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Valiant Westland
Grand Rapids, MI
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Comparing Apples, Oranges and "Pairs" The various "Social" platform you describe in your post are used by people for fundamentally different degrees and desired outcomes of social engagement. Neither YoVille nor Habbo are used for serious business purposes. They are social 2D game platforms. So much for Apples and Oranges. I think you are correct that social gaming platforms do NOT need to be "Paired" with RW identity-driven social networking sites like Facebook to be successful. That being said, I think your guess that the large decline in YouVille's Facebook user population IS directly attributable to YouVille's stand-alone site. As much as I love Gwyneth Llewelyn, I remain convinced that RW/VW persona / "brand" integration and unified marketing is essential for anyone who wants long term success in Virtual Worlds. I believe the coming year(s) will show those that are most successful, have not only integrated their VW identity into their RW social networks, but also aggressively cross "paired" their RW and VW identities or even merged them into a single personal "brand."
Zha did a great job with this review. This is the type of feedback every good BETA Manager dreams of! I am one of the people who is so excited by the promise of Shared Media, I have possibly been too lenient in my objective evaluation of the new UI. As I read Zha's analysis I found myself nodding in agreement with many of her points. Since the release of the new viewer, I have been pleased with the Lab’s efforts to field questions, listen to user input and make changes that the community identified as serious functionality / security concerns. I hope they continue to accept feedback like this revue and the release candidate of the V2.x client offers all the functionality and usability we need.
My guess is the mobile Second Life space is going to wind up with a number of competitive offerings, potentially even one from Linden Lab. If the Lab does decide to create a mobile application, it will be hard for any 3rd-party to compete, unless they offer something truly extraordinary. If I were the lab, I would create a moble app and give it away, but tie its use to premium membership.
I understand and appreciate why a small number of people in SL would be concerned about "cyber stalking." For most users, this simply isn't an issue. For those who use SL for nefarious activities and are concerned they may lose their cloak of anonymity, I have ZERO sympathy!
'ok' Reading this and watching the included content has reinforced a few things in my mind: #1 Ashton Kutcher is a moron #2 Until I can map my face directly to an exact mesh mask for my avatar, I am NOT interested in emulating Max Headroom on a box prim! Last but definitely not least. I am extremely excited about the potential for media sharing in SL and think it has tremendous potential!
I have to agree with two concerns already expressed. First, defining "active" as twice a month activity would mean that I am also an "active" car washer and shrimp eater! LL's definition of "active" points to the disconnect between the recreational and business/professional use of SL. "Active" in the context of "how often do you play __________ online game" might be appropriate. If you consider SL a technology platform, like WebEx or Skype (Collaboration), PowerPoint or BlackBaud (Training/Education) and PhotoShop or Autocad (Graphics/Design, twice a week use is far from active! Secondly, polling isn't about style or fun or randomness. The goal of any poll should be clarity, brevity and above all, accuracy. I would like to see someone in the academic community, perhaps a statistically minded person like Beyers Sellers, do a more scientific analysis of the use of SL, compared with both other MMOG environments as well as professional technology tools and present these results on Metanomics (Dusan are you there?...)
