PostHeaderIcon Conundrum: what -IS- Second Life?

Facelight-7It's not a 'game', right?

Anyone in Second Life for more than a week will argue feverishly with you on that point. Though it's actually quite easy to describe Second Life as a game.

I actually still kind-of do: "It's animated digital Barbie dress-up dolls mashed-up with AIL Instant Messenger."

C'mon. Am I really that far off the mark?

The quick and easy answer is MMORPG. The Massive Multiplayer Inline Role Playing Game. But 'Role Playing' might apply... but not in the sense of a traditional "RPG" as that is not goal or paradigm of Second Life. Of course "metaverse" comes into play... but that more or less describes the virtual environment.

So they call it a "Virtual World". This also doesn't fully describe it. World of Warcraft and There and Twinity are all "Virtual Worlds." But beyong that, what is Second Life?

I have been referring to it as a 'platform' for quite some time. Written about it and read about it as a platform before here, here and here. And like most bloggers, the idea was kind of rattling around my head long before I actually tried to write about it. But, meh.

And now, Linden Lab and 'leading thinkers' pose and ponder the same question in deep contemplation and kumbaya thought:
Name that metaverse: "Linden Lab convened some of the leading thinkers about virtual worlds for a round table discussion here Thursday and tried to tackle precisely that question: What is 'Second Life'?

"To those gathered for the third annual State of Play conference--a mix of lawyers, academics, consultants, journalists and others--the question revolved around the dynamic that 'Second Life' has become something akin to a platform, an operating system and a browser all rolled into one."

via C|Net News

PostHeaderIcon So-called SLebrity "Icon" Blows a Gasket

Stroker Serpentine is a name that has been around in Second Life for quite some time.He also is a rather controversial figure and as is typical of those who are celebrities in their own mind, their view of the world that revolves around themselves tends to warp slowly over time. So slowly most people don't really notice it, especially they themselves, until something snaps.

Stroker is the majority owner of "Eros, LLC." and made his name selling sex beds under the moniker "SexGen" (Yes, I refuse to put a copyright symbol.)

I have been to his shop in-world looking around and my first impressions were no better or worse than most other places. I personally believe his stuff is over-priced and, in my own opinion only, that his prim builds are actually not all the great.

In truth and fairness, my last visit was a year ago, plus or minus a couple months. But I was so unimpressed, I never returned.

Stroker blew a gasket yesterday. I'll give the benefit of doubt and assume it was just a rant in drunken stupor or something because what he promises to do won't happen.

I dare you, Stroker, to follow through on all your 'threats'. But we all know you won't. or if you do, it will be for a day or two at most. At least you wised-up and left yourself an 'out' at the end of your tirade.

I have nothing against Stroker at all. Many drool over him because he is a so-called 'big name' in Second Life and that was true a couple years ago. Not any longer. Perhaps one-whole-percent of the SL population has ever heard of him and even less care. And that's true for all of us.

So Ol' Stroker blows a gasket over camper and traffic bots, ripped content that is resold, freebies that are resold as commercial and also the proliferation of freebies in general and so on and so on.

Sroker: I agree with you in all of it. Your whole rant is fully legitimate. In fact, there is a large chunk of the population that agrees 1000% with you. However, with your arguments regarding Linden Lab's reaction and inaction, you seriously must look at it from a business standpoint.

You are a businessman after all, aren't you? Linden lab is in business for Linden lab. Not you, me or anyone else. You are getting so much more than LL has ever promised to you. You are nothing but a paying customer. So learn to know your place in the Second Life universe.

I have.

In these rants, Stroker 'threatens' to set all his stuff to full permissions and release them for free into the wild:
Stroker sez on the SLUniverse Forums: "2. I am going to FULL PERM SexGen. I will flood the grid with it. Just as the MLP system that contains the animations that were never intended to be resold has flooded the grid. SL Forums However, I am going to license EVERY SINGLE copy. I am going to dedicate a team of employees to scour the grid for illegal copies. Since we have a trademark and the DMCA is our last great hope, I will have Linden Lab track down and remove every single UUID that violates our license. I have that right? Yes? Again..BAN ME!"

I won't hold my breath.

And even if he did such, I'd only be interested in the animation files themselves. Not the scripts because there are better scripts out there. Definitely not the primwork because I can do better - I just don;t have the time. Even the animations — as good as they are — aren't worth it to me to go out of my way to obtain, because there are a lot of really good animations by other creators.

A large part of the rant is how business is way down. Stroker isn't making the money he used to. Traffic is down in his shop(s). The unfair competition is sucking people away.

Here's a clue for Stroker and anyone else who is a SLebrity and all-mighty in their own minds:

Concierge Party!  Woot!Business is down everywhere. Back when the population of SL was around 8000 concurrency, you stood out as a creator and name. Your products were top-of-the-line and there simply weren't anything else that compared. People had nowhere else to go so they went to you.

Fast forward to today: concurrency is ten-times that now. The number of genuine quality creators is easily 20 or 30-times the number then. There are 50-times as many shops, malls, sex-things and a lot of open-source scripts and animations available so that non-scripters, non-animators and often even non-builders can create their own stuff and sell them and no, I am not referring to the thieves and plagiarists.

They make a fraction of a dent in the economy as a whole.

The fact of the matter is there are a few reasons why your business is down: the market to cater to is seriously diluted. You are just a pebble in the lake. Your waves don't go as far as they did back then.

That, along with a real world economy in the tank, the freebie accounts who won't spend a single real life penny for 200-times that amount in Linden Dollars, and on top of all that, the entitlement attitude that everyone owes them everything for nothing.

Additionally, it's a fact that these people, who are a massive majority of the Second Life population just don't care about quality. All they want to see is pixel-pose-ball-humping. A 10-frame loop of hips gyrating and they are content with 'ooh' and 'aahhh'.

Your stuff, my stuff and the stuff by any other creator, especially the quality-concious just doesn't mean anything to them.

You need to understand as I do and other 'big name' creators must: you don't have a name anymore. The public at large doesn't know you and they care even less.

In closing, Stroker: I respect you as a person and a successful person in Second Life. I do not worship you and i will not trip all over myself in excitement should I meet you. You are a wise, successful business person and I respect that.

The rant is humorous and I take it with a grain of salt. Competition is a bitch. So adapt. Change direction. Diversify. Create something esle that is a compelling buy that doesn't have to do with pixel-sex and you will likely see business improve.

The problem is that you are catering to the seedier side of attitudes. And when in business, it helps to understand your customer. The problem is that your target market are often cheap, selfish, misers who really don't care for the quality of product, only that it gives them cheap thrills.

As for your complaints against Linden lab's actions, reactions, or inactions, how about you have 'your people' talk to 'their people' about it all since you are so powerful and well-known in the Second Life community and to Linden Lab?

The 3D FingerCould it be that your entire business model in Second Life caters to an area that Linden Lab is publicly trying very hard to distance itself from?

Just a thought, friend.

As for your rant in the SL Universe forum: you raise your voice when you should be reinforcing your argument to rally people to your side.

via SL universe Forums

PostHeaderIcon Linden Lab Legitimized

New employee announcement from out of Linden Lab.

