Monday, October 19, 2009

Monk Radio

I've had some disagreement with people about my decision to leave Second Life, but I'm pretty confident of my choice; I think there are far better ways to reach out to people than invading virtual reality game spaces; making one's own virtual reality comes immediately to mind...

Another thing I've been working on is a way to broadcast audio over the Internet without need for all of the hefty graphics and cpu requirements of virtual reality. With the help of a friend, I set up an Icecast2 server (like Shoutcast, only Linux) which allows me to send my voice to Connecticut and back (or anywhere in the world) in about two seconds, which means I'm on the air. Twice a day for now... a talk at 1 PM and chanting at 7 PM. It's still a little buggy, but an alternative way to tune in is to download the m3u playlist and open it in your favourite music player (during broadcast hours, otherwise it won't play). For chanting, you can follow along on the radio page and you can also post comments or questions in the chat box on that same page.

Right now the stream is on a temporary server, so maybe it's better not to download the m3u playlist until we get it up on our new dedicated server (hopefully tomorrow). This is all part of what I'm hoping will be a comprehensive platform for spreading the Buddha's teaching on a global level. Another project that is already up and running (in test phase, anyway) is our murmur/mumble server; a low-latency solution for group chat, alternative to SL. Our hope is to incorporate this into our virtual reality platform so that people in-world (codeword for logged into the virtual reality) can chat with people out-of-world (codeword for everyone too grown-up to play VR games). I think VR has great potential in giving a sense of community to the Buddhist world on cyberspace, if done correctly... I don't think SecondLife did that; everyone always seemed like they were on their way somewhere else, and wearing far too few clothes to be headed to a monastery... not a good place for a card-carrying monk.

Anyway, do check out the radio page, and check back here for more updates on my forays into the digital universe... I've come to the understanding that there is no difference on the illusion scale between digital and analog space - it's all in the mind.