Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Democracy in Second Life?

So Sparky I've read a number of comments over the years concerning the fact that Second Life is not "democratic". My usual reaction was "Why the hell would it be?" and then I forgot about it. However, you recently posted the following comment directed at Philip Linden (and yes I'm editing for brevity's sake):

In short, Philip, I can only tell you once again: make a democratic and fair world with processes that can lead to governance for a wide variety of constituencies with different needs.

Frankly this was the "proverbial last straw" Sparky. I've been wrong to dismiss the concept. I mean if you think it's important then I have to address this "democracy issue".

I have a problem though with the word democracy here - well I have a lot of problems. First of all you only want "a wide variety of constituencies with different needs" to be included. I'm hurt. Surely equality for all would include all constituencies.

There are various models for democracy - the extreme direct approach would have everybody in Second Life voting on every decision. That's probably workable but only if you have a lot of time to kill. Getting things done would not be a priority.

We could always elect representatives. How and how many would be a couple of sticking points. I suspect identifying population groups to be represented (in terms of geography, culture, language, avatar, etc.) would prove contentious at the very least. I'm sure you have a solution Sparky, you just failed to mention it.

Another option would be to have self appointed representatives. The ones who yell the loudest would be the best I suppose. They've even been known to use the word "we" when making demands or offering opinions - they're practicing for the real thing.

Now let's discuss governance. I have to start by wondering if you were using "governance" in the correct sense or if you were using it in place of the word "government" which many do. Of course the fact that you coupled it with "democratic" would lead me to believe you mean "government" but since that is patently absurd (Second Life is not an independent country. It is a corporation subject to the laws of the various real countries in which it operates.) I'll assume you really do mean governance - in the corporate governance sense since we're talking about a private company.

Electing representatives to be involved in corporate governance is something Trade Unions and Cooperatives have used for a long time. You probably got the idea from them.

Being residents/consumers/customers whatever you wish to call us, our input could only be on an advisory level. Unlike the Board, employees or shareholders we would have no responsibility and, therefore, no authority. Well that's a legitimate part of a corporate governance team but somehow I don't think that's what you want.

What you want Sparky, I suspect, is for Linden Labs to do things your way. Democracy in your case is composed of one vote - yours. I'm convinced that in any other form of a voting system you might be in the minority and that can't possibly be in your best interests.

In spite of your obvious superior intellectual abilities having you dictate LL policies and actions could be a tough sell. So I have a suggestion to make.

You are in charge of a large amount of land and you have tenants/residents on that land. Implement a "fair and democratic" system in your domain with processes that lead to governance for all of its constituencies and all of their needs. Then you can use that model to demonstrate to the rest of us how ideal and workable your system is.

We'll vote on it.

Babbage Linden's Last? Office Hour

I went to what is supposed to be Babbage Linden's last Office Hour to say goodbye - along with about 30 others. He started with the bad news (for the techies among you) that C# will not be supported at this time - so the documentation and beta will not go ahead. He also said negotiations are continuing regarding the Brighton Office and they won't know until July 9 if they will stay open or not.

It was good to see him one last time - if it turns out it's the last time. :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Ripple in Second Life

I received an invitation from Douglas Story to go visit the new build he and his partner Desdemona Enfield have created with the music of March MacBain (real life composer Emily Wilkins), so I did (and dragged Ahuva along with me). You might remember Douglas and Desdemona from the fabulous DynaFleur installation they created with Dizzy Banjo and Poid Mahovlich.

I'll let Douglas' words give a brief explanation of Ripple:

Ripple is composed of approximately 600 primitive objects orderly arranged in an architectural fashion, which are coated in moving video; video that changes in a fluid, rippling fashion in response to the visitor's touch, accompanied by a wave of specially crafted audio.

When you arrive at Ripple you are presented with a selection of panels to touch - your selection will alter the landscape around you. Walking through this landscape triggers something special so try to keep your eyes on the tower without tripping. :) Inside the tower you'll find a control panel which allows you to design the visual effects around you. You can just click on the walls which will change the display as well, the control panel makes it possible for you to change a number of other variables. We also found floating poses, a dance ball and seating around the perimeter.

This is a V1 build so even though we're talking streaming media you don't have to be in V2 to see it. If you have any difficulty seeing the videos just make sure your "Streaming Video" is enabled and turn your sound up so that the "sonic environment" has the prominence it deserves.

