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Yeah, what Sunn said.

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…Second Life has nothing to worry about.

Color me unimpressed, even with this slideshow of their “New Venice” build, which is better looking than the above photo but still not mind-blowing.   Blue Mars has been hyped as being way better than Second Life, and it just isn’t from what I can see.

I’ll keep my inventory, my land and my friends…and stay in Second Life.  The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, folks.

If you’re going to run a conference, especially one focussed on virtual worlds, might I suggest that you take a page from The General, who organized a parallel Second Life track for this weekend’s Netroots Nation convention in the Steel City:

Can’t make it to Pittsburgh? Consider joining me at Netroots Nation in Second Life. I’ll be doing a number of events there.

See?  It’s not too hard.  Run some events in “meatspace” (love that term) for the people who want to socialize in the flesh, but also encourage congregating inworld.  The General’s also going to stream some of the live speeches from the convention so those not attending in person can see them inworld.

Now, there are 4 SLCC islands on the Second Life grid that very well could be holding an inworld component to the convention.  I wouldn’t know as I wasn’t permitted to teleport to the islands and ascertain their purpose.  Sigh.

Nope, not going this year.  Didn’t go last year.  Didn’t go the year before.  (Not sure I was in SL the year before that…)

Why don’t I consider going to SLCC, you ask?  Easy.  I don’t need it.

  1. I don’t need to go to a live convention to get my social interaction fix.  Social interaction is what Second Life is premised upon, at least in part.  I can meet with people from all over the world through my SL viewer interface.  Yet there’s a desire by some for a live, in-person aspect to achieve a deeper interpersonal dialogue than what SL can offer.  I’m fine with the pixel world, but could this motivation speak to an unstated shortcoming of SL…That it doesn’t do enough to facilitate social interaction?  That it can’t replace the human interchange? Something to mull over, indeed.
  2. SLCC also gives Linden Lab a chance to show off the REAL PEOPLE who are behind the oft-clownish avatars for media and industry types.  That’s not something that I’m interested in helping on.  I already pay them tier.

Now an SLCC that I could get behind would be one that is held inworld.  There are inworld convention centers and venues…why not use them to highlight the world that we inhabit?  Why not do a Healthcare, Education, Enterprise, Fashion and Music track inworld?  It’s fascinating that Linden Lab currently is hyping itself as a replacement for meetings and conventions yet doesn’t promote an inworld component to its biggest convention of the year.   None of this “Land Fair” or “Education Fair” stuff…I mean a significant inworld convention where people who care about Second Life can gather and discuss Second Life.

Ah well.  To those attending, have a great time.  Really.  Far be it from me to tell you what to do…I’m just sharing my opinion.

To the rest of us, the ones hanging out inworld, maybe we should consider how a “SLCC” event would work if executed inworld.  You know, using the tools that bring us together anyway?

It’s a shame that some feel constrained in fully sharing their appreciation of the Lab’s efforts to finally address intellectual property issues in a comprehensive manner:

I’m going to smoothly gloss over the Standard Industry Practices for Copying Tools, because that read like a personal letter to a certain company I’m strongly affiliated with. And it’d be all kinds of stupid for me to open my mouth on that!

It’s never good when people feel muzzled.

What other conclusion can one come to, seeing that Linden Lab came out with a comprehensive intellectual property strategy mere weeks after Rezzable announced its capacity to pirate Second Life grid content?

Not a minute too late, I say.

Thanks to everyone for their patience and notes of support as I try to figure out my new world in RL.  A quick update for all of you:

1. Viglet was born on May 7 – and is a happy and healthy infant.  (Who’s sleeping a lot today, giving me time to blog!)

2. I’m now a stay-at-home dad, and have been since the beginning of July.

3. Viglet takes a LOT of my time, as he should.  And the baby comes first.

4. With next to no time, and I even took a few weeks off of SL cold turkey at one point, I decided to get out of the gallery ownership business.  I wasn’t DOING anything with the place, and Phinn’s photography – while GORGEOUS – was a reminder to me that I needed to get moving.  Because Viglet comes first, I decided to quietly close Second Arts gallery.

5. In the same vein, I couldn’t justify the tier I was expending on Second Arts and sold the property.  Rad Andretti, the new owner, has ownership of my Second Arts building (Why trash it?  It’s still a nice build.) and apparently is going to be continuing it as a gallery.  I believe that he will be focussing on avatar portraits.

