Getting another chance, with Second Life


Second Life? What’s that?

I too plead guilty of only having heard vaguely of this space-in-cyberspace, till before the PANALL2009 event. In hindsight, we found that it was indeed useful, and even before the meet got together, it actually got some of the discussions going.

At the meeting by HatHead Rickenbacker.

“HatHead’s” “photo” of a Second Life meet-up underway, before we actually got down to Penang.


Co-ordinating an online ‘lecture’ (as Second Life helped PANALL to do earlier this month and in late May) must have been a logistical challenge. There were some timezone complications to contend with, apart from getting people familiar with the idea and how it worked. In India, it was just before dawn when the meet-ups happened. But why complain?

I made it for two such events. It was useful to virtually meet Arun Mehta and tune into his ideas once again, though I’ve known for quite some time. It was also an opportunity to encounter Jeremy Malcolm (whom I know virtually) from Consumer International before we meet up in real-life.

Unfortunately, GNU/Linux might not work too well with Second Life (or the other way around). Meaning, it was not possible to view the slides being shown as the speakers made their presentations.

“Online lectures can otherwise tend to get boring. So having avatars and the like does make the event more colourful,” Arun Mehta said, as we spoke when we met up. In hindsight, it’s a fairly useful tool which can be meet-before-you-actually-meet; before encountering it, I though this space didn’t have anything useful in it! This article on The Wikipedia points to criticism and controversy over Second Life.

But tools are what you make of them!

(Phet Sayo, before one Second Life meetup, showed how one could get an avatar to dance. Interesting! Just that I couldn’t get — on time — the instructions on how to stop it from doing so. A hard reboot later, I lost the audio channel, and couldn’t hear what was going on. But all it took was a restart into Second Life.

So do you believe in cyber-reincarnation?

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