PostHeaderIcon Second Life: It's a Small World, After All.

Cultural quirks are magnified a bazillion times on-line.

And you wonder why Second Life has gone to pot over the last year or two? It's the internationalization of the population that is making Second Life - or parts of it - a miserable cesspool of garbage. And I don't mean the builds, but rather the people.

Have you noticed as you travel around the Grid how there are a lot of people who tend to stay to themselves? But once you get to actually speaking with someone new, (or they come to you,) that's when it becomes clear what culture they come from. Or rather the culture style. Unfortunately, many of those cultures are less than pleasant company.

I've had the opportunity to travel the real life world. My stint in the United States Army has given me the opportunity to meet people from many countries - and not just meet them, but to live and work with them and get to know them. And in these travels, I've discovered a few consistent traits among these peoples.

Now, to be sure, all the traits I'll describe apply to all people in a particular country or culture and the range of attitudes is complete from the lowest lowlife all the way up to the shining stars. However, when going into anonymous mode, ones true nature tends to come crawling (or running) out of the shadows into the limelight - that which they keep hidden in public seems to be let loose in the anonymous digital world.

So, I am going to generalize quite broadly here. When I reach your country - don't take it personally. It's a general thing based on my RL and SL experience. And also note that I am talking about people you've never met before in SL - not your friends or acquaintances, but those you come across for the first time. Introductions as it were. And I am only going to cover those I have actual Second Life and Real Life experience with.

Asians RL: Smart. Hard-working. Creative eye for shapes and colors and unusual things. Moxie and style in everything they do. Perfectionists.

Asians SL: Smart. Hard-working. Creative eye for shapes and colors and unusual things. Moxie and style in everything they do. Perfectionists.

I have to say, I have gone to a lot of Asian sim, met of lot of RL Asians in SL and they always are polite, seem to be 'quiet' and 'speak softly' - almost as if there is a slight shyness their, but it's really about manners. I am impressed with most Asian people I meet all the time. You can almost be able to tell when you meet an Asian in SL: If they are builder: perfection. Or it's not for sale. And prices are incredibly low, too. For them, it seems to be more about the art than the money. For example, I purchased a seven-story pagoda for L$350. And the workmanship, textures and prim-perfection rivals similar builds that easily would have had a price tag equalling $L2500 or more. I purchased all I needed to complete a 4096 sized Japanese garden for around L$1500 - total.

Germans RL: Friendly, fun-loving, Hard-working, fun-loving, hard-playing, fun-loving and outspoken. Did I mention fun-loving?

Germans SL: Drunk.

Okay - don't take the SL comment wrong. Germans in SL are often drunk. And I love it! Most are pretty serious and hard-working shen sober, but when a drunk German is an the keyboard in SL, his fun-loving nature comes out in full-force. They tend to be loud and boisterous. In fact, you could even be tempted to file an abuse report at times for griefing - except it is obvious they are (always) having a great time and want to bring you along.

Netherlands RL: Loose, Introverted, Promiscuous.

Netherlands SL: Introverted, Promiscuous.

Everyone I have ever met from the Netherlands is pretty introverted - they tend to keep to themselves. Now, once you get to know them, they will open up a bit. But until that time, it's like an inner circle they keep around them and you're on the outside. Fortunately, it's not hard to get in on the inside. Drop your pants and you're half way there. Sex to most of these people I have personally met: is not different that sleeping or eating or siting and watching TV: It's a given. Why get all uptight about it? 

But they also tend to be bleeding-heart, left-fringe, politically-correct wackos at the same time.

French RL: Stuck-up, never shave, some stink.

French in SL: Stuck-up, rude, full of himself, thinks he's God's gift to the universe.

The only problem with the French in SL is that they are French.

Okay - yes, a bit harsh. So, allow me to clarify: some of the French I have met have been tolerable. Practically all are in the category of "planet could do without". They are rude and crude and seem to think it's something special because they are French. Go to any freebie sex beach/joint/club/park/you-name-it and you'll see hordes of men running around asking the woman if they want to 'have some fun' and they always feel a need to include "and I'm French!"

So I like to toss-out to them "Is it important to you that you are French?" Most will come back with a simply "Yes, i am french, what r u?" To which my reply is simply "Then it's good you are French since being French is so important to you."

Canadians RL: Heh. Wow.

Canadians SL: Ditto.

I've been all over the world and lived only a couple hours from the Canadian border since 1991. Never been to Canada. Until now. I'm writing this from the Maritime Provinces - New Brunswick. beautiful country, wonderful people. The dialects ca take a little getting used to, though. I guess I've always seen how open and friendly Canadians are as a rule. But, being completely surrounded by them has finally opened my eyes and I am practically stunned at the friendliness and generosity of Canadian people. When they say and ask "hello, how are you" - they seem to really mean it. Every stranger I've spoken to had approached me first and a short conversation spins-up. Their interest is genuine.

I also am amazed at the pride of Canadians. It's the kind of pride Americans had during and shortly after World War II. I don't mean the whole patriotic thing - you know, singing the national anthem and all that. But just plain old pride. Proud to proclaim they are Canadians. The Maple Leaf icon is everywhere. There are Canadian versions of everything: The fast-food places, Ford and Chevy, and so many other things. When I say Canadian versions - I mean the Maple Leaf is part of the logo. That's not true on German or French McDonalds logos.

So, looking back on it, many of the friendliest people I've met in SL were often in or from Canada.

So, whatever coin the others tend to be on, Canadians are on the flip-side.

United Sates RL: All of the above.

United States SL: Ditto.

You tend to get all of the above from people in and from the United states and it's a pretty wide chasm in range. Most idiots you find in SL that run around begging you for L$10 so they can but a new shirt are U.S.; most griefers are U.S.; Most scammers are griefers; most people with absolutely horrendous tempers are U.S.; most idiots running around with their newbie primdicks hanging out are French. Er..., could be U.S., too. Well, you get the idea.

Lots of folks in the U.S. are friendly, caring people, too. Really, really good people. Oh, but those might be Canadian transplants, though.

So, makes me wonder if Cen's real name is Nedra as I suspect the Ce in CeNedra is really a truncation of "Canadian extraordinaire". And her blog should be called Cen's Toonie - it's worth more that pennies anyway.

Eh?

PostHeaderIcon Second Life: True Development Platform?

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Kumbaya!"][/caption]

Well, I don't 'hate' Linden Lab at all. I do hate the way they tend to do some things, communicate other things and overall manage + communicate what they are managing and how. It's okay to do anything you want, Linden Lab, just please either do a better job at communicating it or don't communicate it at all. Too many Second Life residents get too confused and, of course, there will be those who scream 'bloody murder!'

As for the title question: Yes. Soon. I have said before that 99% of all Second Life residents haven't the faintest idea of the technical power of Second life. Rendering a 3D image thirty times a second, when a few years ago a single frame would have taken hours if not days. And now, not only a 3d virtual world, but soon a true development platform.

I always have said that in most situations, I stand with Linden Lab. No, I'm not a Linden apologist and I am certainly not in the tank for them. But I also am a realist. Linden Research is a for profit company. Their job is to make money. They even have a fascinating model for doing so without relying on after-market advertising. Even radio does that.

Linden Research can only make money by keep their customers as happy as possible. Unfortunately the old adage rings true, and we all know this one: "you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.'

Yes, I know, I have substituted the word "please" for the word 'fool'. But you get the point. So, when Linden Research®, and subsidiary Linden Lab® make decisions, it is what keeps the majority happy, at the expense of the minority. However, it is often the minority that is vocally the loudest.

To me, it also makes for absolutely wonderful entertainment to see most of these people whine and bitch over things that show themselves to be with a serious case of entitlement attitude where none is promised, given or deserved.

"The best way to show a fool is to let him have his way." But more to the point: "It is better to allow people to think you a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." These are among my favorite quotes and thy apply oh so often with so many residents. Obviously, Linden Lab tries hard to not fall under these categories. This also explains the vagueness of much of their communication with the outside world.

I always have been saying that I know Linden Lab and their employees are simply working to make Second Life better as a whole for the majority of users. Some of the massive usability enhancements in the new 1.20 viewer prove that. A lot of fantastic little user-targeted features that weren't even asked for, such as double-tapping the walk button to run, and being able to click any name that appears in chat history to instantly open their profile page.

This weeks release of the newest server code proves my point. It includes the Mono runtime engine. Something I have personally been anxiously waiting for.
Babbage Linden sez:
"As well as providing immediate benefits, the integration of the Mono virtual machine makes many future improvements possible: the use of mainstream languages to script Second Life alongside the existing LSL language; the removal of arbitrary per-script limits on script resource usage and the use of mainstream libraries and tools for scripting to name a few."

