Archive for the ‘Lindens’ Tag

New Linden Communications Manager Introduces Herself

Katt Linden has introduced herself to Residents at the Big Blog. Katt is the new Communications Manager for Linden Lab, and the comment section to her article is filling rapidly with “friendly greetings” (thank you, Torley!) and wishes for success, as well as hopes for improved communications between the Lab and its customers.

As I said in my own comment, I don’t envy Katt her new position at all. Reading many blogs and comments convinces me that Residents can be a cantankerous, demanding crew even at the best of times. And, any road, being the PR mouthpiece of any organization is a thankless task when the times go rough. But I hope that Katt will have success in her new position, as well as help mend the fences that have been rather strained over the many issues this past year has raised.

Harper\'s signature

Posted April 21, 2008 by Harper Ganesvoort in News, People, Real Life

Tagged with , , , ,

Philip Rosedale to Step Down as CEO of Linden Lab — Update 3

After weeks of not significant developments (to my strange mind), a piece of real news. Reuters reports that founder and CEO of Linden Research Philip Rosedale has announced he plans to step down from the top managerial position. This has been confirmed by Mitch Kapor, the current chairman of the board. Rosedale will succeed Kapor as chairman, and will continue with Linden Lab in “product development and strategy.”

The article states that this is not unusual for startup companies, once they get past the early stages. The visionary CEO makes way for a more business-oriented manager, while keeping a hand in the activities of the company. Adam cites Google and eBay as examples. The article also mentions that the search for a new CEO may take some time, as they will be looking for someone who can:

  1. help regain the growth that made Second Life such a phenomenon for a time
  2. live within the (ahem) curious corporate culture that Linden Lab thrives on
  3. win over the Residents, who have their own…idiosyncratic view of how LL should conduct their business and govern the Grid.

The last, to my way of thinking, may be the most significant in the long run. As I mentioned in a comment to Ham Au’s early post on the question, many of the more libertarian Residents have freaked over such decisions as the famous banking and gambling bans. And this was under an “administration” that would be far looser than a more business-model-oriented CEO might be — unless that new CEO is enlightened indeed in his/her handling of the client population. Or at least is able to win the folk over to the “revised corporate strategy.”

All the fears will, of course, be speculation and nothing else until the new CEO is selected — a process that Kapor says can take anyplace from a few weeks to many months. I’m betting (and hoping) that Linden Lab will look for someone who can work in the quirky environment that has often fostered and nurtured Second Life, and who will be able to thrive in the sometimes charged Residential atmosphere over which direction the Grid is heading in.

Philip Rosedale’s own statement is on the Big Blog.

Supplemental, 2:18 pm local:

The reaction is setting in among the bloggers:

UPDATE, March 15, 1:20 pm:

Further blog links, now that the news has percolated through:

UPDATE:  March 19

This final update links to the March 18 issue of the Metaverse Messenger, where the story is the first above the “fold.”  Requires current version of Adobe Reader!

Harper’s signature

A Few Handy Tips

I’ve been learning a few things this weekend about Second Life, and I’m putting them up here for wider distribution.  Along with this is one trick I’ve discovered myself — though someone else may have developed it already.  But Information Should Be Free (not textures, but factual information — more on this in future), and it deserves spreading around.

=====

This may be a little weird, but one Resident I asked for help said that it’s happened to her as well, or something similar.  Yesterday, I was relaxing at my loft in my favorite Dark Silver skin from chroma, when I remembered I had to get a closeup photo of Nyla Cheeky’s tinyprim-based cloche cap for my piece on her gown.  I quickly threw myself back into the dress and hat and hair, and my normal skin — but then, when I mounted the posing stand I keep in my loft, I discovered that my face was still silver!  Some canny camera work gave me the shot I wanted, but you can still see the tip of my nose is rather dark (grin).

