14 Jun 2008

The Guru - Interview with Paradox Olbers -

I meet Paradox Olbers today in his Spindrift – the zen bayou, a perfect place to meet the man known as My Guru. The fish are jumping, and the surface of the water gleams in a richness that underscores this sim. Paradox has given us a great gift in his creation of The SpinDome…
The following is an interview we did over this past weekend.
P: Am I supposed to be in a hushed state? Cause this is referentially gorgeous.
Paradox Olbers: Offers snapshot
P: my gosh the refection on the water is so rich
Paradox Olbers: yeah - jacked my graphics to max :) I usually drop my cam down on water and see reflections up close to relax
P: mmm lovely
Paradox Olbers: the gators aren’t dangerous :)
P:P: you must have just fed them then, I have an important question for you- what do you think of my hair?
Paradox Olbers: your hair look good!
P: speechless isnt a good sign when you say things like do i look fat in those jeans
Paradox Olbers: lol - no male will ever answer the jeans q :)
P: no male in his right mind or born of woman that is
P: I think the hair is cool I like it enough for both of us. So You’re off the hook-okay we can start since you arent going to talk about my hair
Paradox Olbers: hah! got the fish in this one
Paradox Olbers gave you Spindrift - zen bayou 3, Spindrift.
Paradox Olbers: scripted flying fish
Paradox Olbers: see, they should be underwater
Paradox Olbers: but it’s too shallow here - but i love them actually flying lol
P: it has the just below the surface element in this picture that is thrilling & enthralling both
P: only flies in in shllow water?
Paradox Olbers: exactly re subsurface
P: ha sounds like the title of a story
P: great fire
P: perfect place to talk to the Guru
Paradox Olbers: aha!
P: in the zen garden by the sea
Paradox Olbers: a perfect segue
P: our small drift of tranquility
P: Tell me the story of your sciland then your spindrift-
Paradox Olbers: I’ve beenma lifelong reader and astronomy/sf fan all my life. So all i ever did was have fun by looking for sci/tech info
and fell into Second Life
P: why what did that give you ?
P: why the outer regions of space?
Paradox Olbers: A lifelong love of looking for new sci/tech info
P: how long did it take you to find the science community here?
& what were in your first searches?
Paradox Olbers: my mother was a science fiction and fantasy fan, as well a lover of astronomy: Interesting story there re how i found stuff in sl I paid for my avs in July 2006, but didn’t have broadband til Nov - a: long stretch so I read up on sl in M2, sl forums, and New World Notes. I made a list of interesting sounding places
P: New World Notes is a terrific site, I would love to get Au on the show, think his element might be Gold. Great so you did the background research before the actual entry?
Paradox Olbers: yep, a hundred days to prepare for sl
P: like a flight prep
Paradox Olbers:I came in by way of gamasutra.com and http://seriousgamessource.com they kept mentioning secondlife.com
P: Yes its getting pretty ubiquitous
Paradox Olbers: and after i heard about ISM, it became my first spot
P: International Space Museum
Paradox Olbers: I skipped orientation, left there for Spaceport Alpha
P: That was that your first touchdown & history begins
P: did anything scare you about this new world?
Paradox Olbers: no fear, since i’m still in rl :)
P: some people get somewhat offended by referencing Sl as a game. Yet its funny people never got offended by the game of Life by parker brothers
Paradox Olbers: users divide between casual users and gamers, and
a smaller “user” group, centering around education and other special interests like sci/techn/egineering
P: its not a traditional game no- & there is no win per se- okay so you would define Sl as a user group?:
Paradox Olbers: offended? Because they don’t take it seriously, I suppose

