November 4, 2012

Torturing beyond prims

Posted in Metaverse tagged , , , , , , , , , at 12:45 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

One of the things that fascinates me about Second Life and Open Sim is the amount of immersion I get out of it. The better graphics and customizable avatars of the Elder Scrolls series still do not have the same effect on me. And I’ve written quite an amount of posts about my avatars and how they affect me in reverse.

I think nearly everyone would like to be able to change your flesh avatar more easily. Yet recently I came aross a more then likely fake story of a Chinese man who sued his (now ex-) wife for not telling him that she is “genetically” ugly and thus passing those genes along to their child. He only knew her as beautiful woman, but she did, unbeknown to him, have expensive surgeries costing a lot of dollards in the five digits mark to get there.

Yet what wasin fact real were some photos they used to illustrate the story, misleadingly leaving the source open so that you thought it was the woman in question…

… when it actually were the pictures from a private clinic that show what can be done:

She actually “only” had two things done: Tightening of the sagging eyelids and a complete remodeling of her chin. (The change in skin complexion I attribute to makeup and lighting) and I don’t think it was as expansive as the operation of the women in the story. But if it was the major part of the cost lies in the modelling of the chin. To do this they have to create an implant that is biocompatible, attaches perfectly to the smaller, “old” one and is formed perfectly. Oh, and there is the big question how they got it in place without a visible scar, but I think there are techniques that do it from inside the mouth, I once had contact with a pioneer of these technique, Douglas Ousterhout. He is also a pioneer of craniofacial surgery which is about the remodeling of the forehead.  I think its pretty obvious were the torture part comes in, operations of these kind are very painful and the healing takes months. But where do the prims come into it?

Well, there is another emerging technology I’m very fascinated with, and that is 3D printing. And while the most you can read about it is about the progress of 3D printing in the home it actually gets more and more used in medicine. while things like “printing” vaccines on the fly or printing complete organs are researched and not that far away, printing bones is actually here and thus we come full circle – theoretically you can design your facial structure (only  parts of the shape in SL terms)  in a 3D program, print them, and have a surgeon implant them. Voila … you can torture meshes (ok not prims) and yourself to edit your face.  With progress in tissue printing one day it might even be possible to print and “apply” a lot more changes, maybe even without the “torturing yourself” part.

Note: This post was written from a perspective that some might assume is a bit cynical. This technology is developed for people who actually need reconstructive surgery and not to make bodies more customizable, but not only does one come inevitable with the other I think the need for beauty and youth makes a strong financial background for the implementation of technology like that. To use an  analogy: If mobile phones were only capable of emergency calls, they would not be as common as they are now, and the chance you have someone near you with one in case of emergency would be very low.


May 26, 2012

I was memed, and I nearly missed it.

Posted in Grids, Second Life tagged , , at 6:15 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

Maddy Gynoid answered a meme on his (german) blog EchtVirtuell and asked me, among others, some questions.

But as I made a pause logging in to SL itself (and blogging about it) I was not reading SL blogs, too. (Sorry, RL really got me occupied, and not in a good way)

So here are his questions:

  1. Kannst du dich in eine virtuelle Welt so hineinversetzen, dass deine Wahrnehmung überwiegend von dieser Umgebung bestimmt wird? Kurz: Verspürst du Immersion?
  2. Wieviele Items hast du in deinem Inventar? (bei mehreren Grids nur das größte)
  3. Welches ist das für dich beste Machinima aus einer virtuellen Umgebung?
  4. Second Life wird in kürze neun Jahre alt. Glaubst du, es wird noch weitere neun Jahre bestehen?
  5. Identifizierst du dich mit deinem Avatar, oder ist es für dich nur eine Pixelpuppe, zu der du keinen Bezug hast?

