31 May 2007

The value of virtual property

Remember Bragg vs. Linden Research? The lawsuit over virtual land? The PA court has decided to allow the suit to continue vs both Philip Rosedale and LL. Some articles.

The comments about the legality of the ToS are particularly interesting. The longterm metaverse effects of that will be worth watching.

If you want, you can read the various legal filings yourself.

Ups and Downs

Eileen McCallister gifted me with some delightful windchimes and let me know she likes the Sound Prims. :D

Modified my avatar vending machine. The animal eye textures, the new flexi tails, and a modified version of the neko gloves & socks are now in there.

Found a sweetly simple SL-Blender tutorial.

I'm finding my main plot of land depressing. I need to come up with some fun ideas for it.

30 May 2007

Staring into the Uncanny Valley

Here's an article from Gamasutra discussing the Uncanny Valley as relating to character interactions.

"...a Tickle Me Elmo doll pushes a lot of our "cute" buttons. However, when it's set on fire and continues to giggle, kick it's feet and shout "Stop! Stop! It tickles!" while it burns into a puddle of fuming goo, it seems horrific, profane and hilarious by turns."

Aside from the fact that I have always loathed Elmo, the quote above really pins down why I have a very hard time relating to automated characters (NPCs) - they almost always end up in situations where they behave as "things" instead of as people.

Found a journal of someone doing their PhD on this. Lots of pictures and ideas. I'm not sure how much the theory relating to something being corpselike or resembling someone with a facial birth defect works for me. I don't find bodies disturbing unless they belong to someone I knew. When I've been around people with facial deformities I haven't felt disturbed, I'm more concerned with learning how to reliably read their expressions.

What does creep me out are things like Duracell's Puttermans, or the current Burger King. I don't think it has to do with masks, clowns don't bother me. And I'm too old to have been scared by someone with a Botox treatment when I was a child. ;)

29 May 2007


Played around on the grid for a bit; I've got some fun new flexi tails I need to box up. Had a customer service moment when SLX reported a delivery that the customer didn't get, so I made sure she got her purchase. Still learning Blender. Torley's been linking pics of skies using the WindLights code. Sunsets are going to be gorgeous. Watching sculpted prims load when entering a space is freaky - they start out as spheres and then suddenly morph. Met someone working on an avatarium like Taco (I miss Taco) used to have - I'm hoping that works out.

24 May 2007

Heh! 1st sculpty

Ah. *dryly* The joy of learning new software. Anyway, here's a pic of my first sculpted prim (a lumpy mushroom) for posterity.


If you haven't seen it, there's a tutorial on using SL's Jira at Material Squirrel.

The grid's a tiny place.

One of the stranger things about the grid is how socially accessible everyone is. In the real world, I can mail or email strangers and be confident that they'll never see my words - an assistant or the trash bin might. On the grid, I can drop a notecard and be relatively sure they'll notice it. With the current ToS, there's no guarantee they'll be the one to see it, but most non-corporate avatars are run by one person. Have questions about someone's projects or products? Just ask. Heck, the grid's small enough that most people read their own email. More often than not, they answer it.

There's a lot more possibilities when the noise-to-signal ratio is low.

23 May 2007

New grid goodies and a whimsical freebie

Sculpties hit the main grid today! We also get a new scripting call, llRegionSay().

Uva Oxide is planning a poetry garden. I think this sounds neat, and so I made a new freebie. When touched, it displays whatever's on the included notecard in hovertext one line at a time. Everything's open permissions, and the script is set up so it is easy to change the amount of time each line is displayed and the color of the text.

21 May 2007

New Pretties?

New and improved visuals may be on the way. LL is buying a company specializing in lighting and cloud effects.

17 May 2007

hack, wheeze

No real news. I caught a cold. Voice, sculpted prims, certification, age verification, etc. all continue marching toward the grid. I'm glad voice isn't yet here - I sound like a raspy frog right now. :P I've got a new avatar about 1/3 done. I'm taking pics, so hopefully I'll have something to add to AvTx.

14 May 2007

Nekos in a Blender...

I got the new neko box kit up, picked up a new vendor rental spot, and spent some time getting to know Blender. I'm noob with it, but I can see already that once I'm comfortable with it, it'll be a wonderfully easy tool.