I enjoyed Ripple a lot but I kept thinking how wonderful a venue it would be for musicians such as Fricker Fracker, Cypress Rosewood or MoShang Zhao. If I'm offending the artists I apologize but I can imagine Cypress doing an improvised composition while the audience contributed with changes to the videos. Ahuva would be comfortable on the couch during that concert. :)

There will be an opening reception with the artists on Saturday July 3 at 10:00 SLT. I encourage you to go explore another terrific addition to the Second Life landscape.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

SL7B - Helping Others

Today is the last day of events at SL7B but again, the exhibits will be open for another week. Today's theme represents one of the things I love about SL and that's the fact that residents don't forget to reach out and help others through support/fundraising/awareness and/or education about real life issues.

I won't pick an Exhibit of the Day today because these are all worthwhile endeavours and deserve your attention. I've already mentioned SecondAbility Mentor but I'll show you the other "helping" exhibits I've found. I apologize if I missed anybody!

The first is certainly well known in Second Life and that is the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life (note the hunt I mentioned yesterday).

Alcoholics Anonymous has a very strong and supportive presence in Second Life.

The Boomer Esiason Foundation and the CF University receive support from Novartis and community members.

No known cause and no cure yet for ALS which has cost me a friend in RL. They're reaching out in Second Life too.

The Wounded Warriors project uses SL in significant ways and the US Military Veterans' Center has a number of initiatives underway.

The Glade Cafe is the center of the Multiple Sclerosis Help and Support Group.

One more note, I could swear I saw an exhibit by Operation Squeegee but couldn't find it again (arghh) however they will be officially underway July 1 and I'll pass on the information before then. (update: you can find information on Operation Squeegee at SL7B here)

If you want to help or need help or just want some information go visit these exhibits and see what's going on. They help make us one community. :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Relay Raiders RFL Hunt for the Cure - Great Hunt!

Allow me to interrupt my (apparently) endless stream of SL7B posts for a brief announcement of importance. :) Starting today is a special Hunt organized by the Relay Raiders. Called the "Hunt for the Cure" and running for approximately one week only, this Hunt allows you to purchase special items from participating shops for a minimal price (L$10 or L$25) with all proceeds going to Relay For Life to fight cancer.

One nice aspect of the hunt is that the poster will give you a notecard with landmarks to all participating stores. The Aintree Shop is included and I'm in great company (Rfyre and Bare Rose are just two of the terrific stores in the Hunt).

The Aintree gift is a special edition of my working brass Armillary - this one is brass and lapis. For a mere L$25 donation to RFL you can have it for 10% of the usual retail price and always know the correct SL time on your parcel. :) Go visit the shop and get a list of landmarks to all of the superb designers involved. You'll be glad you did!

SL7B - Whimsy Wonder and Weird (part 2)

The bad news is that tomorrow will be the last day for events at SL7B...the good news is that the exhibits will be open for another week so you have lots of time to go visit. I'll try and post more interesting sites in the days ahead. But today we'll conclude the Whimsy tour.

You may have heard of the developments in technology which will allow us to control our avatars with our brain waves. Well The Information Age, Inc. is working on that and has a free Computer Interface Headset just for you!

Apparently they didn't have bird avatars in mind when they were thinking of Brain Computer Science. I don't know if they work but my neighbours started doing some strange things so I quickly took them off and started knitting with an innocent insouciance.

The Planet Earth: Bat Cave is really cool. I'd show you some photos from inside it..... but it's dark. It's a bat cave.

If you're at all intrigued with sound you have to visit FreeWee Ling: Resonance. There are a couple of fun interactive sound creators on the ground and a full sound installation up above. This wasn't designed for a bird either - I could hear some melodic chimes but mostly I seemed to have recreated the sound of thousands of vuvuzelas. I think I might be spending too much time watching World Cup. :)

This next exhibit really requires V2 - it's not the only one at Sl7B which relies on that functionality but it's the only one so far that made me want to relog and change viewers. It has a really neat free avatar gift and a gorgeous metal being in the middle.

Go visit the TeleOctoscope by L1Aura Loire and Maya Paris!

My choice for Exhibit of the Day is Voices - Aequitas. Imagine a forest of semi transparent objects and imagine wandering through that forest. As you pass by one of the "trees" a voice of an SL resident speaks to you.

Let me share just a bit from the accompanying notecard:

After months of research and brainstorming, an idea developed to collect voices from SLers and create a forest or field of sound to explore. The collaboration went far beyond the initial group of artists working on the project to encompass at least 200 people willing to share a small part of themselves by contributing a 10 second sound byte of their voice. The collaboration grew to include the 6000 visitors that explored the field, because without the visitors to hear the voices, it wouldn't be much of a project.