Or in english:

  1. Can you get that much into a in a virtual world that your cognition is dominated by it? In short, do you experience immersion?Yes, I can and do. But only with Second Life or Open Sims. When I play games there is always a gocnitive distence between me and the games hero.
  2. How many Items do you have in your inventory. If you am on more than one grid, name the biggest.Second Life, about 22.000 Items. After multiple cleaning sessions!
  3. Which machinima do you think is the best of any virtual environment.Every machinima I made myself carries a special meaning at least to me 😉 But from the outside its still: Other may have been funny, artfull or otherwise interesting, but this peace about beeing a child in SL and being able to do so much more fun thing from this perspective really got me.
  4. Second Life is become nine years old soon.Do you think it will last 9 years more?I joined Second Life at a point in time, when everyone thought it already dead. Its not. Second Life lives because for those who get into it, its great, and as long as those people am enough to make it profitable, I have no fear. Yet 9 whole years is a long time to predict anything. Think of 2003, when Second Life actually came to life. And all the things that were unheard of then (e.g. Cel-/mobilephones replacing many of the functions from computers and gaming handhelds).
  5. Do you identify with your avatar or is it just a pixelpuppet, you have no connection with?I Am Avatar. (Do I get a movie starring will Smith now?)
    No honestly, there are even issues that stemmed form it that may be part why I currently mainly use an avatar that is not so much similar to my real life. I did starting to get a bad feeling when I looked in the mirror and my similar, yet better looking avatar came to my mind.

March 13, 2012

An interesting journey… Part 1

Posted in Second Life tagged , , , , at 8:38 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

… or how I changed my Avatar and learned a lot.

I already wrote a lot about my “Avatar-Journey” on my About page. But this got a new turn, and one that gave me a lot of experience.

Sometime before Christmas I was on a shopping trip with an inworld friend, who is very conscious about realistic avatar design, immersion but on the other hand is male (not transgendered or transsexual) and has a female Avatar. Normally I did not waste much thought on it, but as I’m pretty interested in neurological, psychological and anthropological things it didn’t compete exactly with what I learned about mirror neurons, gender differences and a few other things, so I asked if, when immersion was so important for him, how he could live with an avatar of the other end of the sexual spectrum… I know it gave me the creeps when I tried to use a male avatar as funny cosplay (Doctor Who) or to try out some hunt gifts that were really exclusively made for male human avatars (lets see how that looks, oh nice, but…. uhm… PANIC).

He said how he started SL primarily for role playing and the idea was, to keep a bit of a distance from the character, and than stayed that way for other activities, too, and learned to get quite some fun out of it. E.G.  as male he never had a big interest in fashion, now with a female avatar, he found a new hobby in it, that would never be possible like that in RL.

This was right in the aftermath of a shared shopping tour (I’m by the way not the worlds greatest customer for inworld shopping) and I got some very nice and natural red hair. We than started to show us some of our precious dresses and I recognized that the red hair now does no longer match some of my favorite clothes and from that on I theorized, that light skins combined with the black hair  of typical asians , like many Japanese people are, really could wear anything. It was a small step from here to the idea of: “How would it be, to play a bit with an (Northeast-)Asian avatar?

That idea sticked and I took a look around. I found a free avatar, which was more south east asian, which I did not really like, but than I found Dr. Life who has a great collection of primarily Japanese skins (there is some typically Japanese make-up permanently done into it, so it could not be used for other east asian cultures) and I really fallen in love with the flagship one which has a price tag of more than 2000 L$. A bit much for just toying around, especially when considered, that I’d need matching hair too (there is a great collection at Dr. Life)

But hey, you only live once, and so I bought it and made my own shape, with the same body measurements that my other one and face that’s a little bit more generic eastasian than the one of the shape that came (nomod) with the skin, which had a stunningly beautiful face but with very typical Japanese features and a body that was as bit anorexic as it was unnatural.

This is how it turned out:

Leisure look

Skin and Hair:
Dr. Life

SilkGirl Anfgeng
Healhy Hair Mei-Wave
Izzies’s Tie Dye Top Purple
Pants and Shoes:

Read the second part here

February 13, 2012

In remembrence of Lego

Posted in Metaverse, User Experience tagged , , , , at 6:36 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

No the company is not dead, but what it once was (no its not me in the photo, but its similar to the peaces I had as a child).

