Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Grid Up, What do i do now?

... with this title being a direct riff-off of Frans's most Charming compilation of SLinema (I'm not fond of "machinima).

Today, Second Life 1.10 was given birth to. After gestating for weeks—and the seeds that sown it having germinated even longer—I now speak in past tense about looking forward to all its wondrous benefits. And yes, I'm unabashedly joyous to be working for Linden Lab. A question that I can't answer is, "How does it feel to be a Linden?" Well, of course I can say "It's great!" but that doesn't cut to the core. It's like saying watermelons are "nice", or to be healthy and alive is "pleasant". I will foremost state my gratitude to my coworkers, the Linden family, for being SCEP (an acronym). And firstly, in this online community, the Residents (affectionately known to me as "Resis") of Second Life have helped shape the path of development—like classic rock songs you can sing along to, "CALL AND RESPONSE!"

There's a lot of times where a problem, such as a bug, is reported prominently and very vocally from the Resis. But Linden Lab in turn does not frequently trumpet when a solution has been found—you are beginning to see this change. Personally, I make it a blunt point to go "Damn, that 'known issue' was like a barnacle on my ass for weeks/months/years, and now it's been scrubbed off!" Does anyone here remember the sheer agony of the previous generation of Local Lighting? "Pretty for photos, but just like their still namesake, you'll crawl to a slideshow!" ARGHHHH! And today, glorious day, how this has changed; read what Sabrina Doolittle had to say!


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I do not program Second Life; I'm what's called an "Enduser Linden" on the Community Team for the simple reason that, not only am I prone to myriad kinds of everyday problems encountered inworld, my personality is one that keeps me naive and encountering "everyman" troubles.
For example, that black teleport screen—it scares me! Does that sound silly? Think about it for a moment. SL is a lush, evolving world with pockets of order and chaos, but when you teleport, the monitor goes black, save for a little pale blue bar. It's like being clubbed over the head with a seal and quickly being resuscitated shortly thereafter.

From the viewpoint of someone who's wandering in here for their first day, it's confusing. More to the point, I remember first logging into Second Life Preview 1.6 many moons ago, and was immediately warmed by the crossfade upon entering. So from a common-sense standpoint, I'm inclined to think: "This code, or something like it—already exists in some way. And teleports are a lot quicker now than they were last year (remember all that attachment loading time?)."

With this blended approach, you'd never be left in the dark (literally), and beaming from one joint to another on your jaunts would feel more cohesive. Even if "geographically", that isn't true. It's kind of like the iris wipes in Star Wars. We come back to my love of transitions, like a DJ mixing records instead of tearing off A and recklessly tossing on B—in spite of having two decks! Or even, think of many multimedia programs that allow you to pick-and-choose your transition effects. Even the early HyperCard has this! It could generate a new market, much as particle poofers have. And it'd make trips more enjoyable. To sum up, it doesn't seem all that hard, and certainly sounds well worth the effort to have CROSSFADE TELEPORTS!

I don't know if that's totally true. That's simply the conclusion I draw, based on my enduser experiences. This is not a point I've inquired with the expertise of the Linden developers yet—I'm letting it gel. But it feels good to me and I wanted to share it, and I think it'd make the SLexperience a smoother one. I don't think it'll come to pass for awhile, because broken teleports, while rarer today, do happen.

But like another longtime fave of mine: GROUP TELEPORTATION to bring a party of friends over without having to do "Offer Teleport" over and over, some far-flung beloved child of it seems inevitable to arrive—in the far future of Second Life.

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Ah. *sighs*

It's been awhile since I SLogged. When I do so, I'm in a somewhat different mindset than writing on my own blog, which is more individualistic. This is a group blog, so I like to bring up issues of concern and fundamental to the community at large.

