Intro to Networked Collaboration

Pencil Factory event review

The Pencil Factory event was a very interesting experience and helped me to become aware of a place in SL that I probably would not have found on my own.  I had a bit of a rough start the day of the event… When I logged into SL I could not teleport out of where I was. Adam (Mellow) sent the invite multiple times but it just would not work.  Luckily I was able to IM chat with Mellow who suggested I restart the SL program.  Once I restarted the application, and accepted Mellow’s teleport invite again I was able to teleport and went directly to the Pencil Factory site where the group was already gathering out front. 


At first I found it a bit unsettling that the “sidewalk” was clear. I was unsure of where the edges were and as the hosts were getting started with the introduction I wandered around a bit and ended up walking right off the sidewalk and fell straight into the water below! Luckily in SL I can fly and I was able to get back to the group (hopefully before anyone noticed I was gone). It’s interesting how we behave in the online environment vs. RL.  I would never just wander away from a presenter in real life, but many times throughout the evening I would stray (just a little) from the group to explore on my own.


Once we entered the pencil factory and began exploring the art installations we found that all of the pieces were designed to be interactive. First we explored a piece that displayed colored cubes and played chimes as you walked or flew through the space. This piece was pretty neat but I was not clear exactly where the borders were to trigger the cubes. And I had difficulty determining how to make certain tones. Not sure if it was random or specific based on where you moved.  This could also have to do with the number of people interacting with the piece at the same time.  Next we explored a couple of rooms with pieces that I personally found less impressive. As a beginning SL user these pieces seemed to require more mobility skills than I currently have so I was not able to enjoy them as much.  The hosts continued to escort the group around the space and we explored other exhibits that were more fun.  I personally was a big fan of the “harp cages” or at least that what I’m calling them.  There were 2 small round “rooms” on either side of the “deck” and as you turned in the room you triggered what sounded like harp strings.  I like this piece because I liked the sounds it made and found it very easy to use, until I fell off the “deck” and due to my mobility issues I ended up lost in space.


Once Mellow teleported us back to the space we discovered the disco cube piece.  This one was a lot of fun, particularly with the large number of people all playing with it at the same time.  After that I moved on to exploring “The Well” piece. I learned how to jump and how to control how high or low I fly to get in and out of the piece.  I didn’t explore it much because the group was moving on but it was not the easiest to understand how to use without someone telling you how to use it.  This was an issue I encountered many times, I felt like I would not have interacted well with the pieces if I did not have Mellow as a guide and the other class members to explore with.


Finally we fell into an area were we could explore different rooms, and I liked that piece as well.  It had a very circus fun house feel to it. I particularly liked the “space” room and I also enjoyed the room with the big space that looked like a jumble of things and played loud music.


Looking back, I find it interesting that, aside from my wanderings, it seemed to mirror a RL group experience.  Or at least my perceptions of the evening’s interactions were not much different than if it had been a RL event in that we didn’t really know each other at first and didn’t interact or talk much.  As we progressed through the pencil factory we had shared experiences that helped us to connect and interact and by the end of the evening I felt that I had gotten to know everyone there a little better. I posted photos to the class page on flickr. Overall it was a good event and I’m glad I went!

December 17, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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