August 29, 2007

How to conduct business - not

I think this creator of a very well known and widespread product in SL misses out on a business opportunity.
[8:47] Peter Stindberg: Hi xxx, my name is Peter and I run a translation office in SL. I was approached by a user of your product who asked me to translate your manual from English to German since he doesn't know English good enough. Though I'd love to do this for him, I wonder if not maybe you would be interested in requesting a German (and maybe a French, Italian, Spanish...) manual yourself? It would certainly benefit your business. I am taking the liberty to send you my latest notecard, and I'm certainly open to negotiate bundle deals for translations. Best regards, Peter!

[8:48] xxx: Sorry, not interested. If I appeal to forgein users that means also giving them support in german. I cant do that.

[8:48] Peter Stindberg: You really think so?

[8:49] xxx: I already get more questions in spanish, german, and japanese than I can handle. I dont want to make them think I can help.

[8:51] Peter Stindberg: Hmm... I see your point. And you don't think a disclaimer "No support unless in English..." would help? After all German users are the second largest language group in SL.

[8:52] xxx: Let me put it this way. English users dont read the notes in my profile. English users dont read the manual. German users arent giong to notice the warning even if it were in 72 point font and blinking.

[8:54] Peter Stindberg: OK, but you'd be OK if I do the German translation for a private user?

[8:54] xxx: Sure. Since when are instruction manuals a trademark secret? Just make sure that there's a disclaimer at the top notifying that I am not condoning or supporting this document. So they dont think its official or something.

Well, I am going to check out the competing products and see if their creators are more receptive to my offer.

August 15, 2007

4 Lindens in one Sim

I was checking out the Straylight sim with my friend Sonne, when I noticed Benjamin Linden standing around. I IMed him - and crashed. I relogged, only to find Cornelius Linden, Bub Linden and Alexa Linden. I asked Bub if they do a company outing? And after a witty remark and the explanation that they take new photos for the homepage - I crashed.

August 08, 2007

"Fascinating Peter. I will pass that along" or: Office Hour with Philip Linden

ZOMG I met Philip Linden last night! The log-in message said there was an office hour with him imminent, so after checking on my IM's I teleported to his - well - platform in Waterhead and was among the first handful of avatars to arrive. A quarter past Philip opened the discussion and asked for issues. I expected a rush on him but actually it was quite civilized and constructive. However with more and more avatars arriving, it got more and more chaotic and - well - bizarre. High on the list of topics - or shall I say complaints - was the gambling ban. What scared me though were people asking - and even volunteering - for a police force, and where people who simply do not seem to grasp that this is a game we play!

I have a 10.000 word chat transcript which gets more and more chaotic towards the end. I try to give it some structure and post the highlights below:

