Nowhereville to Piper Point

I am always gushing about how much I love the mainland for its chaos and randomness, and it’s very true.

On the other hand there’s also alot to be said for beauty and organization, and a place formed through a consistent vision or set of compatible visions. Mostly these are on estates, and mostly they get praised enough already :) which is why I usually spend more of my praise on the neglected mainland. But sometimes…

Nowhereville_001

I was reading a Crap Mariner posting and thinking "whoa, that is a nice-looking place". So I went there and rezzed the Twenty and sailed around on the jib, admiring things.

Here’s the Bridge of Crap’s posting, connecting Nowhereville to Piper Point:

Nowhereville_002

Under the bridge, into the bay:

Nowhereville_003

The waterfalls from above:

Nowhereville_004

And drifting into the bay, past the fishing and lounging area of (I think) the Lonely Yak Roadhouse:

Nowhereville_005

A quiet and soothing place, and a lovely bunch of builds. Order can be just as lovely as chaos, when it’s done well. :)

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Zindra Pad

So I was doing my daily inspection to confirm that no more land was for sale in the Rise, and I was thinking about my recent posting about the SL7B Nipple Wars and so on, and I remembered that I’d once said, back when the whole Zindra Exile thing was just happening, that eventually most of the mainland should be in Zindra, because after all why would anyone really want to live or hang out with more content restrictions than absolutely necessary?

(I admitted at the time, and still admit, that some people’s being unable or unwilling to adult-verify throws a kink into this nice argument. Also some people want their neighbors’ freedom of expression to be limited, but that set of people isn’t of much interest to me.)

And when these thoughts came together in my mind at the same time, the obvious next thought was “oooh, I wonder if there’s any reasonable land for sale in Zindra?”.

Turns out, there is!

ZindraLand_001

That’s me standing on the roof of a nondescript building sitting on a 1024m2 plot, right on the monorail track and just off a Linden road, right across from the ocean. And for sale at a pretty reasonable price! (Less than 7L per m2, as I recall.)

Here it is from above:

ZindraLand_002

Great urban Zindran neighborhood! You got your automobiles and brothel ads:

ZindraLand_003

(turns out “Toy Slaves Brothel” isn’t a local establishment; it’s off on a private sim somewhere with the subtle understated name “BROTHEL”).

And you got your Pawn Shop and Big Boy Penis:

ZindraLand_004

(photo slightly blurred so as not to upset flickr or wordpress).

And you got your local Dance and Escort sort of club:

ZindraLand_005

The perfect little city hangout, eh? I could not resist, and bought the land and returned the boring building.

ZindraLand_006

I built a raised platform over a nice blue pool of water, with plants:
ZindraLand_007

(That’s the monorail track in the foreground; I still haven’t ridden the monorail, or even confirmed that there are actually any trains. But I suspect there are.)

Up on the platform so far I’ve mostly just put out a few freebies and random things:

ZindraLand_008

I’m thinking once I’ve got it a bit more polished, I should throw a pad-warming party. (Adult-verified friends only, of course.) I could put up big “throw off your clothing and engage in public copulation!” signs!

Or not. :)

ZOMFG Philip is back!

I know, I know; but I was away and offline all day.

Woot! Happy Birthday! :)

Linden Lab Announces Management Changes

SAN FRANCISCO, June 24 /PRNewswire/ — Linden LabĀ®, creator of 3D virtual world Second LifeĀ®, announced today that company founder Philip Rosedale has been named interim CEO, and CFO Bob Komin has assumed the additional role of COO. Linden Lab also announced that Mark Kingdon is stepping down as CEO.

“On behalf of the board, I thank Mark for all of his contributions during his tenure with Linden Lab which include growing our user base and revenue, increasing the stability of the platform, and nurturing and helping build a world class team,” said Rosedale, who will continue to serve on Linden Lab’s board of directors.

About Second Life and Linden Lab
Developed and launched by Linden Lab in 2003, Second Life is the world’s leading 3D virtual world environment. It enables its Residents to create content, interact with others, launch businesses, collaborate, educate, and more. Since its inception, Second Life Residents have logged more than one billion user hours and generated more than $1 billion in user-to-user transactions. With a broad user base that includes everyone from consumers and educators to medical researchers and large enterprises, Second Life has become one of the largest repositories of user-generated content and the largest user-generated virtual goods economy in the world.