These announcements are, no doubt of interest to some people. But the masses at large? Nuh-uh. These names don't mean much to me. Not because I don't know my stuff, but rather because I just really don't care.
» Second Life’s Linden Labs adds execs from Intuit, McKinsey | The Toybox | "Linden Lab, creator of the virtual world Second Life, announced today the appointments of Brian Michon, formerly VP of Engineering at Intuit, as Vice President of Core Development and Judy Wade, formerly a partner at McKinsey & Co., as Vice President of Strategy and Emerging Business.

Both will report directly to Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon."

Now, I suspect it's in the 'I don't really care' part where I kind of looked at things from out the side of my eye. You know, that peripheral vision we all have where sometimes you tend to see or notice things you really won't if you were staring straight at it?

Note the quote above. Then this one:
Linden Lab has added more than 100 new employees in the past year, including several executives: Senior Vice President of Customer Applications Howard Look (formerly of Pixar), Chief Product Officer Tom Hale (formerly of Adobe) and Senior Vice President of Global Technology Frank Ambrose (formerly of AOL).

Butchart Gardens 37 - HDR.jpgMaybe this have been obvious to a lot of people and I'm just late to the game. But the fact that Linden Lab is attracting high-end employees from the likes of Adobe, Intuit, Pixar and so on and such and such, to me, really does legitimize Linden lab as a 'big player' in the tech world.

Yes, a small company, but even Adobe was just as small at one time. So was AOL and Microsoft. The point being that the technologies we are getting to play with in Second Life are at the forefront of the shape of things to come, that the company pioneering it is attracting such high-level talent from high profile companies.

The cool part of all this?

You get to say "I was there during all that."

via ZDnet

PostHeaderIcon Second Life: Dramatic … Improvement?

Sim-hopping from rhe mapMark Kingdon, a.k.a. "M Linden" made another blog post, spun as usually to really be more a detailed press release, but with a better 'feel' of being directed to the users than previous posts.

That's a good thing. I know care must be taken in how things are phrased and which words are used and I'm all okay with that. For those of you whom have followed my rants and raves over the past year, you know I am not afraid at all to be highly critical of Linden Lab — as a whole — and "M Linden" specifically. Hey, he's the guy in charge and just like people blasted President Bush for many things he had no direct hand it, he was the man in charge. So what goes around comes around.

However, I also am quick to praise Linden Lab — and Mark Kingdon when they do things right. Praise I think is far and few between in the SLogosphere and certainly doesn't come often enough.

So Mark, and all Lindens and Linden Research: Kudos to you.

In Marks blog post, early-on he states the following:
Mark Kingdon sez: "…you will see we are intent upon making dramatic improvements to the Second Life platform and experience.  At the same time, the team has been hard at work on stability and scalability.

"Last year, we halved the user hours lost to downtime in the second half of the year.  But, with growth ahead, we have more to do and the team is hard at work on continued platform and network improvements to enable us to break peak concurrency records on a regular basis≥"

I agree with this completely.

The problem with the Second Life population at large is a massive 'entitlement' attitude among the vast majority. Add to that how the 'world revolves around' each of them. They almost never see the forest because all the trees are in the way.

When there are grid issues, viewer bugs, and over all frustrating anything going on, these people are very quick to complain and criticize without realizing a few things: The grid really has gotten better by leaps and bounds; the viewer always is a work-in-progress and difficult to keep synced-up with server-side code; many, many bugs are being tracked down and quashed while at the same time, new features are being added.

The problem, if you can call it that, is that these improvements happen slowly over time. Most people can barely see past their own noses.

To all the detractors of the above statement and whiners about grid or viewer stability and such, I say this:

Where the hell were you when the grey goo attacked? Where were you when concurrency of 10,000 would bring the entire grid to its knees and required the lindens actually kicking everyone off the grid and disabling logins so they could find problems and reboot the whole grid? Where were you when a bug in the server caused the Lindens to turn of scripts grid-wide because of a bug that broke all sales vendors, giving items for free and with full permissions? Where were you when griefers with actually crash the whole grid?

FailureDrop the entitlement attitudes and stop looking a gift-horse in the mouth. Most of you are so godammmed cheap you aren't willing to spend $5 of real money to gain more than L$1000. Instead, you actually spend more real life money in some camping chair or waste time panhandling for L$10 at a time.

I question many decisions that come from the Lab, but most of those questions and gripes have to do with my unknowns with regard to how you will handle something - such as the usability of the XStreet SL web site. and i know you yourselves may not have those answers.

And I still refuse to recognize "S" and "L" generically placed together as any kind of trademark unless there is a specific artistic representation, like the General Motors "GM" logo.


As for all you resident whiners and bitchers: get an effing clue and open your eyes to see the hard work and technical prowess exampled by the people at Linen Lab.

Linden Lab and Mark: thank you for your efforts. Thank you for a great product and for finding a way to remain profitable while still allowing totally free access.

via Official Second Life Blog

PostHeaderIcon SL Exchange = Linden Lab Savior?

Internet MapThe rumor and following factual news that Linden lab acquired both and SL — (Sorry, the new name "XStreet SL will never take, I think) — made quite the splash. As usual, the vocal minority was loud, but not shrill.

And do note that when I say 'minority' I am referring to anyone and everyone who has the slightest care at all about what Linden lab is doing - as compared to the Second Life population at large (which I suspect is about 75% bots by now - try some sim-hopping based on green dots and see what I mean.)

In the time since then to now I the whole thing has popped into and out of my head as passing thoughts. Then, like most, the cloud solidifies and things begin to make sense, right or wrong (though often wrong.)

I can see why Linden Lab might buy XStreet SL. But OnRez?

I suspect Linden Lab approached both and Electric Sheep Company basically said "…you can just have the thing. Hell, we'll pay you to take it".

But the real target was and is XStreet XL. OnRez will be killed-off, which is a shame because technologically and user-experience-wise it is far suprior to XStreet SL. By leaps and bounds. To the point where working with XStreet Sl is actually quite the drag.
"Oh God, I have to update my stuff on XStreet SL... damned... do I have to? Guess I'll have to set aside a full hour to update ten products. ~sighs~"

Why would Linden lab want these portals?

I can proclaim to be in the know, but in hindsight a few ideas come to mind:

  • The Linden Dollar (L$) sinks are not removing as much L$ as they used to. People are still uploading pictures and textures and things, but the entitlement freebie attitudes so prevailent on the grid these days means fewer and fewer people are actually doing this. They simply are not spending any funnymoney in any way, shape or form. I even heard a complaint a couple days ago about a 14-month-old group that has members contribute to costs (about L$1 or L$2 per month!) XStreet SL commissions on sales will fill that sink gap.

  • Though the Open Grid is several years behind the Second Life grid in technology, features and abilities, Linden Lab needs a hook. Something that will keep them in business in a few years as Open Sim gains in popularity and use.