Imagine Linden Lab would make two Grids.First they woudl gradually make SL more of a typcical MMORPG. Every Avatar comes with some basic weapons from the start and there is a lot to shoot, depending on the current lizenced movie franchise you have to fight Dark Wizards, Evil Pirates, Lucnans or whatever. You still can built everything but better make it fortresses and weapons, because conflict is everywhere. Their am only view female Avatars to select from, all highly sexualized, and most females you see in the (now really a) game are Bots who act as plotdevice, like being a hostage to be freed.

While certainly there are people who would like that, a lot of people would wander away, don’t you think?

Thats when Lindenlab decides they need a second grid for those people, who obviously have different needs. The second grid brings a lot back, like the ability to built clothes that are not armour and houses that are not fortresses. But again they don’t allow the freedom that once was. Marketing has said that those others love pastellcolors, so buldingcomponents are more broad and themed. No Prims anymore, only detailed meshes, so the basic “sweet” theme stays constant.

Do you think, that would be a good idea? Well, Lego did:

What once was a real life Version of what Second Life is for Kids, Build everything, be immersed in it (I think thats a difference between the age groups), and was a toy boys and girls could enjoy, and Alberto Knox once asked young philosophie apprentice Sophie:
“Why is Lego the most ingenious toy in the world?”

Well children who read Sophies world today might not understand the question and its implication, especially if they are, like Sophie, girls who nowadays get to see only a Barbie knockoff with a Lego label.

Why do people think its neccesary to have _only_ genderdivided toys? What happened here was that Lego started a marketing for only those people they thought of the biggest group of customers they assumed they had, which than came a selffulfilling prophecy until they asked how they could regain the other group, and thought, with even more specialiced stuff.

The sets are not even marketed as a group of peaces anymore, and as I read in a comment to a similar article, a father can’t get his son to built anything other than whats pictured on the box, its what he wished, not the parts.

In other words, there is nothing left that once made Lego the most ingenious toy in the world, I’m sorry, Alberto Knox. And Sophies World is a lot a shorter read this days, when in it ends with Sophia giving Alberto blank stares.

Let a real expert make the last words:

February 11, 2012

The customer, your enemy?

Posted in Second Life at 2:32 am by SarahAndrea Royce

When I buy something on the marketplace, I often write reviews with my honest opinion, because I think, that is what reviews are for.

Understandably, if a review is bad, the sellers am usually not happy about it. But for some, there is never anything they did wrong. Its their product, you, customer, have to be happy that the product is sold as it is at all!

I had one person who actually said she would write an (abuse, I think) report. OK, that was after I was calling her dim for the way she acted. In that particular case, it was a very cheap product (5 L$) which still was useless to me because it looked not anywhere near what the product description (and photo) promised, was set to full bright and concluded with the remark that, because its nomod, its completly useless for me. Well, she wrote in the product description that she does not want bad reviews because of the permissions. Yet the product was a texture on a typical 12 (actually 6) faces sculpt, often used for plants, and I think I have seen a fullperm version of this sculpt for free, so the no mod was completly unneccasary, there was simply no added value for it.

This is how it is marketed, and this is how it looks rezzed:

Bad roses

Click on it and set it to the highest resolution to see how badly the texture was cut and espacially how the “vase” is a bad joke. The marketplace picture is not the actual product, its just the texture, and the color of the background hides the ugly steps the borders make when shown against any other background.

The cheap price was no excuse for me, simply because you can get a lot of high quality flowers for that price, often intended as teaser for the higher priced products (and that worked often enough with me 😉  ) and, because of the price, I did not give her the worst possible notes.

Not even that, and she wants authorities to hunt me.

