects can have a web page as the surface of an object. They can probably perform presentations through that browser if it ever goes live. But more likely, if this is a success they'll work directly with Linden Labs to get whatever features they can think of to give a nice presentation. Linden Labs is very interested in getting corporate partners to use the virtual world more. If it takes off it'll be very profitable.
    • A PowerPoint-style screen isn't too hard to do. You would upload your slides as textures and display them on a "screen" object (a flat rectangular prim) with a script to allow the presenter to advance to the next slide by clicking on the screen. The "screen" object would contain the control script, the slides, and possibly a notecard containing the names of the slides in order. I've done something very similar to this as a photo display tool, and a friend of mine took my script and modified it for just t
  • Yeah sure (Score:5, Funny)

    by sdaemon (25357) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @04:17PM (#16413149)
    And WoW isn't a game either, it's a platform for global gold farming and life draining.
    • by DavidV (167283)
      'And WoW isn't a game either, it's a platform for global gold farming and life draining.'

      The number of WoW players that take it too far and let their real lives slide, if it's not a game it's the machines tricking the populace into hooking up permanently to power the matrix. For some it's WoW, for others it's /.
  • C-level titles are overdone. Especially "CIO" (I="Information") and "CTO" (T="Technology") and CSO (S="Security"). All of these functions are secondary to real business purposes; they wouldn't have a job if they weren't assisting someone else.

    Think of it another way: When's the last time you saw your "CJO" (J="Janitorial")?
  • Sun Microsystems does VR Press release (Metaverse Messenger) [metaversemessenger.com] (WARNING, PDF Newspaper!)

    Made the front page, but below the fold.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Rob T Firefly (844560)
      (WARNING, PDF Newspaper!)
      Made the front page, but below the fold.
      I tried folding it. You owe me a new flatscreen monitor.
      • by Tackhead (54550)
        > > (WARNING, PDF Newspaper!)
        > Made the front page, but below the fold.
        >
        >I tried folding it. You owe me a new flatscreen monitor.

        Worked just fine for me. Of course, I had to pay some dude shaped like a big red "A" L$30 Linden Dollars for something called "Acrobat 8.SL" before the newspaper rendered as anything other than a blank piece of newsprint.

        Now that I've got Acrobat 8.SL running, of course, my newspaper renders PDF, but it also comes with about 30 plugins that drag ar

  • You know it's interesting that he termed it a great communications medium, because it is. Or it could be, with some work.

    Think of all the time that people are sinking to keep email- a stressed and some would say broken- tenable into the future... now divert some of that energy into making Second Life (or a Second Life-like system) into something useful for communication. The result would be newer, richer and arguably better suited for human communication than text based email ever will be.

    Coo. Just plain co
    • by maxume (22995)
      We use text because it is a simple, effective way to work with a computer, keyboards work great, and you can put lots of reasonably sharp text on a screen. I'm not sure that 3d environments will be worth it until the interaction is better than point and click with the mouse.
  • I cant wait until your visit Thrall's Chamber and are greeted with representatives from all the big tech companies. Maybe they can all have a duelling competition outside of Org!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I was introduced to Second Life via an educational technology conference. The potential for fully immersive online teaching environments is just amazing. Second life is capable of showing videos in-world, and coupled with VOIP technologies (which I'm not sure are integrated into SL yet, but if not, I'm sure they will be sooner or later), you could create a fully functional virtual classroom.
    • When people in Second Life talk about things being "fully functional" they are usually not appropriate for a classroom setting.
    • Or Sun could just use virtual conferencing software like Breeze [adobe.com] that's written explicitly for that purpose in the first place and runs on Flash which is somewhat more widely distributed than the "get a" Life client.

      Then again, maybe in Second Life Sun's a successful company.
  • I'm thinking the suits heard "second life" and stopped asking questions...
  • by artifex2004 (766107) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @04:22PM (#16413229) Journal
    No, really? If I want to share code, ask questions, read docs, does having an avatar and going through that environment really add anything at all to these tasks?
    Come on, Sun, tell us how it does things that can't be more efficiently served with a website and forums?

    • I can't wait for the first Virtual JavaOne conference! I'm already designing my new "J# WTFPWNS your HotSpot" t-shirt. I think I'll hand it out free on the conference floor, as I dance around singing "I want to be a Cowboy". Without pants, of course.

      Yeah, virtual conferences are definately the wave of the future....
    • Although you might ask what good those are as well.
      And I think you'll have a harder time convincing your boss to pay you to attend a "Programming Conference" in Second Life even if it is less expensive than a Las Vegas junket :)
    • by CreatureComfort (741652) * on Thursday October 12, 2006 @04:59PM (#16413709)

      So you see no advantage to going to conferences or classrooms as learning experiences? Let's just shut down all the colleges then. Pheonix U online should be just as good as Harvard or MIT.

