Believe it or not there are other grids out there! I discovered OpenSimulator yesterday. I have to admit I had heard about OpenSim months back but I received some misinformation. These grids are only lightly populated in comparison to Second Life making them seem rather lonely (currently 49 people on the OSGrid right now). The server application is built to be operable with the Second Life viewer, which is opensource and can run on various operating systems including Microsoft, Macintosh and Linux. So you might ask, "how do I access these grids". The answer is Hippo! Hippo is a Second Life like client but with an additional menu that lets you pick the "grid" you want to access, including the Second Life grid.
So what this means is I can set up my own simulation server and connect it to the OpenSim Grid, or keep my server(s) on a completely separate grid (let's call it the NIU Grid). The OpenSimulator server software is in alpha, so not completely ready for prime time, but open source applications like these are definitely going to lead to a rapid expansion of the 3D Internet.
What this also means is we can build things in 3D Max and upload it an OpenSim environment. That will make a lot of 3D artists very happy. More on this soon.