The other, very, very bad clash I had a while ago with the seller (he is not really the creator) of the F/O WINDY 2011

If you click on the link, you can see that the car has no reviews. That is simply because he made a new entry for it. The point is, the car is not bad for the 1000 L$ it is seen here. But it was marketed as a promo price and that the car later on will cost 4999L$. Inworld it had exactly that pricetag. And that puts it into premium range. Yet the car is not premium at all and even caused fatal scripting errors, when using the passenger seat.
passenger seat with animations doesn't work
Than there are JPEG compression fragments in the texture, on a level that would suggest an inexperienced builder.
JPEG Compression fragments
The script did not let me adjust the driving position (via menu) and the animations where not well made.
No chance of setting drivers seat position
And finally the camera position while driving was not really fixed and because I had custom cameraangles it was not driveable like that.
I wrote all that in my review, even missing something very relevant. The car is said to have 51 prims in the ad, yet it is a mesh car, and it has a serverweigh of 436(!) prims.

Pretty soon after it he contacted me. After a very violent opening he said that he would solve my problems, if I would delete the bad review (blackmailing? Nice, isn’t it?) I played along. So he gave me the newest version without the passenger seat problem, which he said was a bug of Second Life. I’m a software developer, if a software missbehaves because a 3rd party framework has a problem, no one will take that as an excuse, you have to make a workaround, which was obviously possible, as the newer version did not have this problem. Then we discussed the seating  problem, and he advised me how I can manually set the coordinates in the script, acting as if that was a feature I have overlooked. And quite naturally, the rest of my problems with the car he couldn’t fix. I pretty much learned that everything was done by someone else, the script was originally for drag-racers and if a I have a problem with the texture I should go and confront the designer. Nothing was his fault. And while he complained that he paid 50000 L$ for the script, he also said that he had sold 300 copies of the car (and noone ever complained!) so thats 300000 L$ already.

He finally muted me, because he didn’t like the fact that I tried to tell him how he could avoid those problems in the future. I didn’t delete the review, but made an comment on the review, telling what happened, he made a comment where he said that he just gave me an hour of personal support and how ungreatfull I am. Sell an appropriate peace of work, and you will not have to give support. If it is true, and no one ever complained, how many users never got their scripts fixed?

As the car, months later, is still sold at 1000l$ so the “later 4999L$, get one now” was a lie, too. The extremly high landimpact suggests its a little edited import of a “free” model from the internet.

Still, this guy feels perfectly entitled to virtually yell at unsatisfied customers.

No, I will not stop to write honest reviews, and when sellers react like this, I know which shops to avoid.

February 9, 2012

Late to the party

Posted in Second Life tagged , , , , , at 2:42 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

I finally got addicted to Meeroos.

In a german forum I regularly visit, Durandir Darvin gifted me a pair and I thought some pets might be a good addition to my home.

These are the two, Akira and Fluffy:

I was gifted a pair of meeroos

Then they had their first nest and I thought I could not let newhatched Akascha stay without a partner of her own, and bought a matching nest from another player, and now? Look at me:

My Meeroo garden on the roof
About two month in and I’ve got 12 living Meeroos and sell nests. And I know pretty well that will be not the highest number I will ever own.

Its my first contact with breedables, I never really liked other ones, most of them are pretty boring and produce a lot of lag, and I renember a hunt where I saw a lot of horsebreeders stalls, all with very sick and green horses, obviously because the hobby was abandoned. The Meeroos are different. They do not produce that much lag, they interact with you, and sparkle when yo pet them. There is only one downside. I started the Meeroos at the time, when the hype was over, and the secondary marketprices, that will eventually come down as each type of breadable has an exponential growth are down, and it even gets hard if you just want to gift certain nests, as you won’t find someone who will want or even need them. For many, the kick of making a hit with a Meeroonest selling for more than a 100’000 L$ was part of the fun, even if those might have been rare cases fo luck anyway.

The companie that makes the Meeroos has announced that there will be a fresh start with Nocturnals which might revive the hype, but they are about 4 Month over their initial timeline for it and many breeders didn’t want to wait any longer and abandondend the Meeroos alltogether.

By the way, even when you’re not into Meeroos, you can come over and pet mine, all you need is a hud and there is a giver for it. So if you like to pet them or want to see if I have Nests that you can trade or buy, come over to my place at Algira.

