A decade ago, information about Second Life® was scarce. Newbies would drop into a Brave New World and get completely confused. There were in-world volunteers — and the Linden Liaisons — to help you out, but often it was hard to assemble a lot of information to get you going. There were already the LL forums, of course, but newcomers might not know where to find them.
Search for “Fast Easy Fun Second Life” in Google, and you get two million results. By now, it’s quite hard to believe that anyone vaguely familiar with Second Life hasn’t heard the new motto, launched by Philip Linden during his Town Hall meeting last Friday (July 30, 2010).
If you missed all the fun, you can still watch the archived video stream from Treet.TV. If, like me, you’re too lazy to spend an hour watching videos while you should be doing something more productive, you might be more comfortable reading the full transcript. If you just want the highlights, you can get them from SLOG, Daniel Voyager, or Adric Antfarm. For thorough analysis, well… you pretty much can get them from any blog on the SLogosphere I guess; there’s hardly anybody who did not write on the subject.
Overall, what I can say is that this was, strangely enough, the most informative Town Hall meeting ever held by Philip (co-starring with BK Linden, and moderated by Wallace Linden). Usually, Philip is vague and avoids the tough questions. This Friday, however, he was way more specific, at least on most points. If that’s just trying to deal with the insanely high expectations that so many have put on his shoulders, or really a change in the Lab’s attitude towards the SL residents, I don’t know. But it was rather refreshing to listen to a different Philip!
Let me be honest and state, from the beginning, that I’m not part of the hyper-enthusiastic, mega-optimistic crowd that believes that all problems in SL will be over by the end of the year. I’m carefully optimistic. My major issue is that I really do not understand what really happened at Linden Lab. There have been so many conjectures and wild theories floating around that it’s pretty much impossible to figure out which one is right. Most of them explain a few of the issues but quickly lead to contradictions.
I wrote a short article on meta-culture and the multi-cultural environment in SL for a new blog/magazine for Portuguese speakers called “Convergences Magazine”. It’s an intriguing project by Gper Aeon and Gabriela Pinelli, mixing art, culture, and philosophy about and around Second Life.
If you’re fine in reading Portuguese, or don’t mind the awkward translations provided by Google Translate, you’re welcome to take a peek at it 🙂 If there is enough interest, I might provide an English translation, provided I get the proper permission from the editors.
A few reasons why the SL 2.0 viewer will revolutionise Second Life (even though many might not like the change) on my other blog 🙂
Is Linden Lab losing their vision, or at least their visionary? Without his resident visionary, will Linden Lab develop Second Life® further to reach the goal of becoming “a marketplace that could sustain hundreds of millions of players” and “[…] connect us all to an online world that advances the human condition“?
… what’s going on with Second Life?
These are some questions I’ve written about on my other blog.
I’m sure that most of you have seen by now LL’s latest blog post about the upcoming changes in the rules for Adult Content in Second Life®. This is one of those cases where there is no “right” or “wrong” way to address the issue: depending on your country’s laws, your own morality, your stance towards freedom of expression, your business use of Second Life, or your position as an educator, your attitude will vary — and you’ll defend it with nails and teeth.
The surprising and interesting aspect of the new rules is that Linden Lab, curiously, is catering for all those opinions — simultaneously — with a single exception: the ones that wish that Second Life becomes a “free-sex-in-your-face” place as it is today (ie. a place where you cannot avoid mature content to be pushed upon you). With that exception in mind, and knowing fully well that Linden Lab just started the discussion around the issue of Adult Content, the most positive aspect of the change is how accommodating it actually is — unlike what we would usually expect from the ‘Lab.
But there are still some unanswered questions and incomplete answers.
Hiro Pendragon pointed me to the latest bit of Valleywag nonsense, where you can see that once more the End of Second Life® is predicted, falsely claiming that everybody has lost interest in SL except educators.
I was angry when publishing the comment which I reprint below (because, well, if I were a moderator at Valleywag I would probably refuse to publish it), but thankfully Hiro was quick enough to point out that Valleywag itself is being shut down:
But the reason for Valleywag’s shutdown was Denton’s notoriously doom-and-gloom vision of the future–Internet ad spending will decline a full 40 percent, he predicts–and Valleywag was one of the company’s less lucrative titles.
