Lab Gab episode 2 with Reed Linden – a summary

Image courtesy of Linden Lab

The Second episode of Lab Gab streamed on Wednesday, September 11th, hosted by Xiola and Strawberry Linden, and featuring special guest Reed Linden.

Running to just under 44 minutes, this was an informative segment, although there were a number of questions asked that where outside of Reed’s specific remit and which he was only able to answer in general terms (Land, Linden Homes, pricing, etc.). Most of these are not summarised below, and I refer people to the embedded video for comments.

About Reed Linden

Reed Linden, aka (at present) Penguin Fabuloso, has been with the Lab for just over eight years, having joined in August 2011. He started in the support team, serving there for three years, then moving to the Engineering team for a time. While there, Grumpity Linden, Director of Product for Second Life, selected him to join the Product team.

As a Product Manager, Reed has particular responsibility for the Lab’s Second Life web infrastructure –  the Marketplace, Profiles, main domains like secondlife.com, and so on). He’s also been involved with Bakes on Mesh, and has knowledge of account management (including Premium), billing,  and – given his time there – support.

Reed Linden (c), flanked by Xiola (l) and Strawberry (r)

He views his progress through the Lab as uniquely reflective of the manner in which knowledge of the platform is distributed: those who potentially know the most about SL are the users who put it to work every day, coding, building, uploading, texturing, creating, and so on. The next level of knowledge below that is the support teams who handle hundreds of user requests on a daily basis, and get to use the broad spread of the platform’s tools and capabilities. Then, after support come the engineering and product teams, who have sharply defined focuses on Second Life.

From this is should come as no surprise that he sees the community as his favourite aspect of the platform, together with the manner in which it can bring people together from around the world, and help them find a voice or outlets or connections – and even to find love. In this latter regard, he reveals that not only have SL residents built their physical world relationships out of a Second Life meeting (a-la the Love Made in SL series), but also that some LL staff have met their physical world partners through SL!

Web Properties – Project and Updates

  • As a part of his web infrastructure responsibilities, he has been running the work to bring Profiles back into the viewer. This involves two key elements:
    • Moving user profiles back to their own floater in the viewer, rather than pulling in the web profile. This element of the work is currently available for testing in the Legacy Profiles Project Viewer, which can be found on the Alternate Viewer Page.
    • A further aspect of the work is to move Profile Feeds into a dedicated tab within the Profile floater.
Left: SL Profiles will be returning to a dedicated floater (rather than using a panel to display the web-base user profile). In the future, Profile feeds will also become a part of this floater with their own tab. Right: recently delivered to the Marketplace (among other updates) is the ability to list all the gifts you have received (MP → Account Name → My Account Page → Received Gifts)
  • Reed also highlighted three recent updates to the Marketplace:
    • Notification of purchase – when you visit a Marketplace listing for an item you have previously purchased with the account you are using, the date purchased is displayed at the top of the listing.
    • The gifts received listing (see above).
    • The ability for store owners to nominate store managers.
  • Some of the upcoming Marketplace features touched upon include:
    • Optimising the Marketplace for mobile use.
    • Purchase notifications: store owners will receive a viewer notification of purchases made through their Marketplace stores. This will be an opt-in capability, so as to avoid those with popular brands from being constantly spammed with purchase messages.
    • Refunds: the ability for Merchants to offer refunds through the MP is being looked at.
    • Continuing work on quality-of-life capabilities within the MP, together with bug fixes.
  • Search is being strengthened right across all of the Lab’s web properties.
    • For the Marketplace, this will include listing top-selling products first within search results
    • Better granularity on searches will potentially be supported, together with better filtering
  • There are also projects in progress or on the horizon related to improving the Destination Guide and for Events (this has been mentioned in one or two technical user group meetings, but again without specifics being given).

Bakes on Mesh

  • As a Product Manager, he is very pleased with the take-up of Bakes on Mesh (BoM) – as is the Lab.
  • LL have been tracking take-up among mesh head / body makers, etc., and the gradual adoption of the BoM viewer code by TPVs.
    • There is an unofficial list for BoM support (last updated at the end of August) which may help those interested.
  • The hope remains that BoM will encourage more lightweight content in terms of graphics resources (e.g. less complex Mesh heads and bodies, plus the ability to bake down multiple textures into a single composite).

General Q&A

  • As a hobby, Reed enjoys painting model miniatures (D&D being specifically mentioned) and building dioramas.
  • Work on an iOS client was re-iterated. No new updates, as this is not one of Reed’s areas of work, so those interested can refer to a summary of comments by Kiera and Oz Linden on the work (including a link to a transcript of the comments), and my July mini-update on this project.
  • Last Names: yes, still being worked on, but a complex project. Again, see my June update, which includes the most relevant comments from LL.

Feedback

An informative segment, with Reed providing a lot of hints  – he touched very loosely on possible new Premium account options, for example – as well as outright information for those who do not attend the various in-world user group meetings or follow summaries of said meetings as provided on this blog and others of a similar nature.

Some of the questions did hit on the issue of keeping people aware of a specific guest’s area of expertise; even when warned Reed is not directly involved in viewer development, land management, etc., a number of questions on those subjects came up (and were dutifully asked). However, these fortunately did not interrupt the overall flow of the session to a great degree.

Voice quality continues to be an issue; I assume the participants are using the SL voice binary rather than hooking Skype or an alternative service into the mix. Hopefully this is something that will be addressed once the upcoming voice update viewer goes into circulation and Lab staff can use it.

No details on what the next segment will be about – so it’s a case of watch the official blog posts.

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