Wednesday, September 9, 2015

2015 OPENSIM: Bright Canopy. Technically good, easy to use. Pricey. So I hear

Technically good, easy to use. Pricey.  So I hear
Bright Canopy offers Firestorm running in a virtual machine in the cloud.  The virtual machine matches the capabilities of a top quality home computer.  The Bright Canopy interface takes your control inputs and sends them to Firestorm. It then sends the screen to your browser as a video.  

Pricing

  • Current Monthly charges
  • $17 (USD) for 20 hours
  • Additional time for $0.013 per minute.
  • $7.80 for another 10 hours.
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  • (More after the break)
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News and Notes

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      Related

      Back of the envelope cost comparison

      • I estimate that I could duplicate the quality of the service in a $2000 computer. 
      • (Now that I can get Windows 10, I am again willing to buy a computer.)
      • Translate that to monthly cost with  Amortization calculator
      • Amortization: the process by which loan principal decreases over the life of a loan.
      • That is, the monthly payment that will pay off the loan, with interest, in 5 years, 
      • $2000 for 5 years with a 5.25% interest rate.
      • Monthly payment: $37.97 reduces the loan to zero at 5 years.
      • And I have a 5 year old computer.
      • At $17 a month the service would be a good deal.
      • If 20 or 30 hours a month would do me, the service would be a good deal.

      Other considerations pro and con

      • Pro:  I can access the service on my laptop.
      • Pro:  I can access the service from lots of places.  
      • Pro: I can defer a new computer with Bright Canopy when I want high quality.
      • Con: I have to pay extra if I run over 20 hours a  month.
      • Con: I have other needs for a powerful computer.
      • Con: I don't have to have top quality video.

      Alternative

      • Lumiya Viewer is a Second Life/OpenSim client for Android phones and tablets.
      • $2.95 buy from Google Play, limited capability.
      • You can send and receive instant messages, 
      • Teleport to your favorite Second Life locations, 
      • Participate in local chat, 
      • Interact with objects, 
      • Manage your inventory, 
      • See and navigate the virtual world around you in 3D.
      • Runs entirely on the phone, no special in-world objects required. 

      Conclusion and recommendations

      • If I needed a new computer only to run virtual worlds, 
      • I would consider it a good deal if my costs did not exceed $35 a month.
      • In that case I would consider using Bright Canopy.
      • Otherwise, I would watch for future developments.
      • Spikes in costs imply unexpected bursts of demand.  
      • Amazon is likely to increase capacity over time.  

      Where do they go from here?

      • I think they have a good model and good technology
      • You use a virtual machine in the cloud (somewhere on the internet).
      • They just buy computer time, upgrade it with their interface, and sell it to you.
      • The system seems to give very good performance. 
      • There is evidently sufficient demand for the service.
      • The main weakness is in pricing forced by rises in computer costs.
      • The most likely customers will probably want more than 20 hours a month.

      Service from the grid would improve customer experience

      • Imagine grids offering this service directly.
      • Sign up for Bright Canopy when you register on a grid.  
      • One-cart starting: no download, no install.
      • No separate sign-up, no extra password, no extra credit card.  
      • Just sign up for browser mode.  Agree to time charges.
      • Your virtual world is there waiting for you before you finish your login.
      • Cut one of the barriers to entry.  
      • (One instructor reported that 40% of the students had problems with the viewer.)

      Lease the software for academics

      • Academics have lower cost for computing.
      • Could offer easy access to virtual world courses.
      • Running on Laptops belonging to students.
      • Bright Canopy would just provide service and updates.

      Maybe Kitely could run the software at lower cost.  

      • Kitely has been running a grid with a similar operating model for years.
      • Kitely now offers a region (256x256) for about $15/ month.
      • That also takes a virtual computer, although not one with a graphics card.  
      • Kitely has lots of experience running (and pricing) Amazon's services. 
      • Kitely (via Kitely Market) already has access to most people on the Hypergrid.
      • Maybe Bright Canopy and Kitely can work something out. 
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      News and Notes

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        The Hypergrid WIP Show

        The Hypergrid WIP is a one hour "show & tell" of works in progress or recently completed. All builders from beginner to pro are invited.  Presentations are in voice and text.  For text presentations, best bring the text in a notecard and paste it into chat.  Voice presentations may be captured in video.  Stills and videos from the show may appear in this blog. 
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        • hop://grid.kitely.com:8002/Cookie II/77/373/22
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          The University of Western Australia (UWA) has launched 'PURSUE IMPOSSIBLE, the 6th UWA Grand Art Challenge and MachinimUWA VIII with a starting prize pool in excess of L$560,000.   Deadline: Midnight SLT, 31st October 201

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