Privately held Linden Lab, founded in 1999 by Philip Rosedale and headquartered in San Francisco, develops revolutionary technologies that change the way people communicate, interact, transact, learn and create. For more information, visit http://www.secondlife.com.

SOURCE Linden Lab

Not to be mean to M Linden or anything, but I did not like pretty much any of the changes that came at about the same time he did. And I like Philip’s having founded the whole thing in the first place :) although I didn’t like his recent “things have to change so we can have as many users as Mafia Wars” sorts of statements.

Whether this new change from M back to Philip-temporarily-and-the-CFO is a sign that there is actually a new direction, or something else, and if there is a new direction whether I like it more or less, all remain to be seen.

Interesting times!

Nipplewars!

So it’s that time of year again: the Second Life Birthday celebration, and the annual controversy: are nipples Evil? Past issues of this issue (haha, see what I did there?) have also included “Why did you make me cover up my statue’s nipples when the statue of David has genitals showing?”; this year’s now includes “What do you mean, naked Barbie dolls are not PG??“.

I was going to ignore the whole thing with a sort of sad-amused sigh, but I got into a discussion last night in the AWG Groupies group IM, and then today I randomly followed an Immy Sideways tweet (“tweet”), to a comment thread on the Second Life weblog. Generally I avoid weblog comment threads studiously, but this one was started by someone that I rather admire, and (although I admit I didn’t read the whole thing) seemed to have a certain amount of actual content.

So anyway, I posted. :) Here ya go…

Re: Censorship at SL7B?

And this wasn’t the only display similarly censored; apparently pictures of “naked” Barbie dolls were also judged to be “non-PG” (which I found deeply ironic, given that Barbie dolls are sanitized specifically so that even innocent young children can view them “naked” without anyone worrying about it).

This kind of thing is why I tend to ignore the Birthdays, much as it somewhat saddens me to say. It’s just not worth braving possible lag and crowds to experience something that is filtered so Draconianly to be squeaky-clean and prude-safe. Like, I should go out of my way to see something approved by the Linden Marketing Department? No, thanks.

Which I think is a great pity, because I know alot of people, many of them Resident volunteers, go to alot of trouble to put the Birthdays together, and to help them succeed. I’d like to be in the Target Audience, but apparently I’m not.

I think it’s perfectly reasonable to use the term “censorship” even when there isn’t a monopoly or a government involved. Government censorship is a more worrying kind of censorship, but when even a non-monopoly private company says “we’re going to put together an art show that’s open to all (but no nipples or naked Barbie dolls or…)” I think the word applies quite well. It is, as Scylla says, perfectly within their rights; but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

As I’ve said before in various venues, it always makes me a little uneasy when the Lindens get into either content-creation or content-restriction. It’s inevitable that they have to do it sometimes, given the laws of the world they operate in, at least the restriction part, but I’d rather they did it as little as possible. When they spend resources (that could otherwise have been spent on, say, fixing the grid) on putting together a celebration whose content is so restricted as to be mostly boring, I, as a paying consumer of their services, tend to wish that they hadn’t.

Let the Residents put on the big celebrations! Then the interesting ones can be in Zindra, and if someone wants to put a no-nipples one up on PG land, more power to ’em. But my tier and annual subscription shouldn’t go to the latter any more than it should to the former, in my ever-so-humble opinion. If the Lindens want to put some resources into a Birthday Celebration, do it via advertising kiosks where people can advertised Birthday-themed events of any content class, and content-neutral stuff like that, not via an Official Linden Sponsored Celebration from which nipples and Barbie dolls are banned for lewdness…

The Growth of Empire

I’ve tiered up! Which means I’m now paying (I think it is) US$40/month to Linden Lab, and I can now own up to (I think it is) 512+8192 square meters of land, rather than the 512+4096 that I had before.

The first thing I bought in expanding my empire was 512 m2 in the Duchy of Darkmere, where many of the neighbors are fellow participants in the interestingly twisted Second Citizen II forums.

Picture:

Welcome To Darkmere

The trees and platform and “Welcome” sign are all mine. The whatever-that-is in the background isn’t. This is right on a Linden road (just visible, lower-right), which is fun, as I can sit and watch the carts rumbling by on their way to market and whatnot.

