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Archive for the ‘Business issues’ Category

SL Go, the system from OnLive which offers the opportunity to access Second Life on tablets, smart TVs or through the OnLive app to lower-end PCs and Macs, is announcing a new price structure and access from a much greater range of countries.

SL Go on the Android

SL Go on the Android

In a press release today, they said:

Since launching the beta of SL Go about a month ago, OnLive reports they’ve seen a very positive response to the Second Life® Viewer for Android™ that allows users to access Second Life over wifi or 4G LTE on tablets and laptops.

Today, OnLive has updated the SL Go beta with new pricing:
● Monthly unlimited-use subscription for $9.95 (USD) / £6.95 (GBP). No contract and no commitment.
● Reduced hourly rate: $1 / £0.70 per hour.
The previously available offer of a 20-minute free trial still stands.

Additionally, OnLive is expanding the regions where SLGo is available. The service is now supported in 36 countries:

Andorra Iceland Poland
Austria Ireland Portugal
Belgium Israel Russia
Canada Italy San Marino
Croatia Latvia Slovakia
Cyprus Lichtenstein Spain
Denmark Lithuania Sweden
Estonia Luxembourg Switzerland
Finland Malta Turkey
France Monaco United Kingdom
Greece Netherlands United States
Hungary Norway Vatican City

This is an exciting and pleasing development, made in response to the generally expressed sentiment that the initial pricing was set too high for Second Life users, even those who believed that they would find the system useful.

It’s worth noting the package delivers not “Second Life lite”, but Second Life with the full range of bells and whistles graphics. SL Go will show the Advanced Lighting Model, complete with materials – something that has been difficult for people accessing Second Life on some laptops and older desktops.

Nate Barsetti and Danger Linden will be discussing SL Go on today's special Designing Worlds show

Nate Barsetti and Danger Linden discuss SL Go on Designing Worlds

This is an OnLive initiative,developed in co-operation with Linden Lab, but not a Linden Lab product. When I spoke to Danger Linden, Head of Product at the Lab, he said he saw it as more analogous to Linden Lab working with a third party viewer.

You can see more about the system and its capabilities on a special Designing Worlds show.

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Designing Worlds’ show about SL Go is now on the web!

This show comes in two parts. In the segment listed above (the regular Designing Worlds show), we talk to Nate Barsetti, Senior Manager, Customer Relations, OnLive, and also Danger Linden, aka Don Laabs, Senior Director of Product at Linden Lab. We’ll also be showing how SL Go works in different formats.

Then you can see the live discussion that followed the main part of the show, where Nate answered questions from the audience about issues such as pricing, and how using SL Go would affect issues with lag at popular events such as Relay for Life or Burn 2.

Nate Barsetti and Danger Linden will be discussing SL Go on today's special Designing Worlds show

Nate Barsetti and Danger Linden will be discussing SL Go on today’s special Designing Worlds show

It’s important to remember that this is an OnLive initiative, developed in co-operation with Linden Lab, but not a Linden Lab product. When I spoke to Danger Linden, Head of Product at the Lab, he said he saw it as more analogous to Linden Lab working with a third party viewer. Watch the show – and the discussion – to find out more!

This show will be shown again at our regular time of 2pm on Monday 10th March, with a viewing party in our Garden of Dreams studio.

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In an exciting new development, Second Life will be going into the Clouds with OnLive’s new SL Go package. The news has been announced by Linden Lab today – and you’ll be able to find out more in our special Designing Worlds show at 2pm SLT today, where we talk to Nate Barsetti, Senior Manager, Customer Relations, OnLive, and also Danger Linden, aka Don Laabs, Senior Director of Product at Linden Lab. The show will be followed by a live discussion in our Garden of Dreams studio, which will be streamed live on Aview.TV.

SL Go on the Android

SL Go on the Android

SL Go is launching today in its open beta format, and offers the opportunity to access Second Life on tablets (although not yet on iPads).

But it’s much, much more than this – you will also be able to access SL Go through the OnLive micro-console to TVs, or just connect through the OnLive app to lower-end PCs and Macs.

The package will deliver not “Second Life lite”, but Second Life with the full range of bells and whistles graphics. SL Go will show the Advanced Lighting Model, complete with materials – something that has been difficult for people accessing Second Life on some laptops and older desktops.

This is an OnLive initiative,developed in co-operation with Linden Lab, but not a Linden Lab product. When I spoke to Danger Linden, Head of Product at the Lab, he said he saw it as more analogous to Linden Lab working with a third party viewer.

