Lab issues a further e-mail on EU GDPR and user privacy

On May 25th, 2018 the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force. While an EU regulation, the GDPR not only applies to organisations located within the EU but it will also apply to organisations located outside of the EU if they offer goods or services to, or monitor the behaviour of, EU data subjects.

Earlier in May, the Lab issued a blog post providing an initial outline of their compliance with the GDPR, which covers both Second Life and Sansar. In that post they promised they would provide further details on how EU citizens can exercise their rights under the GDPR. On May 24th, they issued an e-mail summarising updates to their Privacy Policy. The e-mail reads in full:

We value our relationship with our community and your privacy.  We have updated our Privacy Policy to increase transparency and comply with the European Union data protection law known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect on May 25, 2018. We encourage you to read our policies in full, but here are some highlights of what’s changed:

  • We provide additional details about the types of data that we collect, the ways in which we use it, and the measures we take to keep your data safe,
  • We added information about new choices and controls for users to manage their privacy, and
  • We added information about user’s rights regarding their privacy.

The updates to our policies will go into effect on May 25, 2018.  If you have questions, please contact us at

Thank you for being part of the Linden Lab community!

The Linden Lab Team

The specific sections of the Privacy Policy that have been updated are:

Obviously, you should read the privacy Policy in full, rather than just these sections. The above list is provided only as a guide.


Space Sunday: drills, telescopes, pictures and doubts

In March I reported that NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity had taken an important step in recovering its ability to drill into Martian rocks to collect samples. Now it looks like drilling operations could be resuming.

Use of the sample-gathering drill was suspended in December 2016, after problems were encountered with the drill feed mechanism – the motor used to extend the drill head between two “contact posts” designed to steady the rover’s turret during drilling operations. In particular, there was concern that continued use of the drill feed mechanism would see it fail completely, ending the use of the drill.

Since then, engineers have been trying to develop a means of using the drill without and reliance on the drill feed mechanism, and at the end of February 2018, a new technique was tested. Called Extended Drilling, or FED,  it keeps the drill bit and head extended, and uses the weight of the rover’s robot arm and turret to push the bit into a target rock. This is harder than it sounds,as it requires the weight of the rover’s arm to provide the necessary pressure to help push the drill bit into a rock – something it is not designed to do, and might actually break the drill bit or cause it to become stuck. However, the rover passed the February test with flying colours.

This success meant that engineers could focus on recovering the drill’s percussive action. This assists in both helping the drill cut into a rock and in breaking the contact area under the bit up into a fine powder that can be collected by the collection tube surrounding the bit.

A close-up of the drill mechanism. In the centre is the hollow drill bit, which cuts into rock and gathers sample powder. The drum at the base of the drill is the first part of the sample collection mechanism. Also of this used to be extended up against a rock sample by the drill feed mechanism. Just visible cutting across the bottom right corner of the image is one of the two contact posts. The second post can be seen in part in the top right corner of the image. These are used to hold the rover’s robot arm steady against a target rock surface while the drill is extended for sample-gathering operations. Credit: NASA

On Saturday, May 19th, and following further tests using Curiosity’s Earth-base test bed twin, the command was sent to Mars for Curiosity to carry out a second drilling test using both the FED approach and with the drill percussive action enabled. Unlike the February test, however, this one has an additional goal: to actually recover a special sample of rock.

For the last couple of months, the rover has been making its way along a feature on “Mount Sharp” dubbed “Vera Rubin Ridge”, toward an uphill area enriched in clay minerals that the science team is eager to explore. In doing so, the rover passed a distinct rock formation that could fill a gap in the science team’s knowledge about Mount Sharp and its formation.

Testing the FED / percussion approach to drilling on Earth using Curiosity’s test-bed “twin”. Not how the drill head (centre) is fully extended, so the contact posts cannot be used. Forward pressure on the drill is being provided entirely by the rover’s robot arm. Credit: NASA/JPL

Given the progress made in trying to get the drill working again, the decision was made to reverse Curiosity’s course in mid-April and drive back to the rock formation in the hope that the May 19th test could gather a sample from it. Commenting on the decision, Curiosity principal scientist Ashwin Vasavada  said, “Every layer of Mount Sharp reveals a chapter in Mars’ history. Without the drill, our first pass through this layer was like skimming the chapter. Now we get a chance to read it in detail.”

