SL18B registrations reminder: volunteers, exhibitors and performers

via Linden Lab

June is fast approaching, and with it, the 18th anniversary of Second Life being open to the public – an event market by the Second Life Birthday celebrations.

The Birthday will this year run from Thursday, June 17th through until Thursday, July 1st. As I’ve previously reported, exhibitor applications opened on Friday, March 19th.

More recently, applications for volunteers to fill the roles of greeters, hosts, or stage crew for the entertainment were opened, and on Friday, April  9th, applications for those wishing to perform at the event also opened.

Are you a DJ who can spin up a great party set? You might be one of the grid’s amazing Dance companies, or perhaps you’re a Particle Performer! Whatever your medium, we would love to hear from you. 
Fill out the official performer application form by May 28th and tell us a little about how you roll, and one of our Event Staff Leaders will contact you soon.

– from the official Second Life blog post call for performers.

The theme for this year’s celebrations is simply given as “Hidden Worlds”, with the Lab noting:

Your exhibit does not need to stay in theme. If you are inspired by the thought of the hidden worlds around you, show us! Or, share your Second Life passions with us. Your interests. Your communities. Your worlds! Every year we celebrate because of you, the amazing and creative Residents, who have chosen to call Second Life home. What has drawn you into this world and what keeps you here? This year at the eighteenth annual Second Life Birthday, show us what fuels your Second Life and inspires you. Let’s go exploring!

Those wishing to participate as performers, volunteers or exhibitors can find the relevant application forms and requirements / policies / guidelines at the end of the following links:

Note that all of these applications will close on Friday, May 28th, 2021.

SL18B exhibitor applications are open

via Linden Lab

June 2021 will see Second Life officially “come of age” as it were, as the platform celebrates it’s 18th anniversary of opening to public access.

Eighteen is generally acknowledged as the age of shedding minority status and of (if only in a legal sense in) reaching adulthood, as such this year’s Second Life Birthday (SLB) celebrations will likely acknowledge this in some way or ways – although we’ll have to wait to find out exactly how.

SL18B will run from Thursday, June 17th through until Thursday, July 1st, and Linden Lab officially opened exhibitor applications on Friday, March 19th. The theme for this year’s celebrations is simply given as “Hidden Worlds”, with the Lab noting:

Your exhibit does not need to stay in theme. If you are inspired by the thought of the hidden worlds around you, show us! Or, share your Second Life passions with us. Your interests. Your communities. Your worlds! Every year we celebrate because of you, the amazing and creative Residents, who have chosen to call Second Life home. What has drawn you into this world and what keeps you here? This year at the eighteenth annual Second Life Birthday, show us what fuels your Second Life and inspires you. Let’s go exploring!

Those who are interested in exhibiting at SL18B are asked to read, complete and submit the official exhibitor application form, which includes this year’s Exhibitor Rules. Note that the closing date for applications is Friday, May 28th.

Music Fest

A reminder that performers interested in participating in this year’s SLB music Fest, which will form the opener to the SL18B celebrations and take place between Thursday June 17th and Saturday June 19th inclusive, can still apply to be considered.

The Lab is seeking at least a dozen performers, both veteran Second Life musicians and those new to the scene, to provide the music for the festival, and full details on requirements / policies can be found in the Music Fest application form. But if you do plan to apply, remember, applications will close on Sunday, March 28th!

Related Links

SL18B music festival auditions applications are open

June 2021 will see Second Life officially “come of age” as it were, as the platform celebrates it’s 18th anniversary of opening to public access – and around the world, 18 is generally acknowledged as the age of shedding minority status and of (if only in a legal sense in) reaching adulthood.

As such, this year’s Second Life Birthday (SLB) celebrations will likely acknowledge this in some way or ways – although we’ll have to wait to find out exactly how.

In the meantime, opportunities for Second Life residents to actively participate in official SLB events and activities are starting to open, with the first – as has tended to be the case over the last few years – being that of the Second Life Music Fest, applications for which opened on Friday, March 5th.

Now in its 7th year, the Music Fest has become the traditional opener for the official celebrations, and this year it will provide three days of live music entertainment between Thursday, June 17th and Saturday, June 19th inclusive.