Re: Registration, Certifed Developers, Distribution & Resellers Disclaimer: I am NOT a professional programmer. I'm a business guy 1st and a geek 2nd. These observations/suggestions may be technically challenging and likely fly in the face of at least one Open Source convention. My uber-geek friends have learned to tolerate my for-profit sales & marketing focus, I ask you to do the same. Registration As a number of people have pointed out, requiring each viewer to be registered would be a administrative and productivity nightmare for viewer developers and as such, a innovation killer. Why doesn't LL register developers instead!? Each developer should be registered using both a Real ID and credit card info. In exchange for registration, developers would be issued key credentials, allowing them to compile a viewer or interactive tool that would be allowed to authenticate to the grid. Certified Developers Many registered developers create viewers and tools for their own personal enjoyment (hobby). Others do so for the specific intent of distributing them. A "Certified Developer" credential by LL, would let consumers know the person/organization in possession of the credential was a reputable source for custom viewer/client programming. Building confidence and trust from the developer to the user/customer is essential. Distribution & Resellers Those who want to distribute custom viewers should also be registered. To sell items in-world or on any linked commerce site such as Meta-Life, a seller should be required to register using the same verification of 1st-life credentials and credit card that are required for a "Certified Developer." Custom Viewers and VARs Custom viewers and VARs (Value Added Resellers) are a natural combination. Rather than looking at custom viewers as a threat, LL should encourage VARs to produce unique solutions for as many vertical markets as possible. Ideally these solutions could be either private labeled or co-branded with LL, with an XStreetSL application library section to promote them! I have blogged and commented on multiple occasions over the past two years, about the need for LL to develop a Value Added Resellers (VARs) program. VARs have historically been the innovation partners who introduce and customize software platforms, provide training and support end users in their adoption of new technology. Although Enterprise implementations of Second Life make for big press and potentially large individual accounts with corresponding monthly revenues, the potential within the SMB market is hundreds of times greater. I hope this flurry of interest / concern over custom viewers and the discussion of viewer registration, light a fire under the Business Development and "Partner" group in LL and we see a new, robust and strategic Certified Developer / VAR program emerge!
Although a discussion on the ethics of gender identity is not the main purpose of this post, the topic of gender policies raises important questions for the SL community. Is there ever a situation where portraying oneself as a different gender is unethical? Much of the experiential "data" (opinion) on gender switching in virtual world business settings, such as that collected by IBM, was collected during the bleeding-edge phase of virtual world adoption, when everyone involved was acutely aware of the socially avaunt garde nature of the virtual community. These days are over. Mainstream businesses utilizing virtual world tools will NOT tolerate behaviors that are going to distract or potentially offend their clients or partners. Some people may not like this and it may irritate the hell out of those who see virtual worlds as a tool to further their social agendas, but the fact remains; The vast majority of companies are as likely to support cross-dressing virtual employees as they are to hire the leading "ladies" of Too Wong Foo to represent them at their next trade show! Excerpted/Related Blog Post - Mutatio Vox Populi (Changing the Voice of the People) - http://theslrevolution.wordpress.com/2009/05/04/mutatio-vox-populi/
I predict the 3Di Virtual World Web Plug-in is going to usher in a Tsunami of Virtual World adoption! I believe it also represents the single greatest competitive threat to Linden Lab’s Nebraska offering. Although it is unlikely serious Virtual World users / “publishers” will adopt embedded technology as a replacement for a dedicated client anytime soon, it’s going to be a different story with corporate and casual users alike. Corporate clients who have been deterred by the onerous implementation and support challenges associated with dedicated VW client software will see a slip-streamed plug-in as a solution for Intraworld (Intranet + Virtual World) as well as customer-facing deployments. Since most people are already comfortable downloading plug-ins like Flash for browsers, the barrier (”cost of entry”) to Virtual Worlds will be significantly reduced. The biggest challenge facing plug-in adoption will be server capacity. Any web site hosting a virtual world destination, risks crashing the target sim with a flood of web-directed plug-in-enabled visitors. The “perfect storm” for the adoption of browser-based (plug-in) 3D/Virtual World clients will happen when the plug-ins are simple to install and point to servers that can host multiple hundreds or even thousands of simultaneous connections. Despite the 3Di announcement, the dream of having a ubiquitous, industry standard web interface for virtual worlds remains just that, a dream. My hope is that this announcement puts the competitive spurs to Linden Lab, Mozilla, Microsoft, OpenSim and the rest of the Virtual World industry, to develop and support this technology.
Not going. Couldn't come up with the ROI justification.
