Friday, 18 April 2008

Growing Pains

Cindy Kesey wrote another great blog post venturing into the subject of SLove & SLex (no I don't do the trademarking stuff). Although I agree with her conclusion that cheating on your RL spouse in SL is more a symptom of an already flawed marriage then a cause I think there is more to it. Albeit true in some cases it is too easy a conclusion as it relies on a few givens I'm not so sure of.

Given one: the notion of eternal romantic love.

A marriage, even in the legal sense, is a contract, a contract that will hopefully be beneficial for both parties. Looking back at its historic significance one could debate the merits of such contract in this day and age where women no longer depend on their husbands to provide for them and their children or where the careful planning of strategic weddings to keep family fortunes together or alliances intact is no longer a real issue. Still, you don't have to look far to find cultures where, to this day, it is absolutely normal for parents to decide who their children will marry. Anyway, whether it be now or in the past, marriage and romantic love are two different things all too often confused in our western culture these days. Fact remains though that no one wants to grow old alone or be alone period. So I do believe a marriage can last forever but I am not convinced the same goes for romantic love.

Given two: getting caught with your pants around your ankles in SL is just as bad as it is in RL.

Hate to burst your bubble but it isn't. If I simply count the *hugs* & *kisses* or variations thereof I have received in my time in SL they by far exceed the number of RL hugs and kisses I've received in RL to this day. Face it: they are a convention; a way of expressing you like a person for lack of other, more subtle signals we have at hand in RL where a look can say more than a thousand words. I won't push it as far as to saying that doing the "pixel polka" is meaningless but to compare it to RL sex is selling RL short.

Given three: there is such a thing as a perfect marriage.

Need I say more ?

Now, if you accept above givens are not as factual as they appear in the first place what is the problem with SL relationships? Why do people still get their knickers in a knot over them?

What I do see is that SL in many ways acts as a magnifying glass for emotions, fooling a lot of people into seeing things that simply are not there. I believe it has a lot to do with the limited way in which we can express ourselves online. It leaves no room for subtlety and forces us to be very explicit to avoid all kinds of misunderstandings. By doing that the message sent becomes a very powerful statement. The reaction will be equally strong and the ball starts rolling... Looking at it from the outside and comparing given conversations and/or interactions with RL ones can be very easily misinterpreted. You can not compare a RL relationship with an SL relationship because the whole frame of reference in which they exist is completely different. Trouble usually starts when people start mixing up the two and start judging SL actions within a RL frame of reference or the other way around. I guess the main question is where you draw the line between the two because the are inevitably intertwined and most certainly related.

This is not an exclusive SL thing. I've seen the same issues in chat rooms many years ago. It will take time for people to learn to put things in the right perspective. If you look at how teenagers, who grew up with all this technology, have made a whole new frame of reference that includes both online presence and physical presence I think there is hope for the future. In the meantime we'll have to deal with the growing pains.

On a side-note: I'm no ogre, so yes, I left out some of the grey in between for the sake of argument ;-)

Snippets on Friday 04/18

Yay, made it on Friday again!

4 Woman's Perspective

Jeza May, Kade Klata, Seide Tripp, Aya Liotta are putting together an exhibition that will open Saturday next week. Judging from their respective Flickr accounts I'm definitively curious.

DisTorSioni PeRceTTivE

What started as an idea for an exhibit of work by Hio "Force of Nature" Taringa and Sole Krams has expanded into an Italians only exhibit. Dates are yet to be determined but it should open early May. I hope there will be pizza and Chianti served ;-)

Melodious Source @ Rezzable Cannery

Yesterday "A Different Light" went out at the Cannery. It would have been nice if it had gone out with a bang but no time for sadness since today "the Source is within" opens at the Cannery featuring the wonderful art of SL artist Melodious Source and some of what she calls her "sources". Everyone familiar with her work knows this is most surely a happy occasion.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Snippets on Friday 04/11

As usual on Saturday :-)
Looks like it will be a busy evening! but first:

RC 1.20

Last Thursday we all had the pleasure of being handed what will probably go down in history as the worst ever SL client. Numerous people reported huge bugs in RC 1.20. Some have problems with "snapshot to disk" like Mylena Aquitaine reported (you can vote for the jira here). For others like Vint Falken the renderglow feature is totally borked and I'm sure the list goes on. The LL blog reads like a todo list these days.

Apart from the bugs there is the new user interface formely codenamed Dazzle. It is clearly desined by someone who is either blind or working in Redmond (which is probably even worse). As far as I am concerned it's hideous. Who needed a new UI in the first place? Give me back the old look!

I'm sure it's not easy to test new releases on every single system / graphics card out there but I think it's about time LL starts using the wages of their trademark lawyers and UI fiddlers to pay for developpers and software testers. It may only be a release candidate but even at that it should never have seen the light of day.

More artwork exhibits

This evening Saturday 12th at 11am SLT you can go to the opening of the "Las Tres Gracias" exhibit featuring the works of Florence Babenco, Zonja Capalini & Ludmilla Writer. I'm sure it will be worth a visit.

