Tag Archives: Last Names

Anticipation and Prognostication


November is upon us, and if recent history is any guide Rod will soon declare the Lab’s projects and goals for the coming year. I will jump in slightly ahead of him with my suggestions, wishes and expectations.

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Terms of Service agreement as it applies to the Lab’s rights to our content. There are pretty clear indications that they are taking a second look at the latest TOS with an eye toward respecting OUR intellectual property rights and their related responsibilities. With a little luck this could be resolved by the end of the year.

Lesson to be learned: This and similar decisions need to be run by some people who “get SL”. There are very few such people left at the Lab (Rod; You think you are among those few, it is clear that you are not.) Typically Lawyers, Upper Management and those who’s primary qualification is “a background in gaming” do not understand what SL really is.

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The Year of the Avatar! The SL avatar has not seen a significant improvement since – – well, ever! It is past time for Avatar2. Some suggestions:

1-More and better bones.

2-Toes and animatable fingers.

3-Skin/clothing layers reconfigured to reduce distortion.

4-Face configuration that blends more smoothly.

5-More and better facial animations.

6-Integrated Mesh Deformer*

It should be possible for SL to have 2 coexisting avatar formats. If Avatar2 is done well it will be possible and acceptable to remove support for Avatar1 after a few years since it will see minimal usage. The trick will be to maintain as much inter-format compatibility as possible while creating a truly new and upgraded Avatar2.

*This does not necessarily mean the mesh deformer developed by Qarl. I am sure there are several possible ways to accomplish this, it is the Lab’s responsibility to select, develop and implement the best one.

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Last Names. This is one of my pet peeves. The feeling within the SL community of a new/old separation based on names persists in spite of our best efforts. This CAN BE FIXED! It will not be easy and no solution will satisfy everyone, but it would heal a wound in the SL community. My link to Rod’s decision is blocked, suffice it to say he set out all the good reasons for bringing them back, then went into a rather childish whine before saying he would not do it.

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Eye-in-Hand Logo. If the company lawyers need something productive and profitable to do, have them work out a licensing agreement so the easily recognized SL Logo can be bought on the usual range of t-shirts, Jackets, coffee mugs, etc. Believe it or not we will pay to do some of your RL advertising that way.

Some of the best lessons are learned from past mistakes. The error of the past is the wisdom of the future.”Dale Turner

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No return to Last Names, a disappointment


Rodvik’s decision last week not to bring back last names rings a bit hollow, especially in the face of the massive community support for returning to them (the jira post has 2453 votes and 737 watchers). His primary reason not to make a change is that it is inhibiting to new sign-ups; a valid point, but easily resolved with a simple (optional, you can do this later or not at all) in the sign-up process. One of the reasons for the changes in what is required of Third Party Viewers was that newbies were being harassed based on the viewer identified in their tag (unfortunately this has been independently verified). I am sure there is even more widespread discrimination based on “Resident”. Simply removing the Resident or .resident in as many places as possible will only help a little, we are not fools, anyone without a space in their name is a newbie! Display names only confuse things, for all practical purposes we must see actual names in order to know who someone is, display names and appearance are too ephemeral.

I suspect that one of the unspoken reasons for not re-implementing last names is that coming up with continuing supply of acceptable names is a time consuming pain in the ass for the Lindens.

A better way:

  1. Allow deferred last name adoption at sign-up.
  2. Create a database of names suggested by the SL community, something similar to a jira where we can not only suggest but comment on suggested names. Make it searchable and so it can be ordered alphabeticaly, by most recent, or by most recent comments. That would provide a continual supply of names for LL to choose from. Preload it with existing names (marked “taken”) and vet it occasionally would be all the maintenance LL would have to do. The list would, of course be clearly labeled as suggestions. What names are used and why is solely at LL’s discreation.

This would result in last names reflecting the time frame when names were adopted, rather than rez date but I suspect there would not be much difference.

Lastly, this IS win/win. It will get the community off your back (this will not go away until you address it constructively) and we get last names back.

Proper names are poetry in the raw.  Like all poetry they are untranslatable.  ~W.H. Auden

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A Surprising Leap-Week in Second Life


You may not have noticed it, but there has been some pretty amazing stuff going on in and around Second Life this week.

