Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Third Party Viewer Policy Runs Into Backlash


At the same time as the Beta of its new viewer, Linden Labs also announced a new policy concerning the use of third-party viewers in general, such as the Emerald viewer. The Lindens say they are willing to accept the use of these viewers, though a number are raising questions about the wording of the policy.

The policy was a long list of legalese that this blue collar worker in real-life found hard to understand. Going through the Linden blog, readers expressed similar confusion. Some thought things looked fishy.

Well, not one single instance or version of the 3rd-party clients that I have ever seen or used can meet a strict interpretation of the new rules for an "approved" client, So you have, despite all your noise to the contrary, effectively banned ALL 3rd party clients, as they exist today. At least, banned their use by anyone that plays by the rules. The thieves will still use fake tags and pretend to be an LL-approved copy of Snowglobe and have a field day.

And you know what? LL's OWN CLIENTS can't pass those restrictions!

One of my friends came to me. He thought that the Lindens were making the use of a third party viewer punishable by suspension or ban, and pointed out an entry in the Boy Lane blog. Boy Lane called herself one of the people behind one of the 3rd party viewers, and had this to say:

What happened now however is going way too far beyond a reasonable policy. Besides making some clear statements about content "backup" LL also introduced some funny terms they could not legally enforce previously. Such as not using the generic term "life" which one has to explicitly agree upon by signing LL's new policy.

But unfortunately not all can be labeled "funny". To come to the (at least in my opinion) main point. LL introduced one killer clause:

7. Your Responsibility for Third-Party Viewers
If you are a user or Developer of Third-Party Viewers:

a. You are responsible for all uses you make of Third-Party Viewers, and if you are a Developer, you are also responsible for all Third-Party Viewers that you develop or distribute.

What this means is that a viewer developer has to take (legal) responsibility for any action of any viewer user. That's something GPL specifically allows to exclude, now LL forces such responsibility back to software developers. It is pretty much impossible for anyone to take such a responsibility. Besides many other questionable points this clause renders the whole 3rd party viewer policy unacceptable.

Boy Lane stated she refused to comply with the new policy, and recommended others stop using third party viewers, saying they were risking being banned from Second Life.

Tateru Nino in Massively called the new policy, "the worst day's work that we've seen come out of the Lab to-date. ... the TPV policies have a number of glaring flaws, chief among which are multiple incompatibilities with the existing source licenses, so that you can't actually build and distribute a viewer from the open source code-base while simultaneously being in compliance with the TPV policies. That's quite an astonishing oversight. In fact, not a single release of the source-code made by Linden Lab to date complies with the TPV policies. An unmodified build from the trunk code-base would be violate the policies as they presently stand."

Why were the new policies so poorly written? The question was summed up between comments between Tateru and one of her readers. He thought the Lindens were too proud to admit that their viewer was inferior to that others could build. Tateru thought this wasn't the case, but rather a blunder, wondering if, someone on the legal team just phoned this in half-asleep.

Word is, Soft Linden is writing up a more clear policy. Hopefully this will clear up a good deal of confusion and suspicion, and quiet fears the Lindens are trying to ban third-party viewers without saying so.

To go to the Linden Blog post, Click Here

To go to the comments, Click Here.

Other sources: Massively, Boy Lane


Friday, February 26, 2010

Virtual London

One of the great things about Second Life is that you can travel anywhere in the world without suffering jet lag or having to eat airline peanuts. I decided to take advantage of this and visit London last week. I started at the London Freebie Store. (Knightsbridge, 108, 114, 22)

They have some great clothes at a great pricefree! The selection for gals is awesome. Dresses, pants, shoes--even British hair. For the guys there are business suits, a tux, and some cool shoes. There are so many Ts they are boxed in Collections and found at two locations, London Freebies and the Knightsbridge Club. I picked up all 5 Collections. You can never have too many Ts!

The t-shirt collections have something for everyone, especially music fans. Elvis, The Beatles, Kiss, Led Zepplin, Bob Marley, Grateful Dead, and more. There is a T for every taste. There are lots of free jeans to go with them, too. As soon as I put on a new outfit, I was ready to tour London. 