  • These portals (OnRez and XStreet SL) carry huge, nay massive influence on the Second Life grid with regard to merchants selling wares and patrons buying them. it is actually faster and easier to shop via the web than it is in-world. People don't 'shop' the way they do in real life where they browse and window-shop and so on. In Second Life, most shopping is really hunting. A specific product or tool is sought-after. Trying to find a "script that will delete a prim after a specific grid date" for example is bad enough in the web portals, not to mention a pure nightmare in-world.

    When Open Sim becomes a real alternative to the Second Life grid, XStreet SL will keep the buckaroos flowing into Linden Lab buy whatever means by then.

I am not usually one for predicting things. Predictions are almost always wrong or so far off the mark time-wise that they can hardly be be reliable in any way. But I digress.

The XStreet SL, which I'll refer to from here on as SLX as we all are used to, will be very tightly integrated into the Second Life grid.

Just as the Second Life web site and forums are directly linked to your grid account, so too will SLX be. You login to the Second Life web site and there's your full account. L$ balance, friends online and so on. The forums work the same way: you don;t have to create an account. You simply login for the first time with your Second Life credentials and they are verified through the grid.

Eventually, the same will happen with SLX. You won't even have to deposit or withdraw L$ back and forth into your Second Life account. it will be live, just like the Second Life web site account information and Lindex L$ exchange.

You will go into SLX and see your actual Second Life account balance. Make a purchase and it will be deducted from your Second Life account balance (minus the commission, of course - the requisite "sink" - just like uploading a texture or sound file — all for the convenience of purchasing through the web instead of in-world.)

Sim-HoppingEventually, perhaps a year or two or three or eight, the entire grid will be listed on SLX. Everything. Every single prim that is marked "for sale" at first. This will be automated. Scripted vendor users will have to continue the manual configurations at least a time.

The entire SLX library also will be integrated with the Second Life grid in a way that you can use it in-world. Certainly you can do this now through the in-world web viewer. I am referring to some other kind of tight integration that we don't imagine yet. Some way of actually being a part of the Second Life viewer or grid directly and not so disconnected the way the world wide web is right now.

I am seriously disappointed that OnRez is being killed-off. I am seriously hopeful the SLX web site will be ripped apart and the user experience rebuilt from a new corner-stone, though I think we all know damned well that'll never happen.

So, Linden Lab, I beseech you, plead you, beg you, fix that f*c*ing SLX user experience to make it more pleasurable to shop, (such as a 'more like this' link to search similar products,) and make the damned search actually work, (drink+script pulls anything and everything with either word in a product description.)

Make it like OnRez with one page that lists ALL my products so I can edit all of them at once and then hit the big "update" button instead of having to perform acrobatics through no less than 3 and up to 25 web pages just to update anything, (edit a product on page 15, go back to edit the next item and you are dropped back to page one. Every. Single. Damned. Time.)

So, what hopes do you have about SLX now that it is a Linden lab-owned property?

PostHeaderIcon OnXLRezSL?

You may have gotten an email from Linden Lab which starts out like:
"On January 20, Linden Lab, creators of the Second Life virtual world, announced that we acquired both OnRez and Xstreet SL and revealed plans to merge the services together to create an official web-based marketplace for Second Life goods and services.

The F*CKED-UP Part of all this is:

"A byproduct of this decision is that the OnRez marketplace will cease operations on February 11, 2009 and all current users will need to move their assets, balances and account information over to Xstreet SL by that time."

Why is that Effed-up? Because SL Exchange, a.k.a. XStreetSL: Sucks.

It is a horrible web interface, the commissions taken are steep and as a merchant, product management is a nightmare with far too many clicks. Personally, as far as usability is concerned for both shoppers and merchants, OnRez is a far superior set-up.

Oh well, if the commissions remain, then my prices will continue to be higher there (as compared to purchasing in-world or at OnRez.) Merchant "stores" will go away (i.e.

Finding what you really want on SL Exchange is slow, cumbersome and your personal preference settings are never saved ('show adult content?' YES! - end the session and return... it doesn't remember your preferences.)

This is Linden Lab taking control of anything "Second Life" that is outside of "Second Life". Linden Lab exercises control over that which plugs-into or otherwise has such a strong hold on in-world transactions.


What do you think about the differences between OnRez and SL Exchange?
Even better, how do you feel about Linden Lab taking over both of these, shutting down the better of the two and pushing the lesser (usability-wise)?

And how do you feel overall about Linden Lab taking over such successful enterprises that are so integrated into Second Life - but owned and run by third-parties?

PostHeaderIcon Second Life: Got Lag? Fix It Now.

James (Hamlet) Au in his blog (New World Notes) plopped up a bit about Second Life viewers and one created by Kirstenlee Cinquetti, a.k.a. "Kirstenlee Viewer".

I've already written about how I have a far better Second Life experience on my MacBook Pro - far superior than anything I've had on Microsoft Windows as far as graphics for sure. Unfortunately, because I am a multimedia professional in real life and Apple's OS-X is a superior platform for all things multimedia (20-Years experience on both platforms - not 'slamming' Windows here... okay, hell yes I am) I rely on my Macintosh for actual work.

So, while my 'real' computer (wink-wink) is in use making my real life living, my toy computer, is on Microsoft Windows. It's a pretty kick-ass machine, billed as a "gaming" machine - high-end dual-core AMD processor, 3 gigabytes of RAM (duh, Windows can only see 3 GB RAM) and lots of hard disk with a high-end nVidia graphics adapter.

My Second Life experience still improved three-fold when I finally decided to dump Windows Vista, which this machine came with and was factory-optimized for, and return to Windows XP. That the machine was factory optimized for Vista and the massive improvement I got when I dumped it for XP goes to show me that the problems with Vista are real.

So I came along Hamlet's blog post about Kirstenlee's viewer. I like the Nicholaz viewer and I haven't really tried any of the others. I'm a traditionalist and I figured it's easier to just roll along with the so-called 'official' Linden Lab viewers. I made this decision during the implementation of WindLight as it was the Linden Lab viewers that had it and the third-party viewers didn't. In laziness, I just rolled with the LL versions from then-on.

Then, I read the ridiculous claims made by Kirstenlee Cinquetti as quoted in Hamlet's blog (emphasis is mine):
Is Kirstenlee's Latest SL Viewer The Best Evar?: "Of all the people tinkering with Second Life's source code to create a new unofficial version of the SL viewer, Kirstenlee Cinquetti is among the most admired; her 'Shadowdraft' client, for example, came with dynamic lighting, a feature the Lindens have yet to implement (if they ever will.)

"So when she describes her latest version of the Second Life viewer as superior on several fronts, it's a claim to take seriously."

I remember the 'Shadowdraft" viewer and I did give it a try for about 30-minutes. I'm one of those people who simply insist on keeping my graphic settings at maximum, including a 512-meter draw distance.

Kirstenlee's Shadowdraft Viewer
{Kirstenlee Cinquetti's viewer}

The Shadowdraft view painted gorgeous about 10-frames per second. I knew from the outset this wasn't Kirstenlee's fault. It's the Linden Lab code and the huge, intense computing cycles on my machine required to draw such gorgeousness brought even my "screamin' demon" to a crawl.

But the statement still grabbed me.

It intrigued me.

