Viewer failure

I’ve been having login failures off and on over the last week. After I use the Imprudence viewer to log in to InWorlds or OSgrid, I sometimes then get login failures in all the Second Life viewers, for all accounts. The login progress bar starts, and then this error message pops up:

Login failed.
Sorry! We couldn’t log you in.
Please check to make sure you entered the right
*Account name
Also, please make sure your Caps Lock key is off.

I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled both the Imprudence and Second Life viewers multiple times, being sure to eliminate the logs, the caches, and the “application support” files. (I’m on a Mac.) I have been able to get SL running again by using a backup copy of user settings, but I don’t know what it is I did correctly when I did so, because I’m currently not able to access SL even after redoing the entire reinstall again. I can’t even log in to SL with Imprudence (which I could one of the prior times.) I’m really stumped.

Well presented hunt

I’m not doing this hunt, but since I’ve been free with criticisms of hunts, I’d like to give a shout-out to the Animal Lovers Hunt – 8.08 – 9.09.2010. There are many things I like about the way they’ve presented their hunt:

  • They aren’t overly preachy about not giving hints or using TPV item searches (although of course they discourage it!)
  • Although their hint list doesn’t have SLurls, they do have a list of all the participating stores with SLurls, so I can go to a specific store if I want to
  • Excellent use of photographs, both on Flickr and the blog, including photos of the prizes

I really like being given enough information to decide if I want to invest the time in the hunt, and enough information to patronize specific stores as well.

A store I’ll never patronize

I’m doing the House and Garden hunt until I get bored. I came across an item at rbcg (#14) that insures I’ll never shop there. And the hunt conveniently provides all the places, so I’m not dependent on taking whatever they’re offering, either!

The offending item? A mask of some sort that attaches an elephant trunk and tusks to your face. That’s fine, as far as it goes. But the item is called “you have aids!” and the sign has a letter in the image, which reads: “hello. we are writing this letter in regards to your last visit here at the unplanned parenthood department. we regret to inform you that you have been diagnosed with aids. sucks for you.”

Sadly, I don’t think just being deeply, deeply offensive is on the list of things I can abuse report the creator for, so I thought I’d do the next best thing and tell teh intarweebs that rbcg sucks, and don’t shop there.

Is this a persistent login?

Lo these many, many ages, we’ve been asking why Linden Research, Inc., can’t manage to have a single persistent login across the assorted websites its customers might want to access (,,,,, Well, they seem to have managed it for SL, xstreet, marketplace, and the blogs, but not the jira or wiki.

On the other hand, I now have to log in *every* *single* *time*.

Compare and contrast

Watch out, everyone, I’m on a tear!

Here is the rather simple description of the Victorian Shopkeepers Association, a smallish group that I created in an attempt to help both shoppers and business owners:

The Association exists to enrich the 19th-century communities of SL.

* Discerning consumers, consolidate notices of new products and specials in a single group.

* Shopkeepers, reach a wider audience through cooperative effort.

Shopkeepers may send up to one notice fortnightly announcing new products or sales.

No general advertising. No general events. No land sales. No chat.

Rules strictly enforced.

Recently I noticed a number of land rental notices, freebies, and general advertising, and I was tired and just shrugging it off until I got two IMs from members who asked if the rules had changed. So I decided I should send “a gentle reminder” on May 30:

Shopkeepers may send up to one notice fortnightly announcing new products or sales.

No general advertising. No general events. No land sales. No chat.

I’ve attached our logo and group joiner in case anyone is in need of them.

On June 2, just three days later, “guilty party #1” sent this notice:

Visit Guilty Party #1’s to look at some of our conventional, weird n wonderful furniture, home decor, v 2.0 media systems and much more!

Be sure to IM guilty party #1 if you are interested in custom building, projects or entertainment services!

Then on June 6, “guilty party #2” sent a rental notice (a duplicate of a notice sent just on the 29th before, part of the impetus for the gentle reminder).

And so, also on June 6, I sent “a not so gentle reminder” and added the two aforesaid guilty parties to the new “rule breakers” role.

There is now a new role in the Victorian Shopkeepers Association: rule breakers.

This group is to announce new products or sales. No rentals, no land sales, no events, no general advertising.

The first response I received to my not so gentle reminder was this email from someone I had not placed in the rule breakers, as there had been no transgression following my initial gentle reminder:

I realized I goofed a couple of weeks ago by sending out two notices with a couple of days of each other. I wasn’t paying attention to which group I had entered the second message into. I blame the chemo drugs, but it’s still not an acceptable excuse.

Please be assured I will be more vigilant in the future, because I greatly appreciate the promotion that VSA offers my business!


Not Guilty Party

(I replied that chemo is always an acceptable excuse.)

