The Tainted Wonderland

Kill yourself.

Well, not all of you, of course, but rather that part of you that is so cynical and negative (I know: redundant terms there.) Second Life is such a wonderful wonderland upon first entry, but gradually dulls and seems to grow darker with time, the way brass will dull and tarnish without a constant polishing.

Zara Mistwallow has a great post on her blog regarding how we just don’t really talk to each other anymore, how we’ve become indolent in our little virtual worlds inside the big virtual world as far as our social attitudes go.

Side note: nope, not trying to use overly-fancy words. But rather trying to avoid the trap Tateru Nino writes twice about in her blog, a traps I myself fall into quite frequently, with regard to using the proper word to obtain the “right shade” of meaning in my writing.

It’s no secret that our little wonderland is full of wonder… and ‘deviance’ all over the place. Much of which is really only perception and the actual ‘deviant’ activity never really occurs at all. For example, I am currently entertained through role play in the “Barbary Coast Project”, which if you look-up the real history of it can be rather ‘off-putting’ to ‘sensible’ people. The way I see it: did Schindler’s List offend you? The Color Purple? the mini-series Roots? It’s about experiencing history and, well, having something a bit more exciting than “Mother Goose” stories to role play.

This is one of the reason the Gor role playing theme is so popular and often some might say “thrilling” at times. It’s why the “slave” meme is so ridiculously prevailent on the SL grid. And not only in the Gor role-playing sims, but all over the place in every imaginable and conceivable theme, such as the Furry “culture”.

I’ve even run seen listed in search results Furry BDSM and Gorean-themed sims. How, whatever turns your crank, drive-on and have your fun, it’s your sandbox.

So this morning I am working on updating scripts in my products and an IM comes through on the “Barbary Coast Project” group chat. A simple, straight-=forward question:

“Does Barbary Coast sims allow furries?”

My first thought is: thank you for checking. really, it’s is wise and kind of you to do so rather than just popping-in and running around as though nothing is amiss. In the end I was able to give this lady-furry some ideas on how to find what she was looking for.

But my first reply to the group channel was as such:

/me looks-up the real history of the barbary Coast as it was in the 16th and 17th centuries on earth to invesatigate what furries were in population at the time.

The reply from the one asking the question was an expected “no need for a smatass answer”.

And she was right in every way.

I have a rather abrasive sense of humor. Most people I know in SL and possibly first life either love me or hate me. Likely more the latter – until they get to know me. But either way, my comment was uncalled-for, even though I was genuinely going for humor.

Which brings me to the way we all are becoming less friendly as we weather our Second Lives. Hence, the comments Zara made on her blog. We communicate with strangers far less than before, and we tend to take comments in a negative way automatically, rather than first assuming it was meant in jest (though my comment definitely appeared to be a snarky one, I’ll admit.)

The real deal So, like the beautiful, shiny brass railings you might find at movie cinemas, fancy banks and barber shops, perhaps the Second Life exerience begins to tarnish with age and we are simply procrastinating the effort to break-out the Brasso and soft linnen to polish it up?

art: “Gifts 4 Heartbeat“; “Chainsaws & Jelly

Categories: Socially Mundane

You Are The Sugar in Second Life’s Water

Grains of sugar in water Pour a teaspoon of sugar into a thimble of water and you’ll have an incredibly sweet drink. Pour the same teaspoon of sugar into a five-gallon bucket and it becomes engulfed, lost, overtaken by the water. Not only is it not sweet, you can’t taste the sugar at all.

This is how I view the Second Life grid. Okay, not really, but a way to describe how I view the grid – with regard to the bigger picture.

I have been complaining (to myself and to you, through this blog) about how the grid becomes increasingly diluted and more uninteresting by the day. This has been on my mind for the last year or so, but considerably entering my thought more profoundly in the last few months.

When I first entered the grid in 2006, it was a wonderful new world. Certainly just the newness of it to me was exciting and it was a joy to explore and see things, being built by the other “residents” made it even more interesting. It was easy to find fascinating things to see and do, easy to find and meet new people, make new friends, socialize.

There was one mainland, then two and a smattering of privately maintained simulators (a.k.a. ‘sims’ or ‘private islands”/Estates (though an estate can contain multiple sims)) and though there was a massive number of things to see and places to go, in comparison to today the entire grid was minuscule.

Now think of the virtual land in SL as water and the people on the grid as a grain of sugar each and the activities (meeting people, seeing awesome things, doing things, etc.) as the ‘taste’ of sugar-in-water.

Second Life has become incredibly diluted.
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Okay, which of you is breaking my sim with Neillife?

Brickarms Zombie Gun - 2If someone is murdered, which did the murdering: the gun that shot the bullet, or the person pulling the trigger?