"If you are going to weigh actions, then you must also weigh consequences." -Some other me

Earlier on SLOG, Frans covered the new Groups system. Start thinking in terms of MRA: Members, Roles, & Actions. Imagine an easy matrix layout so that your group can be greater organized. ALSO important: it'll do away with some redundancy, like needing several club groups for Owners, Managers, Promoters, VIPs, etc. You can fold that into a single group now, which compounds the gains of having 25 max. groups. This is a teaser of what's coming! More light will be shed on this when it comes to pass, and I'll personally be assisting with explaining the changeover from my enduser standpoint, aka "I'm new to this, what do all these buttons do?". I've been experiencing the blessed bounty internally, and have nothing but the highest of praises to celebrate the achievements of those I'm honored to be working on the project with.

It really is a puzzle that gets assembled. With something like this, I get firsthand feedback from Resis, dig deep inworld to see what gaping holes need to be filled, and how to empower people and genuinely have them help make a difference (as opposed to "I suggested a lot of things and none of them were ever listened to!"). I coordinate with members of the Development Team on some of the finer points: let me tell ya, some of the backstories behind why certain design decisions are made are genius. And others yet, well—they're great technically but don't make sense to a layman... so they get fixed, one after another. BTW, HAVE YOU LOOKED AT THE NEW LAYOUT OF ABOUT LAND > OPTIONS IN 1.10 YET!? :D

Hopefully that'll reduce land edit vandalism due to unintentionally leaving it on. :)

I am big on little things that make a YUGE difference. It's the accumulated toxins, like drops of mercury in your daily bowl of soup, that cause lasting damage. Ever wonder why in About Land > Options, the checkbox logic for enabling combat on a parcel is [X] Safe (no damage)? Why is it this way if the majority do not wish to be assaulted on their land? I personally feel it should be more descriptive:

[ ] Unsafe (combat allowed)

defaulting to off.

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I observe. I used to use the term "bomb-sniffing dog" to describe my hunches, but now, it's more like this:

In my first and Second Lives, even 3D looks flat at times, and if I squint my eyes closely enough, I can "extrude" a visual model of what I'm really looking for. I can extend my perception of it, similar to the relationship between a tesseract to a cube, and do a shift. I see a kaleidoscope of colors emanating, glows and auras radiating from hotspots of interest. To me, in comparison to "higher levels", the three-dimensional world now appears to be a cardboard cutout, and with my senses, I camscan for signs, wonders, patterns. It sounds crazy, I know—it is! But if you've ever wondered how I do what I do, this is precisely how.

This seems to be uncommon amongst humans. So perhaps this is why I find no grounds in "Everything has been done in SL already!" or "OMGZ FAVORITISM!". And how does that relate? Ah, that's a thread of a greater thoughtline.


Everything is laid out.

People have dreams. While awake, they have daydreams, and fantasies too: sexual, sensual, and all manners of hopes. You may already know that one reason why there are so many Torley avatars is because they represent separate components of myself which I am "binding" into a whole. At a young age, I fragmented myself personality-wise, like taking a painting and scattering the pieces to the four corners of the world. I did it because I couldn't accept who I was.

Heady stuff? But ah, here's where it gets fun! Something I haven't been very obvious about—until now—is how SL has been therapeutic for me in bringing dreams into reality. My TORLEY LINDEN bare (IM or email me if you want one) was one of my bolder forays into manifesting something I saw in my head. For I know on occasion, I babble about my dreams, and SL makes sense of them. And the more I can bring to life—in Second Life—the more I can come to terms with being myself.

And... I'm really a reflection of others. A composite alloy. If I wasn't believed in, like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, I wouldn't be here. When I say "I feel your pain", I really get sick to my stomach. You know how people get seasick? I get lagsick. It makes me nauseous, it makes me puke, and in experiencing this, it makes me desperate to find what'll cure the ails. People are more inclined to find a solution if they're personally affected.

It also makes me more passionate about bringing dreams into reality.

Not just for myself—but for others too. People are so full of secrets they know others would be happy knowing—they just don't know which others.

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In time, these sociotechnological advances, Second Life included, will seem as obvious as water is wet. You will only notice them if they're not here.

But why wait?

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