And then I received an IM from “guilty party #1.”

a small point for attention. there is a proliferation of junk advertisements in victorian shopkeepers. there are further, numerous ads for old products with no “sale” associated with them. on the rare occasion i have sent notices, they offer very specific products, note sales or offer niche services. fortunately, the only work i do in SL is commissioned, many requests which are turned down. consequently, i do not tolerate defamatory action without an ounce of procedural fairness and have gladly left the group.

I congratulate guilty party #1 on his/her/its success in doing commissioned work. But quite obviously, guilty party #1 was simply in the wrong group. Why he/she/it would want to be in a group with “junk advertisements,” I don’t know.

The Victorian Shopkeepers Association is perhaps a misnomer, as it is not an association. There is no procedural fairness. I “own” the group, in the parlance of Second Life groups, and I initially set the rules after a fairly small amount of consultation. It is neither more nor less than what it is. If that works for you, I am delighted to have you join. If it does not, I prefer that you not join. Mr Excalibur Longstaff provides an excellent aether forum at for all manner of announcements and discussion, and there is the nascent Aether Chrononauts group (in-world, or Subscribe-o-Matic) for event announcements from across (and beyond) the Steamlands.

Observant readers will note that I myself do not own a shop and have no personal, vested interest in being able to do cooperative promotion such as the Victorian Shopkeepers Association. This (both the good and the bad examples I have provided), by the way, is just small potatoes compared to what some people who are public figures in the Steamlands get. It goes a long way towards explaining why people who try to serve our communities so often burn out or make mis-steps under pressure.

They just don’t get it

Linden Lab has published their rationale for the most controversial 2010 Linden Prize Finalist: SionChicken and SionCorn. There are a variety of opinions in the comments so far, including, predictably, Prokofy Neva calling everyone who disagrees with Sion as a finalist “high-minded elitist socialists.”

I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to deny that Sion products were a commercial success, nor that they spawned community. (I’ll note that the Sion Labs Update group currently has only 121 members, however.)

They also seem to have innovated a type of product, and perhaps a technology—although I’m not a programmer, so I can’t know for certain. (We do know, however, that their products as first released were incredibly resource-intensive.) They also gave rise to a multitude of related businesses.

All of this is well and good, and I have no argument with it. Good for everyone involved, congratulations, etc.

What Linden Lab and the people supporting Sion Labs with their comments on the blog just don’t get is: What does any of that have to do with the stated purposes of the Linden Prize?

an innovative inworld project that improves the way people work, learn and communicate in their daily lives outside of the virtual world. This annual award is intended to align with Linden Lab’s company mission, which is to connect all people to an online world that advances the human condition.

No one has yet to address this question. The only effects outside the virtual world that anyone has mentioned are: Google search results and financial returns. Once again: These things are not in dispute (although one can always dispute gross Google search result numbers), but they do not reflect the purposes of the Linden Prize.

Whither polite Victorian Steampunk society?

Both the Independent State of Caledon group IM and the Caledon blogosphere are bubbling with conflicting opinions about whether something is going wrong in Caledon, and if so, what to do about it. If you somehow read this blog but don’t already know about it (how could that be possible?), the Duke of Argylle has links to several posts as well as sharing his own thoughts. There is an active comment thread on Miss Orr’s most recent blog post, including a long response from Guvnah Desmond Shang. Meanwhile, Miss Callisto reminds us that things change (while also cleverly pointing out several old-timers who are still around and may be feeling dissed), and says she intends “to ignore you and your whole petty squabble, which I might venture to suggest has very little to really do with the Caledon chat, entirely.”

I quite agree with Miss Callisto on a number of her points, especially about Caledon chat not being the real point. (I must say that I doubt it is all attributable to fallout over a land squabble, however, nor that it is a petty squabble, as I believe the rest of my post will make clear.)

Here’s a Venn diagram for your amusement:

[unremembered diagram, image lost to data corruption long after the event]

This diagram is obviously not drawn to any scale—indeed, the actual and ideal relative sizes of each portion are part of what is at issue. The diagram helps to clarify for me that focusing on Des, Caledon, or Caledon chat is missing a major piece of the picture: We (those reading this blog, those who live in Caledon, those who visit Caledon, those who think something is wrong, those who don’t think anything is wrong, those who think the only thing wrong is that some people think something’s wrong) belong to and create a human community (a real community, not a virtual one, even if virtual worlds and electronic communications make possible the vast majority of our interactions), which is not synonymous with Caledon.

This community long ago ceased to be a single village, or a single conversation—and let us give thanks for that! Des, as a visionary small businessman, has nurtured a number of other fledgling estates as well as creating a community against which others can sharpen their own visions, creating their own attempts at Steampunk, Victorian, or “historical re-imaginist” and fantasy estates in Second Life. What an amazing eruption of creativity in just a few short months, relatively speaking, since Caledon began with a single sim on February 26, 2006. (Perhaps we are just experiencing the last bit of the Terrible Twos?) Anyone who looks only to ISC chat, or to the ISC membership, or to who rents land in Caledon, will inevitably miss a much broader context. And that larger context is one of change, growth, and the conflict that often accompanies (or even creates) both.

