Beware: Second Life viewer flaw

Just when you thought things couldn’t get glitchier,Linden Lab have announced a further flaw in the SL viewer. QuickTime is integral to video streaming in-world and that’s the source of the flaw. Read the blog post for more details.

Update (22nd December 2007): Linden Lab have released an optional viewer update that will ascertain if you remain susceptible to the flaw.

Basic Account residents – check your credit card statement

As per Linden Lab’s notification, they’ve incorrectly billed a number of basic (free) account holders. If you hold a free account you might like to check your credit card statement.

That said, given how wonderful Second Life’s stability has been in the past week you might like to start paying for your free account 😉

Another rolling restart underway

The fun continues on the grid, this time to bring the server code up to version 1.18.6 for the next browser roll-out.

After last week’s login issues, its remained a fairly bumpy ride. How are the frustration levels going for you at present?

Linden Lab CEO responds to technical issues of the past week

The Official Linden Blog is carrying a lengthy post from CEO Philip Rosedale. Its premise is a revamp of Linden Lab’s mission statement but it’s also an exposition on the future of Second Life in Rosedale’s eyes.

First, he admits to how frustrating the problems of the last week have been for residents. He then stated that the new physics engine (currently in beta) will address a lot of those issues. He’s cited the first half of 2008 as being focused on stability. Many would argue that the second half of 2007 should perhaps have been about stability as well.

Second, Rosedale admitted that “we need to create new and different ways to communicate more often and more clearly with the community”. I doubt anyone would argue with that and the few people who are left that frequent the Second Life forums wold argue there were already some useful mechanisms in place thaty were gutted months back. The commitment by Rosedale to a monthly blog post is encouraging but far from a comprehensive communication strategy. Effective communication needs to come from all facets of the organisation, not just the CEO. Some steps have been made in that regard but it’s well and truly a work in process.

What wasn’t said in the post? Well for one, no mention of further internationalisation of servers, which makes me wonder how close, if at all, the Australian servers are as we reported last week.

One statement of Rosedale’s with which I’d agree wholeheartedly: “The rocket is lit. Virtual worlds are finally real”. There’s no doubt about that at all. The trouble is, the rocket doesn’t launch some of the time, crashes after launch other times and even when it gets into orbit it can undergo decompression for no obvious reason. Here’s hoping in six months that the launch pad is still there and is having a much better launch record.

A horror week for stability

The latest blog post by Linden Lab tops off a horror week for Second Life stability. Combine that with the ever-present lag and usability remains the chestnut issue for Second Life.


If the rumours are true about Australian-based SL servers finally arriving, then part of the significant frustration with the Second Life experience will be remedied. The roll-out of improved broadband in Australia is likely to occur no matter who wins next week’s election, but it’s still a while off. None of it will remediate the enormous logistical task of keeping a virtual world running across thousands of servers – that’s something that can at best be minimised as a performance issue.

We’d be interested in your experiences with lag – has it been around the same for you, better or worse?

Linden Lab further clarify ageplay policy

Linden Lab have further clarified their policy on ageplay. The real clarity is around child-like avatars and what is acceptable behaviour – essentially anything sexual is out, including promotion of sex-related products by child-like avatars. The ongoing grey area revolves around defining what is child-like and what isn’t, something Linden Lab acknowledges in their clarification.

I’d also like to see the overall policy in one location, rather than a series of blog posts – hopefully this will occur in the near future. We’ve been clear in our support for Linden Lab’s efforts to date and this is an incremental improvement that should put no-one in doubt about what is acceptable in regards to the Terms of Service.

Is there anything in the clarification you disagree with? Do you feel the definitions are too strict or too lax?

The full announcement:

“We’ve had a number of questions from Residents regarding Second Life’s policy regarding sexual “ageplay,” i.e., depictions of or engagement in sexualized conduct with avatars that resemble children. This practice has been disallowed in recognition of our Community Standards, complaints from Residents, and international laws, so it’s important to understand the definitions.

Under our Community Standards policy, real-life images, avatar portrayals, and other depictions of sexual or lewd acts involving or appearing to involve children or minors are not allowed within Second Life. When detected, individuals and groups promoting or providing such content and activities will be subject to sanctions, which may include termination of accounts, closure of groups, removal of content, and loss of land or access to land.

There are three key aspects, which are in breach of the Community Standards:

(1) participation by Residents in lewd or sexual acts in which one or more of the avatars appears to represent minors (or the depiction of such acts in images, video, textures, or text) is a violation of the Community Standards;

(2) promoting or catering to such behavior or representations violates our Community Standards. For instance, the placement of avatars appearing to represent minors in proximity to “sex beds” or other sexualized graphics, objects, or scripts, would violate our Community Standards, as would the placement of sexualized “pose balls” or other content in areas depicting playgrounds or children’s spaces;

(3) the graphic depiction of children in a sexual or lewd manner violates our Community Standards.

We understand that in some cases there may be an element of subjectivity as to whether an avatar (or other image) appears to be a minor. Objective factors which will be used to decide include whether an avatar has child-like facial features, is sized as a child, has clothing or accessories generally associated with children, and whether, based on the circumstances, an avatar is speaking or acting like a child (e.g. “My Mommy says…”).

