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Mixed-Reality Party In DC and Second Life 133

Jerry23 writes "This Saturday The Happening will bring Second Life to first life. The Electric Sheep Company, a new metaverse developer, has virtually recreated R&B Coffee in Washington DC for use in a mixed-reality party and benefit for the DC art scene and several local nonprofits. Real people will mingle with avatars via realtime video projections in the real and virtual R&B spaces, and MAKE Magazine's Phillip Torrone will be on-hand showing off his homemade Virtual Reality headsets and gloves. The whole world is invited to attend in DC or Second Life, whichever's closer for you." This is just conceptually a weird idea to me.
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Mixed-Reality Party In DC and Second Life

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  • Fantastic! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @11:24AM (#14724452)
    Since I live near DC, I can actively ignore, with extreme prejudice, both the online and the real-world pieces of this simultaneously! We live in amazing times.
  • Snowcrash (Score:4, Informative)

    by Artie_Effim ( 700781 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @11:24AM (#14724459)
    we are getting closer and closer to meat/meta-space duality. assuming you have read [].
  • Too bad this "happening" is in a corner of town most people wouldn't set foot in at gunpoint...or if they did, likely would be. Sorry, twenty-five bucks to loiter around a coffee-house next to a shooting gallery to watch someone's laptop screen projected on the wall?

    • Parent is not flamebait. Parent is, alas, correct.
      • by C10H14N2 ( 640033 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @12:12PM (#14724871)
        ...not that Adams Morgan is much better, but seriously, if they want this to be taken seriously in a town like Washington, certainly if they want to attach themselves to the "burgeoning art community," they'd best locate themselves somewhere remotely near it, say the U-Street corridor or 13th street or something. Hell, Landover has more going on than H street.

        Bottom line is that not even people who live in NE (like, me for instance) want to hang on H Street, certainly not those who can shell-out $25 for a "happening." Since there are SOOOOO many locations in Washington that this would work in, this choice of venue makes me think "easy money, no cred."
      • While the overall message is correct, the post is most definitely flamebait.. unless you believe that everyone walking around in NE gets held up. Sadly, there are people who live both in the District and the metro area who believe this. When I told people at my workplace that I, a white male, was living in Southwest, their eyes widened with fright. On my first day, one woman joked, "Well, hopefully you'll make it back alive tomorrow." When we were looking for apartments, one couple told us they would not ev
        • It was not flamebait as that implies INTENT. There is a stigma--often deserved--around certain areas of Washington and when you are setting up an event, no matter how much you think said stigma is b.s., you have to consider it when it will keep people away. I find the sorts of people who won't venture past 14th street rather ridiculous, however, I recognize the fact that the demographic they're shooting for with this event happens to be almost entirely populated by such people. For that reason, this venue w
          • Maybe it was easier for them to work with the management, or they know the guy, or the organizers live in the area... etc, etc. I imagine the "burgeoning arts description" has to do with the work the H Street Main Street project has been working on. The productions at the "H Street Theater" have been nominated for a couple of Helen Hayes awards (for those unfamiliar, they're like an Oscar's for local theater), and the Atlas should be opening up soon. A dance school moved over there, and that sort of thin
        • Right, but they had to get to 14th St. Ahhhh.. 14th St. (If you don't get it, you're either too young or live too far away).

          Plus they were probably neglecting to mention their excursions to Delaware St.
        • seriously, if they want this to be taken seriously in a town like Washington, certainly if they want to attach themselves to the "burgeoning art community," they'd best locate themselves somewhere remotely near it, say the U-Street corridor or 13th street or something. Hell, Landover has more going on than H street.

          While that may have been true even 2 years ago, you're laughably mistaken about the location of the "burgeoning art community". H St is the next U street. I was out at the H St Lounge last nigh

    • No less surreal than the stuff happening in the White House or Congress.
      Cheney jokes are way too obvious here.
  • Snowcrash (Score:2, Funny)

    by suso ( 153703 ) *
    Things transpiring now remind me a lot of the first couple chapters of snowcrash. Soon we'll be living in U-stor-its.
    • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @12:16PM (#14724906) Journal
      "Soon we'll be living in U-stor-its."