My first stop was the Knightsbridge Department Store (231, 126, 22). There were no freebies here, but beautiful evening gowns, Bridal gowns, and some boots to die for.

Just down the street is the Underground Club (Knightsbridge, London 175, 135, 22). With brightly colored lights and lots of dance balls, it looked like a great place to party. I was there at an off-time for the Brits so I had the dance floor to myself. But even at an off hour, the lights and music were great.

Further down the street was a SL Sister Cities display. A variety of sites were listed: Moscow, New England, Munich, Luxembourg, Swiss City, and others. The teleport looked like a convenient way to try out some other sims, but I didnt check it out on this trip. I still had a lot left to see in London.  

At the edge of the town I found a replica of the UK Military Memorial Park (London England UK 99, 26, 25). It was small, but very interesting and moving. There were rows of crosses listing the name and service branch of many of their fallen heros. At the base of the memorial, some SL residents had left crosses for their loved ones.

No visit to London is complete without a visit to Hyde Park. (Hyde, London England UK 159,228, 21) At SL Hyde Park there was a Memorial Garden and a Tribute to Princess Diana. A Royal Parks Donation Box was there to collect Lindens and help maintain the RL memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales. Nearby is an Orientation Hub for new residents and a sand box, too.
Grey Lupindo

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Second Life Viewer 2.0 Beta Released

Theres been some talk about it in recent weeks, wondering what it might bring. Well, its finally arrived. The Beta for Second Lifes Viewer 2.0.

Today, we're excited to announce the launch of Viewer 2 Beta, the next generation of Second Life viewers -- combining an easy browser-like experience with shared media capabilities -- providing what we believe is the best experience yet for accessing Second Life, and a new option to choose from among Viewer 1.23 and other Third Party Viewers. We looked carefully at the experience design of other successful social media and technology platforms--such as the web browser, Facebook, the iPhone, Twitter, etc.--and the key elements that enabled them to reach mass adoption. You'll see much of that thinking baked into new Viewer 2 experience design. Our primary goal was to create a more consumer-friendly viewer--an imperative to bring in a new wave of Second Life Residents. After all, more people in Second Life means that there will be more amazing content, more customers to purchase virtual goods, a thriving economy, more friends and communities, and we can do even more to improve the experience. All very good things for all of us.

Taking a look, I saw they remembered Mac users, and downloaded the beta viewer. It was notable that the icon had a yellow bar with black stripes on the side, as if to signal under construction. It took a minute for the viewer to initially appear after double-clicking on the icon, though later on it came on normally. One friend when downloading it only got a string of binary code.

I managed to log on okay, but my friends list was a bit quirky, people listed as waiting, and I was cloudy. Eventually, the list appeared, though some were listed as offline whom later turned out were on. When I logged on later, there was no waiting period. My avatar remained a cloud, even on the second time I used the beta. So it looks like the beta needs improvement there.

Using the new viewer took some getting used to, and the side-to-side movement and crouch & jump buttons were missing from the movement toolbar. But there are interesting features. On the right of the screen are tabs, which can be clicked to open a window with information. Bringing up someones profile will reveal both their Second Life and real-life pictures (or whats used in place of them), which can be useful for those who wish to better mix their virtual lives with their real ones. Ones teleport history is stored, so if you forgot to make a landmark at a place you visited the previous day, you can check the history to return.

One feature should be of great interest to non-human avatars, such as furries and tinies: Alpha Masks. Meant to be used in place of invisiprims, they can render parts of your avatar invisible. For digitgrade avatars, this means no force field effect around their shins.

Being cloudy the whole time, my impression the beta still needs a good deal of work. But it does have some cool features that show good potential for it.

For the complete Linden blog entry, Click Here. To go to continued comments, Click Here. To go to a Second Life Youtube about the Beta viewer, narrated by Epsy Linden, Click Here.

Bixyl Shuftan

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bunny Love...The Latest Craze!

