SL10BCC: Calling the SL press!

SL10B-CC_WordPress

It’s no secret that Second Life marks ten years of being open to the world on June 23rd, and to celebrate, the global community of Second Life users is coming together in a week-long celebration across the twenty-two regions of the Second Life 10th Birthday Community Celebration.

The SL10BCC Auditorim
The SL10BCC Auditorim

The sims have already been laid out, and across all of them, people are busily putting together their exhibits, while across the rest of Second Life, entertainers are readying themselves to participate in a 24/7 round of entertainment which will run across the regions of the celebration for the entire week of festivities.

The gates to the celebration will open to the public on June 16th, when the celebrations will commence which will culminate on June 23rd in a spectacular fashion.

What mysteries await the intripd reporters who sign-up....?
What mysteries await the intrepid reporters who sign-up….?

However, if you are a member of the virtual worlds’ press or are a virtual worlds blogger, then we’re extending an invitation for you to come see the regions, photograph the builds and enjoy preview access to the celebrations on our special Press Day ahead of the regions opening to all.

To apply to be an official SL10B Community Celebration press contact or blogger, simply fill-out and submit our Press Pass application form.

Key Dates

  • June 6 – Photo contest closes
  • June 16 – Grand Opening
  • June 23 – Official Birthday day and final day of performances
  • June 29 – Sims close to the public
  • July 1 – All builds to be dismantled – sims go offline

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Lab announces BE a Linden Bear for SL’s 10th anniversary!

SL10BLinden Lab have launched their official celebration of Second Life’s 10th anniversary with a special blog post on the topic and offering everyone a special gift.

The blog post opens:

This month marks ten years since Second Life first opened to the public in June of 2003! We’re incredibly proud of Second Life’s success and longevity and we hope that all of you are too – it’s thanks to everyone who has made Second Life part of their lives over the past decade that we’ve reached this major milestone.

The gift takes the form of a special commemorative bear – but not just any bear, or even any Linden Bear.

This is a bear avatar, and it has been commissioned and made specifically with the new SL materials processing capability in mind.  The bear can be obtained directly from the SL Marketplace, where the accompanying text reads:

The past ten years have seen Bears play an important part of the Second Life experience. To pay homage and celebrate the history of this noble animal, we have created a limited edition SL10B Bear avatar that comes ready to have a good time!

The celebratory bear avatar, seen via the materials beta viewer
The celebratory bear avatar, seen via the materials beta viewer

As well as the celebratory bear avatar, the blog post also announces the start of a special photo contest:

We’re also kicking off an SL10B Snapshot Contest! Start snapping your celebratory images and get ready to share. Top prize is free use of a homestead for four months, and second and third prizes are free use of a homestead for two months.  Check out the rules and submit your entries here.

So, if you fancy trying-out a Homestead for a few months, get snapping!

The Drax Files: a Humble view of the world

Second Life is ahead of its generation, but very traditional in the fact that it enables creativity, and I believe that that is the most powerful form of entertainment.

So speaks Rod Humble in the seventh segment of The Drax Files. which aired on Monday June 3rd.

The plan had been to keep the guest a surprise for as long as possible (I was sworn to secrecy back before the segment had even been filmed), but word started leaking out after Rod made several in-world appearances using both his primary account and some of his alts.

Rod Humble at The Arrival
Through his alter-ego, Rodvik Linden, Rod Humble contemplates echoes of the future

Featuring footage shot both in-world and at the Lab’s main offices in Battery Street, San Francisco, the segment is a rapid-fire overview of Second Life, its impact on the world and how senior management at the Lab view what is happening to the platform and how they think it is fairing. As such, it is possible that some of Rod Humble’s comments may come across as superficial and be critiqued as such. However, this is only a five-minute piece, and the established format of the show isn’t suited to any in-depth analysis or reporter-led interrogative, and to expect it to be so would be unfair.

What does emerge from the segment is a picture of a man who has both the responsibility for ensuring Second Life maintains a comfortable level of success which at the same time and who – contrary to popular belief in some quarters – does actually “get” Second life in many fundamental ways, even if he may not have a complete understanding of its appeal.

There is admittedly a juxtaposition here; on the one hand, Rod Humble has spent more than two years of hard grind at the helm of Linden Lab, and has steered the company into new waters of unknown depth while at the same time pushing for very real investment in their flagship product and driving forward a range of new technical initiatives for Second Life. All of this does speak of someone who has an eye on the future for the platform and who recognises its many technical weaknesses.

Yet, on the other hand, he talks with disarming honesty about the bemusement he feels towards SL’s continued success and longevity and the fact that why it is successful remains something of a mystery – and something which appears to be completely missed by the tech industry and media as  a whole.

Avatar identity and pseudonymity (and the individuals' right to the latter) are matters of import to Rod Humble (images courtesy of Draxtor Despres)
Avatar identity and pseudonymity (and the individuals’ right to the latter) are matters of import to Rod Humble (images courtesy of Draxtor Despres)

There are some familiar themes in the piece which anyone who is reasonably familiar with Rod Humble and his past commentaries is likely to instantly recognise. His comments on matters of privacy and anonymity, for example, are pretty much echo what he said at the last of the Second Life Community Conventions in 2011.  Similarly, the numbers quoted are pretty much the same as we’ve been hearing for the last couple of years. But  repetition alone doesn’t invalidate what is being said.

Things like avatar identity and pseudonymity / personas are matters which concern many SL users, so the fact that Rod Humble hasn’t shifted his stance of the matter in the course of his tenure at the helm of Linden Research should be taken as a positive sign.

Similarly, while many of us within SL would like to see more visible moves towards getting more of the 400,000 monthly sign-ups to stick, we also need to remember that this video isn’t about dissecting Second Life this way or that: it is about presenting the world with a better understanding of the platform and why people enjoy it so much – and hopefully encourage people to come and give things a try. As such, Rod’s message is very much on topic and in keeping with past segments of the show.

Rod Humble roams SL in one of his many alts (image courtesy of Draxtor Despres)
Rod Humble roams SL in one of his many alts (image courtesy of Draxtor Despres)

Another aspect of the anonymity element in the segment is the way in which it serves as a reminder that just because we don’t people moving around and through Second Life wearing “Linden” tags doesn’t mean actually mean Lab don’t spend time in-world and among users.  As Rod comments:

I love flying around with my alts. Sometimes I’m dressed as a Greek philosopher, sometimes I’m a spaceship, sometimes I’m dressed as an animal! I mean, it’s great! And [in] each one of those personas you can fully engage in a way community in a way that you can’t when everybody knows it’s Rod Humble.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean Lab staff are in-world every minute of the day – but it is a comment which should be born in mind when critiquing the Lab with claims that staff are “never” in-world.

"we have the Oculus Rift working within Second Life, and we are working to make it a triple-A experience, particularly around the user interface..."
“we have the Oculus Rift working within Second Life, and we are working to make it a triple-A experience, particularly around the user interface…”

As noted at the top of this piece, the show also demonstrates that Rod Humble still intuitively “gets” the power of Second Life, even if he doesn’t by his own admission fully understand why the appeal is the way it is (something I think true of a lot people, even if we each have our own ideas and theories). Not only does he “get” it, he is actually leading the charge to make SL a better, more enjoyable experience for all of us, old and new.

The fact that LL have invested considerable time and effort into SL over the course of the last year or more should stand as a reminder that the company still believes the platform is viable – and that is good news for the platform and its future, even if the projects concerned aren’t that visible or what people might view as being “sexy” (which has been used at times as a reason to bash this work and the Lab). While such efforts may not solve all of SL’s woes, they do at least demonstrate that the Lab’s commitment to the platform is still there.

And as we approach SL’s 10th birthday celebrations, that really is worth while remembering.

Continue reading “The Drax Files: a Humble view of the world”

Viewer release summary 2013: week 22

This summary is published every Monday and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Viewer Round-up Page, a list of  all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware) and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy
  • By its nature, this summary will always be in arrears
  • The Viewer Round-up Page is updated as soon as I’m aware of any releases / changes to viewers & clients, and should be referred to for more up-to-date information
  • The Viewer Round-up Page also includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.  

Updates for the week ending: June 2nd, 2013

Depreciated / Discontinued Viewers

  • SL Development viewer – depreciated as of version 3.5.2.274629 April 24, 2013
  • Zen Viewer – discontinued by developer and no longer available, January 27th, 2013
  • Phoenix viewer – development and support ended on December 31st, 2012

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