Yahoo!’s Tech Mom Looks at Second Life

Dory Devlin, Yahoo! Tech’s ‘The Mom’ has a post here about Second Life, since hearing of ‘Adam Reuters’ (Adam Pasick) being ’embedded’ as a journalist in Second Life for Reuters – they have a dedicated site at http://secondlife.reuters.com. There’s a hearty discussion thread building on Dory’s post! Lots of ‘I don’t get it’ posts and lots of ‘I make money!’ posts.

Recently, Adam posted a story that the US Congress are launching a probe into the virtual economy that exists within Second Life (and a follow-up here). Many people make quite alot of money in this virtual world. Some even more than the employees of Linden Lab, the creators and curators of this new ‘metanation’ which I inhabit.

It’s an interesting discussion – and one which will have to be addressed soon, whether we like it or not. I heard about a year or so ago of someone who was trying to go through his taxes and wanted to deal with the money he was being paid to look after someone’s character in a different game. His accountant and the taxman had no idea what to do, so shrugged and ignored it.

I think it’s bound to change. But I wonder how the various global tax offices decide to deal with it. There will probably be virtual tax havens you could log in from, to avoid paying. We’ll see. What about if Linden move all their servers offshore? How about Sealand? That’s a ‘very Second Life’ place 😉
In the next week or so, we’ll hit the 1 million users mark in Second Life. (Currently stands at 983,621) That will be a big day which will no doubt garner headlines all over the world – then more users will come – and more money will be exchanged – etc, etc… 😉

Doctoe Schnook and I (Koz Farina) hope to start a podcast purely about Second Life soon. Stay tuned! 😉

Shooting ITN’s Terry Lloyd

I remember when this happened, while I was working at BBC News. I thought it was terrible that a journalist should get killed, and even be in harms way to such an extent to deliver a story. I was even asked if I minded the vast amount of hours I was putting in, to prepare our systems for war – I said ‘Look, some journos are sat in the back of a tank on their way to the front-line – of course I don’t mind!!’

But there was something different about this particular news of another casualty of war, when viewed from within a news organisation: the footage we see, compared to what is broadcast.

I heard the evening after they found out that Terry had been shot from a friend who worked at ITN at the time, how they learned of his death.

In global TV newsrooms, you tend to find a TV on every desk, plumbed into a huge network of AV feeds, with split-sceen, direct acess, all-sorts of video feeds from studios, camera teams, edit suites all over the organisation (I actually watch the live feed to White House and saw a soldier standing in for Bush to get the lighting right, before GW sat down, had his hear combed and informed the world that war had broken out in Bagdhad)

Here are some pics I took with my cameraphone at the time:

Apparently, at ITN one day, they were looking at a live unbroadcasted video feed coming from a camera team in Iraq. The camera had panned across a pile of dead Iraqi bodies that they had found. While panning around the bodies, apparently one of the people in the newsroom at ITN said “That’s Terry!” – His body was found with the Iraqis. To me, this could only mean one thing – that he had been killed by ‘our’ guys and they had piled him in with the rest of them. Awful. This is (apparently) how they learned of Terry’s death.

The stories on CNN, The Times and BBC that I have seen so far, seem to say there is potentially edited footage related to this incident. I’d have to say that it wouldn’t surprise me.