As though it were some kind of challenge.

As though Kirstenlee was saying "I dare you to try it!"

The claims are pretty simple, and I'm paraphrasing here:
  • Lightning fast rezzing speed.
  • Never crashes (and I was suddenly getting 'click-crash' issues over the last couple weeks with the LL viewer.)
  • Easier to read fonts in the interface.
  • Better color scheme - easier on the eyes.
  • All new 'asset-viewer' showing thumbnails of inventory textures.
  • Lightening fast on all fronts.
  • Superior to all others.
...and a few other things.

So I decided what the hell. I always reinstall my windows machine from scratch every couple of months (it is Microsoft Windows, after all and seriously needs this maintenance step to keep operating properly.) It won't hurt and it will get wiped-out when I do my next windows rebuild.

So I took the plunge and gave it a go.

After a full day of zipping around the Second Life grid through Kirstenlee's viewer, I felt compelled to post a reply to Hamlet's article, which I'll repeat here:

Two words: HOLY F...

Okay, one word: WOW.



I cannot possibly express how impressed I am with this viewer. Everything Kirstenlee had proclaimed is... uh, true. Obviously the claims are all relative and your mileage will vary, but I am stunned with the performance increases and stability I get with this viewer.

I passed word on to several people I know, one of whom has been wanting to buy a new computer system because their Second Life experience is mediocre at best.

The impression I got is they also are stunned. She did some grid-hopping to known horrific-lag-cesspools. She reports these locations actually fully rezzed-in and she's seen things she has rarely seen before, all within moments compared to the usual wait. Also reported is another place that 'never, ever rezzes' because it is such a cluster-fu*k of poorly optimized textures and loaded with agents, had actually rezzed, in respectable and surprising time.

I am so impressed, I placed a sign at the teleport point in my own sim that reads "Got Lag? Try the Kirstenlee Viewer" - upon clicking will take you to Kirstenlee's web page. So if anyone ever whines about 'lag' in my sim, I'll just point them there.

Even if Second Life is beautiful and rarely ever plagued with lag for you, take a look and give it a spin. I am convinced that whatever your Second Life experience — bad to awesome — it will certainly improve exponentially.

Kirstenlee Cinquetti's Web Page (Blog)

via New World Notes

PostHeaderIcon Linden Lab: We Have A Problem...

Linden Lab Openspace SNAFU

Everything is all hunky-dorey until this morning (January 13th) as an openspace sim disappears...sort of. It became a phantom. No doubt something to do with Linden Lab's server upgrade for the conversions to "homestead' sims.

So whatever happened, the openspace sim between two full class 5 sims went phantom.

What do I mean?

Easier to explain the set-up: Four sims stacked north to south. The top being a class-5 region. Below that an openspace region. Then a class-5 region and at the bottom another openspace region. The region in question is 'number two' - the openspace between the two class-5 regions.

I began getting messages first thing in the morning that the openspace number two was sunk or moved. Nothing is there but water. However, the place is on the map. This makes sense as the map would not update so quickly. So I finally get in-world and try to TP to that openspace region number two. No-go. That thing is gone.

Then I teleport to region number one - the class-5. Landed okay. Look to the south and... and... Okay, the missing region is there. It wasn't sunk. Did region one and region two get moved to different parts of the grid?

I begin walking south. Cross the border from region one to region two. I keep walking south. It's hard to see because not only is it densly populated with forest trees, they are all grey squares and rezzing. Slowly. I hit the fly button and zoom southward and...


I see region three. The very class-5 region whose northern border now is all ocean instead of forest. Strange. I begin walking south over the border from region two to region three. I go...go.. get farther than I would if there were no region there - about 5 meters into the next region, then I start bouncing wildly. As though stuck on some high-speed tramploene.

Okay fine. So I cam around. Everything is as it should be! In fact, I see people in region three and they have been moving around since I left to investigate, so I know they aren't phantoms. I right-click to IM a couple of them. No answer.

I go to my contacts list to IM... no answer. Strange - it's like an IM black-out. Okay, well let me TP back and explain what I'm finding. But, before I do, let me grab a couple screenshots to show...
Regions 2 and 3 - A

TP fails. Big time. Anywhere. CTRL-ALT-H doesn't work. Nothing works. Except the lag.

So I walk all the way back to the north to walk over the border into Region one. Region hand-off fails. Three times, so fourth was the charm.

TP Home - works instantly as it should. I cam back to the north. YAY! Fixed. There it is. Wait a second... I wonder if it's just cache... I logout and relog back in.

I cam to the north...
Regions 3 and 2 - A

Just as it was when I arrived in-world this evening. Anyone who knows me I am sure can see me in their mind just chuckling about it all. Really. /me thinks it's funny.
Regions 2 and 3 - B

Regions 3 and 2 - B

And yes, these pictures were taken within about 10-minutes of each other (I know, should have set to midday). The ones showing the forest were taken while I stood on that sim. The ones showing the forested sim missing were taken while standing on that sim (the one with the ocean and no forest to the north.)

Umm... Linden Lab? We have a problem...

[UPDATE - 5 a.m., January 14: A restart of both regions by Linden Lab has fixed the issue. But it certainly was a humorous situation! —Ari]

PostHeaderIcon Second Life Taxman Gets Closer

I have been saying countless times to all you "business owners" in Second Life who like to proclaim that you make enough money through the virtual world that it is a significant, substantial or even all your "real life income" that you'd better watch what you say and do because the tax collector is absolutely itching to get his hands into your back pocket.

Hamlet Au has required reading for anyone and everyone in this category, even if you only casually and infrequently 'cash-out' any credit Linden Lab owes you.

The Far Away
Second Life Specifically Named: "The tax treatment of transactions on Second Life could differ from the treatment of transactions on other virtual worlds because according to the TOS Second Life Residents retain certain intellectual property rights to their virtual creations."

via New World Notes

PostHeaderIcon Favorite Second Life Gaffes

HousewifePlumbingI am now well on my way toward my third rez-day and for most I might seem like an "oldbie", but for many others I'm still a newbie. Time compression in Second Life can be amazing. And you know what I'm talking about.

Everyone seems compelled to make predictions for the future with regard to Second Life and the grid. I think I'll go opposite and take an endearing look back.

Things happen considerably faster in Second Life than they do in real life. For example, those weddings usually create relationships that last for a couple months at most. If digital procreation is involved, the incubation period is between six and two-weeks instead of nine-months and the bizarre talking body parts and fetuses continue to creep people-out.

Everything happens incredibly fast in Second Life. Hence: time compression.

So my two-and-a-half years in Second Life actually feel almost like a lifetime. A lot of good memories in there. Amazingly, most of those memories are more about Linden Lab and the viewer than actual activities, though there are a few of those that really jump out.

I have written often about the ridiculous whining and shrill vitriol many users have shouted-out at Linden Lab. The real world changes and so does Second life. Not just in our own perspectives, but also in real code-law. Code-law being what you can and cannot do based on what the software allows you to do. Though many users have scripted work-arounds for code-law, there still are some things that just couldn't be worked-around and even a few "bugs" that were exploited, for bad or for good, by scripters.

