Saturday, March 29, 1997

Symposium @ American Museum of Moving Image

At the American Museum of Moving Image this past Saturday, March 29th, there was an excellent symposium featuring Sherry Turkle, noted author/digital culture expert; Linda Stone, Director of the Virtual Worlds Group at Microsoft's Advanced Technology and Research Division; and Scott Kurnit, Founder, The Mining Company. Following are some synopses of their presentations:

Turkle argued that computers allow us to assume several identities, explore other sides of ourselves, and have it be relatively safe. Our life on the screen is not "RL" (real life) so we can zone, role-play, release, gain perspective. Stone talked about avatar development--how what we put on the distributed network can, in some ways, "become us." She showed us the demo of Microsoft's V-Chat, which lets users make their own avatars or use one of the standard ones. Backgrounds are animated, for instance, in the "Fish Bowl," seaweed swirls in the water, fish swim by, and bubbles move upwards. Another fun area is the Comic Chat. Here everyone's avatar looks like a comic book character, the backgrounds and speech captions also have a comic book feel. Some people have begun using VChat as a lobby area on their web page. But the really cool part was the "Emotion Dial," which allows the avatars a full range of emotions. Kurnit argued that "different people use the Net differently." He said Mining Company has already hired 260 "guides" to more than 1,800 sites.

Tery Spataro of and Chris McCarthy, Director of Strategic Planning for Avalanche were present. I also spied Jamie Levy, Ruth Shanen, former List-Mom of the WWWAC and NancyJaffe, Director of Strategic Planning at Oglivy & Mather.

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)

Thursday, March 27, 1997

WWWAC Meeting @ Irving Plaza

HELD AT THE EVER TRENDY, groovy Irving Plaza, the World Wide Web Artists Consortium meeting featured a big demo by Lara Stein and Madeline Kirbach from Microsoft Multimedia Productions, part of the Microsoft Network (MSN) and entertainment lawyer Jed Alpert, from the law firm of Rudolph & Beer. The demo went well but there seemed to be a bit of frustration from the crowd by the tone in which it was presented. Most people felt Microsoft was preaching "this is how you'll need to present info to us, etc. if you want to do business with us" as opposed to a more "we'd love to hear your ideas and work WITH you" attitude. Obviously MS isn't going away, and they do have some good products, but we are still in the collaboration mode and need to work together in developing standards, programs, and new technology.

Andrew Rasiej, who runs the show at Irving Plaza, filled us in on a very exciting event: NETDAY. Here's your chance to help wire the public schools --starting with Washington Irving High School. This is an effort fueled by privatecompanies and individuals. Using the "Adopt-A-Highway" metaphor, the goal forthis particular school is to put in 54 work-stations; Andrew already has the T1installed! Please come join the effort to enable our city's youth to getconnected and advance technologically. You can also contact: Cecilia Pagkalinawan, 212-886-3964, and Andrew at: 212-777-6817. E-mail or call them for more info!

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)

Wednesday, March 26, 1997

Commonwealth Network party @ Wax

SUPER SLICK SOHO was the designated neighborhood for the Commonwealth Network party on March 26 @Wax. The packed, hot and smokey atmosphere created the perfect environment for mucho networking, martini drinking, and that giddy-headed experience of being in New York's new media community.

Samatha Skey, director of PR for Interactive Imaginations, Inc. gave me theskinny on the event. Initially, Commonwealth Network was created to, through a network of 500 sites. The number of sites that wanted to get in on the Riddler craze grew to such a rate, CWN decided maybe they'd accept banner sales as well. Now, it's is a network of 8,000 sites. They took the model of a full page ad and implemented it across the top 250 sites within this network. Users register one time and are served up a full page ad that would more than likely be of interest based on their profile. Skey claims a 15-percent click-through rate as well. WooWoo!

Surfing the room, I managed to talk with several people. Here's just a few: Thefirst person I ran into was my good ol' friend Anton Self, now CEO of Telephant, a company in the business of selling T1s. When asked what he's been up to lately, Anton replied: "selling pipes." Go Anton!

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)