Some new developments

There’ve been some new developments in SL lately which are worth mentioning:

  • IBM tested a transport of an avatar from the Second Life grid to their own grid, meaning it is now technically possible to teleport to an Opensim. Sounds quite good, but at the moment it’s just moving an ruthed Avatar, since assets are not shared at all between those and are unlikely to be ever shared at all. Otherwise expect a revolt of content builders in Second Life, but we’re getting closer to the Intergrid.
  • Second Life is growing bigger and bigger. This is of course good for the company and stabilizes their economic model. There’s been a shift from premium users to land sales. If you don’t really want to own land on the mainland (and who does that really…) has no need to get a premium account at all! Seems also that in world economy is now recovering slowly of the gambling ban. Well, the prices for many stuff are quite high now, higher than they used to be in about one year for example, looking good in Second Life becomes more and more expensive…

And also something funny I’ve found in another blog: "Entering chat range: Prokofy Neva." Quite a funny chat transcript about how to call things in Second Life and more…

One of the best kept secrets: Philip Linden’s office hours

While most of the Lindens have office hours on a regular base and you can look them up on the web, it is of course some kind of different matter, when you want to meet the CEO of Lindenlabs, Philip Rosedale better known as Philip Linden in world.

Yes, he’s got office hours, too, but normally on short notice. You won’t find them on the schedule, you’ve got to lookup his profile and take a closer look at the tab "1st life" – that’s the place to look for this information. Today there were indeed scheduled office hours at 9 AM SLT at his office in Waterhead.

So, since I still remembered the masses of avatars attending the technical town hall meeting, I was one hour before there. Well, nothing happened at all, I just sat there and talked with my friend via messages. I wondered if he really is going to show up or not, but around perhaps 9:03 AM SLT he showed up and sat down, rezzed some chairs for other guests to sit down, if they come by, and was ready to talk.

I talked a little bit with him for over 5 minutes, no other guest showed up at all, so he put his office hours in the motto of the day of the Second Life login and other avatars began to show up, too. Well, the office hour lastet about one hour, it was nice to chat with him and in the end there were perhaps 10 avatars at all. You should expect really more when the CEO of Lindenlabs moves in world and is at his office, but what the heck, it was far nicer that way.

So here’s a little picture from the first minutes of the office hours, when I was still alone with him (just click on the thumbnail):

The talk was nice, he wanted to know different things, for example where Lindenlabs does right, where it does wrong, which features we’d like to see in upcoming versions and so on, but the whole bunch of us talked not only about Second Life.

Some points being discussed and insights were:

  • Philip Linden likes putting his office hours in that kind of manner like described to get a random set of people,
  • he tries to become an in world art collector,
  • he’s been happy so far from the technology perspective with what they’ve been able to achieve, though he did not really knew when exactly this would all take off and he’s happy that at least now people get why the virtual world is so important,
  • when comparing his company with a baby, he considers himself a very proud father,
  • another attendee raised the point that when accounts are cancelled or deactivated that the group membership of the avatar should cease, too, he considered that a good point,
  • he asked how our Second Life experience was this weekend in terms of lag and other potential problems,
  • he thinks that Lindenlabs needs a better survey tool to know when lag and stuff is getting better or worse,
  • he’s unable to reverse gravity in a sim,
  • I asked him if he feels that there’s now a shift toward more companies entering Second Life, he answered that he doesn’t know, he thinks the majority of signups by a long shot are normal people, but there are a lot of new biz apps in SL and they don’t really know since they don’t have any sort of relationship with companies in SL,
  • he thinks it’s great to have creative energy, people trying to find new stuff and that in any case marketing and advertising in SL will be more interesting than in RL,
  • he stated that it is hard to find the right balance between fixing and developing – true,
  • I mentioned to him as a possible new feature the group IM muting, he said he is going to consider that

and much more things. It was really interesting to get in touch with him and discuss Second Life with the founder of the whole show, and it seems he really wants to know the unfiltered opinion of the community and what is going well and what they should make better. That’s a good policy to run a company in my opinion.

Growth has slowed down

When you take a closer look at the key metrics of April or make diagrams out of them like here by Tateru Nine, who has been interviewed here about the growth, you can only come to one conclusion: growth is still there, but it has stalled. 

What are the reasons? There could be many. Perhaps the bad performance – but that’s something you experience after you’ve created an avatar, so perhaps not really. I personally think that the times of the big hype as Second Life as Web 3.0 are gone now – the time for bashing Second Life starts now, meaning usage and new account creations are going down and after that somewhat up again.

The question is: is this a good thing for a while? Yes. It gives Lindenlabs more time to work on their next generation architecture and some air to solve out some big issues. It is bad still in business terms since land sales should go down a little now, so I wonder how this affects the income of LL at all.

So I told you…

…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.