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Down and out in Visitorville


Anybody else notice the ad for this thing on Sitemeter? It’s a program that takes your usage logs and turns them into a Second Life for deaf mutes. They call it Visitorville. Your web site is rendered as a city, incoming queries from search engines are drawn as buses, and you guys shuffle off the buses — a bunch of unshaven zombie retards sunk in existential gloom with IP addresses floating over your heads — and drift around not interacting with each other. So, no change there.

It’s supposed to be a way of better visualizing website flow: rooms and buildings correspond to sections and pages. Repeat visitors have special little things floating over their heads, buyers little something elses floating over their heads, and repeat buyers are served with sticks up their backsides like all-day suckers (not true, but my posts are required by law to have at least one butt reference per).

Reminds me of the game Black & White — the last (but not the first) game I bought a whole new computer to be able to play. You’re God, and you make these little people, and they walk around doing stuff with their thoughts floating over their heads like, “I have to pee” or “I’m sad” or “I have a disease” or “I’m lonely” and I’m, like, “look, there are millions of you and you all look alike to me — needy, high-mainenance bastards, every one of you. I’m only a god here.” I got bored with it real quick. But I learned an awful lot about theology.

We must be in another wave of 3D visualization marketing ideas. Microsoft is trying it on again, with Photosynth (which I saw at Enas Yorl‘s place) and Surface (which I’m sure you’ve seen, unless you live in a yurt on the windy steppes milking horses).

I have to admit, Microsoft hater that I am, Surface is very cool. Watch some of the videos, if you haven’t. I love the idea of setting cameras and phones on the table and pulling data onto or off of them with your fingers.

But I saw prototypes of these things — not these literal things, but ones very like them — twenty years ago. I saw (and lusted after) a drafting table that was a giant pressure-sensitive tablet combined with rear projection video. I saw high-def and 3D screens and 6D mice and visualized worlds. I saw all this at a Siggraph show in…1990?

By the time we got videophones (backhandedly, via webcams) we were bored with the idea. Too much time elapsed between the tease and the release.

I damn well better still have a license when they roll out the rocketcar.

June 21, 2007 — 5:49 pm
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