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According to the Lindens there is coming an age verification to us in about one week. If I read the FAQ correct, it is done by a third party company and you've got to provide them some info, e.g. social security number, drivers license number, passport number, to verify that you are over 18 years old. If you provide the info successfully, then you've got the "age verified" flag and are allowed to enter parcels with "adult content" flag. If you don't have an age verification, you still can play in Second Life, but don't enter such regions anymore.

The question I asked myself can be split up in two parts: how is this going to influence the game and is this verification process going to be really secure?

Well, the first part is: I expect, who until now enjoyed adult content, are going to leave the game, since they are not willingly going to provide the necessary infos. I can understand them. If you take a closer look at the search and don't check "mature content" in it and search for some things, like escort, you're still going to find such content. Now the Lindens want that the people rate themself or they are going to take measures against them. If you take the big size of SL into account, it is not hard to predict that many people are not going to rate themself properly and that, if any, actions are going to be taken against them, this would take quite some time and they would still try after that, again.

Second: is the process going to be really secure, meaning, can I be really sure that the avatar if flagged "age verified" is played by an adult? After reading the FAQ: plain and simple no! It is no problem at all for most teenagers to lookup such infos, like a social security number, in the documents of their parents and pretending to be their father or mother. To be really sure that you are who you pretend to be you need a personal review of a trusted 3rd party in real life.

And even, if you would be checked up that way, there would be no security in it, since the son of the father just could have looked up his password with e.g. a keylogger.

So in short: while the idea of it seems nice, you are not going to have real security at all with such a kind of a system. In reality it is not going to be introduced to make SL a safer place for all, but to protect Lindenlabs better against possible lawsuits, which in result still benefits the community, though, since all of SL well being depends on LL. Period.

...at Monday this week I'd like to see regional datacenters, like in Europe or Asia, today is technical town hall and what can I hear there?

[12:50] Cay Trudeau: Do you think arranging physichal server on other continents, like Europe for instance, would ease up on the server load, ease the connections and allow better performance for European residents? Would that also lift the load from sending texture data across the wire?
[12:40] Cory Linden shouts: We absolutely want to deploy servers overseas. We have an architectural quirk in how we talk to the dbs -- a layer of single threaded dataservers --

Neat! And, another quote, by the way:

[12:44] Cory Linden shouts: As I previously mentioned -- and was in the blog post -- 69% of development is currently on bugs and scaling. That number will increase this month as we continue to hire.

Main priorities are now scaling and bugfixing. Hopefully. By the way, the group message system was broken so much again, it was not funny. And the Lindens held the town hall at Pooley Stage, all regions full already hours before the Town Hall. Perhaps it's next time better when they're going to hold it on four class 5 sims.

The number of undersigners of the Open Letter grows at great speed. Yesterday there were perhaps around 1500 undersigners on it - now there are already 2541 underwriters on it. Well, it had some kind of effect already, the Lindens replied in their blog to it.

Their response at the moment is like this: we're working on a detailed response, in the meantime please look there and there for more information, and oh, by the way, we're going to hold a new town hall meeting soon

The responses vary, I think, it is too early to judge since they are still working on their real reply.

There is one thought that hit my mind when I read again the news about the possible opening of the server side software of Lindenlabs: it would really, really nice to have regional datacenters at least. Ok, having the possibility to host the servers on your own would be even better, but at least this step would be really nice in addition to the two datacenters in the USA.

Why? Simple: physics at work. What we all dislike is the almighty lag. Though the internet has become very fast, the connections between the continents are very fast, too, they still cannot beat physics.

But how does the lag involve physics? Well, even if the internet is fast, the maximum speed data can be transferred theoretically is light speed (roughly 300.000 km/s). You cannot cross that border. This means, the longer your connection gets, the longer it takes for the data to reach you. That's quite simple physics.

The time packets need in the network to reach their host is usually measured in milliseconds. When people play at LAN-parties they usually have ping times < 20 ms, so that's a very good time. Of course, when the way of your connection is, let's say, 10.000 kms long, the information alone needs about 0.033 seconds to reach it's target - one way, roughly estimated, that's still less than from Paris to San Francisco, for example and this still doesn't take into account the latency that several routers are adding up on the way. Of course, this means also no satellites!

But when your customers come from many different countries it's sooner or later better to have a regional data center in that region to give them better access to the data, which means less delay and a much smoother and faster experience. Since in the top 10 of the origin of the SL players 43.24% are coming from Europe (more than from the USA), the installation of such a regional data center would be the next logical step for LL to give customers better service.

I mean, when you look at other popular online games, they usually have one-two server locations in the USA (West- and East-coast), one in Europe and one in Asia. That's exactly because of the physics I explained earlier, and that's why I'd like to see the openings of those regional data centers. The company needs to move where its customers are.

Of course, when then again they are going to open up the server side part and you can host a simulator on your own, this would not be really necessary anymore. You just get a rental machine somewhere, where it's near your customers, get it up running and that's it. Well, we are going to see where the future leads us.

Another unplanned downtime, again. That's a good time to move on the voice beta grid and have some fun. Today there were many people at Ahern and Morris, so it's always good to move to another sim.

I was at Pulveria, there was a Linden and some other guys, but not so much as in the laggy welcome area and he spoke to us and with us. No better way to meet the Lindens in world than on the beta grid at the moment.

So... one asked the question, why a region sometimes gets better when restarted. Seems it depends on the neighboring regions, when you're restarting a region it could be moved dynamically to another CPU, so that's why it can become better, again. Interesting detail in the architecture.

Today I tried to teleport in the sim of Wales. Yes, that's the sim which had Sinners Paradise in it and closed in January for the public due to massive and repeated griefer attacks. There's now also a new, adjacent sim in the making, Welsh Falls.

Well, I tried the teleport, it worked - interesting, since it was closed for so long. Seems it is open again for the public, the entrance area has changed, landscape looks more or less the same like before, now I wonder if this is wanted, and if it is really back in business again, how long it takes before this place kicks ass again.

Here's a little photo of me made today sitting in the entrance area of the teleport at Wales. Enjoy.

Eric Kintz, the vice president of global marketing strategy and excellence for HP, is running a very critical blog entry about second life. Taglein: Top 10 reasons as why I still need to be convinced about marketing on Second Life.

While he raises right points there, there's one point missing: this is going to be the next big thing[tm], if done right, the start of something new in that kind of matter, if done right, so getting experiences in SL will help you adapt later to other virtual worlds more easily.

Since I've got again too much ideas for blog entries in my mind and don't want to post them all as separate articles, I'm doing another roundup. Here it comes:

Well, that's it for the moment, more to come shortly.