Thursday, May 10, 2012

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Second Life Users' Tolerance of SL's Technical Troubles Helps Stymie SL's Growth -- Here's Why

Second Life problem tolerance of failure

I got a lot of interesting comments from hardcore SL users when I mentioned last week all the troubles I was having running Second Life on my Alienware laptop from Dell (a brand owned by nearly 1 in 4 laptop users). Most of them have the same underlying theme, and point to a fundamental Second Life problem. Roughly summarized, they were:

  • Buy a better laptop to run SL.
  • Get a better graphics card to run SL.
  • Stop using a Dell/Alienware to run SL.
  • Stop using Windows 7 and install Linux OS to run SL.
  • Use another third party viewer (made by non-Linden staff) to run SL.
  • Stop expecting SL to work like a mainstream product and just learn to run SL.
  • Here is a long and detailed technical explanation on how to fix your problem that would be nearly impossible for an average consumer to follow, but you should do so anyway to run SL.

I definitely don't mean to criticize any SLer who made a comment like this, for on one level, they show a lot of passion for the community which is admirable. But it's important to point out the troubling, unifying theme:

Unprecedented tolerance and willingness to accept technical troubles that would be intolerable in just about any other context. Second Life is not a non-profit open source project, and it's not running the latest, most cutting edge graphics. In either case, some of these suggestions might be understandable. However, we are talking about a product nearly 10 years old, put out by a very profitable company, which somehow can't consistently run well on a computer that 1 in 4 American consumers own, and offers little or no clear assistance (let alone automatic fixes) for addressing these issues.

Second Life software problem

Now, I myself am willing to work on my technical problems when I have the time, but only because I still write about Second Life professionally, which in turn is because I still believe it's an online community worth writing about. But I hope it's clear how this attitude helps relegate SL to being a niche -- or what a Forrester analyst called the Iron Law of Oligarchy. No software product with such fundamental problems can succeed on a mass market, or even a large niche market of several million users. Few new users will spend 5 minutes, let alone 5 hours, trying to fix a Second Life technical problem, especially when they can play something like Minecraft on the web. But if a company's hardcore userbase doesn't leave, no matter how long these problems persist -- to the point where they're willing to spend dozens of hours or thousands of dollars working around them -- then the company has little incentive to devote as much resources as possible to address them. Which is where we are now.

I suggested as much to SLer Fred Beckhusen, who sent me a couple e-mails over 1000 words long, patiently and generously explaining how to get SL to run on my Alienware:

"Why," I asked Fred, "are you putting so much effort into trying to fix technical problems created by a for-profit company that it hasn't gotten around to fixing in years? Dell/Alienware are popular systems, don't you think Linden Lab should have figured out how to make SL work with them?"

"You ask a fair question but I have an easy answer," said Fred, "I'm not doing it for Linden Lab, I am doing it for your readers. You really do represent about 28 million people. If SL loses you, we all lose something wonderful. And that's not acceptable to me." First, I wish there were 28 million people out there for me to represent, but realistically, most of them have come and gone, most or many for technical reasons. And second, Fred, you big adorable dude, you are ultimately doing Linden Lab's work for them, picking up the slack where they are still failing. And finally, as much as it pains me to say, it's this kind of willingness to accept the unacceptable which threatens Second Life's survival. Because by not holding Linden Lab to its promise from 2010 to make SL fast, easy, and fun, we continue to allow the userbase not to grow, not to gain new users, and instead, to dwindle by natural attrition year by year. And that's not acceptable to me.

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Ezra

I wanted to say you're overreaching and overreacting by believing your specific problem affects so many, but then I'm reminded of when I had the "Basic Shader" 400 series GeForce bug all last year that I'd still have today if I hadn't upgraded my graphics card. I felt the exact same way regardless if I could tinker my way out of the issue.

The fact of the matter is though, despite getting tens of thousands of signups a week, 99% quit as Hamlet pointed out due to not tolerating Second Life's issues for more than 5 minutes.

If one could run a company with a 99% attrition rate of new customers -and- still be profitable in the tune of millions, why care about the attrition rate? Why care about the issues of those that stick around if they're still going to fork over money anyway?