Blingie.pngSo I am curious what your favorite Linden Lab/Second Life Grid/Viewer gaffes are. Now keep in mind, I am not talking about grid instability or the asset server eating your inventory or those times you try to cross from one sim to another and keep getting bounced back in unceremonious fashion.

Left: I was green once, too. No, neither of these are me, but I'm proud to say I have never, ever worn a facelight and I don't recall wearing bling - but I won't promise that, I'll just deny it. But to wear both at the same time is just wrong on so many levels no matter how newbie you are. This picture was taken at midday by the way. Yes, that's how horrifically bright facelights can be.

I'm talking about those niggly little things you never really complained about (though of course some people did,) that you fondly remember that might now be fixed.

I have a huge list of these things but I'll list a few here in no particular order. It's just a fun little list to remind me, and you that Linden Lab does want to quash these buglets and quirks whether you think they are ignoring them or not (in most cases.)

My favorite gaucherie has got to be the the first one on my list because it was funny and irritating at the same time:

PoseballPopoffs: It used to be when you were on a poseball, no matter what it was for, you were best to do by keeping hands off your mouse. If you changed anything, so much as your shirt, the change would pop-you off the poseball and you would be standing again.

Back when I was SL-green I, like almost all of you, had discovered the naughty poseballs. And it was pretty hilarious when on a pixel-date and things were getting a bit warmed-up to hot-and-heavy and you removed your shirt... POP! You are standing again. And then again when you removed shoes, trousers, undies and so on.

This is in the days of the prolific poseball. Every piece of furniture (or not) has pose balls all over it. A room would have great-looking furniture and be littered with blue and red balls hovering all over the place.

It got to where you would be adept at: take-off pants; zip mouse to poseball, right-click, left-click, pose again, continue. All at lightening speed. Those adept at the right-click, select pie menu choice, left-click, continue know what I'm talking about.

It was actually huge news when Linden Lab announced a viewer/grid update that allowed you to strip from full street-clothes to stark naked without popping off your hot-and-steamy poseball activity.

Booty-Hair: This one seemed to quietly fade away and it's a good thing, too. This was a hugely annoying bug that at one time was actually a dependable event: teleport somewhere and when you land your attachments, most commonly your primhair and shoes would end-up at the 0,0,0 (zero) coordinates on your avatar.

Your avatar is just an object mesh like any other prim. The zero-coordinate is at your pelvis as it is in most 3-D modelling applications. This gave the appearance that someone ripped your hair off your head and shoved it up your backside and gave you a good swift kick in the pants, to boot. Literally.

It was hugely frustrating. Especially since it was viwer-based. If you saw yourself that way, others didn't and vice-versa. As far as I know, it was Nicholaz Baresford who actually discovered the cause and fixed it in his version of the SL viewer and passed the information onto Linden Lab. It was another few months before the fix finally made it out into the official Linden Lab viewer. Quietly.

First Land: If you have a premium account, you are allowed to purchase virtual land on the Grid's 'mainland". However, before the days of higher-quality freebie-flooding like now, resources for users just weren't that abundant. The economy was better then and prices weren't so inflated. An average pair of shoes sold for about L$100 to L$200 and land was about L$3.5 per square meter (if I remember right - but that's not the point.)

However, to help new users obtain land, Linden Lab offered what was called "first land". This was a 512 m2 parcel on new land created by LL that a new user 30-days old or younger could purchase for L$1 per m2 parcel. You only got one. And back when people were still learning to build prim-efficiently, 117 prims just wasn't enough.

Unfortunately, when LL began allowing free accounts, the beginning of the alt invasion happened when people created alternate accounts and bought-up all the first land in a new sim. Then sold the land for zero back to their main account. Discontinuing 'first land' was probably a good idea on LL's part. Though the idea of first land was a good one to begin with. It's a case of the left hand slapping the right without thinking ahead.

Money Trees: They still exist and no, this isn't really a 'gaffe'. They were all over the place 'back in the day' and I know they still exist. Somewhere.

The idea was to help out new users and established users would donate L$ to money trees. New users, usually 30-days or younger could click on the fruit or whatever the paradigm was and get free L$. Usually L$1 per click and a limit of between L$3 to L$5 per tree, per day.

The benefit for the host was that it generated traffic, which was calculated very differently back then. Now, there are so many freebies scourging the grid that money trees are practically extinct. I have a money tree in the shape of a pyramid and works differently: anyone can use it, but it's a trivia model. Answer the questions correctly, win money. I still believe in them and thinking back about this gives me idea to throw one into my shop again.

Snapshot_025.pngProfile Voting: I really liked this. In each persons profile you could vote for them on one or more categories including their appearance, building skills, helpfulness and so-on. It lasted about six-months after I rezzed in world the first time and I was excited when someone actually voted for me in the "appearance" category, (no, this is not a picture of me in case you are wondering.)

Excited because it meant they were willing to spend L$25 to cast that vote and no, the L$ did not come to me. That was part of the problem with the profile voting: the cost. I understand it, though. It meant each vote was , supposedly, genuine enough that someone was willing to part with that much money to make their impression known.

The number of votes someone had was a good indicator of their 'trust status' with regard to reliability if you were thinking to hire them to build for you, for example. I miss it now because I would definitely vote for a lot of people I know who deserve it and I am better experienced with SL to know what I like. But, like first land, people 'gamed the system' as they always do. So Linden Lab killed the whole idea. This one I really am sorry to see go to the 'that was then, this is now" heap.

Location Voting: I still see the old Linden voting posts around sometimes. These are the tall green posts with the Second Life logo at the top and a proclamation to "VOTE!". Even though they still exist around the grid in places, clicking to vote doesn't do anything. At least, not officially.

Those places that had the highest votes would rise in rank in listings and, if I recall, there even was a L$ prize for the top-tier from Linden Lab. It also populated the 'most popular places' tab in search. This functionality and idea ceased within a couple weeks of my initial entry into Second Life. Gamed. As usual.

Trespassing PermittedTelewho? Very quickly after my first arrival or possibly just before, the new 'teleport anywhere' feature was big news. There are some sims that still use telehubs. A telehub is the forced landing zone when coming into a sim, (yes, the whole sim,) but will stagger the exact landing point so people don't land on each other creating a resident totem pole. Once in the sim, then you had to walk, run or fly to your final destination. I honestly don't recall of you could teleport there once inside the sim or not.

Now, if the parcel/sim owner allows it, you can teleport from point-to-specific point, specifically.

Snapshot_002.pngAlphaBotch: The one gaffe that still bothers the hell out of me is the whole alpha-sorting issue. I am told Linden Lab claims it's not a bug and that it is set that way because of some graphic card chip that needs it that way. At least, that's my understanding.

This is the issue where transparent or semi-transparent items and textures look wholly funky when a transparent or semi-tranparent object or texture is in the background and they overlap. The foreground object practically disappears or appears behind the background object.

Way to go LL. Break the majority's experience to make the minority happy. Oh well. Guess I'll have to just live with it. I gave up on any hope this most irritating bug will ever be looked at, much less fixed any time soon.

