LL’s new CFO

Bob Komin’s departure from Linden Lab at the start of August was widely reported, With Tateru Nino first confirming he had in fact left after a couple of months of speculation he was set to depart.

Mr. Komin’s replacement as LL’s CFO is Malcolm Dunne, who joined the company in August, so this is something of a belated “welcome” to him :).

His official bio from the management  / board page of the new corporate website reads

Malcolm Dunne is the Chief Financial Officer of Linden Lab and is a chartered accountant with 15 years of experience in the interactive entertainment industry. Dunne joined Linden Lab from Trion Worlds Inc, where he was CFO and a board member. He was instrumental in growing the organization to 450 headcount, $100m+ revenues within a 12 month period and closing debt and equity funding exceeding $100 million during his 3 1/2 year tenure. Prior to Trion, he was Interim CFO at SCi plc (the former parent company of Eidos), where he was instrumental in raising £60 million to recapitalize the business. Malcolm has also held positions at Capcom and Electronic Arts.

Interestingly, Mr. Dunne’s LinkedIn profile notes a five-month stint at Clickatell between his time at Trion Worlds and joining LL. That Mr. Dunne also worked at EA Games might raise eyebrows among some, so it should be pointed out that there is no apparent direct EA link” between him and Rod Humble, as Mr. Dunne departed EA prior to Rod Humble’s arrival.

Welcome, Malcolm!


Patterns now available to pre-order

Update, October 9th, 2014: Linden Lab announced that development work on Patterns has been discontinued.

Update, 24th Sept: Linden Lab are now e-mailing those who have signed-up to the new product beta programme with news that Patterns is available to pre-order. Received my e-mail this evening!

Linden Research has announced the pre-release “Genesis” version of Patterns is now available to pre-order, and will ship “on or prior to” October 5th. The cost for the initial release is $9.95 (£6.32), and payment can be made via PayPal or credit card.

Pattens: Pre-order now (image courtesy of Linden Research Inc.)

The Genesis release is available for Windows and Mac OS, and has the following specifications:


  • XP SP2 or later
  • 2GB of memory
  • 250MB free disk space
  • Any 3D graphics card with minimum 128 Video RAM and pixel shader 3.0 support


  • Mac OS X: Intel CPU & “Snow Leopard” 10.6 or later
  • Intel Core 2 Duo 2.8 GHz (2 CPUs)
  • 2GB of memory
  • 250MB free disk space
  • Any 3D graphics card with minimum 128 Video RAM and pixel shader 3.0 support

The specification page notes that: “Patterns is a 3D intensive experience. By adjusting the quality settings we provide some flexibility to accommodate the performance experience based on your needs.”

Version 0.0.1 feature list – Genesis

  • Build with over 20 Unique geometric shapes.
  • A hand crafted world of substances and shapes.
  • Explore, discover and bust apart a world in a pure sandbox environment.
  • Shaping Stone workbench that enables you to craft and discover shapes.
  • 8 collectible substances.
    • Clay
    • Bonestone
    • Starene
    • Nak
    • Limewood
    • Coralwood
    • Jasper
    • Gypsum
  • Emergent objects that explode or roll.
  • Simulated physics, gravity and tensile strength that plays upon substances and your creations.
  • 3 Save slots.
  • Building tools that include shape repeating and shape rotation.
  • Two camera modes for building and exploring.
  • A controllable character with Run, Jump and Walk capabilities.
  • 3 different quality settings to accommodate a variety of system specs.
  • Full screen and windowed mode support.
  • Windows and Mac version.
  • Public access to bug reporting.

Those purchasing the Genesis version, “Are entitled to have your name featured in the credits of the game in version 1.0.”


Swinging into action

Over the course of the last week Curiosity has been busy. Sols 39 through 41 (September 14th through 17th) were driving days in which the rover continued on its traverse towards the area dubbed Glenelg. On Sol 39, Curiosity logged 22 metres (72 feet), and covered a further 37 metres (121 feet) on Sol 40.

Sol 41 saw the rover cover 27 metres (89 feet), during which the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) instrument was incorporated into the rover’s drive sequence. In its active mode, DAN can detect sub-surface minerals associated with water. The instrument has a high sensitivity for finding any hydrogen to a depth of about 50 cm (20 inches) directly beneath the rover. Use of the DAN experiment requires the rover to travel 10 metres (33 feet) before stopping to operate the DAN instrument for 2 minutes, then rolling forward another 10 metres and again operating the DAN instrument, and so on.

On Sol 42, Curiosity travelled a further 32 metres (105 ft), bringing the mission’s total driving distance to about 259 metres (850 ft), reaching the half-way point in the drive to Glenelg. DAN was used at two stops during the drive to check for hydrogen in the soil beneath the rover. During the drive, the rover also paused to take further images of both Phobos and Deimos as they passed in front of the Sun.

Transit of Phobos: had Curiosity been at the top of “Mount Sharp”, this would have been an annular eclipse; Phobos would have been entirely within the disk of the Sun (images from Sol 37 Phobos transit)

Imaging these transits provides accurate data on the orbits of the two moons; although both Phobos and Deimos are very small objects compared with the planet, they still exert a tidal influence on Mars. Having accurate information on their orbits assists scientists in understanding how this tidal influence affects Mars, giving additional clues as to its internal structure. Similarly, the data can also be used in helping to understand the internal structures of the two moons. In addition, measuring the orbits of the two tiny moons helps scientist determine the rate of decay within Phobos’ orbit (Phobos is very gradually slowing down in its orbit and will, at some point in the distant future, break-up and fall onto Mars), and the rate at which Deimos is accelerating in its orbit.

Because so much information can be gathered that can help scientists gain greater insight into Mars and its moons, observing transits by both Phobos and Deimos have previously been a regular activity for NASA’s MER rovers. In fact, Opportunity (as the one remaining operational MER vehicle on Mars) conducted transit observations from its location almost in parallel with Curiosity.

On Sol 43, an unusual rock was identified as a potential target for further tests of the rover’s arm-mounted science instruments – particularly MAHLI, the Mars Hand Lens Imager and APXS, the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer. During something of an abbreviated day due to the timing of downlink relays on Sol 44, Curiosity took a more detailed look at this rock, as well as observing the early morning atmospheric conditions in Gale Crater and capturing additional images of the instruments mounted on the turret of the robot arm.

A close-in view of the sample acquisition system mounted on the turret at the end of the robot arm

The target rock, roughly the size of a football, was christened Jake Matijevic, in honour of Jacob Matijevic, MSL’s Surface Team Chief Engineer, who passed away shortly after Curiosity arrived on Mars. Matijevic had worked on all three generations of NASA’s Mars rovers, from the tiny Sojourner-class mini-rovers of the 1990s, through the MERs to Curiosity.

Jacob Matijevic, 1947-2012

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