Simplicity, Speed, Elegance aka Fast, Easy, Fun.

I’ve finally had a chance to listen to the audio and it was interesting to see what Philip didn’t talk about – like customer service, where the Q2 report is and timescales.  That aside, the talking points for me were:

Simplicity, Speed, Elegance aka Fast, Easy, Fun

I must say the first sent shivers down my spine..  That’s a promise I’d love to see made a reality.  The second is more achievable and I think it’s a noble aim.  Perhaps I might have used other words since it’s open to reinterpretation but as long as the aim is to make SL meet that goal rather than the company using it as a replacement for the Tao then I can live with the sniggers.

Changing their approach and providing users a choice of viewer.

It must have been a bit of a shock when Linden Lab looked at the figures and saw that 70% of users have moved away from the Linden Lab provided viewer to Emerald.  The remaining 30% is shared by Rainbow, Imprudence,  restrained life, all the other third-party viewers/plugins, the official v1.23 and v2.n.  I don’t think Linden Lab thought the policy of only providing a new user viewer through initially and I suspect they didn’t expect just how many people would move away from them.   That blind arrogance is at the heart of a lot of the issues we’ve seen here down the years.

For me the best news about this is reducing the dependence on Emerald.  There are many reasons I won’t be sorry to see the decline of Emerald viewer usage and this is despite having to use it because it provides the best functionality for the type of content creation I do.  1.23 forced me to use a tpv because 1.23 was so poor in so many areas, Linden Lab then came out and acknowledged this as a policy and left us at the mercy of a teenager who had been on the maingrid while underage and with Linden Lab’s knowledge and consent, who was harvesting user login data, who used their position to sell an item that not only didn’t do as claimed but also because of its poor quality negatively impacted on the lives of residents inworld and by the look of it breached European data collection rules.

That was win for Linden Lab huh?  I wouldn’t want those kinds of wins if I was a company that wanted to be credible but then LL has never seemed to care about that.  Even now I don’t think this is about protecting us from those who demonstrate a lack of integrity and more about how bad it looks that so many people fled the LL offering.  It’s hard to claim to be pushing the boundaries of virtual worlds when you’re out classed by a kid in a basement.

I think the approach is a very good one and I like the idea of viewer plugins/viewer type choices to enable sub groups to easily optimise it.  If they deliver I’ll be happy to ditch Emerald as my main viewer and stick to the official for most creation and Rainbow for when I need the features that Linden Lab will not provide.

Easier box unpacking

Making it easy for people to get at their purchases would be a boon.  For the first 6 months I didn’t know about the open function and used to create a folder in my inventory, edit the box and drag the items in that way.  It was a revelation when I discovered open  lol.  

The only way I can see this working is if either boxed items are automatically opened and dumped into a folder on delivery or if there is going to be the ability to unpack a box directly in the inventory. It will be interesting to see how they’re going to deploy it.  A lot of the blame for the difficulty newbies face with this is the direct fault of the shops selling the items.  There’s no reason apart from being cheap and lazy to have anything other than an unscripted one prim vendor.  Unfortunately people insist on using scripted and scripted/network vendors which require items to be boxed and also some people box up their products before putting them in the one prim vendors. Other retails don’t even have a basic understanding of how to turn a prim into a vendor – too many times I’ve seen vendors set to sell a copy rather than contents.  Usually because of ignorance.  

What I do want to see is guaranteed deliveries.  This was first mooted almost 12 months ago.  This would reduce the customer service load to a manageable proportion.  One of the things that grinds me down in here is having to deal with people telling me items weren’t delivered.  I have no control over the carrier (Linden Lab) and getting information of them is like getting blood out of a stone and leaves us open to all manner of scammers.

HTML on a prim

Sounds good but it looks like Linden Lab still has the policy in place of trying to make its users vulnerable to malevolent forces.  I really wish they’d get it through their thick skulls that the viewer isn’t like Firefox where you can install all manner of plugins to repel the data collectors, identify phishing and generally protect yourself from unpleasantness.  It doesn’t even have the basic protections of IE for identifying malevolent sites.  Why LL doesn’t understand that facilitating unauthorised data collection and worse really is not a good business look is beyond me, but then this is the company that for a long time couldn’t see why people were upset about copybot. 

SCRUM

This made me grimace.  Whilst it should generate some improvements, it isn’t going to deliver anything major.  Scrum is a development methodology, you still need to manage the delivery of products.  Those little things like being on time, to budget and to specification.  

I’ve yet to come across anyone in Linden Lab who seems to manage anything.  There’s supposedly a project management team but I doubt their effectiveness at doing more than collecting their pay at the end of the month.  It’s not really their fault though, if the corporate culture is about doing your own thing then imposing discipline is an anathema – as Linden Lab amply demonstrates.  Philip acknowledged that some projects are abandoned before being fully deployed.  SCRUM isn’t going to change that.

I’ve only come across two people who actually accepted responsibility for the delivery of anything.  They sacked one in the cull and the other is new it seems.  Obviously the second one hasn’t taken that lesson onboard yet.  I’m sure that once the newbie has settled in things will change.

I can remember attending an IBM webcast a few years ago on the results of their move to an agile methodology with self managing teams.  When the presenter was asked about what benefits had been gained, I expected him to talk about reducing delivery times, improving quality, reducing costs, improved customer satisfaction etc but instead all he said was that the developers were happier.  I don’t think I need to say any more.

Welcome Areas

I can’t wait to see how this is implemented.  I dislike welcome areas immensely as they have always attracted pond life bent on trolling, harassing and scamming newbies but newbies do need somewhere to hang out and meet other newbies and they need a home point.  TPing them directly to events and places is good but it’s human interaction that makes or breaks people in here.  A lot of old timers aren’t always happy to see a freshly rezzed newborn who doesn’t understand the basics of how to use the viewer and how to behave.  It’s a tough one.

So, here’s my score:

8/10 for “getting it”

5/10 for the chances of actually improving the inworld experience

2/10 for doing it in a timely, appropriate and cost effective manner.

As always, the proof is in the delivery.  I welcome the new focus but am not at the cautiously optimistic stage yet.  It certainly doesn’t make me want to go inworld and create.  From some of the messages I’ve had overnight it looks like I’m not alone there but then in the great scheme of things I suppose it doesn’t matter if it is too little, too late for us, as there’ll be others along to take our place.

Possibly.

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