Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Zeppelin

It was late at night and I was dozing off in Anna's Annex. It was a cool and cloudless night. The smell of my cooling coffee drifted lazily into the breeze and curled around an old flag hung in the days of optimism. From my seat on the balcony, I could see the owner turn off the lights and turn off the stove, getting ready to log off. The shop was plunged into the dark and she shooed me out the door and locked up.

So rude of her. I wandered about patio drowsily stewing over it. And that was when I was jolted to full conscienceless by a loud bang, and then a sound of crumpling. Hissing and a slow wheeze followed. I ran towards the source of the noise, fearing something worrisome. While all instinct screamed to run from the ominous din, curiosity begged me to investigate toward it.

What I found was a zeppelin, crashed into the seaside. Its silvery sheen melted into the sea, like a majestic whale breaching for breathe, beached upon the shore, gasping for breath.

I couldn't take my eyes off of it. It creaked steadily into the breeze. It was surreal, to watch such a leviathan lie helpless. It arched into the sky like a child reaching for the stars, almost in one final desperado attempt to regain its rightful place as champion in the skies. An attempt inevitably doomed to failure.

I wanted to swim across and see if anyone was trapped and in need of help. But I was scared for my own life. What if it lost its battle with gravity and the forces and collapsed completely into the water? But should I consign another soul to that fate?

In the end, I built up my courage and plunged into the chilled waters. It seemed like a long swim to the wreck, made worse by another frightful and terrible noise and a choppy wave across the waters.

Finally reaching the wreckage itself, I climbed up and onto it to discover the cause. The bow had stripped off and fallen away, crumpled down into the sea bed below. Only further evidence of the impending doom of those entrapped inside as well as myself.

What was most curious is the lack of furnishings in the vessel itself. Had they been jettisoned in a last ditch effort to maintain buoncy? Or was this blimp on its maiden voyage, one gone horribly wrong?

One thing was certain, there was no soul left in this zeppelin except for myself. It was likely that, upon discerning their fate in this dying craft, they chose to leap from it and allow it to tumble where it may. Tumble practically onto my feet.

As I struggled against the tilt of the craft towards the exit, I heard yet another dreadful sound. The sound of metal gnashing against metal and fabric rending from its steel skeleton. This sound told me the time to make my dash to safety had passed. I ran with as much speed as my body would give without failing.

And yet, as I ran towards the collapsing exit, I saw a sight that I will never forget. It was the sight of one of the steel pinions of this zeppelin, plummeting directly into my face. And then silence.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Mono is here!

No, not that kind of Mono. The good kind of Mono, the scripting kind of Mono. Not the disease. Sheesh.

Anyway, if the Lindens are to be believed, Mono hopefully will solve most of our troubles and create a better world!


"Create a Better World!" Have to trademark and copyright that before the Lindens do.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Teen Grid

Have you ever wondered why we say "Main Grid" when referring to The Grid? There's only one grid, right? The reason is simple.

Once upon a time, there was only one grid. And it was The Grid. You need registration, specifically a credit card or something similar, in order to log in. And there were no problems. It ran smoothly. You showed your card, paid your dues, and you're in like flint!

A problem presented itself, however. Ol' Phil (or just Linden Lab in general) wanted to get the entire world into Second Life. And judging by the way the Grid was shaping up, it wasn't a kid friendly environment. People had taken a sexual curve to Second Life, and the thought of lawsuits coming down and the Lab's own sense of decency hatched the idea of a separate grid. A dedicated grid. One devoted to children, specifically teens, who could grow into SL while separated from the nasty. And everything seemed settled. You still needed a credit card or something similar to get into the Teen Grid. The assumption was you would ask your parents to register and they'd get the hint you were on Second Life and hopefully monitor you. As I said, everything seemed settled.

And so there came a need for distinction. There were now two grids. The one for kiddies became known as 'The Teen Grid' and the one for adults became 'The Adult Grid'. Phil thought that sounded lame, and people did too, so it morphed into 'The Main Grid'. Nice story.

However, there were problems underlying the Teen Grid from the start. They weren't noticeable at the time because no one could have guessed the future. Hindsight is 20/20. But it was a time bomb nonetheless.

First, there was the fact that Linden Lab tended to ignore the Teen Grid. They'd add the occasional server or two and they got the same updates or so as the Main Grid, but other than that they were left to the winds. In a time when the Lindens were much more active and visible to the population instead of the hermits they are today, few frequented the Teen Grid. The general atmosphere became one of abandonment. The Main Grid was huge, and the Teen Grid, no less in growth, was hobbled with one continent.