Complaining doesn't work. Linden Lab is a company sympathetic -only- to their bottom line. Unfortunately for us, the paltry 1% that stick around, our tolerance of all the viewer and server issues is way more than enough to keep Linden Lab rolling in cash.

sparrow

Respectfully, this article is nonsense. SL runs just fine for me 99 percent of the time. But... I don't expect it to run on a stupid laptop. I run it on a desktop with good graphics capability and cabled to a router, not wireless. I don't fool around with 3rd-party viewers, I take the time to learn then very good one LL puts out. SL has issues. But if you don't want to invest a little time in learning the technical requirements for running it, who's fault it that?

Ehrman Digfoot

I agree. I completely gave up on OSX for SL, tried Ubuntu for SL, spent a year trying to replicate the OSX functionality I lost by switching to Windows 7, built my own computer for SL with the best components I could, and still run SL like a collector's car, manually clearing my cache, easing my draw distance and bandwidth gradually farther so I don't crash. Sometimes I forget just how much I've adjusted my life to accommodate SL.

On the other hand, SL inspired me to learn 3DS Max, Blender, basic audio editing, video editing, animation editing, Photoshop, how to build a PC and LSL programming.

If LL created a more stable viewer, if everything weren't so difficult, would we be as invested as we are?

Eleri Ethaniel

I agree completely, there's no reason LL shouldn't be the ones making their product compatable with the top, mainstream consumer brands of hardware.
I also empathize utterly- it is one of my major pet peeves that, if I kvetch about something not working for me, I get unsolicited comments on all the things I have done wrong by purchasing product X. Even if X works for me in 1001 other areas, my disgruntlement with the issue is *my fault* for being a stupid (read 'not as tech hip as commenter') consumer.
Look, if someone asks for help fixing something, offer help. If they aren't asking, you just make yourself look like a know-it-all snob.

Ezra

@sparrow

"But if you don't want to invest a little time in learning the technical requirements for running it, who's fault it that?"

All one should have to do to use Second Life is check: https://secondlife.com/my/support/system-requirements/index.php? before downloading it. If everything on that page checks out, and the Viewer still doesn't work as advertised, its Linden Lab's fault not the user.

Yes there might be something specific only to Hamlet's computer wrong, only to his model of video card or something else, but how does he discern as much? Where does Linden Lab publish "known issues" for example for all to see?

Users shouldn't have to sift through the JIRA to find out if there's a problem between Second Life and specific hardware or operating system versions they have. Like every other product, we should only have to meet minimum system requirements and read release patch notes that advise us if anything has changed relevant to our system that we should know about.

tito devinna

i agree with you. i had an aweful time with viewer 2 running and being able to log in to get to prefernces to change settings so it would run better. part of the problem was i was on a bad internet connection (my fault). but the other issue was that the default connection speed of the sl viewer was set to 500K but all graphics settings were set to high by default. the lag made it virtualy impossible to get to settings to change the network speed. I finaly of course figured out how but I never could understand why that would be a workable default setting. i hear alot from friends on sl well my connections to slow my computer not up to it. except i am like you i can run any other program just fine. while i understand hard core computer users can make this work and no doubt can figure out how to make windows 7 64 bit run on a 386 with 16 mg of ram, the sl viewers are not as i llike to put it grandma friendly by default, and regular users need grandma friendly. also not a noob 6 years in and i have seen alot of updates.

Iggy

@sparrow, you wrote,

"I don't expect it to run on a stupid laptop. . . .But if you don't want to invest a little time in learning the technical requirements for running it, who's fault it that?"

Linden Lab's, unless they don't mind catering to a dwindling user-base. As I recall, Hamlet did his homework before buying this rig. It ran SL fine for a while, too.

In any case, desktops are not the future of mainstream computing. They are destined to become a niche, but then SL is already a niche product. No amount of fanboy thinking will change that harsh reality of the consumer marketplace. Evidence? Consider college students and laptops: about 100% now at my and colleagues' schools.

But if LL can turn a buck on desktop users willing to tweak their towers, more power to everyone involved.

The rest of us will have moved along, just as we did from MOOs, MUDs, and BBS systems.

