Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Second Life, Wikipedia scandal

This Userfriendly Comic kind of emphasizes the point of my post about Second Life plus I think it's damn funny, too.

In other news:

Nick Carr likes to bash Wikipedia and -to a lesser extent, which is a bit unfair in my opinion- Second Life. In the case of the latter I'm all for it but in the case of Wikipedia, I'm of two minds. On one hand I tremendously like Wikipedia. Where else would you find laid out -in finest detail- the differences between the gazillion types of Manga comics and their respective fans? To me, the abundance of articles about pop culture items on Wikipedia is no disadvantage, but one of its strong points. Come on, if you need cold, hard facts about a subject of physics or something you'll know where to find it. Wikipedia could even be a starting point for that search. But the cool crowd, well-versed and endlessly immersed in the intricacies of movies like Alien or Blade Runner, TV shows like Stargate, Star Trek et al., they want articles about such pop culture icons and the longer they are, the better.

On the other hand I must say that Jimmy Wales and the convoluted bureaucracy governing Wikipedia have a talent to draw all the fire. Just like this latest thing with that PhD-wannabe, EssJay or something. Hey, I'm quite scholarly in some areas myself and I'd make the assertion that my knowledge rivals that of some who have studied the same subject academically and obtained their formal degree but I would never dream of pretending to have a degree I didn't earn. My pride alone would say it's VERBOTEN, because it would minimize my own achievements which I distinctly undertook outside academia. Well, maybe Wikipedia should just add the motto "Encyclopedia of Pop Culture" to it's name and concentrate on the stuff I referred to above. No background checking required on someone writing about these shows just the devotion of a fanboy's heart...

Monday, 29 January 2007

My Second Life experience

When I first joined Second Life I was truly impressed: A virtual 3D-world in which you could freely interact with others from around the globe, in ways I hadn't seen before. An apparently thriving economy, too.

But the longer I travelled through Second Life, the more disappointed I got. Why? I admit it might be my personality quirks getting in the way, but it seems to me that in reality (or virtual reality rather) it is more and more turning into one giant shopping mall. Everywhere you go someone wants to sell you something -or even themselves- and the paramount topic of casual conversation is how to improve the looks of your avatar and where to buy accessories. Call me arrogant, but I think it's quite superficial!

Okay, it's not that much different in real life: People one can have meaningful conversations with are scarce and you have to sort out the few gems from among the pebbles.

Or maybe I have just visited the wrong places? If anyone knows of a Second Life location, where philosophers and writers gather, please let me know.

One thing probably in favor of Second Life: There's lots of virtual sex going on, too. Whatever your niche fetish or sexual preference, chances are, you will find like-minded people there. But for me that doesn't amend the general disappointment stated above. But maybe it's enough for most, being finally able to live out their fantasies in a safe and anonymous environment?! Whatever tickles your fancy, I guess...

Thursday, 25 January 2007

IT as a utility

Nicolas Carr, in a quite interesting post on his blog comments on Google's apparent aspirations in the Software as a Service (SaaS) market.

He quotes Dave Girouard, enterprise market guru at Google with this question:

"Why should every company in the world have to build up their own expertise and have to maintain servers and provide security?"

The obvious answer coming to my mind at least is: "Because it could be a competitive advantage!" If your competitor's IT staff or security team isn't up to speed he could well be trailing miles behind you. If IT becomes a utility, as Mr. Carr and others seem to believe, it would negate the business advantage one can gain by employing competent people. If that's good or bad can be debated, of course. I for one would always favor internal experts over outsourced know-how. Why? Trust! I'd rather trust the people in my employ, bound by the rules of their contract, company policies etc. than some faceless utility provider. Call me conservative in that respect, but let's not devaluate power of in-house competence just yet!