Saturday, January 9, 2010

Second life - on ice?

I've done very little in SL for the past while but check in now and again to see how its improving and the numbers.

The discouraging thing is, it seems to be totally on ice.  It may be a bit more stable than before (couldnt say for certain) but there are some key areas they seem to just be in a holding pattern on, and that would account for the decline in L$ trading volume over the past year from 1.2 mllion US per day to around .3 million.  If that continues, we could be looking at .02 million per day by end of 2010, or effectively the end of SL as we know it.

You cant just not improve and keep it on life support and expect growth, I think.  Here are some clear examples of what I mean.

1. Objects and real arrays still not supported in the native language.  This means the objects in SL still talk to each other via a very kludgey "radio broadcast" method that makes OOP difficult if not impossible in SL.

2. No procedurals. The "trees" and "grass" still are just random objects you drop and hope that you get the one you wanted, rather than what Philip showed me when I was there 2 years ago, "speed tree" which would allow for the use of fractal based "growth" of much more realistic trees and other horticultural elements.  This could apply to mountains, really any natural element and would make SL vastly more interesting and worth exploring.

3. No symbols.  Symbols are objects that you could place and then update or alter all of them at once after the fact by updating one variable.

4. Visuals are stuck.  We got "bloom" effects like glow and lighting a year ago, and windlight 2 years ago, but its seem to have stopped there.  No marked improvement in rendering or lighting at all in the past year, again, the stability has improved but there has been no "eye candy" really.  Reflectivity, refraction, procedural textures, nurbs, etc are all fairly old tech at this point but have failed to show up in SL to date.  Also, the primitives seem to have stopped improving in that there are no "new ones" and not even poly based ones yet.

5. Physics engine is 2 years old now.  I don't know the state of the art there, but my understanding was that in the new platform the physics engine would be plug and play, and that you could apply different physics to different regions if you wanted to, meaning one region could be optimized for fast moving vehicles /low accuracy and another could be high accuracy and slow - say for simulations of machines or physics experiments like levers, screws, and gears.

Could be that to be "profitable" SL has to just be what it is and be that as good as possible, and leave "innovation" to the high risk takers and financially endowed, but no one else is really taking the ball and running with it, perhaps as they had hoped Open sim would. (open sim appears to remain well behind SL in terms of capabilities)  I should add that its a bit difficult to know exactly what open sim currently supports as the 'list of features currently supported' on their site is blank.

I would understand all this as SL has, in fairness, managed to survive as a profitable entity through one of the worst years recent economic history, so perhaps innovation was just not possible under rapidly shrinking revenue as they had to just lay off more and more people presumably.

Personally, my plan is to try re-entering SL when my internet finally is up to snuff, hopefully in the next 2-3 months, but start again from the perspective of an "entrepreneur" rather than an "experimenter".  (Key difference being entrepreneur starts with little or no money invested as opposed to an experimenter that spends US$299 a month on an island with no revenue model...)

So I'll continue to keep an eye on it.  I hope it continues to be a viable entity and has a breakthrough year in 2010!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Second Life...I miss you but...

So in case anyone is wondering why I'm not in second life as much these days...well here are the goods.

I live in rural Nova Scotia. I am exactly 10 miles from the nearest hard wired internet access point. A company called "Eastlink" won a government contract to provide high speed wireless internet to all homes in Nova Scotia by December 2009. Its getting close to that date and they appear no closer to fulfilling that commitment than they did 1 year ago, so I will be surprised if they actually get it done.

In the mean time I am on Satellite internet with "xplornet" and there are several inherent issues with that. 1. for $80 a month, you only get 25 MB download and 2MB upload PER HOUR. Ridiculous in this day and age but that is because of something called their "fair access policy". Its not "fair" because wealthier people get more and poorer get less, but it is what they do and they are a monopoly so there's nothing I can do about it.
2. Satellite internet has the problem of their satellites being 30,000 KM away from earth. That means the signal has to travel so far, there is a minimum 600MS lag time. So, in Second Life, when you try to move around etc. the "rubber band effect" and voice are fairly frustrating to use. Also things like building in world is difficult because you could build a few things, then suddenly they disappear because the packets didnt make it over before the SL server timed them out.

So until the high speed wireless is up and running out here, I am stuck. If it takes a long time I may try to find another place to live where I have access to wired internet but that is a very last resort.