It appeared after a forced viewer update in early 2007 and has been around ever since.

There are others, many others like prim-taxes, grey-goo, original copybot panic, teleport failures = crash from grid to desktop, the day they 'fixed the grid' and broke scripting that then allowed all vendors to give items for free - so they allowed the grid to remain open, but turned off ALL scripts on the grid (and being stuck inside some TV shop - before I knew the sit-on-a-prim to escape trick) and so on and so on.

So, what fun gaffes or faux pas are your favorites from Grid days gone by?

PostHeaderIcon PP #9: Evil Second Life Blingiepoofs

Random PortraitI've been thinking about my favorite pet-peeves of Second Life for a while now. No, I don't mean all the Linden Lab SNAFUs or the Second Life Viewer bugs or the general wonky nature of the Second Life Grid.

[Note that this image is just a random portrait from my flickr stream and not intended as being directly related to this article. —Ari]

I'm referring to those things in-world, usually the cause of which are residents themselves. So I am going to work my way through my top-ten pet-peeves list. But rather than just plop a bullet lists here, I'm hoping to elaborate on each, so you know why it's a pet-peeve. And that if any apply to you directly, you'll understand why it's a pet-peeve and so irritating not only to me, but likely many, many others who come into your presence.

Number eight in my list is "Blingie-Poofs".

Particles in Second Life are one of those cool graphic features that help with environmental looks such as fire, fog, smoke, sparks, water spray and so on. When created to look like a light-sparkle, it is affectionately known as 'bling'. When a large particle is made with a large texture and made to "explode" outward, it is called a 'poofer' for the "poof" effect is appears like.

I love particles because they are practically no-cost with regard to sim or system resources. They don't use any of your prim-allocation, they don't use any script recourses once set (the script is run once and dies, the particles keep going.)

Of course this is just to create the particles. There are scripts to add function to change them or turn them off and on and so on, but I'm not referring to those scenarios. The only real problem with particles is that they are completely reliant on your own computer hardware capabilities because it is your viewer that is creating and presenting them to you, not Linden Lab servers or anything else.

So what is a 'particle'? It's a texture. Often one that is so tiny (perhaps a single pixel in many cases) that is renders (rezzes) very quickly for a temporary, predetermined length of time before it deletes itself. The effect is dependent on the number of particles and properties such as speed of 'birth', speed of movement and direction, changing properties such as size and color and 'death' of each particle. This is taxing on your system, primarily with your graphic card and CPU capabilities, which can determine your experience with them.

The thing with particles is that they move and change properties over time, such as color, size and opacity and eventually die (delete themselves very quickly.) Several particles are generated at once to create the intended effect. Several hundreds, sometimes thousands. This could tax your computer system dramatically. Thus, poofers are frowned upon by many people who do not have the latest, cutting edge computer hardware because they feel your are forcing "lag" upon them (when it really isn't lag, it's really system 'bog'.)

Second Life "bling" is created with particles. That flashy, blinky, light you see emanating from diva shoes or bracelets or hair - whatever. It doesn't cause any lag, thus the only real issue with 'SL Bling" is that it can be irritating to the highest degree.

Okay, allow me to clarify...

It's irritating when done improperly, which unfortunately is about 95% of the time I see it. The usual purpose of bling is to emulate a sparkle which, if done properly will give the impression of "ooh, shiny sparkly thing!"

The problem is that 'bling' is way too often overdone. It shouldn't look like a strobe light. The 'bling beams' shouldn't be larger than the product that is supposed to be the 'shiny sparkly'. It shouldn't be an eye-magnet.

If done properly, there might be one blink every 10 or 15 seconds and it would be a very tiny blink. Just enough to catch your attention, but not draw your eye to it. It's the oh-so-proven-to-be-successful "less is more" paradigm.

It really does work, creators. You should try it.

I don't find SL Bling to be all that irritating. It's not as prevalent as it used to be so I just ignore it, unless it's in an inappropriate environment, say a role play area themed around cavemen and women for example and the blingie is a set of strobe-light earrings.

No, the pet peeve has to do with poofers. Poofers also are particles, but each particle is large and the poofer is set to "explode" these particles outward from you. Often, instead of each particle simply dying, they usually return to you as though to a magnet.

Fortunately poofers are nowhere near as prevalent now as they were in 2006 and early 2007. Poofers are interesting and I can see the fun in them. People who use poofers are usually making some kind of statement. Good for them. It would just be better if they were triggered on demand rather than every time you land in a new location after a teleport.

I don't know if they simply are falling out of favor or if it's the saturation of merchants in Second Life that makes poofer-creators harder to find.

The act of a poofer poofing doesn't bother me at all.

The issue I have with poofers is that the creators do not optimize their particle textures for poofers. A poofer particle lives for 3 to 5 seconds at most. So the irritating thing is when someone teleports into your vicinity and their poofer automatically goes off.

But, the poofer particle textures are not rezzed, so the whole area is blinded by hundreds of grey squares. It doesn't really cause a lot of lag as many will whine about because the poofer is only one new texture that is being rezzed. Though that is one texture along with all the other textures of the person arriving. So all these textures take time to download to each witness - the poofer rarely has time to rez it's texture in time for anyone to see them. Thus, almost all "telport" poofers poof nothing but grey particles when you land and that's on a lag-free sim.

The irritant for me isn't the poof. it's all those grey squares flying all over the place.

And whatever it is Linden Lab did to the asset server, they need to undo it. Regular haunts have suddenly taken a nose-dive in texture-rezzing time. What used to rezz in about one to two-minutes can now take a full five and sometimes even ten minutes to finally come-in. I know it's not me: same viewer, same hardware, and same ISP - no changes anywhere.

Anyway, to summarize, the "evilness" of Second Life blingiepoofs aren't the bling or poofer per se, but rather the ugly grey squares that fill the sim until the un-optimized particle texture finally rezzes (usually just as the last of the poofer particles are dying away,) and badly set bling that act as horrid eye-magnets, which create irritation for anyone that is forced to gaze at it for more than five-seconds.

Poofers should have a simple setting to turn off the automatic nature of them. I enjoy poofer-on-demand types because then the poofer can be used at just the right time to help create entertainment. And, since you and everyone else are likely already rezzed-in, the poofer will rezz very quickly and have the intended effect. Such as the mega-nuclear-sim-wide boom I like to set-off once in a while.

But that one is on-demand. I use it maybe once every couple months. I can see Linden Lab banning me from Second Life after all the abuse reports on me if it went-off every time I landed somewhere after a teleport.

This completes my top-ten Second Life pet-peeves. yes, this is number 9. I had prewritten number 10 and it published prematurely. If you haven't seen it, you can find it here.

So, is there any bling or poofer you like at all? Even a little teensy bit?

PostHeaderIcon Second Economic Crisis

I have been saying for quite some time that the Second Life economy has been on a slow-down. From my perspective 2008 is nothing at all like it was in 2007. I am no economist, but it just strikes me that things have finally 'stabilized' and the wild west days are finally giving way to 'civilized' means of living.

