Assessing Assets

I’m not overly technical. I make no bones about that; but I do have two redeeming characteristics that help overcome this shortfall, however: generally, I’m a quick learner, and while the devil of th details in terms of coding, etc., may well elude me, I can quickly grasp concepts, and meanings; secondly, I’m ready to got out and read-up / find out about things that aren’t obvious to me, even after they’ve been patiently explained.

Which is why, amidst all the Linden spin and twirl, I’ve always appreciated posts from Frank (FJ Linden) Ambrose. Here is one of the few senior members of LL’s staff who is prepared to communicate openly and honestly with residents. His postings are refreshing because they are devoid of spin, and he tends not to simply cherry-pick the rosy replies residents post in response, but actually takes the time to tackle the harder questions and deal with concerns and fears head-on.

This is visibly demonstrated in his latest post on recent updates to in-world services. What is warming about FJ’s posts is the disarming and genuine honesty, We have tried (and failed) in previous attempts to upgrade our mysql version he openly admits, before going on to express both pleasure that the updates performed on Wednesday 6th Jan 2010 went smoothly, and regret at the fact that Residents were still inconvenienced in order for the update to be rolled out.

Personally, I see little cause for regret, Frank: you and your team worked hard to develop this much-needed update, you carefully planned and communicated it to all – and the resulting outage  / issues users experienced during the update process were, frankly (no pun intended) absolutely trivial.

Leave us not forget that a few short years ago, this kind of work was regularly shutting down the grid every Wednesday for anywhere from three to six hours at a time; in this respect, the technical bods at Linden Lab have performed a marvellous job, and if anything, they should feel a justified sense of satisfaction in the professional manner in which this update was handled, with residents being “inconvenienced” for around an hour.

Kudos all!

FJ’s post is not limited to what has happened, however. Rather than simply dwell on the past, or make (in contrast to others I’ve recently commented on) sweeping generalisations about “future directions”, he takes the time to spell out what he and his team will be looking at in the coming year to further enhance grid performance. Of course, some of the technology being looked at does raise concerns – as shown in the responses from residents on the subject of cloud computing and outsourcing. And again, FJ wins kudos for responding to these concerns, rather than (again as is the wont of some of his colleagues) to sweep past such questions and simply respond with touchy-feely la-la-ness at comments that are more gushing with praise towards LL or which focus on trivialities.

Indeed, his responses are considered and balanced. No promises are made (such as guaranteeing no outsourcing will take place), while every assurance is given (such as LL retaining as much control over data as possible). In this it is again evident that  – refreshingly – there are efforts being made in LL to improve the grid not just for a select few or “emerging market”, but for us all.

So thank you again, Frank, for taking the time and effort to make sure our virtual lives suffer minimal disruption during what are very necessary (and beneficial) changes o the grid infrastructure, and for advising us on how you see things developing and the options you and your colleagues are considering for further improvements over time.