My initial question:
[14:15] Peter Stindberg: I have an issue with the "Search" function and uppercase/lowercase in non-English languages.
[14:15] Philip Linden: Peter... can you explain?
[14:16] Peter Stindberg: Yes. If you search for "Translator" results come up for "translator" as well. That's good. If you search for "├ťbersetzer" (Translator in German) unfortunately NO results come up for "├╝bersetzer".
[14:17] Philip Linden: Fascinating Peter. I will pass that along.
Philip Linden on banking (this on'es for you, Nobody):
[14:19] Jay S.: lol, is there any new policy concerning the Ginko scandle, Ie it looks more like a ponzi scam
[14:19] Philip Linden: jay we haven't created any policy thusfar on bank, etc.
[14:19] Philip Linden: we try very hard not to make rules we do not need to.
[14:20] Philip Linden: We haven't made any about banks
[14:20] Jay S.: ok
[14:20] Philip Linden: I would note that there is a lot of transparency around projects like Ginko
[14:20] Philip Linden: moreso that in the real world
Philip Linden on the physics engine:
[14:20] Enzo S.: When will we have a new physic motor for vehicules ?
[14:20] Philip Linden: Enzo we are getting quite close.
[14:20] Philip Linden: Active work going on.
Philip on community self governance and policing:
[14:20] Tree K.: I was asking about how much Linden Labs wants to offload on to the community, as in the lindex, money, legal issues etc. in the future? As much as possible? Will SL eventually be entirely community run?
[14:21] Philip Linden: yes as much as possible, tree
[14:21] Philip Linden: SL will grow faster than we can grow our company team
[14:21] Ginger R.: Philip, do you think we will ever see a police force here? I think as in rl the presence might be welcome!
[14:23] Philip Linden: i don't think we ever want any kind of 'global' police ginger
Philip on server source code and colocation:
[14:22] Electron E.: i would like to know if ll ever plans to opensource the sim server code, so that people can run their own sims on the grid... How would this effect ll's business plan and is this in the forseeable future?
[14:22] Nathan M.: have you consider renting servers to different countries to run
[14:23] Philip Linden: electron yes we are going to open the server code.
[14:23] Philip Linden: nathan, we are working on how to let other companies run servers.
[14:23] Philip Linden: working on that now.
[14:24] Peter Stindberg: Colocating servers in Europe would be a huge relief for us Europeans. I second Nathan in that.
[14:24] Philip Linden: longterm there will be many servers that LL does not run.
[14:24] Philip Linden: Yes that would be a first priority! Europe, australia.
Philip on LindEx:
[14:24] T.: what about the lindex, will that always be owned by linden labs? Would you consider opening the "buy" in the pie menu to link directly to paypal?
[14:24] Philip Linden: We might consider that tree.
[14:25] Philip Linden: We built the lindex because there needed to be a safe and stable way to exchange currency.
Philip on Voice and lag:
[14:25] lorinz G.: don't you think that there has been rather more lag than usuual since 'Voice' came on line
[14:25] Philip Linden: I'm not sure lorinz because it is too early to see stats. If our crash, frame rate, and server framerate stats show us something is broken,
[14:26] Philip Linden: we will divert everyone we have to fix it.
[14:26] Philip Linden: We measure 'lag' to the extent that we can in 3 ways:
[14:26] lorinz G.: my karting lap times have gone right out of the window
[14:26] Philip Linden: server frame rate, client frame rate, and crash rates.
[14:26] Philip Linden: the last is indirect.
Philip Linden on griefing, police and live support:
[14:26] Nathan M.: we seem to have issues out of the hrs that lindens are not there to assist like when a sim goes down or a griefer can we get someone 24/7 just for sim issues
[14:27] Philip Linden: we need to add capabilities to better handle griefing.
[14:27] Ginger R.: yes Philip i need powers
[14:27] Philip Linden: for example we are working on some ways to share ban lists
[14:27] Philip Linden: which could be great.
[14:28] Crash G,: phillip, if you greif with style does it make it ok?
[14:28] Philip Linden: well does it make people happy crash?
[14:29] Philip Linden: we need more controls for landowners to control there own space.
[14:29] Electron E.: maybe an LL database and an example script so people can make their own antigreif security
[14:29] Peter Stindberg: You realize that shared ban lists bear a huge potential for abuse?
[14:29] Philip Linden: yes peter but i suspect that they will only be widespread if trusted and well administered.
[14:29] Ant W.: you should be able to choose who you share ban lists with
[14:29] Philip Linden: this is an interesting topic.
[14:30] Crash G.: some of the most fun ppl i know are greifers
[14:30] Philip Linden: really widespread banlists will probably need courts of some kind,
[14:30] Philip Linden: to ensure that the users of those lists are adequately informed as to why people are on them.
[14:30] Peter Stindberg: Put someone you don't like on that list, and he/she is not only banned on your parcel, but on many others too.
[14:30] Philip Linden: Right Peter.
[14:30] Philip Linden: But banlists with a reputation for such behavior would not tend to be used.
[14:31] Philip Linden: Some folks have already built such systems
[14:31] Nathan M.: if i own a 512sq lot in a sim what can i do to stop sim attack
[14:31] Philip Linden: Nathan we will make the sims more resilient to crashing.
[14:32] Philip Linden: But ultimately sharing a public space will still have some risks and rewards.
[14:32] Ginger R.: so..courts but no police..
[14:32] Philip Linden: i think there are likely to be more local forms of police
[14:32] Electron E.: i will sign up for a local police force the moment in becomes available
[14:33] Philip Linden: These are big issues.
[14:35] Ant W.: I personally am against structures of goverment and policing bodies here
[14:36] Ant W.: that is LL's job
14:36] Philip Linden: Ant I disagree. We should not be trying to meet the needs of people from every country in the world as to governance.
[14:36] Philip Linden: we need to build tools.
[14:37] Philip Linden: how does the internet deal with griefers?
[14:37] Philip Linden: We need to solve it that way.
[14:37] Ginger R.: yes people to have the power and the tact to deal with these griefers