I'm getting bored with my mushrooms (I keep thinking of how great they'd look as sculpted prims) and might take them down sometime soon. I'm not sure what I'd replace them with yet. Maybe a giant tree. Or a huge sunflower. I don't like the way the space is boxed in right now.

09 May 2007

More Age Verification news and my todo list for tonight.

One of the Reuters guys found out that the deal with Integrity isn't certain yet. Unexpected, and I'm intrigued to see someone at Reuters get first crack at a story.

Looks might I might get a couple hours on the grid tonight! :D

TODO list:
Take some pics and set up SLX copy and inworld vendor for my new neko product.
Edit the multivendor code so it won't animate textures when in that one sim.
Peg new vendor locations. I've got two in mind. Which is good, since I'm pulling out of the new RT sim.
- drop a notecard to that Mega avatar developer, and hunt for some shapes-makers.
- More pics.
- Refresh the box with the grid-clothing.
Do some testing on that series of texture animation issues. Add to the Jira?
Blender and beta-grid experimentation.

Laugh or Cry?

There must be something funny in the air. I found a transcript of the Office Hour I was talking about. In it Robin says several times that the transcript will be posted on the wiki in office hours.

Rant about information, organization, access.

If people can't FIND information, they certainly won't be influenced by it.

Try finding things in the SL Wiki. I dare you. Easy browsing and categories are confused and erratic. I just spent some time adding category info to pages to soothe my frustration. The Search function is a load of crap; it picks and chooses which categories to search, and I couldn't simply find his user page (in the next paragraph) by searching on Zero Linden. Even with the User box checked. But type Zero Linden into Google? First listed. When your Search function stinks, use another. At least the wiki is accessable by unverified accounts - unlike the official forums.

Information given during office hours. This Word-of-Mouth crap doesn't work in a world of tens of thousands of people. More age verification info recorded by Tao Takashi. Hey Lindens! Take a hint from Zero Linden and share transcripts of your office hours.

04 May 2007

Are you 18?

Well, for better or worse, Age and Identity Verification are coming to the grid.

They're using a third party to do the verifications, and yes, there will be an associated cost.

EDIT: Unofficial word is that they're looking at Aristotle's Integrity.

Town Hall, the short version

I could write about yesterday's Town Hall, but plenty's been said already. So instead I will offer you this:

Thank you for the letter
We hear what you have to say
But we're gonna add new features
and the Unverifieds will stay

There's lots of things you can do
to make Second Life better
Jira, office hours, beta grid
Try a compiler, not a letter

Here's the proper channels
for those nasty bugs and issues
We're too busy working hard
to ToS you any tissues

We're working on stability and bugs
and that Traffic thing will go away
Keep your eyes on the future, and
Be excellent to each other, okay?

02 May 2007

Pics of the new vendor machine

The first one is of the menu screen. The static is animated, although I might make a version where it isn't since some malls forbid animated textures. The top button with all the tiny avatars on it takes you back to here.

The second one is one of the buying screens. If the vendor is on one of these screens and is ignored (no touches or buys) for five minutes, it flips back to the menu screen on its own.

Fairies, Vending, and AvTx

I think I've finally satisfied my vendor envy. 11 prims, selling 16 avatars, with room for three more sets of six. It's big, 50s retro, has lots of buttons, and a little animated static. I'll try to grab pics of it later today. I'm curious to see how people respond to it; most of the ones I've seen are either modern/futuristic or cute in a "nature" sort of way.

Spent some time last night working on it at ~300M. Usually I don't see anyone when I'm above the clouds, but a green fairy with dragonfly wings flew over and we chatted for a bit. She's entirely focused on exploration, so I gave her leads to places like Svarga and Isle of Wyrms. I hadn't really thought about it before, but if you like to visit interesting builds but don't follow the SL blogs you're missing out. I wonder if there are any inworld groups for explorers.

I'd been musing about setting up some of my things on SLBoutique since they moved to an advertising model a couple months ago, but right now I'm hearing so many complaints about timeliness and search engine problems that I think I will wait. Growing pains.

Speaking of growing pains, the group IM bugs are painful. I miss being able to chat casually with people while I'm building and scripting.

I wrote up a list of things to add to Avatar Toolbox over the next week. I guess I'm not the only person who wanted something like it, it has gotten 800-900 visits a month since it started. One of these days I need to get it a decent logo.