The Birthday event disaster

Today was the planned 4th birthday event with Philip Linden as key note speaker at a new made sim named SL4B. The event was supposed to start at 12:30 pm SLT with the sim going public for arrivals at around 12.00 pm SLT.

Well, guess what happened? It turned out into a big disaster. The event did not happen at all. From all four adjacent sims avatars tried to enter the main sim - makes you wonder why they didn't make a design like Pooley stage and used repeaters. The supplied video stream was often not working because of not enough listener slots in the video server. There have been several griefer attacks at the main sim SL4B, mostly poofs, too.

And the best of all - Philip Linden was not able to enter the sim at all, so after around two hours of desperate tries they scratched the keynote and event at all of the agenda. Makes me wonder if they are now going to learn about it and going to implement some kind of bandwidth allocation for entering a sim in kind of a VIP list, meaning: if you got a 40 avatar sim you can say: 35 normal avatars are able to enter the sim and 5 predefined VIPs. When 35 normal avatars are in the sim, it's full for all normal avatars of us, but the VIPs can still enter the sim. This would be handy...

The avatar peak at the main sim was first around 90, later the maximum seems to have been around 40.

And to quote some Lindens:

[13:41] Video Linden shouts: Philip can't get back in
[13:42] Iridium Linden: Folks, Philip can't get back into the clinet.

I guess it's kind of comforting for many SL residents that even the mighty Lindens have problems with Second Life and I think some have been really spiteful about the turnout of those events, too.

Perhaps it is still going to happen somewhat later, but this event has been truly a victim of the success of Second Life. You simply need much better avatar counts per sim for such kind of events at all.

How misunderstandings come to live

There's an article in the Information Week, citing Mitch Kapor:

But virtual worlds have a long way to go until they become mainstream, Kapor said. They need the equivalent of the Web application server
-- building content in virtual worlds is still equivalent to
hand-coding Web pages and code. They need an improved user interface;
Second Life is dificult to use. They need to be decentralized, to
permit creation of private spaces -- the equivalents of intranets and
extranets.

Linden Lab is taking steps to decentralize. It open-sourced the client
in January, and plans to allow people to put up their own servers and
attach them to the main Second Life grid. They're moving to eliminate
proprietary protocols. The company is driven to do this by the
conviction that its biggest threat is not an existing company, but
rather a future virtual world that runs on those principles.

So far nothing new, the server side is going to be opensourced sometimes, nothing new. The people of The Daily Galaxy wrote an own entry about SL, covering this theme, too, also linked back to Information Week and wrote this:

Linden Lab is currently moving towards decentralization. Since January,
they have allowed people to put up their own servers and attach them to
the main Second Life grid. They also want to eliminate proprietary
protocols.

See the difference? Something not in the original article about already connected private servers to the grid, which is not stated at all in the original article. So - this information is false, plain and simple, as a comment states under this entry.

But guess what? This is now making its round in the blogosphere, another blog is now referring to the Daily Galaxy and stating:

Have I missed something? Do any of you know anything about personal servers attached to the Grid?

Nope, you just missed to validate at the source if this news is true or not. Of course, untrue, but this is how rumors come to birth.

Age verification - where is it now?

When you take into account, which big waves the announcement from 05/04/2007 of the age verification system made and that Lindenlabs wanted to implement this on really short notice and since then it has been over one month of time and it is still not there nor any new announcements about it, it makes you wonder - when is it going to happen, finally?

I haven't even seen a public beta test of it so far, and if you consider how fast Windlight was integrated in the client, which is a far more complex piece of technology - what is taking Lindenlabs so long? And why?

Why group chat in Second Life is often plain annoying

With IRC around for nearly two decades now, which is real time text based only communication at its best, you should mean that Second Life has learned from it and that groupchat in Second Life si reliable und useable.

This is often not the case. Why? Because compared to IRC Second Life has many pitfalls and annoying things, which IRC has already mastered. Some of those annoying things are:

  • Sending messages to a big group is still unreliable. You normally need several tries while the discussion moves on and on, so it is very hard to contribute to a real discussion at all.
  • It is not possible to moderate a group or close the group chat at all for the public. This means, only some people with a certain flag can speak, the rest can try to type something in but it will not be shown at the channel at all. IRC has such a thing, it's the +m (moderated) flag for a channel in addition to the +o (operator) or +v (voice) flag for certain users.
  • It is still not possible to mute channels. When you want to be in the channel for announcements and notices of the creator but don't want to hear the chatter of the crowd in it, you've got two choices only at the moment: take it and try not to get too annoyed or leave the group in the long run. Of course, when the group is important to you, you get annoyed more and more easier over the time.
  • Since always people without good knowledge join groups and use the chats to say "hi" and so on, which most regard as spam, often short conversations happen at times when you cannot handle it or need it, popping up and annoying you to hell. Ignoring this would be the best case, but no, there are always some who make the conversation longer telling how bad this behaviour is on the group chat, calling it spam, whatever, fueling the discussion even more.
  • IRC clients work channel based, meaning you get only the messages of channels which you've joined before. If you haven't joined a channel, you don't get the messages at all. Second Life works also channel based, but you'll get the message as soon as someone sent it to the whole group.

To sum it up: public channels, especially big ones, in Second Life are pretty useless and often annoying as hell. If you really want to reach your broad audience, better switch to other means of communications. Second Life has some design differences to IRC. IRC itself is a proven and reliable way to communicate with masses, the biggest nets like Quakenet have got over 180000 users at peak using it every day. And those counts are not decreasing despite the other means of communications.

So to learn from this proven and reliable technology, how to manage big masses and to adapt those concepts, if possible, would be a very big step forward for communication in Second Life, be it text or voice based, forward into the right direction.