That article further explains that Valleywag was not “hilarious enough”. In fact, the few times I read it, I never noticed any sense of humour in it. Writing once about Second Life’s impending doom might be fun once, if cleverly done, by a good funny writer — like the ones at the Onion or the Register. But Valleywag was never fun. People took it seriously. There is never even a hint that it’s supposed to be “funny”, although, arguably, some found it funny. Not enough, apparently. In fact, you always get the sense that the people writing the articles are furious because everybody else has success and they haven’t. On the last article cited above, you can almost feel the contempt (Germans call it “Schadenfreude“) he has for Reuters’ Eric Krangel.
Still, it’s ironic that Owen Thomas puts the focus on the educational use of Second Life, and at least admits that SL might have a future as the ultimate tool for academics and for meetings. Ironic indeed — if you are like Thomas and despise academics, like he seems to do: “Only compared to the life of a university professor might Second Life actually seem exciting.”
For the rest of us, of course, that even academics find SL such an extraordinary place to be, along with us millions of “space-alien avatars”, is exciting — because it shows that if a Dean is allowed to be in SL “with mohawks and tight leather pants” and be take seriously, we’re allowed to be taken seriously as well.
In memoriam Valleywag, R. I. P., my last comment there:
Linden Research Inc., a company incorporated in Delaware, United States of America (“Linden”), doing business as Linden Lab®, developers of the Second Life® virtual world platform, owners of not only the Second Life® registered trademark (in the US, Europe, and other countries), and the eye-on-hand logo, but also of several recently registered trademarks (including, but not exclusive, to the words “SL”, “SL Grid”, “Second Life Grid”, “2nd Life”, etc.), has launched, in May 2004, the “Second Life® Fansite Toolkit”, which was later reinforced with referral programmes like “Viva La Evolution”, to positively encourage the widespread use of Linden’s trademarks, so long as it was quite clearly displayed that no infringement was intended, and a disclaimer to non-affiliation to Linden.
[Sorry everybody, but this was (perhaps not obviously!) my April Fool’s joke! — Gwyn]
Some of you might have heard my rants about the bad service provided by the ever-so-popular PayPal, to the extent that I start to believe some of these hate sites. After going through cancellation of my account, losing some money in a few transactions (actually, buying L$ on the LindeX), my frustration with how PayPal works has reached the bottom limit. Sure, it’s useful; sure, it’s used by 150 million users around the world in over a hundred countries; but isn’t there anything better?
I’ve tried several “payment gateways” (I’m still waiting for Google’s own system to be available in my country; seems that right now, only US, Canadian, and UK citizens can use it to provide services, although you can pay from any country) over the past few years, but still, I’m not happy.
I’ve even looked a bit on how hard (and expensive) such a “payment gateway” would need to be. Allegedly, in the US, you can start your own bank with just US$15,000 and half a ton of bureaucracy. It might be even simpler in other countries. Payment gateways are also not technically “banks” (they don’t pay interest on money deposited there), but they are also heavily regulated. And finally, they also require a good user base to be useful — after all, nobody will “trust” a payment gateway that has just a handful of users.
What would, then, be the “perfect” payment system?
Chip Midnight is often in the forums telling people how to design perfectly-matched clothes. His “secret” is developing wonderful new templates, based both on Linden Lab’s? own, and on images he has captured in-world to understand where the many avatar polygons join together.
This uppr body template is an attempt of using both Chip Midnight’s templates (his layers are marked CMFF) with the rest of the “standard” templates. I also added one layer for designing female underwear.
Notice that these templates are high-resolution – ie. 1024 x 1024 instead of the SL standard 512 x 512. This means that you should do your work using the higher resolution – which gives much better results when skewing and rotating your textures – and save them back to a 512 x 512 TARGA file when you’re ready to upload. That’s a nifty trick from the master clothiers!
Enjoy the template, and thank Chip for all his work with the templates and the kindness of giving it away!