Nate Barsetti and Danger Linden will be discussing SL Go on today's special Designing Worlds show

Nate Barsetti and Danger Linden will be discussing SL Go on today’s special Designing Worlds show

How does this work?
OnLive is a commercial company that specialises in cloud streaming games and desktop applications, proving that high-end visual computing experiences can be successfully delivered to almost any device. In simple term, when you access their SL Go service, you will then log in to your SL account (just as you would if using a third party browser), and their services will stream the video of Second Life to you, and respond to your SL commands to walk, move, fly, connect with people, using the Second Life viewer.

You might think that this extra layer might slow things down – but quite the reverse. Thanks to the powerful Onlive servers, Second Life loads at least as quickly if not faster, and when I tested it out on an android and on the TV, I found it amazingly lag free.

How is this paid for?
OnLive are a commercial company and, as such, generally charge a subscription fee for their services so that you can access their servers. With SL Go, they are doing something a little different – if you want to access SL Go, you will pay for it in terms of the minutes you use, similar to mobile phone usage, or perhaps to the business model established by Kitely, where you pay for the minutes you use on the Kitely grid.

Whether this model will be the one eventually adopted, or whether this might change to a monthly subscription in common with other OnLive services will, I suspect, depend on the success of this open Beta.

Getting started
You’ll be able to set up an account through OnLive. Their Support team for SL Go will be Second Life residents (which some might find novel!).

Find out more!
Designing Worlds will be broadcasting a special show at 2pm SLT today, where we’ll be talking to Nate Barsetti, Senior Manager, Customer Relations, OnLive, and also Danger Linden, aka Don Laabs, Senior Director of Product at Linden Lab. We’ll also be showing how SL Go works in different formats.

Talking with Nate Barsetti about SL Go - phot by Wildstar Beaumont

Talking with Nate Barsetti about SL Go – phot by Wildstar Beaumont

You can join us to watch the show at our studios on Garden of Dreams, or watch live on Treet TV at http://treet.tv/live, or on Aview TV at http://aviewtv.com/live/. The post-show discussion will be streamed live on Aview TV.

OnLive Go
The addition of Second Life to Onlive’s platform is being seen by the industry as part of a larger overall strategy for the company. You can read more on that here: http://www.engadget.com/2014/03/05/onlive-cloudlift-onlive-go/

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As many of you in the Second Life blogsphere will know, I was fortunate enough to be at a meeting of Second Life media people with the new CEO of Linden Lab, Ebbe Altberg (aka Ebbe Linden), and the Head of Communications Peter Gray (aka Pete Linden). Interestingly, you could say this was the Golden Globes of press meetings – all of us are European (although Drax is based in the US).

Representatives of the Second Life Media meet Ebbe Linden - photo courtesy of Inara Pey

Representatives of the Second Life Media meet Ebbe Linden – photo courtesy of Inara Pey

There are detailed accounts of what transpired at the meeting on various blogs – Inara Pey (who very kindly produced extracts from the meeting in digestible segments); Daniel Voyager; Jo Yardley (who has been updating her blog with further things that Ebbe has been discussing, such as ToS, speeding up Marketplace and re-opening the Jira – and the Friday edition of the Drax Files featured a full recording, so I don’t think I need to rehash what was said and who said what. Instead, like a good Sunday columnist, I propose to offer you my thoughts on this.

(Pause for the sound of most readers turning to the funny pages or – is the case of this blog – the jigsaw puzzles.)

I’m very heartened by the appointment of Ebbe. After the visionary kick of Philip Rosedale who got the company going, we have seen two CEOs who led Second Life in directions that ultimately proved to be limited and possibly even blind alleys: Mark Kingdon, who held the brief to turn Second Life into a place to do business, and Rod Humble whose brief was clearly to develop Second Life and the Lab as a centre for gaming.  With Ebbe, we seem to be in the hands of a CEO whose brief is to manage and to grow … You know, I can live with that.

Bring Back Second Life Names!

Bring Back Second Life Names!

This is not to disparage the efforts of former CEOs. I think that Rod Humble in particular did a lot to strengthen the stability of the platform and also to lead Second Life (some would say to drag Second Life, kicking and screaming) into standard platform technologies such as mesh and materials. He left the actual technology of the grid in a helluva lot better state than he found it. Unfortunately, he also presided over or maintained what I considered to be a lot of bad decisions, such as the disastrous decline in avenues of communication between residents and the Lab, including the closing of the Jira, which many residents had come to see as their only means of protesting to the Lab about issues which they felt to be important – the abandonment of Second Names for residents and the protest Jira over that being a case in point. There was also the ending of the discount for educational establishments and nonprofits – something which has fortunately been reversed – and the restitution of which I was very pleased to hear Ebbe warmly endorse.