Paradox Olbers: let them enjoy sl how they want, but no need to dismiss [aha! diff between calling sl a game OR *dismissing* it as one]
P: the more seriously you take it & the more you give to it the more you get out of it
Paradox Olbers: there is no “winning” as in a numerical score, but the scoring system
P: but the rewards are really the same as in real life in some ways
the friends, the relationships, what one can produce, even feelings- the quality of life as opposed to quantity
Paradox Olbers: includes: teamwork, respect from colleagues, sense of accomplishment at doing projects, etc
P: its a quality of life game & not quantity of score
Paradox Olbers: exactly re quality of life
P: people play real life for quantity too & I ask is it a better one IDK?
Paradox Olbers: and I agree re rewards same as rl: sl is a non zero-sum game & more gets created: so no one has to “lose” energy or objects/resources or die
P: & in that there is the infinity of all what we as humans can offer
We don’t really have a leaderboard
Yet I say that & laugh as the best of SL awards is tonight I think ppl still love their awards
Paradox Olbers: Yes, but our “scoring system”can be quite varied from av to av
P: Still we do seek whatever glory we need in diff ways yes
Paradox Olbers: but this “Best Of” is a choice, not required, so it’s av-driven, not environment-driven
P: irl there are celebrity magazines & the entertainment oriented newsw-
Paradox Olbers nods
P: we play here for ourselves mainly I really couldn’t imagine a full gossip mag here. Like Pictures of Mitch Kapoor & his new squeeze in the Bali sim -
P: we are too much a part of the life we pursue here, too intensely involved with our own very real second lives.
Paradox Olbers: like everywhere else in rl and VWs [Virtual Worlds], there is a fragmented set of audiences, not a few mass categories anymore so less room for big mags to survuve
P: & irl they do
Paradox Olbers: since narrowcasting/niche zines/websites/blogs/etc fill our needs more efficiently
P: I couldn’t imagine what kind of celebrity worship could go on in here - so the human here is more interested in what we actually do
Paradox Olbers: oh, I’ve heard that people call others “gurus?: and such
P: Not in any kind of celebrity whom we don’t know, who our second lives do not involve. Sometimes I will look at someones profile I don’t know out of curiosity about my new species
& well YOU are of great interest to Miss Pooky indeed
Paradox Olbers: oh I see your point
P: it goes with what you said about narrow casting
Paradox Olbers: yes, we form reputations more often on personal interactions
P: but irl we dont have that as much
Paradox Olbers: and friends’ recommendations
P: You did take a chance to offer me the dome, in that you took your own counsel & I am forever grateful you did - it is something I consider an honor to live up to
Paradox Olbers: and you see, since the SpinDome is in SL, I ran no risk
P: you did take a chance with me as you didn’t know me except that i was moved by the passing of Arthur c Clarkes death
Paradox Olbers: well, I’m delighted so far - you’ve introduced the SpinDome to a whole new audience!
P: Which his tribute we also have to discuss at some point
What are your hopes for the sSpindrift isle?
Paradox Olbers: For Spindrift? That i can expand its presentation of space, astronomical art, and data visualization models and methods
P: do you think that because we alreday suspend some belief in here that we are more opne to learning?
Paradox Olbers: …and have huge fun and learning from it for myself and all of us here. :)
P: in other words- irl we say oh that’s too hard I cant do or learn at hat
Paradox Olbers: For some of us, absolutely,
P: remarkable how we do accept this is the 3d world
its really just flat. For example irl I know I have thought I have those limits & of course if you say to yourself I cant do it you cant
Paradox Olbers: but on this flatworld, we have 3D
P: we accept we suspend our belief in that limitation
Paradox Olbers: nod, self-imposed limits are hardest to beat
P: & as we suspend our belief in that limitation we also suspend our belief that we are limited.
Paradox Olbers: A story bout that -Someone went looking for me online decade ago, couldn’t find me. I said “didn’t you try looking for {my bookstore]/”
Paradox Olbers: “But that was *years* ago and I knew you didnt do that anymore!”: …But i knew old friends/customers had no other keywords for me, so I’d included those metatags in the html,
P: ah hA! so you left always in your blogs the trail for them
Paradox Olbers: and he could have found me! But he voluntarily limited himself without cause [ a free search, after all!]
P: how did he find you?
Paradox Olbers: he ran into me in rl in Boston! :) but years later
Ever since, i leave the internet breadcrumbs out. :) And i try not to box myself in with unnecessary cages.
P: especially of your own devices
P: Are there any real life person you have tried to get into Sl
Paradox Olbers: a few friends, yes, but they don/t have good enough vid cards [laptops have this prob] or think they’d spend too much time here. :)
P: can one spend too much time here? As a persons life is choice
Paradox Olbers: oh look the flying fish again! Yes, more than 24 hours a day here is harmful.
P: I would have to agree with that
Paradox Olbers: they flickered away [the fish]
P: I am looking for a few more hours in the day, know anywhere I
Paradox Olbers: not legally, and the time patrol arrests u.
P: Amagad The time patrol - of course what happens is the time patrol comes to arrest you but then falls in love with this place gets a secret avatar & winds up having to arrest themselves
Paradox Olbers: yes, my first Time Patrol story was one of Poul Anderson’s famed series - back in 1950s
P: Which is a comment on how one has to “police” oneself
Paradox Olbers: nod re policing -.- PKDick did that hilariously in “A Scanner Darkly.” Scanner Darkly is a 1970s classic about the agent assigned to himself. Be warned, [missing part-insert] this novel is a gloomy and moving look at what drugs did to PKD and his friends.
P: There are certainly elements of that here, but leave that for another conversation. Thank you.
Paradox Olbers: My pleasure

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