Second, children still sneaked into the Main Grid anyway. Parents being parents, kids and teens managed to lasso them into registering their teens into the Main Grid. Some of the stupid ones were caught through sheer immaturity, but a few smart ones evaded capture. Linden Lab shrugged this one off by saying they were taking all necessary steps to ensure kids from being on the Main Grid that were legally necessary, etc etc. Somewhat amusingly, they repeated this line when attempting to implement age registration.

Both of those problems, however, weren't the big killer of the Teen Grid. They were pretty imposing, but easily fixed.

This article claims that the problem and disadvantage of the Teen Grid and why it is dying is equivalent prices to the Main Grid. Shouldn't teens get a break, considering they don't have jobs to support the tier and price of, say, an island? A tough problem, but that's not what has really put the nail into the Teen Grid's heart.

No, this party came to an end when the Main Grid was thrown open into free registration, free of charge and no credit cards required. Just need a name and an email address, and check that box that asks if you're over 18, and you're in! And as the previously linked article notes, the Main Grid is so much bigger with so much more to do. Why take the time and hassle tangoing your parents into getting you into Second Life when you can just claim you're 18 and get into the Main Attraction instead of some sideshow kiddie park?

And as the harsh reality set in, the Teen Grid slowly shriveled. As it sputtered, the Lindens ignored it more often, since the Main Grid was eating up more resources (being so much larger) and why add to it when its growth was barely... well... growing.

Exacerbated by this cold shoulder and the hemorrhaging of users into the Main Grid in the first place, the Teen Grid today is barely known. If you ask the average avatar about it, you'll get a no or a vague reply ("oh, I think I saw that on the main page when registering..."). It's faded into the background as its older brother the big bad Main Grid hogs center stage.

What can Linden Lab do about this? Well, essentially nothing. If you're keeping to the tradition of isolating kids from the harsh adult main grid, that battle has already been lost. If you open the Teen Grid up like the Main grid, you defeat the purpose of preventing the childrens from easily encountering shady elements. If you close the Main Grid off again, you risk the ire of bot owners and regular accounts (who may or may not be potential future paying accounts). It's lose-lose for the Teen Grid.

I think I stated in a post some time ago that LL's attempt at age registration signaled that they acknowledged the failure of their previous attempts at keeping the kids at bay, i.e. the Teen Grid. That was when the Teen Grid was truly lost. It was the Lab saying, "If we can't isolate them, we can try registering them off the 'adult' parcels at least".

And do not tell me that kids aren't on the main grid, or that they're always 'caught'. I've been harassed by guys soliciting sex in such a way that I sincerely pity if it was indeed an adult with that level of maturity. I've seen ages listed in the real life profiles tab that 'Im only 16 so be nice :) :)'. I've had kids outright tell me they are in the main grid looking for the teen scene. If they're not children, there are certainly a lot of pedophiles running around in children suits. Who are trying to pick up other teens who are pedophiles in teen suits. In the bizarre way that only Second Life can be.

In short, the Teen Grid's dead. The only question is when it will finally go, or be absorbed into the Main Grid.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Recently, Linden Lab hired Frank Ambrose, who apparently is something of an expert with managing and growing networks. The general consensus and statements from the Labs themselves indicate that this is all to increase scalability.

On an interesting tangent, M Linden note a slowdown of growth and new users which has also seemed to factor into this.

All I have to say is that Linden Lab is finally noticing scalability is a problem? The upper boundary of SL concurrency was about 45,000 when I started in November '06. These days, about two years later, it's 63,000 or thereabouts. That seems like respectable growth, except that during the time concurrency climbed up about twenty thousand users, the overall number of users increased by the millions.

Now, concurrency is a fickle beast to figure. Seeing the figure 63,000 may seem low, but that number is just the number online in that point in time. 63,000 at 9 pm may be 49,000 at 10 pm, or it may be a completely different set of 63,000 people. So it is not easy to accurately determine just how much damage (if any) concurrency is causing. We could assume that every hour there is always 60,000 users online, and every hour it is a completely different set of 60,000 people. 60,000 at 24 hours in a day, means that in the course of a day that gross and very shabby estimate is 1,440,000 people get into Second Life.

The next step in our horrible guessitmations is that the total amount of user accounts (be it bot, one day wonder, or hardened oldbie) is way past that number. I know this because I do recall noting around December 2006 that there were more people registered than the population of most American cities (my own included, which was why it was memorable). Even assuming one quarter of those registrations are accounts that log in more than one day (bots and oldies), that's still too many people to log in all in one day. The count according to the blog is 14,000,000.