The Lab is seeking at least a dozen performers, both veteran Second Life musicians and those new to the scene, to provide the music for the festival. Full details on requirements / policies can be found in the Music Fest application form; however, and in brief:

  • Previous sets at the festival have generally run to an hour in length, so unless otherwise stated, expect this to be the case.
  • Accepted acts are requested to be at the venue one hour ahead of their appearance, in order to complete final check-out with SLB personnel to ensure everything is ready for their set.
  • This year, there will be no payment for participation – however performers will be permitted the use of tip jars, subject to the festival policy notes.
  • All performances and song lyrics must be G-rated.
  • Applications will close on Sunday, March 28th, 2021.

As with previous years, final selection for participation in the festival will be via an audition process, details of which will be provided to successful applicants. However, note that application submission does not guarantee acceptance for audition; all applications will be subject to an initial review, and invitations to audition will be extended on the basis of that review.

For more information, check the links below.

Related Links

SL17B: Meet the Moles of Second Life

via Linden Lab
On Friday, June 26th, 2020 at the SL17B celebrations, the final of five Meet the Lindens sessions was held, this one featuring Patch Linden and the Moles of the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW).

Unlike previous summaries in this series, this does not provide a breakdown of all topics covered. Instead it is structured follows:

Core information about the LDPW and the Moles is given below – who they are, what they do, how to apply to become a Mole, etc.

  • This information is drawn from both the session previous interview with the Moles and information from the SL wiki.
  • This information is supported by the Links to the Video section of the table of contents, right.
Table of Contents

This is followed by a short summary of the question (and their answers) likely to be of interest to readers. These are supported by the links under General Audience Questions section of the table of contents, right. For all of the questions asked in the session, please refer to the official video, embedded at the end of this article.

The Moles

Who or What are the Moles?

  • Officially called the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW)
  • They are residents from all over the world hired by Linden Lab as independent contractors to undertake specific tasks.
  • The core element of work they undertake is specifically geared towards enhancing the Mainland, as noted in the official LDPW wiki page, although they actually do a lot more than this.
  • The LDPW initially formed in 2008, and so is now in its twelfth year. They are managed by Derrick Linden, the Product Operations Manager for Second Life, together with a team of Linden Lab staffers including Guy Linden, Madori Linden and Kona Linden.
  • Notable major projects carried out by the Moles include:
    • The infrastructure within Nautilus City.
    • The development of Bay City.
    • The Linden Homes continent of Bellisseria (including all topography, flora, infrastructure and housing).
    • The facilities for events like Shop & Hop, SL16B and SL17B, ton hall events, the turn-key regions available for businesses, starter avatars, etc.
    • The Lab provided games such as Linden Realms, Paleoquest, Horizons and the grid-wide Tyrah and the Curse of the Magical Glytches – all accessible via the Portal Parks.
  • They also provide support / input for / to technical projects (e.g. Project Bento and the avatar skeleton extension), and work with marketing, QA and other LL teams.
  • In keeping with their name, Moles were originally given a mole avatar, complete with hard hat. However, over the years, most have moved to having a more individual and personal look.
  • As well as being paid for the work they do, Moles also receive and allowance from the Lab, which is primarily intended to go towards the cost of uploads (texture, animations, mesh objects, etc)., but which can also be put towards developing their individual looks.
  • [Video: 29:58-33:54] Current project focus comprises:
    • Bellisseria / Linden Homes – including four more Homes themes, and next two of which will be “a bit of a departure” from what has so far been seen.
    • SL17B / LL-led events for 2020.
    • A Halloween refresh.
    • End-of-year events.
    • A number of “big media events”.
  • [Video: 39:49-40:52] Due to the Linden Homes work, the LDPW has expanded from 20 to 30.

How to Become a Mole

  • Positions in the LDPW are open to application by residents who believe they are qualified to work in the team, and the team may also approach specific residents and ask if they would consider joining them.
  • Applications are made by dropping a résumé (note card or email) of qualifications / experience (including links SLurls, Flickr, You Tube, etc.) to Derrick Linden (derrick.linden-at-lindenlab.com) or to Patch Linden (patch.linden-at-lindenlab.com).
  • Applicants have to go through a former interview process.
  • Successful applicants get to pretty much choose their hours of work – providing agreed tasks are completed on time.
  • As they are from around the world, this can allow some projects to move forward on almost a round-the-clock basis.
  • Those who are more fully-rounded in skill sets  – content creation, scripting, etc., – are encouraged to apply, but LL will also take on specialists.
  • Motivated, outgoing, communicative people with a passion for SL and willing to self-teach themselves new skill sets are particularly considered.

Selected Questions and Answers

Please use the links to the video in the table of contents to hear full responses to them.

