When we originally rolled out chat it was used quite regularly and of quite anumber of folks. Then about a year ago we de-activated chat for a while as our server where in transition, and due to other operational considerations. A couple months ago we brought the chat functionality back, but for some reason it never regained the popularity it once had, even though there were more folks on the site and more folks online, but less folks interested in chat.
Every now and then we got a couple of folks ansking "Are you going to bring chat back? Why is there never someone there?" To tell you the truth: I don't know. I don't know why chat never regained the popularity it once had. Maybe because every one of the chat functions we had was very 'sterile' maybe as some othes said "This group does not need chat", Maybe because chat is too complicated? Honestly I don't know. I tend to believe that in these days a chat should offer more that just pure chat functionality. In a perfect world it would allow us to see each other as well as talk to each other via voice and text. These are some of the thoughts I had when I set out AGAIN to find a decent chat system that could be of use for the group.
I believe I have found something. I believe I have found a chat system that is free to use (unless you WANT to use special functions), where the inventors are actively working on 3D-spatial voice (meaning with a stereo headset you would be able to hear where the voice comes from) and that is at least in my opinion graphically pleasing.
Now to the details: I believe a MMPORG called "Second Life" could give us all of the above and in the near future sound as well. SL is hard to describe. While strictly speaking it falls under the definition of 'game' I don't think the term game is quite right. The drawback on this game/chat is that you will need to download the client to connect in order to it.
So how DO you get going? It is in fact quite simple: You have to create a user ID for yourself at http://www.secondlife.com
. After you created your user ID and you downloaded and installed the client, just fire up the program and log on with you new user ID. The first time it will have you go through a couple of steps to learn the basics. Once you are through the initial steps (which will take you between 5 and 15 minutes) you have a couple of ways of finding the BMWLT.com conference room:
The simple method.
a) Click on search, select "All" and search for BMWLT. This should bring up two entries. One for the group and one for the place. Click on the place (the one with the house) and then on "Teleport" (Which is the most common form of "transportation" in SL).
b) The more advanced method You can enter the address of our conference room directly into the "Map" Basically our address is Gramela(63,78,25) Which is nothing else but The name of the SIM we have our room in and then the three dimensional co-ordinates. So in order to user the Map, open the Map, then enter the name of our SIM "Gramela", hit "Search" and then the 3 coordinates. After that you will see The "Teleport" button light up. Click Teleport and you will be transported to our conference room.
c) You can use the search function to see if I am online. My ID in SL is "Andy Sao". If I am online I can transport you right into our room.
Give it a try. It's not as hard as it looks at the first look. I know this is not everyone's cup of tea, but once you get the hang of it, who knows. Maybe you like it. *I* am sure it could serve us very well as our conference and chat.
So remember: If you see a guy called Andy Sao crawl around, thats me yours very truely.