If the new technique has allowed Curiosity to gather a sample – at the time of writing this article, NASA had yet to provide an update on the operation – the engineering team will immediately begin testing a new process for delivering that sample to the rover’s internal laboratories. This is again a complex process, which in the past has involved the drill feed mechanism to transfer material gathered by the drill to another mechanism called CHIMRA (Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis), also mounted on the rover’s turret. CHIMRA sieves and sorts the material, grading it by size and coarseness before transferring it to the rover’s science suite, located in Curiosity’s main body.

Curiosity’s “fingers”: the five instruments on the rover’s turret, including the drill with the feed mechanism motors behind it and the two angled contact posts clearly visible, and the CHIMRA system used for sieving and sorting sample material gathered by both its own scoop (for surface material) and the drill (for rock samples). Credit: NASA 

Success with both the drilling operation and same transfer will mean – allowing for fine-tuning and other adjustments – the drill could be re-entering regular use in the near future.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: drills, telescopes, pictures and doubts”

Linden Lab highlights GDPR – coming into force on May 25th 2018

On May 25th, 2018 the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force. While an EU regulation, the GDPR not only applies to organisations located within the EU but it will also apply to organisations located outside of the EU if they offer goods or services to, or monitor the behaviour of, EU data subjects.

The GDPR applies to all companies processing and holding the personal data of data subjects residing in the European Union, regardless of the company’s location. As such, it not  only Linden Lab, who hold data on Second Life and Sansar users in the European Union, it can also impact those operating a business through Second Life and who collect data on customers which is stored outside of the servers operated by Linden Lab.

In preparation for the enforcement of the GDPR, on May 9th, 2018, Linden Lab issued a preliminary blog post on their compliance with the GDPR, which covers both Second Life or Sansar.

GDPR, in a nutshell.

Put simply, the GDPR puts in place new requirements for the collection, maintenance, and use of personal data for residents of the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA). It’s an important evolution in privacy practices, and one we’ve already started to account for: if you notice, our existing Privacy Policy already discloses the type of personal data we collect from you, how we use and limit any sharing of your data, and your rights to control our use of your personal data.

What you can expect.

In coming weeks, we’ll provide more information on how EU residents in Second Life can best exercise their rights under GDPR. In some cases, you may take actions through your account dashboard (to modify your personal data, for instance). In others, it may be necessary to file a support ticket and verify your identity (to better protect your privacy).

– Linden Lab May 9th blog post on the upcoming GDPR

The GDPR defines personal data as, “any information related to a natural person or ‘Data Subject’, that can be used to directly or indirectly identify the person.” This includes, but is not limited to: IP addresses, on-line identifiers (including avatar names), e-mail addresses, photographs, as well as the more usual name, address, bank details, medical data, etc.

In addition to defining requirements for how such data should be managed and protected by organisations gathering it, the GDPR also specifies a number of rights to Data Subjects who have their personal information stored by companies and other entities. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The right to be informed: Data Subjects have the right to know what data is being collected, how it’s being used, how long it will be kept and whether it will be shared with any third parties.
  • The right to access: generally speaking, organisations are required, within one month of receipt of a formal request, to provide a copy of any personal data concerning the requesting Data Subject.
  • The right to rectification: a Data Subject can formally request that inaccurate or incomplete information relating to them is updated, and the update must be made within one month (exceptions can apply).
  • The right to be forgotten: a Data Subject can request the erasure of all personal data relating to them in certain circumstances (e.g. it is no longer necessary to hold it; if the data was unlawfully processed or it no longer meets the lawful ground for which it was collected). However, there are certain exceptions to this.