Go there straight from here

Relay For Life Concert

Some of SL's top live musicians will be playing a benefit at the stunning Bliss concert venue on the intersection of four sims. It promises to be one of the largest concert ever in SL. If you want to do your bit to help raise funds to fight cancer, here's your chance to do it the fun way.

Confirmed artists (as far as I know):

Bara Jonson (manager Amanda Steadman) - 4/12 at 2pm
Maximillion Kleene (manager Kat Vargas) - 4/12 at 3 pm
Edward Kyomoon (manager Bomsey Munro) - 4/12 at 4pm

Time : 2pm - 5pm SLT

Go there straigt from here

Fashion Show at Nex-Core

For those of you who are interested in fashion there is Nex-Core's "Ivalde Fashion" this evening.

Last reminder

Good luck with it Sho !!

Go there straight from here

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Business in SL

Last Wednesday while I was at work out of the blue I got a 1580 L$ payment from Shoshana Epsilon. When I asked her via mail what it was for she referred me to a note card she had given me in world. Reading it later that day it turned out to be a rather sad message.

Those of you who follow this blog or know me will be aware I had some pictures up at the Rezzable Cannery exhibit "A Different Light" curated by Shoshana. First of all she announced the exhibit is drawing to a close. Not the end of the world of course, it's the way things go. What made me really sad was the rest of the message:

"My apology is due to the lack of logistics on our part that prevented other things from happening.

a) There is no RL book. I know I promised it, but I was not given the opportunity to put it together. Last I heard, Vint was two weeks from finishing it. She was working on it, but she’s been pulled off to do other things. Contact RightAsRain Rimbald to get information on it.
b) There is no show sponsor. In the last show, RightAsRain found one. If there was one for this show, I haven’t heard of it.

c) The voting system is up, and has been for about 6 weeks. That and any sales are the only possible income from which you would get any monies. RightAsRain is the only person I know who might know how the financial situation is standing and how you would get your share.

My job was to get art and artists. I had your help to have classes, and I thank all of you who participated.

An apology that is just words is useless. As part of my apology to all of you for the lack of support, I will be converting $100 into Lindens and dispersing it to all artists. I want to thank you for your time, your effort, your talent, and your trust in me as a curator. I apologize profusely for having failed you.

-- Shoshana Epsilon"

I have to say I too was expecting a bit more from Rezzable as far as
"A Different Light" was concerned so I understand Sho's disappointment. This whole thing put me in a bit of an awkward situation though. I find myself in the middle of a disagreement between people I consider friends. So I'm not about to chose sides or point fingers but I'll try to look at the bigger picture.

I think this dispute or incident, for lack of a better word, is unfortunately a bit symptomatic of small RL businesses in SL. The mix of volunteers or barely payed employees and the people who hope to actually start something is not always easy. Add to the mix the fact communication is not as easy as it is working with colleagues face to face and you know it will get rocky at times. That said I think the main problem for these start-ups is focus. Take Rezzable as an example: what is their aim ? What do they stand for ? I'm not too sure... I guess the uncertainty about where SL in itself is going makes it difficult. Will SL be the metaverse of the future? Is it merely a start that will soon be replaced by competing technology ? All these factors make it difficult to rely on SL as a target for business. I think it's safe to say that if at this time you want to start something, involving SL, and I don't mean a clothing shop or the likes, you're probably better of regarding SL as just a part of the whole social media scene, dividing efforts between SL and all that surrounds it. I for one am not convinced SL presently offers a sufficiently mature platform to invest any of my euros in a business relying on it.

Snippets on Friday 04/04

A short one again...

Ganymedes Costagravas

Last Sunday I attended the opening of Gany's exhibit and saw it was good :-) Go have a look it's worth it!

Codebastard Redgrave

After Gany's opening I went to the party Codie was organising to celebrate the opening of her Boudoir Rouge. I'll spare you the juicy details but I can tell you it was a lot of fun.

There was also a photography contest featuring Mizz Codie as the sizzling model. First prize went to this red hawt pic by Mylena Aquitaine.

Congratulations to her. A well deserved win if you ask me.

Pssssttt ... if you happen to see Mylena in world today wish her a happy RL birthday ;-)

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Asset Servers

In my "Snippets on Friday" post of March 21th I pointed out there were some fears LL was going to obsolete the asset servers and replace them with a distributed database hosted on the sim servers.

Reading comments and talking to people about the isssue I already got the impression this scenario was rather unlikely. Today that was confirmed as Tess Linden was kind enough to reply to an email of mine with this statement:

"Our cluster of Isilon asset servers are not going away with this new
release. We are not adding distributed databases on the simulator
hosts. We're adding small distributed web services in front of our
central *database*, which is different from the central asset servers
and different from distributed databases on sim hosts. This would allow
requests to the database to be cached more coherently.

The current architecture will begin to hit the limit in terms of
scalability and this is a large effort to try to maintain that, to bring
better experience to the residents."

Thank you Tess for sheding some light on the issue.

Tess is a Software Developer at Linden Lab working primarily on the distributed server components. She's been at Linden for 2 and a half years.