This is wonderful news because of the gargantuan improvements to the user experience, first in the way Second Life operates under the hood, but also because there are a lot of wonderful software developers who will be able to bring their desktop application into Second Life.

Additionally, the sheer power and flexibility of Mono will make things a lot more stable and faster.
From the Mono FAQ:
'...multiple copies of scripts with the same asset id will only take up as much room as one instance. Imagine some script that you use a dozen times on your land. If each of the objects containing the script is separately compiled from text source, you will use up a dozen times the script's size of memory. But if instead you simply drag a copy of the single, already compiled script into each of the dozen objects, then no matter how many copies exist they only take up the size of one script (plus data) in memory.'

I know a lot of what is said above may not make a whole bunch of sense to most people, but I can assure you: it's a good thing.

So, Linden Lab: There really are some of us out here who will chastise you often, but we also know, down inside, you hate the instabilities, resident extortion, bugs, resident-to-resident rip-offs, you-name-it about the software and what goes on in-world - just like the rest of us. We also understand you want to be open and transparent as possible. And we understand there are some things where you just can't do that, for many business-related, possibly even legal reasons.

However, we also know you are trying hard to make Second Life the best it can be with what you have and no-one can predict the future, so you simply rebuild the existing code.

Hello, look at what a horrible mess Microsoft Windows is!

So, from myself to Linden Lab: I know you work hard, are frustrated as much as I am and thank you for all your efforts and a great product, warts and all.
Source: Mono Launch « Official Second Life Blog

PostHeaderIcon Corporate PCs and Second Life

Naoki lookin' hot!Second life on corporate computers? Absolutely, though nowhere near as many as anyone might think. It is not so easy to quickly 'hide' the SL viewer application when the boss walks by. However, there are cases where one can 'get away' with it. Is this what Information Technology professionals want? Highly unlikely.

It's a known fact that there is 'software creep' on corporate computers and it started a long time ago, even before the Internet was so prevailent. People who had computers at home tended to bring some software in and install it without asking first, but that was a rarity. Then, as the Internet increasingly became a part of the workplace, the war has been slowly prculatiing between the user and the I.T. department ever since.

It really kicked-in when Instant Message software became hugely popular. People were fired over the issue: not only for downloading an installing the software such as America Online Instant Messenger (AIM) or ICQ (I Seek You) onto their work systems, but for wasting so many hours on-the-clock in messaging friends and family. Now, think: what exactly is Second Life, but for glorified, beautiful-to-look-at 'instant messaging' software'?

It became such a productivity drain that companies outright banned the software. However, bad for I.T. departments everywhere, the software companies are making it harder to prevent new software being installed onto these systems with auto-updates and other payloads included with intended updates and other installed software.

Too many applications are beginning to actually require Internet access to properly function, and in that requirement - to have certain ports open to allow data to flow through corporate firewalls, etc. Then, there is the evil Linden Lab whom have created the evil Second Life client that connects to the Second Life virtual experience that has become so addictive to so many, even the Second Life viewer software is finding its way onto these computer systems.

InfoWorld has a pretty good article about software creep all by itself. The article isn't specifically about Second Life or Linden Lab, but does mention it.
InfoWorld sez:
"Apple iTunes, various media players such as RealPlayer and Adobe Flash, and virtual reality environment Second Life are rampant on corporate PCs. Take Flash, a player that Web pages download for users automatically when Flash content is on a page. Thanks to that automatic downloading, Adobe has found that new versions get widely adopted, even behind corporate firewalls, in a matter of months."

Source: IT heresy: Invite those unsanctioned applications in!

No, simply mentioning Second Life isn't the reason I chose to focus on this article at all. Rather, it more or less reminded me of the issue, and no doubt Second Life is installed on a lot of systems it probably shouldn't be installed on.

I have it on the corporate Macintosh I use - but I sorta, kinda have a slim excuse: It was installed to show it to the company owner as something to evaluate with regard to online training. Never did get a chance to pull him to my machine to see it yet. But, that also gives me reason to leave i there. Even though it's not really necessary as I rarely ever go in-world during RL productivity time.

So,I am really curious: do you have the SL viewer installed on your employer-owned computer workstation? And, if you do: do you actually login to Second Life while at work (even if on a break or lunch period)?

Tell me - I am really curious to know.

PostHeaderIcon Second Life on Corporate PCs?

Second life on corporate computers? Absolutely, though nowhere near as many as anyone might think. It is not so easy to quickly 'hide' the SL viewer application when the boss walks by. However, there are cases where one can 'get away' with it. Is this what Information Technology professionals want? Highly unlikely.

It's a known fact that there is 'software creep' on corporate computers and it started a long time ago, even before the Internet was so prevailent. People who had computers at home tended to bring some software in and install it without asking first, but that was a rarity. Then, as the Internet increasingly became a part of the workplace, the war has been slowly prculatiing between the user and the I.T. department ever since.

It really kicked-in when Instant Message software became hugely popular. People were fired over the issue: not only for downloading an installing the software such as America Online Instant Messenger (AIM) or ICQ (I Seek You) onto their work systems, but for wasting so many hours on-the-clock in messaging friends and family. Now, think: what exactly is Second Life, but for glorified, beautiful-to-look-at 'instant messaging' software'?

It became such a productivity drain that companies outright banned the software. However, bad for I.T. departments everywhere, the software companies are making it harder to prevent new software being installed onto these systems with auto-updates and other payloads included with intended updates and other installed software.

Too many applications are beginning to actually require Internet access to properly function, and in that requirement - to have certain ports open to allow data to flow through corporate firewalls, etc. Then, there is the evil Linden Lab whom have created the evil Second Life client that connects to the Second Life virtual experience that has become so addictive to so many, even the Second Life viewer software is finding its way onto these computer systems.

InfoWorld has a pretty good article about software creep all by itself. The article isn't specifically about Second Life or Linden Lab, but does mention it. 
InfoWorld sez:
"Apple iTunes, various media players such as RealPlayer and Adobe Flash, and virtual reality environment Second Life are rampant on corporate PCs. Take Flash, a player that Web pages download for users automatically when Flash content is on a page. Thanks to that automatic downloading, Adobe has found that new versions get widely adopted, even behind corporate firewalls, in a matter of months."

Source: IT heresy: Invite those unsanctioned applications in!

No, simply mentioning Second Life isn't the reason I chose to focus on this article at all. Rather, it more or less reminded me of the issue, and no doubt Second Life is installed on a lot of systems it probably shouldn't be installed on.

I have it on the corporate Macintosh I use - but I sorta, kinda have a slim excuse: It was installed to show it to the company owner as something to evaluate with regard to online training. Never did get a chance to pull him to my machine to see it yet. But, that also gives me reason to leave i there. Even though it's not really necessary as I rarely ever go in-world during RL productivity time.

So,I am really curious: do you have the SL viewer installed on your employer-owned computer workstation? And, if you do: do you actually login to Second Life while at work (even if on a break or lunch period)?

Tell me - I am really curious to know.

PostHeaderIcon Burning Life: Another Controversy In The Making?

Burning Man FestivalWe saw what happened with the SL5B (Second Life 5th Birthday) where organizers working hard for almost a year were quickly shot-down amidst the massive sanitation of the celebration by Linden Lab

It's a pendulum that started with a complete hands-off approach by Linden Lab - refusing to 'interfere' with anything the residents did. So much so that 'ageplay', banking, stock exchanges and gambling began to flourish. Now the pendulum swings toward the sanitized, thumb-on-the-residents-back - and it's likely to never swing back to where it was. Linden Lab seems to take one extreme or the other.

After some really nasty press, (not entirely accurate and rather alarmist and sensationalist and no, it wasn't the SL Herald,) Linden Lab began to pull up their bootstraps and jump through hoops with huge backpeddling. They introduced "Identity Verification", which later morphed into "age verification" (bullshit, I say - Second Life is for adults-only. Some 12 year old finds their way to some pr0n paradise - I say LET THEM.)

That more or less floundered and hasn't been heard of since the controversies died down. Then there were the cries about the banking situation. And cries about land bots and things... and cries about ad-farms and and extortion and cries about...

Be careful what you wish for.

No one twisted anybody's arm to go running around to the pr0n clubs, or to put their money into these banks, or any of all that other crap, yet it was the shrill vocal minority that whined about it all. And remember, the alleged trading of RL photographs of child porn in the sensational news story that seemed to be the catalyst for all the bad press about Second Life is alleged. The last word from Linden Lab is that they have not been able to find these assets in the system, thus the media company fanning those flames may also have been blowing smoke up Linden Lab's ass - just to 'validate' the sensationalism of their so-called news story.