If you are in doubt as to whether an activity may be interpreted as ageplay, we request you err on the side of caution and desist. Please note that some countries’ laws may impose penalties for graphics, drawings or anime that resemble child pornography, even where no children have been involved.

Linden Lab reserves the right to immediately terminate the accounts of Residents who violate these standards.

Of course, any images, chat or other conduct which leads us to believe actual minor children are involved will lead to swift action, including reporting to the appropriate authorities.

Please note it does not violate this policy merely to have a child-like avatar. It is not our intent to banish child-like avatars in and of themselves.

We appreciate the Community’s continued support in reporting abuses of these standards, and we hope this helps answer any questions about this topic and our policy. To report a violation of the policy, please go to the Help/Report Abuse feature in your Second Life viewer, and follow the instructions given.” launches – Linden Lab chases business a little harder

Linden Lab have announced the launch of, dedicated to businesses and other organisations wanting to find out about the opportunities Second Life may present. Notice I said opportunities and not threats. I spent five minutes looking around the site and couldn’t see any information alluding to the challenges and threats of doing business in SL, though to be fair there are lots of links to external resources which will contain some of the downside.


The intro blurb pretty much sums up the pitch Linden Lab are putting to business:

“The Second Life Grid is a full-featured service platform of revolutionary technologies that support the globally renowned virtual world experience, Second Life. The Grid offers a comprehensive system of infrastructure, consumer features, tools, and services that allows any organization to provide its own unique immersive experience in the world’s largest interconnected virtual world.”

The formalisation of support programs for groups of non-English speaking new users is a welcome addition. A lot of other services already provided such as the ability for a company to offer their own registration and orientation portals, have been brought across to the new site.

In retrospect, this is an obvious thing for Linden Lab to have done and it’ll be interesting to see the impact it has on conversion rates for business – you’d think a more integrated approach for business would remove one of the barriers to jumping into the SL experience.

SL music discussion list launches

Jesse Linden has announced the formation of an email discussion list devoted to music development in SL. Promotion of events is off limits but it will provide a useful forum for discussing ways to improve music options in-world. Linden Lab describe their aims in the welcome email received when joining:

“Second Life has amazing potential for musicians looking to reach a global audience. Music performances in Second Life are a growing phenomenon, creating exciting social events where artists can not only perform live but also interact directly with fans.

Resident musicians, venue owners, buillders, scripters, audiences, and promoters are all working together to make this community happen. Linden Lab recognizes all this innovative work, and we want to do all that we can to help it thrive and continue to grow. We’ve started assembling a team of Lindens who will work together and with Residents to ultimately provide better tools and policies for the music community of Second Life.

This mailing list is open to anyone who is interested in sharing their ideas with Lindens as well as each other on how to better support the Second Life music community. What are some best practices that are currently working well for the music community? What are the biggest challenges? What would you like to see Linden Lab provide to better support this community? These are the types of discussions we’d love to see!

One rule: please don’t use this mailing list to announce specific music events. Information about such events can already be found on the Second Life events calendar. We’d like to keep traffic on this mailing list focused on discussions about ideas for improving the music community.

As we at Linden Lab get a better focus on specific tools and policies we think could best help this community, we’ll share them on this mailing list. Your ideas, feedback, and insights will be invaluable to us as we work to determine what we should focus on. Lindens will be reading and participating in the discussion as much as possible.

Please introduce yourself to the list, let us know a bit about your interests and area of expertise, and thank you for helping us learn more about how to make music truly ROCK in Second Life.”

Subscribe to the list here.

Linden Lab CEO: ‘We’ve got to increase the quality’

Reuters have published an interview with Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale from this weekend’s SLCC. Most of the interview is fairly predictable but it’s encouraging to see the acknowledgement of quality as the key driver into the future:

“We’re at a place where we’ve demonstrated that the virtual world can exist. Now we need to make it high quality so it does continuously support the activities and desires of the people who are using it. That’s what we’ve learned by listening for the last couple of quarters. We’ve got to increase the quality.”


Of course, I’d deluded myself that some mention may be made of further internationalisation of the servers but the only allusion to that came from Rosedale’s thoughts on open-sourcing:

“If you’re an entrepreneur, wanting to enter the virtual world and sell stuff to people, you’re going to want to find the largest possible audience. So you’ll be strongly drawn to set up your shop on the system with the largest number of people using it. There will be a tremendous desire by people to link those servers together and be on our network so they can have access to the largest base of people.”

Finally, on the legal issues around ageplay and gambling, he summarised Linden Lab’s intent to tie restrictions to avatars through verification of that avatar’s RL location. That seems the most sensible way of not forcing the whole grid into a universal lockdown in a range of sensitive areas.

If Linden Lab are planning some incredible revolutionary step in SL’s development, it’s certainly not apparent in Philip Rosedale’s thoughts. What would you have liked to have seen asked of him in the interview?

Easiest way to get latest version of Second Life

Linden Lab have announced a new section of their web presence that auto-detects your operating system and offers you the latest version of the Second Life browser software.

Get Second Life is its name. If you get sick of the interminable wait for downloading new versions from within the browser itself, this is a welcome and more transparent alternative.

Previous Posts