By Shellie Sands
Ozimals has produced the latest in pets with their bunnies.   Beta testing began earlier in the year and the bunnies went "live" on 9 January 2010.  The "bunnies are adorably realistic, professionally sculpted, and full of variety. The six breeds that the bunnies are launching with are actual real life breeds and each one has custom textures that reflect the look and colorings of that breed.  The Ozimals bunnies use a true dominant/recessive genetics system modified for SL that will enable you to breed for recessive traits to create the bunnies you want. Each bunny carries a specific percentage of recessive qualities, and you selectively breed those to achieve new colors and even special mutations!
When you breed an Ozimal bunny, you are producing true characteristics like fur, eye color, ear type, and more!  Each variation is a separate, hand drawn texture. Those traits will show up as new features on your bunny unlike other breedable animals where RGB colors (plus sometimes glow and shiny) are the only ways to tell your animals apart.  Ozimals are truly the Next Generation of AI breeding animals!"

Complete bunny starter kits are available at the Ozimals Main Store. Each kit contains two nests, one male and one female.  The owner has complete control over when the bunnies are born.  Clicking the nest enables you to birth the bunnies.   Once the bunnies are born, you must follow a series of steps to set their preferences.  This is all explained in the information provided in the starter kits.  They require food and water.  The bunnies hop around like mad when they are born and their energy levels are high.  Over time, their energy level decreases, ultimately to level 0%, at which time they sleep for 8 hours, renewing their energy.  When they sleep, they dream....of sunny meadows, rainbows, bunny love and, of course, carrots.  These images appear in dream clouds above their heads.  
Ozimals bunnies are born in a nest made of hay and the mothers fur.  They are very tiny when born but grow quickly.  Owners may hold their bunnies and pet them, and this increases the bunny's level of happiness.  Bunnies cannot be bred until they are 4 days old.  Once they reach that age, their level of love will gradually increase, as they are preparing for breeding.  In order to breed, each bunny must have more than 25% energy, be fed and watered, as well as happy.  When the bunnies reach 100% love, they are ready.  Breeding happens quickly and not in the way one would expect.  They don't even need to touch, they simply need to be within 10m of each other.  Very quickly the mother produces a nest.  Each nest contains one bunny.
For the latest price list: and for a price breakdown, go to Bunny Love...The Latest Craze!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Discussing Second Life in Real Life 2

Some time ago, I discussed some of the more interesting moments when talking about Second Life in real life (link). A few more things have happened since then.

Friends of mine have mentioned a few stories. One college student moaned that during high school, his classmates then considered him a freak for hanging out here. Others described showing it to friends and family, who didn't always get it. One of the more inspiring stories was about one friend. In real life, she's bound to a wheelchair. She once talked to some online friends about her wheelchair getting a little worn. Some time later, she received a check in the mail, enough to get her the new wheelchair she wanted.

From me, a few more stories. One neighbor of mine asked about the people I meet on Second Life. I mentioned some, but what got her attention were the people with disabilities, such as being unable to walk in real life, but getting about with ease here. Another was one former friend whom in real life had lost her voice due to cancer, but was able to converse normally here. My neighbor told me it sounded interesting, and would go there if she had a computer.

And some of my discussions end up with comical twists. Word had spread at my workplace during the last election that I write for an online newspaper. They still ask me about it a little, though are usually more interested in Facebook and Farmville than Second Life. One lady and I talked a little about how you could modify your character to look more or less like you want it to, whether to something like the user, a science-fiction exotic, or a glamour girl. The lady happened to be noticeably thin, and later on while talking, commented aloud she wouldn't mind having a larger backside. I grinned, "You realize this is the first time outside of Second Life anyone's talked to me about getting a bigger behind?" We both had a good laugh out of it.

Another day, another coworker asked about the online paper, then hearing it was about goings on in Second Life asked about that. I described it some. Then he asked, Could you have sex with the girls there? I was a little surprised that hed bring that up, though this coworker did like to talk about the seedy side of life. I answered, "Well, you could engage in, virtual intimacy with a girl there if you wanted, and there are a few places that cater to that sort of thing. But just a few. Most people are there for other things." He then grinned, "Have you ever done that?" My answer, "Um, I did tell you I go about there as a humanoid fox in a reporter's outfit. Do you imagine me going about with the ladies there as that?" Apparently either he could or he wasn't listening, as his next few comments were that what I needed was a little noogie, even if just online.

I could have mentioned a few places I got brought to by friends or by accident, but it was probably best I didn't.

Bixyl Shuftan