Sunday, 22 August 2010

Emerald Warrior

In light of the fact that the moderator of the Modular Systems blog - the words of wisdom from the Emerald Viewer team - can't be bothered to approve or disprove my comment on their admission to launching a premeditated attack on another blogger, I've posted a screen grab of the comment, and copied my comment below. It goes:

I’ve never used your viewer. A lot of people I know have used it. Apparently it has some ‘really cool features’, but never having used it, the only ‘really cool feature’ I’ve ever witnessed it the chunky multi-coloured Edit particle beam, which I can live without. However, those I do know who’ve used it have complained repeatedly that with each successive update, the viewer has become more and more unstable and unusable, so they’ve switched away.

I don’t know what you did, who you targeted, what happened, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t care. However, based on what I’ve read, I will say this: get your fucking act together. You’re harming the credibility of not only yourselves but every other self-serving basement-dwelling script-babbling software engineer who IS working to do something better for themselves and others. You can hire all the ex-Lindens that you want to try and bolster your credibility, but if you can’t even get past something as petty and as fruitless as this, you may as well give up now.

Goodnight everybody!

In an (un)related side-note, I visited the Emerald Point sim last night. I was in conversation with two friends in IM just before I went, and was flitting between chatting to each of them and reading about someone trying to investigate the story of their blog attack who kept being booted from the sim. I told both of my friends I was heading over there, and there'd be a strong chance that I'd be kicked offline. I was force-crashed three times in 10 minutes of being there. Coincidence? No way. These Emerald people are griefers in sheeps clothing.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Dear Uncle Phil

Dear Philip,

I watched your keynote speech not with especially great interest, to be honest, as I came into it with a crippling amount of pessimism about the state of the company and its future given that you’d laid off a host of other people just the week before. Still, you have to admire me for still wanting to see it, right?

My review would be: mixed bag. I heard you talk about stuff that was all a bit too techno-jargon for me and I heard you mention some things I could understand. However, I do still have some issues I’d like to address…

I’ve been in Second Life for approximately 47 months, and have been a Premium Account holder for approximately 46 months. I’ve purchased L$ during my time too, so I’ve given you a fair bit of my own money over the years. In that time, I’ve built things for little or no financial gain, and I’ve taken the time to help others build things; I’ve designed sims and I’ve helped others design sims; I’ve had a blast making machinima, and seeing what kind of reaction my approach to mini-movie making has had; I’ve made contacts with people from all across the globe, I’ve made genuine friends, some of whom I’ve then had the great pleasure of meeting outside of Second Life – some are even coming to my forthcoming wedding! – and I’ve suffered genuine sadness at losing some of those friends along the way too. I’ve done and experienced quite a bit that I should be very appreciative of the Lab for, as without SL, these things would never have happened.

However, when I hear that you want to put the focus on new sign-ups, it pains me Philip. It really does.

Of all the things I’ve done to enhance for the Second Life experience and promote to others, where is the return of the appreciation? Where is the love, Philip? I’ve been paying for your support, so where is it? Maybe you’re not a fan of my machinima – it’s OK, a lot of people don’t like Coldplay or waffles (I call these people ‘the crazy folks’); maybe you don’t have a tiny avatar and therefore think that your tall avatar look ridiculous in the tiny outfits I make. I can’t figure it out! I still suffer with lag. I still see log-in issues, I still see inventory issues, I still see transaction issues on a weekly basis. If these are going to be ongoing issues, come out and say so, so I’ll stop clinging onto the belief that these things are being worked on.

Of course you want new people to come in-world, that’s completely understandable. I worked in the retail sector for a while, and I appreciate that Second Life is (in part) a product, and you need your customer base to continue to grow if you want your company, your business and your revenues growing – that’s Economics 101.

And I can appreciate you wanting to get the experience right; if I was a new customer about to walk into an amazing looking new store with fancy flashing neon signs and sexy music playing out over Bang & Olufsen speakers, I’d be thinking, ‘Wow, why didn’t I come here sooner?!’ But if, on the way in, I hear someone on the way out muttering about how bad it’s getting and getting worse in there, I’d be stepping into that store in a very different frame of mind.

You said in your SL7B speech: “So going back to those basics and just trying to make this thing work for all of us is what you can expect to see from us next.” No offence, but in the time you said that and now, I haven’t seen a whole lot of improvement. So why are you working on new stuff already? Are you seriously telling me that everything’s fixed?

I know it’s hard to please all of the people all of the time (especially those scripting geeks; sheesh, trying to please them sometimes seems to be as infuriating as trying to turn a lion into a vegetarian), but have some appreciation of the paying customer base. I don’t consider myself one, but some of the longer-term residents do have some very good ideas that should be looked at and addressed. However, I do know that most of those ideas are based around improvement of the general experience, not how it looks. You seem to be focusing on giving new users a fancy new pair of shoes to walk in; however, when you’re asking them to walk down the same muddy, puddle-ridden, debris strewn road as the rest of us, having shoes with the springiest of steps or the whitest of laces won’t make an ounce of difference.



Sunday, 15 August 2010

Childish Behaviour At SLCC

So it's SLCC this weekend. I'm not really sure what it is, but I get the impression from looking at the website that it's like a fan convention for Second Life, put together by residents, but endorsed by Linden Lab.

Philip went. He announced that they were shutting down the Teen Grid. I'd like to think that at the same time as that bombshell was dropped, a dark silent figure right-clicked and Touched Blue Linden's virtual grave and set a fast rotation script off.

So this probably means that the main grid will now become populated by teens who talk in 'txt speak', hassle you for money a lot more and generally think they're cleverer than you. Word up, kids: you're not.

It also means that kids will be walking freely amongst groups of adults, unsupervised, having conversations with adults unsupervised and generally being open to everything that already goes on in the Main Grid - unsupervised. I'm sure (read: hoping) that LL are planning some protocols to safeguard underage residents from the potential dangers of online grooming, but it hasn't taken people long to realise the dangers already. My pal Toxic Menges worked for Habbo, a social networking world specifically aimed at teenagers and was quick to point out some of the problems she had to work around via a series of (always interesting) Tweets.

Another big thing that got mentioned was 'meshes'. A whole bunch of Lindens were laid off the week before SLCC too and Qarl Linden was one high-profile casualty of the latest round of redundancies (perhaps deflecting from the fact that up to ten others had also been given their marching orders). Apparently Qarl was the person who made sculpties possible and was working on or towards bringing 'meshes' in-world. I've no clue what they are or how meshes work, so I can't comment on that, but better educated geeks tend to rave about them, so I'll assume they are a big deal. However, the fact that they were talked about at SLCC almost seemed to indicate that someone at the Lab had actually listened to the outcry of residents upon Qarl's departure and sought to calm the mob. Or maybe I'm being optimistic. It's a shame that another obviously incredibly talented person has gone. Sculpties are good fun to play with, and they have certainly helped shape (no pun intended) SL in a far more creative way.

Anyway, I lead a bunch of tinies - Escape Unplugged, Patience Littleboots, Clover Denzo and others - to the SLCC sims on Saturday night, just before speeches were about to resume. We hid beneath the stage before climbing onto the tables and riverdancing to the audience below. We'd done three dances before a moderator told us all to leave the stage. In retrospect, maybe he'd seen us earlier and thought that although it was the most entertaining thing that had happened there all weekend, three dances was enough.