Once I do have high speed again, though, I'll be back in SL full force with new ideas and creativity and fun!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tree's Island is going offline

Thanks for visiting and supporting my island. After 2 years of providing a nice place to visit and chill, the island is being taken down. It was a great run, some amazing people visited and it hosted When Worlds Collide for a lot of that time with Cypress Rosewood.

Tree Kyomoon will still be in second life now and again, more next year hopefully as highspeed wireless internet is supposedly coming to his rural home in Nova Scotia.

Best of luck all and see you in world!

Tree Kyomoon

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rustica is wonderful

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I was introduced to this place called Rustica, a lovely castle apparently built outside of SL in maya or something, rendered mostly as sculpties and sophisticated use of prims. The music track that was on when I snapped this was particularly enjoyable. I encourage you all to visit!

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

sony vaio vgn-p530ch doesnt run second life

Hello there second lifers! here with a review of the Sony VGN-P530CH, my latest little netbook.

First of all let me say, I love this computer. It is tiny, has a very high resolution screen, and has a nice, big keyboard. I bought it because my Acer Aspire one had just a bit less screen resolution than I could use for work purposes (coding in flash requires I have quite a few windows and inspectors available onscreen so 1024x768 just wasnt cutting it.

Its the smallest full fledged laptop I have ever seen, weighing in at 1.4 pounds and literally fitting easily in my pants pocket (I wear loose pants with large pockets, not fitting jeans or anything) and it also fits easily in my jacket inside pocket.

So for work, checking emails, programming flash, java, html, and doing facebook/social network stuff, blogging, and doing web graphics its more than adequate. I wish it was running XP but I fully plan on upgrading to windows 7 which according to reviews is much faster than vista.

Now the bad news. SL WONT RUN on it! It does run sluggish on my acer aspire, but it runs, and I have done public meetings and voice meetings on the aspire one without any problems as long as im not panning around that much and people in the room are nice enough to keep their attachments in check. I had hoped to see Second Life on this machine, but alas it has a intel "500" chip set and SL doesnt support anything below a 945 chipset for intel. What a drag.

In my last code handyman blog, I mentioned that SL is irrelevant for most people. I can run facebook, ning, blogger, google, digg, wikipedia, webmail, adobe CS3 and the big pig AKA windows vista on this sub $1000 net book, but not SL. Were there ways of decoupling friends, group chat, voice chat, and the 3d rendering options I probably could still go in world, attend a concert, mabey see people as 2d avatars or get screenshots once in a while rather than a full 3d reprsentation and thus still be able to participate in SL on my netbook. I can leave things like building and viewing huge particle displays to my desktop happily, but If I need to go to a virtual meeting for work in SL, Id happily forgo the live 3d rendering just to participate.

Anyway, I still recommend the vaio P if you find the acer aspire too low resolution and want something far more powerful than an iphone because hey, typing an internet address into an iphone SUCKS!

I think the vaio P (to my chagrin) has a new one already out in Japan that has a much faster processor and SSD hard drive instead of the disk on this one, but it still appears to be the intel 500 graphics so no soap on this for the year. But, it makes this a bit easier on me with Sony's 6 month no interest plan, so I can pay it off over that time in manageable chunks, and then in 8 months or so sell this one to a less "power user" and move on to the latest and greatest. I am so happy to live in a time when cutting edge technology like this is actually affordable, and not $3700 like the old "pocket vaio" one of my staff got as a bonus back in 2003!

Thanks for reading! See you in world, but not on my Sony VGN-P530CH ;)

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A tutorial on integrating second life visuals with the regular old web

NEW!!! Added a tutorial that shows how to integrate Second Life with Flash and the web (not live but looks pretty good!)

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Jeffrey Gitomer's Little Teal Book of Trust is out

Please check out Jeffrey GItomers new Little Book of Trust. Its really great, will change your life, and supports my very existence too! Trust me! We made an info center in SL on our island, check it out!

Jeffrey Gitomer is an acclaimed author, speaker, and business guru. It is an absolute honor to work with him, and he is a great friend and teacher for me. We have worked together for over 5 years now at TrainOne, and as an employer and person who rewards passion and excellence, he always gets the best of everything.

Please visit and our online training website and see what all the fuss is about!

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