Last month I finally found my “dream island” on Second Life – a place which I’d really like very much to live in or (okay, let’s be realistic) to spend many hours each day. It took me some time to mention of it on my blog, since (well, you know very well in fact) I don’t have much free time nowadays and updating a blog can be a burden in such times. Anyway, without a long introductory paragraph, I’d like to cut it short: If you are into the wonderful world of “podcasting” and are also a Second Life resident, you must visit Podcast Island. Go there and as soon as you step on the landing point, you’ll clearly understand what I mean. I bet you’ll spend long hours there on your first trip and won’t even think of leaving there to go elsewhere. This is what I call “falling in love with an island” in SL.
Podcast Island is the home of PodcastPickle.com – a web site which is definitely very familiar for podcasters and podcast listeners alike, as well as all “free radio” fans. The builders of this excellent website, Gary Leland (a.k.a Podcast Pickle in SL) and his colleagues, created this wonderful place as a home for podcasters in Second Life. Among those, I must mention Itazura Radio (his SL name) who is the builder of the most things you see on the island, and of course, the island’s great guide Chugabug Goodnight and her partner Radar Masukami (both SL names) as well as Keeme Brown, who runs the great night club “The Zoo” there.
I am not going to tell about “what is podcasting” or something like that, because 1) It is a whole big world which cannot be fitted in the limits of a blog 2) And if you are reading this review, chances are you know about podcasting much more than myself. So I just want to humbly introduce this awesome island of the podcast world to you, if you have never been there or never heard of it.
The very first point you arrive when you “teleport” to the Podcast Island, is called “The Welcome Center“. You’ll see the landing, a wonderful beach with sun-bathing mats, a nice beach-bar for you to have your drinks and guess what – windsurfers! Just get on one of these very realistic looking things and immediately begin windsurfing around the lovely beaches of the island. But you can do this later too, so I think you’ll be more interested with the “Freebie Store” on the Welcome Center for now.
I don’t like to collect freebies from various places in SL because (let’s be honest) most of them are generally just “colorful little stuff” for the newbies, not worth keeping. But for Podcast Island, I made an exception and filled my inventory with the freebies they offered there. Simply, because these were the most elegant and useful things offered as freebies I had ever seen in SL. You’ll find around 70 (yes, seventy) free stuff there, created specially for Podcast Island visitors and SL residents. I can’t count all of them here of course but if I name a few, there are free houses, shops, cars, jetskis, zeppelins, RSS newsreaders, furnitures, yachts, boats, helicopters, sky boards and even a mini-mall and a lighthouse! There are many more and I’m sure you’ll spend a long time at the Welcome Center, examining all items and get the freebies you like.
Walk a few steps towards the main street and you’ll see the huge “Podcast Gallery” building. Here you’ll find the most popular podcasts on the PodcastPickle.com and get a free iPod (virtual of course) to use and listen to your favourite podcasts anytime you like. If you are a podcaster yourself, there’s much more: Grab a free iPod vendor, configure it with the details of your own podcast, put in at your place in SL and offer people free iPods pre-configured to listen to your program!
Right in front of the Welcome Center, on the main street, you’ll see “tour cars”. Jump on them if you want an excellent, guided tour of the whole island. Of course, you can do this tour yourself, either by walking or flying around, or using one of the free vehicles provided on the island. For example, you can try the free go-carts for a fun ride, you’ll find near the Welcome Center.
Behind the Gallery building on the main street, you’ll see a huge water-slide if you want more fun, free jetskis and “bumper boats” to ride. There you’ll also find a tall building with shops and offices to rent – ideal places if you are a podcaster and would like to take your place in the heart of the huge podcasting community.
As I already said above, there are lots of things to do and lots of places to visit on the island for fun, info or meeting and communicating with people. If you feel yourself “lost” in the island (you probably will) then you can ask help of the friendly guides of the Podcast Island. Most of times, you can find Chugabug Goodnight there and she’ll help you to discover the greatest parts of this wonderful tropical place.
Anyway, I’d like to name a few of the “must-visits” for your convenience:
1. Do visit the “Tree House“. It’s a creation of Itazura Radio and you can find it easily if you walk towards east from the landing point. It’s a tall and giant tree when you look at it from outside but if you “enter” inside, you’ll find a cozy house with a great view of the island. You can also play pool billiards there if you want.
2. Drive-in Movie is among my favourites. Just select a video, grab your pop-corn bag and drink, step into the car and begin watching the movie on the giant screen.
3. If you are a sci-fi fan, you must visit “7th Son” pavillion. This is a special place for J. C. Hutchins‘ sci-fi novel-podcast which is on the top of the list at PodcastPickle.com. You’ll find many goodies (including the 7 free avatars) and great things related to “7th Son”.
There are many café/bars at Podcast Island where you can meet people and have great time. You can also have a flight fun using free “Hang Gliding” stuff or take a ride on the sea with various vehicles. You might also be interested about the live concerts on the island: The next one is coming on 15th of April and I’m sure you’ll like to see the great stage for it. There’s another big amphitheater on the island (which can be rented daily for your events) just behind the Tree House.
Ah, and I almost forgot the most important thing: You can have your own home on this awesome island with a fairly reasonable rent, if you like to. There are many residential spots for lease on the island, most of them are small independent islands themselves, with a great ocean view, beach and palm trees. Rents can be as low as 1600 L$ a week (depending on the size of the parcel) – a good alternative for those who want to live in a vibrant, friendly community and be far away from those “mainland ghettos”.
Podcast Island, by far, is the best example of the “SL Presence” of a popular web site / community. It’s almost exactly what I dreamt of for Clipmarks a few months ago: Carrying the web content elegantly to the SL metaverse; creating a comfortable meeting place for its users/members with so many fun things and possibilities; finally to attract SL folks to the web site and the content that is provided there. A two-way working great project. Congrats and kudos go to Podcast Pickle and his colleagues there, who created this awesome island.
Ah, and I must say, as a radio programmer of the 90’s, this podcasting thing makes me really excited: You don’t need to conform the rules and principles of a “corp”, you don’t need to care for “advertisers”, you don’t need to convince your “boss” to broadcast your project and you even don’t need to give a damn to the “ratings”. It’s totally a new generation radio and a sneaking feeling says to me that probably I’ll start my podcast soon. 😉
Okay, back to the subject: Don’t forget to visit Podcast Island, you don’t know what you have been missing!