Now Linden Lab is sanitizing everything. Some of the most ridiculous restrictions were placed on entries submitted to the SL5B celebration. The Burning Man celebration always has been a complete free-for-all. And the real life version is wilder than Marti-Gras - a lot more promiscuity and wild raving.
Everett Linden sez: "To celebrate the inspiration that enriched Second Life, over the past six years, Residents in Second Life have gotten together to build one of the largest, most unusual and most creative events found in the Metaverse— the annual Art, Fire and Community festival known as Burning Life."

So, are we in for more controversial hoopla coming out of Linden Lab regarding the Burning Man celebration? This is more important than SL5B ever could be, as it is the Burning Man tradition that Second Life is based-on and the was the inspiration for it's very concept.

Well, Linden Lab is looking for your ideas. But it might be safer to suggest more conservative things like "Shirley Temples" and "Mister Rogers" and "sesame Street" and heaven forbid you suggest anything that has to do with any kind of nudity (even though PG movies show tits and ass all the time, at Linden Lab it means you'd better be an angel,) and certainly nothing to do with 'children'.

Oh shit - scratch the Sesame Street stuff... OH! How about we suggest Linden lab not do a burning man as all? It's easier to punish everyone because of a few loud-mouths.

Source

PostHeaderIcon Burning Controversy?

Burning Man FestivalWe saw what happened with the SL5B (Second Life 5th Birthday) where organizers working hard for almost a year were quickly shot-down amidst the massive sanitation of the celebration by Linden Lab

It's a pendulum that started with a complete hands-off approach by Linden Lab - refusing to 'interfere' with anything the residents did. So much so that 'ageplay', banking, stock exchanges and gambling began to flourish. Now the pendulum swings toward the sanitized, thumb-on-the-residents-back - and it's likely to never swing back to where it was. Linden Lab seems to take one extreme or the other.

After some really nasty press, (not entirely accurate and rather alarmist and sensationalist and no, it wasn't the SL Herald,) Linden Lab began to pull up their bootstraps and jump through hoops with huge backpeddling. They introduced "Identity Verification", which later morphed into "age verification" (bullshit, I say - Second Life is for adults-only. Some 12 year old finds their way to some pr0n paradise - I say LET THEM.)

That more or less floundered and hasn't been heard of since the controversies died down. Then there were the cries about the banking situation. And cries about land bots and things... and cries about ad-farms and and extortion and cries about...

Be careful what you wish for.

No one twisted anybody's arm to go running around to the pr0n clubs, or to put their money into these banks, or any of all that other crap, yet it was the shrill vocal minority that whined about it all. And remember, the alleged trading of RL photographs of child porn in the sensational news story that seemed to be the catalyst for all the bad press about Second Life is alleged. The last word from Linden Lab is that they have not been able to find these assets in the system, thus the media company fanning those flames may also have been blowing smoke up Linden Lab's ass - just to 'validate' the sensationalism of their so-called news story.

Now Linden Lab is sanitizing everything. Some of the most ridiculous restrictions were placed on entries submitted to the SL5B celebration. The Burning Man celebration always has been a complete free-for-all. And the real life version is wilder than Marti-Gras - a lot more promiscuity and wild raving.
Everett Linden sez: "To celebrate the inspiration that enriched Second Life, over the past six years, Residents in Second Life have gotten together to build one of the largest, most unusual and most creative events found in the Metaverse— the annual Art, Fire and Community festival known as Burning Life."

So, are we in for more controversial hoopla coming out of Linden Lab regarding the Burning Man celebration? This is more important than SL5B ever could be, as it is the Burning Man tradition that Second Life is based-on and the was the inspiration for it's very concept.

Well, Linden Lab is looking for your ideas. But it might be safer to suggest more conservative things like "Shirley Temples" and "Mister Rogers" and "sesame Street" and heaven forbid you suggest anything that has to do with any kind of nudity (even though PG movies show tits and ass all the time, at Linden Lab it means you'd better be an angel,) and certainly nothing to do with 'children'.

Oh shit - scratch the Sesame Street stuff... OH! How about we suggest Linden lab not do a burning man as all? It's easier to punish everyone because of a few loud-mouths.

Source: Burning Life: A call for volunteers « Official Second Life Blog

PostHeaderIcon Burning Life: Another Controversy in the Making?

We saw what happened with the SL5B (Second Life 5th Birthday) where organizers working hard for almost a year were quickly shot-down amidst the massive sanitation of the celebration by Linden Lab

It's a pendulum that started with a complete hands-off approach by Linden Lab - refusing to 'interfere' with anything the residents did. So much so that 'ageplay', banking, stock exchanges and gambling began to flourish. Now the pendulum swings toward the sanitized, thumb-on-the-residents-back - and it's likely to never swing back to where it was. Linden Lab seems to take one extreme or the other.

PostHeaderIcon Corporate in Second Life: Flop...or Flip?

Playboy LogoFunny. American Apparel came in and flopped. Several political candidates came in and flopped. Coca-cola didn't bother coming in, and succeeded.

Okay, yes Coca-cola did come in-world to Second Life. and they proclaim success. I don't know, I wasn't there. However, where I do know they are successful is in their brand name. The Coca-cola logo is all over SL. It's all over the real world, too. I know some people that actually collect Coca-cola collectibles. Well, to Coca-cola's credit, they said 'hey, go for it'.

They have openly and publicly allowed the use of the Coca-cola logo to be used by the residents of Second Life as they choose, but without relinquishing any rights. This went over well with the residents of SL in a big way. Wise move, Coke.

There are a lot of real word companies who have no idea their intellectual properties are being abused in Second Life through either misappropriation of their official logos, such as Apple, Inc. to the use of their products, such as the Deviant product line being (allegedly) completely mimicked and replicated based on real world products. (Last word I have is that another SL resident has acquired writen license and full rights for exclusive reproduction of these items inside SL, makes me wonder what Deviant will do, should a cease and desist come through.)

So along comes Playboy.

They buy and build a sim, (private region; a.k.a. Private Estate,) and build-up the buzz. Advertising throughout the blogosphere, likely also in their magazine, and through news stories in the decent SL News Blogs like New World Notes and SLNN. From what I read, it was a lackluster opening and then, as reported, deserted. And, like American Apparel, Nissan, NBC and so many others, they left it to sit. The whole "build it and they will come' idea has never, ever flown in Second Life.

People need a reason to go there. and the first reason is that there are other people there already. So, events are a prerequisite in these things. So, it turns out mPlayboy's demise in Second Life has been greatly exaggerated. it turns out that even though the real world brand is struggling, the brand inside SL is thriving. And Playboy approchaed the whole logo intellectual property thing in SL properly.

Rather than come in and demand a full take-down, leveraging Linden Lab's awesome takedown powers via DMCA, and unlike Coca-cola: simply releasing the logo into the creative commons within SL, they decided to approach all those creators in Second Life using the term and logo that is intellectually owned by the company.

And what they did was to partner with these creators. Help standardize pricing; perhaps a little marketing... I don;t know the details. But in a nutshell, Playboy to creators using Playboy I.P.: Give us a cut and you can keep-on with the logo. It is my understanding 75% or more of those approached took the deal. So, what happens is Playboy now has and maintains control of your property, namely their logo and name, the creators get official endorsement and assistance, and Playboy now has a huge marketing reach with-in SL.

Wow. This is apparently so successful that when Playboy released their financial numbers, eyebrows were popping up sudenly all over the place. Take a look at the article - it's fun read:
Playboy's Second Life sim buzzes, even as real-world brand falters
"The company has not only found success driving a steady stream of in-world traffic, but also licensing its brand to other, Second-Life only brands. By pairing with successful Second Life designers, and pricing items at an affordable price (L$150 - L$300, which is about US$1), Playboy's experiment seems to be doing well. It's a situation that has eluded many other real-world companies which have set up shop in the virtual world."

PostHeaderIcon Playboy buzzes in SL, even when choking in RL.

Playboy logo image Funny. American Apparel came in and flopped. Several political candidates came in and flopped. Coca-cola didn't bother coming in, and succeeded.

Okay, yes Coca-cola did come in-world to Second Life. and they proclaim success. I don't know, I wasn't there. However, where I do know they are successful is in their brand name. The Coca-cola logo is all over SL. It's all over the real world, too. I know some people that actually collect Coca-cola collectibles. Well, to Coca-cola's credit, they said 'hey, go for it'.