Indeed, Ebbe impressed me with his declared willingness to listen and – as he explored things – to have all options on the table (something he said as we were discussing the need to reform the process by which new avatars are introduced to the grid). It was very tempting to rattle off a list of things that I would like to see on the table – Terms of Service, Second Names (yes, that little gnome on my front lawn still plaintively asks for that), Community Gateways, more support for creators as the IRS starts to make increasingly worrying demands for tax information of non-US residents (something that is not only affecting Linden Lab, by the way), a plan to revitalise Linden Homes into vivid communities with the support of Second Life designers and, above all, reliable channels of communication.

Linden Homes - beautifully built, but where's the community?

Linden Homes – beautifully built, but where’s the community?

And he’s also hit the ground running. He met with a number of Second Life media who blog or broadcast regularly, he’s interacted more generally with the forums and on Twitter. He’s expressed willingness to address or, in some cases, re-address issues that the community are concerned about in Second Life. He’s also presided over the streamlining of Lab products (whether or not he initiated this).  And he’s moving forward with a very positive agenda for growth.

He’s got a very tough job ahead. Leaving aside Linden Lab’s other products, Second Life is a creaky old platform now, and not only are there parts where the duct tape urgently needs replacing – it’s also a platform where the ingenuity of residents has led to a platform so complex and interdependent that fixing one part creates problems from another.  Fix the code that allows the malicious to spam messages to a large number of residents? Suddenly you have merchants howling because they can no longer send messages out to their devoted groups, using the same piece of code.  Remove the illegal megaprims that a griefer created to crash sims? Then you realise that he was selling the prims as a side-line and half the most beloved builds in Second Life suddenly have gaping holes in their walls.

But no-one said this was going to be easy.

Ebbe’s first and most significant task is to build trust between the Lab and the community. This is not going to be simple – trust has been damaged so often in the past that regaining it will be a significant challenge. Opening lines of communication is a great start. Ensuring means of keeping them open (not on a one-to-one with the CEO level) is going to be hugely helpful. Revisiting some problem areas could also be a great benefit.

But so too will recognising that Second Life residents can be cantankerous and ornery – about everything. Marianne McCann told me last year that when she was preparing her amazing avenue of flags (which you can see photographed by PJ Trenton in Prim Perfect No.48 – starting on Page 30), again and again as she referenced some change, some innovation, it came accompanied by the words: “And people said that this would destroy Second Life.” Well, still here.

The History Walk, photographed by PJ Trenton

The History Walk, photographed by PJ Trenton

There’s a difficult line to be drawn between worried or even panicked concerns genuinely expressed and loud and vociferous complaints because the complainer enjoys (or needs) the subsequent drama fest. And all too often, of course, the two overlap. Sensible voices can become shrill. Shrill voices can be telling the truth. So far, Ebbe seems to have a fine appreciation of this and – in turn – that is very much appreciated.

At the end of our session, I slipped in a couple of questions that I said were a little tongue-in-cheek – which they were. But there was also a serious side to them. I asked if Ebbe had tried any sports in Second Life – and he said he hadn’t but made interested noises. Of course, one can spend a great deal of time in Second Life without trying out any of the sports – ranging from ice hockey to sailing to shooting kraken to en garde tournaments to golf and oh so many more even before you sit down at a table to play Greedy with friends. But Ebbe has a sporting background and I did wonder whether he’s been sufficiently immersed to try some of the Second Life versions (and I think I can still point him at a ski course designed by Alpinists).

My second question was about having a home in Second Life. In the old days, many Lindens maintained homes on the grid. It’s a custom that’s fallen away, and I can see why it would have a negative side. But I always thought it was hugely beneficial in giving them a perspective in what living on the grid meant for many residents – whether it was dealing with prim allowances, exploring the shopping experience, understanding how animations worked (and where there were weaknesses), dealing with griefers or other problems.  Catherine Linden, for example, maintained a home at a quiet location on the mainland – I know, because we made it over for her on a very early MetaMakeover show. She loved it and kept it till she left the company (I know that because that was when some of my prims were returned!). It was a place where she could take journalists when they came inworld – but it also brought her face to face with the problems residents experienced – in the waterway outside her house were a couple of the ugly spamming ad boards that defaced the mainland back in those days and made residents’ lives a misery – unless they moved to private, covenanted estates.