January 26, 2012

Firefly – and radical feminism – Part 2

Posted in Shows and Films tagged , , , , , , , at 11:53 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

I made a long introduction to this post, but now I finally want to start my analyses of Allectos analyses of Firefly.

She has four posts on the subject, one for Firefly as a show, two about the seriesOur Mrs Reynolds” and one for the final Episode “Objects in Space”.

She starts out with the characterintrodution of Zoë Alleyne Washburne , who is first shown to serve as Corporal under Sergeant Malcom Raynolds in the Unification War.
She writes:
“The first scene opens in a war with Mal and Zoe. Zoe runs around calling Mal ‘sir’ and taking orders off him. I roll my eyes. Not a good start.”
Uhm… so does everyone else who serves on his side in the battle of Serenity (after the Serenity valley, where it happens) and is pretty normal for military hierarchy, since he is the highest ranking soldier left.

Shure, you can go meta and see the whole concept of hierarchy, armies and war as symptom of patriarchal culture, but noone ever stated that Firefly plays in a universe that has overcome that. Actually pretty much the opposite. The outer rim territories, where a lot of the show takes place, has fallen back into a pretty much “western”-culture, complete with bible thumping and all (Thus Firefly is marketed as Spacewestern).

At the start of the regular time she is second in command again under Malcom Raynolds (Mal), Captain of the Fireflyclass ship Serenity. Allecto describes the following scene:

“The next scene is set in the present. Mal, Jayne, and Zoe are floating about in space. They come into some danger. Mal gets all panicky.
Zoe says, “This ship’s been derelict for months. Why would they –”
Mal replies, (in Chinese) “Shut up.””

Not nice, is it? Well, even if that was defendeble, as Mal says shut up to be able to hear what Wash, the Pilot, says, he doesn’t even say it to Zoë, but to Jayne Cobb who is the last to speak before the “Shut up” is heard and Mal clearly looks in his direction.

The problem is, here it starts to get fuzzy, because she bickers on that:
“So in the very second scene of the very first episode, an episode written and directed by the great feminist Joss, a white man tells a black woman to ‘shut up’ for no apparent reason.”
Well he doesn’t and there was an apparent reason (the important message from the pilot)

And she does shut up. And she continues to call him sir. And takes his orders, even when they are dumb orders, for the rest of the series.
Well yes, she is paid to serve as second in command, a job she is perfectly free to leave. Not only that, they are an extremely well reheased team that relies on each other blind, so even what occurs to others as dumb orders, Zoë has learnt that it is not always the case. Others haven’t and this creates a sad plot point later.

But wait, maybe there is a reason why Allecto thinks Zoë should be an eqal partner:
“They bought a Firefly, an old space ship, and Mal calls it Serenity, after the last battle they fought for the Independence.”
This is one more error and once more pretty misleading. Mal bought the ship, not they, and she actually mocks him quite a bit about it. Yes, pretty submissive obviously. Well the concept of humor is pretty much lost on Allecto, as she introduces the next female character, Kaywinnit Lee Frye (Kaylee), the mechanic of the crew.

And for the first time, she got it right, albeit still missleading:
“The next scene we meet Kaylee, the ship’s mechanic. <- Lookee, lookee, feminist empowerment. In this scene Mal and Jayne are stowing away the cargo they just stole. Kaylee is chatting to them, happily. Jayne asks Mal to get Kaylee to stop being so cheerful. Mal replies, “Sometimes you just wanna duct tape her mouth and dump her in the hold for a month.” Yes, that is an exact quote, “Sometimes you just wanna DUCT TAPE HER MOUTH and DUMP HER IN THE HOLD FOR A MONTH.” Kaylee responds by grinning and giving Mal a kiss on the cheek and saying, “I love my Captain.” "
If she says this is the next scene, she actually not just means the shot in which he says this, so its noteworthy that the three of them are stowing the cargo and its a conversation, not Kaylee chatting to them (which would be onedirectional). All are in a pretty good mood after just escaping with some valuable pray and its clearly an act of humor and not even by far a threat.

