This week we welcome special guest John “Pathfinder” Lester as we take a look at the past and future of virtual worlds and he catches us up on what’s he’s been working on over at ReactionGrid.

This week’s topics include:


John “Pathfinder” Lester is an expert in the educational use of virtual worlds and 3d simulations.   His background is in neuroscience research and medical education, and he previously worked at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital creating online medical education and patient support communities while exploring the underlying neuroscience behind how people communicate and collaborate effectively.  From 2005-2010, John worked at Linden Lab, where he led the development of the education and healthcare markets while evangelizing the innovative use of virtual worlds in research, training and distance education.  John is currently the Chief Learning Officer at ReactionGrid Inc., helping clients develop new systems for immersive learning using web and mobile-based virtual world platforms.

William Reed Seal-Foss (Reed Steamroller) is a 3D artist and virtual world content creator for Sand Castle Studios, LLC.

Bernhard Drax (Draxtor Despres) is a musician, new media producer, and machinima journalist.

Karl Stiefvater (Qarl Fizz, formerly Qarl Linden) is visual effects artist, software developer, and interactive designer extraordinaire.

Thank you to our sponsor, Pretty Feet!

About Kim/Gianna

Kimberly Winnington (SL: Gianna Borgnine) is the Emmy nominated owner and CEO of Sand Castle Studios, LLC, a company dedicated to helping organizations maximize the full potential of virtual worlds and social media by creating interactive, social, and 3D experiences. For the last 5 years, Kimberly has helped SCS clients stay ahead of the curve and is a respected resource for information on current and developing trends, social media, and immersive experiences.
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11 Responses to Action-Reaction

  1. Crap Mariner says:

    Good one.

    -ls/cm, heading of to pet a pit bull

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  3. Pathfinder says:

    That was so much fun! Thank you again for having me on the show. :)

  4. Vanessa says:

    - funny to hear all those old names, that probably most SL users do not even recognise now. All things must pass, even sacked ex-lindens (sorry Karl)

    – there’s a lot more similarities between farmville etc and SL than is usually acknowledged : all those breedable cats, bunnies, horses, chickens have been so successful not only as a source of revenue for the creators, but as a mindless ‘click a cow’ pastime for SL users. Are you taking a swipe at those people too?

    – I hope John didn’t pay too much for his Gor book collection – you can find them for free lining budgie cages quite easily where I live

    – it will be interesting to see over time how many worlds inspired by the development of SL, will actually be innovative and leading edge enough to survive and be around in five years time. I’ve yet to see any that are original.

    – one reason people see nothing to do in SL to hold their attention, or many other worlds for that matter, is that they are bombarded with x-rated material from the start. When the top 50 SL sims are mostly of this nature, people will only pop in for a few minutes, if at all. You don’t get that on FB

    – it seems Drax has taken heed of my lecturing. Gold star for him!

    – I will leave my graffiti here as proof that I listened to the podcast

  5. Zaphod Kotobide says:

    Just past the part with the discussion of DRM where software is The Law, and the broader point John makes about using existing law to tackle the problem. In Linden Lab’s defense, they have been walking a tight rope here. I suspect that most of them would rather employ established trademark and copyright law, but have been faced with content creators going up in arms whenever the Software Law does not work, or shows symptoms of weakness.

    The Lab’s response to that has been to bow to demands of the content creators, and lean more heavily on developing the Software Law. This makes content more difficult to use in-world, and makes it impossible to expand out to other worlds. Then, there are those who don’t *want* their original content to move beyond the walls of Second Life. They fear that once exported, they’ve lost any effective control over their property rights. And they’re possibly correct. They probably also don’t have the resources to pursue investigation and enforcement of their copyrights once it goes into the wild.

    Very, very difficult problems to solve. Linden Lab has taken the understandable approach of applying Software Law where they can, because absent some semblance of comfort on the part of the content creators, they will leave. It has happened many times. Without them, Second Life isn’t particularly profitable.

    I don’t like the innuendo I hear in that conversation which suggests that Linden Lab are naive or are doing it wrong. They have always had a monumental challenge in this particular area, and given all the competing interests that must be satisfied, I think the solutions they’ve developed so far have been fairly reasonable, if perhaps not ideal.

    I want, just as much as you, to see ideas like Hypergrid succeed. I want a single identity and asset collection to follow me wherever I go in the Metaverse. I want to be the same identity – avatar and assets – on OSGrid as I am in Second Life, Reaction, or any other grid.

    The big challenge, and the big obstacle to this, is not The Company, be it Linden Lab or any other grid host or service provider, and certainly not the capabilities of the current state of technology, but the community of content authors who have a financial stake in how this all works out in the end.

    In this climate, Linden Lab would be signing their death warrant by supporting transportability of content in the way that the vast majority of *consumers* want. This is why the gridnaut thing quietly went kaput. Once they realized it could be done, they also realized the dire consequences to them as a company.

    At the core of this are social problems that I very much doubt any technology can ever solve.

  6. Zaphod Kotobide says:

    As a followup to my previous post, that was written last night while listening, and posted elsewhere when I should have posted it here. I thoroughly enjoyed the talk from start to finish. It is encouraging to know that folks like John are out there forging the path (pun intended?) to the Metaverse. Not many Lab folks “get it” like he did then, and does now.

  7. Fleep Tuque says:

    He definitely has giant chickens in his JIBE world, I got stuck in one. ;)

  8. Vanish says:

    Hi there,

    I’m a new listener to the MRP, and am about halfway through all shows, but I kinda felt like I had to write. I mean, in SL we always talk about how passionate people are about it, so as a passionate listener, I actually made a small rant about MRP:

    It’s nice to see Pathfinder on the show after OpenSim has been somewhat misrepresented in previous episodes. That’s especially sad to me as it offers much of what you always expect to come out of the Lab, so if you ever want to make a more balanced OpenSim show, I’d be happy to provide a different perspective on it, if needed.


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