Really now

Awhile ago when we changed from the older-style “First and last name” at registration to “Single-word username” system as part of display names improvements, single-username Residents could view, but couldn’t post to the forums and blogs here at

via Second Life Blogs: The Support Team: [FIXED] Newer Residents *can* post to the forums and blogs!.

How many kinds of fuckwit can Linden Lab be? Honestly! The post goes on to say that accounts with the new single usernames still can’t log in to the Second Life wiki.

And the new web profiles? The login at doesn’t persist over to Nor to the marketplace. And once you’re at the marketplace, there’s no link that will take you back to your SL account.

Sane advice for Linden Lab

If you haven’t read Dusan Writer’s post with advice to Linden Lab’s incoming CEO, you should. I hope that someone at the Lab is paying attention.

We have incredible content and we have a stable platform on which to ‘perform’ that content, and yet we’re working with a platform provider who seemingly has no interest in making it easy for us to build and maintain a community – and, shockingly, this is true within Second Life as much as in our ability to reach out to wider markets.

Groups don’t work, advertising doesn’t work, search is ineffective, there are no e-mail channels, few Web channels, few ways to reach out to current users let alone reach out to the crowds on Facebook except by our own effort.

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.


As in, which basket(s) to put them in.

Several months ago I sold my remaining sim in Second Life shortly after one of the two tenants I had left. I realized I didn’t want to be a landlord, and the cost of owning a sim had become much larger than the entertainment value it was worth. So I did a cost/benefit analysis of sorts, and I decided how much money I was willing to pay each month for my fun in Second Life.

Having been in the frame of mind of renting the bulk of my Second Life property directly from Linden Research, I replaced my sim by becoming a premium member again, contributing tier to a group I control, and buying a chunk of mainland for the group. That seemed like the best way to get the most prims for the least money. (For those who don’t know, tier on mainland is less than tier on private sims; groups get a 10% bonus above the amount of tier contributed by group members; and tier on mainland is paid in US$, eliminating the exchange fees.) Prices for land on the mainland are also at what may be historic lows, so it was cheap to buy the land.

Then came the mass layoffs. And I thought, I’m not sure I want to put so much money into such an unstable business. So I reduced my mainland holdings by half in order to drop to the next lower tier level. (Monthly tier, not the purchase price, being the major expense of owning mainland.)

And then came the news of Qarl Linden being let go. I never met Qarl, and I have no idea what the whole story is of his employment at Linden Lab. But the situation, nonetheless, only increases my sense of unease about the business health of Linden Research.

Tateru Nino continues to be one of the virtual world commentators/analysts I most value reading. She estimates that layoffs at Linden Research will total 60% by the end of September, “if all goes well”:

“If all goes well”? Yes, it doesn’t sound very good, does it? But it will mean that the company is still there, and hasn’t gone all – which would be the worst possible outcome for everyone, including Linden Lab’s competitors. Few people would actually want to see the Lab go out of business, and it certainly appears to be making all the right moves to ensure that it doesn’t.

And in the comments:

Without faith in virtual environments, generally, the opensim grid could well wind up in the same position as previous generations of online virtual environments: A niche-corner of the Internet with a small market of users shared between them; barely noticed by the public at large, and ultimately not sustainable for more than a decade or two without enough growth to offset attrition.

I do not want Linden Research, Inc., to go out of business. I enjoy my Second Life. But when I look at what I pay each month not just as a fee for server space but as an investment in future pleasure, it’s clear that the added value has little or nothing to do with Linden Lab. Second Life is the best platform I’ve found for what it offers (none of the OpenSim grids come close—yet). But the only pleasure it offers, in and of itself, is landscaping and building. Almost all of the joy I get out of Second Life is the result of communities.

So I’ve now eliminated my mainland holdings, and I’m putting my eggs in baskets that have the potential to outlast Second Life: the communities that bring me joy.

This week I became a true resident of Steelhead. I’ve owned land there, in various sims, for a while, but I now own a good-sized parcel in Steelhead St. Helens that will be my SL home. There are several reasons I chose Steelhead, many having to do with the owners, TotalLunar Eclipse and Tensai Hilra: I’ve met them in real life and liked them; they are actively engaged in Steelhead socially; and they keep up with the cutting edge of virtual world-related technology, including keeping an eye on alternatives to Second Life. (It is this last characteristic that makes them stand out from my other favorite land barons who share the first two.) And to the extent that I’ve been socially engaged in Second Life of late, it is with the people of Steelhead.