[14:37] Nathan M.: u can only deal with it by giving us support 24 hrs
[14:37] Tree K.: technology cant solve social problems, the community needs to solve them with education, influence, and telling the lindens what tools would help
[14:38] Nathan M.: if we dont have powers to stop give us people who do
[14:38] Peter Stindberg: That's a generalization Philip: there is no such thing as "the internet". You can secure your webservers, you can tighten your forums, you can ignore users in chat. But there is no general answer.
[14:38] Wyn G. doesn't think a SL Police force is the answer.
[14:38] Philip Linden: Right Peter.
[14:38] Philip Linden: But I think the same will be true of SL.
Obviously glad to change the subject, Philip Linden focuses on a question by my friend lorinz and commenting on Open Source:
[14:39] lorinz G.: to change the subject Philip, how about support for twin screens - to put menus out of the way?
[14:39] Philip Linden: lorinz i think that would be cool.
[14:40] Philip Linden: probably not something we should actively work on right now because most users don't have 2 screens.
[14:40] lorinz G.: it would make life easier
[14:40] Philip Linden: but a great open source project that I would love to see.
[14:40] Philip Linden: Open source has been working really well, btw.
[14:40] Electron E.: i have a 5monitor set up
[14:40] Philip Linden: You are scaring me electron.
[14:41] Alykia C.: 2-screens. "The game could use a system to be -able- to detatch chat from the main screen of SL so thsoe who -have- 2 screens can put chat and tools on another screen to not clutter the graphic screen itself."
[14:41] Philip Linden: yes alykia i agree that would be cool. we need to change the basic windowing strategy tho.
[14:42] Philip Linden: I'd love to see more screenshot ideas from community on how to improve the UI btw.
[14:42] Philip Linden: we need to see more examples.
[14:42] Peter Stindberg: Check out Nicholaz Beresford's blog, Philip, he put up screenshots of a better Voice layout there the other day.
[14:43] Philip Linden: Peter do you have URL?
[14:43] Peter Stindberg:
Philip on the Wii:
[14:46] Tree K.: any plans to translate actual RL movement into avatar movement, with say, the Wii controller?
[14:47] Philip Linden: Tree, I think we will do something like that soon.
[14:47] Philip Linden: Or better yet someone in open source.
Philip with devastating news on scalability:
[14:49] Peter Stindberg: Philip, is there a way to find out which sims share a physical server? If not a published one, is there a way to ask in single cases for that information? And are neighbouring sims on the same servers, or is there no pattern there?
[14:50] Philip Linden: Sometimes Peter there are neighbors. We don't give out that info.
[14:50] Peter Stindberg: No offence meant, but "1 core per sim" isn't exactly what gets teached as "scalable" these days. I assume changes will be made eventually under the hood?
[14:51] Philip Linden: Yes Peter, we would like to have ability to dedicate many cores to a sim.
[14:51] Peter Stindberg: Like to have - or working on? ;-)
[14:51] Philip Linden: Turns out to be a harder problem than you might think.
[14:51] Philip Linden: Not working on it.
[14:51] Philip Linden: When server is open source that will all take off too!!
And then the pro-gamblers started to take over:
[14:45] Graciella P.: mr. linden, i have been trying to contact yu daily wishing to reach a compromise regarding this new ban, and even bringing ideas to you through notecards, etc
[14:46] Graciella P.: is there a time that we can arrange to sit down and discuss this issue together, please?
[14:46] Graciella P.: to reach a compromise that suits all of our needs?
[14:46] Philip Linden: Hi Graciella... haven't had time to read yet.
[14:46] Graciella P.: i can meet with you any time, day or night, just let me know when and i will be there
[14:46] Philip Linden: I assume you are talking about policy regarding gambling?
[14:46] Graciella P.: we wish to discuss this without disturbing your meetings
[14:47] Graciella P.: yes sir, that is correct
[14:47] Philip Linden: Graciella can you send me an email...
Only the goodies now:
[14:53] Bolle B.: If this is really "OUR WORLD & IMAGINATION" then there should be no laws or policies from Linden....... pls comment on that
[14:53] Philip Linden: we aren't going to take a position of judgement.
[14:53] Philip Linden: we simply want to keep SL growing and accessuble.
[14:55] Bolle B.: Another question: Mr Linden: do we get democarcy, so we can VOTE aout policy changes in the future????
[14:56] Philip Linden: Bolle, not on decisions that would risk the operation of SL or make it very difficult for us to make any progress.
[14:56] Bolle B.: So we live in a dictatorlike society ????????
[14:57] Peter Stindberg: Bolle, we don't live here - we PLAY this!
[14:57] Philip Linden: Look for an update to the gaming FAQ. I don't have answers on specific games for today.
[14:57] Mithik V.: do you see a reversal of this policy if the rules regarding gaming change in the US?
[14:58] Philip Linden: Mithik, yes we only seek to comply with law.
[14:58] Philip Linden: If things change in the US, we would change too.
[14:58] Allana H.: Philip wouldnt be basing the company outside the USA or even as some american casinos done by opening daughter companies abroad wont give more economical and better economical boost than forcing non-american users playing according to amercian laws?
[14:58] Philip Linden: Again, on principle I deeply believe that we are not here to pass judgement or set social policy.
[14:58] Graciella P.: but there are compromises available that can help you to comply with us law, as well as allow us to still have our gaming. i'll email it to you again, philip, so that you can read it and run it past legal. :D
[15:01] Mithik V.: Philip: another question: since this business decision effect so many business that were based on gaming, their income was genrated from gaming, and payed tier through this income, would there be slight compensation on tier for those businesses that are now in a situation to loose everything?
[15:02] Philip Linden: No Mithik. The Linden economy overall is much larger than the revenues of Linden Lab, therefore we cannot take on liability for it and also not tax it.
Feeble attempts to get back to other issues:
[15:04] Ante F.: what was this meeting supposed to be about?
[15:04] Philip Linden: This is my office hour, Ante.

