Wagner James Au about Hype and Anti-Hype

I’ve found the article „Second Life: Hype vs. Anti-Hype vs. Anti-Anti-Hype“ from the midth of December 2006. A very well thought article from Wagner James Au about the recent developments, company side and growth in SL. Definitely worth a read, so not a short one, so take your time!

[Update]: Seems the user base grows about 23% per month according to this artice based
on numbers bei Philip Linden.

„Four eyed monsters screening in Second Life“

As the press release says:

– Press Release – Love 2.0: Four Eyed Monsters Screening In Second Life

At 8 PM EST (5 PM PST/SLT) on January 9th a very special independent film project will have its virtual world debut at the Sundance Channel screening room in Second Life. Four Eyed Monsters is the labor of love of Arin Crumley and Susan Buice, two 20-something Brooklynites who met online, digitally documented their relationship, and turned it into an art project that’s become a contemporary reassessment of love, relationships, and creative collaboration in the new media-saturated world of MySpace and digital video.

Get the rest there. I wonder how this is going to be… perhaps I am going to attend it, if I can!

Power consumption of an average avatar

Here is an interesting read about the average power consumption of an avatar per anno (German only).

When you take in count the about 4000 servers used for running the grid, the computers used to control the avatars and coolant systems in the data center of LL one avatar consumed about ca. 1752 KWh per anno. The average power consumption of an inhabitant from Brazil seems to be 1884 KWh.

So what should we do with these measures? Nick at them, it is an interesting number, but meaningless all the way for all other except LL, who has to pay the energy bill for its datacenters.

Three kinds of death

He’re is a funny quote from there:

There are three kinds of death in this world. There’s heart death, there’s brain death, and there’s being off the network. — Guy Almes

Well, not only means being off the network „death“ to an avatar, but also lost money, if someone wants to do business, of course!

Why Libsecondlife is here to stay

After the Copybot-incident (another article from the Washington Post about it) there was one project many blamed actually for this: Libsecondlife. Many people would have liked that this project would be shut down, perhaps even forcefully, or at least that Linden Labs is not endorsing it anymore. But nothing like that has happened. Why?

Well first: because SL is here to stay. Second main reason: many big and not so big companies are entering SL to make their business in, too, or at least to market their RL business. And here starts the problem.

Many RL companies have experiences in standard industry 3d tools like Maya, Poser, AutoCAD and so on. But you cannot use any of them to build anything in SL, since the client or just SL itself lacks a defined interface for 3rd party applications.

Enter here: libsecondlife. The people there have made deep efforts to reverse engineer the protocol used in SL to create such an API. Even if companies want to extend their programs in a way to work with SL directly don’t use libsecondlife they can use it as base for their own efforts. The protocol of SL is documented in the source code of libsecondlife, more or less.

And this is the main reason it is here to stay and why LL endorses it. Endorsing the project simply means that they don’t have to invest manpower in such an API on their own. Why bother doing it yourself, when someone else is already doing it for free?

Such a project normally starts when a developer tries to scratch a need, not being able to satisfy it otherwise. And reverse engeneering the protocol does not mean reverse engeneering the client, btw. You can do this without it, using proxies (like this one) or using a network sniffer like Wireshark. This is not the first nor the last time something like that happened on the Internet, there is quite a history about protocols being reverse engineered (like Oscar from ICQ, CIFS for Samba and so on).

So, if something like that already happened, and you are the company defining the protocol, there is then the question what to do with it. Work with the guys, ignore them or try them to shut down? The wisest choice is of course to work with them, because when they are going to stumple upon inconsistencies or exploits then for sure they are going to tell it you first.

Also another aspect of this „incidence“ is, that if not made by this project itself, sooner or later someone would have tried to reverse engineer the protocol and made such a tool by himself, but if this person/project would then have also a friendly relationship towards you would be another kind of matter.

So this is why Libsecondlife is here to stay: first to make it easier for the content supporting industry to build their own tools and second because it is a vital part for LL to attract even more business into the platform, which is of course good for them.

So it is a win-win situation for both sides.

Massive griefer attack at the garden

Right now we had a massive griefer attack at the garden. First some avatar named Mxxx Ax came to me and asked me what I am looking for. I askes him: „why?“ He told me on an instant message, that he is a pimp and wants to sell me the services of his whores for about 10 L$. I told hime: „Fine, thank you, but my girlfriend would mind.“ Then this moron said something like „Well, than I must cage you“ and began caging all people in the entrance of the garden. Another friend of his, named C.H. came in, too, and helped him.

Here is some transcript of it, anyway:

Mxxx Ax: barth
You: hi mxxx.
Mxxx Ax: what do u play this game for sex?
You: Why do you ask?

[15:33] Mxxx Ax: cause im a pimp and im selling hoe’s if u want sex i can sell u a gurl for 10L$
[15:33] Bartholomew Gallacher: no, thanks, my girlfriend would really min.
[15:33] Bartholomew Gallacher: +d

Mxxx Ax: fine then ill just cage u

Caging is quite difficult, since when you are in such a cage it is normally not possible anymore to get out of it on your own – besides logging off and logging on.

It went even more worse, they had some bigger cages, too, and plastered them all around the garden and threw some kind of napalm on it. At least some time you could not see anything in the garden because of the smoke and it got laggy, too.

The whole attack lasted for about 10 minutes, then it was over. The griefers got banned on all parcels of the garden and all griefing objects were deleted by the owners.

So, what’s the moral behind this story? If you want to do business in SL, better count on if you are having success or behind your store is a big real life company, that sooner or later some griefers are going to show up for sure to make your life hard as hell.

And of course in the moment where you cannot handle them at all, like a press conference going on.

So – better invest some money in good security and security precautions! It can save you from many potential headaches. SL is like the Wild West, sometimes!

Some business stuff

I’ve stumbled across some interesting blog posts and magazine entries about doing business in Second Life. Here they are:

  • Going pro in SL. Aimee Weber discusses the topic of turning your passion into your profession, what to expect and how to do it. Very interesting read. Also some comments are very interesting, but some advises are just sooo obvious. For example, write an invoice. If someone wants to become a pro and does not think about that – ouch. Or „put your pants on“ – double ouch. You can sum up all advises under a single rule – be on good behaviour and if you want to be a pro in SL, than SL == RL. And, of course, you are not going to have much time after this step to play at all nor is it a fast way to become rich or a guaranteed source for a steady income. So better be sure!
  • Another big content builder, doing custom builds: Millions of us. They have links to some interesting articles, an own blug and other stuff, worth a read.
  • „Second Life Lessons“ from the Business Week. It’s basically about how a real life company could enter the universe of SL and what they should consider if they have no experience and knowledge about SL at all and about some possibilites only SL offers to the customers.
  • „Hot to Get a Second Life“, also from the Business Week. Some rules and advises what you should do before you setup a shop in SL. Also a very interesting read.

1st Life

In the infamous Heise Forums there is a humorous post about the advantages (and disadvantages) of 1st Life! The author praises the perfect framerate, that dates feel much more realistic and so on. A very funny read, it is available here, in German only. For a rough translation in English just try this.