The Tech Development Team at FIT

Third Life???

Google has entered the social network/gaming/virtual world market by introducing Google Lively.  Since the plug-in is for PC only right now, I have not been able to try it out myself.  Based on the reviews that I have read so far, it seems to be an interesting customizable avatar creation tool plus a 3D “chat room” that you could easily embed in your own website or blog.  A reviewer called it a “clunky beta” at this point, but I do like the idea of a 3D space that is more integrated with the other Internet functions.  I will keep my eyes out for the release of Mac plug-in for Google Lively.  Meanwhile, here are some links for those of you that are interested:

Google Lively: Comprehensive Guide to Getting Started

Google Lively Introduced

Hands-on: Google’s Lively social 3D world is 20 percent done

Google Lively FAQ


July 13, 2008 Posted by | games, metaverse, second life | , , , | 2 Comments

FIT Senior Student Photo Opening

Alison (left), Brian (center) and Hildy (right) at the opening

Thanks to Brian Emery and Alison Wermager, FIT had it’s first ever art opening in a virtual world on monday May 12. It was a historic occasion and one day, FIT will look back at that day as a major milestone. Brian and Alison’s students (BFA seniors) were introduced to Second Life and the art that’s being created there on occasion throughout the semester. Then, for their final show, they took their work and uploaded it into Second Life, and attached the images to “prims” and sized them appropriately.

The work was all installed in a pre-fab gallery that Brian and I purchased a few weeks ago for L$1999 (about $8). We had fruit punch and champagne and fruit (all virtual of course) and lots of faculty and students came to see the students’ really amazing work. There were artist’s statements and videos too. Thanks especially to Hildy Gardner, Josie Vargas, Ron Amato, Deborah Klesenski. Bill Mooney, Reginetta Haboucha, Steven Zucker, and others who came to see. And thanks especially to all the students for all their hard work and creativity… (and Brian and Alison, my heroes).

Ron Amato (aka Professor Amiot) who did his own amazing installation for his Masters thesis on the Quad and on the FIT land.

And the always-wonderful Babbs Ballyhoo (Meredith Sharp) — before the opening.

Oh, and me in the fabulous Edwardian Wreath Dress…

May 15, 2008 Posted by | second life | , | Leave a comment

More of a Second Life for FIT…

This past week, Janine Hawkins (aka Iris Ophelia), our Keynote along with W. James Au for Technology Day (I’ve just started reading James’ book — it’s a MUST read), posted a written version of her talk at FIT — a kind of beginner’s guide to fashion in Second Life.

Janine writes about

  • The relationship of real world and virtual fashion – how in many ways they mirror each other, but how virtual fashion allows for things that are not-possible-in-real-life (examples: some expressions of steampunk and cyberpunk).
  • Some success stories.
  • The ways that fashion designers and businesses can use the virtual world as a prototyping platform (to see what works and what doesn’t work), to raise brand-awareness, and as a franchise location. But she offers two solid rules for success: 1) Translate the Values and 2) Never Under-Estimate the Platform.

Speaking of Not-Possible-In-Real-Life, it had been bothering me that we all walk around in SL for the most part replicating our real-world, when so much more is possible in the virtual world. That’s when I found Bettina Tizzy’s blog and was lucky enough to have W. James Au introduce us. Bettina is currently very busy (with Rezzable Productions) working on the brilliant Garden of Not-Possible-in-Real-Life Delights (inspired by Bosch). This is a build festival —

This is not about recreating Bosch’s Garden. It’s about imagining and crafting your own. If you were to journey into heaven or hell, what would this look like, and how might you make this as immersive as possible? Think Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” but with your own twist. And what are the earthlings doing that might force them into the depths of the underworld or paradise?

Read more about this exciting project — which opens after May 14th. I can’t wait. As a souvenir, I took an interactive version of Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, which you can now see on the FIT site. Try touching it and see what happens!

