Category Archives: SL History

Sony Obstructs Second Life Innovation – Again!


On Thursday, April 2nd, OnLive announced that SL GO would come to an end. Ars Technica implies that the sellout of patents was due to OnLive’s model of streaming did not catch on sufficiently. Perhaps Second Life was the exception. Something very similar to this happened in 2010 when an early attempt to stream Second Life via Gaikai (a Japanese streaming games service) ended when the service was bought by Sony. Gaikai is still in business as a Subsidiary of Sony Entertainment, so perhaps there is hope that SL Go can find a home there. I must admit though that the thought of partnering, even in a limited way with Sony would be worrisome; their deep pockets could swallow LL/SL in a blink and they have not shown much concern over the impact of their acquisitions on the people who use the products they aquire.

“Danger ahead, kupo! Do you still want to go on, kupo”

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The Spirit of Second Life


Second Life Past:
Do you remember: Telehubs? — Rubberbanding? — When selecting Help in the viewer menu would access an actual Linden, who would then come to you in world and help? — Swarming penis attacks (green with a Santa hat at Christmas time)? — Weekly grid wide shutdowns so they could “bang on things”? — 88,000 users on line? — Your avatar stuck with her head between her legs and hair & shoes in her ass? — A large bump in users right after Christmas as people got their new computers up and running?

Second Life Present:
We’ve come a long way since those early days but there are still problems to solve:
The Avatar, or should I say avatars. With 3 classes of avatar to choose from (Basic, Linden Mesh and resident creator Mesh) I don’t know how newbies cope. It would help if LL finished their mesh avatar so it is fully adjustable, including all head adjustments and with at least as much facial animation as the default avatar.
Mesh Clothing. What can I say, the present situation sucks! Once you find an item you like it usually will not fit YOUR shape, or your avatar class/type. Shoes often require special mesh feet, which then will not blend with your skin. I could go on and on, it is extremely frustrating. In fairness, the clothes look great once you find something that fits.

Second Life Future:
Oz Linden has been doing a good job of overseeing SL development. He knows the problems and maintains good lines of communication with the resident community. My only concern is that there is a tendency to become enamored of the latest toys and ideas. Oculus Rift and it’s ilk are toys for the privileged and adventurous few. I still doubt that experience tools will have much of an impact on most people’s daily second life.


2015 will bring our first glimpses of a new virtual world from LL “in the spirit of Second Life”. Given that SL pushed the boundaries of what was possible back in 2003, I wonder if today’s Lindens still have that same courage. I remember that few people could run SL flat out, it was clunky, we bought new computers and got better Internet connections, it was only gradually that the world became truly comfortable to live in.
My expectation is that without the sword of reverse compatibility hanging over their heads, the present avatar and clothing problems will be a thing of the past. But will they have the courage to bring us something like this? or perhaps some kind of facial sync like Philip is developing at High Fidelity?
One concern I have is regarding land. Will there be someplace like the Mainland, where we can “own” land (without setup fees!), paying our tier in US$ directly to LL vs. L$ to a landlord who could change his mind at any time . While some people put the Mainland down, those of us who live there find it’s haphazard anarchic community more interesting than the carefully controlled uniformity of private islands.

2015 should be another interesting year for Second Life, I look forward to the adventure.

“It’s a bit like The Matrix . We provide the land, and the community builds the actual world, which gives everyone a huge sense of being pioneers in a great experiment.” Philip Rosedale

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Filed under Linden Lab, Newbies, Second Life Community, Second Life Development, SL History, Uncategorized

An Early Birthday Present


Today is the actual (well, generally accepted) anniversary of Second Life’s opening. You really should spend some time at the party, just open the map and search for SL11B, TP into any of the regions. Lag seems lower this year than in the past. I can not pick one exhibit over another, best you just wander around, get lost and cam everywhere!

But that is not what I came here to write about.

Last Friday Ebbe dropped into the Open Development user group meeting and rolled an open can of worms onto the floor. Linden Lab is, and has been for well over a year, working on a new and improved virtual world! Now before you panic, this is not the end of SL, the grid we all know and love will go on for the foreseeable future. Development and improvements will continue, although with a smaller team at the Lab.

I see this as akin to a new Operating System on your computer. There are limits to what the Lab can do on a twelve year old platform. Back in 2003 when SL opened it’s doors to the world you were probably running Windows XP or earlier (or Mac OS 9.2 / OS X 10.2). Things have changed and every time we upgrade some of the things we loved about the old system were lost.