(In addition, the GDPR defines: The right to object (to data being gathered); The right to restrict processing; The right to data portability; and Rights related to automated decision making including profiling.)

For those running businesses through Second Life or Sansar which use services  – web sites, computers, etc.,  – outside of Second Life for the collection and storage of personal information on their EU Second Life  / Sansar customers, the GDPR might have significant import – and exposure to the risk of fines. For such businesses, the Lab’s advice is clear and straightforward:

If you collect or process personal data of EU residents on a website associated with Second Life or Sansar, or create or make use of programs that retain information about Second Life or Sansar users or their computers, you may also have obligations under the GDPR. You should consult with your legal counsel for advice regarding your site(s) or program(s).

– Linden Lab May 9th blog post on the upcoming GDPR

To help people get to grips with GDPR, if they haven’t been aware of its arrival, the Lab offer a series of links to articles and FAQs. To these I would add:

The following is a brief video outlining the GDPR in under a minute.

Do you see yourself in the white spotlight?

Is it worth the time? is it worth the price?
Do you see yourself in the white spotlight?
Then play the game tonight.

– Play The Game Tonight by Kansas

Hi there, This is R. Crap Mariner, your Dance Correspondent.

I’ve been photographing dance shows for over a year, but one thing I promised myself was that I’d stick to shooting dance. I wouldn’t get all involved in the whole scene, I wouldn’t blog any of it, and God forbid I ever think of taking the stage myself, let alone choreograph my own routines. “No, no, no, no, no, no.” I said when people taunted and tempted me. I was not going to give in.

Point. Shoot. Leave. That’s the plan. Stick to it.

Well, I kinda screwed that all up. Because I début at Guerilla Burlesque’s pitshow on April 13th.

You see, in order to better understand dance performance, I figured I had to perform at some point. Especially if I were to get away with some of the jokes with my Don’t Make Me Call The Dance Police column. It’s a case of “put up or shut up.”

But it wouldn’t just do to ride someone else’s mover and be their puppet. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and the times I’ve done that have been fun…

Club Image - March 25 2018

(Had to fight Terri to get that last Club Image mover, but she got even with me by shivving me in the lunch line.)

But I felt that I had to try to make my own. Kind of like how Hunter Thompson immersed himself into a story with Gonzo and George Plympton would put on a helmet or strap on some cleats in his participatory style. Or Gonzo the great would… erm… okay, he was a Muppet. Never mind.

Building my own act would give me a better appreciation of what it takes for a choreographer to put together a routine and also to learn the different styles that each director and choreographer brings to the table. Finally, everybody’s got their short cuts, tricks, and signature elements in an act, so building something to work with allows them to say, “Hey, there’s an easier way to do this…” or “I know of a better version of this object…”

Looking back over the process and the plan, I’m going to share my journey with you. It’s the order in which I did things, and not necessarily the right order to follow. Also, it’s not a cookbook with individually numbered steps to follow to build your own act. You’re going to need to fill in some of the gaps and details on your own or in your class or with your teacher.

Most importantly, maybe you’ll read my story and think “If that dingbat can do this, maybe I can, too?”

WARNING: This article is long. Really, really long. I’d break it up into multiple parts, but… nah. Anywhere you slice it, you’re cutting into my soul. Let’s just mark this edge here as the cliff from which you can dive into the madness. Wheeeeeeeee…

… splat.

“You think that something’s happening…”

When I start anything, I watch Internet Genius, Motivator, and Commentator Ze Frank’s Invocation For Beginnings.

Yes, the man who challenged the world to dress up their vacuum cleaners and make an Earth Sandwich. That man. Internet God, he is.

This video gets me in the mindset to be patient, forgiving, persistent, and accepting. If you’ve got a ritual or routine or motivator, use it to get in the right frame of mind.

Plus, he’s got a lot of good quippy quotes over the years of using the Internet as a playpen, even if he isn’t a pretty princess.

“But it’s only what you’re hearing…”

The longest journey begins with a swift kick in the ass, so yeah, I started to watch performers and learned from what I saw, asking questions and opinions from others in private chats for what they thought worked well, what didn’t, my thoughts on the routines and what I took away from the experience.