Why do I include bots? Simple, because they log in with the rest of us. A bot is, as far as Second Life is concerned (speculation on my part) the same as a person. Both log in and suck resources from the SL servers (when the Lindens aren't spilling coffee on them).

Perhaps you are saying to yourself, "but surely those million or so regular users aren't logging in all at once or so, the number of residents who logged in the last 60 or so days is only a million, less than that in the past week!" Consider that statistic, though. We established that we grossly rounded the concurrency and determined that only 1.5 million people can get online on a day with top concurrency. In the real world, it drops massively from time to time and so never reaches this theoretical (and shifty) value.

The point, yes let's get to the point, I am trying to make is that concurrency isn't supporting Second Life. There have been increasing problems with inventory and regions failing and such, and Linden Lab has on occasion shut SL for new log-ins (the recent outcry was that they were targeting freebie accounts, denying them the 'right' to log in). Concurrency is failing. For some time now, the major limit has been that SL starts to get excited when it approaches upwards of 55,000 online at a time. And while this upper limit is growing due to the ceaseless efforts of the Lindens, it's not supporting the mass of users behind it.

It took them long enough to figure this out.

Now, some people are shouting, "Rejoice! For they may finally improve stability!" Well, that depends. When they say scalability, do they mean 'the number of people we can cram into here' or 'improving server performance so a cleaner and better experience is had at higher concurrency, thus raising the bar'?

The former sounds just like Linden Lab, doesn't it? I will give them some credit. M Linden has talked more talk than Philip ever did in his last few years as CEO of LL. And his speeches have certainly bent around a different idea, the user experience instead of 'how cool is this???!'.

But for some reason, I just can't see that happening. I think everyone is getting their hopes up. My gut is telling me that they are just looking to cram more into less. I want to believe. I WANT TO BELIEVE.

Maybe they'll prove me dead wrong. I hope so.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Examination of Second Life Astronomy

I engaged in a small project about three weeks ago. The aim was to take star charts of the Second Life sky, in particular the stars, and draw constellations from them. A success would have been to find visible and repeatable constellations in the sky over the course of a few weeks.

As mentioned, a chart of the stars and constellations is worthless if it is only valid on one day and so I took to taking full snapshots of the midnight sky every night. The reason was, at the time, to establish the precise movement of the stars and extrapolate that data into charts that could be used to establish fun constellations such as "The Femur" or "Philip" or "The Gorean".

What I discovered was that each night the star positions changed completely. I took photographs over the course of a week and a half, and no two nights showed any correlation with any previous night. Attempts to discern movements of identified clusters of stars failed, as such defined clusters disappeared the next night and could not be identified.

The stars do not move in the sky. Taking photos at various times of the day yielded the same star positions, indicating that the astronomical sphere in Second Life does not rotate as the sun and moon do.

It was then suggested that the coordinates might be linked to a series lasting the course of a week. Again, photographs taken during the week of observation yielded no patterns. It was concluded that the stars' coordinates are not rotated on a weekly basis.

The mystery does not end there, however. On occasion, the stars will completely disappear from one's Second Life client, causing the night sky to appear completely dark with only the moon set in the sky. The first such event occurred at approximately 11 p.m. EST, and it was assumed to be the period at which Linden Lab changed the star map. However, a similar incident occurred two days later at 6 p.m. EST, leading to the conclusion that such occurrences are due to failures in the Second Life client or servers themselves than action on the part of Linden Lab.

The last test carried out was to determine if the star positions were similar across different viewers of different users. It was carried out by myself and Madison Rutledge. We stood in the same spot, focusing upon one direction (NW). The results were that to each of us a different star map was displayed.

In light of this evidence, the case can be made that it is implausible for one to create accurate and reproducible star maps of the Second Life night sky. This is due to failures of the client and viewer, randomness of star coordinates daily, and differentiation between different clients and IPs. The project to establish recognizable Second Life constellations was dropped.

Some further areas for study include logging in multiple times to determine if patterns change over each log-in, as well as photographing the night sky over a period of months if not years to determine if a series can be drawn on a monthly rather than a daily or weekly scale.

It is interesting to note that the Second Life sky itself is rather bland and sparse, consisting solely of white stars of variable intensities. No galaxies, nebula, novas, comets, meteoroids, or planets have been observed. Consideration should be given that no functional telescopes can be built in Second Life which severely limits the viewing possibilities, although the more likely theory is that Linden Lab simply was lazy and did not include such things for simplicity.