Shug Maitland

You are absolutely right Hamlet, but so is Sparrow. SL *should* run on a higher end laptop with decent graphics without needing special setup and tweaks. I would bet that even after doing all of Fred's adjustments you would not be seeing SL the way I do on my laptops (Ultra setting with shadows, etc.). As for wireless --- forget it! Even the leanest viewers have 5-10 internet connections running more or less continuously.

All of which LL should be doing something about but I think the platform as it is makes it impossible. Sooner or later there will have to be a whole new Second Life II and this will be one of the issues it will have to deal with. For now I tell people to invest in a desktop and some cables.

Hitomi Tiponi

I can guarantee that there will be people out there that can't run Word, Powerpoint, Photoshop, Crysis, and yet can still run everything else fine. I have one machine that always crashes the Java updater no matter what I do! You are just being unlucky in being unable to run Second life on your laptop, and so are many other people. But that is in the nature of modern operating systems and the stuff we load on our computers rather than being Second Life specific.

Solo Mornington

"Second Life Users' Tolerance of SL's Technical Troubles Helps Stymie SL's Growth"

Absolutely.

But on the other hand, there's no growth to stymie. People who will be on SL are there already, and people who don't tolerate the idiosyncrasies have gone away.

Shug mentions a Second Life II. That already exists, no viewer required: http://jibemicro.reactiongrid.com/pathfinderlester/

elizabeth (16)

on youtube i saw a interview with Linus Torvald: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPUk1yNVeEI&feature=related

he explain why Linux is not popular on the PC and by implication why Windows is

he said is the number of devices that a PC has to connect to. a zillion different manufacturers making a zillion different devices on very short cycles. that unless you are a big outfit (like Microsoft) then you dont have the resources to be all things to every connected device


so substitute SecondLife for Linux and can see where is the difficulty

+

he also said that linux/android etc is better for phones (better = more popular) bc of the limited number of devices that they have to connect to (if any)

Roger

well said!

Hamlet Au

"Sometimes I forget just how much I've adjusted my life to accommodate SL."

That's a very profound statement!

"As I recall, Hamlet did his homework before buying this rig. It ran SL fine for a while, too."

That's a good point I should have mentioned in the post -- I definitely made sure the Alienware well exceeded the minimum specs for SL before buying it in 2010. And it worked fairly well for awhile. Then started to descend down a spiral of assy.

Johnny

Never mind desktops, even laptops are beginning to look like yesterday's technology. In an age where most internet access is going to be via smartphones and tablets, it's a brave company that will stake its future on a user-base willing to put up with big boxes physically attached to the network.

Masami Kuramoto

Nice straw man you set up there, Hamlet. Your "summarization" is so "rough" that it totally misrepresents the comments that were made.

You may not be the first tech blogger failing to update a display driver on his PC, but you are certainly the first one to blame the party that DEPENDS on the display driver being up to date.

Go to the Second Life homepage and look up the system requirements. Note what it says in the graphics card section for Windows 7 and Vista:

"REQUIRES LATEST DRIVERS"

Note that it states no such requirement for any other system.

No kidding, Hamlet. Your computer fails to meet the minimum system requirements for SL on Windows 7. And that is hardly Linden Lab's problem.

Eddi Haskell

First of all, I think it is hogwash to say that the entire world is moving to pad-like devices with touchscreen interfaces. A large part of the market including gamer, content developers, and people who like large screen experiences will always stay pc-centric for the foreseeable future. Granted, this is by far the fastest growing section of the market, but there still is money to be made in pc-centric apps.

Second, Hamlet is correct. 99% of people who try Second Life give up within 5 minutes. Heck, I have been inworld for 5 years, build my own computers, and produce very nice machinima. I can get into just about any graphics application in 60 seconds. However,I think learning how to use a new viewer is a complete pain and avoid it at all costs. I cannot imagine coming into Second Life for the first time and being confronted with trying to figure out how to do things. No wonder few personal friends of just about everyone one of us who we have shown Second Life to will agree to come in after a first time.

Second Life interfaces, and this extends to third party ones, are not intuitive, confusing, and full of information that the casual user will not want to use or need. In addition, if Second Life cannot run on just about any Windows 7 device out of the box with a basic graphics card it looses.

Granted, updating drivers are important. But as things are, unless Second Life becomes far more user friendly than it is, it will never grow beyond the low numbers we have now.

Metacam Oh

Hamlet, why did they give up that Second Life from the web access tests they did years ago? I remember being able to get in Second Life on a piece of crap work machine that won't even play Minecraft, and for me it worked fairly well.

Adromaw

The more resources LL spend on hardware and memory support the larger their potential user-base can be.

I guess what you're pointing out, though, Hamlet, is that relying on a generation can only last so long?

Unfortunately some of the issues may relate to the very freedom that the platform offers (like a stress test). We're talking about countless scenes that have countless millions (sometimes wasteful) triangles to map textures to and then apply lighting.

It's a pity that the basic prim isn't reduced when the deferred lighting engine is activated. A non-flex prim only needs the extra triangles for the basic vertex shadows/lighting. It'll need them again when it's turned to flex in order to deform.

There has to be a better way, somewhere.

Kim

This is one of the best and most important blog posts ever about SL. This problem is so deep seated and entrenched in SL's history and culture that I'm not sure if it's insurmountable. It really might not be. Think of the countless millions who, rightfully, have given up within a few minutes of trying SL. People who otherwise would have loved it, helped move it to the next level.

That said, have you tried Firestorm? SL's current release viewer is a useless piece of junk on my system, but Firestorm works swimmingly.

Ajax Manatiso

I work for one of the world's largest computer distributors and I wouldn't recommend Dell to anyone. Dell is the modern equivalent of an E-Machine -- barely a computer/laptop at all. The quality is unbelievably poor. No surprise it can't run SL -- a surprise it can run Windows.

shockwave yareach

Well, the viewer and SL itself are not ready for prime time.

* The installer doesn't install correctly sometimes.
* reinstalling doesn't remove files which screw up the install sometimes.
* The installer assumes maximum quality for some gPUS which crashes the card.

IMHO, the viewer needs four radiobuttons next to the Login button to set what quality you want to start at: LOW, Medium, Maximum, Last Settings. So a newb who can't get the program to run in maximum can opt to start up in LOW mode instead. And we who know how to make our settings to our liking will pick the Last Settings option. This would make it far easier for newcomers to launch the program and have it actually work, if not the first time then the second.

But the viewer is certainly not a mainstream product, no matter how long it has been in the marketplace. The space shuttle's entire operating life, it was classified as an experimental vehicle -- SL is pretty much the same. Not that the newcomers know that. So newcomers who aren't given to making adjustments or would even know how to do so need some extra care in the startup. Giving them options for which quality level to begin from would help that.

So would fixing the issues with the installer not putting out all the files necessary.

Otenth

Wow. Anyone who doesn't believe your experience of being blamed for the shortcomings of LL's product has only to read the comments to see it all laid out directly.

Pussycat Catnap

"I agree. I completely gave up on OSX for SL, tried . . . [stuff] . . . so I don't crash."

I run SL amazingly well on a 2011 model iMac. in OSX.

It runs decently well on a 2009 model Toshiba laptop that cost me $350.

It runs a tad sluggish on my 2003 iBook G4. But then again, even Safari and Firefox run sluggish on that these days - as it just wasn't built for the high bandwidth content that streams through without choice on websites these days (/shakes paws at auto-running video adverts for cars and insurance).

foneco zuzu

The drug is strong, addicts will do all to have it!

Pussycat Catnap

"Anyone who doesn't believe your experience of being blamed for the shortcomings of LL's product has only to read the comments to see it all laid out directly."

A more complex picture I would say.

He's getting a lot of unfair heat - but he also doesn't appear to be taking the right steps to address the issue.

Like it or not, LLs has horrible customer service, understaffed technical support, and focuses on the new shiny that's still in the showroom down the block rather than the old jalopy in the garage that we drive to the store every day.

So we can all cry into the wind about how they need to fix things - knowing they don't care, or we can quit, or we can fix things for ourselves.

Unfair, yes. But I'm not white so I'm used to things being unfair.

He's got to dig under the hood, look at all the settings, and find whatever is the problem - then see if he can fix it. If not, he can either buy a system that works with SL, or become one of the 99% of folks who give up on the platform...

Unfair, yes...

But that's the reality we're stuck with.

Pussycat Catnap

"Never mind desktops, even laptops are beginning to look like yesterday's technology. In an age where most internet access is going to be via smartphones and tablets, it's a brave company that will stake its future on a user-base willing to put up with big boxes physically attached to the network."

Hey guyz, guess what, by 1990 we'll all have personal jetpacks. Its a fool who invests in the auto-industry.

Um... no.

Just because tablets are super-hyped-up doesn't mean they worth a darn thing or good for much.

Its crippled tech, being sold as the new shiny. Some consumers are already waking up to the reality that they really don't get much value out of it.

Great toys. Watch videos while driving on the freeway and getting yourself killed - handy for that.

But everything else it does is stuff better done on your cellphone.

Any actual real gaming, office work, study work, art work, and so on - needs a machine with power.

Laptops will kill desktops, and laptops + cellphones will make it obvious that tablets are as useful as a laser disc player or a mood ring.

Pussycat Catnap

To add to the above, consider what -did- kill the laser disc player. The DVD player - which is lower resolution compressed video in a smaller format BUT with richer features.

I suspect that in time, we'll have a 3 tiered structure for personal computing:

Laptops. For office, education, and home entertainment system.

eBook readers with video playback and online shopping. The future descendants of the Kindle and Nook.

Smartphones - a phone, with enhanced features for light impact online access.

Either of the second two will likely eventually also kill the 'iPod / MP3 player / low end home stereo system' market (speakers that connect directly to an iPod are already popular).

The laptop might kill the home entertainment market - becoming the mix of a PC, playstation/xBox, a stereo system, a TV reception box (why bother with cable or satellite when you can stream it all from the laptop to a 50" screen on the wall), and a high end stereo system).


As for companies "brave enough" to build an entire entertainment business model around desktops and laptops: the MMO industry, and most of the video game industry - which is a bigger industry than the Movie industry...

Those folks are -NOT- going to roll over and die just because Steve Jobs thought tablets were cooler. The products they provide are too rich and detailed to be able to be run on a low end systems like tablets, and the trend for them has been to push tech ever and ever further into higher requirements, not lighter.

Tablet / Phone video gaming is also thriving - but not at all set to kill the big fish anymore than Karaoke machines killed the recording industry, or perhaps... any more than instant coffee has killed Starbucks.

The kinds of things people play and do on their smartphones are not the things they will want to be their major entertainment. Home computer / console games are killing Hollywood, not FarmVille. FarmVille / Facebook gaming is more likely killing hanging out at a bar or pub.

shockwave yareach

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone predicted the end of the desktop computer. They predicted it when the newton came out in the early 90s. Nope. They predicted it when the laptop came about. nope. They predicted it when the PDA came out. Nope. They predicted it when the super consoles like Xbox360 came out. Nope. They predicted it when the iphone came out. Nope.

The desktop will always be sold for businesses rather than laptops -- laptops are easy to steal. They will likewise always be used as the center for pictures and music storage at home, due to drive capacities and again, difficulty in stealing.

But go ahead and give me a dollar if you want to :)

foneco zuzu

And we can add another thing in favour of desktops!
They don't heat as much!
I have 3 desktops running 24/7, 2 for more then 3 years with 2 time/year clean up and or replacement of dated components!
How many can say same with a laptop?

Wayfinder

I am reminded of a quote (by a user I refuse to name), which I think is one of the best quotes about SL ever:

"This lament by residents was novel and revolutionary as a concept in 2004; it was a hallmark of persistence and determination by 2006; by 2008 it was a sign of masochism; by 2010 it is a diagnosis of a unstable and co-dependent personality disorder."

Regarding Fred's comment of users representing "28 million people"... I see the LL propaganda engine is still working. I find it amazing anyone actually believes that claim. The actual active population of SL is (at last count, since LL has removed demographics) under 750k. Not quite 28 mil.

As far as your experience in trying to get SL to run on your Alienware laptop, while I am no big fan of Dell, your experience with SL is quite common. You are completely correct when you said if any other software had this degree of technical difficulty in setup and use, people simply wouldn't use it (well,except for Windows, of course). But SL and Windows both have something in common: the alternatives are few.

