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Archive for January, 2009

On yesterday’s Metanomics show, Philip Linden mentioned the possibility of a merge between the main and teen grids. He said:

Generally, I think that the future of Second Life needs to be one where people of all ages can use Second Life together, and that’s the direction that we’re taking in our planning and our work. I think that the educational opportunities for Second Life are so great for all ages that we need to make it as available as we possibly can to people. If you look at what we’ve done with the Teen Grid, I think we’ve done a good job, as a small company, of being inclusive and creating an environment in which teenagers were able to use Second Life, I think, perhaps earlier than, I don’t know, we might have been able to. We pushed hard to get that working.

But, if you look at the problems with having a teenaged area, which is itself so isolated from the rest of the World, they’re substantial. There’s an inability for educators to easily interact with people in there because we’ve made it an exclusively teen only area. Parents can’t join their kids in Second Life so problems like that are ones that we think are pretty fundamental and need to be fixed. We need to stop creating isolated areas that are age specific and, instead, look at how we can make the overall experience appropriately safe and controlled for everybody. So that’s the general direction that we’re taking there.
Initially, I had the same visceral reaction it seems that many main grid residents had. “Umm… no.”
But let’s face it… if Linden Lab decides that’s what they want to do, it doesn’t matter whether I — or the rest of the main grid — think it is a good idea. They’re going to do it. If I can hazard a guess, they’re going to say “Use the age verification system we put in place to block off your parcels.” Which ignores the fact that people from many countries can’t age verify. It’s just legal camouflage that pushes the burden of keeping teens out of your parcel onto the residents themselves.
So how could they possibly make this work? (And by “work”, I mean that in the loosest possible way, since I am unconvinced this can happen without someone getting hurt.) Maybe the answer is one more land rating: G. Currently, land is PG or Mature. If there was the possibility of rated G areas — possibly a continent of them, to prevent camming into a non-G area — serving as a areas for educational institutions and other teen areas, those could be governed by tighter rules than PG or Mature areas.
The thing that struck me as I read posts in the blogosphere and the official SL Forums was that this is a really polarizing issue. Nearly all main grid residents say “not on my grid.” And nearly all the teen grid residents say “We’re bored and this is the answer to our SL dreams.” Sadly  for the teens, it sounds like if adults have their way, they will barricaide teens out of most of the mian grid, meaning that the teen grid doesn’t really expand, just ends up connected to the main grid.
Who would benefit from this? Well, if my understanding is correct, the burden of paperwork for the teen grid is a pretty big one. If suddenly you didn’t have to take time to verify all the new teens, you could save time and man hours. Sounds like LL would benefit in labor costs. I’m not entirely convinced that the teens would benefit. And I think the consensus is that the adults wouldn’t benefit from this move.  So LL comes out the winner with streamlined operations.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few weeks or months, to see who ends up the winner or loser when these plans go forward. I’ll have to ponder whether I would let teens into Harbour. Would you allow them into your region?
Edit:
I posted some additional thoughts this morning to the SL Forums that touch on an aspect of this that I didn’t get to before I got sleepy and finished last night’s post:
Sadly, we live in a guilty-until-proven-innocent society when it comes to offenses (real or imagined) against children. Speaking as someone who ended up on a state child welfare watchlist without even knowing it had occurred, I am not interested in fighting my way through that kind of RL red tape ever again because of the actions of a minor.

For instance, a minor on this new merged grid sends me an inventory offer. I decline it, and go about my business. If they sent me a no-trans item, it still ended up in my inventory, just went to my trash (or is it lost and found? I haven’t had it happen in a while). I have still ended up with heaven only knows what, passed to me by a minor. The minor’s parent decides they’d better check up on them and checks their transaction history. ZOMG, they gave me, an adult, an inventory item. Of an objectionable nature. I must be a pedo. Good thing the lawyer is on speed dial. And the state department of child protective services.

I’m not saying that this can’t be done in a way that works. But the risks to responsible and totally innocent adults on the main grid are huge. Bigger than I think LL has thought through.

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I have only been participating in the weekly  PhotoHunt since December, so I didn’t realize at first that last night was the biggest turnout ever. Not until we overran the PhotoHunt contest board and it ended up broken for voting, anyhow. It’s great to see an event like the PhotoHunt growing. It’s rapidly becoming a highlight of my week in Second Life.

This week, we visited Opera Joven. This region is run by a nonprofit association founded in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1999, and it promotes  the cultural heritage of Jalisco, Mexico.

As always, we had an hour to bring back our best unretouched snapshot from the area.
Opera Joven Photo Hunt 1

I tried to capture a “watching the sunset” snapshot, but wasn’t happy with the results, so I kept looking for something a little different. Finally, I settled on my entry for the week… a sultry sunset shot through the supports of a pier.

Opera Joven Photo Hunt 2

One of the most amazing things to me about the PhotoHunt is returning to find out what the other hunters have captured. They were all looking at the same region, the same prims, yet there are remarkably different images captured by each of the photographers.
Full Board at the Photo Hunt 1-14-2009

(This snapshot of the contest board contains images that are the copyright of other photo hunters. It was taken shortly before the volume of entries into the weekly PhotoHunt broke the contest board.)

Join in the fun! The Photo Hunt is held weekly at 6:00 SLT on Wednesdays, at the Virtual Artist Alliance Gallery in Chiaksan. A new beta web site provides additional information about the Virtual Artist Alliance.

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Rich Desoto at the Blarney Stone 1-13-2009
Rich Desoto played at the Blarney Stone Irish Pub last night in Dublin. It had been a long time since I managed to hear him play inworld, and judging by the turnout, I’m not the only one who has missed having him around.
Rich Desoto rocks the Blarney Stone 1-13-2009
I remember hearing Rich for the first time only a few weeks after I had come to Second Life, in May or June of 2007. Like last night, he played at the Blarney Stone, though the bar looked a lot different than it does today. That was both my introduction to Rich’s music and also my introduction to live music in Second Life. I’ve been a fan of both ever since.

After Rich’s set, I posted a few snapshots from the event to Flickr, then went to add them to the appropriate Flickr groups… only to realize that there was no Flickr group for snapshots of Rich. Well, I can fix that! Behold the Second Life – Rich Desoto Fan Club Flickr group. Got snapshots of the man? Add them!

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Photo Hunt!

The Wednesday evening photo hunts are back on now that the holidays are over, and I participate in my second one. This week’s was at The Shire, a Lord of the Rings themed region. I hadn’t been there before, and I enjoyed exploring the area, especially since I ran into Gandalf himself!

I had a hard time getting a picture I liked this week, but I settled for a shot of the sky, seen through some ornate chair backs.
Photo Hunt at The Shire

We returned to the gallery and everyone put in their votes… and I was voted third place for the week! I was pretty flattered. I’m not doing it for winning or losing, but because I really enjoy the challenge of  bringing back the best snapshot I can in the allotted hour. Still, the enthusiasm and support of the other Photo Hunters made me feel good, which meant a lot after a rough few weeks here.

So I plan to be there again next week. If you’d like to join in the fun, the Photo Hunt is held weekly at 6:00 SLT on Wednesdays, at the Virtual Artist Alliance Gallery in Chiaksan.

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