It was still the same way today, and so it was obvious that something was up, either with SL, my client, or with a corruption of the file.  Once I had struggled off of my land — Frank’s Place in Oasis Resort is number 16 on the Popular Places list, and the loft is on the corner of the land — I put up a message on Fashion Emergency asking for help.  Back came the suggestions to (a) clear my cache by going to Preferences, Network, and click the correct button; and then (b) “rebake” my skin texture by Control-Alt-R.  That did the trick, and you should remember this if you ever run into the same situation yourself.

=====

I love most aspects of the current Google-style Search function in Linden Lab’s client.  But how many know that the results are displayed in, essentially, a Chat window?  This lends itself to a handy idea for finding specific items from a merchant’s wares.

This can be done in two ways, either of which require an outside application.  The first calls for you to select all the text of the product list from below the teleport button, by highlighting it with your mouse cursor.  (Or you can highlight a few letters, then press Control-A to select all.)  Control-C to copy it, then you paste the text into an editor such as Notepad or EditPad.  The second way is to copy only the URL you will find at the bottom of the merchant’s page, and paste this into the address bar of your browser, e.g. Firefox, etc.  This will bring up that page from the Second Life community portal, which appears to be what the new Search polls for results.

Any road, now search the text with the Find function to locate what you’re looking for.  You’ll get the price that merchant is asking — which is nice in itself.  But you’ll also get a set of Grid coordinates where the item’s billboard is located in the store.

Back to Second Life; teleport to the store.  Once there, open the Main Map, and click inside the region you’re in currently to get a red teleport target.  Then punch in the coordinates you found from the search.  Do not teleport; this could place you inside a wall, which would be embarrassing, not to say prone to knock you out of the Grid (grin).  Rather, just close the Map after doing this, then home in on your target by following the red beacon and arrow.  Voila; you’ve found what you want, and with a minimum of hunting through the whole store.  Very useful if the merchant has something as big as ETD Designs or other places.

Deadline Passes for SL Banks; No Word on Current Situation

Tuesday was the deadline for Second Life banks to stop offering interest or close down — and it seems to have passed without any more notice from the general Resident population. Well, at least other than the constant hits I get on my previous articles. One or the other of the articles gets at least a few hits a day. As for the feared runs on assets, those were quickly stifled by the bank owners themselves, who slapped limits on their ATMs until they could supposedly liquidate assets and cover withdrawals.

What has happened, from the looks, is the essential collapse of the Grid-bank industry. Several banks have either sold their assets to purchasers, or have simply closed up shop. At least a few are trying to work around the ban on interest payments with what amounts to a renaming of “interest” — or they plan to move to new metaverses such as Central Grid. The ones hanging on still promise that all deposits will be covered for those willing to offer them the time to gather or convert their capital. Whether this will work out in the long run, knows God.

One thing is probably certain: someone else will devise a plan to offer a return on investment to Residents, and there will be a rush to join the industry — until RL lawyers get nervous, justifiably, about liability issues. And that will be the end of that. I would rather have a no-bank world, though, then take a chance on leaving my lindens with a scammer. That cash has value both in- and out-world, and I want control of it for myself.

Posted January 25, 2008 by Harper Ganesvoort in Business

Tagged with , , , , ,

More Comment On the Bank Closures

Dusan Writer has put up a fresh piece on the Grid-bank situation. It’s a touch opaque at times unless you give it a careful read, but it’s quite worthwhile. In summary, though, he reiterates the primary objections to the existence of unregulated “financial institutions” on the Grid, or in any other metaverse, unless you wish to open the door to government intrusion of activities.

Previous posts:

That’s Professor Ondrejka

Most Residents and readers will recall the surprise and consternation that shot through the Second Life community on the sudden departure of CTO Cory Ondrejka from Linden Lab in December.  What the long-term fallout from this situation will be, nobody yet knows, of course.  But the now former Linden seems to have landed on his feet.  Comes word from The Chronicle of Higher Education that Cory has been appointed a visiting professor at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.  (Cory has also announced this on his own blog back on December 30, but I’ve read no news of it until now.)  Logically enough, he’ll be lecturing the grad students about online communities, and their economic/technological impact.

