UPDATED! Come Say Farewell to High Fidelity with a Final Dance at The Palace

Today marks the end of an era. High Fidelity is essentially shutting down its platform today (more details here). Longtime user Dr. Fran noted that the HiFi user forums have already been taken down:

But we are not leaving without one last epic dance party!

Xaos Princess posted the following message on Twitter:

Today we’re gonna party like it’s 1999 in VR! Fire up your Steam or Oculus client one last time or download it at https://highfidelity.com/download and join us at 3:00 p.m. PST in https://metaverse.highfidelity.com/places/ThePalace to say farewell to the best virtual world ever!

All are welcome to join us, but if you have never set up a High Fidelity avatar before today, you are simply out of luck, as High Fidelity has also shut down their official website, so you can no longer create accounts:

While privately-hosted domains such as ThePalace will continue to run for a while, eventually usage will dwindle down to nothing, as older users move on, and no new users can create accounts to take part in any events. Eventually, even the domain names will disappear as they expire, and you will no longer be able to visit them, even if you still have a working account.

UPDATE 5:48 p.m.: Well, after a few technical difficulties (including having to replace a hand controller battery and rebooting my computer twice), I made it into The Palace! The party is still going on, and there are about 25 avatars in attendance—the largest crowd I have seen in HiFi in quite some time.

Chaka dancing on stage

It was wonderful to see and talk with old friends like Thoys, Piper Peppercorn, Xaos Princess, and Flame Soulis.

Like I said, the end of an era. High Fidelity is the first victim of the social VR wars, but I suspect it will not be the last platform to fold in this rapidly-evolving and ever-changing market.

UPDATE Jan. 18th, 2020: After I left the party, High Fidelity CEO Philip Rosedale himself showed up (see red arrow)!

Thanks for the picture, Carlos!

11th Augmented Human International Conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Most of the time, I have to travel to another city to attend a conference. In this case (for a change), the conference is actually coming to me!

And believe me, at my age, not having to fit my cranky, fat ass into the ever-shrinking economy-class seating in an airplane for 2 to 4 hours in order to get somewhere is a major deal. Winnipeg is a relatively isolated northern city (check it out on a map or globe, it’s a full day’s drive north of Minneapolis and two day’s drive to the nearest Canadian cities of Edmonton, Calgary, or Toronto). And I do not travel well, which is one of the reasons I find social VR so appealing in the first place.

The Augmented Human International Conference is coming to Canada for the first time in May 2020. My university, the University of Manitoba, is hosting the 11th Augmented Human conference from May 27th to 29th, 2020, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Selected areas and topics of interest include but are not limited to:

Brain-Computer Interfaces and Artificial Intelligence
– Hardware and Sensors
– IoT [Internet of Things] and Ubiquitous Computing
– Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality
– Alternative or Novel Feedback Modalities
– Muscle Interfaces and Implanted Interfaces

Smart Home and Smart Cities
– Ambient sensors, Wearables, Smart Objects
– Smart Textiles, Augmented Fashion, Art and Tourism

Medicine, Rehabilitation and Sports  
– Tele-rehabilitation
– Tele-Assistance
– Smart Assistive Devices
– Bionics and Biomechanics
– Biomimicry and Exoskeletons
– Sensory Substitution and Fusion
– Interfaces, Services and Applications
– Holograms, HMDs and Smart Glasses
– Serious Games and Augmented Sports

Political and Social Sciences
– Ethics, Trust, Privacy
– Human-Factors, Safety, and Security Aspects of Augmented Humans

If you wish to submit a paper to this conference, here is the form. The deadline for paper receipt is January 29th, 2020. All submitted papers will be peer-reviewed by three independent referees from the International Editorial Board. Accepted papers will be published in the ACM’s International Conference Proceedings Series (ICPS) and are eligible for publication in the Augmented Human Research Journal.

Here is the conference registration page. If you are coming, and you want to meet up face-to-face somewhere in Winnipeg, I would be delighted!