Mashable (and the rest of the web) coming to Second Life

Some Second Life users have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of “HTML on a prim” for years now.

Linden Lab is making progress on this front with the new “web content as parcel media” in a test version of Second Life.

The test version is called Release Candidate 1.19.1. Being a release candidate means the changes are not too far from being moved into the normal client, the one everyone that joins Second Life gets when they start.

The new web content on a parcel is not the more complex and powerful “HTML on a prim” but it is a major step along that path.

This picture shows my profile on the Mashable.com social networking news site.

Second Life has been using a Firefox variant to display various web pages and other parts of the interface for a while now. Release Candidate 1.19.1 promotes that Firefox based browser to first class citizen status, allowing SL users to view web pages in the Second Life interface in that browser.

Once this catches on web designers should begin making pages that are smaller than normal pages, possibly sized like pages made for display on mobile devices like the iPhone or Google phone. The small size is critical to make these pages pleasant to use without scrolling while blocking as little of the Second Life world as possible. One would expect SLExchange and OnRez to make such pages. I’m hoping that other businesses will do so.

I am also hoping that groups like the Second Life Mentors, New Citizens Inc.,  Hobos, and individuals like Prokofy Neva and Gwendolyn Llewellyn  might make some good web pages designed to fit in a small space, somewhat like the old abandoned F1 Help pages were designed, but the new ones need to designed to be even smaller – half the height of the old F1 Help pages, maybe half the width as well. New users and those who help the new users need to be able to leave the help screen displayed a lot of the time without blocking too much of the world view.

The web browser panel itself could stand to be put on a diet – it has a bunch of wasted space in the frame that hold the window titel and buttons – for an abnormal use like the web browser in a virtual world viewer,  conventions about having a separate window title line, and putting a few button on this line, and a few more on that line, and some blank space for esthetics, and some padding on the sides, should be tossed out and just cram those controls into as small a space as workable.

Here’s an url for some guidelines on designing pages for mobile devices that people designing pages for use in the in-client SL web browser might want to take to heart: Usability guidelines for websites on mobile devices

I am wanting social networks to get hooked up in the virtual worlds, along with collaboration software like Zoho.com’s offering, Google Docs, the upcoming online Microsoft office products, and the Adobe 3D graphics collaboration .

Second Life Release Candidate 1.19.1 also includes the much talked aboutchanges to the weather, sky, lighting and shading system known as Windlight .

I think the introduction of the web into Second Life will be more of a change than Windlight. Windlight just changes some fairly superficial aspects of how things look. Getting the web into Second Life, not in the limited form in the 1.19.1 version, but the full featured form it will have a few more versions from now, will change the way that people interact, the way they connect to each other.

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7 Responses to “Mashable (and the rest of the web) coming to Second Life”

  1. csven Says:

    I don’t think Mashable pays much attention to Second Life anymore. I’ve yet to see them mention this development, yet I read a mind-numbing number of entries for stuff that, to me at least, seems like yesterday’s outdated news.

  2. Sue Baskerville (SuezanneCB) Says:

    It might well be true that mashable doesn’t pay much attention to Second Life . Why should it? Second Life has been a walled garden, with very little way for an average SL user to interact with the web from within the Second Life viewer. Note that I did include a clause mentioning the rest of the web.

    I find mashable interesting – I find social networks interesting and amusing. I read mashable.com most every day, more often and more reliably than I do Virtual Worlds News, for example. (But not as much as read the Second Life forums. )

    Actually, Mashable does mention Second Life from time to time; here’s a headline from almost exactly a year ago: “Playstation Crushes Second Life with Superior Platform”. 🙂

    Mashable covered the closing of fake banks in SL in the story “Second Life Removing Virtual Banks. How Will You Make Real Money Now?” at http://mashable.com/2008/01/08/second-life-removes-banks/

    In November of 2007, Mashable had a story on “Second Life Toolbox: 50+ Resources for Second Life” at http://mashable.com/2007/11/19/second-life-toolbox

    The above is a pretty good list of SL links.

    There’s more coverage than that. Here’s a link for mashable’s search engines results for Linden: http://mashable.com/?s=linden&searchsubmit=Find+%C2%BB

    Perhaps we should see if we can get the Mashable staff to tell us if they have Second Life avatars just for the hell of it.
    Pete Cashmore’s on my friend’s list in several social network sites, I’d be pleased to have him and Kristen and the rest in my SL friends list.

    There’s an SL related social network site called Rezzed.net, as one example of avatar social networking that has been forced so far to take place on a different screen than the screen that displays the virtual world.

    With the in-client web browser getting first class citizen status, folks will be able to access that site and a number of similar avatar social sites like slbuzz from within.

    Group chat could be done in the web browser. A web based IRC client could handle the chat currently overloading the SL group chat system in groups like Mental Mentors and Second Life Mentors and New Citizens, Inc.

    There is currently an IRC chat for SL Mentors at present, see http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Mentors_IRC for more info. It’s not getting much use since it would need an external IRC client to run – but it could be accessed from a web based IRC client and used on the same screen using the web browser in RC 1.19.1.

    I’m not much of a scripter myself, but I’ve got a parcel showing a few of my websites on a prim and letting you then view ones you like in, hopefully at least, the inworld browser.

    I made a thing that lets you say “Google shoes” in chat, for example, and it displays the Google search results page for shoes at the SLExchange shopping site.