Ebbe made it clear that while there will be an effort made to allow the transfer of content, he will not allow that to get in the way of making the best virtual world they can. While I agree with that in principal, I believe as much transfer as possible is key to enticing us away from the SL inventories we have invested heavily in. That transfer must be at the user level, not the content creator level and I think he understands that. In order to accomplish that there will need to be some kind of interaction between asset servers for the 2 platforms (which goes a long way toward understanding the latest TOS changes, although they are still overly generalized).

It is likely to be over a year before we get an opportunity to take a look at this new endeavor but I look forward to a steady stream of teasers and discussion. That discussion is essential since LL still does not really “get” SL like the residents do.

As for me, I look forward to the new world ([SL2] ?) and the drama of the discussion between now and rollout. I will wait and see before I move all of my second life to a new grid.

Danger ahead, kupo! Do you still want to go on, kupo?”

Update: To follow the progress of this I suggest Jo Yardley’s blog http://joyardley.wordpress.com/tag/sl2/

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Welcome Ebbe Linden , an open letter to the CEO


We are glad to have you aboard! It is encouraging to see that you have a little experience in our world. If you would allow me to presume to make some suggestions:

1- Take a long walk on the Mainland, a good place to start is in Emmelia. To your west is Route 2, the long way around the outside edge of Heterocera (lots of interesting seaside builds, but a long walk). To the north is Route 3, a shorter walk around the outer edge of the mountains. I suggest the Mainland because you will get a truer impression of SL from a resident perspective. Some of what you see will look crude, much will be assembled from purchased parts, but in all cases this is an expression of someone’s second life. Also worth noting, on the Mainland we are mostly tier-paying premium accounts, we typically do not pay rent to a middleman. Consider as you walk why we are here; one way of looking at it is wish fulfillment, the person in a cramped apartment owns a castle, the person who works in a cubicle farm fulfilling someone else’s wishes creates content with their own vision, the frustrated but talented businessperson operates a store, etc. At the end of your walk, no matter which route you choose you will find the SL Railroad, which is an adventure of another color 🙂

2- Consider please that the very name Ebbe Linden extends to you a huge privilege. Newbies today do not get the opportunity to have a last name. As a result we see the kind of strained names seen in gaming environments instead of the more community friendly first/last name those of us “of a certain age” consider normal. As anticipated when this policy first rolled out, there is still an us-and-them division that sometimes shows itself. SLers are very tolerant, we learn to be quickly, but who wants to be “tolerated” because of the accident of when they were born.

3- Communication — you are probably tired of hearing this by now, but it needs attention and only you can force the issue. In my previous post I suggested email be better used. This would best be accomplished if it was an attractive headline and a picture type thing that lead to a monthly LL magazine. If professionally done this would be just the thing to project a positive image both to those active now and to those who are inactive. Google would also direct the curious to current and well presented information.

3a- Social media — all well and good for discussion, chat and rumor but please keep the post at the official blog ahead of the gossip. Get that message out to the whole team too (although it has not been an issue lately).

4- Technology; the last round of improvements was quite ambitious, it will probably take 1 ½ to 2 years to fully complete so pace things a bit. There is no rush to start something new just for the sake of it. We, the customers, have always said we would rather have things working well than the confusion of too many new features at once.

We are on your side Ebbe, don’t forget to tap into our skills and experience, there are some things we are just better at than LL.

Illegitimi non carborundum

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Second Life – World of Spycraft?


We are being watched! In a recent article ProPublica details massive spying in gaming environments.

Second Life gets special mention – “— so many CIA, FBI and Pentagon spies were hunting around in Second Life that a “deconfliction” group was needed to avoid collisions –”. This has been a poorly kept secret for years. Importantly they are plying their trade in-world, which is good for a giggle; picture your basic CIA superspy in skimpy latex 🙂 . Under the circumstances LL’s “no comment” is expected, although a more nuanced explanation would have been better.

Of greater concern is NSA and the British GCHQ spying on (as opposed to in) SL. At least potentially they would not need to be in world to capture the streams going in and out of the SL servers. As tempting as it may be to satisfy their curiosity about what is going on on some private island, it is a violation of everyone’s privacy to do so.

Update: Inara Pey has a more nuanced and in depth take on this at her blog.

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.”

Helen Keller.