Joy IslePart of the issues with the economy have to do with land-baron-bots, the ad-spammers, SL bank failures (everyone who banked with these virtual banks got what they deserved in my mind - greed give comeuppance one way or another,) the so-called stock exchanges, land market falling on its face, the freebie entitlement attitudes so many newer residents have, the dishonest plagiarizers who manage to copy and sell other people's creations or those of ill-repute who box-up freebies and try to sell them as business-starters and so on. That along with too many people and no central place to shop.

No matter where you go in Second life, you can rarely spin around in a 360-degree circle without seeing a vending machine selling something. Thus, the market is literally spread like butter. You only sell to people if you have what they are specifically hunting for.

A random impulse buy is incredibly rare. it's simply too easy to search and teleport, popping from sim-to-sim and mall-to-mall. Or shop online with SL Exhange or OnRez.

It's a regular roller coaster ride.
And those outside are only now beginning to notice what is happening inside:
The Second economic crisis: "Unfortunately, the Second Life economy was not as decoupled as residents may have thought. In early January 2008, many virtual banks in Second Life, some which offered as much as 200% and 300% annual interest rates, collapsed. Users made runs on several banks till accounts had to be frozen. Bankers, residents found too late, were unable to live up to their payout promises.

"And now, in an uncanny reflection of real-world turmoil, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that land prices on Second Life may have crashed by as much as 90%."

Well, at least they're only now beginning to take enough notice to write about it.
via Live Mint

PostHeaderIcon Second Economic Crisis

I have been saying for quite some time that the Second Life economy has been on a slow-down. From my perspective 2008 is nothing at all like it was in 2007. I am no economist, but it just strikes me that things have finally 'stabilized' and the wild west days are finally giving way to 'civilized' means of living.

Joy IslePart of the issues with the economy have to do with land-baron-bots, the ad-spammers, SL bank failures (everyone who banked with these virtual banks got what they deserved in my mind - greed give comeuppance one way or another,) the so-called stock exchanges, land market falling on its face, the freebie entitlement attitudes so many newer residents have, the dishonest plagiarizers who manage to copy and sell other people's creations or those of ill-repute who box-up freebies and try to sell them as business-starters and so on. That along with too many people and no central place to shop.

No matter where you go in Second life, you can rarely spin around in a 360-degree circle without seeing a vending machine selling something. Thus, the market is literally spread like butter. You only sell to people if you have what they are specifically hunting for.

A random impulse buy is incredibly rare. it's simply too easy to search and teleport, popping from sim-to-sim and mall-to-mall. Or shop online with SL Exhange or OnRez.

It's a regular roller coaster ride.
And those outside are only now beginning to notice what is happening inside:
The Second economic crisis: "Unfortunately, the Second Life economy was not as decoupled as residents may have thought. In early January 2008, many virtual banks in Second Life, some which offered as much as 200% and 300% annual interest rates, collapsed. Users made runs on several banks till accounts had to be frozen. Bankers, residents found too late, were unable to live up to their payout promises.

"And now, in an uncanny reflection of real-world turmoil, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that land prices on Second Life may have crashed by as much as 90%."

Well, at least they're only now beginning to take enough notice to write about it.
via Live Mint

PostHeaderIcon Linden Lab: Go to OpenSim

Concierge Party!  Woot!I am fortunate that I never had any financing issues with Linden lab, except when they had their billing through some funky banker overseas in Europe, which apparently was known for being 'loose' with fraud enforcement and prevention. This cause me to contact my own bank by telephone to manually authorize any charge.

Fortunately Linden Lab got wise and went the 'proper' route with a more reputable financier. Unfortunately, any time you have "your people" contact "my people" things can get a bit sticky:
Leeds Metropolitan University:: "As the ongoing saga between our finance department and Linden Lab continues (I just got an email to say that one of our islands was about to get sunk due to confusion around payment), and as a result of our findings from the Open Habitat project, I am determined to make 2009 the year of OpenSim."

I don't think Linden Lab are 'careless' and neither the 'finance department' of this university. The problem comes down to communication and all the red-tape paperwork involved. And this is why the Open Sim project will gain a groundswell of support. More people are popping over there to at least experiment. I've had my own account there for... wow, is it a year, yet?

However, Opensim is not ready for prime-time just yet. Not only are the tools still in flux with regard to reliability and availability, but many of the features provided by Linden lab have yet to be implemented.

Important features. namely: and economy. I remember a report that the Opensim creators — one of them, anyway — was set against any kind of trading token, currently, economy, whatever you want to call it.

However, that is the staple which keeps most people in Linden Lab's Second Life. Open Sim is still a way off before it can be called anything close to a 'legitimate alternative to Second Life".

if you think Second Life is 'beta' software, Open sim might be consider to be in the Alpha stage.

via Virtual World Watch

PostHeaderIcon Openspaces: Mother of Invention

The 3D FingerToday "Openspace" sims suffer a tier rate increase from $75 a month to $95 a month. Tier-fear increases for many people, including myself.

On announcement, openspace sims were dumped en-masse by hundreds, if not thousands of people. One of the good side effects is that it cleared-up the grid a bit. A sim near one of mine was blocking the addition of another — not directly, but close enough that our shared grid borders would overlap and I didn't want to bother getting their approval to have a new sim kitty-corner to theirs, et-cetera, et-cetera...

There is no doubt Linden Lab seriously underestimated the way residents would over-push the limits of the openspace sims. A "full" sim is expensive. Not only in the initial cost of set-up, but also in the tier paid. So when openspaces were introduced to the public at large, people jumped on them and often tried to use them to the same degree as a full sim. Worse, many tried to pass them off as full sims and sell or rent-out land to others and there was no real easy way to know better.

Linen Lab had to suspect this would happen.

I am a professional media artist: video, film, photography, sound design and so on. I work very hard at long hours to ensure my video is optimized to work cleanly with pristine picture and sound when viewed through the internet. I was devastated when I read an industry report that people care far, far less about picture quality and size than they do about other aspects.

Ever since I read this report, it has been drilled into my head that people care far less about the 'quality' of anything than they do about the cost of it. This is why Apple computers are still a minority of the machines in use at large. Not everyone is willing to pay for quality, no matter if they get 'more' than they pay for. Most are "on the cheap" - hence why evil Second Life freebies are so popular and create a nasty entitlement attitude.

So with regard to the openspaces scenario, people saw an opportunity to get their own sim. Like the "American dream" of owning your own land and home, a sim is the "Second life dream" of similar aspiration.

Snapshot_054.pngPeople milked it for all they could. My openspace is used lightly, but not in the way Linden Lab proclaims is the intended purpose. It is about 20 low-prim homes with simple furnishing provided to allow a place to call 'home' for participants in my role play city. Rarely ever more than about four or five people there at any one time.

I'm willing to go the $95 tier. Not so sure about the $125 that hits in July.

In a several emails and blog articles regarding the openspaces situation some information has come out that I find exciting. It has to do with script management.