[15:05] Tree K.: Philip what has been a great experience for you in SL? something you remember most?
[15:06] Philip Linden: Watching that 'vincent' video... that was very moving.
[15:06] Philip Linden: for those who saw it.
[15:06] Paul B.: van gogh?
[15:06] Philip Linden: being inside a van gogh, tes.
[15:06] Philip Linden: yes.

[15:07] Tree K.: I read a notecard from a person with terminal cancer who died a few months ago, she said she was able to be a dancer in SL even though in RL she had no legs due to the cancer
[15:07] Philip Linden: wow tree that is cool.
Due to notecard size limits I was unaware of, my transcript stops here. I hope you can estimate the amount of confusion and chaos during the second half of the meeting. I was overwhelmed with the rapid fire of chat lines, and I wonder how Philip Linden kept up. I hope he has a chat log too, and I hope he and some staffers have a look at it and try to dig into a few things. I personally think it was a fascinating experience.

August 01, 2007

Graduation, Part 1

I told you they come in reverse order...

When you start in SL, you have a steep learning curve. However you don't REALIZE it is a steep learning curve, since everything is nice and interesting and SEEMS easy, and usually you find people who help you along. On of the first challenges is to model a decent outfit, other challenges are learning to use the controls etc.

I personally think there are many milestones in order to become a seasoned citizen, and one of these milestones is a clash with Prokofy Neva. I had my clash with her on June 17, after I read an article on the Second Life Insider which linked to a griefer group website. At that point, I have never heard of Prokofy before, but the linked article held so much hate and loathe for her that I fired an IM in Prok's direction simply asking "Why do the griefers hate you so much?".

I can very well imagine the smirk on the face of people who know Prokofy reading this. Of course I did not know who I talked to, and I only felt symphatetic for her. Her response, however, teached me better. Here's the "Best of...":

  • Prokofy Neva: um, you're one of them, and playing dumb, DER
  • Prokofy Neva: you must be one of them or from SA if you have to ask this question, retarde
  • Prokofy Neva: anyway who gives this link [...] is one of them, or a sympathizer
  • Prokofy Neva: the SL Insider sympathizes with griefers; they are rehabilitating plastic duck
  • Prokofy Neva: ERRR???? what a total fake! rolls eyes
I get a great chuckle every time I tell this story. So even though it seems fairly easy to get into an argument with Prokofy, I still consider it a graduating event for me :-)

Graduation, Part 2

Actually I wanted to elaborate. Actually I wanted to give an analysis. Actually I wanted to vent some heat. But almost 2 weeks have passed since then, and that made me indifferent. I still feel it is some sort of graduation, making my SL fuller with experience.

Let's not beat around the bush: I got banned from my first sim recently.

There were no reasons given except "If you don't now you never will" (typo is original). I can only speculate about the reasons (I dared to voice criticism), and the fishy part is that I got banned after I have visited the sim in question for the first time in more than a month, and shortly after I talked (in publich chat) to one of its frequent visitors and asked how "the mood and politics" have evolved since I visited it the last time. And I trust that person NOT to have relayed it to the sim owner herselv.

But, as I said: I don't care anymore. I liked that sim when I visited it more often, but the novelty has worn off, and my focus and interests have evolved dramatically since then. I miss some of the friends I made in that sim, but IM was not cut off and if we want to meet we can do this at oher places. So I see it as taking the next step, becoming a "fuller" resident, completing a new layer of experience.