But that escapes Allecto
“What the fuck is this feminist man trying to say about women here? A black woman calling a white man ‘sir’. A white male captain who abuses and silences his female crew, with no consequences. The women are HAPPY to be abused. They enjoy it. What does this say about women, Joss?”

O, well, I forgot to mention it, in case you have not seen the show, Zoë is played by african american actress Gina Torres. Since radical feminism has a heritage in analysing powerstructurs and privilege, for her its obviously more degrading than for anyone else two have a white, male boss in a military style hierarchy. And its the doom of her marriage, at least according to Allecto:
“My white grandfather liked black women because they were ‘exotic’, and he did not, could not treat women, especially women of colour, like human beings. I grew up watching my great aunts, my aunty and my mother all treated like shit by their white husbands, the men they loved. So you will forgive me for believing that the character, Wash, is a rapist and an abuser, particularly considering that he treats Zoe like an object and possession.”
This may actually alienate those who know Firefly a bit. Wash, a rapist and an abuser, treating Zoe like an object? Actually Wash has a deep respect for his wife, to the point of being submissive and even stating once, that he is married to a wife who could kill him with his pinky.
What so deeply disturbs Allecto is his stated admiration of her beauty. Obviously a trait of a person must never be her looks because only objects have looks, thus admiring the beauty of your partner is turning them into an object. Well thats not exactly Allectos concept, its deeply rooted in radical feminism. Yet she states herself that this is absolutely not the only thing he is interested in when it comes to his wife:
“Wash and Mal fight each other for Zoe’s attention and admiration”
So he obviously is interested in what she thinks of him, isn’t he? Only thats a bad thing, because that means that she is Weadons “token black woman” to foil the manliness of the two males (Mel, her boss and Wash, her husband) that they can demonstrate this way.

Sorry Allecto, this is very, very construced, espacially if you watch the episode where that fighting happens. Wash is actually a bit jealous that Zoë and Mal have so much opportunity to bond in their missions comming back with stories while he is bound to the pilot seat as much as the attention Mal gets – he wants to earn his share, too and goes on a (simple) mission with Mal. They get captured, and only under the stress and preasure Wash begins to find out, what really bothers him. That she obviously obeys Mal, while he, her husband is, as I stated, more the submissive type. And that he mistakes her readiness to obeying Mel as a kind of sexual tension. Time goes on and they start to get tortured. To keep Wash awake, Mel fools him into thinking, theres really some sexual tension that would be served best if he sleeps with his wife.
Oh my, a feminists nightmare, to men trading a woman? Well it isn`t, Mel never meant a word and knows Zoë well enough to play together(!) with her on that so that both make that point clear.
Yet the two damselsprincess in mistress first must be safed by their knight in shining (oops sorry, that insists beauty and is objectifying) armour, Zoë.
“Zoe is not shown to have a personality of her own. She has no outside interests, no ideas or beliefs, no conversation with anyone other than Wash or Mal”
Well, she really is not seen that much besides the two, but you can hardly say she has no personality of her own. Her ideas and her beliefs are just pretty much in line with Mels, and she actually points out when those not align, and she has some discussions with Wash having a clear opinion when it comes to questions about her job or having children.

Wow. This has already reached nearly 1500 words… so there better be a part three. When her analysis hits a deep concern of radical feminism in form of Inaras occupation.

Firefly – and radical feminism – Part 1

Posted in Shows and Films tagged , , , , at 8:39 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

When I was reading TVTropes I so often came over mentionings of the show Firefly (and the follow up movie Serenity) that I finally had to watch it. I was not extremely hooked because it was cancelled premature after the first season and those pretty much left it with the character introducion only starting to built up the story arcs, wich were planned out over several years. While not ending with a cliffhanger (unlike Farscape after it was cancelled) the movie pretty much took most interesting arc and finished it (a bit premature). I think a lot of the idealization is about the “what could have been” factor but it was not bad at all. I’m espacially a fan of Summer Glau now, whom I previously only have seen as Cameron in Sarah Connor Chronicles where she plays a terminator, a machine without a real character.

