Greetings Pete, from the opposite side of the globe. I'll be looking forward to reading the perspective of one whose water spins backward (from my perspective anyway), and extend a welcome invitation to come an join the Virtual Worlds of Tomorrow group. It would be great to hear your opinions and comments in the discussions to add as much globalized input to the threads as possible.
I am about to co-teach a paper entitled Design Led Futures which has the exciting if not challenging task to look out 80 years. Paradoxically my colleague has asked the students to consider design beyond the Singularity. I am therefore rereading Kurzweil's classic The Singularity is Near and was reminded how VR and virtual worlds take center stage in his scenario over the next 10 - 20 years. It makes for interesting reading when you overlay the Gartner Group prediction that 80% of all internet users will have a presence in a virtual world by 2011 - how many will that be? - 1.63 billion - looks like Linden Lab and the others may need to up their concurrency rate :)
Pete - I do not have an avatar in Second Life. I am very interested, however, in tying virtual worlds into my public relations efforts. I booked Edita to speak at our local Ad Fed group to discuss branding in VWs. Should be great!
Workshop went quite well. IMO SL is a great platform (not yet quite mature) for knowledge exchange - the meetings we've held at techtalk@sl proved that - many people from all over the world join the same experience and share their ideas on a common topic. I have personally learned quite a lot of new things through it and this is my motivation to keep being involved with it despite SL's week points (instabillity, complexity, etc). I hope to meet you some times in-world so we can discuss.
Emil you might be interested to know I ran a 2 day conference in SL (with the help of my good friend Fleep) that ran at the same time as one in RL. It was the NZ Digital Future Summit and while we only had an average of 15 over 2 days compared to the 540 in RL I think it was a richer experience for all those that attended. Your point about the difficulty of archiving these now we are running voice is a big issue for many of us. A well sponsored event such as the DFS is able to webcast and record everything see http://www.r2.co.nz/20071128/