They have openly and publicly allowed the use of the Coca-cola logo to be used by the residents of Second Life as they choose, but without relinquishing any rights. This went over well with the residents of SL in a big way. Wise move, Coke.

There are a lot of real word companies who have no idea their intellectual properties are being abused in Second Life through either misappropriation of their official logos, such as Apple, Inc. to the use of their products, such as the Deviant product line being (allegedly) completely mimicked and replicated based on real world products. (Last word I have is that another SL resident has acquired writen license and full rights for exclusive reproduction of these items inside SL, makes me wonder what Deviant will do, should a cease and desist come through.)

So along comes Playboy.

They buy and build a sim, (private region; a.k.a. Private Estate,) and build-up the buzz. Advertising throughout the blogosphere, likely also in their magazine, and through news stories in the decent SL News Blogs like New World Notes and SLNN. From what I read, it was a lackluster opening and then, as reported, deserted. And, like American Apparel, Nissan, NBC and so many others, they left it to sit. The whole "build it and they will come' idea has never, ever flown in Second Life.

People need a reason to go there. and the first reason is that there are other people there already. So, events are a prerequisite in these things. So, it turns out mPlayboy's demise in Second Life has been greatly exaggerated. it turns out that even though the real world brand is struggling, the brand inside SL is thriving. And Playboy approchaed the whole logo intellectual property thing in SL properly.

Rather than come in and demand a full take-down, leveraging Linden Lab's awesome takedown powers via DMCA, and unlike Coca-cola: simply releasing the logo into the creative commons within SL, they decided to approach all those creators in Second Life using the term and logo that is intellectually owned by the company.

And what they did was to partner with these creators. Help standardize pricing; perhaps a little marketing... I don;t know the details. But in a nutshell, Playboy to creators using Playboy I.P.: Give us a cut and you can keep-on with the logo. It is my understanding 75% or more of those approached took the deal. So, what happens is Playboy now has and maintains control of your property, namely their logo and name, the creators get official endorsement and assistance, and Playboy now has a huge marketing reach with-in SL.

Wow. This is apparently so successful that when Playboy released their financial numbers, eyebrows were popping up sudenly all over the place. Take a look at the article - it's fun read:
Playboy's Second Life sim buzzes, even as real-world brand falters
"The company has not only found success driving a steady stream of in-world traffic, but also licensing its brand to other, Second-Life only brands. By pairing with successful Second Life designers, and pricing items at an affordable price (L$150 - L$300, which is about US$1), Playboy's experiment seems to be doing well. It's a situation that has eluded many other real-world companies which have set up shop in the virtual world."

PostHeaderIcon DMCA: Newer, Sharper Teeth to Bite With



Most of us have seen or heard of the GPL (General Public License). We all know there are such things as copyright laws and Intellectual Property (IP) rights and that those rights are pressed quite often against infringing parties.

The key to all of this has to do with "copyright". Litterally 'copy rights' - or the right to copy, (official common definition here.) Well, the GPL, or Genral Public License is a pretty basic idea of creating something, and allowing it to be freely copiable and redistributable, but only under certain contitions.

Modeled after the GPL are other "open source; a.k.a. 'free"' licensing schemes, some of which are wonderful ideas. A newer system called the Creative Commons, (CC) (official web site here,) is heaven-sent for me as a photographer. There are times when I just want some very simple, easy to understand rules of my works, otherwise, have-at-it. The main difference between the GPL and CC is that the GPL usually refers to software and other intangibles, whereas the CC applies to everything else, such as print, visual and audio works.

Well, some professionals are a bit wary of the GPL (and to a lesser degree, the CC,) because a common requirement of the license is to allow the product (software, in this case) to remain copyable and redistributable, and often that original copyrights remain intact. The problem has to do with the legal definitions of these kind of licenses in the terms of just what kind of licenses they are...

Are they copyright licenses? ...or are they contract licenses?

The problem here comes down to what is called 'creative license', which is a contract licensing issue and the legal recourse of original creators is nowhere near as potent as what can be done under copyright law. This has to do with the definition of "significant derivitive works' from the original material, which also is why Tenshi Vielle was libelous in her original proclamation of theft, since (even though it already was shown to be otherwise,) the "creative license' law would have applied anyway, since the original from Renderosity is not under the CC license.

The idea is that if you take an image or other Creative Commons or General Public License work and significantly change it, then creative license law (contract law) would apply and the original creator would have little recourse. So there was a lawsuit in which one software venbdor sued another software vender for ripping them off. The accused procliamed the original software, under the GPL license fell under contract law, and that they were selling a dirivitive work. The court found for the defendant and so the GPL and by extension, Creative Commons licenses basically became useless overnight. The decision was apealed.

Now comes huge news. The Federal Appeals Court has overturned the lower court's ruling. In a nutshell, the GPL, CC and other 'public licenses' have new fangs. Nasty ones at that. The GPL, CC and other public licenses are found to fall under copyright law. It is copyright law that the DMCA, (Digital Millineum Copyright Act,) is based-on.

So, this means the creators inside Second Life and many other virtual worlds, anyone allowed to hold on to Intellectual ownership of their creations now have bazooka bombshells to lob at infringers of their Intellectual Property. A very good story about this ruling here:
Groklaw - Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit Overturns Jacobsen v. Katzer
"As the court put it, "Copyright holders who engage in open source licensing have the right to control the modification and distribution of copyrighted material." Now the case goes back to the lower court to reconsider, based on this ruling, the question of injunctive relief. So. "The heart of the argument on appeal concerns whether the terms of the Artistic License are conditions of, or merely covenants to, the copyright license," the court of appeals writes. And it finds that they are conditions, so relief is by means of copyright law, not contract. That matters a lot, because, as you've seen in the SCO saga, copyright law has teeth -- including injunctive relief -- that make policing infringements easier."

PostHeaderIcon DMCA: Newer, Sharper Teeth



Most of us have seen or heard of the GPL (General Public License). We all know there are such things as copyright laws and Intellectual Property (IP) rights and that those rights are pressed quite often against infringing parties.

The key to all of this has to do with "copyright". Litterally 'copy rights' - or the right to copy, (official common definition here.) Well, the GPL, or Genral Public License is a pretty basic idea of creating something, and allowing it to be freely copiable and redistributable, but only under certain contitions.

Modeled after the GPL are other "open source; a.k.a. 'free"' licensing schemes, some of which are wonderful ideas. A newer system called the Creative Commons, (CC) (official web site here,) is heaven-sent for me as a photographer. There are times when I just want some very simple, easy to understand rules of my works, otherwise, have-at-it. The main difference between the GPL and CC is that the GPL usually refers to software and other intangibles, whereas the CC applies to everything else, such as print, visual and audio works.

Well, some professionals are a bit wary of the GPL (and to a lesser degree, the CC,) because a common requirement of the license is to allow the product (software, in this case) to remain copyable and redistributable, and often that original copyrights remain intact. The problem has to do with the legal definitions of these kind of licenses in the terms of just what kind of licenses they are...

Are they copyright licenses? ...or are they contract licenses?

The problem here comes down to what is called 'creative license', which is a contract licensing issue and the legal recourse of original creators is nowhere near as potent as what can be done under copyright law. This has to do with the definition of "significant derivitive works' from the original material, which also is why Tenshi Vielle was libelous in her original proclamation of theft, since (even though it already was shown to be otherwise,) the "creative license' law would have applied anyway, since the original from Renderosity is not under the CC license.

The idea is that if you take an image or other Creative Commons or General Public License work and significantly change it, then creative license law (contract law) would apply and the original creator would have little recourse. So there was a lawsuit in which one software venbdor sued another software vender for ripping them off. The accused procliamed the original software, under the GPL license fell under contract law, and that they were selling a dirivitive work. The court found for the defendant and so the GPL and by extension, Creative Commons licenses basically became useless overnight. The decision was apealed.

Now comes huge news. The Federal Appeals Court has overturned the lower court's ruling. In a nutshell, the GPL, CC and other 'public licenses' have new fangs. Nasty ones at that. The GPL, CC and other public licenses are found to fall under copyright law. It is copyright law that the DMCA, (Digital Millineum Copyright Act,) is based-on.

So, this means the creators inside Second Life and many other virtual worlds, anyone allowed to hold on to Intellectual ownership of their creations now have bazooka bombshells to lob at infringers of their Intellectual Property. A very good story about this ruling here:
Groklaw - Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit Overturns Jacobsen v. Katzer
"As the court put it, "Copyright holders who engage in open source licensing have the right to control the modification and distribution of copyrighted material." Now the case goes back to the lower court to reconsider, based on this ruling, the question of injunctive relief. So. "The heart of the argument on appeal concerns whether the terms of the Artistic License are conditions of, or merely covenants to, the copyright license," the court of appeals writes. And it finds that they are conditions, so relief is by means of copyright law, not contract. That matters a lot, because, as you've seen in the SCO saga, copyright law has teeth -- including injunctive relief -- that make policing infringements easier."