Catherine Linden's Mainland Home

Catherine Linden’s Mainland Home

Ebbe said he liked the idea of Second Life as a place to vacation by staying with friends. It’s a nice idea, and a friendly concept. But for me there’s the danger of the tourist who looks at the whitewashed cottages huddled on the hillside and thinks, “Pretty!” and not “Rural deprivation”. And moreover, although I like the idea of a CEO who thinks “friend!” and not “scary customer – avoid!”, I still hope that he will allow himself a little taste of what residents experience that makes them love Second Life so passionately and make them so prickly at any disturbance.

And if he’s looking for land, Catherine Linden’s old plot is still free, sitting on abandoned land in a very pretty mainland location.

A rather nice mainland location

A rather nice mainland location

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Two major changes in Virtual Worlds are coming to light today.

Rodvik Linden (the cut-out version)

Rodvik Linden (the cut-out version)

First of all, Rod Humble (aka Rodvik Linden in Second Life) left his post as CEO of Linden Lab last week.  You can read fuller details on Jo Yardley’s blog here.

What I think makes this news really strange is the way it has been announced. Or not announced. Rod is sharing the news on Facebook with friends, family and co-workers, which I guess is the way that one would want to do it.  Except that he seemingly left last week … which rather begs the question …

Who the hell is in charge over there now?

Does this mark a new low in the Lab’s failure to communicate with … well, anyone?

Cloud Party

Cloud Party

And in other news, Cloud Party is closing on February 21st. The announcement appears in a rather breezy and chipper little blog post, announcing that the team are starting their next adventure – but joining Yahoo.  However, for once the acquisition seems to have been of the people rather than the product. Yahoo aren’t continuing Cloud Party – it will be interesting to see if the team has been recruited for something similar.

I always felt Cloud Party missed something of a trick. It had a connection to Facebook, and could have tapped into a huge (and largely unrealised) family market potential – a shared space where grandparents could play with grandkids (no age limits), We all know the that the demographic of virtual worlds like Second Life is actually skewed towards older users, while younger users are enthusiastic about Club Penguin and Habbo Hotel. It could be that Cloud Party had the capacity to unite the two, but went chasing after that elusive cool demographic instead.

In Cloud Party - what lies ahead?

In Cloud Party – what lies ahead?

But for now Second Life has seen off yet another virtual world. And another CEO.

Well, we live in interesting times.

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A wall between Second Life and Gmail

A wall between Second Life and Gmail

Are you a gmail user? Have you seen your messages from Second Life decline over the last few days?

There’s a reason for this – and you need to do something about it – NOW!

It seems that a few weeks ago, Linden Labs was put on the SPAM list for gmail. Because of this, many of your offlines from Second Life may have been going to your spam folder (a peek into the dark recesses of your spam folder will confirm this – and I’ve included instructions below for how to check spam on the web).

If you still wish to see all your offlines – and I know many businesses depend on this for customer service – you may need to set a filter.

How to set a filter

  • Pull up your gmail and go to the little settings *wheel* in the upper right corner.
  • Select SETTINGS from the dropdown list.
  • On the page that opens, click on the FILTERS tab
  • Click on CREATE NEW FILTER. It will bring up a new window.
  • In the FROM box type “@im.agni.lindenlab.com
    (without the quotation marks of course!)
  • Click CREATE FILTER WITH THIS SEARCH
  • Make sure to check the box marked NEVER SEND IT TO SPAM
  • Check the small box at the bottom that says: “Also apply filter to matching conversations.”
  • Finally, click the blue box that says CREATE FILTER

Your filter is now set!

That’s the important one – you can also add a filter for no-reply@lindenlab.com too.

How to see the contents of your Spam folder on the web

If you want make sure all your offlines have been seen you can double check.

  • Slowly lower your mouse down from the INBOX until the MORE option shows.
  • Select MORE
  • Select SPAM
  • You can now see everything in your spam file.

If there is nothing there you care to keep, do not worry about it! gmail deletes all spam after 30 days!

Many thanks to Melody Regent of Regent Estates for this information! Please spread the word as widely as you can!

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Complete our online form!

Complete our online form!

Following the success of our discussion / interview programmes at the Home and Garden Expos,  and the Birthdays and of course the Christmas Expos… well, you get the picture!  At the Christmas Expoo, running from December 5th – 15th, we are planning a further series of talks with designers and breedable creators.