Then I looked around Hughes Rise, where my park is, and found very little for sale. One tiny (48m2 I think it was) and wildly overpriced plot that I guess someone is hoping someone will buy just to host a server prim or something, and one slightly overpriced 512 diagonally touching the current Park land. I bought the latter, despite it’s being slightly overpriced.

That was day before yesterday. Then yesterday I looked around the Rise again, and found a very nice flat 1088 near the edge of the sim, reasonably cheap. After I snapped it up, I discovered that (A) it’s right on the Linden road that goes through the corner of the sim, and (B) sometime since my last roadtrip, that road has been paved!

Well, cobbled. And it’s had bridges built, and decorative stones and trees and rez zones installed along it, and it’s named “Wellington Road”, and all sorts of good stuff.

V good friend Michele and I went exploring out along the road, and found various fun things. Here we are being incongruous in the secret basement of a local castle:

Incongruity -- Tieut Castle, Tieut

And here is the little Welcome area that I built on the new 1088 (I bought it mostly with primmage in mind, but couldn’t resist a little build when it turned out to be so perfectly located):

New Hughes Rise land

The road and bridge in the foreground are Linden-owned and Mole-wrought, as is the leftmost tree. The other trees, the sitting area, and the Welcome sign are all mine, as is the little toy car you can barely see among the tree branches to the right, and the slightly npirl light-beam streetlamps (more visible in the larger size). I have great plans for that little toy car :) but for the moment it is just sitting there unscripted.

Here’s the Map of my current Hughes Rise Empire (my holdings are in green):

The Growth of Empire: my holdings in Hughes Rise

Click through to the flickr version, which has fascinating explanatory notes and stuff. Thanks to the new land, I currently have over 300 prims to play with in the Rise; woot! (Hm, hafta see if Darkmere is anywhere near the Rise; it would be fun if they turned out to be on the same continent and even the same road-system…)

So, like everyone, I am sorry for the many Lindens laid off the other day, and I don’t think it’s a wonderful sign for SL or VWs in general. But on the other hand I don’t think it’s The End of SL, and certainly not The End of Virtual Worlds.

I think, most likely, the Lab just hired on the expectation of continued exponential growth, and when that didn’t happen they found they were paying far too many people. And if SL were to close down (or become a Flash app on Facebook, which would amount to the same thing), I would still be convinced that virtual worlds are a pretty important Next Big Thing, and I would be hanging around Inworldz, or Reaction Grid, or (most likely) some nice interoperable cloud of same.

And in the meantime, growing my SL empire is still great fun. :)

(Edit: oh and P.S. the small plot with the traditional red “FOR SALE” sign on it on the left of the Hughes Rise Welcome picture is in fact abandoned, not for sale. Is there some way to prod the Lindens into putting up abandoned land for sale, or whatever?)

Happy Rezday, Ches!

It’s Chestnut Rau’s rezday! Yay!

Here is a picture of her being fetching:
Ches

Ches is one of my favorite SL people. Who I ought to IM out of the blue more often. :)

(No offense to other v good SL friends whose rezdays I haven’t weblogified; I am very random!)

AFK: the novel

I don’t know if this has been All Over the Blogs yet or not (I’m so out of touch), but it certainly should have been. AFK, a novel by Huckleberry Hax, is a wonderful combination of noir PI novel, spot-on picture of at least some aspects of Second Life, and impressively insightful musings about virtual worlds and what we do in them and why. It’s also apparently a NaNoWriMo novel, which just goes to show how well some people’s creativity responds to pressure and/or the lack thereof! (It also means it’s nice an’ short.)

I could go on, but I won’t; you should just read it. It’s a free PDF download, and also available on atoms for RL money via print-on-demand (I’m gonna try to figure out if the author makes an actual profit from sales, and buy one if so). I don’t know anything at all (I don’t think) about Huckleberry Hax or his or her history, or this novel, or anything, so this weblog posting may be years late or embarassingly inappropriate or something, but I don’t care. I just had a great reading experience, and I wanna share… :)

Edit: yeah, “years late” is appropriate; turns out it appeared in 2007, but hey! The author has a post your comments post, where you can post your comments. So (assuming you read it and have comments), do that!