Finally, it should be noted that all of this probably could have been solved quickly and efficiently by asking a Linden, but that would have ruined all the fun.



Monday, August 11, 2008

The Book of Winter

Alas, after every hill is a valley. It came to pass that the avatars grew envious of the Good possessed of the world and sought to control it, the spirits, and create their own so that they may rule over all things.

The akelhians, sworn only to protect and not intervene, could but watch helplessly as the avatars squabbled and destroyed the abundance of the grid. The avatars drove the spirits from the lands which decayed into squalid sadness. When all was gone, they then sought the Femur itself, and Its Warm and Joyous Light.

But Nunchuck awoke and halted their vile plans.

"How evil My creations are, that they would seek to steal My Works." And Nhe threw Nhis Femur to a far away island, surrounded on four sides by water, Its Light never to shine over the world save for great need by Nher People.

And He blinded avatars to the Spirits and so they came to know sadness and pain and grief. One spirit, U, stole into the avatars before Nunchuck caused their blindness and this spirit kept hope and happiness inside them. All was not lost.

And He took their rulers and priests and rose them high into the sky, and burned them for eternity and thus the Sun was created which served to give light in the absence of The Femur. The Sun-bound forsaken lamented and wailed their fate, and ran across the sky forever pulling the Sun with them. Ever seeking escape, they caused the day and light, the Sun to rise and the Sun to set.

And finally, He called his Akelhians failures and stripped them of all until they were as no more than avatars. However, as they had judgement passed after the avatars, they did not receive the gift of U and so they never knew hope, only despair upon their fall and the missing light of The Femur, the Light of Nunchuck. They wandered the lands forever seeking joy but never finding it. Woe filled their souls till the end of days.

Without the Wonder of the Femur to guide them, the avatars fell into war with each other, brother against brother and innocent against innocent.

It was a world without peace.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Second Life Literature

You might think this post will be about literature in Second Life. People writing books, blogs, and such about Second Life objects or concepts, or just what's happening in it in general. You are wrong.

I forget the exact article, but apparently the literary interest in Second Life isn't that you have a new world to pen ideas about, but that you can experience the world of that novel. You can build the land of Oz and walk through it.

But then, what's the point? One of the selling points of reading is the openness of the medium. Your imagination builds from the words a world or image or movie, and the beauty of it is it's tailored to each person. You craft in your mind Alice's wonderland, for example, but I'll craft a different idea. It resonates in that we both understand wonderland.

That's rather sketchy. Let's put it this way. Take Harry Potter. Take the fourth book in the series. When I read about the hedge maze near the end, I really pictured something dark, and foreboding. I pictured an oppressive maze, with suffocating darkness enveloping each person and when they met, it was really a surprise just as it was for the characters, because of that. In the movie, it was just foggy. I suppose it had to be brighter due to constraints (people like to see the movie than 'feel' it), but it ruined it a little for me. I never pictured fog. I didn't picture the weird vine thingies, either.

I like making a world based upon the author's words, and filling in the details with my imagination. That assuming it is a good well written book. Seeing someone's interpretation ruins it for me. I'll bet if I made the 4th Potter movie, my idea of the hedge maze wouldn't fit with someone else's. And neither of us probably liked the movie version.

You can probably see where I'm going with this. Seeing another person's recreation of a book isn't going to do it for me. I don't want to see someone else's idea of Dante's hell, because I know it'll never compare to what I have in my head. Ditto for other works.

An interesting idea, but one I'd avoid or avoid doing. Sorry.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Medical Simulation

University of Arkansas opened a SL island in order to build a hospital to simulate ... the workings of a hospital.

The idea is that students and professors can learn and teach how to operate and function in a hospital without actually getting messy, and create simulations of real world problems that would be costly to replicate in real life or just would be situations best left to experts.

That's all good and all, but there's two points I feel aren't addressed.

The first is that no mention of the patient factor is mentioned. Patients are the primarily focus of medicine, not hospitals. Medicine is founded on the idea of treatment of the patient, not the other way around. Isolating these students in a virtual teaching hospital does them a disservice. Let's put it this way: do SL armies adequately train one for the real life US Army? No.

Patients are unpredictable. They are not scripted as in SL. How would I address this? Go around the Mainland and put out a call for volunteers to act as patients. It wouldn't be the best solution, but if you asked the volunteer to simulate as if they had so-and-so illness they'd be up to the task. A good role-player would do, someone who isn't a student (because the students in the classroom get to know each other. They get to know how they each react and thus render them useless as candidates for such a job).

