ToS changes: Legal panel discussion transcripts

On Saturday October 19th, a panel of legal experts  – real-life attorneys – sat down at the Rose Theatre, Angel Manor in Second Life to discuss the August 15th changes to the Second Life Terms of Service, address questions on the matter and remove some of the FUD which has built-up around the subject.

In attendance were Agenda Faromet, who in real life is an attorney specialising in privacy and internet law operating out of San Francisco, Tim Faith (SL: Yoss Kamachi), a Maryland attorney with a strong background in IT and who deals with matters related to copyright, IP, trademark, etc., and Juris Amat, a Massachusetts bar member who runs the Virtual Intellectual Property Organisation (VIPO). All three are members of the SL Bar Association, based in-world at Justitia.

In all, the session lasted just under three hours, with initial presentations by Agenda Faromet and Tim Faith (Juris Amat had difficulties attending the first part of the session). Tis was followed by a question-and-answer session moderated by Maxwell Graf, with Kylie Sabra relaying Juris Amat’s replies via voice.

For ease of reference, the transcripts are broken down into seven parts, as listed below. Each one includes the audio recording I provided in my original report on the meeting.

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Halloween happenings and murder in Nurseryland

It’s time to kick-off another week of fabulous story-telling in Voice, brought to Second Life by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library SL and the folks at Storyfests SL

As always, all times SLT, and unless otherwise stated, events will be held on the Seanchai Library’s home on Imagination Island.

Sunday October 27th

From 10:00 at Bran: BOOFEST!

BooFest 2013BOOFest is back for a third year – gathering around the autumnal fire as the flames blaze and the leaves turn, and the chill in our bones is something more than the chill winds: the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest, and we celebrate both as the wheel of the year comes ’round again!

Check out the stories and storytellers!

Join the fun at Bran!

BOOFest benefits War Child North America, and is produced in partnership between Stories Unlimited! and Branwen Arts.

18:00: Magicland Storytime – Bonfires and Broomsticks

bonfires-broomsticksAuthor Mary Norton is perhaps best know for her long-running series of fantasy books The Borrowers (named for the first book of the series) published between 1952 and 1982.

However, her first published work, in 1943, was entitled The Magic Bed Knob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons, a fantasy piece about an elderly woman who practices magic for a hobby and has a magic bed knob, and three London children evacuated to the country during the bombing of London.

This was followed in 1945 by the sequel Bonfires and Broomsticks. Then, in 1957, the two books were republished as a single volume entitled Bed-Knob and Broomstick. And it was a play on this title by which the story became most widely known, when in 1971, Walt Disney released the film Bedknobs and Broomsticks starring Angela Lansbury and the late David Tomlinson.

Join Caledonia Skytower at Magicland Park as Caledonia reads from the second volume of this classic tale.

Monday October 28th 19:00: Classics of Science Fiction

With Gyro Muggins.

Tuesday October 29th, 19:00: Selections from The Graveyard Book

Caledonia Skytower brings the first of the week’s visits to the mind and imagination of Neil Gaiman as she reads selections from The Graveyard Book.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family . . .

The Graveyard Book is a children’s fantasy novel simultaneously published in Britain and America during 2008.

Wednesday October 30st, 19:00: The Case of Four and Twenty Black Birds

blackbirds“I sat in my office, nursing a glass of hooch and idly cleaning my automatic. Outside the rain fell steadily, like it seems to do most of the time in our fair city, whatever the tourist board says.

“So when the dame walked into my office I was sure my luck had changed for the better. ‘What are you selling, lady?’

‘What would you say to some of the green stuff?’ she asked, in a husky voice, getting straight to the point. She opened her purse and flipped out a photograph. Glossy eight by ten. ‘Do you recognise that man?’

In my business you know who people are. ‘Yeah.’

‘He’s dead.’

‘I know that too, sweetheart. It’s old news. It was an accident.’

Her gaze went so icy you could have chipped it into cubes and cooled a cocktail with it. ‘My brother’s death was no accident. I’m Jill Dumpty….’

And so Jack Horner, a noir-esque private eye (if a little short on stature) in Nurseryland, is launched into one of the most perplexing mysteries of his career – who killed Humpty Dumpty? Join Kayden Oconnell as he reads from Neil Gaiman’s brilliantly conceived and written 1984 short story.

Thursday October 31st,  from 16:00: Happy Halloween!

A special gathering to celebrate haunting, horror and ghosts and ghouls, which also see the testing of two new storytelling times the folks at Seanchai will be trying-out (see below).

  • 16:00: The Reaper Man. Join Dubhna Rhiadra & Caledonia Skytower as they read from Terry Pratchett’s classic Discworld tale featuring Death, his life and … well … his death, coupled with issues of a backlog of the life force of the recently departed …
  • 19:00: Ambrose Bierce: The Ways of Ghosts. Shandon Loring brings us tales from the pen of editor, journalist, satirist, short story writer, civil war veteran and traveller, Ambrose Bierce, who himself mysteriously vanished in 1913.
  • 21:00: Seanchai Late Night. More spooky tales!

