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Metaversum GmbH’s virtual environment Twinity uses Google Maps and 3D mapping-data extensively to create cities, such as Singapore, London, Miami and New York City, match up virtual landscape and landmarks to their physical counterparts, and to make virtual buildings resemble the real thing. The correspondences between the virtual cities and the physical cities are a major feature of Twinity.

“Get creative and design your virtual apartment in an authentic real virtual city or create your own island to host parties, flirt and lead an extraordinary life!” quoth Twinity’s Web-site. “An authentic real virtual city”, huh? I wonder what an authentic fake virtual city might look like. Don’t mind me, the redundancy just rubs me the wrong way.

In any case, that all seems to have run afoul of some unspecified licensing fiasco.

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Second Life search, and the complaints that are made about it. That most say that it isn’t as good as Google Web-search, that some complain that the new-new system has them ranked lower down than the old-new system did, that they can’t figure out how to boost their rankings and so on.

I’ll start off with two maxims:

1. The goal of a search-engine is to produce search results ranked by relevancy.

2. The goal of SEO (so-called Search-Engine Optimisation) is to reduce or eliminate relevancy in search results.

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Dec 14 2011

A lot of Second Life users are wondering about a strange message that their viewer is spitting out with distressing regularity. The message generally looks like this: Translation failed: the parameter ‘appId’ must contain at least ’16’ characters Parameter name: appId

What’s happening is that – as you might recall – Google’s transitioned its translation API from a free service to a paid service. The mystifying message spits out every time your Second Life viewer tries to translate some text into your language. The new viewer defaults to Bing, and that’s the service that is generating the error – it’s complaining that you haven’t provided an appId for the translation service.

Making the message actually go away, though, is actually simple enough.

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Nov 16 2011

2000 avatar portraits explore identity in online environments

The largest ever documentation of Second Life® avatars has reached another milestone.

Gracie Kendal, Los Angeles artist, Kristine Schomaker, in real life, has photographed her 2000th avatar and she has declared the project finished, at least for now.

Begun in October 2010, the 1000 Avatars Project is part of Gracie’s ongoing examination of online identity and anonymity. Her inworld exhibition space on Coyote is stunning and humbling with its complexity of portraits of avatars from all corners of Second Life.

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