The showrunner was Joss Wheadon of “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” fame, which sume people assume to be a feminist work. I cat judge it, I only seen a few episodes when it came out and I thought of it as beeing a bit boring. After I liked Firefly, I will give it a try now.

But maybe strong female characters are enough to label a showrunner feminist and honestly if you read headlines like this:
Spike TV chief Albie Hecht fired for luring women viewers(2005)
or like that:
Warner Bros president of production Jeff Robinov has made a new decree that “We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead”.(2007) it might to be supposed enough to qualify, sadly.

However, calling a man a feminist has fetched the attention of radical feminist Allecto.

Now, you might have never heard of radical feminism but its pretty much the real life version of the TVTrope “The Straw Feminist”.

It began with some good work of second wave feminist in exploring the powerstructurs and the concept of privileges those that have them are usually unable to even recognize, mixed in with the message of a certain John Money that split sex (the body) and gender (the cultural part) and claimed the latter can be bent in either direction if started early enough, so that the traits associated with each gender itself are all a matter of upbringing. He did this, by the way, not to empower women in any form, but to “normalize” the butchering of intersexual children that can be raised to be whatever sex (optically) was constructed. This left a trail of traumatized intersexual persons, but albeit become a mantra of general feminism who do not see genderidentity (wich would better be labeled sexidentitiy) and genderrole seperat, the first being inborn and the latter being pretty much cultural.

Despite it was not exactly correct it was a very empowering message to women who could no longer be taught they are inferior to men and many made their way to show the world exactly that.

But Radical Feminism goes further. It pretty much sees any relationship between man and women only from the aspect of the still existing powerdivide and thus reacting by damning anything male, often to the point, where women who am in relationships to men are often called out for participating in the patriarchat. They see themselves as the most oppressed persons on the planet thus entitled to calling out anyone who doesn’t share their few as oppressing them if they call them out on something they say or do, which often enough is oppressing discrimation in itself.

And I will certainly get my share of that, when I analyse the analysises of Firefly and several episodes Allecto has done on her blog Gorgon Poisons in Part 2.

January 11, 2012


Posted in Grids, Second Life, User Experience tagged , , , , , , , at 10:16 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

The OpenSim Provider Keitly was the first to sell (OpenSim-)land pretty cheap due to a trick. When no user is on a sim, it goes into a suspension mode thus not needing any server resources. Now Linden Lab has copied this trick to save real money. Other than Kitley, Linden Labs savings am not reflected in price savings for Linden Labs customers. As the CEO said, all that is to be expected, is that Second Life land fees do not increase in 2012.

Still one could think its a good thing, if the company makes Second Life more profitable, the product is safe, and as long as it doesn’t hurt someone?

Well it does. I rented mainland espacially because of the neighbourhood to the protected(!) Route 2 and its wateraccess because I like to make tours in air, on water and on land. And now its ruined with that “innovation”.

Missing neighbourhood

1. Sims am not visible while noone is on them.
2. have to boot from suspension when you enter them, which may take a minute and does not preload the scenerie.
3. I can only see the sim my land is on. Good thing my land is more in the center

So its simply not possible anymore to travel fluently with, lets say even a slow 10 mp/h speed over mainlandregions.

I feel screwed by Linden Lab!

December 22, 2011

IBMs technology predictions and virtual worlds

Posted in Hypergrid, Metaverse, Second Life, User Experience tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 2:18 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

IBM recently published five technology predictions for the next five years and they do this regularly, so five years ago there have been some, too.

And one of that was the idea, that 3D Internet (with the example of Second Life) becomes as common, as the 2D version. Maybe this was even the start of the mediahype around Second Life.

At an article of MSN News from the time you can read the one point about it:

‘• The 3-D Internet: Pohle said this technology is “about translating the user experience on the Internet from being almost a replication of a piece of paper – a Web ‘page’ – to almost a three-dimensional experience on the Internet.” Basically, a virtual world a la Second Life, with open borders.

