How to attend a poster session in Second Life

I've been reading quite a bit lately about Universities setting up virtual classrooms in Second Life, so when Bertalan Meskó from ScienceRoll invited me to come give a poster, I decided it was time to take the plunge. Besides, I'm going to be teaching an on-line bioinformatics course this spring for Austin Community College, so this seemed like a good time to find out what the fuss is all about.

Tomorrow, Bora Zivkovic (A Blog Around the Clock) and I will be the first ScienceBloggers (that I know of) to give poster presentations in Second Life. Our talk will be at 4 pm GMT, 12 noon EDT, and 9 am PST (my time zone).

You're all invited to attend the session. But, if you haven't visited Second Life before there are a few things that you need to do beforehand to prepare.

1.First, go to Second Life, register for an account. You have to make yourself a new name, too. Mine is Vitro Vita.

2.Then download the Second Life application. Be warned, this is a big piece of software, almost 200 Mb! Depending on your bandwidth, it may take quite awhile to download it and, then, download and install the updates.

3.Then log in.

4.You will appear as a three-dimensional cartoon character, an avatar. You will probably want to make yourself some clothes.


5. Then practice walking around a bit by using the arrow keys on your keyboard.

6.If you're feeling adventurous, you can try searching for "Second Nature" and teleporting to island.


Otherwise, you can click this SLurl (Second Life URL)

Clicking the SLurl will take you straight to the poster session. My poster and my avatar are shown below. I'm posing as Vitro Vita. Don't expect me to know what I'm doing, this is new to me, too.


8.Oh yeah, you ask questions by typing them. I think you can probably talk, too, but I don't know how to do that yet.

i-211ad319a95054b1185dc0ec23069fdf-gfp_sl.gifAt the end, you may want to walk around and explore. Here's "me" checking out an image of green fluorescent protein (where is the chromophore?)

See ya there!

More like this

I am so behind! My avatar is wearing default clothes (though I added glasses), I have no idea what I am doing, and my presentation is not finished yet! Time to panic!

If you're having problems, my advice is to find a teenager and turn them loose. It only took five minutes (after the hour for downloading and installing) and our resident teen was driving cars, walking underwater, flying around, and dancing. The only thing I couldn't get her to do was to hang out for more than a couple minutes on boring "geek island" (her words, not mine).

Search for "Second Nature" is returning only "None Found". ?.

By Gray Gaffer (not verified) on 15 Oct 2007 #permalink

How long will your poster session be up for? I may or may well not be able to make it at 4pm GMT, but I am very interested!

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 15 Oct 2007 #permalink

Oh, wow, what a huge effort, but hey I found you! thanks for doing it!

Gray: If you click on the SLurl in the instructions (step 6), you can just click the orange teleport button and you'll get there.

Luna: I don't know how long the posters will be up, but I suspect that it will be for awhile since some of the posters that I saw were presented a few weeks ago.

Farne: Yeah, it's a huge effort. It's probably easier though once you've done it a few times. Even I have to admit, it's easier than hopping on a plane, trying to convince security that my poster isn't a weapon, and flying across the country.

Unfortunately work commitments prevented me from making it. I've had the good fortune of presenting at the Scifoo Lives On sessions before, and I must say it was a wonderful experience.

Maybe we can all start a second life science subculture

(Search not working) - Thanks, found it!

By Gray Gaffer (not verified) on 15 Oct 2007 #permalink

How long will your poster session be up for?

I think the posters are intended to be a permanent resource: see the SFLO wiki, which includes details of all past presentations and blog coverage thereof.

(Search not working) - Thanks, found it!

So what, if anything, did you do to get it to work? I only get "None Found" as you previously reported.

Yes, and that slurl gives me a map with a "click here to teleport"...which takes me to the search page in 2nd life which tells me the location is not found.....

And it's just all crappily slow and clunky from here, so I'll give up for now. Nice idea though.

James, I had a similar experience the first time I tried SL -- then I switched computers and it was still clunky, but everything basically worked.

So, unless you are already on a whiz-bang powerful computer, I suggest trying that. They don't tell you so but it seems that the SL app requires a lot of computing power and/or bells and whistles to work properly.

Congratulations on being the first sci-bloggers in SL! I actually made the GFP molecule that you pictured here. The chromophore is the green bit (it actually glows green if you turn on the "local lights" option in 'Edit-Preferences' in SL). You can get more information on it by clicking the sign at the base, and contact me in-world if you want more info!

OK, for some reason it's working for me now. Better late than never! Living in Japan, I'm strongly in favour of alternatives to long-distance travel...