6. I purchased a much smaller (and lower tier!!) property in Bay City-Molesworth.  I plan on building a small residence there.  No galleries, no sculpture gardens…no, none of that.  Just a place to hang out, tinker with photos and prims, and hopefully host a few friends on occasion.

7. The Second Arts blog is going strong due to the masterful writing of Nazz Lane.  He is all over the Second Life arts scene, offering quick snapshot overviews and more detailed profiles of some of Second Life’s more prolific artisans.   But I don’t have to tell you – readership on that blog is just about as high as it’s ever been.

8. I think Rezzable’s “BuilderBot” concept is crap, pure and simple – especially because they have code which will let them poach other people’s creations WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION.  Now Rimbaud suggests that they won’t release that particular code, but they have it, nonetheless.  What’s to say that the company’s ethics stay as strong as they portend to be right now?  And shame on Linden Lab for making this abomination possible – their code has to be leakier than we want to imagine.

9. I think Prokofy Neva’s blog rocks.  I don’t necessarily agree with everything stated, but an articulate contrarian is hard to find.

10. I’m around a little more than I would have thought these days, but just so darned inconsistently that I can’t commit to anything.  Also, I am not able to devote large blocks of time and have to go offline at the drop of a hat.  With the limited time at my disposal, I hope to hit a few shows (love that inworld music scene!), get to an art exhibit or two (gotta support Nazz’s great work) and build the “Palais d’Vig.”

That’s all for now…signing off!  Hope to see you inworld!

Apologies for taking so long to write.  It’s been a wild time in my RL existence, rooted in the birth of my first child – Viglet for my SL friends – on May 7.  This has been a wonderfully exciting time in RL, but it’s wreaked havoc on my SL.  So I guess it’s time to face facts.

I’ve already closed my Plurk account as it’s an incredible time sink.  Now, I’m going to go on hiatus from my two blogs, this one and Second Arts.  I hope to make the hiatus temporary, but I think it’s for the best as I adjust to being a father.

On Second Arts: Please keep checking in over there, as Nazz Lane is offering perhaps the best and most consistent coverage of the arts community in Second Life.  Since he showed up, I have been simultaneously impressed at his blog entries and shamed at mine by comparison.  Please give Nazz the support his work deserves.

In addition, my inworld time has been significantly curtailed.  I hope to get back in on occasion but can’t make any commitments at this point.  I want to finish the Make Him Over Hunt – a strange obsession since opening on June 1 – and I hope to redevelop my Second Arts photography property in Bay City-Tanelorn.  Not to mention keep up with my inworld friends, with whom I have been incredibly negligent.

So that’s it for now.  Be good, all.  I hope to be back soon.

Today, Hamlet Au posted on Zonja’s great OpenSim blog entry.  He suggests the following:

…I think Grace McDunnough is onto something when she describes Second Life’s “killer app” not conferencing or other work-related uses, but a platform for binding weak ties between a large, culturally diverse community. (I’d subsume SL’s internal economy and user-created content under the “community” rubric.) Since OpenSim is still just the province of extremely early adopters, Second Life’s community is the Lindens’ main advantage.

For those who want Second Life’s community to be the organizing principle of their inworld activity, I would agree with Hamlet and Grace.  The community of interesting and creative minds is not something to gloss over.  It is not the “killer app” on a blanket basis, however.

Of course, there is also a not insignificant group of people who will not leave SL because they would not have access to the inventories built up over months/years when using OpenSim.  In my mind, Linden control of inworld inventories is at least as important a “killer app” as the whole “weak ties” argument.  

I can easily see a day when Linden Lab creates a tier of premium account with inventory portability across the SL and OpenSim grids, especially now as Philip Rosedale is conducting the open source dialogue for Linden Lab. (I’m still floored that Linden Lab opened up their viewer to open source coders – not the brightest of moves in my opinion – but they did.)  As grid hopping will eventually be more and more common, would one not think that inventory hosting would emerge as the “killer app” that keeps people connected to Linden Lab and their Second Life product?

The first student to take an entire certificate curriculum online (inworld, in SL) at Texas State Technical College.  Wow.  

Degrees won’t be far behind.  (Oh, and why exactly would we want to pay for some school to upkeep on their bricks and mortar?  I’d rather pay to upkeep a couple sims.  More flexible, and costs MUCH less…)

And I heard that there was some serious work involved by the students.  No basket-weaving there.  I might look into that program a little further.