I would be remiss were I not to mention something that I don’t believe has been directly addressed elsewhere thus far: We don’t all like one another. Of course, you might say, of course we don’t. But it bears repeating, and really let it sink in: We do not all like one another. We are a real community: There is everything from simple lack of friendship to dislike to enmity to broken hearts to feuds. There is rivalry and competition, in business and socially. Most of us have learned to navigate these realities of the human condition in our daily lives. There are limitations imposed by the technology that makes possible our particular community, however, which make these realities more difficult to deal with. But deal with them we must, and shall.

I confess that I had been of the opinion that “Des should do something.” And there are times I still feel that way. Residents of Caledon are Des’s customers (whatever else we may be), and as a customer I have on occasion complaints about the way his other customers behave, or wish that he would take Caledon in a different direction than he does. In some ways, Des and Caledon are frighteningly parallel to Linden Research and Second Life. (If you have not done so, please go read the Guvnah’s comment on Miss Orr’s blog. This is a long post; it will be here when you get back.) Not only is Des disinclined to become a tyrant (or even an enlightened moderator), I’ve come to realize that it would be impossible for him to do so. The Guvnah did not create a community, and he cannot control it. He did create a wonderful seed-bed for community, and I have to trust his good business sense as a steward of that seed-bed.

Here are my woefully inadequate and incomplete thoughts about what has made us a community (with another nod to Miss Callisto for pointing out many of the talented people who have lived and live still in Caledon):

  • Gathering places: Where would we be without CrystalShard Foo’s dance machines, the venues provided by any number of generous landowners, and DJs of every stripe? Or the pubs and bars with their storytelling and poetry sessions?
  • Places of learning: The Caledon Library, now the Alexandrian Free Library (libraries of Caledon, Steelhead, Winterfell, New Toulouse, New Babbage, Amatsu Shima, & West of Ireland), with its ethos of service and a commitment to deepening our understanding of history, literature, the arts, and all fields of knowledge that might inform our Second Life communities.
  • The web, specifically Excalibur Longstaff’s forums and wiki, Gabrielle Riel’s Google calendar, and the many blogs and journals: Imagine being limited to the group communications channels provided in Second Life. (And there I reveal a bias; there are dozens if not hundreds of Second Life residents who are part of our community who do not extend that community beyond Second Life itself. They, of course, are limited to the group communications provided by Linden Research, most, I must assume, by choice.)
  • Who created your skin? Your clothing? Your hair? Your AO? Your house? Your gardens? Your armaments? Your sailing ships, riding horses, buggies, and flying machines?
  • Events: Relay for Life; Caledon anniversary events; balls; the Grand Tour; races; dogfights; regattas; duels; banquets; CaleCon; informal RL meetups.
  • Friendships: Let’s keep them strong.

These elements of being a community were and are created by us, by our friends—and by strangers, and by those we may dislike. (Notice that few of these elements of being a community were created by Des, although without him any number of them might not have happened.) In order to continue to enjoy these fruits of community, do we have the will to find our way through disagreements and conflict? Can we become better at building what excites and nourishes us now and letting go of that which does not, no matter how affectionately we may once have regarded it?

I hope that this very long post has more in it than “Can’t we all just get along?” But in the end, perhaps, that is exactly the greatest challenge for us as a community—the human community.

Tolerans, Civilis, Innovus, Laganum

So—is there anything I’m actually going to do? At this moment, I’m tending towards these things (not a prescription for anyone else, simply my thoughts on what might be best for me to do):

  • I’d like to be kind and to personally act with decorum. I will attempt to address people as they wish to be addressed, except when strangers ask me to use their first name in Caledon (because I do value that in Caledon; in Steelhead and Winterfell, not as much).
  • I will not put any effort into ISC chat. If it annoys or bores me, I’ll simply close it. My “communications” time and energy will continue to go to the Caledon Forums, Caledon Wiki, and the Aether Chrononauts Google calendar (which has a handy mnemonic:
  • The Guvnah and I have had conversations about coordinated events within what I will call the “Aether Chrononauts” world, or perhaps the “themed” estates, if one includes Raglanshire. I want to encourage distinct communities in Second Life and within Caledon to recognize and develop their distinctiveness, while also serving as I can to encourage cooperation and creative co-existence.
  • Last year’s Caledon Social Season was an uneasy marriage of role-play and community education. Like the Duke of Argylle and the Marchioness of Giggleford, I am interested in creating opportunities for non-RP but themed education, which might serve as one form of introduction to Caledon and its related communities.