These talks will take place in a very special pavilion designed for us by Eliza Wierwight of PATRON – who is taking time out from supporting elephants to create it! But we’ll be telling you more about that later!

We’re planning to host events at 2pm every day and 5pm.  If you would really LOVE to give a presentation, but can’t make that time, contact us and we will see if we can fit you in.

We are happy to host talks, presentations, interviews, question and answer sessions.  It’s an opportunity for designers to share ideas, for people to meet their favourite creators, for communities to come together and talk about their culture and ideas.  We’re very open to hosting what YOU want to tell us about!

If you would like to be a part of our programme at the Expo, please complete this form with your topic and preferred dates and times. We will try to fit in as many people as we can!

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Designing Worlds’ two recent shows are now available on the web.

In Part 1, we we are joined by Jilly Kidd, of the writer’s group Written Word, Chic Aeon, artist, machinimatographer, builder (past tense), blogger, store owner and curator of LEA7 – the Machinima Open Studio Project; Ramses Meredith, owner of the leading fashion brand Egoisme; Cain Maven, designer and owner of Maven Homes and Quantum Luxury Homes; Kylie Skyborne, Council Facilitator and Press for UCCSL & Curator for the Rose Theatre Galleries; and Jamie Bryce Infinity, a technology lawyer who started on Wall Street and now is the general counsel of an internet standards organization – in Second Life, he has served on the SL Bar Association board of directors, and has been involved in a number of virtual world intellectual property and privacy disputes. They outline the problems that are caused by the changes for different communities.

In the second part of this show, we see a presentation by Agenda Faromet of the Second Life Bar Association, who compares different Terms of Service before looking in detail at the Lab changes. What she has to say may surprise you!

Then in Part 2, we discuss questions that have arisen from the issue – and questions asked by our live audience with the aid of our panel.

Designing Worlds Terms of Service show Part 2

Designing Worlds Terms of Service show Part 2

It all makes for a fascinating and timely show!

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Join us at 2pm SLT today, Monday 18th November, for Designing Worlds at our studio in Garden of Dreams for Part 2 of our special show as we discuss an issue of key importance to many designers on the grid – the changes made to Linden Lab’s Terms of Service for Second Life.

Designing Worlds Terms of Service show Part 2

Designing Worlds Terms of Service show Part 2

In Part 1 (available here on Aview TV), a group of concerned residents explored the problems that are caused by the changes for different communities and in the second half of the show, we showed a presentation by Agenda Faromet of the Second Life Bar Association, who compares different Terms of Service before looking in detail at the Lab changs. What she has to say may surprise you!

In Part 2, to discuss questions that have arisen from the issue – and question asked by our live audience – we are joined once more by we are joined by Jilly Kidd, of the writer’s group Written Word, Chic Aeon, artist, machinimatographer, builder (past tense), blogger, store owner and curator of LEA7 – the Machinima Open Studio Project; Cain Maven, designer and owner of Maven Homes and Quantum Luxury Homes; Kylie Skyborne, Council Facilitator and Press for UCCSL & Curator for the Rose Theatre Galleries; and Jamie Bryce Infinity, a technology lawyer who started on Wall Street and now is the general counsel of an internet standards organization – in Second Life, he has served on the SL Bar Association board of directors, and has been involved in a number of virtual world intellectual property and privacy disputes.

Designing Worlds Terms of Service show Part 2

Designing Worlds Terms of Service show Part 2

It all makes for a fascinating and timely show – so do come and watch it at 2pm!

Or – if you can’t attend in person – tune in to the web at 2pm SLT on Monday for a special showing on Aview TV – or catch it later in the week on our shows page on the Treet.tv web site at http://treet.tv/shows/designingworlds – or on the Designing Worlds blog – our very own version of the iPlayer!

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Join us today at at 12 noon SLT in the Prim Perfect Headquarters for the second of what we hope will be regular discussions with leading creators.

Prim Perfect and Mesh Creative Talk

Prim Perfect and Mesh Creative Talk

The following people are scheduled:  Maxwell Graf of Rustica, Cain Maven of Maven Homes and Quantum Luxury Designs, Loz Hyde of Meshworx, and Charlotte Bartlett of Scarlet Creative, with special guests Lilith and Dolly Heart of the Heart Botanicals.

It’s a chance to learn what some of Second Life’s top designers are working on – to see their latest products and to ask your own questions about design, mesh, Second Life and virtual worlds business.

It’s going to be informative, challenging and a whole lot of fun so do come and join us in the Prim Perfect cafe!

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