"Every human being is interested in two kinds of worlds: the Primary, everyday world which he knows through his senses, and a Secondary world or worlds which he not only can create in his imagination, but which he cannot stop himself creating." W.H. Auden
There's an interesting discussion about infohubs on the forums, but since I'm permabanned, I can't answer one of the interesting posts about Memory Bazaar from an unhappy customer named Key who provided a very detailed complaint.
I love such complaints because I make them myself about wonky, geeky things that can't be understood easily and I am really dedicated to trying to make things better. My answer is below:
A reminder that Typepad has still not solved this glitch, which doesn't seem to be a Feedburner glitch from what I can tell after troubleshooting, that you see particularly on planet.worldofsl.com, where each time I post a new blog, the last few blogs re-post; worse, each time I myself post a comment to any of my own blog posts, that entire blog reposts, too. Annoying.
I've long been following four different sets of customers (and now five), and pondering why they are all unrelated -- or at least, why they don't overlap very frequently.
1. The people who click on the "INFONut" community newsletter I try to publish once a month if not more frequently -- they don't take money from the money tree, and don't rent the parcels.
2. The people who take money from the money tree -- they don't rent the parcels, and don't take INFONut newsletters.
3. The people who rent the parcels -- they don't take money from the money tree, or take the INFONut.
4. A fourth group -- the people who take information from the SL Public Land Preserve -- also don't tend to be the ones who rent parcels, take money from the money tree or who take INFONut.
5. A small group because I've just started it, is people who take the Nautilus Navigator, a newsletter about the Nautilus continent, but that's a niche, obviously.
Part of it may be due to the placement of all these things, which aren't uniform, but in some sims, all four things are available: 1) INFONut 2) SL Public Land Preserve 3) Money Tree 4) Rentals.
The theory is that new people will take money from the money tree, and then rent the rentals, or perhaps take the INFONut which has ads for rentals, or SL Public Land Preserve, which is a public service provided in part by Ravenglass, and eventually it all reinforces each other.
Continuing on my study of Retarded Things on the Internet before I start my work day, I have to flag Robert Bloomfield's absolutely preposterous claim to MSNBC (anything to get in the news!) that the banking crisis in SL "foretold" the real-life banking crisis touched off by the sub-prime mortgages.
What a crock, no, what a bunch of outright lies! Beyers Sellers knows full well where the money for banks in SL largely came: casinos. And he knows full well why the banks crashed: the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. In our little virtual world, this was a kind of "Act of God" -- the Lindens staved it off as long as they could, but the credit card companies got to them -- they simply wouldn't do business with LL if they harboured gambling on their servers and put gambling charges on the cards. So that was that. when the UIGEA began to go into force last summer, the banks and stock markets, all of which had unwisely and heavily invested in casinos, faced a crisis.
It's not the case that Ginko made its money by accepting deposits, promising absurd returns, and then loaning the money out at absurd rates. Oh, it might have had loans out, but loans were not really a product it offered. Ginko gave $100 free to everyone opening an account, which meant you and your 25 alts. It then did indeed pay out those high interest rates, which it warned you on a notecard upon joining that it was under no obligation to keep paying, and in fact your principle would not necessarily be guaranteed to be accessed, either. What Ginko then did was invest in various capers, on the Internet (some said this was Internet e-gold stuff, who knows) or inworld (their presence in the stock mark in various companies, and in gambling, was visible). Ginko had land, buildings, stocks and it paid people for nearly 3 years before unravelled. It's more of a risky High Yield Investment Plan with shakey ideas of investment than a pyramid scheme in that sense.
My parliament convened tonight in emergency session -- well, most sessions are emergency sessions because they happen for only 15 minutes when I think of them. I find it handy that way, don't you?
Well, ok, "session" might be a bit too strong a word to use, since only two other people came when I spontaneously held the emergency session of parliament in Maryport on a vacant lot which -- btw you can rent for only $650/351 prims if you need a roadside store.
Watched over by a dragon in the distance, one of those in attendance at Parliament was a noob Linux freak who had wandered over from Linuxland there in Maryport thinking my land was a sandbox, who said he had a bit of land, but then seemed to go AFK...and eventually wander across the road; the other was a Japanese tenant who I don't think understands much English. In fact, I don't he understands *any* English. Let's not let that stop us from proceeding with the business of the realm, however!
On tonight's agenda is: Knighthood. Yes, our parliament gives out Knighthoods. Being American, I have only a very vague notion of how Knighthood works, not terribly deepened by a cursory review of Wikipedia, but since the stuff we have in our country like "The President's Medal of Freedom" all seem rather tainted at the moment, I thought I'd draw from this tradition of chivalry and drafty old buildings of the kind people build in SL for Goth stores.
