Torley Linden has a nice entry about a series of photographs of the Lindens! Go ahead and take a look at it, it's nice to see them, especially since some are complaining they're more or less invisible nowadays on the main grid. 

A few days ago I visited Mercedes-Benz Island to take another look at their in world presence. Well, there was not much happening, anyway and there was also no employee of the company present at this time. They are around there, normally, at some time.

They've got not very tight settings on security there, either. This means - just pushing is forbidden, all else works - user scripts, flying around and placing objects is available for every visitor. This means: very bad settings in concerns of security and an open invitation to griefers. I guess, autoreturn is in action, though, but placing objects allows the use of weapons.

And guess what? There were some bored griefers, who came into the island and wrecked havoc upon it. They were somewhat harmless, though, since they did not cage or orbit people. This would have been possible for them, too, without big effort at all.

So, how do bored people or griefers look like? Well, like the gentlemen on the picture down below, for example. Click the thumbnail to get the bigger view.

Well, and how does it look like, when they're doing there hobby? For example like on the picture down below; David Hasselhoff spreaded all over the place. They also nuked virtual bombs all over the place, used weapons to bring avatars to them and made other stuff. Unfortunately there was no one of Mercedes-Benz around nor the info how to contact one of them. Well, it lasted a few minutes, then they left.

When I asked one of those, if he's bored, he just told me: "This game is shit." Riiight... then just leave it and go away playing Scrabble!

When you're online for quite a time, you're going to develop a feeling for those bunch of guys when they're around; they always mean trouble and just want to get attention. In a way they're like spammers; ruining the whole thing if you're not doing something against them.

If you ever want to live somewhere in SL or make business, better choose a region with a tight covenant on it. While standard "anything goes"-attitude on most parts of the mainland first sounds like real fun, it can for sure fast enough turn otherwise.

And now I've got a very good example for the necessity on a good, tight covenant. A friend of mine lives on the new continent in the east of the old mainland in the mature rated region Carrion that's without covenant at all. They're having a business there, but she lives there, too. It's been mostly a nice, quiet sim. Until some days ago a new neighbor showed up in the region. This new neighbor's business was making signs, he had a big enough parcel to upset the whole sim.

First he made his building very high compared to the other building, second he put some animated signs on his building and third he put some naked penises at display, too. This caused him an abuse report, the building is not there anymore, so this time it went good for the other parcel owners in the sim. But if he would have been a little bit more clever, his building would still be there.

Well, to take a look at how it was, just click on the two thumbnails here to see two screenshots of this now gone building, the mature content has been edited out, by the way. Ah, and yes, the mountain was an instant countermeasure from the neighbors to cover up this butt-ugly building and hide it. It's fascinating how one wrong building can ruin the whole region!

12

This has only to do a little with Second Life, but since Microsoft also celebrated the launch of Windows Vista back then in Second Life, too, at different locations, so why not.

It's got to be said: Windows Vista is shit! So, now blame me, burn me, do whatever you want with this statement, but what needs to be said is now said.

While the exceptionally good PR department from Microsoft is now celebrating the sale of 20 million licenses of Vista already, the question remains: is Vista ready yet for the primetime? No, it isn't! Of course Microsoft wants to make you believe it, but there are good reasons to stick with Windows XP or Windows 2000 - yet. In my own opinion the best Windows Microsoft ever made is still Windows 2000. Also the number of 20 millions is in the discussion, some commenter over at eWeek suggested a good method how to validate this. BTW, in February Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer was still disgruntled about the bad sales of Vista and blaming piracy as the main reason for it, read this and that, too. Bwahaha! So, go figure! 20 million copies? In your dreams, pal!

Take my advise: if you really want to use Vista in a critical business environment - and which business environment is not critical - better wait another year. Perhaps then most of the outstanding issues with Vista are fixed, somewhat.

So, what's wrong with Vista? Well, let me give you some reasons:

  • It's a memory and ressource hog, period. While 128 MB RAM were the minimum to work with Windows 2000 and 256 MB RAM with Windows XP, you should better have at least 512 MB RAM to work with Windows Vista and a decent CPU, too. Graphics? Well, you can live without Aero, this is eye candy, but nothing you really need. I mean, an OS should be the tool enabling to use your PC well, but not the star!
  • Vista should have been more secure than XP and have many new features. Heck, it was over five years in the making, for the software industry this is like eternity! But, what happened? Vista phones home frequently, and this is now called WGA - Windows Geniune Advantage! Pah! It's even more worse in that kind of issue than XP was used to be. It can be blocked by a firewall, but really - who knows about that and how to do that anyway? No wonder it has been frequently cracked already in the past, no wonder even more when you consider that WGA considered in the past legitimate copies of XP and Vista as illigetimate and hassled the users of it!
  • Vista needs to be activated - now even in a corporate environment. More work for the system administrator - yadda yadda. No wonder this has been cracked already, too.
  • Vista has builtin new features, that should make it more secure than XP and more hard for trojans and viruses to run on it, called PatchGuard and Code Integrity. PatchGuard is supposed in the 64bit version of Vista, it has already been breached more than once - and is hopefully fixed, already.
  • We all love drivers, because we all have hardware we've grown accustomed to and still want to use. So, if you need such tools - better wait. Drivers are still an issue! For example, the drivers for the newest, shiniest, brightest Nvidia graphics card are not yet ready for the prime time! Proof? Here! I mean, the early adopters just bought a Nvidia Geforce 8800 perhaps, dreamed of using it under Vista and are now facing a driver, that's still in the development and somewhat lacking. No wonder some gruntled users are considering filing a class action suit against Nvidia!
  • Drivers are a fiasco as stated above. I mean, Vista has been available for corporate usage since end of November 2006, for private usage intentionally since end of January this year, so that the hardware vendors had enough time to produce drivers for Vista. And - they're still not there!
  • The famous anti virus makers Kaspersky claim it's less secure than XP in some aspects at the moment!
  • Vista is crippling the output of high quality content on purpose. While this might have it's legitimation in some use cases, it has not in many use cases, but it seems you cannot turn off those features.
  • It's too expensive and has too many versions of it, most of them crippled in a way that you need to stick with the more expensive ones in corporate use cases or sooner or later are upgrading it with the Anytime upgrade, anyway. Mac OS X Tiger, which is a decent operating system, costs 129 US$ for the user - full version. The best Vista version, Windows Vista Ultimate, which many need, costs 259 US$ directly from Microsoft, Windows Vista Business is still 199 US$. For the upgrade editions! What, you're not eligable for an update? Well, Microsoft is your friend, of course. Vista Home Basic, the most crippled version, costs as full version at least 174 US$, Vista Business at least 262 US$, and Vista Ultimate at least 324 US$. Those prices are sick!