  • Will the SSPE areas around the Log Homes ever be completed?  – Already working on it.
  • Will water regions connect all the continents? – Not all, but where in makes sense, hopefully.
  • Will the Bellisseria railway extend into the “older” region in the continent? – No. the tracks need to be part of the infrastructure built into region, they are not suited to being retro-fitted.
  • Could the trees in Bellisseria be swapped for trees with lower LI, and the LI given to residents? – No, because a) the content the Moles build is in accordance with best practices for things like LOD, etc., and b) Land Impact really doesn’t work is a way that the question implies.
  • Will there be commercial areas in Bellisseria? – It had been intended too release Victorian Commercial as well as the Victorian themed homes (e.g. Millbank, intended to be an open market space), but this was de-prioritised in favour of more homes.
  • Why not convert abandoned Mainland for use with Linden Homes? – The way the Linden Homes regions are set-up doesn’t easily lend itself to use on the Mainland.
  • What about an underground Bellisseria theme? – has been considered along with other ideas. However, there are technical complexities to this – creating the terrain, dealing with the physics, etc., – which are considered to be currently prohibitive.
  • Will there be Trailers and Campers on 1024 sq m parcels, as once stated? Unlikely. The 512m parcels for Trailers and Campers were selected to give Premium members who had already used some of their free tier on a Mainland parcel the option of also trying a Linden Home. Also, the Campers and Trailers don’t scale well on 1024 sq m.

Catch the rest of the session in the video below.

SL17B Meet the Marketing Lindens – a summary

via Linden Lab
On Thursday, June 25th, 2020 at the SL17B celebrations, the fourth of five Meet the Lindens sessions was held, featuring Linden Lab’s Marketing team, led by Brett Linden, the Lab’s Senior Director of Marketing, Darcy Linden, Maverick Linden, Tara Linden and Strawberry Linden.

The following is a summary of the session covering the core topics raised, with selected audio extracts. The notes provided have been taken directly from the official video of the session, which is embedded at the end of this article. Time stamps to the video are also provided for ease of reference.

 

Table of Contents

Notes:

  • Due to the random approach taken in presenting subjects, this summary attempts to offer a logical flow to information by topic, and so does not follow the chronology of the session video.
  • Audio extracts, where included, have been cleaned-up and balanced to remove pauses, repetitions, etc.
  • Audience questions were taken at the end of the session (from the 52:00 mark in the video). However:
    • As some were related to the core discussion topics, responses to them have been given under the appropriate topic heading below, with a time stamp to where they were asked in the video.
    • Others – such as land fees, educational use of SL, etc. – were more thoroughly answered in the sessions with Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg, summarised here, and / or with Patch Linden, summarised here. I therefore refer readers to those summaries.
  • In places, information that is supplementary to the team’s comments is provided in square braces (i.e. [ and ]) are used in the body text below to indicate where this is the case.
  • For more information on the Marketing Second of Life, please also refer to the following:

About The Marketing Team

[Video: 1:28-10:00]

  • Brett: joined Linden Lab in 2007, and is a former music journalist who has interviewed David Bowie, Bjork, 2Pac, Peter Gabriel, Stevie Wonder and more.
  • Darcy Linden – Senior Marketing Manager – joined the Lab in 2018.
  • Maveric Linden –  Marketing Analyst – joined linden Lab in 2014, refers to himself as “the data guy”.
  • Tara Linden – Marketing Content Specialist – joined Linden Lab in 2019.
  • Strawberry Linden  – Marketing Content Specialist – joined Linden Lab in 2019 (formerly resident Strawberry Singh).
The Marketing Team
  • Primary focus is the acquisition of new users and retention of existing users in SL.
  • Also work closely with other teams within LL such as Product and Engineering, and may be consulted about various SL features – Name Changes, user on-boarding processes, avatar customisation, etc., but the team is not necessarily the decision makers on such aspects of the platform.
  • User acquisition takes a number of forms such as both paid and unpaid advertising campaigns using both traditional and digital media outlets.
  • The team’s experience is broad-ranging: web analytics, advertising, public relations, journalism, e-commerce, editorial, search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) – both of which (and their differences) are explained here -, social media marketing (SMM) and social media community management.
  • More information on the team’s individual backgrounds and roles can be heard between 3:53-8:21.

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What Impact has the Pandemic Had?

[Video: 10:10-12:13]

  • Brett: on a human level, there have been a variety of reactions throughout LL.
  • In terms of SL, there has been something of a resurgence of interest in the platform as a result of people having to maintain physical / social distancing / being in isolation.
  • Whilst many are discovering / returning to the platform have done so because it offers a safe haven for social interaction and fun, some have been drawn to the platform due to its utility.
  • The upturn in interest is being reflected in the media.
  • Makes for an awkward dichotomy: on the one hand the world is caught within the throes of the pandemic, but professionally, the Lab and SL are benefiting.