We wish we could bring the magnitude of the entire project to the SLB7 celebration, but unfortunately, there isn't the space, nor the prims. So we offer a small taste of the experience as our example of an unexpected collaboration.

If you do nothing else at SL7B...go experience the Voices project. You won't regret it!

Friday, June 25, 2010

SL7B Whimsy Wonder and Weird (part 1)

SL7B is full of fun - in fact I love too many of the fun bits to do it in one post. So more in this category will follow. The first today is Capricious by windyy Lane. This is a beautifully designed and executed piece with a twist.

Combine umbrellas (which you get as a gift) and poses and you have pure whimsy. You can stack multiple friends on top of yourself with varying poses for a truly magical moment.

Bodied Words gives you and your friends the chance to spell out a message with your avatars. You acquire the letter shape and then (if you are willing) send a photo of your message to pallina60 Loon.

The instructions are thorough. :)

I thought Typote Beck's installation was cute and since it's close to the first two it's well worth checking out. Studio Egg is a nice addition to SL7B.

One of the most complex/intricate builds I've seen at SL7B is Reaching Through The Barrier - the SL7B Ball Machine. I loved watching the balls move through the machine - very clever.

These two seem forever separated - maybe if they tried sitting on one of the balls they could finally meet?

My pick for Exhibit of the Day is very unassuming. In fact I only went into Ye Olde Planetarium because I could see a free motorcycle (only usable at SL7b, sorry) and I have a friend with a thing for them. However, I climbed the circular staircase in the center and found magic.

There is a planetarium up above with the usual kind of seating - but it also has two animated pose balls which allow you to float around inside and control your movements. I love SL. :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

SL7B - SLathletics

I'll reveal a little secret here...I was planning to include the SL sailing community in this themed post. However, I couldn't find any representation from them at SL7B. I refuse to speculate on their motives but I will say I'm disappointed for a number of reasons. I also wanted to find some information on the new football league. They don't seem to have participated either. Ah well.... (mind you if I'm wrong and either of these communities are represented at SL7B please let me know and I'll pass on the information).

SL isn't all shopping and dancing and shopping. :) You can get involved in various activities as well and sporting endeavours are certainly available. If you go to Golf you'll find information on just some of the great courses around Second Life and it's fun (frustrating but fun).

Martial Arts are popular in Second Life and they're represented at the event. The ImperiuM Dojo has an exhibit (and really nice people there to chat with). If you ever wanted to learn how to use the katana - these are the folks who can help.

I told you yesterday that you can get your own demo horse at Sl7B. Go to this exhibit to find out some of the horse-related activities you can join. The Horse Events Group includes Sea Horse Races (and you can get free sea horses at their site), Barrel Racing, Bronco Riding, Pony Polo and more!

I live in Canada and it's all hockey all the time. Why should SL be any different? For information on the Global Online Hockey Association go check out their exhibit.

My nomination for Exhibit of the Day is an old favourite of mine. The Giant Snail Racing organization is well run (from what I can tell) and seem to work hard to improve the "sport".

Their exhibit is fun and well built and you can get a free mini snail with your own flag on it. Well worth checking out. If you've never seen a Giant Snail Race you owe it to yourself to go.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

SL7B - Interactive

Today's theme is "interaction". This is certainly not a exhaustive list of interactive exhibits at SL7B - but it includes some things I found that I think you should check out. I start with the Tram System that will take you on a 55 minute tour of all of the SL7B Sims. Just look for the bobbing blue arrow (you'll find one close to wherever you are on the site) and rez a tram. It's a good way to get an overview of everything that's available.

This next photo probably looks like some interesting intricate piece of art - and it is. It's also the underside of a giant skirt.

Eshi Otawara fell in love with M Linden's doodles at the UWA Show and worked with him to create a Doodle Lace Dress which you can wear. If you're not familiar with Eshi's work (and even if you are) you'll really want to try this on.

The AKK Horse Ranch Annex will give you a demo horse for your very own to use and enjoy. I love horses!

Caro Fayray has created the exhibit Organic Machines and I had a lot of trouble pulling myself away - which had a lot to do with the blues she plays on the top level.

I don't want to spoil it by revealing too much here, but I will tell you she has the coolest transport mechanisms I've seen yet. Her "brief" description of the build is as follows: "Collaboration between man/machine/nature/organics with interaction from the visitor." Turn your sound on (unless you're sqeamish and maybe even then) and yes, there's room for dancing to the blues on the roof.

