Second Life

Second Life Looking Back: 2009 Uncovered

As the New Year approaches I’ve been collecting arcane references and re-reading Russian classics so that I can cap off the year with a lengthy post on 2009 and the coming year which will leave us both wondering what I was getting at or, like Chinese food, will leave us full at first but empty an hour later. So while I plod away with my meditation on this decade’s end and project forward to 2020, I thought that I’d clear out the attic first with a quick recap of 2009, focusing primarily on Second Life.

Now, for readers of this blog, or even you non-readers, I shouldn’t have to do this for you. I mean, you read every word I write with religious devotion, and have likely memorized most of the posts of the past 12 months. And for non-readers, this is your chance to boost my traffic. Simply click the “previous button” until you’ve gone through 300 or so odd posts and presto! 2009 wrap-up!

But it did occur to me that there’s the news behind the news. The stories that don’t get told. The news from the metaverse that doesn’t get published because it’s merely rumor (actually, check out the forums and Shopping Cart Disco and you’re probably even covered for that).

What I thought I might do is share with you my ‘draft’ folder – you know, the posts that I started and never finished, the news I started to tell but felt compelled to hold back on while I validated facts and ensured that I had three reliable sources (one for attribution).

So as my look back on 2009, I share with you the posts that I never quite managed to hit the “publish” button on, although to spare you a little I’ll just focus on the headlines and maybe a first sentence or two.

So here it is, the news that wasn’t told, which I hope provides you some context as we look back on 2009:

Map of the World: In Response to M Linden
Mark Kingdon (M Linden) published the first of what he promised would be a monthly blog post today, outlining the broad road map for Second Life, providing the kinds of details that will leave developers and content creators feverishly revising their business plans so that they can be in synch with developments on the Grid. The post, which follows an insightful overview of the product development process and user design approach of T Linden (Tom Hale), also invited the community to M’s weekly office hours to be held at rotating times in order to accommodate users outside of California.

Poetry and Art in Second Life: Massively Reports
Short on analysis but long on poetry, Tateru Nino has a lengthy and meditative piece over on Massively today which leaves me hungry for more details on how the technology of Second Life supports content creation or how we can reduce lag, but which was nonetheless an incredibly poetic review of the Second Life art scene.

With Interoperability Here, Can Creative Commons Be Far Behind?
Now that we can teleport between Second Life and OpenSim and bring our inventories and avatars with us, Linden Lab has also hinted that they’re in discussions with the OpenSim Governance Team (which manages the universal TOS and Content Protection Algorithm for the OpenSim Grids) about implementing Creative Commons as the new permission system for the metaverse.

The Communists Can Have It
Prokofy Neva responded to the arrival of Wal*Mart to Second Life by pointing out that they both received preferential treatment by Linden Lab (and are thus now Uber-FIC) and that their freebie/low cost warehouses will over-turn the in-world economy, but at the end of the day his conclusion was that while Wal*Mart’s SL presence will be run as a collective, “I just don’t care. Frankly, since it’s Wal*Mart, the Communists can have it.”

New World Notes Launches “Pick of the Day”
Hamlet’s popular “Picks of the Week”, which summarized his top posts of the previous 7 days, has increased its frequency to daily. To help make sense of the changes, following is the publication schedule over at the popular New World Notes, which has substantially increased its traffic through the self-referential linking and repeating of content:

- Reader’s Open Forum of the Day
- Best Comment of the Day
- Best Word of the Day
- Best Post of the Day

NWN reserves the right to publish Koin-Up and Rezzable press releases which are bound to confuse casual readers expecting consistency.

Alphaville Herald and New World Notes to Merge
Readers may be dismayed to learn that the Alphaville Herald will be merging with New World Notes in a move that may lead to a more Linden-friendly tone from Hamlet Au, renowned for his biting critiques of Lab policy following the recent format changes at the blog. Hamlet denies the merger with the Herald will mean a shift in his editorial policy: “New World Notes has always stood up for the little guy against the Lab’s commercial and heavy-handed approach to governance. Having the Alphaville staff on board will NOT lead to puff pieces or other frippery.”

Bettina Tizzy Moves NPIRL into…Reality
Bettina Tizzy’s Not Possible in Real Life will now cover reality as part of its ever-expanding coverage. In an announcement to the NPIRL group, Bettina said: “Loves! We’re expanding! Change is good! And what’s more surreal than reality? What’s more beautiful than a random piece of litter or a funny cat stuck in a laundry basket? Let’s stay united and create create create! (Oh, and please drop your photos of reality in my Flickr stream!)”

Bettina also announced that having shifted from a blog format to Posterous and Wave that she is now taking things one step further: “From now on, I will only be posting short bursts via text SMS! Hugs!”

Scalable Megas Lead to Increase in XStreet Sales
Following the launch of scalable mega-prims in Second Life, an uptick in sales on XStreet seems directly connected to the sudden plethora of “Giant” sims including massive, over-sized furniture collections. The Tinys continue to protest that they are being discriminated against due to the lack of comparable micro-prim development tools.

Linden Lab Releases Shares to Second Life Residents
Following the Lab’s denial that neither an IPO nor a sale was part of their exit strategy, they put their money where their mouth is with today’s resident buyout of Second Life. The users and content creators of Second Life were granted equity in the company in what Wall Street is touting as the first example of taking the concept of an employee-owned company to a customer-owned one.

2010 will be an interesting year as the newly minted Second Life millionaires continue their buying spree, facilitating what some are calling the largest burst of creative and commercial energy in decades.


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