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Active User Numbers

[Video: 12:14-13:57]

  • Brett: In April 2020 – regarded as the “peak” of the resurgence at the time of the event – the monthly active user count was “just shy” of 900,000.
    • [Note a You Tube comment from @Secondlife Official indicates for June, the figure appears to be around the “lower mid-800,000s”.]
  • This increase has been both new users and returning users who have not logged-in for some time.
  • Darcy: Second life has actually been “growing steadily” in user numbers for the last few years, even with surge resulting from the pandemic, so the focus is on maintaining that broader growth trend.

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Marketing and Second Life

What Are the Challenges Marketing Faces With Returning Users / New Users?

[Video: 14:19-17:48]

  • Darcy: Residents tend to come in three “buckets”: new users; returning with little prior engagement; returning with significant prior engagement.
  • Overall the issues new / returning users who have been absent a long time are facing are not any different during the pandemic as prior to it. They are generally all issues of which LL has been aware of and is trying to address.
  • Part of the approach to issues is a case of “learn by doing” as much as anything else (just how hard is it to create and dress a new avatar?).
  • However, as with much else with SL, until the Uplift project has been completed, there are unlikely to be significant changes that will further assist the new user experience / growing the number of retained users.
  • Steeltoe Linden [referred to as being “back” on SL, so potentially a returnee from Sansar?] has a lot of ideas for improving the viewer UI in this regard.
  • Strawberry Linden: the official Second Life You Tube channel includes a playlist of “official” tutorials  and a playlist of community tutorials that can help new / returning users.
  • [1:01:02-1:03:53] Darcy: tests have been going on directly and with community gateways (notably Firestorm) for the on-boards “first hour”. As a result of this, additional back-end technology that will be used on the learning islands to better monitor approaches to how new users learn and engage – what helps move them towards sticking, etc.

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Diversity and Representation in Second Life Marketing

[Video: 22:13-23:32]

  • Tara: LL has always believed that inclusiveness is an important element of Second Life, as is the freedom for people to positively express themselves.
  • Events such as Black Lives Matter have helped underline the need to further emphasise this in marketing the platform.
  • Representation is not just a matter of presenting images featuring a diverse array of avatars but also in normalising identities that exist outside of the “accepted” [e.g. straight, white, able-bodied] and accepting and presenting the outlook of minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, disabled people, etc., is a valid position / proposition.
  • Doing so helps those who identify recognise SL is a safe place for people to be where they are welcome to express themselves.

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Continue reading “SL17B Meet the Marketing Lindens – a summary”

SL17B Meet Oz Linden – a summary with video and audio

via Linden Lab
On Wednesday, June 24th, 2020 at the SL17B celebrations, the third of five Meet the Lindens sessions was held, featuring Oz Linden, the Lab’s Vice President of Engineering.

The following is a summary of the session covering the core topics raised, with selected audio extracts. The notes provided have been taken directly from the official video of the session, which is embedded at the end of this article. Time stamps to the video are also provided for ease of reference.

Note that this is a summary, not a full transcript, and items have been grouped by topic, so may not be presented chronologically when compared to the video.

Table of Contents

Audio extracts, where included, have been cleaned-up and balanced to remove pauses, repetitions, etc.

In places, information that is supplementary to Oz’s comments is provided in square braces (.i.e. [ and ]) are used in the body text below to indicate where this is the case.

About Oz

  • Oz Linden

    Joined the company in 2010 specifically to take on the role of managing the open-source aspects of the Second Life viewer and managing the relationship with third-party viewers.