      I live in California on $80,000 a year[1], where do you think I live, you insensitive clod?

      Seriously, though, people do live in storage facilities. It's not legal, but it's the only option other than homelessness for some people.

      [1] Not really. No one can afford to live in CA on $80k a year, even in a U-Stor-It.
      • Fry: "Do refrigerators still come in boxes in the future?"
        Bender: "Yeah, but the rent is atrocious."
      • You're rich. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 2short ( 466733 )
        "Not really. No one can afford to live in CA on $80k a year, even in a U-Stor-It."

        I know you're just trying to be funny, but REALLY, 70% of California households live on less than $80K a year. Half of them live on less than $50K a year.

        • Maybe, but more than half the people in California can not at this time, afford to buy a home in California. The non-Jumbo mortgage in California is a rarity, even for homes that would be hard to sell at any price in other parts of the country.
          • It is much worse than that. In most counties in Southern California, fewer than 20% of the residents of the county can afford to purchase a home in that county, at today's prices. Some counties, like San Diego, it is less than 10%.

            I live in the inland empire, 40 miles east of Los Angeles, in what is considered a middle class town. A single family home cannot be found for less than $350,000 here. And $350k will get you a 50 year old, 700 sq ft house. Anything resembling a 3 bed, 2 bath, 1500 sq ft will
          • Sorry, as a demographics geek, I can't let it go...

            "Maybe, but more than half the people in California can not at this time, afford to buy a home in California"

            Actually, housing units in California are 55% owner-occupied. The median Californian household makes 52K and owns their home. Mind you, I'm not disputing your basic point: Housing in California is expensive; moreso, on average, than any other state except Hawaii. But my basic point is that the original poster, along with most people in the top 30
  • maybe so (Score:5, Insightful)

    by revery ( 456516 ) * <> on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @11:38AM (#14724582) Homepage
    This is just conceptually a wierd idea to me.

    Maybe so, but your kids will love it.

    • I hope to god, not.

      I'd rather that they have a life, not a make-believe one.

      While MMORPGs and games are nice to an extent for the odd hour or two, this is just taking those to an extreme. Sheesh, get a life people.

      Go out there and play a sport, climb a mountain or go to a party, rather than sitting in a virtual glorified chat room and getting your social fix.

      Seriously, this is a disturbing trend - just *why*? Spending an odd hour or two is one thing, obsessing over this stuff and paying huge sums of money f
      • Re:maybe so (Score:4, Insightful)

        by saltydogdesign ( 811417 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @02:06PM (#14725840)

        I'd rather that they have a life, not a make-believe one.

        What could be more real than what your senses tell you is real? To paraphrase Videodrome, the computer screen is the retina of the mind's eye.
        • I'm sure that's what folks that take LSD and smoke crack say, too.

          After all, what's more real than what my brain tells me is real, right?

          • Hey, if you want to deny 3000 years of Western philosophy (about half of it anyway) with a glib remark, be my guest. I did.
            • Hey, come on. The reality-is-what-my-brain tells me is a load of crap.

              You may have a pr0n setup in the future where you might think you're having sex, but it's not the real thing.

              Reality and perception are two entirely different things. IMHO, blah blah.
              • Reality and perception are two entirely different things.

                Yeah, and the reality is that this is a retarded statement, not worthy of the average couch potato. You probably aren't worth the response, but in a nutshell, this is tantamount to walking into a literature seminar and shouting, "All French novels are shit." Hey everybody, look at me! I have this totally poorly considered and shockingly unoriginal idea about the nature of existence! Put me in the pantheon of the Great Minds!

                IMHO, blah blah.


                • Wow, you sound like you skipped your nap today... Don't trip out, the two of you are on different pages; you are talking the philosophy of "high thinkers" and he's talking the philosophy of a layperson. Throw a cat in a room with a bomb, shut the door, bomb goes off, ask what happened to the cat. The "high thinker" might say "we'll never know until we open the door, until then the cat is both alive and dead (perception makes it real)," where the layperson will say "uuh..yeah, that cat is _toast_ (perce
      • Re:maybe so (Score:1, Troll)

        by Pentagram ( 40862 )
        Seriously, this is a disturbing trend - just *why*? Spending an odd hour or two is one thing, obsessing over this stuff and paying huge sums of money for virtual things

        What, like shares? Or numbers in a bank account?
        • What the hell are you talking about?