    I’m not much of scripter, and I don’t have a server account to run PHP and such at, but it is possible in RC 1.19.1 for someone that is a scripter and web programmer to do some interactive displays despite the current static nature of the web on a parcel texture feature.

    I don’t see much interest in the parcel media features in RC 1.19.1 in the Second Life forums Resident Answers forum , so it is not hard to believe that Mashable.com considers it less important to cover than the opening of Google Sites. No one in the SL forums is predicting that improved web access in SL will end roleplay or produce more furries.

  3. csven Says:

    I think you get the impression I’m not a fan of Mashable. fwiw, I know Pete C. And I read Mashable every day; have since it first appeared on the scene. It’s for those very reasons I said what I did, which wasn’t a slight so much as a recognition of where the priorities have gone. Understandably so. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

  4. Chance Abattoir Says:

    “Mashable (and the rest of the web) coming to Second Life”

    I hope you’ve got an endorsement deal for a headline like that. 😉

  5. Sue Baskerville (SuezanneCB) Says:

    Speaking of Mashable, what are some competitors of Mashable?

    I’ve not seen anything that’s really a similar format.

    I like social networking, I like the way that it’s getting easier and easier for people all the around the world to find each other and enjoy each other. What makes Mashable so pleasant to me is that it does an pretty good job of writing about stuff I find interesting. Not necessarily utterly fascinating, but interesting enough to read. I certainly don’t mean to imply it’s great literature. The writers leave out words, like for example, they’ll leave out the verb in a sentence, and there’s no one doing an effective job of proofreading. I’m not being super picky about obscure rules; sentence should have their verbs in them, and you can’t count on that at Mashable.

    I don’t know anyone connected with virtual worlds, social networks, or online collaboration in the real world, and most likely won’t. Sigh.

    When virtual worlds have the millions of users the virtual world companies state they want to have, and there’s full intergration between virtual world systems and good old 2D internet, there will be plenty of demand for social networking and online collaboration systems for the avatar operators to use.

    I’m wanting to see Second Life added as a People source in the Flock browser.

    I’m pleased as punch to have a response to my post. I write all this stuff and get no response most of the time, which I guess is because I am a boring person who writes boring stuff, and instead of trying to be inflammatory, I try to be conciliatory and congenial. It’s a challenge trying to write that way, it takes a bit of imagination.

    I got a little bitty parcel to play with regarding the new parcel media features, and have gotten google searches to display, discovered that it will play au sound files and display PNG files, play wave files, display animated files, anc various other filetypes.

    I found a MIME types test samples page and was using the samples there to test with.

    Being able to display web pages inworld should be real good for teachers. With the shared browsing this makes possible, and using voice as appropriate, Second Life will be much more useful for teaching than it was a few years ago.

    I wish I was a better LSL scripter, I wasn’t much good to start with, and have gotten almost totally out of practice. I am also not a PHP programmer or other form of “web programmer” or whatever you call the guys who do perl scripts and php and such stuff running on servers, determining what people see on their web browser. I have enthusiasm for integrating the web into SL and other virtual worlds but not the skills or means.

  6. Sue Baskerville (SuezanneCB) Says:

    Wikipedia will be entering Second Life on the in-client web browser – Second Life users will bring it in when they settle arguments or teach classes.

    The New York Times will be in SL – on the surface or prims, put their when users hold meetings to discuss some issue in the news.

    As for an endorsement, I wish I had gotten a big one. I’m tired of working for living. I might a bit tired of living but if I have to keep living it would be nicer to pay for the experience by blathering away on the internet than doing anything actually worthwhile or work-like.

    I want to see some applications of this new capability. I’m not much of a scripter nor do I have a server account. Well actually I might have a free one that would let me use PHP, but I’ve done so little of that it would quite challenging to process one little llHttpRequest. I did it once before. One teeny mostly cut and paste PHP script does not a web programmer make.

    Hi Chance! Nice of you to comment.

  7. csven Says:

    “Speaking of Mashable, what are some competitors of Mashable?”

    Direct competition? I don’t know of one. Similar? TechCrunch (if you can stomach it), GigaOm (which doesn’t cover nearly as much), and a few others and probably already familiar to you. I take them all together – including Mashable – as an aggregate (except TechCrunch, which I only read if key words pop up in my “search” feed).

    “I don’t know anyone connected with virtual worlds, social networks, or online collaboration in the real world, and most likely won’t. Sigh.”

    My situation isn’t that much different. Pete and I were discussing launching a start-up couple years ago; but he’s in UK and I’m in US, so we never met in person. Same is true of me and the Sheep. I worked for them most of 2006, but never met them in person (tho just prior to that I did try to make a NYC meeting that included Paffendorf). Thing is, I don’t feel as if I know them any less than some of the people with whom I’ve met and worked with in RL.

    “I write all this stuff and get no response most of the time”

    Welcome to the club.

    As for coding, I admit to being a hack and not especially good. That’s why I’ve been (slowly) going through a process of improving on the fundamentals; starting from scratch to plug some gaps and then moving on.

    Admittedly much of what I’m still doing is often not new, but on occasion I hit on something that helps everything become clearer in my own mind. Tedious, but I’ve always preferred this method of learning. fwiw, I’m now making my way through plain ol’ C. And if you want to improve, I can’t imagine a better time than now.


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