Well, what kind of Knighthoods could we have? Having only 7 minutes left now, and having used up a lot of the time trying to speak English to the Japanese guy's HUD, I had to quickly settle on:
Oh, dear God, Benjamin Duranske is at it again, deciding all on his own, without benefit of due process, law, or actual cases and judicial rulings, what is "illegal" and what is "criminal" regarding copyright matters. How is he able to do this? Don't lawyers have ethical rules that prevent them from describing actions as "illegal" when there are no laws to prescribe such acts? Don't they have ethical restraints against pronouncing persons guilty of crimes in the press without benefit of due process of law? Don't they have to be careful in rendering opinions warning people of "illegal actions" of this nature if they want some sort of credibility or even if they want to hang on to their law licenses? Please, explain this to me. I truly don't understand. Why does Duranske feel he can do this?! On what basis? I'm all for free speech, but normally lawyers are more circumspect. If they feel entitled to spout on their blogs, then, I get to call them on that spouting, too.
I believe that when Benjamin Duranske warns us that there are copyright issues in effect for people who take screenshots in Second Life, and that we must now all begin asking permission of every creator of every item seen in our SL browser if we take a screenshot, he is utterly talking out of his ass. He has no grounds for doing this, and even with his caveats, issuing writs about this, even as a "blog opinion," is really invalid. It's wrong.
He has concocted an entire line of bullshit, claiming that each pixelated thing in a picture is a "piece of programming" and therefore potentially "copyrighted material". Ah, we know where that comes from. In a previous life, Duranske was a coder. There is probably nothing nastier on two legs than a code-as-law-coder-turned-lawyer -- except for Internet-designers-turned-Internet-lawyers. Ugh. Duranske really appears here in his past power persona as tekkie, not in his current power professional role as "lawyer". The objective is merely to grab power, using whatever levers and instruments are available for such power, which these days is the Internet and its related technologies. No need for anything in "meat world" to get in the way.
This latest flap got started, not surprisingly, by Not Possible In Real Life Bettina Tizzy (no, she wouldn't be possible in real life with this bullshit), in awe over the latest oeuvre of AM Radio. I probably am the only person in Second Life (well, except for the other 69,099 people logging on right now who aren't in the 100-strong FIC arterati) who doesn't think much of AM Radio. I find him derivative, fascile, glib, and smug. When I said that his waves of wheat were basically purloined from Andrew Wyeth (which of course, they are, indelibly printed as Wyeth's images are in the American imagination), you would think I had uttered a Heresy. I actually had people on the Herald argue with me that he looked anything like Wyeth, which shows you how blindly stubborn the FIC arterati are. Whenever I go on the AM Radio stage set er sim, I feel a grave sense of ennui. I feel like I'm supposed to "enjoy art". I'm supposed to "pose". Usually I bump into a fashion photoshoot. It's all so very SL. Unreal -- and unreal with a kind of aggressive mediocrity that's an immersion turn-off.
I totally agree with Phil Deakins that Anya Ristow's "statistics" are crap. She does indeed have an anti-traffic agenda, and has seized on bots as the issue. She doesn't explain which of the avatars are bots and which are campers -- many campers are in fact real people earning money. Her claim that 50 percent of the people she finds are bots just doesn't track.
Desmond noted that he has 50 sims where there are no bots or campers. Classy, he says. I have land on 65 sims, many of which I share with others, some of which I own solely, and there are no bots or campers on them, except on one, which is an infohub sim where badly-scripted bots land on Linden Land.
The fear and hatred of bots is, of course, exaggerated. I'm all for making a huge pushback to automatized geek-will, coming in the form of AI, which are bots in SL. But I think the task is to regulate, them, forever, not ban them or remove traffic due to them. If those using the libsl program had to pay for more than the traffic-infusion script, and had to pay for the accounts, we'd see the entire bot program disappear over night.
There's a deep-seated, hateful, hysterical, shrill jihad against traffic in Second Life, for all kinds of reasons, which I've written about. But I think it's time for a tour of stores that come up in the first page of search on different popular key words in search/places, to see if I can find 500 without facing a welter of camped and botted eyeball grabbers. And judging from how quickly I found 25 right away in all the top key words on the first pages, I don't think is going to be the impossibility everyone thinks. Post below your own botless/uncamped store links and let's keep a count.
Hi, I'm M Linden. Yes, I have an expensive watch, suit, and hair cut in RL. If you do, it's only in Second Life, loser! But don't think about where content or land comes from, just buy, buy, buy.
There's a huge hole in the Lindens' perception of their business, and it is one through which the Mack trucks driving the lion's share of their revenue are driving, with increasingly angry truck drivers.
