Sl-1MAKE has “virtual land” in Second Life, a 3d virtual world where you can make anything, build things and anything else you can imagine. In our MAKE:land area you can preview our “virtual edition” of MAKE as well as watch movies and meet other virtual makers – and now, when you visit MAKE, in the real world, I get a message on my wrist watch…here’s how we did it – You could also do this to get a text message or email on your phone…I’m always looking for ways to bridge virtual and real worlds, perhaps to help accelerate the blurring of the lines between them – While owning virtual land in Second Life is in itself an interesting thing to do (and fun) I do like to know who’s stopped by that land, mostly because it’s likely a friend and I can quickly log on to say hi. It’s just like the web cam robots I’ve built here at home. From alert systems to conditional notifications (message me when my virtual bar has 40 people, or the jackpot at a virtual casino gets to a certain amount) these types of data appeal to me in virtual worlds, we can’t be jacked in all the time, but we can at least know what’s going on- and maybe get the data on real world device, like a watch.

The SPOT watch, is a wireless watch that uses FM signals to get news, stocks, weather, traffic, movies and instant messages, it is also something I like to repurpose since I don’t have to much use for one as is.

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Unfortunately, these watches do not receive email or your own custom news (RSS) – but you can use a few hacks to solve that problem. In fact, before we get started, check out the complete HOW TO on getting RSS feeds and email on your SPOT watch here. And more about the SPOT watches here (MSN). I really like(d) the technology and attempt to smartening up objects like a watch, but it was pretty harshly received on launch, perhaps fairly, and for the most part it never really took off, I like mine, now that I use it for what it wasn’t intended.

You don’t need one of these watches to get notifications on who (and when) someone visits your virtual property in Second Life, but it’s a convenient weird pervasive way to take advantage of wrist real estate. This will also work with cell phones too via a text message.

The way the notifications work:

  • An object (with a script) is placed on your land in Second Life.
  • When some visits the land, you get an email, sms or alert.

It would be like putting a box in your house that sends you a text message on your phone when someone stops by, along with their name, time stamp and GPS location.

The script can be edited to send the email to an address you’d like. The distance the object uses to detect visitors is also configurable. Max Case and Alan Martin worked on this, so special thanks to them.

For my example, the object detects someone, sends an email and an application/hack called “SPOT manager” (here) checks an email account then pretends to be MSN Messenger, and sends an instant message to my watch.

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SPOT manager.

You can easily use any email address or an email address that will send a SMS to your phone, T-Mobile for example lets you send [email protected] and that will send a SMS to your phone, other carriers offer email to SMS, just check with them or their support sites for the exact way to do that (and keep in mind SMS costs real dollars).

Now, if this is something that’s interesting to you and you have Second Life (or want to get a free account) you can easily make this object and use the script (included here) or just visit MAKE:land and we can give you one too. I’m “torrone trumbo” in world and usually MAKE pal “alan martin” is hanging around there too. The only thing to consider is land ownership, which isn’t free, make sure to read the Second Life site for more details on that. If you just want to try it, you can also drop one our MAKE:land, but we’re likely to clean up the place once and awhile too.

The Vistor to IM/Email object:

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Create object, any thing will do (Right click > Create).

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Object on land.

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Create a new script (click more>> Content tab) and use the text here (click to view text file with script) editing the email address and other parameters you’d like to modify.

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Save and drop a copy on your land.

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That’s pretty much it!

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Object on land.

Here are some examples of messages on my watch and phone.

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Max Case on land, send to my watch.

Other ideas – perhaps you could do a real world weather station from the virtual world, sent to a server or via email, Second Life has wind and other things you could likely get out. If I had a vending machine of sorts, I could use this to get notifications for all sorts of things and to track traffic patterns in a store by changing the radius and using a few of these. You could also make real world sculptures and ambient orb-like devices to indicate all sorts of things. Of course, you could also go all out and make a robot controlled from in world, or the other way around with a gateway. After only a short time in Second Life, I think the next money maker will be external web services that do really enhance in world activities – I’d gladly pay a few Linden (the currency) a week to use a SL to RL IM-SMS-data collector gateway for all sorts of things- even a blog service to post from in world to out would be quite interesting and it seems really possible.

If you just want to explore our little spot in virtual land, search for “make” in find place or click this link if you have Second Life installed.

In world, you can see a preview of MAKE:virtual, a virtual edition of MAKE, a movie theater with movies from MAKE, join our Maker group as well as a giant canvas to paint on amongst all the other odd and nifty things in Second Life.

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See you in world!