IBM has been experimenting with virtual environments for locales ranging from Eternal Egypt and Russia’s Hermitage Museum (open now) to China’s Forbidden City (due in 2008). Just this month, the company announced a deal with Circuit City for an experiment in Second Life retailing.

As the 3-D Internet develops, IBM says it will be aiming for the integration of virtual environments into a seamless whole.

“Instead of separate islands of virtual worlds, where you cannot cross over from one to the other in a consistent way, IBM’s vision is to allow your virtual personal to cross over from one world to another, much in the same way you can go from one page to another on the Internet without losing any consistence, enabling all sorts of new applications of the technology,” the company says in a 3-D Internet fact sheet.

Pohle said “we’re not sure where this is going to lead, but the experience you get going to a 3-D site is a very different experience from what you get using the traditional Internet or a messaging tool.”‘

Other articles often emphasized the idea to experience Real Life products in such a world and then being able to purchase them there, even todays reviews in context of the new predictions.

But how should that work? The key element for the user of 3D worlds to become immersed are mirrorneurons. You see something and it is set in context with previous experiences which then am felt again, as if they were part of the action.

Lets have a look at one project that tried exactly that. The now gone motorcompany Pontiac tried it with their car “Solstice” and the result was this car, which is still wide spread as a freebie:
2006 Pontiac Solstice

Its a very good work for its time, which in Second Life terms is actually from another age completly, and Pontiac spent quite some money in that built, yet its only an oversimplified model of the design. You could not really  judge the looks from it, if you compare it with a good ol`2D photography of the actual product:

2006 Pontiac Solstice

But when you have seen the Solstice, you can see it in the 3D Version. It even gets worse when think of actually touching the car or how it feels sitting in it. Can you judge it by seeing how your Avatar fits in? No, you won’t, with the exception that you once sat in the car and renember that while your minds alligns your experiences with that of your avatar.
And let alone the drive scripts, in Second Life those are far from a realistic driving experiencing let alone one that represents the car. In simulation games like Forza this is actually a feature. Yet even the best simulation can’t simulate the sense that rallydriver Walter Röhrl once called “Popometer” (could be translated to buttsensor), an amalagan of all sensoric impulses. I actually made the experience that good RL drivers often suck in games, because the lack of the “Popometer” leaves them somewhat blind.

So the 3D Pontiac Solstice can’t tell you anything, and somehow you only really can experience it as an Solstice, if you had at least one RL-testdrive with the car, completely turning around the idea of presenting products in a 3D world to test them there.

So if you, as a potential buyer, want to buy a product, your still left with 2D photos and information sheets and a real life experienced testdrive (our testseating on a couch, e.g.) while 3D only has shortcomings, at least as long as there is no metaverse available with the simulationquality of the (movie-)Matrix.

Its quite similar with other tasks. You can write your emails in Second Life or OpenSim, or even do quite some more “work” of that kind in case its available as online application with the option of viewing websites inworld, but why should you, when the very desktop or notebook you use to access the virtual world is by far better suited for the task. Information is often presented in 2D because another dimension adds no value to it.

So what is really missing to make 3D internet is a killer application, something everyone needs to do and that is (almost) only possible in an immersive, shared, 3D envirenment.

I was suggested to me that learning and meetings / presentations could be that, but in my opinion it fails on the fact that you have to be already immersed into a virtual world, before it becomes beneficial, lacking the easy access that is needed to make it into a killer application. Another area, where 3D Internet can be very beneficial is the health sector, yet it is to hope that we are never in a situation where nearly everyone needs this.

I really don’t see how 3D Internet would ever be as common as the 2D Internet, and I don’t think it will ever reach a high penetration, while often those who found their use of it, like me, hold it very dearly.

Yet one prediction of IBM came true, that there will be a more indipendent approach and that virtual worlds would be not really seperated anymore. This technology is here with Open Simulator and the Hypergrid.

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