A gun is just a tool. A means to an end. The fact is if someone is intent on the end and one means is removed, for example the gun, they will find another means to that same end. Thus, in this context the gun is no more dangerous than a steak-knife, a hammer or even a fist-size rock.

Fortunately, Linden Lab always errs on the side of caution. Yes, even an “under-age” abuse report causing an immediate ban is erring on the side of caution. Granted, there should be some kind of “flag” in the system that once the accused verifies themselves, all subsequent ‘under-age’ A.R.’s are automatically moot and tossed aside. Hopefully Linden Lab will get to working on a feature such as this. But I digress.

I am going to tell you a tale of two… er, tales. However, the two thus will merge into the point that the Neillife viewer can be detected on the grid (albeit in an inconvenient and rather sloppy way that still leaves some doubt.) I discovered this through a rather frustrating process, accidentally – and through continuing tests, is an accurate method of “detection”.

However, speaking to one of the development team for the GreenLife Emerald viewer proper early this morning, I now have an understanding of why this happens and how the Neillife viewer is being “detected”, thus it is an unfortunately trivial effort to “fix” the viewer.

Also please note: most of this is written before I spoke with the member of the Emerald developer team (early this morning) and so I want to be clear: because I now know the Emerald viewer proper does include the creator tools I speak-of in the Neallife viewer, (but wasn’t aware because I’m on an older version,) there is no reason or purpose for using the Neillife viewer except for thieving. Most of this post is written before I was made aware of the newer Emerald features.

It gives me pause as to whether I should make my findings public or not, as the author of the Neillife viewer will know instantly what to change to cause this ‘detection’ to fail. But I’ve decided it is better to simply tell-all because the benefit to you, dear reader at large is the greater and better of the consequence, even if only temporary.

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Balance Your Life (Meaning Both: Second and First)

hysteriaAre you hysterically paranoid about the new “copybot” grid viewers?

And – isn’t it radically ironic that Second Life residents will blast Linden Lab for acting to enforce their own Intellectual Property Rights (made to be BAD GUYS), but yet blast Linden Lab and shout shrill diatribe when their own (Residents) Intellectual Property Rights are offended – i.e. “copybot” (GOOD GUYS)? Cake + Eat = Sour-taste.

[Update: and I just read this at Not Possible In RL blog: “Animators in Second Life strive so hard to emulate the graceful movements of real professional dancers through precision motion capture, but the animation I adore and would miss the most is my trans/copy SkybornFly. I know I’ve had it since January 2008 because I remember handing out copies of it like there was no tomorrow at Komuso Tokugawa and MoShang Zhao’s fabulous realtime jam and prototype event…” – uh… WTF? (emphasis mine) – and she didn’t even know who the creator was until now. Complain about copybot or “theft”in general lately? I mean – if you didn’t know who the creator was, how could you know if the license allowed you to throw it around so willy-nilly? (If it’s a custom animation made for you – then clarify – but you say you’ve never heard of him… things that make you go ‘hmmm’.)  (Source)] [Edit: I want to clarify that I am not accusing Ms. Tizzy of anything. Comments below explain why I am using this.]

(Back to regularly-scheduled diatribe):
If you’ve read Hamlet”s post about Linden Lab Incident Reports at New World Notes and all the comments to it, you don’t need to read any further here. I read all those comments and it seems everything relating to “breaking the rules” on the Second Life grid always causes the ‘copybot’ theme to rear it’s head.

The current shrill paranoia is with regard to the new open source free viewers in the wild that allow the user to copy prims (rezzed and worn by others) and textures (layered and baked) with only a few clicks. The panic seems to be reaching a fever-pitch…if you follow blogs about Second Life that is… and as I’ve spoken about in the last couple posts I made here.

My comment there at NWN was more directed to all those other commenters rather than the original article, and I got a bit verbose as I often do. After posting I looked at it and felt it was a bit long and decided I’d just repeat it here because I make a few more points that speak to what I was trying to say on my last post and I want to have my comments “archived” here at Common Sensible.

In my reply I directly answer a couple other commenters, but also largely toward one particular comment, so I will quote them in truncated form here before I dump my own rhetoric onto the page for your ridicule.

Ann’s [Otool] cryolife detector is a great tool, but increasingly, I am seeing people who are undoubtedly using “that” viewer to hide their client version. This typically shows itself by coming up with a “?” in the radar on Emerald (unless they have decided to clone a different viewer).

I stood next to a friend’s store last night changing the texture on a statue to stop someone from copying it, this person had hair on that they had created themselves the previous day – was named “hair – Liz” in their own language. In the end they either managed to copy the statue while I was changing the texture on it every time they changed it back (it’s like two clicks to copy a linkset), and they went, or I stopped them and they gave up.

My friend AR’ed, but what will be done? We have no proof apart from the hair and what they were doing.