Best of luck, Professor!

Banking ban (UPDATED)

(First paragraph revised for clarity, to include needed information. Also see updated Other Posts listing at bottom.)

Linden Lab today announced via the Big Blog that they were ordering a shutdown of all banks offering interest or any other form of return on investment to depositors, unless they can show that they are appropriately on record with a RL banking regulatory body. This follows the series of Grid banks that have failed in recent months before I arrived in world, including Ginko Financial in August.

Truthfully, this is not a surprise, and should have been expected by the Resident community at large, even those individuals and businesses that have invested in the banks. The Lindens, after all, are not a government, but a private corporation. Despite my blithe contention a month ago that they are, in effect, the despots and tyrants (in the old-fashioned senses of those words) of Second Life, they are not running SL for the sake of running a virtual world that we get to play around in. They’re trying to make a profit themselves. But they’re also responsible to the RL government for obeying laws; and part of those laws pertain to the running of financial institutions. If Residents started losing tonnes of money on wobbly banks and Ponzi schemes in world, and then complained to the SEC, the Federal Reserve, and any other national or state institutions — and those are just the ones in the United States! — what choice would LL have but to either force closed all Grid banks, or pay hefty fines to the governments? In addition, this covers LL’s rear from being sued in civil court as indirect parties to fraud cases.

To those who are complaining about an arbitrary move by LL, with little or now warning, I suggest you consider these points:

  1. We own the intellectual property, but the Lindens own the Grid; they have the right, in the end, to pull the switch if they choose to and make the whole of SL so much etherware, because they own Second Life.
  2. Any investment, anywhere, involves risk — even something as safe seeming as banks. SL banks are wobblier than most (outside, perhaps, of Russia during the days immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union). LL didn’t make you invest your money; you chose to. If you get burned in a banking run, it’s your problem. It’s a little principle of business called laissez-faire — along with another concept: caveat emptor.
  3. The extreme interest rates offered by some SL banks should be a tipoff that these banks need to be regulated; and the people who have the regulation mechanism in place are the RL governments. Besides the simple fact that no reputable (and sane) RL bank would offer such high interest, rates of 50-95% annually on simple deposit savings haven’t been seen since the late Seventies, when RL inflation in America was growing out of hand, and banks were offering daily interest — compounded! — to lure depositors. It took the Federal Reserve yanking on the choke collar to bring that inflation under control. Now imagine inflation like that running rampant in world. The linden is relatively steady now; how much would we bitch if it were caused to become unsteady? Prices through solid roofs, never mind the phantom ones, all our gaudy clothes and cars becoming unaffordable, etc. Forcing the banks to obey standard banking laws — and be RL liable to investors under those laws — is probably a very sound economic move on the Lindens’ part.
  4. If Linden Lab got caught up in a civil or criminal action, and ended up having to pay out lots of real U. S. dollars in fines or settlements — not to mention legal fees — they might be forced to shut down anyway, and all carping about lost capital would be moot. £500,000 equal only some $1900 U. S. at current exchange rates. Compared to the hundreds of thousands — or millions — LL would face in liability actions in various courts, which matters more to the business? It’s said that in show business, there’s the show, and there’s the business. In Second Life, there’s the lives we lead, and then there’s the Real World — which bites a lot harder.

Think about all aspects before you take LL to task for this action. This just might mean the saving of the Grid in the long run!

=====

News and Blogs (updated 1/9, 6:10 SLT):

The SLogosphere is either getting up to steam, as the expanding list of blog articles suggests, or I just needed to use more than one technique of looking for scribblings on the subject (grin). In any case, there’s plenty of discussion (read: venting) in the Linden-run Forums. Search on “banks” for a taste, and be prepared for some extreme opinions. (Registered payment info required!)

