Can Philip save the day? Tune in on Friday for another gripping installment of “The Tao of Linden”

This Friday is the event of the season and not to be missed. Yes gentle readers, our Interim CEO and CFO/CTO are going to address the swine  (that’s us, don’tcha know).  

Now apart from the sheer horror of having a bean counter in charge of technology, this little love-in is going to be interesting for reasons other than for what is said.. and it will (as usual) be in voice but as a sop to those who refuse/can’t use voice, Virtual Ability will be providing a real time translation service. Although LL is proclaiming that it’s only being done for those who are hearing impaired..  like the rest of us don’t exist  lol.

Whatever the reasons,  I hope this isn’t a freebie and for once LL are actually paying for a service provided by one of its customers but being deeply cynical and knowing the good hearts in VA, I bet it’s being done gratis.

So, what is this going to demonstrate?  Well, from a purely functional perspective it should show just how useless SL is for holding live events and mass communication inworld.  

Out of the probably 60,000 people online, the 4 regions they’ll use (I’m assuming 4 to enable the biggest crowd to hear them), the max capacity will be something like 400 avatars and more likely half that.    From a business perspective that’s a pretty poor ROI, paying 1280USD per month for 4 regions to enable you to have a couple of hundred people concurrently at your site is seriously poor value for money.

To overcome this limitation they’ll be using external applications to manage the constraints imposed by the avatar limits.  There’s an inworld TV link that people can view or better still, go out onto the 2d web to watch as there’s better concurrency there and to overcome the lack of robust social media tools available inworld Twitter will be used to garner questions to ask those two who are steering this apparently rudderless ship.

So, after amply demonstrating the limits of the platform for business or social use, we come to the content of the meeting.  The blog post that was published to publicise this meeting says “The overall goal is to open up the conversation with the community about our upcoming plans around the development and future of Second Life.”  ignoring the fact that only a tiny fraction of the Second Life “community” know about this and of those an even tinier fraction of them will be able to attend, this implies they have a plan, which to these tired eyes is welcomed.  

My biggest problem with it is the plan itself.  A post on the SLCC website which is publicising another speech of Philips next month says:

In a recent post on the Second Life blogs, Philip talked frankly about addressing Resident’s concerns.  “We need to get back to being the first to invent and deliver the solutions that evolve virtual worlds,” said Rosedale, “We are still at the beginning of a huge market.”

In theory, both speeches will cover the same ground but what ground is that?  It sounds so altruistic that Philip wants to invent things to evolve all worlds but really, I’d rather he put his efforts into making this one better.  What I’m seeing (and have seen for years) is a tacit acknowledgement of failure on Linden Lab’s part.  They seem to have moved from being a virtual world provider to trying to be a 3d website with hefty hardware requirements.  Newsflash!  It won’t work.

A world, by most definitions, is pretty well self-contained.  Almost everything you need should be available through the world and the one thing you shouldn’t have to be doing is having to sign up to some 2d websites, that weren’t even around when SL first arrived on the scene, to use versions of tools which are available inworld but aren’t capable of doing the job they need to. Add the sub standard customer service provided and the focus of the next twelve months should be obvious to the most dimwitted in the Lab.

but let me spell it out.

A lot of the solutions that would improve and further the acceptance of VWs and make Second Life more useful to more people and organisations are already here – they just need refining and improving.

I suppose that’s too hard an ask though.

For those of you who think you’d like to be one of the lagging, milling crowds, you have until 5pm SLT today (28 July) to register your interest and participate in the ballot.  I know the announcement has been met with cynicism and a general weariness about the empty words they spout at us but it is important as it will define our future.  If Philip hasn’t understood what needs to change to retain and increase the customer base and his profitability, then we really will be watching the articulation of the policy for the possible not-so-gradual decline of the platform – and nobody wants that.

Where does it go from here?
Is it down to the lake I fear?

for some reason I have this snippet of a lyric passing through my head..  Let’s hope I’m wrong.


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