PostHeaderIcon Linden Lab Goes AWOL?



[caption id="attachment_282" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="Linden Lab Goes AWOL"]Linden Lab Goes AWOL[/caption]

Has Linden Lab gone AWOL?

It sure seems like it. I don't know, perhaps it's me and the entire internet connection in two different cities in my area (at home and where I work). I'm really not sure.

Every web site I visit seems to come up as it's supposed to. Google and Cuil are pretty fresh. In fact, there is life everywhere I go.

Except for the Second Life blog.

Has Linden Lab gone AWOL? Have San Francisco finally fallen into the Pacific? Have Linden Lab fallen asleep at the wheel? I know there are a lot people who would proclaim this had be alleged for the last few years.

So, why is the Second Life weblog so dusty? In two-and-a-half years of running around the virtual world and following along with the blog, I've never seen it go so long without a single posting, or even an update to and existing post.

So, I'm curious... is it only me? Are your seeing any updates? As of this writing (Thursday, August 14th, 2008) the last entry on the Second Life blog was made at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 10th. So what is really going on here?

Either I'm not seeing the updates for some reason, or there is a change coming. But what and regarding what? Is the blog itself going to change? In content? Design? Functionality or look? Or is there something big getting ready to happen? Something in-world that will be posted with a sudden announcement at the SL weblog?

And if it's the latter, is it something pithy and simple, hence the dearth of activity on the blog will naturally magnify and exagerate the importance of the news? Or is Linden Lab getting ready to drop some kind of hammer on our heads again?

I really don't know. What do you think?

PostHeaderIcon Playboy: SL Success, RL Fail

Playboy logo image Funny. American Apparel came in and flopped. Several political candidates came in and flopped. Coca-cola didn't bother coming in, and succeeded.

Okay, yes Coca-cola did come in-world to Second Life. and they proclaim success. I don't know, I wasn't there. However, where I do know they are successful is in their brand name. The Coca-cola logo is all over SL. It's all over the real world, too. I know some people that actually collect Coca-cola collectibles. Well, to Coca-cola's credit, they said 'hey, go for it'.

They have openly and publicly allowed the use of the Coca-cola logo to be used by the residents of Second Life as they choose, but without relinquishing any rights. This went over well with the residents of SL in a big way. Wise move, Coke.

There are a lot of real word companies who have no idea their intellectual properties are being abused in Second Life through either misappropriation of their official logos, such as Apple, Inc. to the use of their products, such as the Deviant product line being (allegedly) completely mimicked and replicated based on real world products. (Last word I have is that another SL resident has acquired writen license and full rights for exclusive reproduction of these items inside SL, makes me wonder what Deviant will do, should a cease and desist come through.)

So along comes Playboy.

They buy and build a sim, (private region; a.k.a. Private Estate,) and build-up the buzz. Advertising throughout the blogosphere, likely also in their magazine, and through news stories in the decent SL News Blogs like New World Notes and SLNN. From what I read, it was a lackluster opening and then, as reported, deserted. And, like American Apparel, Nissan, NBC and so many others, they left it to sit. The whole "build it and they will come' idea has never, ever flown in Second Life.

People need a reason to go there. and the first reason is that there are other people there already. So, events are a prerequisite in these things. So, it turns out mPlayboy's demise in Second Life has been greatly exaggerated. it turns out that even though the real world brand is struggling, the brand inside SL is thriving. And Playboy approchaed the whole logo intellectual property thing in SL properly.

Rather than come in and demand a full take-down, leveraging Linden Lab's awesome takedown powers via DMCA, and unlike Coca-cola: simply releasing the logo into the creative commons within SL, they decided to approach all those creators in Second Life using the term and logo that is intellectually owned by the company.

And what they did was to partner with these creators. Help standardize pricing; perhaps a little marketing... I don;t know the details. But in a nutshell, Playboy to creators using Playboy I.P.: Give us a cut and you can keep-on with the logo. It is my understanding 75% or more of those approached took the deal. So, what happens is Playboy now has and maintains control of your property, namely their logo and name, the creators get official endorsement and assistance, and Playboy now has a huge marketing reach with-in SL.

Wow. This is apparently so successful that when Playboy released their financial numbers, eyebrows were popping up sudenly all over the place. Take a look at the article - it's fun read:
Playboy's Second Life sim buzzes, even as real-world brand falters
"The company has not only found success driving a steady stream of in-world traffic, but also licensing its brand to other, Second-Life only brands. By pairing with successful Second Life designers, and pricing items at an affordable price (L$150 - L$300, which is about US$1), Playboy's experiment seems to be doing well. It's a situation that has eluded many other real-world companies which have set up shop in the virtual world."

PostHeaderIcon Second Life = "Web 2.0" = Mainstream...?

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="224" caption="Apple, Inc. "Mobile Me" Cloud Computing Service for Mac and Windows"]http://images.apple.com/mobileme/features/images/index_hero_bg20080702.png[/caption]

Gartner is proclaiming Web 2.0 to be about two-years away and proclaims that this so-called Web 2.0 will include such things as cloud computing and virtual worlds like Second Life. Well, the problem with taking version numbers onto such intangibles as the Worldwide Web is... well, it's intangible.

I have seen C|NET refer to what we have right now as "Web 2.0" - specifically the social media craze, like 'Multiply', 'MySpace", 'Friendster', 'Facebook', 'Twitter' and the other countless blogging and other social properties out there now.

The problem is that to get from "Web 1.0" to where we are now has taken more than a decade. The first Worldwide Web was simply... the web. Then people found a way to actually take those long, boring, gray mile-long web pages and found a way to actually have them appear the way they want them to, with test wrapping around pictures and so on.

PostHeaderIcon Linden Lab Serious About Scalability?

Apparently so.

And it's about time. It all comes down to the asset servers. Those are the life-blood of Second Life and all things virtual world.

I am an experienced I.T. guy, but I don't even pretend to know exactly how Second Life is set-up and configured and all the intricate little details. However, based on my own experience with Computer Three-Dimensional Art and and back-end Information technology systems, etc., the basic paradigm should be pretty straight-forward.

First, geometry instructions are stored on a computer. These are either ASCII (text) files or descriptions (much like the way Poser files are all text-based) or binary files. Basically, this information is passed to your client software, also known as the Second Life 'viewer'. Then that client software, and your computer take that information and use it to calculate what the object would be shaped like in three dimensions, then calculate the perspective raitio based on the angle you are viewing it from. The same with textures and how they would look 'painted' on the object and so on.

Well, these descriptions are counted in the billions. And there must be some kind of indexing system. In the Xenix/Unix/Linux kind of systems, and later beginning with Windows NT and the much-hated "registry", there has been a long, cryptic code used to identify these digital assets, known as a Universally Unique Identifier (UUID).

Well, this index is constantly working to fill agent requests. Everything in Second Life has a UUID. Even you. What you know as your "Avatar Key" is really just a UUID. So everytime to see something, see another person, look at a profile, rez something on the floor... the asset servers are accessed for the UUID, so your viewer knows just what it is it is suppoed to draw for you. 30-times a secnd, preferably.

Now i repeat: I am not intimately familiar with the Linden Research "Grid Technology" and its protocols and configuration and all that. But, it seems to me that if Linden Lab wants to make Second Life or, at least the "Second Life Grid" to become a standardized platform for some new 3-D web, they need to make the technology far more scalable than it is right now.

The Asset Servers will (and pretty much do) act a lot like the Domain Name System (DNS) currently employed on the World Wide Web. The DNS is what translates a name or words into numbers. All computers on the Internet are sitting at an Internet Protocol (IP) address, which is simply a series of four sets of three-digit numbers, each ranging from zero to 255. When you enter the words "secondlife.com" into your browsers address bar, the DNS system converts that to the appropriate numerical address, which looks something like "192.168.0.1".

If you think about it, the Asset Servers used in the Second Life Grid technology basically do the same thing. The problem is that the Asset Servers are serving everything. Right now, the DNS system simply redirects you to the appropriate computer on the Internet and the server does all the work from there. It delivers the web page and the web pages tells your browser where to find any pictures, or sounds or video and so on.

Once you are passed off to the web server, the DNS system rarely interracts with you untill you need to be pointed to another address. So, it's sleek and hums right along.

However, imagine the DNS system handling everything.