This was both easy and hard. I mean, yeah, I enjoy going to performances and shooting photography, but I also needed to learn the language of dance and what made a good performance with dances, sets, costumes, etc. And also, learn what didn’t work, such as overwhelming particles, slow-rezzing sculpties, too many textures, dance moves that just didn’t fit the song, acts that were too small for the stage, costume changes that fail due to lag, etc.

The Basics

Here’s the basic components of a dance act:

  • The event list contains the commands for a performance engine to run. It’s a run-down of animations, positions, and shouted commands to various effects or your costume changer.
  • The movers pass along the movements and animations to dancers as well as objects on the set.
  • The way points provide a path along which the movers travel, and they mark the speed and pauses along that path.
  • The packlist contains a list of all the objects for the set, including the movers.
  • The camera list contains all of the camera moves that you want the viewer to experience, but we’re not covering that here.
  • You pack everything into the performance engine, including dance animations and set objects. The engine controls everything in the act.
  • You set up folders for your costume, and RLV folders for any costume changes.
  • The stage contains a centre-point to let the performance engine know where things go or happen.

Put them all together, and… okay, you’re dancing to silence. Gotta hand a song track to the host/deejay/music director too.

We’ll cover all of these things, plus a few frustrations and surprises along the way.

Continue reading “Do you see yourself in the white spotlight?”

This Weekend in Second Life Dance

Moonbeam Dancers - April 25 2018

Hi there. R. Crap Mariner, your exhausted and somewhat acerbic dance correspondent.

I’ll be posting dance performance schedules, similar to Inara’s posts about Seanchai Library readings. We’ll start with the weekend events for now.

There’s still lots of Fantasy Faire to check out. Congratulations to Aelva for a successful run there. So this run-down is going to keep running me down. Thank goodness for copy-paste, right?

Let’s get started, here’s the events that I had on the calendar as of press time.

(All times SLT)

Virtuoso at Moonstone - Earth - April 23 2018

Friday, April 27

11:00am Changhigh Sisters

Lots of particles and fire and things. They tend to perform at times when I’m at work, so I don’t have much else, really. Sorry.

12:00pm Nouvelle Follies

I think this is the act that I saw the other day, and I enjoyed this one.

12:00pm Virtuoso

THE ELEMENTS OF LIFE – EARTH: noon SLT on Monday, 23rd. April; Friday, 27th. April; Monday, 30th. April. No seat reservation required. All welcome. Audience limited.

This is K L A R K’s Earth show. I saw it the other day, and I enjoyed it. Limited seating, so get there early.

6:00pm Elysium Cabaret

If it’s Friday, it’s Elysium Cabaret! Fancy some imagination? In The Empire Room at Copperhead Road, every Friday at 6pm SLT the dynamic performers of Elysium Cabaret take the stage to bring you a solid hour of entertainment! Featuring elaborate sets and choreography sequenced to an eclectic genre of music, Elysium Cabaret offers something for everyone. Grab your friends and get their early because the sim fills. Come celebrate Friday! Welcome to the weekend!

I enjoy going to these shows, and I do my best to go to them. Jilley’s opening music of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck and Babypea’s Billion Dollar Baby let you know something big and bright and boomtastic is coming.

6:00pm Misfit Follies

9:00pm Monarchs

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? NO! It’s dates and times for The Monarchs’ upcoming sim-wide production of SUPERHEROES.

Blog Post: Come see the superheroes of Second Life Dance: The Monarchs!

It’s really good. Go see it. Sim fills quickly, go get there early. If you derender the audience to improve performance, make sure not to derender Fuki. Not only is she a part of the show, but she’s really cute.

9:00pm Moonbeam Dancers

No, this is not Governor Jerry Brown’s personal dance troupe. Moonbeam has been the variety show catch-all of Fantasy Faire, so it’s an opportunity to catch individual acts from around the grid.

