Beware the bling in Second Life

Linden Lab’s Pastrami Linden has flagged a new feature in the current Release Candidate viewer. The ‘Avatar Rendering Cost’ option will show a number that equates to the cumulative graphics generation impact of that avatar – the more non-standard avatar features you’ve added the higher the number.

It’s a useful tool to determine what may be behind some of the lag experienced in the busier locations but it also risks being a distraction from some of the more serious software and hardware bottlenecks (Australian SL servers anyone?). It cold also be used as a means of excluding people or the imposition of ‘base avatar’ rules in the more popular areas. What do you think – is bling the target here?

Popularity: 4% [?]

And they wonder why people leave Second Life

I understand that the logistics of running the Second Life grid must be one hell of a task. That said, the announcement by Linden Lab that in peak usage times they’ll be disabling some of the in-world services to cope seems farcical to me. It’s the equivalent of shutting off the lights on a passenger airliner to maximise power for take-off, except in this case the lights are off for around four hours.

The services affected are:

“* Avatar profile information will not be trasmitted to the viewer. This affects both floating and embedded profile windows.

* General group information (name, charter, etc.) will not display in floating or group embedded group info windows.

* Groups will not show their member lists.

* Group owners and officers will not be able to eject group members.

* Group proposals will open the UI, but will fail to create.

* About Land will show 0 for traffic.”

Some will argue these aren’t show-stopper services but I know some people heavily use the avatar profile and group services. Furthermore, it’s the principle of the issue – I’d go as far as to say I’d rather a couple of thousand people less be permitted on the grid with full functionality than the ‘solution’ proposed.

Linden Lab are claiming a fix is on the way – you’d want to hope so because a plane full of passengers sitting in the dark doesn’t make for an experience people want to pay for again.

Popularity: 3% [?]

Linden Lab’s I-World island: window-dressing or real help?

Linden Lab have announced an enhancement of their in-world support through the creation of I-World Island, which will launch on the 5th April. It’s fair to say that Linden Lab have made progress in their in-world support, although it’s still hard not to agree with one commenter on the Linden blog where the announcement was made:

“While that is a nice idea just how do you expect someone who crashes 10 times a day to find your island, and if they did, how do you expect them to get there without crashing?”

Linden Lab have widely proclaimed 2008 as the year of usability – hopefully I-World Island is another weapon in what needs to be a much larger armoury.

Popularity: 4% [?]

22 more Second Life tutorial videos

Linden Lab’s Torley Linden is a man possessed – today he’s released 22 new tutorial videos:

“Adding & divorcing a Partner – Love & separation in 2 min.
Building materials explained – Rubber? Glass? Stone? What difference do they make?
Changing the time of day – Override to see better.
Changing your login location – For your sheer convenience.
Chat bubbles – A different, cartoony way to communicate.
Cheesy red tracking beacon – It’s animated and easier to see!
Driving a vehicle – Basics of buying and riding transportation.
Finding stuff buried the ground – Popular question, practical advice.
Finding your chat logs – So you can read, archive, delete, etc.
Freezing stuff for snapshots – Supahmodel, work it!
Friends permissions – What do those icons mean?
Hiding online friend notifications – Annoying you? Turn it off.
Hiding the Search panel in the menu bar – BY POPULAR DEMAND, NEW IN 1.19.1 RC!
Hover tips – Use them to get more info.
How high can you fly? – … and what’s up there?
Increasing font size for better readability – SLize matters.
Muting jerks & objects – Don’t let the spam crap get you down.
Stretching prim sides & textures – Makes editing objects easier.
Turning off object selection glow – Remove an annoyance(followup to “Advanced attachment adjustment)!
What are particles? – Not just for *bling*! I show you.
What is a sandbox? – Great to show your new-to-SL friends.
World Map – How to use it. “See the world, they say!” ”

Popularity: 2% [?]

Linden Lab’s CEO steps aside

According to a Reuters story, Philip Rosedale (SL: Philip Linden) is standing down from his role as Linden Lab CEO. From what I can see it’s a Bill Gates-like decision of getting away from the day-to-day burdens of running a company to focus on wider issues.

If anything, this is likely to help the company and the initial response seems to be positive. I can’t see any fundamental shift in Linden Lab’s approach beyond getting some more discipline in its business operations. If the new CEO can achieve that discipline whilst maintaining Linden Lab’s relatively good transparency, there may be promising times ahead.

What do you think? How’s this likely to change Linden Lab and Second Life?

Other coverage:



Second Life Herald

Terra Nova

Virtual Worlds News

Sydney Morning Herald

Popularity: 2% [?]

Linden Lab offers lottery for free land parcels

All the details here. Essentially, both lotteries are for fairly well frequented shopping areas that Linden Lab are offering to new tenants for 6-months. The first is Luna Oaks Galleria, the second is Busy Ben’s Vehicle Lot.

Whether you’re an established or new Second Life entrepreneur, this is well worth entering. What have you got to lose?

Popularity: 3% [?]

Second Life release series of micro-video tutorials

Linden Lab’s Torley Linden continues to pump out video tutorials for new and seasoned Second Life users alike. This week he’s provided thirteen short videos:

1. What is a prim?
2. What does “rez” mean?
3. Using your mouse’s scroll wheel
4. Toggling Property Lines
5. Organising windows & menus
6. Chat bar shortcuts
7. Linking prims
8. Opening edit tools
9. Wearing attachments
10. Editing attachments
11. Opening the debug menus
12. Advanced movement controls
13. Zoom In & Out

These would be particularly useful for a new Second Life user not wanting to navigate the maze that’s Linden Lab’s support portal.

Popularity: 2% [?]