After a few months of wandering, it’s good to be home.

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*.

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.

They who must not be named strike again

I received a request from Linden Lab on Wednesday in relation to the Second Life in Education Wiki requesting  ‘not to use our trademark “Second Life” in your name or website name and not to use “SLeducation” in text or in your domain name…’ and to ‘..make the changes to your website name and domain name as soon as possible and let us know when you expect to have this done…’.

via – Virtual Worlds, Education, Community, SL Rentals.

Someone thinks we’re stupid

Or else they are. And I don’t know which is worse.

This morning I, and other estate owners in Second Life, received a marketing email from Linden Research Inc. I have reproduced it below (click for a full-size version), and it is currently available online. (A similar message is linked to directly from the home page of Second Life at the moment as well.)

I’m really just apoplectic.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very glad for the people who are renting homesteads, either directly from Linden Research or from a landlord. It’s very nice that they have an unexpected additional year at this rate.

And it’s oh so generous of Linden Research to be offering to reinstate sims that were abandoned—even back to October 28! My, my, such corporate generosity. And such flexibility, to extend the recovery period back to their initial announcement!

But what about the complex communities that were totally upended by the initial changes last year? What about the businesses that made rational planning decisions based on the time frame outlined by Linden Research? What about the Linden staff who steadfastly rejected calls for any kind of grandfathering? And what about the people who sold their sims for a fraction of the cost, rather than abandon completely? Too bad, so sad, sucker! (Disclosure: My community was upended; I made irrational planning decisions, but they were based on the times and prices outlined by Linden Research; and I bought some of those sims sold at bargain-basement prices in order to make an unwanted conversion of my estate to full sims.)

On a much more basic level, what about the line they fed us about why they had to completely rework the open space sims because of their bad business model and their inadequate technical infrastructure? What about those still-unidentified script limits that are supposed to be part of the homestead sims in order to make it possible for the grid to sustain them?

There’s a new Homestead FAQ to clear up some questions people have. (None of the questions I have posed above are answered there.) But a few fascinating tidbits:

* Since we had to forego some revenue, we have to make it up somewhere, and charging full price to new Homestead owners is part of the way we pay for that. The rest, we believe, will come through additional features we think our customers will be willing to pay for, such as the AvaLine product released last week.

Right, right. Good luck with that AvaLine product. (My extension, by the way, is 472837 if anyone wants to leave me a voicemail. I rarely use voice in Second Life, so don’t expect me to actually answer the phone. And of course, I would never dream of paying for it.)

* We forecasted a revenue plan that included abandonment of Homesteads at the current rate, and based on that forecast, we think we’d have done better financially in the short term if we raised Homestead pricing for everyone. But we’re building a business to last, and we don’t want to think in the short term when it comes to you, our customers. We don’t succeed unless you do. So we took the step of doing what was right for you, placing a bet with ourselves that we could deliver more value and performance to you within the next year. We think you’ll be happy with what’s in the pipeline — and in the meantime, you won’t pay more for what you have today.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

“We don’t want to think in the short term when it comes to you, our customers.” Mmhmm. Right. Let’s see now, when did you make your initial announcement about the change in open space sims? Ah, yes, that would be all of seven months ago, almost to the day.

They are “placing a bet with ourselves that we could deliver more value and performance to you within the next year.” Good luck with that one, too. You’ll need it based on prior experience. Estate controls for windlight, anyone? You don’t really want me to link to the unresolved JIRA issues that are over a year old, do you?

“We think you’ll be happy with what’s in the pipeline.” Let’s see now, that would include the forced relocation of businesses because of their content, right?

I’ve been meaning to write about the “Future of Virtual Worlds” theme for Second Life’s sixth birthday, but really, I’ll just boil it down here: Unless Linden Research gets its act together, both as a business and as programmers, I cannot imagine the future of virtual worlds having much to do with Second Life, except as a fond (or not) memory.