Of course, Microsoft is not putting much effort into making it well known, that there are also system builder's versions around of Vista. A system builder version is the same like the full version, except it does not come into such a shiny box like the full version and you don't get any direct support from Microsoft, like calling by phone or via email. Of course, you get the patches, too. Aside of that, it's identically to the full version. Want a system builder edition of Vista Ultimate? Hey, it's 189 US$ only over there at Amazon.com! Do the math and go figure; it's the best shot to get a legal copy of Vista, if you need to have one, and much cheaper than the normal, legal, full version, and also comes from Microsoft.

If you really want a decent operating system, go buy yourself a Macintosh with OS X, stick with Windows 2000 or XP - they're both mature enough or use Linux. The biggest competition for Vista is XP and Windows 2000 itself. Having said that, what else should be noted?

You can already have many of the advanced features of Vista under earlier Windows versions. So you want desktop search? Google, Yahoo and Copernic are gladly providing it to you for free! Ok, it's of course better when it's coming with the OS and application can use a standard API, but those desktop searches have been around for years now and are doing their job very well.

Want eye candy? There are also enough tools around to achieve it and so on.

BTW, here are some news regarding the topic of using Vista in large scale environments:

So, what's the moral of the story? Though Vista is here, it's still immature and not ready for the primetime, yet. If you really want to use it, better make sure that you've got decent hardware and better just wait until 2008. Most of the outstanding issues should have been ironed out, then.

The biggest competition for Vista is Microsoft itself, namely Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Vista is a whole new dimension of crippling user rights and phoning home, though.

Vista is going to emerge slowly on the market; while it was being hailed as a revolutionary operating system in the beginning of design and making, in reality it has become an evolutionary operating system. Vista is not getting market share by direct sales, it's gaining market share because many computers are coming prepackaged with it. This process is going to take some time, so, it's emerging slowly.

Oh, and by the way, if you want to pirate software, Microsoft wants that you pirate them instead of the competition. That's a pragmatic point of view, I must say, quite understandable, but software vendors very rarely dare to say that openly in public. Yadda yadda!

Of course, competition is tough and it's hard to be Microsoft, but Vista is really disappointing me on great lengths, especially when you consider it has been over five years in the making. But then again, it's the future standard, since most computers are going to be shipped only with it from now on, so better get used to it.

Today is the 1st of April and that means: time for April jokes! I've found the first SL related today already in the Second Life Herald. To quote it:

In a cross-border caper organized in the wee hours of Saturday morning
by otakup0pe Neumann of libsecondlife, notorious griefer Plastic Duck
and infamous blogger antagost Prokofy Neva were married at a brief
ceremony on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

[...]

Asked why Plastic Duck, whose RL name is Patrick Sapinski, suddenly
switched from griefing and stalking and poking a stick at Prokofy, who
has furiously exposed his antics in lenghty blog blasts, to wooing the
50-year-old single mother of two, Duck said, "I've never had a mother's
love."

BWAHAHAHA!

While stilll doing business with IBM (haha!) I've stumbled upon this somewhat older article about the formation of IBM's Second Life business group. What the goals of IBM are, what they're planning to do and have already done. Quite interesting read!

The well known sim Amsterdam has been sold for about 50.000 US$!

Well, the price for sure is real enough when you take in account the work needed to build such a big sim and calculate the prize you would need to pay if you order it at some agency.

But what's to say about it... while the sim itself is nice and well done, I don't like the crowd that's normally populating it so much, I wouldn't have paid so much for it nor felt the need to buy it myself. I wonder in which kind of direction it is going to develop, now, since it's been sold. This has been for sure a good deal for its previous owner.

Now that's something out of the IBM article, but worth an own entry: the open available JPEG-2000 library OpenJPEG got faster! This means you don't need the proprietary libraries from Kakadu anymore to get a good open source client, if you're living on the bleeding edge and this is making its way in the main tree of OpenJPEG after some time, I guess. Yeah!

The nice folks over at IBM Developerworks have started a series about Second Life. The first article of it is about how to compile your own client, the pitfalls and how to achieve the goal, since it's not so trivial to do.

Quite worth a read, better than the wiki page over at Lindenlabs and I am looking forward to the next articles of this series!