It points you to the appropriate machine, the appropriate web page file, each and every image location on that server that happens to be in the page, all the videos, all the sounds... everything. And while it's doing all of this for you, it's doing all of this for everyone else as well. I suspect the Worldewide Web would simply break. All of it comes to a screaching stand-still.

Well the good news is that "M" and company have decided to bring someone on board with America Online experience. The purpose of this individual is to consider The Grid stability. Hopefully, sometime withing 10 or 15-years, Second Life will actually run a lot like the Worldwide Web in terms of stability. Of course, it is unlikely we will be able to get a lot more than 40 to 60 avatars into a host (simulator; region; estate) at the same time because unlike web pages that are quickly downloaded to your local machine and then you are actually browsing 'off-line', Second Life is a continuous-live connection and constantly updated. For you and everyone else.

So, for hopefully good news that will eventually be coming down the pike, take a look at the original story about Frank Ambrose becoming a Linden:
Linden Lab Appoints Frank Ambrose as Senior VP of Global Technology
SAN FRANCISCO - (Business Wire) Linden Lab®, creator of the virtual world Second Life®, today announced the appointment of Frank Ambrose as Senior VP of Global Technology. Ambrose has 20 years of experience in technology infrastructure development, data architecture and operations, including his most recent role as AOL's Senior Vice President of Technology for Infrastructure and Network Services. Reporting to Linden Lab's CEO, Mark Kingdon, Ambrose will oversee the development of new processes, systems and tools to maximize the scalability of Second Life's network architecture.

PostHeaderIcon Just How Real Is Second Life Anyway?

We've all read and heard the reports of the benefit and detriment of virtual worlds and Second Life in particular. among the many factors regarding virtual world is the immersible experience. I'm not referring to the whole "immersion versus augmentation" debate. But rather the overwhelming psychological experience we get while speaking with another live human being, even if only through text-written chat.

as you sit at your computer in the middle of the night in Europe talking to someone whose sits in the middle of the afternoon in Asia somewhere, you cannot help but to get the definite feeling that you are there. standing next to them, on the beach at sunset. This psychological effect has a lot of benefit for a lot of people. Especially those who may be handicapped in some way.

It also has negative effect on some people, with regard to their real lives: spending too much time at the computer; spouses and significant others actually fearful of trysts and cheating - yes, cheating with a digital representation of another person.

The benefit or problem, depending on how you look at it has to do with the sheer realism these virtual world can create. Especially sandbox-style worlds like Second Life. Because of this realism and the effect and clear perception of actually being physically together, there are many companies and others investigating Second Life and other virtual worlds with the possibility of actual meetings.

Not the typical webinar or whiteboard-on-the-web type meeting, but the actual get-together type of meeting.

Unfortunately, there are serious hurdles to be overcome. Technologically, client-wise, usability and so on. Take a look at a "technology Talk" for a great article on this very idea of corporate meetings in virtual spaces. if you even think you might someday suggest the idea to your employer, it's worth a read for discovering some of the pitfalls if nothing else.
Source: Technology Talk: How Real Are Virtual Meetings?
"Virtual worlds like Second Life, There.com, and more business-focused offerings are on the brink of becoming valuable work tools. But it's still early, pioneering days," wrote Forrester Research analysts Erica Driver and Paul Jackson in the report "Getting Real Work Done In Virtual Worlds." "You've practically got to be a gamer to use most of these tools—setup can be arduous, navigating in a 3-D environment takes practice, and processing and bandwidth requirements remain high."

PostHeaderIcon An Avatar by Any Other Name Is a... er, a... hmm.

In Second Life, we don't even give a second thought to the word 'avatar'. We know what it means, what it represents. In fact, it's such a pert of our Second Life (SL) lexicon, that we have even gone to changing the name and word, keeping it's basic meaning: "avie".

It's no secret our language changes over time. Listen to rap music sometime. If only the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) knew what half that language meant, they'd shut-down half the radio stations in the country.

And in the United States, well... there are two versions of the english language. We bastardize it so bad, that it is referred to as "American English". Leaving the other to simply be known as "English", or more accurately 'World English.

For example: to turn your body 180 degrees from whence you were facing is usually called "turn about". However, in the United States. it's "turn around". And now with the advent of the Internet, there comes 'netspeak'. My personal pet peeve,

Netspeak is laziness, plain and simple. And if you were to try to communicate with me using netspeak, I am going to do whatever I can to call you out on it and embarrass the hell out of you. An example of of netspeak might be...

Proper: "Thank you. How have you been? Please scuse me a moment, I need tp step away from the keyboard for a moment and will be right back."

Netspeak" "ty. how u? afk, brb."

Idiots.

In other cases, our language simply evolves. As much as I hated English lessons in school, a lot of it has turned into my pet peeve. But I also find it fascinating to learn the history of things. Especially phrases and words in our language.

For example, most of us have heard the term "the whole nine-yards". Do you know where that comes from? In World War II, many American fighter planes were loaded up with machine-gun rounds that were clipped together in a strip. That strip, when stretched-out on the ground was measured at nine-yards long. This was a full load of ammunition.

When returning from an aerial dogfight, a fighter pilot would often proclaim "I can him the whole nine-yards!" And thus, "whole nine-yards" has morphed into meaning "I gave him everything."

So, back to the word "avatar". I accidentally ran across a fascinating history of the word and had no idea it originates from a description of a 'God'. If you have the time (it's a long, technical read,) you might just find it as interesting as I did.

But then again, I'm wierd.

ty 4 read me. afk now, brb soon.
Derived from the Sanskrit avatar, meaning "descent," avatar first appeared in English in 1784 to mean an incarnation or human appearance of a deity, particularly Vishnu. Hindu mythology avers that 10 incarnations of the peace-loving divinity will appear on Earth, each an avatar, or "descent," of the god himself. (That Vishnu has four arms is not in dispute. As to the qualities of his bosom, however, the Vedas are mute.) From that celestial origin, the term's meaning expanded beyond the strictly religious, coming to mean something akin to "an embodiment, or object of worship," as in David Masson's 1859 derogation of John Donne (a poet whose claim to the metaphysical was of a wholly different stripe) in his book The Life of John Milton.

Source

PostHeaderIcon How Real Is Second Life Anyway?

//www.masternewmedia.org/images/p2p-governance_id3929961_size480.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. We've all read and heard the reports of the benefit and detriment of virtual worlds and Second Life in particular. among the many factors regarding virtual world is the immersible experience. I'm not referring to the whole "immersion versus augmentation" debate. But rather the overwhelming psychological experience we get while speaking with another live human being, even if only through text-written chat.

as you sit at your computer in the middle of the night in Europe talking to someone whose sits in the middle of the afternoon in Asia somewhere, you cannot help but to get the definite feeling that you are there. standing next to them, on the beach at sunset. This psychological effect has a lot of benefit for a lot of people. Especially those who may be handicapped in some way.

It also has negative effect on some people, with regard to their real lives: spending too much time at the computer; spouses and significant others actually fearful of trysts and cheating - yes, cheating with a digital representation of another person.

The benefit or problem, depending on how you look at it has to do with the sheer realism these virtual world can create. Especially sandbox-style worlds like Second Life. Because of this realism and the effect and clear perception of actually being physically together, there are many companies and others investigating Second Life and other virtual worlds with the possibility of actual meetings.

Not the typical webinar or whiteboard-on-the-web type meeting, but the actual get-together type of meeting.

Unfortunately, there are serious hurdles to be overcome. Technologically, client-wise, usability and so on. Take a look at a "technology Talk" for a great article on this very idea of corporate meetings in virtual spaces. if you even think you might someday suggest the idea to your employer, it's worth a read for discovering some of the pitfalls if nothing else.
Source: Technology Talk: How Real Are Virtual Meetings?
"Virtual worlds like Second Life, There.com, and more business-focused offerings are on the brink of becoming valuable work tools. But it's still early, pioneering days," wrote Forrester Research analysts Erica Driver and Paul Jackson in the report "Getting Real Work Done In Virtual Worlds." "You've practically got to be a gamer to use most of these tools—setup can be arduous, navigating in a 3-D environment takes practice, and processing and bandwidth requirements remain high."

PostHeaderIcon An avatar by any other name is a... er, a... hmm.

A 13th century Cambodian statue of Vishnu In Second Life, we don't even give a second thought to the word 'avatar'. We know what it means, what it represents. In fact, it's such a pert of our Second Life (SL) lexicon, that we have even gone to changing the name and word, keeping it's basic meaning: "avie".

It's no secret our language changes over time. Listen to rap music sometime. If only the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) knew what half that language meant, they'd shut-down half the radio stations in the country.