          Those things have tangible benefits.

          Those shares may earn me privileges (e.g. being on the board of company and making *real* money that I can buy my next car with). The shares and the numbers in a bank account are tangible - you can have hard cash in return. It's just a convenience method of storing them.

          Things like second life are virtualizing your *life*. Second life? Why should I bother having my avatar do stupid things when I can go ahead and do those things in my re
          • What the hell are you talking about?

            Ever heard of the concept of civility? You made a point, and I responded. If you didn't want an answer, why bother posting in the first place? Would you respond in the same manner if I was talking to you in a pub? Do you get punched in the face a lot?

            Those shares may earn me privileges (e.g. being on the board of company and making *real* money that I can buy my next car with). The shares and the numbers in a bank account are tangible - you can have hard cash in return. I
      • Face it: you're just an old fart with romantic ideas about the meatspace-way lives were lived in the past.

        The future will increasingly be about the merger of old and new media; of human and machine intelligence. You can (and will) certainly protest that, and your kids will rightly rebel.

    • Re:maybe so (Score:3, Funny)

      by e2d2 ( 115622 )
      Maybe so, but your kids will love it.

      And I will beat them for it.
  • by Arwing ( 951573 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @11:46AM (#14724647)
    This reminds me of an article i read somewhere and it talked about the next generation of MMORPG where people would go online to watch a movie (stream) shopping (Amazon/eBay) using their avatars, and meet and social like they would in real life instead of yelling "LFG Emperor run1!!11". Walking down the virtual isle of amazon, hitting on another hot avatar and going to watch a movie at iTune theatre, is it really that hard to imagine?
    Okay, it is, but who knows, when we turn 60, that maybe the social norm.
    • I can hardly wait! We'll have recreated life in its entirety! And when I can eat, shit, and drink online...
      ... It'll be just like real life, except with fewer ugly people. Erm...
    • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @12:13PM (#14724882)
      That's pretty much what Second Life is.

      I don't personally dig the shopping, though the girlfriend of a friend of mine loves that part, but for geeks the platform is pretty cool. I spent a few days playing with it in early January, and while it has a lot of problems it has even more potential. The name is a bit weird, a real turnoff for some, but if you can get over your pre-conceptions about the people in the world you'll find not only a truly impressive piece of technology but lots of perfectly sane, normal and yes even quite attractive people who get a kick out of building things.

      Think of it as the equivalent of freenode IRC but for arty types and you're about 50% of the way there.

      • Let's not forget the real reason most people seem to play SL.. PORN! God, it's everywhere. You can't swing a virtual cat by its tail without hitting a shop selling porn movies/pictures, fetish gear, whores, stupid bling-encrusted avatars with OMG REAL 3D NIPPLEZORZ AND POOBIC HARE!!11

        It's been said before, but there's a lot of potential in SL. There are also a lot of creative, talented people there.. but unfortunately it seems the majority of them are too busy jacking off to do anything really interesti
    • This reminds me of an article i read somewhere and it talked about the next generation of MMORPG where people would go online to watch a movie (stream)

      Actually, I've got a Second Life account and one of the first few times I tried it out I found a "virutal MST3k meeting." It was actually pretty entertaining. Everyone's avatars sat down and watched a stream of old teen hygeine and drug scare videos from on the "screen" inside the game and chatted snarky comments about the feature.

      pretty c
    • when we turn 60, that maybe the social norm.

      And I, for one, will be bitterly complaining about it. Damn kids with their metaverses just don't appreciate a good regularverse when they see one. It was good enough for me, it should be good enough for them.
  • The New Reality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by airship ( 242862 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @11:55AM (#14724717) Homepage
    This may be weird now, but get used to it. The future is the virtual overlaid on the real, and vice-versa. The lines are blurring. In twenty years, maybe even ten, it will be considered quaint and old-fashioned to make a distinction between the two.
    • Does this mean you'll be able to do anything in the real world through virtual means? Will we be able to solve the overcrowding problem by taking volunteers to be put into stasis and live out their entire lives in a virtual sense?
    • I hope you read this again in 10 or 20 years so you can learn just how silly making predictions that far in the future about society is. I'll give you a hint - it has a twist ending!
    • In twenty years, maybe even ten, it will be considered quaint and old-fashioned to make a distinction between the two.