New Story Times – Your Voice Matters

Starting this week, Seanchai Library will be testing some new session times in addition to the  regular 19:00 Monday-through-Thursday programming.  The first of these sessions will be Thursday, October 31st at 16:00, and a “Seanchai Late Night” will also launch that day at 21:00.

If these sessions draw enough of a consistent audience, they may become part of the regular Seanchai schedule, just as Tea Time was added in 2012.

The team are confident about the 16:00 session placement, although the time might be juggled with.  However, they’re still deciding which day of the week might be most auspicious for a late night story audience.  Are you on the West Coast of the Americas or in the Pacific? Would you be interested in such a session?  What Night? Take the online survey found in the right-hand sidebar of the Seanchai Library’s home page and let them know. Poll Closes November 1st.

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Please check with the Seanchai Library SL’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule. The featured charity for September and October is Water for People. Have questions? IM or note card Caledonia Skytower.

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ToS changes: Designing Worlds want your questions

Designing Worlds has announced a special programme to discuss the recent Linden Lab Terms of Service changes. The changes, which first appeared on August 15th, have led to concerns over the extent to which they require the granting of non-exclusive rights over content uploaded to the Lab’s services, as listed in Section 2.3 of the updated Terms.

The Design Worlds programme will be recorded on Tuesday October 29th, and will feature a special panel of representatives from across the creative sphere including artists, writers, designers, the legal profession and representatives of the United Content Creators of SL.

Not all of them may necessarily hold the same views – as Designing Worlds points out, while some see the changes almost entirely negatively, others see them as perhaps opening the door to potential new markets for their digital creations, and believe that the Terms of Service (possibly in an amended form) are the way forward. So the debate may well be interesting in the spread of views and comments.

As a part of the programme, Designing Worlds want to hear from the greater SL community. It doesn’t matter if you’re a creator within SL or a consumer (or both). If you have a question about Section 2.3 and how it may affect your business or your in-world time in general; if you’d like clarification on what it all means or how and where you might be affected; Designing Worlds invite you to e-mail them with your question, or leave it as a comment below the programme announcement on their website, and they’ll endeavour to put it before the panel.

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Come gather and hear of ghostly goings-on and dark hauntings

Sunday October 27th marks the third annual BOOFest! a gathering of vocal artists from across the grid, who gather  at  Bran. Here they invite all of us to come sit around a blazing fire and hear tales in keeping with this haunting time of the month.

There will be tales of dark deeds, ghostly goings-on and more throughout the day, with the event kicking-off with a short welcome and introduction by hosts Caledonia Hightower and Dubhna Rhiadra.

Stories will be presented in Voice, so be sure to have a place where you can sit and listen-in in peace. After the introduction, the first story kicks-off at 10:00 SLT.

Schedule of Events

All times SLT. Please refer to Storyfest SL’s blog for any updates / changes to the programme.

  • 10:00 – Lycanthia Wolfhunter, Asian Ghost Stories
  • 11:00 – Bhelanna Blaze – TBA
  • 11:30 – Kayden Oconnell selections from All Hallows Eve
  • 12:00 – Mavromichali Szondi, Jägermeister
  • 12:30 – Dubhna Rhiadra Hallows Eve by Sarah Diemer
  • 13:30 – Corwyn Allen selections from the Ghost Stories of Lord Dunsany
  • 14:30 – Crap Mariner with Spooky 100-word Stories
  • 15:00 –  Freda Frostbite with a new original story “This Ones for the Gipper”
  • 16:00 – Caledonia Skytower with a new original story “Her Own Words”
  • 16:30 – MadamThespian Underhill, Ada Radius, & Caledonia Skytower with Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart

SL Projects update week 43 (2): server and viewer notes

Things are in something of a lull server-side in terms of deployments and projects at the moment, so the news from the Lab is a little light.

Server Deployment

With just the one deployment to the Main channel in week 43, the entire grid is currently running on the same server release.

Commenting on the released package at the Server Beta group meeting on Thursday 24th October, Maestro and Simon Linden provided further information on the performance issue fix which is aimed at the experimental interest list viewer (which has yet to formally appear, but can be self-compiled by those with access to the code repository).

“The bug was about avatars not loading for ~70 seconds when you visit an area with ten or so avatars nearby, Maestro explained. “And by ‘not loading’,  you wouldn’t even see name tags.”

“I think the problem was when those viewers used new methods to download or check the cache state of some data … it would over-load the network and thus the avatar updates were really slow,” Simon added, before continuing, “Since the current viewer doesn’t do that, they don’t have the bug. Clubs and large crowds are always a problem because when you arrive you just get a ton of data to fetch and load.”

Week 44 should see what Maestro described as a “minor maintenance release” for the server appearing next week, which includes “a few miscellaneous crash fixes”. At the time of writing it is not clear if this will be the only RC deployment or whether anything else might also pop-up when the deployment thread is published.