PostHeaderIcon "M" to Second Life Residents: Prepare for Lockdown

//z.about.com/d/politicalhumor/1/0/_/M/clinton_dictator.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

It's actually funny how the Internet news scene works. For example, a lot of Second Life news is reported in Australia, Africa and especially India.

So, I found, in India via the India Times Infotech page, news out of San Francisco about Second Life, as told by Mark Kingdon, a.k.a. in-world as "M" (Cute, by the way - get the James Bond connection?) I have been saying for the last six-months or so that Second Life will be undergoing an overhaul in the new future.

By the way, everyone knows Linden Research is the parent company of Linden Lab, which owns and runs Second Life. My references to Linden Lab are indirectly aimed at Linden Research as a whole. (Do you like the way I so diligently placed copyright and trademarks in there? pffft)

When I say 'overhaul', I am not referring to the back-end server and viewer upgrades and all the experimental gadgets for interfaces and things like that. Nothing 'tech'.

Rather, by overhaul, I'm referring to Linden Lab's 'interference' with the residents of Second Life - how things are done, what is and is not allowed. In other words: governance. Thing will be tightening up, I have no doubt. The proverbial noose is slipping tighter as it were.

Linden Lab had always proclaimed they would simply keep the world inside Second Life alive (technically, via the hardware and connections and all that,) but remain hands-off with everything that goes-on inside. At least, that was the initial vision.

And that's how it was... until the "ageplay" (which is really not what everyone thinks it is) issue came into light. Not as much about the ageplay itself, but because alleged real life child pornography was involved. Linden Lab got a really bad wrap out of it, no thanks to incredibly unscrupulous reporters and sensationalism story-telling which smells a lot like bogus hype and dizzying spin.

But I digress.

This put Linden Lab into the media spotlight in a negative light. obviously no one likes to be in a negative media spotlight. However, the lab, in my own opinion only, decided to take a closer look at things going-on in world. They decided to take a closer look at the whole gambling issue. And, seeing how cruel and unethical the media can be, with their spinning and sensational alarmist and all that - perhaps it was thought "hey wait a minute - there are some serious laws in effect in the United Sates, where we are, that could be twisted and bastardized to make it look like we are in violation of - and be shut down.

Because Linden Dollars (L$) can be exchanged for real life United States Legal Tender currency, it could be construed that U.S. Currency is being wired over the internet for the purpose of gambling. Thus, banks (including Pay Pal, a U.S. Company) could really get the jitters about this.

Linden Lab decides to take the proactive measure of shutting down all gambling based on what might happen, no matter how unlikely.

Even though the "sex play" in Second Life is figured to be a paltry 15% of SL users or so, that area of activity seems to always get attention whenever Second Life is mentioned in the news. Even most short little blurbs.

Well, McDonalds, Sears, Wal-Mart, and so many other big-named, early-adopters of new technology and internetisms will definitely shy away from Second Life - partly because of this infamous publicity surrounding SL as a whole, since perceptions - as wrong as they may often be - are everything.

So, Uncle Phil decides to hire a big gun. In walks Mark Kingdon. Mark's job is to turn Second Life and, by extension, Linden Lab and Linden Research legitimate. The only way to do that is to bring-in the big corporate types as customers. Get them to use Linden Lab's product: Second Life. The only way to do that is to mop-up the mess.

So, how do you mop things up?

Simple, put frog into pot of water on stove, slowly turn heat up over time so the frog acclimates to temperature rise without really noticing it. Then, eventually, frog is cooked ... and dead.

So, "M" has to start somewhere. Why not with some of the biggest things current customers, the residents, are complaining about? First it's a few little things, including a policy about advertising and extorting virtual land owners over 16-square meter parcels.

The policy put into effect was relatively successful - in that it terminated most bogus advertising. However, the oily scumbags who'd come up with the idea in the first place will react and find ways around the policy. Which they have. Simply remove the bogus advertising and put something else just as unsightly in it's place, or create the tiny blocks of parcel in the middle of larger parcels and leave them empty - but place them for sale at ridiculously over-priced rates.

Anyway, using the "advertising extortion" excuse, Linden Lab now makes it's first introductory yank on the leash of residents of Second Life and asserts governance control as it proclaims, rightly so, it is the 'estate manager and owner' of all sims that comprise the "mainland," and will now assert it's authority in what can and cannot be done on the mainland. (See Linden Lab's announcement here.)

Of course, the announcement is that this is happening due to resident complaints and the like. Yes, true. But it is likely not the motivator.

Rather, it likely has to do with the land-glut created but the availability of "open space" sims: low-cost, low tier full simulator regions known as estates and set on the grid all by their lonesome selves. Of course people are going to jump on those - total control? No nasty neighbors? So what if they only have 1/10th the number of prims? Only need so many for a house and other fun stuff... like sex beds and sex sofas and sex kitchens and sex tubs and sex dining tables and sex... er... Well. There you go. I have now provided the requisite "Second Life is all about sex" routine.

Anyway, people are bailing from the mainland into these open space estates. Either to buy for themselves or to rent from a private estate owner. Linden Lab already admits their primary income is from land tiers (hosting fees, essentially.)

So, the mainland really needs to be cleaned-up or no one wants to be there. Hence step one: drop the hammer. Take control, make rules and policy and tell the residents what they can and cannot do on mainland parcels.

In a nutshell: it is not allowed to be ugly.

But more importantly: "it is not allowed..." Linden Lab now takes direct control of governance issues. And they will continue to do so, more and more.

I predict this, though I have no idea how long it will take: Eventually, sooner or later, all mainland will be "PG". If you want "mature" anything - it will have to be on private estates. That way, Linden Lab can easily and plausibly claim they take no responsibility for what happens on private estates. They are simply hosting.

Now - what leads to my proclamation of doom and gloom that Linden Lab will seriously restrict what residents can and cannot do in Second Life (even if only on the mainland)?

The very first paragraph of the article I spoke-of at the top of this post (emphasis is mine):
SAN FRANCISCO: Linden Research Inc, the developer of the Second Life virtual world, will make the service easier to use and court more business customers as it gears up to compete against Google Inc, Chief Executive Officer Mark Kingdon said.


Then let me know what you think about it? I mean... really.

PostHeaderIcon Second Life Sex: "Messy, frustrating and embarrassing"

Candy Hudson has a fun write-up about sex in Second Life. It's a humorous look at the steamier side of SL and a bit a of a crack-up as she explains that she keeps removing her hair instead of opening doors which is her intent.

Umm, Candy, that description leaves me with the impression you baren't very adept at computer mouse control for anything, much less Second Life. I don't mean that in any way other than humorously. <winks> - mostly because you simply click to open a door and right-click; choose from menu to remove hair.
Candy sez:
"This, of course, is the sort of stuff you don’t hear about the brave new virtual world: The fact that – despite being billed as an ΓΌber version of reality – sex in the metaverse is often just as messy, frustrating and embarrassing as sex in the “meat” world."

This is actually quite accurate, as a far a newbies are concerned. I am sure it's no real secret that throngs are coming to and investigating Second Life for the sex side of it they keep hearing about. Fortunately, most of those newbies that stay eventually figure out there is so much more to second life that sex-balls and freebie orgy rooms (that frankly are a disgrace and embarrassment to every respectable person in SL.)

How do I come to this conclusion of people signing-up just for the rumored gang-bangs?
Candy sez:
"Entry-level boy avatars have it even worse. One mate spent zillions of Linden dollars buying property and fancy clothes in the hope of getting lucky with one of the minxy little numbers he’d seen strutting round the SL sex clubs. Then, when the big moment finally came, he pulled down his daks and discovered he was smooth like a Ken doll. He hadn’t realised that – like Christmas toy batteries – SL penises aren’t included."

It's a great read. head over there and see the truth about avatar sex in Second Life. Then come back and tell me... is she right?

PostHeaderIcon Linden Lab Drops Hammer on Mainland

Linden Lab = Marshall Law?I told you it's been coming. And now it's here. Governor Linden and the Linden Army are mobilizing. Is it marshall law? No, not really. it's the "slippery slope" that always seems to rear it's head in times like these and the Lindens simply cannot win.

They are constantly damned if they do and damned if they don't.

They are ridiculed and whined-to when they leave everything alone in a hands-off approach - such as the whole ageplay fiasco a while ago. But then, the very same people will whine and chastise Linden lab when they do intervene, take the recent SL5B event.

And the constant whining about how Linden Lab needs to protect people from themselves. The current issue: the land glut and 16 square meter squatters and extortionists. Thank God for private estates and the way Linden Lab still maintains a hands-off approach to them.