Here’s a pic of me in wings standing in front:

Max Newbold in front of Gift Triptych, Bosch\'s Garden of Earthly Delights

Bettina took a few minutes break to share with me some Not-Possible-In-Real-Life fashion by designers Eshi Otawara and 3Star Tyne. Wow! They were breathtakingly beautiful. I should have taken some pics.

Perhaps a fashion show at FIT in the fall of these and other Not-Possible-In-Real-Life fashions?

Speaking of shows at FIT, tomorrow FIT’s BFA Photography students will open their senior show in Second Life on the FIT campus from 1-3 EST, at

See our listing here and here.

Here’s a photo of Brian’s class in Second Life:

Hildy Gardner and Josie Vargas have both indicated interest in integrating Second Life into their Fashion Design curriculum for the fall, and so has Robin Sackin, chair of the Fashion Merchandising Management Department. And Brian Emery of the photo department (who together with Alison Wermager organized the above show) has a great idea for co-teaching a course with a fascinating assignment in Second Life.

Here’s a shot of Hildy (aka Sig Klaar) who has been building up a storm:

And Ron Amato (aka Professor Amiot) has been installing his Masters thesis project — with some great videos on the history of photography. See them at the FIT site

Off-topic, I’ve also seen some beautiful art in Second Life in the last couple of weeks. Here’s me (Max Newbold) in an installation of works by Alizarin Goldflake.

In a few weeks, FIT will move to a larger lot on Learning 2. In the few months we’ve been in SL, we’ve used up our space.

Thanks to Janet Brav, Jeff Buchman, Hildy Gardner, Steven Zucker, Michele Nagel, Ron Amato, Brian Emery, Alison Wermager, Josie Vargas, Naomi Gross, Robin Sackin, Renee Cooper, Kurt Wendt, and others for their enthusiasm about Second Life this semester…

May 11, 2008 Posted by | metaverse, second life, Teaching and Learning, Technology Day | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Where is the Value for Businesses in the Virtual World?

Shenlei Winkler has a fascinating post today on where the value lies for companies in virtual worlds right now. Faculty often ask me what companies are in Second Life — and the implication is that if there are major apparel companies successfully doing business and making money in Second Life, then virtual worlds are worth looking at. When asked that question, I always feel a bit pained. I can’t answer that major apparel companies are making real money in Second Life. But I know, in my heart, that this is the direction things are moving in. But how to explain that to faculty? Shenlei has real mass-market experience — so she knows. She writes: Given the statistics out there, I think anyone can see that real mass market numbers just don’t equate with the consumer actually being in any one given virtual world at any given time, to receive a marketing message to ‘buy my stuff’.

In her post. Shenlei states what seems obvious, but isn’t for some reason — that we’re just not there quite yet. The mass market consumers are just not in virtual worlds yet in the numbers and concentration that would make it truly profitable. What we need now, according to Shenlei, are processes that make it easier for businesses to do business more efficiently in the virtual world. Shenlei’s Black Dress Technology seems poised to do just that.

The mass consumer just isn’t there yet. She will not be there until enterprise steps up and figures out how to use virtual worlds specifically to enable themselves to do business more efficiently and effectively, and then pays to harden the virtual world in a way that makes them ready for business, which will have the collateral effect of making the user experience consistently easy. Then and only then will we see mass market adoption of virtual worlds. Until then, enterprise enablement is the real value proposition for virtual worlds. Virtual worlds enabling enterprise to conduct business more efficiently.

This makes a lot of sense to me. Read about the Black Dress Technology Subsidiary (partner — IBM) here.

I want to thank Shenlei again for taking the time to come to TechDay and talk to us about the Gateway in Second Life for Fashion Industry folks. Read more about Shenlei’s presentation and how to to gain access to this invitation only orientation gateway for virtual worlds for fashion educators and professionals at Elaine Polvinen’s blog —

April 30, 2008 Posted by | second life, Technology Day | , | 1 Comment

More Technology Day and emerging marketing tools

The panel discussion moderated by Susan Reda, Executive Editor of Stores magazine was incredibly thought provoking. The panelists were Kathy Savitt, Chief Marketing Officer, American Eagle Outfitters and David Polinchock, Founder and Chief Experience Officer, Brand Experience Lab.