The problem with openspace sims is that one that is overused and overloaded can really kill other openspace sim on the same CPU. This can happen on full sims as well, albeit not too often. Even though a "full" sim is on it's own Central Processing Unit, there are four CPUs per machine. Even a full sim that is overloaded and wreaking havoc can bog down other full sims on the same machine - because even though there are four CPU cores, it's still the same machine. meaning the same bandwidth on the bus, the same Random Access Memory, the same hard disk drives and so on.

No, I don't know the specifics of each server Linden Lab uses, so I am assuming, based on simple experience here.

Concierge Party!  Woot!One of the things mentioned as an idea — I'm not even really sure if it's an 'intent' on Linden Lab's part at this point — is that eventually scripts can be limited based on parcels. This is one of those 'ding-dong' ideas I only wish were thought-of a long time ago. it will take months to implement such a thing.

Linden Lab will begin a form of implementation on this theme by limiting script capabilities on the openspace sims and then, hopefully, continue developing the idea further into this proposal that estate managers and owners will be able to further refine script allow-abilities per parcel on the same region.

So, the openspace fiasco creates a necessity. That necessity to better control resource usage. Thus the invention of new capabilities and management controls.

Thus, openspace fiasco: mother on invention.

PostHeaderIcon Linden Dollars as Legal Tender?

Concierge Party!  Woot!Dumped one of my sims and it finally transferred this morning. The "Land of Hope" has finally run out. Thank you Lindens - I know you are absolutely and horrifically swamped with estate transfers and and openspace abandonment tickets and all this during the holidays. It happened sooner than I expected.

The reason for unloading my full class-5 private region is simply that I didn't know what to do with it. Certainly there are a lot of things I could have done with it, but preferably something that would help it sustain itself with raising tier. I already have another class-5 that supports itself plus an openspace, which raises in tier this week and again in June.

I have bought and sold 4 sims in my two years, including this one. And I must say, this time the transaction was convenient and worry-free. All because Linden Lab acts as the escrow agency now, (not really, but in a similar way,) and it was only a matter of setting support ticket and wait patiently.

Concierge Party!  Woot!Linden Lab absolutely will not become involved in resident-to-resident transactions. Period. no 'ifs', 'ands' or 'buts'. As for private region transfers, they have found a way to alleviate the nail-biting aspect while still following this self-imposed rule.

It used to be - and you still can make arrangements for the sale or purchase of a private region 100% between yourself and the other party. The selling party has almost nothing to do. Set a support ticket to transfer and then go on with their (Second) life doing whatever they usually do.

The buyer on the other hand used to have some serious nail-biting to contend with along with the forced wait before they can even begin the work of setting-up the region as needed and desired.

My first sim purchase was from another resident. Reputable to be sure. We are adults. But it goes like the old, honorable days: a deal on a handshake. I forked over something like 500,000 Linden Dollars (L$) to him in-world for the sim.


Talk about serious nervousness. Then I had to rely on him to set a support ticket to transfer the sim to me. Then I put in mine accepting the transfer. Then I bit my nails for two weeks. Both in excitement, but also with that nervousness that always will be there.

Will he cancel the ticket and run-off with my money? Will something go wrong and the Lindens sink the region, removing it from the grid and I'm out of my money? These and many other questions kept creeping into my head. But, as a rule I wasn't really worried about it. However, there always is anxiousness when you throw the equivalent of $1000.00 U.S. at someone when you have no idea who they really are.

As I've said, the hard part is while the seller just keeps on doing whatever they do during this two-week wait for the transfer to actually occur, the buyer is twiddling their thumbs. Whatever dream, plan, design they have for the new sim is placed on hold until they have control over it.

That's a long, anxious wait. More like the kind of wait for Christmas day to arrive as you measured and inspected presents under the tree when you were a kid.

The Infant FingerThen the unheard-of happened: Some one sold a sim to two people at the same time, taking their money and running-off with it. It was huge news and panic struck the grid for used-region buyers. I'm not really sure why as it was a pretty stupid move and occurred only once that I personally know of.

Come-on people, Linden Lab must have your real life financial information if you own a sim. What fool would do such a thing? There is the slim possibility that it was really some accidental thing and has since been all cleared-up (seller thought first sale fell through then sold to another and eventually refunded the first buyer or something - but I doubt it.

Linden Lab is considered a small company, but they still can't turn on a dime. Several months later, they announced that region transfers can now be handled through each party's Second Life account directly, meaning that funds will be debited from one and credited to the other only upon the actual transfer.

This is a good idea and probably should have been thought-of and implemented much sooner than it was. The selling of my sim that was finally transferred this morning is my first experience with this "Linden Lab Escrow Service" since it was implemented. And I must say, it works well. Very well.

It's not really escrow as there is no third party, (including Linden Lab itself,) who holds the money until the transfer is confirmed. Rather the buyer must hold onto the money until the transfer is performed and that is when the funds transfer occurs as part of the actual process.

So this got me to thinking: Linden Lab officially calls Linden Dollars an 'in-game trading token and nothing more'. [I would have linked to the article where this is quoted by Gene Yoon (Ginsu Linden) - but that site apparently is closed down. —Ari] It is not, not should ever be considered legal tender.

However, in the new region transfer method, the seller has the option to elect funds in Legal Tender U.S. Dollars or in Linden Dollars. The transfer fee is $100 U.S. The option to use Linden Dollars was in the original announcement, it just didn't really hit me at the time.

If I sell a region for $500, Linden Lab will transfer the region, then transfer the $500 credit from the buyer to me, then deduct $100 for the transfer fee. or the buyer, it comes from any credit they have available or their credit card is charged.

However, Linden Lab offers a Linden Dollar version as well. If I sell the region for L$150,000, they debit the buyer's Second Life account and credit my Second Life account, then debit me L$28000 for the transfer fee.

Ruins at Chichen ItzaThis is the part that got me thinking.

The transfer fee is a real life service fee for the work of transferring the region from myself to another person - a real world service. Remember, Linden Lab must know our real life details for billing reasons and the 'transfer' of region details happens in real life through computer data entry and changes.

None of it is actually done in-world.

Thus, paying L$28,000 for these real-life services is, in effect, treating Linden Dollars as legal tender. Well, in my mind anyway. Keep in mind that what I am speaking about here is conjecture and opinion. I do not speak for Linden Lab and neither have they ever even hinted any such thing to me or anyone else I am aware of.

So, the convenience of this new region-transfer logistic that Linden Lab has created is Godsend, it's easy and completely worry-free. Okay, I admit it did cross my mind to ask myself what would happen if the buyer accidentally spent some of his Linden dollars and dipped below the amount to be transferred.

Linden Lab works hard to make the entire Second Life experience more pleasurable. I have never had a doubt about any of that. And I've always known they work hard on all the under-the-hood items and back-end stuff. Even the rarely-interracted-with services such as the support portal.

So, I'm curious what you think: Is allowing a real-life service fee to be paid to Linden Lab via Linden Dollars, (an "in-game trading token" -per Linden lab,) making Linden Dollars any kind of legal tender?

This is theory of course. Obviously it's not, as the entire transaction occurs within Linden Lab properties and one of those properties is the Linden Dollar itself.

But what do you think?

Ah philosophy is fun, aint it?

Blackthorne™ ≠ inSL

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