SL Viewer Updates

The “Sharestorm” release candidate, version 3.6.9.282535, which combined the updates from the Snowstorm contributions viewer featuring the request teleport functionality with the SLShare release candidate, was promoted to the de facto release viewer on October 23rd. This leaves just the Maintenance release candidate viewer 3.6.9.282553 sitting in a release cohort, which will be updated in week 44, once it has been rebuilt using the release viewer code base.

Group Ban List

Baker Linden’s Group ban list work remains on internal testing within the Lab (with Maestro and Caleb Linden volunteering as Baker’s guinea pigs). The project has also apparently been awaiting internal QA resources.  Baker hopes to have a detailed update on progress in week 44, but as he said at the Server Beta meeting, “I’d rather take the time to do it properly than rush it out the door and have it be worthless! :).”

Other Items

As reported in week 42, A problem had been noted following-on from the recent updates to prevent people from using recursive rezzing which means some engaging in combat have found combat vehicles in regions with short auto-return times can have their ordnance immediately returned when a weapon is fired, and any temp vehicles are unable to rez attachments, even when sat upon. Maestro confirmed that as a result of a feature request having been raised, Andrew Linden is now looking at introducing a special exception for temp-on-rez / auto-return timer inheritance when the rezzer is a vehicle.

“When I’m sixty-four”: discussing the 64-bit version(s) of Firestorm

firestorm-logoOn October 18th, Jessica Lyon poked me about an upcoming blog post she was preparing for Firestorm which would make mention of a 64-bit Windows build, offering me the opportunity to talk to her about it ahead of the announcement going public.

At the time, my schedule was such that I couldn’t get back to Jessica immediately, so by the time we did get things worked out, the official blog post announcing both the team’s immediate plans for their next release and the arrival of 64-bit flavour of the viewer had been published. However, this didn’t stop me from taking the opportunity to sit down with Jessica and members of the team at the Cheeky Tiramisu Café late one afternoon in order to find out more about the promised “Firestorm 64”.

Meeting with some of the team: Miro (centre-left), Lassie, Ed, Whirly, and Jessica.
Meeting with some of the team: Miro (centre-left), Lassie, Ed, Whirly, and Jessica.

64-bit versions of SL viewers have been in demand for a considerable period of time. There has been some degree of resistance to them in the past, although there are a number of developers and self-compilers who have produced their own 64-bit versions of one viewer or another. The resistance has been for many reasons; Windows viewers are already Large Address Aware, for example, allowing them to use the additional memory common to computers using the 64-bit version of the operating system, thus helping to negate one of the biggest reasons for developing a 64-bit build.

Given that 64-bit builds have been seen as potentially problematic in the past, I started by asking what had prompted the Firestorm team to decide to go ahead with one.

“Our Windows 64-bit code was developed by Nicky Dasmijn as a sort of side project she wanted to do to scratch an itch she had,” Jessica informed me. Nicky, who started-out contributing code to the project, is now the project’s Lead Developer. Sadly, she’s also a little camera-shy as well, and managed to successfully escape my conversation with the team, hence why her profile picture appears here.

Nicky Dasmijn - Firestorm's Lead Dev and Win 64-bit coder
Nicky Dasmijn – Firestorm’s Lead Dev and Win 64-bit coder

Jessica went on, “None of us were expecting her to drop the code into the repo when she did; but since she did, and since we had already decided to do a public beta, I figured, ‘Why not? Let’s get it out there in alpha form to see public reaction, and to see what the cost versus benefit might be’, neither of which we know for sure yet.”

I noted that when discussing 64-bit viewer builds at a recent Firestorm Q&A, there were concerns from the team about potential issues with maintenance, such as bugs and additional regressions, and for how it might negatively impact support were they ever to try for 64-bit viewer versions. I wondered what else had changed, other than Nicky working on the code herself, to persuade the team to push ahead on the 64-bit front.

“The expectation is that the 64-bit version won’t have different bugs than the 32-bit,” Jessica replied. “In fact the hope is that it may have better performance and fewer crashes, which if true, should actually take some load off our support team. But we don’t know for sure as we’ve only tested it on a dozen or so computers.”

Miro, Lassie and Ed
Miro, Lassie and Ed

I wondered if trying to offer a 64-bit version of a viewer might be the proverbial catch-22 / can of worms situation: the viewer needs to be put to public use in order to see what the response to it is like, but if it is put into public use, it’s going to be awfully hard to prevent it becoming an accepted and expected version of the viewer.

“Well, the feedback will determine whether we move forward with it, but I think chances are good,” Jessica said, before giving me a wry smile, “As for the can of worms; yes, we’ve opened it, and we’re not going to be able to get those worms back in it now. Folks are going to want it, many will want it even if there is no noticeable benefit.

“But other TPV’s are also working on 64-bit windows too, I spoke to Latif [Khalifa] from Singularity and found out he also has coded up Windows 64-bit for them. So to add another metaphor to the mix: the cat is out of the bag, and x64 for Windows is going to happen with or without us, and due to user demand it will likely become a standard presence going forward.”

Whirly, Jessica and Cinder
Whirly, Jessica and Cinder

Continue reading ““When I’m sixty-four”: discussing the 64-bit version(s) of Firestorm”