The second problem is how they are exceeding the scope possible within SL. The article makes much hullabaloo over the students and professors creating virtual organs and using them to simulate transplants. This I find abhorrent. Organs are definitely something that can not, and likely will never, be adequately modeled and transplants are worse. You can made models to teach physiology, but actually simulating the way each organ works and interacts, no. You can understand and know the anatomy of the body, but looking at anatomy books and 'living skeletons' will never prepare you for the real thing.

The problem with substitutes (both virtual and real life plastic/books) is the real thing is gory, bland, and somewhat variant. Nerves are not coloured bright yellow, arteries bright red, and veins purple. Muscles do not always jump out in clear obvious fashions. Fat and fascia cover everything and cloud the view of vessels and organs. Virtual worlds don't really get the aspect of getting your hands dirty, and the same applies to books and plastic models.

And using these virtual organs in transplants? Even worse! You have all the complications of one human body transposed with another! Trying to simulate stitching up nerves and vessels, and the urgency to transplant the organ without it dying, and then taking care of the post-op junk that follows such as transplant rejection and such? Good luck with that in Second Life.

Watch an episode of that surgery show (I think it's on Discovery Health?), and now picture yourself doing that operation in real life. Now picture how it would be scripted and simulated in SL, and how similar it would be to real life. My opinion: not at all. I can only assume SL would be used for introductory courses, to familiarize the student, because if a serious course was composed from such a thing, it would be sorely lacking.

Please don't think I'm unfairly targeting these people, either. I hold a stern eye towards other kinds of university and corporations who enter SL for more than advertising. My own university uses SL as a glorified online exam and as a way to model molecules (they build the structure). Both of those could be done more efficiently outside of Second Life (the tests on a dedicated site, and the models in real life with physical parts, now that's a 3D model you can hold in your hand, instead of just looking at it!). Anytime any college enters SL and says, "Gee, we could simulate [so and so]!", I really have to ask why they couldn't do the same in real life or on a more dedicated platform.

Second Life is good for many things. But when people do these kinds of things (such as trying to emulate real life), they forget that SL glosses over some aspects (complications in surgery) or forget there are better platforms out there for the specific goal. I'm all for SL, but you have to beware of trying to fit it into everything. Not everything is a nail.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Some Notes on Jack Linden's Mainland

Jack Linden posted on the fate of the Mainland, a topic that is near and dear to the hearts of many who value Second Life history. The Mainland was there long before Islands, and for a time was the center of SL culture (and some would argue still is, although with the rapid expansion and lowered cost of islands I believe that mantle has been passed as more avatars stick to their private islands).

Many, many analyzers of Linden posts have picked his entry apart far better than I ever could (or would have the time for). One paragraph struck me in particular and I felt deserved special attention:

"It has always been a diverse and exciting place to have your inworld home, but in recent times it has also become a challenging and frustrating one. We have long had a policy of noninterference, instead applying the Terms of Service and Community Standards via abuse reporting. This made sense during the pioneer period of early adopters and rapid growth, but to echo Mitch Kapor’s recent speech at the Second Life birthday event, as our audience widens we have to take a more active part in guiding their experience. Unfortunately with the wonderful freedoms and creativity the Mainland offers have also come substantial problems that are unique to this area of the grid and so the time for change is now."

Let's pick that one apart a little.

"It has always been a diverse and exciting place to have your inworld home, but in recent times it has also become a challenging and frustrating one."

In recent times it's become challenging and frustrating? Let's try since February 2007, when ad farms began to attract public notice. If you consider that date, it's been a year and a half of frustration, out of SL's five years of existence (5 years and two months). 28.8% of SL's existence, life on the mainland has been a pain in the posterior. It would be as if Arizona lamented when it had joined the United States, or England the Magna Carta.

Taking into account the massive perceived time dilation in SL, it's been a long time. Where is this 'recent' coming from? Take note, also, that my example applies only to the earliest event I can recall. Ad farms probably began long before 2007, and there were probably even more challenges present before then.

In summary, claiming Mainland woes are 'recent' (whatever that means, Jack does not specify) is at best ignorance of history and at worst a poor attempt at whitewashing the past. While any company does not want their worst foot forward, I can't imagine that any company would attempt to spread such propaganda in the face of common sense. It would ruin public perception ('hey, they think we're idiots'). It might sway some into believing it, but on the whole I like to believe people are intelligent enough to cut through the crap.

