“You proceed from a false assumption”: the myth of SL’s failure

Ciaran Laval (once again!) lead me to an article on The Register concerning “Ten technology … FAILS” by one Tony Smith. Some of the entries will doubtless raise a smile or two or have some pundits nodding sagely and muttering, “Yep, said it would never work at the time…”

However, on page four of the item comes … Second Life, which is given a dismissive paragraph concluding, “And then, of course, they all realised that living one, real life was busy enough. And social networking was born…”.

Thus, Mr. Smith joins a growing clique of journalists all eager to proclaim that SL has not only failed, it is in fact like the proverbial parrot famed of Monty Python, “No more”. Not only is his view demonstrably wrong (to sum up what follows, “We’re still here, aren’t we?”), in pointing to Second Life, he again, like many who cite its “failure”, reveal a complete lack of awareness of the platform.

Ciaran asks why attitudes such as this prevail in journalistic circles. He points to an article on The Ancient Game Noob, which also attempts to address the question. Both raise fair points. However, there is really only one answer that matters where views such as those expressed in The Register are concerned, and it can be summed up in two words.

Lazy journalism.

Birth of the Myth

Anshe Chung and Business Week – success and hype

For a time, SL was undoubtedly the darling of the media – whether it be bold predictions of a new kind of “virtual entrepreneur” being the wave of the future. The hype, as I’ve covered elsewhere, began in late 2005, in an article which appeared on CNNMoney and which essentially catapulted Anshe Chung onto the cover of Business Week.

This saw the birth of a story which ran and ran, across more than a year through 2006 and 2007, when the media couldn’t get enough of SL – and nor, for a time, could big business – for reasons neither could fully understand (and nor, in fairness, could LL). All that was apparent, was that the bandwagon was passing by, and it was time to jump on or risk missing out – even though “jumping on” and “missing out” were never actually quantified.

And when it comes to media we’re not just talking the “traditional” forms of media, real or digital print; leave us not forget that CBS jumped aboard in 2007, working with Electronic Sheep to bring us a CSI immersive environment, and the appearance of Second Life (albeit rather badly) on a two-parter of CSI:NY. Other shows also jumped in as well, and even pop stars around the world got in on the act, with Duran Duran (2006) perhaps being the most notable (and still very present), while Italian singer Irene Grandi released her 2007 hit Bruci la città (“Burn the City”) with a video produced in part in Second Life, featuring an avatar based upon her.

Continue reading ““You proceed from a false assumption”: the myth of SL’s failure”

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Bay City tree lighting fundraiser

Christmas is a time for giving, and on Saturday the 8th December, 2012, Bay City will be hosting their annual Christmas Tree Lighting and fundraiser.

The event will feature music from Grace McDunnough, GoSpeed Racer and Bluemonk Rau, a skating party and silent auction.

Grace, Bluemonk and GoSpeed – all performing at the Bay City Tree Lighting in aid of Child’s Play

The silent auction will feature many unique – and possibly exclusive – items, with all proceeds from the auction going directly to Child’s Play, as will all donations made throughout the event.

This exclusive print by Whiskey Monday is just one of the unique items to be auctioned at the Bay City Tree Lighting fundraiser in at of Child’s Play on December 8th

The event kicks-off at 13:00 on Saturday 8th December, 2012, and will run through until 16:00, at the Bay City Fairgrounds in North Channel.

If you are a content creator and would like to donate something to the silent auction, please contact Marianne McCann or Ever Dreamscape in-world at the earliest opportunity.

About Child’s Play

Child’s Play is a US-based (501c3 registered non-profit organisation), global game industry charity. It is dedicated to improving the lives of children with toys and games distributed to a network of over 70 hospitals worldwide. Founded in 2003, Child’s Play operates in two ways:

  • Working with staff at the hospitals in the network, it establishes gift wish lists of video games, toys, books and other fun stuff for kids. Those wishing to support the organisation can click on any hospital in the charity’s location map, view the wish list for that hospital and send a gift
  • Via donations made directly to the charity, which are used to purchase new games consoles, games, peripherals, and more for hospitals and therapy facilities, allowing children to enjoy age-appropriate entertainment, interact with their peers, friends, and family, and can provide vital distraction from an otherwise generally unpleasant experience.

With thanks to Whiskey Monday, for making me aware of this event, and Marianne McCann for supplying the information on the event.

SL project news week 48/1: server and beta, viewer, maps and memory

Server Deployments

After indications from LL that there may not be a Main channel deployment on Tuesday 27th November, restart commenced as the deployment made to the RC channels last week went ahead as per the usual schedule.

Wednesday 28th November should see the three main RC channels updated as follows:

  • BlueSteel and LeTigre: should receive a maint-server project.  There are a few new flags for the LSL function llGetObjectDetails(), but the most important changes are some fixes for physics and mesh-based crash modes – see the server release notes
  • Magnum should receive the say package, with additional stability improvement changes – see the Magnum server release notes.

As usual there is a forum thread for the week’s server deployments.

Viewer News

Release Viewer

The 3.4.2 viewer code finally reached the release (production) version of the LL viewer with the release of 3.4.2.267137 on Monday 26th November, which I briefly reviewed here.

Beta Viewer

The beta viewer, now cleared of the crash issue bottleneck, moved rapidly through the 3.4.2 code base prior to Thanksgiving in the US, as previously reported in the news updates, and then reached 3.4.3 with the surprise release of 3.4.3.267135 during Thanksgiving week, after it had been indicated there would be no viewer releases during the week due to decreased support staff availability during the long weekend period. As reported last week, this release includes the first phase of Monty Linden’s HTTP texture fetch project, which should see people experiencing significantly faster texture rezzing when in-world.

CHUI Viewer

The CHUI – the Communications Hub User Interface – project viewer is due to go through another couple of iterations before moving towards a development / beta viewer code merge. There has already been one update since the project viewer, which is aimed at improving the capabilities and reliability of in-world text and Voice conversations, first appeared.

CHUI: potentially a couple more iterations to come

While he has not followed the project first-hand, Oz Linden believes CHUI to be nearing a “feature complete” status. The advice is that if you haven’t tried it out and wish to give feedback, now is the time to do so.

Mesh Deformer

Nalates Urriah provides an update on some of the ongoing work around the mesh deformer. In the meantime, speaking at the Open Development User Group meeting on Monday the 26th November, Oz linden responded to a question from White Rabbit as to what garments are still required for testing by saying, “That’s a great question. I’m setting up a meeting with the people responsible for avatars to try to get a proper acceptance test defined for both that and STORM-1800.” STORM-1800 relates to the vertex weights of the default avatar character mesh.

While Oz didn’t specify a date for the meeting, those with a direct interest in either supplying mesh clothing for testing or in the JIRA should be hearing from him in the near future on the meeting details.

Continue reading “SL project news week 48/1: server and beta, viewer, maps and memory”