I was bitten!

So I was wandering the streets of London at the end of last week… It was late and I’d been drinking, as I am wont. When suddenly from the dark behind, came a shape. A shape I’d met before, in another London, in another time… It was Mordkar, an evil being who’d seduced me more than once, in many lives…

I was stunned… I had my wits but barely and I was overcome. I was bitten. The precious pain, the feeling of life flowing fast; leaving me, entering me… the movement, the colours… I was dying, I was living, I was changing… I was… I was more alive than I’d ever been.

I stood up and looked around me. I recognised the place… Eros on his plinth… Piccadilly… a pain in the neck caused me to swat with my hand… it came away bloody… messy.

I staggered into the shadows and slumped… and waited.

In time, I heard voices. It was not a surprise. This place is always busy, even in the dead of night… I waited, I leaped… I was satiated. I was whole…

The bodies hidden, I ran… I ran until I could run no more… and I fell into the dark… I knew not where.

When I woke, I looked at the time… 8pm… it would be dark soon… I looked around hungrily… perhaps a careless victim would pass by.

Project Open Letter

What follows is the complete text of an open letter to Linden Lab published today.

In the past eighteen months, Second Life has expanded, growing from a small community of early adopters to a platform supporting millions of users. Linden Lab has created a world that inspires a deep level of passion in its users and provides unprecedented opportunities to share creatively, socially, and financially.

With explosive levels of growth often come unexpected problems. In keeping with your company’s policy and rich history of resident involvement, we the undersigned would like to take this opportunity to address some concerns that we feel have gone unanswered for too long.

There are some consistent, ongoing problems that are getting worse under heavy load, not better, and are not simply irritants but problems that are causing financial loss in some cases, which is unacceptable. Here is a brief list of the main concerns:

* Inventory loss – this is a devastating problem that is worsening. We have no ability to protect our own inventories through backups, and are trusting you to protect that data. This is the highest priority. Sensible inventory limits (on non-verified accounts only), combined with better management tools and ways to protect our inventory ourselves would help to mitigate the problem as well. Regardless, this cannot continue – we will not accept financial loss as a feature of Second Life. It is your responsibility as service provider to ensure our data is not lost, and you are failing us.

* Problems with Find and Friends List – we continue to see search outages on a far too regular basis. It is bad enough trying to get anywhere without being able to use search, but many users are also paying money for classified ads. Our friends lists just do not work reliably any longer, after years without an issue with them. If America Online/MSN/Yahoo can provide presence information for hundreds of millions of users, surely there is a way to make our friends lists work again.

* Grid stability and performance – teleports fail quite regularly, especially under heavy load. Attachments end up in places they did not start out in, and sim performance varies wildly. None of this makes for a very pleasant experience for users. Long promised improvement to physics and scripting would help dramatically to reduce these problems, but there are a lot of other scalability issues as well. It often feels like the grid is coming apart at the seams. The promised use of limiting logins of non-verified accounts during peak load has been severely lacking. This would be an effective interim solution to load issues, but Linden Lab seems unwilling to use it.

* Build tool problems – the importance of build tools that actually work as promised cannot be overstated enough – we rely on them to create content. Prim drift, disappearing prims, imprecise placement, problems with linking and other issues with the tools need to be addressed. Too much time is being spent trying to work around the problems.

* Transaction problems – inventory deliveries are failing with an alarming (and annoying) frequency, leaving merchants with the burden of replacing missing content and having to try to confirm the transaction in the first place. We trust that our L$ balances are accurate, but given recent problems, that is a cause for concern as well, and one we place our full trust in you to ensure its accuracy.

We remain fully supportive of Second Life and are more than willing to continue doing our part to help, but our confidence is steadily being eroded due to a general lack of communication and the apparent failure to successfully address the many issues detailed above. What we are asking for is that these problems are addressed immediately, ahead of new features, and that we are able to see tangible improvements. We accept that this will not happen overnight but it also cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely either.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.


The Undersigned

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Linden announces estate governance changes

As announced yesterday, estate owners will soon be able to opt out of the current Linden Abuse Report system, in lieu of dealing with them themselves, thus leaving LL to deal with the mainland. Well, the current AR system rarely works, so at first glance this would seem like a good thing, but there have been questions, and thus far, no convincing answers.

For example, Ice Brodie asked:

“Kind of curious, what happens when the estate owner violates TOS?”

to which Chadrick Linden replied:

“Ice: On the Linden Governed mainland, same thing as everyone else. On their own region, it depends on the offense. For example: All fraud tickets would still come to Linden Lab. Same with Under Age Tickets. If he’s assaulting someone on his region, he has the right to do so, it’s his.

A big flashing red light there folks. The estate owner has the right to abuse you on his or her land! Oz Spade asked a similar question, but was not answered separately, yet.

Let’s look at another part of the announcement … in response to a question regarding bans, Chadrick replied:

“He’ll be banned from that one region, and LL monitors the number of regions someone would be banned from. So if someone decides to start causing problems in multiple regions, we notice.”