I reached out to Susan Reda after reading her cover article for the February issue of Stores Magazine titled “Do You Tube?” Managing the Next Media Channel” that explored YouTube and other forms of social media (Facebook and MySpace) as the next generation of marketing tools for building brand awarenenss and generating sales growth. Susan had interviewed both Kathy and David for the article.

Kathy and David talked about the problems that arise when companies simply “dabble” in emerging technology. You can’t just “dabble.” You have to be committed – otherwise the exciting new media is more likely to weaken your brand rather than strengthening it.

David provided and provides on a daily basis so many examples (good and bad) of emerging technology on his blog. I really urge everyone to check it out. He travels the world and the web and picks up examples everywhere! The blog is called Experience Manifesto.

That really makes me think about the beginning of e-commerce. Everyone really thought it would be the demise of the brick and mortar store. In the beginning companies did not understand how to use the internet to their best advantage. Many companies simply threw product on the web without any thought or more importantly without an understanding of the importance of merchandising the site in the same way they merchandised their store. Of course I will also never forget the holiday season when ToysRUs turned off so many of their customers by not being able to fulfill the promise to deliver gifts by Christmas.

It’s interesting that AE is going to launch an on-line business for kids product (77kids by american eagle). There will be no traditional overhead and limited inventory exposure. Makes incredibly good sense. As Kathy said – to be able to execute a national launch in the traditional retail store model they would have to open physical stores (and lots of them) across the country. This way, they are in essence opening one store that will provide national exposure. It’s not wonder that the web now generates more sales than any single location for so many specialty retailers. What better way to test product? Test it on the web and see who buys it (or not).

All of this pertains to how companies will figure out how to use YouTube and Facebook to their best advantage as well as how they will learn to integrate Second Life into their business model. It will take time but those who figure it out and get it right will be the big winners.

April 29, 2008 Posted by | second life, Teaching and Learning, Technology Day | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Part 2: Technology Day at FIT — Presentations & Roundtables

Part 2 (scroll down for the first post about TechDay)

I am gathering the powerpoints and other materials from the presentations and roundtables. Elaine Polvinen has posted a summary of her presentation here — with a powerful call to educators:

If fashion education does not initiate the type of quick response solution (that students are taught with regards to the real world) to the unprecedented transformational technology shift that is taking place over to 3D, they run the serious risk of becoming redundant and obsolete and could actually be the driving force for industry to develop private training institutes.

Here’s Mary Ellen Gordon’s powerpoint. Many thanks to Mary Ellen for generously sharing with us the brand new research done by Market Truths.


Here is Janine’s powerpoint:

janine hawkins\’ powerpoint

And here is a site with the links Raymond Yee used in his talk.

Will the other presenters/roundtable leaders please use the “comments” feature to post a quick summary of the discussions at your tables or a summary of your presentation — with relevant links? Powerpoints can be sent to me.

April 27, 2008 Posted by | second life, Teaching and Learning, Technology Day | , | 1 Comment

Part 1: Technology Day at FIT — a Note of Thanks

In the stress of yesterday afternoon, I neglected to publicly thank all the people who made the day possible —

HUGE thanks to TDT members Meredith Sharp, James Pearce, and Patty McGillan especially — for far too much to list here. They were simply amazing.

Thanks also to Bernie Kahn, Jeffrey Riman and Naomi Gross. The panel Naomi organized on advertising and marketing in the era of Web 2.0 was fabulous. And of course, thanks to Vinnie Sassone for his support.

And thanks also to the TechDay committee Nancy Diehl, Mark Higden, Eileen Karp, Carmita Sanchez-Fong, Praveen Chaudhry, and Karen Pearson for all their help before and during the event.