Jack Linden has made a long post about changes coming to the Second Life Mainland:
Jack Linden sez...
"As Estate Manager for the Mainland continents, Linden Lab needs to become more involved. Much more. We have to actively work to provide the best experience for our customers just as the many wonderful private estate owners do for theirs. You can expect to see Linden Lab proactively resourcing, planning and taking action to better support the many mainlanders on our estate; we have a responsibility to our tenants and we take this role very seriously."

Frankly, I'm with Linden Lab on this one.

A heads-up - it's a long, more complicated than normal post to the Second Life blog. What do you think? Is it marshall law?

PostHeaderIcon Firefox Flight Helmet: in Second Life

Firefox Movie Poster, 1982As the article states: 'eat your heart out, Luke Skywalker.' A new technology in headsets will allow people to game and otherwise use the computer and control certain aspect by thought. Anyone remember the old movie "Firefox"? [Gawd I love that movie!]

In the movie, the pilot of a top-secret Russian jet was exponentially more deadly because of the though controls, accomplished through sensors in the helmet. The pilot only needed to think "fire missiles" and away they went, tracking the target the pilot was thinking of. Well, it seems such a pilot helmet is not too far-off. An article in USA Today highlights a new product that does htis:

And in a preview of possible future applications, EPOC's ability to both read an emotional state and transfer facial gestures — a smile, a wink — from a player to its on-screen character also makes it a natural for virtual-world games such as Second Life, says Le.
"Emotiv's elegant, lightweight EPOC headset is a piece of cutting-edge technology that grants Yoda-like telepathic powers, allowing players of computer games to move items on screen with merely their thoughts. Due for release by year's end, the $299 device will come bundled with an adventure game in which players complete tasks for an Asian sensei."

So, how can this device apply to Second Life? Well, the closing statement of the article makes it pretty clear: To me able to visually emote by animating your face on screen, such as frowns, smiles, winks and blinks and so on. Though, such a headset might be a bit overpriced and overkill for such simple animated emotes in Second Life, it might be on your Christmas list of you also are a gamer with other genres...

Source: USA Today

PostHeaderIcon Linden Lab Drops the Hammer on Mainland

Marshal Law in Linden Land?I told you it's been coming. And now it's here. Governor Linden and the Linden Army are mobilizing. Is it marshall law? No, not really. it's the "slippery slope" that always seems to rear it's head in times like these and the Lindens simply cannot win.

They are constantly damned if they do and damned if they don't.

They are ridiculed and whined-to when they leave everything alone in a hands-off approach - such as the whole ageplay fiasco a while ago. But then, the very same people will whine and chastise Linden lab when they do intervene, take the recent SL5B event.

And the constant whining about how Linden Lab needs to protect people from themselves. The current issue: the land glut and 16 square meter squatters and extortionists. Thank God for private estates and the way Linden Lab still maintains a hands-off approach to them.

Jack Linden has made a long post about changes coming to the Second Life Mainland:
Jack Linden sez...
"As Estate Manager for the Mainland continents, Linden Lab needs to become more involved. Much more. We have to actively work to provide the best experience for our customers just as the many wonderful private estate owners do for theirs. You can expect to see Linden Lab proactively resourcing, planning and taking action to better support the many mainlanders on our estate; we have a responsibility to our tenants and we take this role very seriously."

Frankly, I'm with Linden Lab on this one.

A heads-up - it's a long, more complicated than normal post to the Second Life blog. What do you think? Is it marshall law?

PostHeaderIcon Firefox Helmet a Reality: Second Life by Thought



As the article states: 'eat your heart out, Luke Skywalker.' A new technology in headsets will allow people to game and otherwise use the computer and control certain aspect by thought. Anyone remember the old movie "Firefox"? [Gawd I love that movie!]

In the movie, the pilot of a top-secret Russian jet was exponentially more deadly because of the though controls, accomplished through sensors in the helmet. The pilot only needed to think "fire missiles" and away they went, tracking the target the pilot was thinking of. Well, it seems such a pilot helmet is not too far-off. An article in USA Today highlights a new product that does htis:

And in a preview of possible future applications, EPOC's ability to both read an emotional state and transfer facial gestures — a smile, a wink — from a player to its on-screen character also makes it a natural for virtual-world games such as Second Life, says Le.
"Emotiv's elegant, lightweight EPOC headset is a piece of cutting-edge technology that grants Yoda-like telepathic powers, allowing players of computer games to move items on screen with merely their thoughts. Due for release by year's end, the $299 device will come bundled with an adventure game in which players complete tasks for an Asian sensei."

So, how can this device apply to Second Life? Well, the closing statement of the article makes it pretty clear: To me able to visually emote by animating your face on screen, such as frowns, smiles, winks and blinks and so on. Though, such a headset might be a bit overpriced and overkill for such simple animated emotes in Second Life, it might be on your Christmas list of you also are a gamer with other genres...

Source: USA Today

PostHeaderIcon Massively: Massive Crash?

Whoops.Whatever the hell AOL is doing I don't know. But the UPDATE is that Massively (and Tateru) is back.

There are a lot of blogs on the net. and there are a lot of blogs about Second Life. However, of those blogs about second life, there are very few that can be considered news blogs. Practically all others are opinion blogs. Many are great and a lot of fun to read, such as CeNedra's "Cen's Two Cents";  and there are the fashion and product blogs like Haven Design. After that, you have what I personally consider the whacked out sensationalist rumor-monger blogs where the unsubstantiated gossip flies like bullets ricocheting in a magnetized metal room where some, not all writers and contributors often create witch-hunts and get everyone's blood boiling toward their own agenda, such as shopping cart disco.

Then there are news sites. Blogs that actually try to be good, informative news sites that let you know the skinny on the serious and not-so-serious, but noteworthy items in Second Life. Oh, there are those tabloids that are not a far cry from rumor-mongering, alarmist sites such as shopping cart disco, such as the "Second Life Herald" - which to me are almost dangerous in their radical-leaning subjects.

What makes them 'dangerous' in my opinion is the way they practice the old subversive act of hiding a lie between two truths, thus, misleading the lie to also be truth. Unfortunately, most of the rubbish at 'the Herald' should be taken with serious grain of salt. Even their reporting about a serious issue is done tongue-in-cheek, an accurate and important story is still presented no differently than that "I had elvis's alien baby on a flying saucer" type headline.

Then there are the ones that try to do a genuine news service with regard to second life, such as New World Notes, Second Life News Network, and Your Second Place among many others including the real world news organization Reuters.

By far, my personal favorite has always been Massively SL items. Now, I never much liked Massively as a web site and blog. I really hate the way they mish-mash all the different genre's of news together on the front page. Navigation was pretty bad and I have to create a custom search and bookmark the resulting query. Frankly, Massively - as an overall blog - sucks.

But, I read the SL articles religeously. Especially those items written by Tateru Nino.

However, I began to wonder what was happening when the last posting about anything Second Life was on the 23rd of July, 2008. At first, I suspected some technical glitch. Then... I got wind that Massively's parent organization America Online (AOL) put the brakes on Massively and many of their other blogging properties. The word was that budgets are being cutback and a two-week hiatus is in order.

You see, Time-Warner, AOL's parent company has been looking to unload the money-sink that is AOL for a couple years now. Apparently, there is some kind of deal in the works as AOL needs to shave-off all the 'dead weight' to make itself more palatable to any buying offer. Thus, the blog properties (among many others, I'm sure) are all whacked.

The original story was reported by TechCrunch (a far better presentation than the whacked-out SL Herald by far):
Headline: AOL Makes Big Budget Cuts Across Blogs (Updated)
An alleged blogger from one of AOL's blog property "Joystiq" - which is the umbrella company running Massively:
"Obviously, I can’t give my name (and it’s not the name on this account, either), but as a writer for one of the blogs in AOL’s Weblogs, Inc. Network, I can tell you that the cuts are going pretty far beyond free fucking bagels. Pardon my language, but what we’re going through for these sites is beyond anything that could possibly be considered reasonable."

So, Tateru, where will you go? Screw Massively. You're like that perfect barber a guy finds and utterly goes into panic mode when they retire, sweating bullets (ladies, I do not joke.) So, please do make it known where ever it is you choose to make your new blogging home, should you choose to continue with news reporting at all. Hey, I can't pay you, but you're welcomed here!  ;)

As for all you other readers: I'll be sure to let you know when I track her ass...er... blog articles down wherever their new home is and report it here. As for the AOL shake-up regarding their blogging properties, waddayathink?

Read the TechCrunch source, with updated response by ex-blogger here

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