      So in ten to twenty years, computers will be able to directly interface with the human nervous system and stimulate smell, taste, touch, vision, and hearing, as well as detect and respond to motion etc? The only way it could ever be 'quaint' to make a distinction between reality and computer simulation is if computers can do this. Otherwise, you will always be missing something, and realit
    • And we'll laugh while watch cars in old movies as we zip along in our skymobiles! When we're not vacationing on other planets, that is. And there's gonna be TONS of vacation time, since we'll have robots to do all the work!

      And our computers will have "Agents" that find what we like (which will be of such varieties as "Different song/book by Same Author," and "Same song/book Remixed/Part II"), and useful information will be "pushed" to us rather than having to "pull" what we want from the internet.

      Ah, the
  • I read the summary three times and I jsut can't figure it out. Maybe I'm art challanged or something, but my imagination has live people bumping into each other while where goggles and gloves. Those who distain wearing the accoutremonts of VR will have a great chuckle seeing the "live" folks" trying to interact with VR folks. I hope there is a video of this after it's over for that is the only way it will make sense to me.

    This must be the modern version of a masked ball.
  • If they're projecting avatars for SL into a real life place, does that mean we can finally arrest the avatars for indecent exposure?
  • Snow Crash (Score:3, Informative)

    by Captain_Chaos ( 103843 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @12:03PM (#14724802)

    I'm telling you, the world of Snow Crash [] is becoming a reality faster and faster. I always forget how old that book is (1992!), it's turning out to be pretty visionary! I'm off to buy my Metaverse deck...

  • I once went to something like this, at the Alliance Chautauquas Conference, Boston 1999. Neat idea, though a lot of the technology wasn't quite there. There were a series of art exhibits around the campus that were in one fashion or another "linked" to objects in a virtual-world "art exhibit." Some of the cooler ones even had ways that viewers in RL could interact with viewers in the software.

    There may not be a lot of direct practical application of this stuff (yet), but it would definitely be interestin
  • They're charging $20 (advance purchase) or $25 (at the door) to participate in the meatspace-portion of this event. Soooo .... they're expecting to get about $80 of revenue for this thing? The main incentive for participating is vacuous at best. I can watch someone fumble about with a VR helmet on? I might get to see this Make Magazine guy's wifi laptop with some uncomfortable-looking VR gadgets dangling off it?

    The venue isn't large, so chewing up half the available space for the projector will cramp
  • As long as they don't attempt to turn this into the scene from Minority Report, when the tech/hologram guy is showing off the "good clean fun," it's harmless.
  • by SydBarrett ( 65592 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @12:14PM (#14724892)
    Thank you internet for making it possible for me to go to a coffee shop and talk to a projected image. I might as well stay home, get drunk and yell at the tv during a Cheers re-run.
  • Second life would make a decent app to have VR in, but I wish VR would come down in price and have better resolution.

    Anyone have any VR head gear units they'd recommend or any news about VRDs? (virtual retina displays) I'd love to get one for the "cool factor" but I don't want to sink money into something that is going to be obsolete in 6 months and gives me a head ache after 15 minutes of use.
    • I have eMagin's Z800 3dVisor [] (It is from the company that came out with the borglike EyeBud [] prototype at CES)

      The Z800 is the real deal for $900, with dual 800x600 OLED displays which are much better higher quality than LCDs at that small size. If you have followed HMDs, it is a big leap in quality for under $1000. Stereoscopic 3d with headtracking in First Person shooters and flight sims is really cool. I haven't tried any MMORPGs with it. You can find out more about at their website [].
  • Ouchie (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MattGWU ( 86623 ) * on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @12:23PM (#14724964)
    donations in Linden Dollars will be accepted, converted to US$, and transferred to The Happening's funds.

