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Nov 5 2011

Much has been made of the possibilities of using Microsoft’s Kinect with Second Life. There are a lot of Kinects out there. They sold really well to people wanting to try them, and then sales suddenly fell sharply, to the point that they’re hardly selling at all.

Nevertheless, Second Life might be just the sort of thing to give the Kinect a shot in the arm, if you’ve got one laying around and appropriate software gets developed, right?

Well, let’s try a couple of little experiments, and we’ll see what you think afterwards.

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Oct 25 2011

Now, I promised to write a little something about localised-maxima and how that relates to the design methodology of the Second Life viewer 2.x user-interface. This is it.

Now, when you want to evolve, refine or improve something – that is, to reach a greater height – it is necessary to go upwards. If you’re trying to get to the top of a hill, you keep going up, until there’s nowhere left to go but down. Life is full of curves like this. You want to improve some property and you keep on doing it until you hit the top of the improvement curve. When there’s nowhere to go but down (or backwards, if you prefer), then you’ve achieved it.

The world rarely gives us such simple shapes to work within.

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With Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble’s comments about upcoming redesign of the Second Life user-interface, I took the time to ask Linden Lab about it; both the goals and the methodology, as they’re of considerable interest to me, and – if you’re reading this – potentially of great interest to you also.

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Jun 25 2011

Human-factors designers use the term “gorilla arm” to refer to the vast gulf between cool design ideas and how they work in actual use-cases. At the beginning of the 1980s, touch-screens were just getting going, but gorilla-arm more or less killed off large-scale touch-screen research-and-development for many years to come. Only now, with portable devices and short-interaction kiosks are we seeing the resurgence.

But touch-screens aren’t the only technology that suffers from “gorilla arm.” Devices like Microsoft’s Kinect do as well.

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