Last Thursday there were new rules for Third Party Viewers announced. That had the blogs churning over the weekend. Surprisingly the articles themselves and the comments to them were mostly constructive, trying to understand what it all meant. I saw very few flame-out rants or end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it predictions.

By Monday afternoon Oz Linden was answering questions, in detail and officially!! He was even agreeing with some of the objections and promising to make things whole again when possible. He even delayed action on part of it so they could find a better solution! Just as importantly he explained why the policies were changed! There is no need of me going into detail here, but suffice it to say there were legitimate problems to be resolved. The methods may have been heavy handed, but much of the vital functions that were lost can be recovered by doing things a different way, either in world or by LL in server code.

The “shared experience” part of the new rules can be hard to understand. It is very vague as written. Two important points: 1- LL is primarily concerned with TPV features that break on the official viewer. Features that do not work on other viewers (even LL features) are a concern of the effected viewers development team and users. 2- Oz suggested that Test Viewers, even on the main grid, would be okay; so long as the default download met the TPV requirements. This is a huge relief! TPVs have been the testbeds for several ideas that LL would never have approved in advance (avatar physics among them).

The whole air of communication and cooperation around this change has been something new in Second Life. I give a lot of credit to Oz for his efforts.

Then —— Rodvik announces a decision on last names. Basically – NO.

The new thing is that he explains why – at length. Personally I do not agree, but at least I know why the decision is as it is (for now, he dangled a carrot at the very end of his post).

If all this communication and cooperation keeps up we may get Second Life back on track!

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” Benjamin Franklin

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Divining the Tea Leaves from Linden Lab


2011 has not been an especially good year with respect to communication from the Lab. A rumor here, a casual comment there, occasionally a missive from above combine to give us a glimpse into what we can expect at least in the beginning of the new year.

  • No more magic boxes. This project is already well along, nearing general release. As I understand it there will be a special inventory folder that will, in effect, be the magic box. I do not know how I feel about selling directly from my inventory, I will be somewhat surprised if there are not security glitches and exploits in the first months. We will have to wait and see.
  • Mesh will see increasing adoption throughout Second Life as content creators explore it’s possibilities. This will get a huge boost once Qarl is finished with the Parametric Deformer* and LL officially adopts it. I can hardly wait for my first mesh jacket that actually fits!
  • Gaming tools and code will be made available sometime early in 2012. I am not big on SL games, but it will be interesting to see what Mad Peas comes up with 🙂
  • Pathfinding —— I am not sure what this will accomplish other than better zombies and greeter bots, but it will be interesting to see.
  • Last Names will be back for newbies. This is in the talking stages at Linden Lab, but given the clamor over “Resident” I expect some possibility to change to a name from a list. It would be interesting and a lot of fun if LL created a way for residents to suggest last names for them to choose from. We could even participate in the vetting process, weeding out names that might cause problems or misunderstandings.

My Wish List in addition to those things above:

  1. Continue progress toward making everything work a little better. Lag, Region crossings, Sim performance all have improved, but there is more work to do!
  2. Something must be done about Mainland occupancy rates. In my opinion the surest way to do this is by increasing the land allowance for premium residents. Yes, Linden Homes and the Land Barons would take a hit, but it would be correcting an unintended benefit they enjoy at the expense of the mainland.

My Predictions.

  1. Linden Lab will make a complete cock-up of one of the items above.
  2. One development from above will be an overwhelming success and Linden Lab will not get the praise they deserve for it.
  3. There will be those who will predict the end of Second Life as we know it in response to every project and feature LL puts out!

*Last minute update: Qarl has posted a preliminary test version of the parametric deformer!!

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A return to the good old ways


There have been reports in the last week that Linden Lab is returning to some practices they should never have abandoned.

Tuesday Daniel Voyager posted that Rodvik Linden says they are looking into a return to last names! Once a decision is made on how to go about it, implementation is expected sometime in 1Q 2012.

Yesterday Hamlet Au noticed that “Your World. Your Imagination” has returned to Second Life advertising. I have always thought this slogan was the most concise description of what Second life was all about.

Today I got some actual service from a real live Linden (not a Scout, a Linden)! Not just hit and run either, we worked together for half an hour!

Now if I can just get a baseball cap and a coffee mug with the Eye-in-Hand logo my second life will be fulfilled — well almost 🙂

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