    Not a bad idea, but I hope they realize the outgoing and incomming exchange rates are different between US$ and L$. If you're thinking "Ok, I'll give them $5 worth of L$ as a donation" they're only going to get about $2.50 back out of the game. If you really want to donate, better to just send them a check. It's why I can't believe anybody makes any actual money off this game. Between the disadvantageous outgoing rate and the US$50, $100, $200+ tier fee (rent for the land) per month it's amazing anybody breaks even on real-world expenses, let alone turn a profit. Maybe they don't, and just have a bunch of really nice in-game cars! Which are a total PITA to drive, bty.
    • Re:Ouchie (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, it's not that bad. There's a $0.30 buyer's fee and a 3.5% sellers fee on LindeX the L$ currency exchange run by Linden Lab the makers of Second Life. Other L$ currency exchanges charge similar overall rates.
    • Yeah, but it staves off inflation if they have Lindens taken out of the virtual economy en mass. They get real money, and it boosts their economy.. a win-win for them.
  • Sounds like a great place to pick up chicks! And at least 50% of the time you'll be able to tell whether or not that hot looking elf is really a 45-year old guy.
  • Argh. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ketnar ( 415489 ) <> on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @12:37PM (#14725081) Homepage
    Well looks like they got slashdotted again.

    I'm one of the guys doing the streaming video. (praying that the bandwidth at this shop is enough to do the job, which we check today in fact.) Thats about the reach of my involvment, show up, hook things up, point the camera so the people in VR can see/hear whats going on, provide the streamer and the bandwidth, etc. They just call us up when they need it done.

    We also did the new york SLCC event (which was made problematic due to L3 and cogent crapping on each other at the same time),but it was more or less the same idea at the NY law school. Was actualy quite cool!

    It sounds weird from the outside, but it's a neat trick to pull off. It's a very sureal connection when you have a copy of a real place with real people being shown in an exact copy of the same place in VR and vice versa. You have instances where people look back and forth at each other and wave or talk across a digital void. It's just not something you commonly see every day.

    Think of it as a RL/VR two way mirror.

    It also has its entertaining moments. For example, the VR streaker running by the VR camera wearing black censor bars in the middle of some linden's speech, projected in giant bold clarity beind them.

    But aside from that, I just hope this shop isnt running some lame ISDN modem or something like that.

    And now, for shameless plugging., thats us. Yup. We do it for the advertizing, because we can. (Because last time, they didn't get our link up till nearly /after/ the event in NY.... ;)
    • So, this is a scheduled, advertised event, which people are supposed to pay to attend, and it's not clear to the technical staff whether the pipe to the venue is big enough to meet bandwidth needs? wow......
  • I bet most of you thought that WTF? in the subject was for the article but you were wrong it's for the posts. people seem to be really bashing this idea but I think it's great. i do play Second Life a little I get bored quick as there aren't any monsters to bash unless you go get a lot of extra stuff. Anyways I love the idea of blurring the line of MMOs and reality. As people have said this would be even better if it where WOW. you would have to use fake weapons of course but it would be lots of fun. I
  • Anybody have the coordinates for their island? I can't find it in 'find'. Site says it should be up this week for exploration. Thanks!
    • MattGWU, I've just checked with one of the guys from the Electric Sheep Company, the Sheep island is still "closed", and will be open only to the ones that join the group "The Happening", and available to visit during Saturday.

      Mind you, this thread has been interesting -- it reminded me of the days people on BBSes were discussing why they should download a "graphic Web browser" for connecting to the Web, which had, at that time, only a tiny fraction of the content (and the interest!) of BBSes...

      I still

  • If you actually want some coffee, you still only have one option.
  • Man, why couldn't this happen when I'm in town? I'd pay good money to see Dave finally meet "Francine," and Kirsten meet Icabod. The awkwardness will be palpable, and the disillusion will be priceless.
  • Anyone else reminded of the RPG supplement "Cybergeneration", with its concept of Virtuality? Granted, projectors aren't quite the same as head-implants to see the virtual content IRL, but maybe Bill Newsome can help with that.

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears