Monday, October 18, 2010

47 of 52: House of Cards @ Burnning Man

Miso Susanowa, Xenophile Neurocam and Trill Zapatero has made an interesting build on the Burning Man grounds: House of Cards.  To quoute:

House of Cards: 
The History of Social Networks 
Considered As A House of Cards

The theme and inspiration of this build is based on personal experience
in the growth stages of the social networking scene leading
up to Second Life and the present virtual worlds.

Beginning with the earliest BBS and MUD environments, through the
VRML and 2D progenitors of the mid-90s to the  current VWs, the
birth and growth of virtual worlds and communities is imagined as a
tenuous structure: a house of cards.

An Avatar has climbed these shaky and transitive platforms and is
reaching for the future hypergrid/worlds.

Inside, the build is decorated with screen shots and other materials from old virtual environments.  Also, there are animated texts and other effects floating all around. 

There is an extensive sound environment inside the build, so please turn up the sound if you are normally wandering SL as a deaf (like I do at the office LOL).

 The terminal gives you a notecard with more info

I found the idea quite interesting: That SL is just the top card in the stack (for now) in a big house of earlier attempts to create an immersive environment.  Some day, SL will be as old-fashioned as text-based MUDs feels today. 

Now, MUD ruled some 25 years ago.  That makes you think, because who can imagine what kind of environments will we have 25 years in the future?  Will we even be able to detect any difference between our first and second lives? And how will that impact how we live them?

Follow the white rabbit!  This is an innovative build well worth seing!

Friday, October 15, 2010

46 of 52: Viewer 2 and "fast fun easy": One of three isn't that bad?

I could hardly believe it, but when trying out the latest Viewer 2 on Lyra (my tiny netbook), it actually outperformed Imprudence on frame rates!   Even in the sculpt-heavy estate I live in it was easy to move around.

Viewer 2 still ain't fun and it still ain't easy, but one of three is at least something:-)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

45 of 52 - Linden Lab and Moore: Do they keep up?

In 1965, Intel Co-funder Gordon E. Moore formulated what has later been known as Moore's Law:  The number of transistors we manage to squeeze into an integrated circuit doubles each year.  In 1975 he amended it a bit, reducing the growth rate to a doubling in two years.  A colleague of his factored in the performance gain made from this, and predicted that the performance of computer components doubles every 18 months.

In practical terms, it means that if you buy a new computer every 3rd year, you would expect a 4-times increase in performance if you run the same programs.  Often enough, you don't, because the new computer comes with a new version of Windows that consumes even more of the machines resources, but that's another story LOL.

I've been in SL for 3 years now.  And I wonder: Has Linden Lab kept up with Moore's Law?  Have Second Life performance doubled twice the last 3 years?

It's easy to forget how bad things where in "the good old days".  I could never expect to be able to be online for more than an hour at a time without crashing.  Several times a month, the whole grid would be down because of unexpected or (sometimes) planned maintenance.   Remember the pictures of the monkeys:  Clearly inspired by the novel 2001 by Arthur C. Clarke, it was clear to all that Linden Lab was run by cool people who also knew their sci-fi literature.  It kind of made us all happy to feel that we lived in a world where our creators was still busy shaping it.

I have not seen this picture for ages.  One reason might be that the grid is almost never down anymore; clearly a performance increase we all love, even if it is seldom prised.  And when we talk about performance: It's now generally possible to walk around a dense club with 40 other avatars with no problems.  In short, a SIM mostly just works.  I remember my first beach party; we where about 15-20 people, and everyone was happy about how smooth things worked:  Somehow, 20 people in a sim was a great feat!  Sure, nowadays we complain when 80 people tries to get all their attachment in at the same time, and long for the day when technology will allow 40.000 people in one place, but the hard fact is that NO VIRTUAL WORLD IN EXISTENCE TODAY OUTPERFORMS SL.  So yes, actual capacity has at least doubled.

When I joined SL, median concurrency was around 30.000.  During the next 18 month, that figure doubled to more than 60.000.  So, at least during that time, Moore's law held true.

Since then, concurrency have flattened, to say it nicely, but somehow I feel that technology is not to blame for that.

A more important reason for the absence of the monkeys, however, is that the Lab has somehow "grown up", no longer profiling themselves with these kinds of images.  And it seems to me that this is what the long-term residents and bloggers miss the most: The feeling of being "pioneers", of being loved by the kings and the queens and the demigods that used to be around.

Now, we have a world with a few well-defined options for server space rentals; options that has mostly remained stable during the three years I've been in SL.  As we are used to when we order a web hotel or a virtual server on the net, we use automated systems that fixes everything, and have no rational need for a spike-haired arch-angel to show us around or care deeply about what we do.

Is that the simple reason while SL is not growing anymore?  Because we just miss the monkeys and the punkhead CEO and the magic bean plants growing outside Gov' Lindens mansion?

Whatever, in 3 years I expect to be able to invite at least 160 people to my 6-years day!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

44 of 52 - Three years in SL

There is a certain tradition of jumping naked from the sky on your rezday.  It's supposed to make you reflect on your second life, what it's worth to you and to help you decide whether or not to go on with it.

What to say: Those incredibly hot pictures was snapped on the office computer, and the office is now a week away LOL.  So I'm sorry to say you all have to miss my naked butt falling down on the Winterfell estate.

That ought to make you happy:-)

So, my forth year in SL started by looking at the beauty of the sea and the green and my naked ass.  Sounds quite appropriate.

To see what the future might hold, I then decided to try the Display Name feature.  Fired up an old alt account, logged into the dreaded Wiewer2 GUI and managed to find the correct button.  Just to get a grip on how it would feel, I set my real life name as display name and started to walk around.

Yes, if ever one can talk about avatar identity, it was a bit lost now.  This was just me, walking around the project grid.  When this is going to the main grid, I will definitively explore this further - it somehow felt rather cool.

I see the attraction for some "serious use" of virtual worlds.  If ever SL will be the platform of choice for such use.  Of course, in OpenSim, you can register any name you like, so this is really not needed, except perhaps for the unicode possibilities.

This was a kind of hasty and messy post, I guess a bit like how my SL feels right now.  Now it's on to a RL vacation instead:-)