Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Young Entrepreneurs

HP, in partnership with Junior Achievement, sponsors the Global Business Challenge Contest for high school students. In Virginia, contact Junior Achievement of Southwest Virginia.

Junior Achievement is also a partner in EntrepreneurWeekUSA, along with noted teen financial literacy author, Sally Taylor, of Silly Goose Productions.

Virginia organizations sponsoring EntrepreneurWeekUSA include George Mason University, Shenandoah University, Radford University, Northern Virginia Community College, TiE-DC, the Virginia Department of Education, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, the City of Lynchburg, and Blue Kiwi.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Many Eyes Online

IBM's beta data visualization site, Many Eyes, is available now. Take a quick look at the sample visual representations, like registered voters in New Hampshire, or languages on Wikipedia. Most visualizations allow changes by users, such as the political party registration.

Nice touch: We can leave comments about the visualizations in the related blog page below the map - so I found out why France is included twice in a treemap of the world's population.

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Nickelodeon MUVE

Nickelodeon announces their new MUVE (Multi User Virtual Environment) today. Nicktropolis is designed for 6 - 14 year olds. According to
What's different in Nicktropolis is that kids can visit the home of SpongeBob on "Nicktoon Boulevard" to chat with the character, or watch television programming featuring Jimmy Neutron while "hanging out" with friends.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

eBay loves SL

Historically, eBay has not allowed auction items from virtual worlds. The policy on digitally delivered goods states: "The seller must be the owner of the underlying intellectual property, or authorized to distribute it by the intellectual property owner." According to Slashdot, eBay is delisting all auctions for virtual property.
The growing popularity of Massively Multiplayer games has brought the issue of ownership rights in virtual worlds, and the appropriateness of what is called 'real money transfer' (RMT) into an increasingly public light.
However, today eBay made an exception for items from Second Life, since "Second Life is not a game", and SL residents own the intellectual property rights to objects they create in SL.

According to Daniel Terdiman in the podcast for January 29, the secondary market for virtual world items is estimated to be between 250 and 800 million US dollars.

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SL in Davos

Thanks to Bill Trainer for pointing us to the recent article by Fortune senior editor David Kirkpatrick. Fresh from a World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he writes:
What convinces me it is one of the most significant technology breakthroughs in history is that it is a platform on top of which users can create their own software and content, realize their ideas, and even make money.
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Business Planning on SL

The Edelman-sponsored Business Plan Contest on SL is nearing completion, winners will be announced shortly.
The The Grid Review has a machinima created in December, as the entry period was closing.

The Charlottesville Venture Group accepts real life business plans for review each month.

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Jobs online

Michael Arrington's TechCrunch post on the job board bubble points to the new plug and play job boards available for blogs. Looks like the Gig Board and the Job Board at 37 Signals has inspired lots of folks, including Job-o-Matic at Simply Hired.

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Widgets, Free Range

Interested in widgets and mobile devices? See Timothy Post's piece on Free Range Widgets.

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EntrepeneurshipWeek Plans

EntrepreneurshipWeekUSA launches February 24, 2007.

The opening ceremonies at Stanford University will include the announcement of the on-campus Innovation Challenge, and participation in a full-length documentary being filmed during EntrepreneurshipWeek USA, which will be televised nationally in the U.S. and distributed in at least ten other countries.

The Kauffman Foundation, Inc. and the New York Times have joined forces to celebrate entrepreneurs of all ages. For kids, there's Hot Shot Business; for adults, there's Startup Nation. Read the Trailblazer's stories, and search the BizInfoLibrary.

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42 Answers

Thanks to Wired, we apparently know the answers to 42 vexing and enduring questions. To add your own insights, see the Wired Wiki for each question.
Wired footnote: OK, hitchhikers, you're right. This package contains only 40 great questions about life, the universe and everything. Got two more of your own? Visit our Wired Wiki to add them.
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Friday, January 26, 2007


Endeavor just announced a grant from Citibank to expand its operations into South Africa and Turkey. Their second annual Entrepreneur's Summit is scheduled for May 1 -3 in Miami, Florida. The new President is James Wolfensohn, former head of the World Bank.
Endeavor targets emerging-market countries transitioning from international aid to international investment. It looks for strong macroeconomic conditions that enable entrepreneurship (e.g. stable economic growth and low corruption levels). Endeavor currently operates in Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, India and Mexico.
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Entrepreneurship Conferences, 2007

Here's a partial list of conferences on entrepreneurship:

11th Annual Meeting of the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, in March.
The 21st Annual International Conference on Business Incubation in April.
The Association for Enterprise Opportunity Conference (Microfinance) in May.
25th Annual Entrepreneurship Education Forum, sponsored by the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education, in November.
The 21th Annual USASBE Conference sponsored jointly by the National Association for Small Business & Enterprise and the Small Business Institute, in January, (2008).

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

New Incubator Model

In 2006, Deloitte recognized NewMarket Technology asd being the #1 fastest growing technology company in Texas, the #3 fastest growing technology company in the United States and #5 fastest growing technology company overall in North America.

NewMarket Technology has taken the incubator concept and turned it on its head. Philip Verges, the company’s chairman and CEO, describes it as an asset-based systems integration firm, “but the asset aspect is that we have our own products that we package and sell, and these assets are emerging technologies.”

They combine traditional systems integration and the early marketing and selling of a new technology with integrated the financing activity for these early technologies. Verges explains that each emerging technology is packaged into a discrete subsidiary. As that subsidiary gets some initial traction, they give it its own public listing, which gives it the ability to capitalize further and gives NewMarket an interim return on investment. NewMarket has gone from $158,000 in revenues in 2001 to $50 million in 2005 and has expanded beyond the United States to developing economic regions like China, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.

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From Russell Buckley, a prediction that 2007 will be the year of the Mugcon (Mobile User Generated Content - anyone think of a better acronym?) is going to hit phones big time this year.
He goes on to say
Got your My Space page? How very, very, very 2006. 2007 is all about creating your own mobile space, with your own mobile web page. Not to mention creating your own Java magazines -I hotly tipped Tocmag back in June, ... Late last year, they’d had over 1 million downloads based on nothing more than a little viral marketing over a few months.
... more practical than a website – welcome to TOCMAG, the fun, free and fresh way to create and download magazines via your mobile phone.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Business Plans and Babson

Guy Kawasaki on the need for business plans, including a study just released by Babson College.
Abstract: This study examined whether writing a business plan before launching a new venture affects the subsequent performance of the venture. The data set comprised new ventures started by Babson College alums who graduated between 1985 and 2003. The analysis revealed that there was no difference between the performance of new businesses launched with or without written business plans. The findings suggest that unless a would-be entrepreneur needs to raise substantial startup capital from institutional investors or business angels, there is no compelling reason to write a detailed business plan before opening a new business.
Kawasaki's conclusion: However, don’t draw the wrong conclusion from this study: “Analysis, planning, vision, and communication are unnecessary.” This isn’t true. What is true is that a business plan should not take on a life of its own. It is a tool ... and may help you get your team working as a team. But it is not an end in itself.

The Babson News Blog is a fascinating look at startups created by their alums.

The latest GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) report, lead by Babson and the London School of Business, was released on Jan 9.

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Tom Evslin writes in Fractals of Change and Wikipedia
E-state is used to refer both to a state with universal availability of fixed and roaming Broadband Internet access within its borders and a state which primarily delivers its services and conducts its business online. "State" in this context can mean a state as political subdivision of a nation or a state which is a nation.
The two meanings of the word go together since a state must have confidence that there is universal broadband access before it can make online delivery of services primary. If any significant minority of the state’s citizens don’t have broadband access or if broadband access is only available from fixed locations, then services still must be designed for offline delivery even if online delivery is also an option.
There are currently no e-states in either sense of the word.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

BGN Entrepreneur's Minute Jan 23, 2007

(About 1 minute)
Stacey Strawn Evans, founder and co-president of the Blue Moon Galleries suite of internet businesses.

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Fortune on Second Life

David Kirkpatrick, Fortune Magazine, on why IBM's Sam Palmisano and other tech leaders think Second Life could be a gold mine:
... what's beginning to catch the attention of IBM and other huge corporations is ... the ability to use Second Life as a platform for a whole new Net - this one in 3-D and even more social than the original - with huge opportunities to sell products and services
Among the initiatives announced by Palmisano: a $10 million project to help build out the "3-D Internet" exemplified by Second Life.
The company's backers include some of the world's smartest, richest, and most successful tech entrepreneurs. The chairman and first big outside investor is Mitch Kapor, creator of Lotus 1-2-3, the spreadsheet application that helped begin the PC software revolution. Other investors include eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and Microsoft chief technology architect (and inventor of Lotus Notes) Ray Ozzie - each credited with a seminal networked product of our age.
At first, ... Only 1,000 people were regularly visiting after five months, and money was running out. Smith and Kapor, who had invested the lion's share, considered pulling the plug. But they were astonished by the creativity of Second Life's few denizens.
Impressed by this passion, Kapor wrote another seven-figure check, and Second Life relaunched in January 2004, this time with more focus on user creativity and in-world entrepreneurship. Linden took the advice of Lawrence Lessig, the Stanford Law School guru on intellectual property, who recommended letting users own their own content.
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Monday, January 22, 2007


DARPA's newest solicitation is LOCO (Location and Connectivity Aware Content Pushing):
The vision of the LOCO program is to provide information to commanders before they need it by anticipating their needs. Current systems (e.g., file caches, peer-to-peer networks or Akamai-like systems) watch what users request and react by either moving data or shifting users to other data stores. These techniques neither move the data beforehand nor work efficiently in bandwidth constrained military environments. Proposer's Day: February 27 in Arlington.
O'Reilly Radar connects this with Jeff Hawkins notion of the brain as a predictive engine.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Conscious Capitalism

Several interesting pointers to Patricia Aburdene's book, Megatrends 2010: The Rise of Conscious Capitalism.

Reviews on Zaadz.
A 2005 interview with Aburdene from the Christian Science Monitor.
Comments, and some additional megatrends from C4Chaos.
How-to undertake conscious capitalism, from Ivy Sea.
A summary of Aburdene's 2006 talk in Charlottesville at the Darden School of Business.

Finally, Whole Foods Market founder John Mackey's extraordinary blog article from November 2006.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Carnival of Entrepreneurs

The current Carnival of Entrepreneurs, at Startup Spark, points to some good posts about becoming and succeeding as an entrepreneur. Here's a sample.

Craig Harper writes on the science of success, When we ... look objectively at a collective of ... successful people, we discover that there are certain traits, qualities and characteristics which are universal across the group.
Bill D’Alessandro speaks to what makes a successful entrepreneur.
And David Maister stirs up a lively discussion by asking what a company needs most. (Values? Culture? Mission? Customers?).
Finally, David Lorenzo provides a practical guide to marketing for startups.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

VCs, Valuation, Private Equity

From Peter Rip at Early Stage VC, a note on focused (vs big picture) companies.

Adam Rubenstein of the Coloradao Life Sciences Deal Flow blog, has created the new OnBioVC blog, an attempt to aggregate and organize all that is transpiring, from coast-to-coast, in early and late stage life science investing.

From Edward Robinson, of Bloomberg, a piece on how Barclay's Global Investors (BGI) has reshaped the hedge fund business.

And for the social entrepreneurs, the Silicon Valley Microfinance Network will conference next week: Microfinance: Living Up To Its Social Mission?
BTW, this site uses the SNAP visual search engine to show web sites in a small widget.

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SL Tour at the Gene Pool

Avatar Max Chatnoir has donated a new exhibit to the Science Center on Info Island II. The exhibit shows how a ribosome reads a messenger RNA strand and uses that information to assemble amino acids into a protein. There is also an explanatory notecard. You can find the exhibit on the second level of the Science Center building on Info Island II. Max will also be giving a tour of her SL genetics museum, named ‘The Gene Pool’ on Thursday, January 18 at 7 PM SL Time. The Gene Pool is located at Immaculate (207, 209, 22). Source: InfoIsland This Week
Direct Links:
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dean Madison Speaks to CVG

Dean Madison, entrepreneur and founder of TD Madison, spoke to the Charlottesville Venture Group this morning about the basics of finding the right people, and making sure they were in the right roles.

He anticipates an increasing in hiring activity in 2007.

TD Madison was founded in 2001 to meet the unique needs of emerging and high growth companies. The firm has pioneered an innovative solution in the executive search process that focuses on ensuring that candidates fit properly with a client's culture and needs.

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Google Unbound

Check out the New York Public library for Google Unbound, to hear from "thought leaders and industry veterans who are taking advantage of our increasingly digital world—from blogs and social networks to print-on-demand and online access".
Speakers include Tim O'Reilly (O'Reilly Radar), Chris Anderson (Wired Magazine), Cory Doctorow (BoingBoing), Seth Godin, Stephen Dubner (Freakonomics)

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Can you top this headline?

Judge Tries to Unring Bell Hanging Around Neck of Horse Already Out of Barn Being Carried on Ship That Has Sailed. (regarding the case involving Eli Lilly documents to the Zyprexa wiki.) Thanks to William G. Childs, an assistant professor at Western New England School of Law on his TortsProf blog and to BoingBoing.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Widgetcards, and the iPhone

From Timothy Post at Flying Seeds, comes the prediction that 2007 will be the year of the widgetcard on the iPhone. He asks for an elegant way to organizing the widgets for import, export, storage, and sharing, and points to The Best Stuff in the World as an example of good design for sharing a public portfolio.

From MacWorld, here's a short YouTube video of the iPhone.

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Tired Web History

Thanks to WSJ syndication and a post on Orange Cone.

A San Francisco social scientist and web designer, Mike Kuniavsky, bought the Web address,, in 1997. He posted a brief message on the Web site as a placeholder: "Are you tired? Tell us why." Clicking on "us" sent visitors to a blank email form addressed to, which was forwarded to Kuniavsky's email. The submissions were never to be published online. By 2000, the unmodified site was eliciting about 24 responses a day; now Kuniavsky receives about 8 responses per day. The site remains unchanged since 1997.

Kuniavsky's current blog is Orange Cone. His current project is ThingM.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Open Source Radio

According to O'Reilly Radar, Campcaster is a radio broadcasting software package, open source software with potential for significant social impact. More detail from the BBC Digital Planet interview with founder Douglas Arelleanes. Campcaster takes a regular PC and turns it into a tool for managing every aspect of a radio station broadcast.
The effort is financed by the nonprofit, Media Development Loan Fund

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From Guy Kawasaki, pointers to several visualization sites, including the Periodic Table of Visual Elements.
A new style of capturing presentations in visual form, is the picture of recent Kawasaki talk, right, by Martha McGinnis of Visual Logic.

This is good time to re-visit Visual Complexity, and Tom Sawyer Software for ways of visualizing information. Also, the earth images from Red Orbit.

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Building on SL

There is already news on O'Reilly Radar from Allison Randal, who has now successfully built Second Life from source on both Mac OS X and Ubuntubuilt with the SL open source.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Entrepreneurs in SL

From Hiro Pendragon, a SL entrepreneur, on getting what he really wanted for Christmas last year - the opportunity to start a business:
I had a little money saved in the bank, I had done research on starting a business, and my 1-year strategy was essentially either (a) Being bought or merging with another company (b) Finding someone who knew how to properly run a business and add them to my team. I'm happy with the folks I wound up merging with.

The September article by Annalee Newitz includes this comment from Philip Rosedale:
Rosedale says the next frontier for SL is work, not play. In the past year, several companies have built replicas of their conference rooms in SL so that far-flung employees can meet and exchange information, and even collaboratively build prototypes of real-world projects

Electric Sheep's Forseti Svarog comments in Out to Pasture on the arrival in SL of KAWG&F, an accounting firm from Baltimore:
One of the reasons why Silicon Valley remains such a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity through good times and bad is because of the infrastructure that has grown up to support new ventures.... Small businesses within Second Life face challenges across the spectrum ..., and yet there is very little professional help out there for SL entrepreneurs to lean on.
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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Open Source Predictions

Predictions from Cory Ondrejka at Terra Nova include
Exchanges within MMORPGs and virtual worlds will still not be taxed until converted into real-world currency
At least one Presidential candidate will use Second Life to build a community around issues rather than simply holding a single press conference
And, of course, the free one is that the Open Source viewer will be used in ways that none of us would have predicted.
For context, Ondrejkas's predictions for 2006.

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The iPhone

On Apple's new phone, by Jim Eastman of Brewed Fresh Daily

Hiding at the bottom of the iPhone page?

This device has not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. This device is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.

And we all know how blazingly quick the FCC is…

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Introducing Ogoglio

The virtual world project Ogoglio was founded in May 2006 by Trevor Smith, formerly of Xerox PARC, who describes it as
exploring shared online worlds in the context of web enabled work. If World of Warcraft is "the new golf", then we're exploring "the new business district". We are creating spaces where people will meet with remote coworkers, collaborate using new tools, integrate existing business applications, and enjoy the benefits of being in the same office with people in different time zones.
Unlike existing platforms like Second Life or World of Warcraft, Ogoglio's platforms are open and "web native." They're designed to integrate with existing work practices, desktop applications, and web services.
His recent interview with Urizenus Sklar of Second Life Herald is available as text or podcast.

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Open Source on SL

A comment on the SL decision to go Open Source from Van Hemlock, the Virtual Monster Hunter:
It's difficult to see why they've decided to do this. The stated reason, the 'invitation to the world to help build this global space for communication, business, and entertainment' is suitably woolly, but is certainly in line with the company's typical utopian stargazing. Perhaps the recent recruitment drive didn't go as planned, so they're just outsourcing development of the client, on all of us! Perhaps their work here is done, and now they've been recalled back to the mothership, leaving Mankind with the gift of Web3D? Perhaps it's a staggering breathtaking act of supreme ego and/or generosity - 'we've done the hard work, and now it is our gift to you, the peoples of Earth. Be excellent to one another!' ... Perhaps they're just crazy - it happens sometimes.
And here's Riks Picks for interesting SL events this week.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

SL goes Open Source

According to Pheonix Linden this morning on the Second Life Blog:
Stepping up the development of the Second Life Grid to everyone interested, I am proud to announce the availability of the Second Life client source code for you to download, inspect, compile, modify, and use within the guidelines of the GNU GPL version 2.

UPDATE: The Linden Wiki

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New Year's Assessments, Resolutions, Predictions

Irving "Islander" on 2007:
I believe that Highly Visual Interfaces and Virtual worlds will become increasingly important for interacting with applications, communicating with people and engaging in commerce, - what we in IBM have started to call v-business.

A New Year's Resolution for entrepreneurs from Bill Reichert, of Garage Technology Ventures: "I will fix my pitch".

According to Timothy Post, of Flying Seeds, 2007 will the year of social cataloging. For example, Listal, AllConsuming, Spout (for movies), Shelfari and LibraryThing (for books)

Finally, the blockbuster business book of 2007, Payback: Reaping the Rewards of Innovation, according to from Lester Craft of Innovate Forum.

Thomas Hawks on what happened with some 2006 predictions.

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SL Blogs

A short list of blogs about or from Second Life

Second Life, the Official Linden Blog
Gwyn's World by Gwyneth Llewelyn, on a feature length movie premier to be held in SL on Jan. 9
New World Notes by Wagner James Au, who was the embedded reporter in SL.
Second Life Herald founded on October 23, 2003, by philosophy professor Peter Ludlow. Its mission, as described the next day, was to observe, record and study "the legal, social, and economic implications" of life in the virtual world.
The Metaverse Messenger, a Real Newspaper for a Virtual World.
Second Tense by Hiro Pendragon.
Second Life Future Salon, sponsored by the Acceleration Studies Foundation.
3PointD; the current story is about IBM's business ventures on SL.
Prokofy Neva's BlogHUD from Second Life.
And my favorite,, about the SL region of Chilbo by Fleep Tuque.

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Guy(s) on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an online international network of more than 8.5 million experienced professionals representing 130 industries. Guy Kawasaki points to ten ways to improve the usefulness of a LinkedIn membership. In addition to the obvious steps, his recommendations include:
Improve your Google PageRank
Perform blind, "reverse", and company reference checks
Gauge the health of a company, or an industry
Track startups and new ventures.
And from comments received on that post: Scope out the competition, customers, prospective partners.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Politics in Second Life

According to the Second Life Insider, SL will get a "House" of "Representatives". Several people, who do not actually represent anyone on Second Life, have decided to build this "House", in which to deliver political speeches about real life, mostly in California.

Why bother with expensive elections, or with inconvenient districts? Just open a building, call it "The House", and invite politicians to speak. It's unsettling to hear RL politicians, who ought to know better, be party to this.

As Prokofy Neva says,
It's not a House, and does not Represent a thing.
It's like the fellow who plunked "The Supreme Court of the United States" down in Second Life and opened up a talk shop saying he was going to empower citizens to discuss their disputes blah blah. Justice Soothsayer was his name

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Cars on SL

On Pontiac's monster trucks, Master Penguin of Second Life Insider says I think Motorati Life is the only place on the Web you can find a picture of a Furry in a Monster Truck.

Here is a new specality car, the SL RX8 (right)

And my own favorite, the unique SL roadsters (below) from Damanios Thetan, who says If the vehicle really disappears into the distance ... you can rez a new one.

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Eric on Selenium

Watch for Eric Pugh of OpenSource Connections, speaking on Selenium at Codemash in mid January.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Virginia Performs

The Commonwealth of Virginia welcomes the new year with a new web site, Virginia Performs, a statewide scorecard and a good source of comparative information.

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