Wednesday, 28 February 2007

A Few More Islands: Techies and The Far East

With all the hubbub about the new continent currently taking shape in what can best be described (for now) as the SL Far East, it is easy to miss some other sims that are perhaps less impressive in size, but may prove far more interesting in the long run.

I have to confess that in my last 2 or 3 delves into SL I have spent just about all of my time in deep conversation with French folk of a variety of backgrounds, interests and, indeed, species. In some neo-con eyes this alone might be suitable grounds for termination with extreme prejudice, perhaps after a touch of extraordinary rendition. But my confession is that these Gallic diversions have meant I have not been rambling as much as usual, and so my discoveries may be a little lame. However, in my pathetic bid to land the odd scoop I thought I should bring to your attention the following new islands. As with most of my finds, don't rush in there just yet, as there's little or nothing ready yet.

First out of the virtual hat is Xerox Innovation Island. As they describe themselves: "The Xerox Innovation Group (XIG) explores the unknown, invents next-generation technology, architects product platforms, manages intellectual property, and creates new business opportunities through its research centers and associated operations." And they've been doing that for more years than I care to think (and certainly more than I can remember). Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) has been strutting its stuff since 1970, when even I was still at school. Unfortunately, for the time being this island is going to remain their private SL playground, though in the longer term they might open up a public space too. Oh... and following an email from Xerox (Hi, Poinky!) they've asked me to mention "that Xerox research (XIG) has a lot of research centers, not just PARC, for example, XRCC (Canada), XRCE (Europe in Grenoble), XRCW (Webster, NY), and now XRC2." Always happy to oblige!

Next up is another tech company, Veeco. Their strapline is "Solutions for a nanoscale world", which for those of you who know your Neal Stephenson, chimes in quite nicely with the theme of "The diamond Age". Their website also contains the rather more prosaic: "Veeco is a leading provider of Metrology and Process Equipment solutions used by manufacturers in the data storage, semiconductor and compound semiconductor/wireless industries." It should be interesting to see to what uses they plan to put SL. A bit of virtual modelling? Or just a bunch of meeting rooms and some website links?

Given my earlier mention of the new Eastern continent (I wish they'd give this thing a name) it seems appropriate to note 2 Asian companies setting up in SL.

Suruga Bank is a Japanese bank, named after Suruga Bay - and that's about as much as I know about them. Oh... I did pick up that they offer homeloans to foreigners in Japan, apparently something many Japanese banks are reluctant to do. I'd like to know if this one is for real, or whether the island name happens to coincide with the name of a bank. I mention this solely because the number of Japanese residents in SL is currently very low. Then again, if their target is foreigners based in Japan who are using SL as a means of staying in touch with friends and relatives, then it could be a clever piece of marketing.

Finally, I would like to introduce you to Acid Crebiz, Korea's first company to specialise in Second Life development. If you've read this blog before, you will know I have only a glancing knowledge of a tiny number of languages - and I am sorry to say, Korean isn't one of them. Therefore, I was not able to extract much from the website. I did find one English language reference to a press release, from a Korean IT news site. However, I wasn't prepared to stump up money to get the whole story, so all I ended up with is: "A business related to 3D virtual reality 'second life' appeared for the first time in Korea. It helps advance to the secondlife in the name of 'developer'." Short - but enjoyable. I'd just love to know what that company name is all about too!


Since it's not been worthwhile grabbing satellite views of the above, I thought you might like to see a couple of the more out-of-the-way places at IBM's cluster. OK, I admit I'm only doing this because I like the pictures - but hopefully you will too:

If you plan to visit, then for the first one you'll need some kind of booster pack to reach the required altitude; the other, though, is at ground level, in the far South-West of the cluster. I just love the rich contrasts on this one - it has a sort of "Myst" look to it.


Jonas said...

Hi Aleister - thanks for noticing Xerox Innovation Island! Right now it's mainly intended to be a private space serving as a base for exploration and experimentation. Hopefully we'll see some expansion and public spaces in the near future...

Xerox Phaser Printers said...

Suruga Bank is servicing both Shizuoka and Kanagawa. The reason they are giving homeloans to non-japanese residents is due to the fact that any foreign residents may have had to contend with a negative image at some Japanese banks in denying their loans.
They get LOTS of business for this. No other bank offers this and many if not all, home loans requested by non japanese residents are denied.

Great stuff you have here!

Aleister Kronos said...

Thanks Annah.

I finally got to visit the Suruga island in June 2007 - . Since I wrote the post I have read elsewhere about the difficulties that foreign residents have obtaining home loans in Japan. You have reinforced that message. I'm glad Suruga don't take the view of so many of their competitors, and are actually prepared to offer such loans. And their island is well worth a visit!