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I've Been To The Virtual World




Well over a year ago, I visited Second Life. Second Life is a virtual world where you pick up an avatar and have your avatar interact with other avatars. You can buy your own land and build a virtual community. Wow, Wifcon.com in vitrual reality! Wow, the Wifcon Lounge! Wow!

OK, I tend to get excited about technology (you know about my love for human space flight). So, I test out good ideas. That is why I visited Second Life long ago. I picked up my avatar and began to check things out. However, my avatar was a clumsy walker. It was easier for him to fly so he flew around. He still couldn't find things. Even after visitingd direction kiosks, he still was lost.

My avatar wandered around aimlessly and saw two people having a picnic. He approached them and saw them virtually chatting--he thought. He wasn't sure though since he didn't know how to tell if they were virtually chatting. In fact, he couldn't virtually chat himself. My avatar had a lot to learn before he was more than a mindless wanderer.

I'm sure my avatar eventually would have been effective in the virtual world. However, my avatar called it quits quickly and he hasn't been back since. The Wifcon Lounge was put on hold. There is a simple reason for this. You don't build things that potential users will not use! If it was that hard for me to use an avatar, how many users would the Wifcon Lounge have in the virtual world? I think few.

Don't get me wrong. I would love to have a Wifcon Virtual World. Some day, I will visit again to see if it is possible. I'm sure there are Wifcon users that would take to the virtual world and an avatar fairly quickly. However, I think they would be a small minority of its users. Wifcon.com does not seek exclusivity. Its goal is simplicity, or as simple as it can be made. Its purpose is to attract as many users as possible. Not to turn as many off as possible.

Wifcon.com is part of the commercial world. It must spend its scarce resources carefully. In fact, I believe I have a duty to Wifcon.com's advertisers to use funds wisely.

When I see a federal agency spinning willy-nilly towards the virtual world and using taxpayer money to fund it, I have to ask myself if they are using the funds wisely. Do they really expect to reach nearly all government workers? Or, is it a bunch of IT geeks playing with the latest technology. If it is the latter, they should be fired and the funds returned to the Treasury.



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