Previous post:

Bogus Linden Dollars

Word comes down from the Official Blog that phishers are appearing, offering bargain-basement deals on buying lindens (£, as I refer to them, though I know this is actually the symbol for the pound sterling). Read the actual announcement for the details if you haven’t seen it already, but keep this in mind: if a third party is offering better rates for linden dollars than the LindeX itself, and they’re not a source you know to be trusted, then run, don’t walk, as far away as possible, and notify Linden Lab so they can be tracked down and busted. Besides the reasons listed in their own post, these artists are just plain undermining the economy of the Grid with what are essentially bogus bucks.

UPDATE: 11:41 p.m.:

Eric Reuters gives a deeper coverage of the question in his report from Reuters Island.

UPDATE: 1/4, 1:43 p.m.:

Eric Reuters follows up his above story with another, where the Lab elaborates on the penalty LL is allowed to charge under their Terms of Service Agreement. There was some fear that individuals buying their lindens through the fraudulent exchanges would be the ones penalized, at a rate up to 150% of the value. Eric’s story quotes Peter Gray of Lewis PR, Linden Research’s public relations firm:

“The policy stated at http://secondlifegrid.net/programs/api/risk seems to have caused some confusion… The policy stated at the above webpage is directed at operators of Linden dollar exchanges; if Linden Lab identifies that the operators of these exchanges have purposefully purchased fraudulent L$, Linden Lab may recoup 150% of the amount.”

“To date, this fine has never been levied,” Gray said.

This spells relief to individual Residents, and more so to the merchants who may be accepting the bogus lindens — though they may not be totally out of the swim. Read further down:

Gray downplayed the risk to residents. “Linden Lab has no blanket policy to fine all buyers of fraudulent Linden dollars, and any incident is handled on a case by case basis,” Gray said.

So there could be some degree of risk/retribution from the Lab yet; just not quite as penal as was originally feared.

1.18.5 Client Released

I was planning to do some talking about the planned improvements to the Search function Linden Lab had announced for their next client build — but the Lindens beat me to the punch (grin). I haven’t experienced much of it yet, but I’ll see if I can give it a workout, and put down my thoughts here.

Posted November 30, 2007 by Harper Ganesvoort in Software

Tagged with , , , , ,

What’s Everyone Got Against the Lindens?

It’s truly amazing how much discontent I hear and see around the Grid and the SL-‘sphere about Linden Lab, much of it aimed toward the loss of operations that strike periodically.

Of course, it’s not surprising people will gripe. If you’re in the middle of a good talk or dance with a sexy fellow Resident, or in the middle of (wink, wink) other things, and you’re suddenly booted out or your region is reset, you’re going to be mad. It’s even worse if you’re doing actual business, like many people use Second Life for. Imagine a presentation going on, and you suddenly go etherware. Not fun! And it has to be admitted that SL does have an amazing number of bugs and crashes at times.

But is that surprising, people? Think of where the technology is — even with the number of MMORPGs in existence already, we’re still in the toddler stage of development at best. And I’ve never seen a time when the Resident counter isn’t sitting around at least 35,000 people logged in. All those people are walking/flying/dancing/having sex/riding horses/streaming music and video/flipping prim hair and skirts…well, I hope you get the idea. All that action puts a heavy burden, not to say a strain, on the sims at the best of times. In a busy region, like Franks Place or a big sale by a couturiere, the sim computer has to do calculations and draw pictures for 40-45 Residents at a shot. Timesharing has its limits at this level of the technology, my friends — although it’s a hell of a lot better than in the early days, of course. But graphics-intensive services such as Second Life means a need for not just megaflops, but maybe teraflops, of computing power. Nobody has that yet — unless the Guvmint in Washington isn’t talking (fnord).

I’ve read Snow Crash (the parallels are what drew me to Second Life), and know how the Metaverse is supposed to operate. But if we’re expecting anything less than a roomful of supercomputers to keep up with all the demands we place on the Lindens’ systems, then (not to put too fine a point on it) we’re terribly spoiled and stuck in instant-gratification mode.

Let’s cut the Lindens at least a little slack, okay? Instead of grouching about how much the Grid is down, think about how much it is usually up, and how well it does then….

%d bloggers like this: