Response has been good

Since the announcement on 3/18/2009 of the CESL Conference, response has been good. We have not done much physical changes to the building and surrounding areas. Leeah Vaher has completed the roof design and placed sitting areas throughout the rooftop.

I am pretty exhausted this week and have taken the academic spring break to spend some more time with my kids and also take some longer naps than usual. I check in at the center and look at a list of visitors to see recognizable names.

Done, done, done, done, done

Well, it has been a rough couple of days but we are ready to make the announcement abut the Center and the Conference. Debra and Leeah did some more landscaping creating a koi pond and a pagoda for visitors to sit at. L1Aura came in and added some more landscaping and context to the area.

I have to work on a nameplate for the building recognizing the work.

Today, after a grueling schedule at work and teaching tonight, I completed the announcement that I want to use for the listservs about the conference. I have to teach tonight so either it will be posted late tonight (when I should be drinking green beer) or tomorrow morning (18th). I have loaded more information abut the conference on the website so the website looks complete for now.

My next blog will include the post I make for the announcement. Hope to see you inworld after this.

Video and the big move

I told you this was going to happen. I wouldn’t hold up my end of the blogging bargen. I haven’t been able to post much the last week, between work deadlines and learning new ways to screen capture I didn’t have much time to reflect on the process.

Here’s what happened... Tim Harbough suggested that for non-inworlders to get a sense of what using the SL format would be like to present, I should shoot an inworld video showing the stage process with slides and audio. A great idea and one that I thought would be easy to to. My first attempts at shooting screen captures were using Jing, however I was getting non-consistent file sizes, some were coming back with 7 MB flash video sizes, and others were coming back with 400 MB file sizes. Not able to solve the problem in the descrepencies, I looked to Snapz Pro as a possible tool. I had made a demo run with Snapz Pro and then L1Aura Loire, a RL professional videographer, suggested another tool, iShowU HD because its capabilities of recording multicple takes without having to stop render each video. I found it bundled with Stomp (a video resizing compression program) for about the same price as Snapz Pro. I worked like a charm and within any hour I had six videos cut and up on this web site. The Help Video format is in Quicktime and I may consider converting it to flash for user ease but this works seamlessly with RapidWeaver, the website production software I am using. The help videos include screenshots of how a inworld conference presentation works, videos of how to sign-up for Second Life, how to use movement, instant messaging, friending, landmark, and group tools in Second Life. Take a look at them and you will see how easy it is to get involved.

The ‘big’ news is that we moved the CESL center, not off property, but just closer to the beach. We had noisy neighbors who were using open voice chat to communicate and it was bleeding into the conference hall. Not being able to control their use, we thought it was best to just move the building. Sounds easy, but frankly it isn’t. I had the help of Debra Hilra (building architect) and Leeah Vaher (interior design). I said that it was time to move, went to bed, and when I woke up, the building was moved. Debra also extended the shoreline and built a nice little island and pond inlet on the property.

Now we need to develop the announcement for this page and for CESNET-L and we should be able to announce on Monday, March 16, 2009.

Many changes

It seems like it has been a while since I posted.... Well, yes it has been. I have been on the RL road this last weekend to do a workshop and so much work led up to getting that ready that I have been away from the blog. The good news is that the fine work at the CESL center continues and we are really getting it ready for trainees and eventually the fall conference. I have been leaking the project showing the site to a few folks who, once they get the idea, are really excited about the possibilities for this.

My thanks continue to Debra Hilra (building designer, architect and shoreline), Leeah Vaher (interior design), and L1Aura Loire (grounds and interactive experience). The offices are complete thanks to Leeah, and L1 is beginning to add more fun things to the grounds. I have shot some pictures which I will put up later this evening from RL home.


Registration is working .. now the garden

I worked for a couple of days to get the registration form for the CESL group working. It turned out to be a php version conflict based on the php that I was writing the form in and the php that the server supported. I had to call tech support (and I hate to have to solve problems that way) and they pointed me to the help page that I went to, then indicating that there was ANOTHER help page (with the same title) that I should have used. Fixed the problem and now the group registration form is working. This is a big step for me. The group registration form is the first step in being able to make a “Call for Programs” form and a “Conference Registration” form.

Debra Hilra has been invaluable in getting this center going. Besides the building, she has set up a working projection screen for PowerPoints, a white board for taking ideas from the audience, and is now working on coastline rocks and wave formation.

L1Aura Loire, Dahlia Mint, Leeah Vaher and Debra will be working on the landscaping. L1Aura brings a unique addition to the team in that has many artistic talents, one being her ability to transform virtual art into learning. She will add the garden and also bring in interactive pieces for visitor’s enjoyment.