– snip-

Ann is right .. I believe the vast majority of theft is personal use – you cannot file a DMCA for that.

So what happens when you know something is being copied, or you are 99.9% certain? You have no proof. There is nothing physical to be seen, unless you manage to find it inworld [sic] after the event – and that’s not really likely is it?

There’s no safeguard, no comeback, and soon no point in making content.

– snip –

Posted by: Toxic Menges | Thursday, October 01, 2009 at 04:48 AM
[at New World Notes]

In my reply, I speak directly to the claim that viewers that appear with a question mark in the Emerald (or Kirstens, et al) radar. This commenter proclaims any viewer that cannot be identified in the built-in Emerald radar is one of “those” viewers (that allow “ripping” of prims and textures.) And by the way “99.9% sure” is not “sure” – there is still doubt. This is why the Abuse Report will go nowhere, as it should go nowhere.

Guess what, even the Linden Lab official viewer and Snowglobe appear as a question mark (?) in the Emerald viewer. So I suppose if I use Snowglobe and create and wear hair that I happen to call “Hair – Torley” that I am evil because I’m a copybot-ripper? Sheesh. Why would I call my hair that? How about “Hair” so the name is easy to search for in inventory and how about “Torley” to name the “style”?

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Second Life: Why ‘Copybot’ Shouldn’t Matter

September 30, 2009 7 comments

UFO Response team[UPDATE: Cryolife is easily detectable. However, I have discovered one way to detect at least one of the others, possibly more – details in my next post to this blog. —Ari]

Copybot has been around since 2006. And now, there are grid viewers with the same capability built-in and there are those who are going absolutely nuts with paranoia. At large are Cryolife, Thuglyfe, Streetlife, Neillife, please Get-a-life.

Sure, I could easily link to each and every one of those I’ve just listed. But then I’d get flamed for “accessibility to the masses” and all that nonsense. In truth they are quite easy to find and all are free (so if you pay for any of these, you are a lot more gullible than you should be.) As for the “copybot capability” of these grid viewers, why is no one screaming in shrill tones about Meerkat viewer – actually highlighted on New World Notes – among the most-read blogs about Second Life?

The fact of the matter is this stuff (ripping textures and prims) is not stoppable and there is nothing Linden Lab or you can do about it because it happens after the scene is downloaded to the local computer. Think of the technology as a “cache sifter and extractor” because that’s basically what it’s doing (for descriptive purposes anyway.) If you can see it or hear it, you can steal it. So why is everyone so paranoid about this stuff?

The answer is simple: people are taking Second Life and their “work” in it far too seriously.

I have a real and genuine proposition for you…

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Watch Your “(Step)-UP! For Content Creators”

September 28, 2009 4 comments

The CopyBot Protest in Second Life

There is big news making the rounds in the SLogosphere this week about an effort (boycott) regarding content theft in Second Life. The effort is called “Step UP! For Content Creators”. Many bloggers have called it many things. Many others, including Gwyneth Llewelyn calls it what it is and should be: an awareness effort. But I think it actually goes too far.

The untiring Gwen Carillon, one of the best jewelry creators in Second Life, and the long-time president of the Content Creators Association, a [sic] SL organisation “to support, inform and assist creators in protection of original content and other content related issues”, has launched a new project: Step UP! for Content Creators, a new way to raise awareness for content creation theft in Second Life.

[From Gwyn’s Home » Blog Archive » Step UP! for Content Creation Theft Awareness]

Fair enough. However, there is a problem. A big one, too. Gwyneth also writes:

Gwen, perhaps unlike many others, is a firm believer in a positive approach to the whole issue, that is, to find solutions to problems and get people to spread the word about what can be done.

Gwyneth’s emphasis, not mine. But also the very emphasis I would have made myself. You see, there is no solution. At least none that I can think of in knowing what I know about how computers and networking works (I have first life I.T. experience.)

There is the issue of “copybot” we all have heard about before. Frankly I am tiring of… well some might call it a ‘discussion’. I consider it all more of a one-sided paranoia diatribe. I don’t mean this in an offensive way to any who speak of it. I am only saying it’s a futile worry. “Copybot technology” is here and it is here to stay.


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Flame Me, Burn Me, Kill Me. Just Don’t Eat Me.

September 24, 2009 2 comments

An old saying we used to throw around in my Army days is “they can kill you, but they can’t eat you.” I know, I know… “Huh? Wha…?”

It’s just another way of saying they can beat you up, hate you, make you miserable – but in the end, they can’t take away your principals. And so, I now hereby open myself up to whatever flaming, trolling, vitriolic hatred might come my way when I make my genuine opinion here known to the world.

Not a secret, but never before openly and loudly shouted out to the Second Life enthusiast world. So, please allow me a moment to get my helmet and flame-retardant armor on and buckle my seatbelt, ‘cause here we go…

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