Mitch Wagner

Profile of Mitch Wagner

California Bureau Chief, Light Reading
News & Commentary Posts: 1161

Mitch Wagner is California bureau chief for Light Reading.

Articles by Mitch Wagner
posted in January 2007

Dear Steph And Chey: You Are Soooooooo Busted

Apparently, the new, electronic way for schoolkids to pass notes to each other is to leave comments on random blogs. The reason I know this is because two girls named "steph" and "chey" have been leaving messages on this blog.

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Second Life Is Hard To Use -- Is That A Bug Or A Feature?

Second Life is hard to use. Everybody knows it. I've logged something like 20 hours on SL in the past week and a half, and I'm still a consummate klutz. SL needs to be easier to use -- but not too easy, because if it was easy, it would undercut the nature of the world and remove one of its most appealing qualities.

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The Most Unusual Person In Second Life

Ida Keen is the most unusual person I've met in Second Life. You'll recall that the people I've met in SL include Dirjha Summers, an exotic dancer who works in a midnight city prowled by vampires and demons, along with Tateru Nino, an androgynous figure in a long robe who works in an office floating high in the clouds. Ida Keen, however, is an ordinary woman who lives, along with her husband, in an approximate reproduction of her grandmother's house on the Florida shore. She wears jeans, a sweat

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What Happens In Second Life, Stays In SL

Role-playing is an essential part of Second Life. But some people take it more seriously than others. Some people act as if Second Life really is a second life -- as if the person who exists in that virtual world really is a different person from the one in the real world.

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Everything You Want Out Of Life: Computer Games, Money, And Sex

Pity me, my job is such torture. I've been spending a lot of the last week explicitly, and with the enthusiastic support of my managers and colleagues, doing an activity which gets people fired from most rational jobs. I've been messing around with computer games. Specifically, the virtual world known as Second Life.

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Second Life's First Celebrity

Second Life has produced one authentic celebrity so far: Anshe Chung, who claims a financial worth of $1 million real-life, American dollars for creating and selling virtual goods and services. I interviewed her for two hours yesterday evening in Second Life, and woke up this morning with a new appreciation of how slippery identity and reality is in Second Life.

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Second Life Slowdown

Today, I took off my pants in public and discovered I have no genitals. I also gave myself a new appearance in Second Life. Other than that, the day's gameplay so far has been pretty disappointing.

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Metaphorical Cold Water In Virtual Worlds

John Kusters is an enthusiastic World of Warcraft player. Nonetheless, he poured cold water on one of the main theses of my article: That virtual worlds, like World of Warcraft and Second Life, are becoming mainstream. He says they're inherently solitary pursuits, and therefore appeal to solitary people, who are comfortable spending hours at a time alone in front of their computers.

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Interview With Science-Fiction Writer Charles Stross About Virtual Worlds

This research into virtual worlds and online gaming is taking me to some weird places. So to speak. Today, I'm totally jazzed because I got to interview one of my favorite writers, Charles Stross, a science-fiction author, former tech journalist, programmer, and veteran of two dot-coms. I talked to Charlie about his upcoming novel, Halting State, set 12 years in the future, in a world where virtual worlds have become mainstream.

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Virtual Worlds: The Next Big Thing Or Next Big Nothing?

Are virtual world and online games like World of Warcraft and Second Life what the Internet will look like in coming years? A few people I've been talking to recently think so, including Corey Bridges, co-founder of Multiverse Network, whom I interviewed Friday afternoon for an article on virtual worlds. A generation of young people is growing up hacking and slashing their way through virtual worlds -- that's literally true in the case of World of Warcraft -- and they're going to expect a 3-D

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The Revolution Will Be Vlogged

Will privacy become a quaint custom that people in the 20th century used to practice? While government and corporate surveillance and massive, petabyte databases of personal data are making it harder to keep secrets, the biggest threat to privacy is something you're carrying around in your pocket: Your cameraphone.

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Your Digital Life

Starting next week, we're launching a new area of reporting, focusing on how information technology changes people's lives and how it changes society. This will include a hodgepodge of subjects: Internet law, politics, censorship, digital rights management, online gaming, blogging, a bit of Web 2.0, online communities, local search, and more.

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iPhone Hype: I Just Don't Get It

Reading up on the Apple iPhone, I'm not seeing what's so exciting about it, and I'm even tempted to say that the thing is going to sink like a lead balloon and everybody who's jazzing about it now is going to feel foolish in a year. It's a cell phone that's also an iPod that does the Internet and takes pictures. Why is that exciting? I already have a cell phone and an iPod, and my cell phone -- a 14-month-old Palm Treo 650 -- is Internet-enabled and a cameraphone too. I grant you there will be a

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Get The Lowdown On CES 2007 And Macworld Here At InformationWeek

The year kicks off with two big tech events this week. All the latest electronic toys and gadgets are on display at CES 2007 in Las Vegas, and Apple Computer struts its stuff in San Francisco at the Macworld Conference & Expo. In past years, those two conferences saw the introduction of pretty much every electronic gadget in your house: The iPod, MacBook, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini, VCR, and DVD -- all introduced at either CES or Macworld.

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CES 2007: How'd Things Go Last Year?

Macworld takes a look at how vendors did fulfilling promises at last year's CES. The upshot: Microsoft mostly delivered on its promises for Vista and for the Xbox 360. On the other hand, big promises for Blu-ray and HD-DVD fizzled.

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Well, Sure, Everybody Loves Latte

Reporter Sharon Gaudin is on the Macworld rumor mill, with reports that the company may introduce a phone and video player next week. Great quote from analyst John Welch, who describes how Wall Street is always disappointed by the announcements at Macworld, no matter how big or small they are. Welch says Steve Jobs "could announce warp drive teleporters and people would bitch that he didn't announ

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CES 2007: Stuff For Your Car

Vendors at CES 2007 will roll out electronics to spice up your wheels, including the next generation in iPod FM adapters, in-car high-definition streaming video, and technology to turn your rental car into a Wi-Fi hotspot.

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CES 2007: Turn On The Power

Power is the dirty secret of portable electronics. You unwrap your new mobile gadget, and it's sleek and sexy as Seven of Nine -- but it comes with a power-supply brick as ugly and lumpy as Neelix. And the battery supply has a lifespan as short as a tribble. Some vendors at 2007 International CES are looking to change that.

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Firefox 3: From HTML Renderer To Information Broker

Looks like the Mozilla folks are working on turning Firefox from HTML renderer to information broker. Using technology called "microformats," the browser would be able to link content in Web pages to the appropriate application on the client. Users would be able to click to add contact information on a Web page to their address book, or an appointment to their calendar, or translate an address to their favorite map. We can already do some of this now; Alex Faaborg, a user experience designer a

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The First Buzzword Of 2007: Placeblogs

Local search is looking like it's going to be big this year. The latest entrant, which went live New Year's Day, is Placeblogger, which describes itself this way: "Welcome to Placeblogger, where you can discover, browse, and subscribe to local blogs. Placeblogs are sites devoted to a particular neighborhood, city, town, or region. They're watercoolers for local discus

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