And the support of FIT colleagues like Renee Cooper, Sass Brown, Calvin Williamson, Brian Emery, Rena Sussman, Hildy Gardner, Josie Vargas, Carol Poll, Andrew Weinstein, Jeff Buchman, Janet Brav, Leslie Blum, NJ Wolfe, Anna Blume, David Drogin and Steven Zucker meant a lot too.

Thy Nguyen did an AMAZING job on our graphics and Mohammed, our IT intern made beautiful event maps. Mary Oleniczak in the facilities office worked hard on the event and was very patient.

And my SUNY colleagues too — Alex Pickett and Larry Dugan (who ran a Round Table on teaching in Second Life that was packed). Wow!!!

Then there’s Sumit Bagchi and Vince Salamone (and Mike and Indra) who made it all happen on the technical end.

I’d also like to extend a special thanks to our exceptional speakers Elaine Polvinen, W. James Au, Janine Hawkins, Susan Reda, David Polinchock, Kathy Savitt, and Raymond Yee, and Mary Ellen Gordon.

And last but not least our vendors, Xythos (a sponsor), Optitex (a sponsor), Apple, Tukatech, Microsoft, Dimension Data and Cisco, Browzwear (a sponsor), Vectorworks, Adobe, Yunique, CaddEdge, Gerber (a sponsor), Cozimo and Dell (great raffle items!).

Part 2 will focus on the Roundtable Discussions!

Sadly, Louise Guay of My Virtual Model was not able to join us, but sent a link to this video — witha special message to the students at FIT!

April 26, 2008 Posted by | second life, Teaching and Learning, Technology Day | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Elaine Polvinen — Open CourseWare and a Tour of Buffalo State’s Island in SL

This video will provide you with a tour of the fashion project areas on the Buffalo State island in second Life. It starts out in front of the Research building and shows you how to buy flexi skirts for $0L and use the video tutorials. Then you fly to the students work pier and can buy for $0L the franimation overrider. There is an example of the student fashion vendor exhibit there as well as a new vendor for you to buy for $0L. A student example of a Brand Logo board is also there. Then we fly to Poseball area and pose our avatar to position it for a Snapshot to disk. Next, we fly up to the Fashion Runway and wear the frannamation overider and practice walk up and down the runway. Now it\’s time to teleport over to the student fashion collection vendor exhibits from last springs Intro to Sl project. Then we walk over the to Sears Industry exhibit and dress our avatar in one of the garments. Now we visit three of the student fashion boutiques and wear some of the SL items and check out the same items in RL on the students ZAZZLE pages. We end our tour by showing you how to operate the fashion project slide show in the big black box over the exhibit.

Then check out
Fashion CAD OpenCourseWare Basic Function Series: Intro to Second Life for Fashion Students
Vodpod videos no longer available. from posted with vodpod

April 24, 2008 Posted by | second life, Teaching and Learning, Tutorials | , , , | Leave a comment

News Item: Apple stores in the virtual realm–perhaps in Second Life.

I found this interesting post at

If Apple is looking seriously at Second life as a platform to market and sell product I would bet that enhanced Mac software, and e-commerce opportunities will be right alongside that initiative. With iTunes, iPods, Apple TV and more Second Life may become a living room based activity as friends and family log on and share the experience. It may well be that the home plasma screen will represent the base for sharing the Second Life experience with the help (of course) of Apple TV, airport and the platform independent virtual world. This will make the experience shared in a way that is currently less accessible.

April 20, 2008 Posted by | second life | Leave a comment

Can Techies be Creative?

I was going to log on and write something about Facebook, and I found this thing that I wrote last year while preparing for a conference in Canada. The title is Observations and Suggestions for College-Level Digital Arts Courses. I have discussed some of the ideas such as co-teaching, peer-to-peer learning, and hyper-disciplinary creative course in our retreat, but I figure some of you might be interested in reading the paper so I uploaded the PDF file for you to download at:

Any comments or feedback will be much appreciated, thank you very much!

April 16, 2008 Posted by | Teaching and Learning | Leave a comment