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!