  • He came to Linden Lab out of a desire to do something “fun” after working in the telecommunication arena, notably with voice over IP systems (VOIP), which he defines as being “really interesting technology with some really fascinating challenge”, but in terms of it being fun, it really didn’t do what I wanted it to do.”
  • For the first two years of his time at the Lab, he was primarily focused on the open-source viewer work and in refining the overall viewer maintenance process, before his role started expanding to encompass more and more of the engineering side of Second Life.
  • When work on Sansar started in earnest, he pro-actively campaigned within the Lab for the role of  Technical Director for Second Life, working to build a team of technical staff around him who all shared a passion for Second Life.
  • In 2019 he was promoted to Vice President, Second Life Engineering (Vice President of Engineering following the sale of Sansar in early 2020), and joined the Lab’s management team alongside Grumpity and Patch Linden (see: Linden Lab’s management team expands: congrats to Grumpity, Patch and Oz).
  • Together with Grumpity and Patch, he forms what Grumpity calls the “troika” overseeing Second Life’s continued development.
  • Classifies his attraction to working with Second Life as perhaps falling into three core areas:
    • The open-source nature of the viewer and being directly involved with how SL users are using the viewer and what they do with it – which can often times take the Lab entirely by surprise.
    • The challenge of trying to implement new technologies alongside of (rather than simply replacing) older technologies.
    • Working with the operations team and others to ensure SL constantly evolves without (as far as is possible) breaking anything – a process he refers to and rebuilding the railway from a moving train.
  • Note that his avatar appears bald in the Meet the Lindens publicity shot at the top of this article, as he and his team participated in the 2020 Bid a Linden Bald event to raise money for RFL of SL, and has the team raising the least, that had to spend a month in-world sans hair.

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His Team

Has it Expanded Since the Sale of Sansar?

[Video: 4:47-5:48]

  • He did persuade a number of people to move back from Sansar to Second Life [those known to have moved back at the time were Runitai Linden (graphics) and Maestro Linden and Monty Linden (engineering), although they obviously may not be the only people to move / move back to work on Second Life].
  • Hiring of new staff has also continued [notable within this are Ptolemy Linden and Euclid Linden (graphics) and at least one Android development specialist].
  • At the time of the event, also looking to hire a further systems engineer working on the back-end Linux systems.

What Impact has the Pandemic Had?

[Video: 6:02-8:07]

  • “Pretty minimal”
  • The Engineering and Operations teams and his developers were already “pretty distributed”, with some of the teams working out of three of the Lab’s offices – Seattle, San Francisco and Boston – but around one-third to half of the total staff reporting to him (Oz included) have generally worked from home as “Moon Labbers” [the “Moon Lab” being LL’s term for remote working].
  • So teams already very familiar with remote working, operating across time zones and holding meetings in SL, as well as tools like video chat, and the transition for the rest has been “pretty much” seamless.
  • Probably the biggest impact is that the team isn’t getting together for their summer meet-up where they socialise and lay plans for future work on SL.

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Cloud Uplift

Why Is It Being Done?

[Video: 9:00-13:01]

  • Historically, Linden Lab has operated its systems and services the “traditional” way: dedicated hardware, and infrastructure running in dedicated facilities [at one time three data centres, but for the last several years a single co-location (co-lo) centre in Arizona].
  • Actually had to develop a lot of the methodologies the company now uses to manage all of the SL services simply as a result of the speed at which the platform initially grew, building capabilities for which there were no “standard” solutions.
  • Time has moved on, and Amazon and others have developed the means for systems and services to be run / provisioned through the cloud. These services allow Linden Lab to leverage a range of options and capabilities in a number of ways.
  • A particular aspect of the move is that LL no longer has to invest time, effort and money into hardware and infrastructure, but can essentially hand these off to AWS, allowing them to concentrate on SL’s operations and development.
  • With hardware in particular, it has been a number of years since the Lab upgraded their servers, so transitioning to the cloud avoids an expensive capital expenditure in new hardware, and similar expenditures in the future.  For example:
    • In the current environment, if the Bake Service [a collection of servers use by the Lab to generate and manage avatar appearances and ensure they are consistent across viewers] needed upgrading to more powerful servers, LL would have to acquire, test and implement that hardware, and then transition the Bake Service to it.
    • Running via the cloud means picking the required hardware from a catalogue provided by Amazon, who then take care of the heavy lifting to ensure the Bake Service works as required on the selected hardware.
  • Overall, the priority of the work is such that the three goals Oz has set himself : Uplift, Uplift, Uplift.

How is the Uplift Progressing?

[Video: 16:46-19:05]

  • It’s stressful but going well.
  • All of the inventory databases were successfully moved several months ago – twice, in fact: first to the cloud, then to a different type of cloud server. This work was completed so successfully, users were not even aware of any change.
  • The intermediary service sitting between the inventory database and the viewer was also successfully transitioned to AWS. It has also been running for “some time now”, again without users noting any difference.
  • A lot of the back-end services that users never directly interact with have also been successful transitioned
  • There is still a lot of work to do, but the plan is to have Second Life “out of the co-lo by the end of the year”.

Continue reading “SL17B Meet Oz Linden – a summary with video and audio”