So, while a single island owner is unlikely to get someone banned from the grid, someone owning say 100 sims, probably could. Way to go, Linden. And remember people, once this happens, there’s no more anonymous reporting of abuse… it goes to the estate owner, to share as they wish.

Now, in their defence, since I don’t want to be completely negative, Chadrick did also state that we’d be told when we enter a sim that’s not governed by Linden Law, and I think this is a good and necessary thing. But I think we should know before, when the teleport invite appears, or when we open a landmark, or the map, and we should know WHO is governing the sim and have a choice whether to visit or not. Sadly, I doubt it will be the case, but I can hope.

More adventures in outer space

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been encouraging some friends to try Eve-Online, and perhaps join us in some deep space fun. A lot of Second Lifers are already in the game, and this was more about attracting new blood and giving people something to do, other than Warcraft, when Second Life is unusable – as it so often is these days.

Anyway, Peasan tried it a couple of weeks ago, and though she enjoyed it, was busy in real life and did not really have the time. She’s interested though, and may come back, either with the same or a new character. Since then – due in part to his purchase of a new PC, Lucifer has joined, and has trained himself up to flying a destroyer. Aeolus has joined too, and signed up quickly. He’s still in a frigate, but I can see that changing soon. Lastly, Jennyfur joined us, and though still in her “rookie ship”, she is having fun, and if she stays, will go a long way. I am told that we could be seeing Flipper and Freya J there soon too.

Anyway, yesterday afternoon, Flavian met up with us and we all met up to chat in Bourynes. It can be a very social game, for one in which you spend most of your time flying solo in a spaceship. It’s a shame Freya B wasn’t around, I miss flying with her – and her ship is pretty cool too.

R.I.P. Jesse Malthus

I didn’t know Jesse well. Perhaps we’d met in world, I’m not sure, although we did meet in #secondlife.

As was posted in the Second Citizen forums, and by Lordfly in his blog earlier today, Jesse passed away as the result of a car accident. He was only 17, which is far too young to die. My prayers go with him on his new journey into the unknown. And to his family, my deepest sympathy for their loss.

Coming so quickly on the back of the loss of Feliciaa Feaver, this strikes the community hard. As Aimee commented, for those of us here so long, seeing other Second Lifers we knew pass away was bound to happen eventually, but that doesn’t make it easy, and two people in a month seems devastating to me. Any of us could be next, at any time.

It’s times like these that really make me think about life and my place in the world. The things I’ve done right, and the things I’ve done wrong. The people I’ve helped, and the people I’ve hurt. If I died today, how would I be remembered? Indeed, apart from close family and friends, would I even be remembered?

We live in a world filled with tragedy, as we are reminded daily in the news. There is great beauty and joy in this world too, and we should make the most of it while we are still able.

“The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long – and you have burned so very, very brightly.”

Sio enters SLBoutique

Something I always managed to avoid in the past, for whatever reason… (I think when it was new, I didn’t like the signup, and never got round to it later).

In any case, I listed a few items today, including the Precious Metals range and some old stuff which may or may not be familiar. It used to be on sale when I was at Mocha, but rarely seen since. Hopefully more will join it soon.

You can view all the goodness here.

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Easter Weekend

And another weekend has passed us by. An important one for several religions. So, if you’re a member of one of them, or even if not, I hope you had a good weekend.

I spent most of it with my parents. Not something I generally choose to do, but there are worse things. I meant to blog something from there, but it didn’t happen. Not that unusual I guess. I need interesting topics. Or at least something that makes me think.

So anyway, I got home yesterday, way too tired to do a lot, and took to SL, as I do.  Well, to be honest, first email and Second Citizen, then SL. I wanted to be at least partially up to date. Not much changes though. The usual suspects are at each other’s throats, and neither side will ever back down. Now, I’m sure some of you will want to remind me who started it and who said what — save it, I know already — but to the rest of the readers, it’s still just bickering.

Easy for me to say, I suppose, since I’ve not generally been a target – sometimes catching the edge of a flame, but by no means involved. At least as far as I know. I was mentioned in a couple of lists early on, but my ignore list saves me from knowing if it’s been repeated. Frankly, I don’t care.

There was some drama in SL, but I won’t go into that here. The people involved already know, and it’s nobody else’s business. It did have me concerned though. It cost me a friend, and I was worried it would cost me another. Who knows, perhaps it will all get patched up. That would be nice to see.

Bella Ciao

On the 27th of September 2003, a force entered the world of Second Life. She was Feliciaa Feaver. A friend to all who knew her, sister to all who needed her. Her acomplishments in SL stand on their own.

Yesterday, that force was extinguished. A battle with cancer lost. Eternity won.

Never underestimate cancer. Never belittle what it can do. This horrific thing can even now reduce a person to a shadow of their former self. Never mistake it either. It sneaks up like an assassin in the night to poison.

Feliciaa Feaver, long ago in Federal we met. We were both newbies. Even then, you were a force in SL. Something to be recognised. I am sorry we lost touch. I am sorry I wasn’t there for you at the end. But you will alwayd be my sister, in my thoughts and prayers. You are eternal now. You have won, and I will always be here for you.