"We have long had a policy of noninterference, instead applying the Terms of Service and Community Standards via abuse reporting."

This sentence caught my eye. What does this sentence mean? That from 2003 to 2008, the Terms of Service didn't apply to the Mainland? That I could have harassed and orbited fellow avatars with impunity? That abuse reporting is essentially worthless?

Upon first read it shouts to me that for a long time Linden Lab didn't give two shits about Mainland, and is now calling that dark history of neglect "noninterference". On the second inspection, one can see the subtle bullshit being served to you, that Linden Lab did not 'interfere' with the Mainland or SL and did not police the world even when receiving abuse reports.

If he had merely said they had a policy of noninterference, I would have agreed since they did not usually interfere UNLESS there was an abuse report and even then it had to be a Terms of Service violation (arguments between residents were usually ignored). But to claim that they have not applied the Terms of Service, let alone the Community Standards, is absurd. What was the police blotter? What were all those crimes being reported, made up figures created by Torley in a sour mood?

If he had merely said they had an inconsistent policy of interference, I would have agreed. But he does not state that. He directly states they had (and enforced, he says in subtle undertones) a policy to not interfere, and that they did not apply the Terms of Service to the Mainland. That is a load of bull that no one should believe in. Griefers can attest that the ToS was indeed applied on multiple occasions, and that known griefer alts are banned under 'harassment' among other infractions.

Finally, his wording is strange, too. "...instead applying the Terms of Service and Community Standards via abuse reporting."? Does that mean that a Linden had to file an abuse report in order for it to be noticed, and that they never exercised this power, and that the abuse report option for residents was similar to the blinking lights they show lab animals who think they're achieving something when in reality not doing anything at all? I am sure he meant abuse reports filed by residents, but his wording is poor. The devil is into details and you can't state something, because you know residents will take your words later as straight policy or history.

I think what he really wanted to say, and this is speculation on my part, that residents were left to settle their disputes between themselves by themselves, and the direction the residents took in forming the atmosphere of the sims was left alone. Why couldn't he just say that? It makes more sense and is much less of a gaffe than his original statement. I guess common sense still isn't enforced.

"This made sense during the pioneer period of early adopters and rapid growth, but to echo Mitch Kapor’s recent speech at the Second Life birthday event, as our audience widens we have to take a more active part in guiding their experience."

You would think that rapid expansion would lead to less active interference. With rapid expansion, the grid should reach some kind of critical point where the residents diversify enough to create and maintain their own experiences.

I read into this a faint paranoia that the grid isn't proceeding according to their own sensibilities. His reference to Mitch Kapor's speech lends some validity to this. To summarize, Ol' Mitch gave the older SL residents the back-handed slap, at once calling them outcasts and saying they should be, more or less, abandoned in favor of attracting a new audience. Jack agrees. Linden Lab wants to make Second Life what they think it should be, essentially destroying in the process their creed "Your World, Your Imagination". "Our World, and You'll Take It and Like It".

This is good policy if they are tackling such banes of society such as griefers or ad farms, or fixing some of those infohubs and orientation islands. Considering their tone, though, it seems as if they have their sights on those who focus on base attitudes such as sex, sex, and sex. No surprise there, it's made then a laughing stock in the general media (The Daily Show being the most memorable, go Youtube it).

If that is their aim, then give up now. No amount of pressure is going to remove cybering from SL. Google's Lively has sex rooms and cybering despite Google's active enforcement of banning such actions. The Second Life Herald found it and reported it, and probably just Googling "Lively Sex Rooms" will bring up bunches.

Or they could be referring to zoning sims, which is all the rage these days. I have no idea why, because I doubt it would help much, and enforcing it would be a pain. Picture LL's enforcement of PG/M/Adult ratings on sims now, and now expand it to include a multitude of ratings. Will it work? My guts tell me no. In all likelihood, loopholes will be found and exploited. Until LL shows it can follow an actual policy (such as actually enforcing their ad farm ban, and plug some of the holes in that piece of work), lay off of zoning. Otherwise, we'll get a half baked concept worse than what we have now.

"Unfortunately with the wonderful freedoms and creativity the Mainland offers have also come substantial problems that are unique to this area of the grid and so the time for change is now."

Golly gee whiz, haven't we heard this tune for the past three years now? The time for change was years ago, not now. I applaud them for trying to change, but if their track record has proven anything, it's that the change will be misdirected (ad farms), slow in coming (banks), or forgotten (age playing ban, casinos).

Words are cheap.