      Oh, wait, now maybe there is some advantage to the classroom/conference format. OK, now if you want more people to show up, you have to get a bigger meeting space, arrange dates for when it's not in use by some other organization, arrange for people to travel to the location, arrange for places for them to stay, and figure out a way to pay for all of that.

      But if we can get all of the advantages to a real-time, interpersonal learning environmet with top notch presentations and leading experts, but with none of the travel, hosting, or cost issues, isn't this exactly the kind of value added service we (that being technology advocates) have touted the web as providing for so many years? Yes, it comes wrapped in all the other silliness and baggage that is Second Life, but had Sun released this as a stand alone client/learning environment, and Second Life didn't exist, everyone would be hailing this as proof that tech can provide most of the benefits of a real life meeting, while avoiding the static and overly artificial interaction of webpages and forums. In fact, once VoIP is fully integrated, and dynamic expressions become easier and clearer (a frown while someone is listening to you, or the tone/type of clapping after your presentation provides a world of useful information back to a speaker) this could replace 80% of the gain I get from attending conferences. That loss would be more than offset by using this to allow me to attend far more learning and idea sharing forums.

      • by Reapy (688651)
        I've played sl on and off for about a year now and I have to agree with the grandparent. SL is neat, but it doesn't add things to existing tools. SL at its heart is an irc chat room with avatars. A more useful learning tool would have a chat room with the ability to set up ad hock groups, and on demand whiteboards between the groups. Also have a wiki running in another window. Then have a file bin so you can drag and drop files on users or in a group storage to offer to everybody. Just put up a screen where
  • I can't imagine too many people showed up for the conference. Secondlife gets dog slow once you start crowding an area with Avatars, and the servers will give up long before you get more than a hundred or so people in there. Even if you try to minimize the avatar complexity (ask everyone to come with as basic of an avatar as possible) the game bogs down like crazy once you exceed 20-30 people or so in an area.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gunnk (463227)
      Hopefully the tech will improve over time. Online venues for meetings could be quite handy, especially when you are dealing with 3D models. Nice for everyone to be able to walk around them and poke them.
  • by Shayde (189538) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @04:31PM (#16413329) Homepage
    Did I miss something here? Sun holds a press conference. In an environment that cannot even run on their machines or in their own operating system? They're basically saying "We're cool, we're tech 'leet, but our hardware and software are worthless!"

    Why didn't they just hold it in Microsoft Netmeeting?
    • by cowscows (103644) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @06:03PM (#16414709) Journal
      You think that's bad? I heard that Steve Jobs rides to his Apple Expo keynotes in a car not made by Apple! And sometimes when the CEO of McDonalds goes to lunches with business clients, sometimes he goes to restaurants that don't serve Big Macs! Hell, I work in an architecture firm, but I live in a house that someone else designed. I must think I'm crap!

      They're basically saying, rather than roll our own online "environment" for this project, we'll just use a pre-existing one, and save our company some money by not doing a lot of extra work. That seems to make sense to me.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I heard that Steve Jobs rides to his Apple Expo keynotes in a car not made by Apple!

        Apple doesn't make vehicles. And you can bet if they did, Steve would drive one everywhere.

        And sometimes when the CEO of McDonalds goes to lunches with business clients, sometimes he goes to restaurants that don't serve Big Macs!

        That's because if you eat Big Macs all the time, it'll practically kill you [supersizeme.com]. The McDonalds corporation is all about feeding cheap crap to people who don't know better, not about making quality prod
  • by Channard (693317) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @04:39PM (#16413415) Journal
    .. a giant polka-dot dong materialised floating above the podium, but was quickly removed by Second Life admins. Probably.
  • Due to Linden Labs notorious disregard for their customers and habit of blaming development bugs on their users they did not actually fix several key problems that would have let this go off without a hitch. Most users report an average of 3-4 crashes per three hour session of the software... hope Sun's presentation did not go very long.
    • 1.11.foo and 1.12.foo clients have been incredibly stable for me even on my low end windows machine. I can do things that would crash 1.10 and not crash.

  • Until they integrate with Match.com

    ...wait,did I just type that in a public forum?
  • As I read this the total population of second life is 902,643....Where do they get "millions?"
  • by CherniyVolk (513591) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @04:54PM (#16413643)

    Sun Microsystems first attempt was to do a massive, universal campaign in another popular online game, EVE-ONLINE. Reports are scarce, but from credible witnesses flying around in Polaris ships to monitor the event, the endeavour quickly became a fiasco.

    Sun thought Querious, which permitted word play for 'query' and provided them to boast their server and sql database presentation, would be a good idea to rally tons of people to the event.