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Marking the Passage of Time


The past week or so has seen an accumulation of milestones.

WordPress informs me I have now been blogging for 3 years. It hardly seems possible! I spent some time rereading my old posts (and adding tags). There are none I regret writing although I wish I had not titled one “Free Sex Bed”, it still gets a lot of hits, probably not by people interested in Second Life. “There is need for a “Lite” Second Life Viewer” gets the most hits. It is probably misinformed in it’s technical details, yet the number of people looking at it validates it’s basic intent.

Firestorm Viewer has also reached it’s 3rd anniversary! The journey from Emerald to Phoenix to Firestorm was not always smooth sailing, but the viewer has always been very popular and usually has been the most used viewer in SL. What we have today is an outstanding example of the high end of what is possible. The support offered by the team via their wiki, in group chat, and in in-world classes is an example of what the Lindens “should” be doing.

On a very sad note, Nalates posts that Nomine is closing. Many of you may not remember, but in the 2005-2006 time frame there was a lot of positive publicity in both the print and digital press featuring Munchflower Zaius (Nomine) as an example of someone making a RL living in SL (see here and here). This early publicity was instrumental in attracting my attention to Second Life. If you get a chance, visit Nomine while you still can, Munch’s work is still among the best around. We wish her the very best possible in her life’s journey.

In addition to all of that, both Sandy and I celebrate RL birthdays this week. No, I am not telling 🙂

We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing our own skin.” Andre Berthiaume

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A Very Busy Week in Second Life


Today (Saturday, July 13) is opening day for Relay For Life. Second Life’s premier charity event begins today and will be open all week. Since it began in 2005 RFL of SL has raised well over a million dollars (U.S., not Linden$). It is best to begin at the RFL home region as it is usually less crowded than the rest of the track.

Also beginning today is Hair Fair. This extremely popular event is held on the 4 Hair Fair regions. The central region of the group is Hair Fare 2, although you may have to TP into one of the other regions just to get in, it is very crowded!

Both of these events can be very laggy! You can help reduce that by stripping down to basic clothing, no flex prims in your outfit or your hair. No scripted attachments (check hair and shoes especially). No HUDs unless absolutely necessary.

In addition to the 2 biggest events of the year being this week, the Lab will almost certainly be pushing Server Side Baking/Appearance out to the remaining release candidate regions on Wednesday. If you have not updated your viewer yet, the gray cloud is catching up to you.

May you live in interesting times.

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Second Life 10th Birthday Celebration Has Begun


Here is the complete official event schedule.

Have FUN.

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SL10B The Great Exposition and Celebration


Today was press day at the Second Life 10th Birthday

  • Before you TP in: Strip down to basics. No unnecessary HUDs, No scripted accessories. Reduce your draw distance, I went from my usual 256M to 128M. Sim crossings will be a problem regardless, so explore one region at a time, perhaps TP across the borders.
  • Where to Start: I began at Bear Island then jumped over to Dazzle where you won’t want to miss the Madpeas Hat Stack. From there I strolled the grid of commercial exhibits, camming into the many that caught my interest. Remember to look up from time to time, some builds are tall! There are too many interesting exhibits to choose what to highlight, suffice it to say I took hours 🙂
  • The Main Stage (Impressive and Spellbound regions): This has got to be seen to be believed! A new state-of-the-art build! Don’t forget to cam or fly around the outer perimeter.

All-in-all this years birthday celebration is one of the best! Set aside some time to explore.

Well done to all exhibitors.

May you live in interesting times.

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Pity please the poor SL Blogger


WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?

The Lindens explain – in advance – what they will be doing in the following year. They warn us that some of the changes they are working on will cause some upset, but it is worth it in the long run – and explain why!

They hold weekly meetings where they discuss the progress they are making, including the problems they have encountered. And (this is almost beyond belief) they Listen.

It has gotten so bad that residents are turning on each other! Incidents of griefing have reached a new height in frequency and sophistication. Even there, the Lindens are actively working on the technical steps they can take and explain why the simple steps that might seem obvious are either difficult to implement or would be unfair to other residents.

The Firestorm all volunteer development and support teams had to resort to a special blog post in response to the wackadoodles harassing the support groups.

WHERE IS THE DRAMA!

What is a blogger to do? Many have resorted to travelogs or fashion reviews. Some are blogging fiction or turning their attention to RL subject.

It is enough to make me nostalgic for the Good-Old-Days.

May you live in interesting times.

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