My friend Raul Crimson has built "Identity Crisis?" and it deserves your attention. While you play the old game of changing somebody's appearance ask yourself what it says about you if you see the person differently because of the result of your actions.

His "Changing Noobs" is fun.....just watch it for a while and see what happens. :)

Raul wasn't there when I visited but he's pretty - so I'm including a photo for your enjoyment (that's Ganymedes Costagravas in white).

As much as I enjoyed all of the builds in this post, my pick for Exhibit of the Day goes to the SecondAbility Mentor Unexpected Collaborations Experiment.

I have a personal connection I guess - in RL I spent 10 years walking with a cane (and great difficulty) because of rheumatism and arthritis - except in my case it turned out to be food allergies. So I was curious about their build.

Their notecard explains:

Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to begin by:

* Locating someone on your radar (preferrably someone you don't know) OR

* Explore on the SL7B sims and find someone to participate with you (again someone preferrably that you don't know)

Each of you sit on one of the two cupcake flowers to the left of the Unexpected Collaboration Experiment sign where you will receive a notecard for the next step.

Primary objective: Collaborate and have fun!

Now that's just cool - and although you could do it with somebody you know, it'd be much more fun meeting somebody new. :) I heartily recommend you visit all of these exhibits - and explore SL7B. I'm having a blast!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

SL7B - A Tour of the "Sacred"

I try to group my journeys through SLB's and Burning Life into some sort of theme for posting purposes. It makes the results a little less disjointed.....I hope. Once I've chosen the theme, I then seek out exhibits that would naturally be included which means I fly around a lot and see things I wouldn't otherwise come across (and gather more ideas for themes and lm's for future posts). Today's theme was suggested by the DJ Stage - which looks less like a stage location to me than a futuristic religious building of sorts. So a search was on for something we seem to like a lot in Second Life......temples.

This build is the Temple of the Plywood Apple and commemorates the introduction of sculpties on May 20, 2007. It's very well done and the group "Starbase Alpha" which created it deserves a lot of credit for the design and execution.

I met Damian Firecaster at the Temple who was representing the group and convinced me to go visit and see the "best starships in SL". I've put that on my list of things to do. :)

The Mermaid Temple has some great sculpties as well and the Mer-folk are named in the exhibit which is a nice way to give a sense of the feeling of community they must have.

The Sentinel Mountains is a group of sims I'm not familiar with - but their Temple of Luna is a nice build and they have a really cool free gift.

I met Faolan Valerian there and, although she didn't mention it, Sentinel Mountains is in her picks so I probably should have asked for more information on their work. They have more than one exhibit in the area so check them all out.

Every now and then at SLB or Burning Life I see something that thrills me and I'm not always able to articulate why. Behind a copy of an article entitle The Sacred Geometries of Wizard Gynoid is the Flowering of Life. This is my choice for Exhibit of the Day - if you see nothing else today at SL7B, please go spend some time here.

I'm going to share the notecard that accompanies the exhibit - it will explain things better than I can. What I will tell you is that standing and watching the transformations unfold is mesmerizing.

The Flowering of Life

This exhibit is an impromptu and unexpected collaboration between Wizard Gynoid and Polagirus Paragorn. As such it dovetails nicely with the theme of SL7B. (Desdemona Enfield helped out too.)

The "Flower of Life" is thought by some to be a good example of New Age Fringe Theory. Others believe that is central to an ancient discipline called Sacred Geometry.

The Flower of Life is said to be very ancient. Examples of its construction are found on Babylonian and Egyptian temples. The construction of the Flower of Life leads to the Isometric Grid and Hexagonal polyhedra, like the two-dimensional Star of David and the three-dimensional Merkabah.

We show here that ultimately the Flower of Life leads to higher levels of complexity which can culminate in the object commonly called the cubeoctahedron.

Buckminster Fuller held this object in very high regard, calling it the Vector Equilibrium.

In Sacred Geometry, the "Seed of Life" is formed from seven circles being placed with sixfold symmetry, forming a pattern of circles and lenses, which act as a basic component of the Flower of Life's design.

Idle notes:

  • Blogger and Safari really don't get along very well but I keep trying to convince them to work together. If/when you see things that are messed up it just means I've failed. Again.
  • I often look at posts and think "Why am I publishing this?" Bevan convinced me today that even the stuff I think is a waste of time proves useful on occasion to somebody else. Thank you Bevan. The rest of you are stuck with me now. :)