M: For a body to grow, cells must divide and specialize and that’s
what we’re doing. As part of that, we putting more focus on key
customer segments – the consumer market, the enterprise market (which
includes government) and the education market. We are not segmenting it
any further than that. While Second Life is and will always be a
virtual world platform, there are product requirements, go-to-market
strategies and partnership deals we need to employ that are specific to
80% of our business is focused on the consumer market — which of
course includes content creators. We are putting more than 80% of our
investment in the consumer market because a good part of our investment
in Enterprise crosses over (shared media).
We talk about Enterprise because we are doing new things there. We
need to talk more about our plans for consumer because we have many big
projects underway there.
We learn elsewhere, from this marathon interview with Ginsu Linden (he should change his name to G Linden, as he is one of the Alphabet Lindens), that *enterprise and education together* only make up 20 percent of the customers. Wow -- remember when Glenn Linden said enterprise, by which he meant RL businesses often using solutions providers, was 15 percent of the islands? That number sure fell hard, even allowing for the increase. Today, *together* they are only 20 percent. That's 80 percent *of the rest of us* who pay the bills.
And yet we are all lumped together as "consumers" -- and treated with all the patronizing scorn that implies, even if we bring $500,000, $90,000, $25,000 in tier to the Lindens each year, taking care of thousands of customers they don't have to take care of, and helping them in land sales and rentals and content freebies and sales. We are the world, but we are invisible.
I don't know what it is with these new alphabet Lindens, M and T. They deliberately slap people in the face as they move in by giving themselves one-letter names that bounce in the Linden-made inworld search. At least add a few letters, if you're going to be an alphabet Linden, like Zee.
What we can see now from the alphabet marking is that these Lindens represent a new breed of commercial masters who see their job as flogging the platform to produce income for the company and to "grow it" "going forward" "in this space" -- and add 10 other buzz words of this type of industry to help yourself play Buzz-Word Bingo.
I find them patronizing and superficial by contrast to Philip and Corey, who were at least the real deal, even if a real deal that I ultimately felt no affinity for. At least Philip had real, home-made, non-store-bought hair (and still does!), and you could disagree with him and have a debate that acknowledged the conflict. With the new alphabet Lindens, the surface area of teflon is so large and shiny that you simply never get a purchase on it. There's no there there.
Reading T's maiden missive, I feel patronized and talked down to. It's like somebody putting on a frog puppet and waggling at it to entertain me when I'm already too old for puppets. I can also see one thing the Lindens have accomplished with their Alphabet People these days: they have completely conditioned residents to view SL as a "product" that as "features" rather than a "world" that has "elements". Of course, calling SL "a world" irritates not only Lindens, but some residents who pride themselves on aggressively telling you that SL "is not a world" (just like they tell it is "not a game") because then, its mysteries and potentials are dumbed down for them into mediocre bite sizes.
T is asking about premium account ideas, but we can rapidly assess that this is just another one of those lame Linden exercises where they pretend to get our feedback and then do what they want; Carl Metropolitan summed it up best saying "They'll dump premiums, give us vanity email with firstname.lastname@example.org, and call shit chocolate".
They may have A and B teams arguing within their own ranks, and then they politically play the resident card on each other by pointing to the forums (read by perhaps 10 percent of the users, posted on by perhaps 2 percent of those readers, and from which some vocal users such as myself are banned). Some Lindens, probably Z and M, would like to get rid of premiums. They are a money suck -- at least some cost to the Lindens, because the stipends printed and issued, while "sinks," mean they can sell that much less money, and then only collect a fee on its sale from one resident to another. There are only 86,000 of the premiums at this point, a number rapidly dwindling from its height over 100,000, and it proves as an embarassment. Of those 86,000, the overwhelming majority are not even using the 512 as land-owners, and if they do have ti applied to tier, probably don't log on or have set their land to sale. A large but still minority core of these premium users -- I have no idea how many but I'll take a wild-assed guess at, say, 4,000 -- are land barons in rentals or active end-users who have either sole proprietorships, homes, or communities, including RP and educational communities.
Intlibber Brautigan -- better known as Intblubber -- is a nasty human being, one of those vicious extremist ideologues you find on Second Life who are empowered by the platform to do more nasty things to more people than they are able to manage in RL, mercifully for us all. But Intblub's dream is to carry over the nastiness of SL into RL, and that's what he's busy doing now.
Few write critically, if at all, about Intblub because he is very quick to call even the mildest report on his actual nastiness as "slander" or "libel" and imply he is going to "sue you". I know, of course, that critical commentary on this very public figure with very controversial behaviour is perfectly fine in a democratic society under the First Amendment, and even on a corporate-run blog.
Even I have to bug my eyes out when I read about some of Intblub's antics. Naturally, like others who tried to make a killing on the openspace sims, IB is now hurting. He has tried to repackage them as grandfathered, but apparently he was already at poor occupancy even before the announcement of the price hike.