"People use statistics the way drunks use lamp posts, for support rather than illumination" Dr. Johan Westra Statistical sampling is based on proven mathematical models. If you were to use only the number of unique users (985,306) who logged in to Second Life in the last 30 days (1), as the population you wanted to profile, it would require the following number of sample responses to achieve the corresponding levels of statistical accuracy (confidence), given a 4% error rate: 90% Confidence = 425 95% Confidence = 600 99% Confidence = 1036 Obviously the 29 avatars surveyed for this "study" do not even equal the margin of error (4%) for the number of active SL users! I believe that what we visualize ourselves to be have a positive influence on our motivation. The soccer goalie on my office wall with the caption "To be a winner... all you need to give, is all you have," is a constant reminder to try harder.. That being said, I believe the conclusions drawn by this deeply flawed and statistically inaccurate "study" are nothing more than anecdotal positive thinking at this point. (1) Second Life Statistics http://secondlife.com/statistics/economy-data.php
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"The inclusion of broadband access in the universal service obligation will not only fail to achieve extension of broadband access, but will also fall short of the extension that would otherwise be attained under free market conditions." Herrera-González, Fernando. "How Not to Bring Broadband to All - Fernando Herrera-Gonzalez - Mises Institute." Ludwig von Mises Institute - Homepage. Ludwig von Mises Institute, Aug.-Sept. 2009. Web. 06 Aug. 2009.
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"The inclusion of broadband access in the universal service obligation will not only fail to achieve extension of broadband access, but will also fall short of the extension that would otherwise be attained under free market conditions." Herrera-González, Fernando. "How Not to Bring Broadband to All - Fernando Herrera-Gonzalez - Mises Institute." Ludwig von Mises Institute - Homepage. Ludwig von Mises Institute, Aug.-Sept. 2009. Web. 06 Aug. 2009.
Like others who have commented on this subject here and elsewhere, the "Huck Finn" variety of child avatar does not bother me in the least. In fact, one of my oldest friends in SL, created an Alice In Wonderland-themed Sim, that she frequently managed in RP as an age-authentic Alice. In contrast to this, is the "family," composed of a "mother," "father" and "Lolita-esque" pubescent teen "daughter," I encountered at EtCetera, while checking out EtCetera's new line of Tuscon furniture (Nice BTW). The "family" was out shopping for a new bed, that according to their public chat, needed to be "...big enough for them to all snuggle in..." This prompted an instant visceral reaction on my part, that has negatively colored my view of child avatars ever since. Although controversial and invariably drawing outrage from a vocal minority when mentioned; I believe SL has more than its fair share of emotionally "challenged" individuals. Many of these people act out their "challenges" and/or self-prescribed virtual therapies via role play, including roles as child avatars. Regardless of whether people are role playing as child avatars or not, I've found those who refuse to "grow up," whether they are in the body of an adult or child avatar, are the source of most of SL's negative drama and unhealthy behavior. "When I was a child I spoke as a child I understood as a child I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things." A personal quote that I try to live by is: "I wish to become more and more child-like, while becoming less and less childish."
These are the type of innovative virtual world solutions I would love to see displayed at SLCC. Perhaps next year we will see a true Second Life User Conference / Trade Show, complete with a vendor exhibition.
I regularly use both the current release of Firefox and IE8 and test each new browser option for compatibility, speed, etc. In my experience, both the latest generation of Firefox and IE8 as well as Chrome have virtually identical performance characteristics. This seems to be the consensus of all those who have done more formal testing. What bothers me about Chrome is the way it is licensed and architected. Although many people don't read license agreements, I do. Did you know that Google Chrome installs updates without prompting the user for approval and that this behavior is explicitly permitted by the license agreement? The architecture of Chrome is such that it installs itself into a user directory with full permissions. Obviously one reason for doing this is to facilitate the silent updates. The problem with this is; any successful exploit could modify the Chrome install directory, regardless of user class. It could change proxy server settings, install 3rd party plug-ins and who knows what else, all without the user being aware it was happening. Some people have an unreasonable need to promote and idolize things that are new, hip or in the case of software, simply Google rather than Microsoft. Blindly idolizing Google and Chrome in the same way people have idolized Michael Jackson is a mistake. A closer inspection of Chrome and its license agreement might not leave you so "thrilled."