    Unfortunately, a large in-game Alliance known as Band of Brothers [BoB], setup a trap to permit tons of people into pouring into their soverign territory. While Sun Microsystems (working with Quaff Marketing Agents) to launch the event, BoB came in with Interceptors, Heavy Assault Cruisers, Battleships, Carriers and Motherships and podded everyone except for the GMs. Many petitions were filed that day, even Sun Microsystems employees filed petitions. As usual, all those petitions fell on deaf ears. Across the street from CCP in Iceland, police received complaints from residents nearby for excessive laughter.
    • by lordeldor (978027)
      I believe it BoB has many members that work for CCP...They are known to cheat whenever they might loose a battle. One of the things that has me getting fed up w/ Eve.
  • ...who knew that Furries and Cybersex freaks were in the market for Sun "Solutions"?
  • Is Sun than dropping JXTA its P2P platform after having trounced by Jabber?
  • by Quaoar (614366) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:03PM (#16413773)
    Everything was going great at the Sun's news conference, until he had a bout of indigestion and scorched the attendees with a solar flare...
  • ...Second Life isn't a game, "It's an amazing platform for global communications."

    Well, now I know why I haven't noticed SL being especially fun.
  • Second Life seems to be filled with losers who don't actually have a life. The game should be called "No Life".
  • With all the attacks lately, it seems like the grid has been down more than it's been up. I want to know how Linden Labs were able to keep everything together *today* when they haven't been able to the last week or so. I know this assumes that there WOULD have been an attack today, but...come on...has there been a day in the last week without an attack that prompts LL to take the game down for a couple hours (Bonus points if during that time they create a fix for the attack the breaks thousands upon thousa
  • There seems to be a very cool bug in Second Life, rendering of clothes is sometimes delayed becuase of over worked servers, this resulted in Rosedale breifly being shown naked in the press conference
    • by Erbo (384)
      Actually, he was probably shown with "MISSING IMAGE" covering his entire body. I guess, in SL, even the CEO needs to rebake his avatar textures once in awhile...
  • I am an ex-staff engineer from SUN.

    I still do a lot of SUN engagements. A lot of SUN code. Even Java.

    I don't really do Windows (I have one copy of XP running in a VMware container). I can't do "Second Life" -- went to their website, and discovered that it's Windows or Mac only. No Solaris, no Java, not even "Mono". No Sparc. Not even Linux.

    Sure, they may get people into the conference; but they have lost the platform COMPLETELY. I guess that buying a computer, OS, and Second Life is probably cheaper than th
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Second Life has a Linux client. It works fine.

      Personally I'm glad Sun has gained some focus here on server-side technology (they said their tech could make SL's servers work better, both hardware uberboxen and the software project they mentioned), and that they've stopped wasting time trying to do the impossible (be a consumer OS platform like Windows or Mac OS X). Their shareholders should (continue to) be pleased.

      I am an ex-staff engineer from SUN.

      Sorry for the ad hominem, but perhaps these things are r

    • Second Life Linux download [secondlife.com] IA32 only though.
  • What about Croquet? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Spikeles (972972) *
    I would have thought that using an open source system specifically designed for multi-user conferences would have been a better choice for holding a virtual conference.

    http://www.opencroquet.org/ [opencroquet.org]

    Open Crouquet is shaping up pretty well and dosn't come with half the hassles, you don't have to worry about users gate crashing your conerence ( Conference is closed... coz of AIDS! ), you can run Croquet on your own hardware, and it can be customized to suit your needs..

    Maybe someone should mention this thi
  • He's shouting "Short SUNW"!
  • And a badly managed one at that. Linden Labs fostered a strong community early on and now that community acts against expansion while Linden Labs' attempts to reduce their influence only appears to be bringing in more griefers. Also, the place looks like Golden Palace's marketing department threw up on it.

    SL is only a marketing gimmick. You only do something in it so you can do a press release that says how futuristic you are.

  • Second Life's recent fiascos involving security are one thing.

    However, the biggest "you've gotta be kidding" aspect is how poorly Linden Labs tests, QAs, and deploys upgrades. Two weeks ago, the entire grid was down for close to 24 hours, and was flaky for days after a failed update. While I haven't been on SL very long, I'm lead to believe that this is not uncommon.

    Sun is right, however, that it has the potential to be a stunning platform for communications. On the flip side, Linden Labs is the single b
  • I'm all for gaming - I've been doing it for years - but really, honestly, the effort a person puts into improving their Second Life world is effort taken away from improving their First Life world - you know, the one we really live in - the real world, where the video resolution and audio quality are far superior too.
  • Linden Lab has been trying to position SL as the next "evolutionary step" in web communications and interaction. Before their latest round of funding came in, it was just a free-format massively-multiplayer "game". Since then, they have created open registration (no verification required), opening the floodgates to TONS of griefers who create anywhere from 2 to 100 alternate accounts, and then just burn through them. Some regions in the world are very hard-hit, and they have yet to provide the players and m

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