There’s been some technical issues with the stream and the performance engines, so please be patient and they’ll get rolling when they can.

10:00pm Guerilla Burlesque

Guerilla Burlesque dance revues show what a great way to kick-start your weekend fun! This week we are heating up the Pit for more of your favorite dance performances in the round! Chrissy is on board directing this show and promises to bring you our best Pit acts! Each dancer brings her own unique style of dancing with intricate sets, evolving before your eyes! Let the music bring you in and raise your spirits because we are going to make sure you have a great time! This is our late show revue so grab a snack, put your feet up and meet us in world for a spectacular night of dancing in the round!

I’ve seen the rehearsals. It’s going to be really good.

Cossette - April 23 2018

Saturday, April 28 2018

7:00am Mahal

I think this is a group participatory dance event, right? Hop on a dance pad and join the routines that the choreographer has planned to the music. It’s different from a stage act.

10:00am Moonbeam

Still not Governor Jerry Brown’s personal dance troupe, even though for his age I bet he looks good in a tutu. Moonbeam has been the variety show catch-all of Fantasy Faire, so it’s an opportunity to catch individual acts from around the grid.

There’s been some technical issues with the stream and the performance engines, so please be patient and they’ll get rolling when they can.

12:00am Second Life Cheerleading Squad

Haven’t managed to catch them yet. Have you? Let me know how they were in the comments.

12:00pm The Cabaret Provocateur

The Cabaret Provocateur will present its encore performances of the program “Fab 4 You” at Jefferson Opera House on Saturday April 28, 2018 at noon SLT Jefferson Opera House is part of the Mysterium’s Mansion Adult sim. and Fab 4 You does feature female nudity. Fab 4 You is a program in 6 acts feature music performed by Elton John, Robin Williams and Bobby McFerrin, Lisa Lauren, Eddie Izzard, Goldie Hawn, and Phil Collins all originally written and performed by the Fab Four, (The Beatles). The dances will take you on a journey from Manhattan rooftops through Arabian Nights, to Broadway, back stage and in front. The cast consists of 6 dancers, all of whom are relative new comers to SL Dance, but are enthusiastic performers.

1:00pm Debauche

Debauche perform for the very first time at The Trophy Room, an amazing place that is somehow relaxing, lovely and thrilling all at the same time. We will be performing in a purpose-built theater at this wonderful venue and we are all SO looking forward to it. It will be a great show so come on and join us at The Trophy Room – And why not take a look around the place and see just why we love it so much? THE SIM IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC UNTIL ONE HOUR BEFORE THE SHOW – though remains open for members and those wishing to join. Saturday 28th, 1pm SLT.

(PS: Yay!)

1:00pm Elysium Cabaret Matinee

A monthly ‘best of” show for our friends in Euro and similar time zones. Especially for you!

1:00pm Red Hot Chili Pipers

Haven’t managed to catch them yet. Have you? Let me know how they were in the comments.

3:00pm Avilion Mer Ballet

I finally managed to see their show. Lots of mermaid patterns in formations in the air… which is the water. (K L A R K can bring the earth, and ChangHigh can bring the fire, right?)

3:00pm Monarchs

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? NO! It’s dates and times for The Monarchs’ upcoming sim-wide production of SUPERHEROES.

Blog Post: Come see the superheroes of Second Life Dance: The Monarchs!

It’s really good. Go see it. Sim fills quickly, go get there early. If you derender the audience to improve performance, make sure not to derender Fuki. Not only is she a part of the show, but she’s really cute.

4:00pm FlyGearz

This is a participatory dance group that does a lot of Steampunky things. Hop on a dance pad and join the routines that the choreographer has planned to the music. It’s different from a stage act.

5:00PM Dream Time Theatre

This is the grand opening of this theatre. Variety show acts. I don’t have much else about it, but I will try to attend and see for myself. Join me?

