My Second Life widget is offline until I find time to fix it. As it’s a simple page-scraper, it needs to be revised whenever the SL website changes, and I haven’t revised it since the last web update. It’s on my to-do list — apologies for the delay.

UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take nearly as long as I thought; I should try to find five minutes more often. Widget now fixed — please re-download from the link to the right.

Queensland Island!

Don’t know Queensland? It’s the Australian state in which I live, sunny, beachy and relaxed. Recently, I had the happy experience of creating (yes! terraforming! building! organising!) the Queensland Government’s first experiment in Second Life: Queensland Island. With any luck, it’ll be public soon, but for now it’s private. You can see a little of the island by following the link above. Enjoy!

Whatever you want to sound like, on a Mac

If you’ve got the Second Life Voice Beta, you’ll have been freaked out like I have. It’s all a bit weird. People used to stand around saying talking shit before, but now that they have voices, it’s doubly weird. Triply weird. Check it out.

Anyway, voice disguise will be important if you want to even try to maintain some distance between you and your avatar. And you can do it for free with the software that came with your Mac, and the free software Soundflower. It’s a bit tricky with the current beta, though, as SL gives you no choices of sound inputs — it just uses the system defaults.

The process, if you want to test it, is to set Garageband to take your microphone as input, and to use SoundFlower (2ch) as output. In Garageband, make a new vocal track and turn monitoring on. Set up your voice the way you want with the vocal transformer. Male to Female, Female to Male, Monsters, Echo, Reverb, whatever.

You then go to System Preferences and set Soundflower (2ch) as the default input, and your headphones as output. Launch SL. It should get everything from the System defaults and should work well. You will hear yourself all the time, but you’re only public when you’re holding the push-to-talk key and the speaker symbol above your head is flashing. Enjoy!

Photoshop CS3 Extended 3D painting!?!

(Cross-posted from my main blog.)

The new Adobe Creative Suite 3 is coming out very soon. The details get announced officially in NYC in about 12 hours, but the Adobe site has already been updated with all the new feature details. I’m not just excited because I’m demonstrating much of this at an upcoming evening for Infinite Systems, but the new Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended could have some really nice implications for Second Life design.

Given that you will be able to place an image onto a live-rotatable 3D model, it just remains to be seen how complex that model can be. All we need is the ability to upload images onto an avatar and all kinds of texture-based design will be revolutionised. It looks like it will be possible; if it is, let a great big “yay” go up to the rafters. Tons of other cool stuff in there too across the whole suite, above and beyond the “runs at least half as fast again on your Intel Mac” feature.

Sony’s New Second Life Clone

Check out Home, from Sony. (The article calls it “Third Life” which is misleading at best.)

Briefly, it’s like Second Life, without the user-made content, without creation tools, but with voice, great HD graphics, a free house, and doubling as a lobby to access multiplayer games. PS3 only.

It’s not out yet, and while the video looks great, I have to wonder if people will actually choose to visit it as an end in itself. There’s certainly not much scope for a thriving economy without third-party development. I’d like to think the graphics provide a sneak peek at Second Life v3, though.