Friday, January 16, 2009

Exit Reality - Nifty but NQRFPT

Out in Beta, Exit Reality promises to display every web site in 3D. If you are familiar with Second Life, the user interface will look very familiar. After downloading and installing the ER plugin, which takes about 3 minutes in Windows, you can launch the ER site, choose an avatar, and begin your investigation. The interface is simple. Use arrow icons or point and drag your mouse icon to walk your avatar around the space. There is a text chat function, bit I did not find an audio button for voice chat. The available gestures, such as shout and cheers seem to suggest voice my be a future option. ER seems to work pretty much as advertised with the available social networking sites - just walk your avatar into one of the networking labeled "buildings" to experience the site in 3D. If you have your own page in My Space, Facebook, etcetera, you can access it in 3D from the ER button which will appear on your toolbar after installation. So far so good. After this it was pretty much all down hill. When I tried to some of the member created 3D pages, I had less success, slow loads and occasional hangups. When I tried to access my own blog page, I got repeated error messages prompting debugging. Eventually, it sort of worked, but was unusable. Converting my iGoogle home page to 3D worked slightly better, but since I have 20+ gadgets (I'm writing this blog entry from one now) the 3D result produces a forest of sign boards, one for each link on the page - not very useful. View a video of Exit Reality in action here.

My conclusion is that this is a slick application with a huge potential for instructional use, but its not quite ready for prime time. It would make a great platform for a virtual charter school. Anyone interested?

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