I think the blog I recently wrote about the new Second Life Viewer* (Snowglobe) is my favorite. It was controversial enough to generate some sharp feedback. The feedback provided me with additional insights into the "culture" of SL and the challenges Linden Lab has in making SL an "Enterprise Ready" platform for business. *http://theslrevolution.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/second-life-viewer-nothing-new/
... I share my real name/identity via my LinkedIn profile, with those I want to do business with. This type of disclosure is likely more important to people/businesses that are new to virtual worlds, as it allows them to quickly establish their “brands” value. Doing business without the benefit of legal identities, has the potential to leave you vulnerable to a whole host of problems such as: * Contract Enforcement * Insufficient Tax Documentation * Copyright/IP Prosecution/Defense * Non-disclosure Exposure More... http://theslrevolution.wordpress.com/2009/02/04/identity-in-virtual-worlds/
Australia’s proposed ban of Second Life and other similar sites sets a dangerous precedent that should strike fear into the hearts of free people everywhere. A “free” country that has a “Minister for Censorship!?” This is something we might expect from China, North Korea or Iran, but Australia!? The Nazis would be so proud! Those who call themselves “Christians” or “Moral,” might see this as a “victory” over “evil.” But for them, as well as all who applaud this travesty of freedom I will quote Benjamin Franklin, who said: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” It appears the people of Australia are still prisoners, exiled as were their forefathers and permitted only the “freedoms” their masters deem fit. It will be interesting to see if they accept this Orwellian destiny or rise up and demand the freedoms so many of them have given their blood to defend around the world. As for Second Life (SL) and its “danger” as a source of adult content; SL is no more or less dangerous than the rest of the Internet. Those who wish to can find virtually anything they want on the Internet, good, bad or indifferent. It should be up to adults and parents, not a “Nanny State,” to take the steps necessary to limit exposure to content they deem inappropriate for themselves or their children. This can be done at the individual PC or user level. By banning access to Second Life, the Australian government will not only be cutting off access to “adult” content, but also art, music, education and collaboration opportunities that have the potential to enlighten, inspire and improve the lives of its citizens, young and old alike. If the government of Australia succeeds in censoring SL from their citizens, those of us who work, learn and yes “play” in Second Life will miss the tremendous spirit and contributions our Australian brothers and sisters make to SL everyday. I close with a quote from another of our (American) Founding Fathers, that I hope will be taken to heart by all those who love freedom in Australia and around the world: “”The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Thomas Jefferson http://theslrevolution.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/free-australia/
"External policy concerns!?" Linden Lab has every right to protect their brand(s) and Trademarks. If they don't want people using "SL" as part of their product or service name, then don't do it. Use a little bit of creativity and come up with another name. Since these clients are increasingly being coded to work with multiple Virtual World environments, having a name that omits a direct reference to SL is a good thing. Here are a few examples: Note: If you are an alternative client coder and wind up using one of these, all I ask is credit for the idea. LOL HyperViewer or HyperV for short. - Great for a viewer that is designed for speed. MetaMax client. - Obviously associated with the Metaverse and gives the impression of "Maximum Functionality" MetaView client. - Offers special features for metaverse photographers and machinimators. Etc. Etc. Etc. Hopefully we'll see a major player enter the alternative client market soon and provide a truly competitive, well-supported and feature rich alternative to the SL client.
I spent time taking it, but was disappointed by the quality. Ultimately, I did NOT complete it, because they asked for a complete birth date. It seems the survey creator is unaware that asking for a complete birth date, not just the year of birth, makes the survey NON-ANONYMOUS! I would hope that someone working on a Master’s Thesis or their professors would be more intelligent. Pfftt - Academics!