7:00PM Desire Arts

Desire Arts Dancers do an “after hours” show. Starting at 7pm SLT t on April 21st & 28th. We bring you the performance quality at our Saturday shows, with more skin… little less costume. Some acts do contain adult content. As an “Arts” theatre (and gallery) Desire Arts will be a venue perfectly suited for SL Performers wishing to express themselves through live performances, through Dance, Art Exhibits, Performance Art as well as Dramatic Presentations. Also, Presentations of a controversial nature (including those involving sex, politics and/or religion) will be presented separately from the Dance Program.

I missed them last week, but I’ve got them on my plans for this week. I try to plan ahead when there’s more than one performance of a show.

Terpsicorps Pit Show - April 22 2018

Continue reading “This Weekend in Second Life Dance”

Premium subscription changes: a little more news from Grumpity

At the April 20th, 2018 town hall event, Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Linden confirmed that as a part of pivoting Second Life’s revenue generation away from a heavy reliance on land, the Lab are looking at introducing a range of Premium account options which will have different levels of benefits associated with them – see here for more (includes an audio extract of his comments).

While details have yet to be finalised, Grumpity Linden spoke to some of the ideas under consideration at the Web User Group meeting. Because her comments are likely to be of interest beyond that meeting, I’ve provided a transcript of her comments, with an audio recording, below.

to précis Grumpity’s comments:

  • The Lab is looking at a range of Premium subscriptions, not just the single tier we know at present.
  • As per Ebbe’s original comments, how many and what they might each comprise is still TBD.
  • The over-arching idea is to make premium options so attractive, it would be “insane” to ignore them.
  • Simple examples of additional benefits being looked at is guaranteed access to in-world events / early access to in-world events, but overall, the Lab is looking at a broad range of benefits and (in the case of Basic accounts) limits.
  • With regards to Basic accounts, the Lab’s view is:
    • There are many things within Second Life which come at a cross to everyone’s in-world experience, but which are offered on an “unlimited” basis to Basic account holders – this may change.
    • Despite rumours circulating on the forums, there are no plans to prevent Basic account holder from rezzing things in-world.
    • The Lab wants to provide a Basic account experience sufficient to give incoming users an understanding  / flavour / taste (call it what you will) of all aspects of Second Life, while encouraging those who engage with the platform motivation to move to a subscription tier.
  • The coming changes are not about curtailing any use of Second Life or limiting what people can do or “nickel and diming” everything that can be done within Second Life.  they are about giving people more reasons to go Premium, make them happy / excited about premium opportunities, and hopefully of driving revenue generation.

Obviously, it would be nice to have more in the way of specifics – and these will come it time. As has been noted, it is still somewhat early days in what is being considered / planned, and I (and others) will obviously be reporting on things as the plans are made more public.

In the meantime, for those interested, here are Grumpity’s comments, and the audio recording of those comments as made at the April 25th, 2018 Web User Group meeting.

What’s coming on the premium tiers? We are looking at all of the existing premium benefits, we’re also looking at what is included with Basic accounts. Our goal is to make a basic experience that allows you an introduction to all areas of Second Life.

So I saw some fascinating speculation on the forums, and I don’t believe we’ve ever considered not allowing Basic members to rez. That would be probably insane on our parts, because this would take away from an integral part of Second Life.

But there are certain things that impact everyone’s experience on one hand, and are completely unlimited to a Basic account on the other.

So we’re looking at different ways of putting in limits that will actually improve everyone’s experience, give basic accounts a sufficient taste of what it is like but also; honestly, our goal is that if you’re committed to Second Life and  you’re invested in Second Life, the Premium benefits are such that it would be insane not to be Premium. And that’s the end goal.

And we’re looking at all sorts of limits, and we’re also looking at higher Premium levels that give you even more things. Like you could get into events even before all the other people, and you’d be guaranteed to get into the hair fair or something.

I can’t give away specifics, because this is so far away, and then when we announce you guys will be, “Oh, this is old news!”  So, we’d like to hold some stuff back. But our goal is to make you happy; it’s not to make your lives miserable and to nickel and dime you at every turn. It is to make Second Life more profitable and successful by making our residents happy [and] also by making new residents’ introduction to Second Life smoother.