Sure, people can use Linux if they want to scrap their $5000 software collection and give up Photoshop forever (and please, don't anyone tell us to use a Windows emulator. If we wanted to do that, we'd just use Windows). Apple is becoming even more restrictive than Micro$oft (but at least they don't charge $200 for an OS upgrade). Seriously, SL is one of the most poorly-written software packages I've ever seen. And you're right: customers continuing to support LL is empowering them to leave SL poorly written. Why should they invest in a major fix when they're raking in $$$ hand over fist as it is?

"...by 2008 it was a sign of masochism; by 2010 it is a diagnosis of a unstable and co-dependent personality disorder."

Yup, that about sums it up.

Wayfinder

Sidenote to Shockwave: I agree with you, the desktop is here to stay, for several reasons:

1)Expandablility. There are some things a business simply cannot do with a laptop.
2) Cost. For a long time this was a major factor. It's no longer a factor in the initial purchase, but it's a major factor in upgrade and repair.
3) Keyboard. This is a significant issue. I replace my keyboard twice a year because I simply wear them out. Anyone ever tried to replace a laptop keyboard? ; )
4) Size. Thank you, but I happen to like my 40 inch HDMI monitor. I do not like a 15.5" to 17" microscreen with which I have to use reading glasses.
5) Keyboard again. Normal size keyboard vs chicklet keyboard.

We've seen similar claims that the tablet is going to take over the laptop. Show me a tablet that can load a DVD. Anyone tried typing the Great American Novel on a tablet...even with an add-on keyboard? No thank you.

So yeah, you're right. The laptop didn't replace the desktop (nor won't) and the tablet isn't going to replace the laptop. They all have their uses.

Now, the cell phone might replace the... uh... nm. Not going there. :D

Todd Borst

As someone who travels a lot, laptop is the only option for me. While my laptop runs SL fine, I'm rather amazed that my cooling fans are always at the loudest when running SL. This makes me not want to run it for more than a few minutes at a time. My laptop isn't even this strained running Witcher 2 on high settings. Not to mention that SL is no where as smooth or beautiful in comparison.

It's repulsive the amount of computing resource Second Life demands for how little it delivers.

Recka Wuyts

Call me a co-dependent personality if you like, but I want it fixed. I want this place I spend so much time living and working in to function. I expect it to run on a variety of devices, because I use a variety of devices, a laptop, a desktop with large monitor and someday a tablet as well as a phone. Why not? And I believe someday it will. Of course there will be ten thousand grids just like it that do the same thing, so who cares. Enjoy SL for what it is, an unstable co-dependent personality developer. Get a little lag in your life. Get SL.

Emperor Norton

Recka Wuyts @ "Why not? And I believe someday it will"

Because until the laws of thermodynamics change heatsinks are going to remain the size they are.

Pappy Enoch

News flash:

Bald people fight over comb. Comb maker rakes in millions.

Howdy, Emperor Norton! Ol' Son, it looks like the Alphyville Herald crowd am immygratin' to NWN. I reckon we'll run this one into the ditch next. Hoo whee.

Krinkles Q Klown

Newsflash: SL doesn't run on relatively common hardware.

Second Newsflash: Linden Lab can't build anything robust enough to stay running for 24 hours non-stop without some kind of glitch.

Third Newsflash: Nothing they've built works without some kind of 'gotcha'.

And you're surprised that it won't run properly on relatively common hardware?

Let's recap. Search broken. Databases cocked up. Direct Delivery broken. Scripting broken. Mesh half-assed implemented. Group IM broken. JIRA listing bugs 4+ years old. Philly Headcheese and Mitch Woodchuck still making scads of money on software that never really delivered on what's promised.

The mantra of the Lab, "We're sorry for the inconvenience," as concurrency in prime time drops 18% (and traffic on some sims drops 30-35%) due to interminable maintenance that's dragged on for weeks. (And the f*cking database "maintenance" was to implement direct delivery for f*cking Marketplace!)

You're right. SLers tolerate sh*t we wouldn't anywhere else. Most bail after 5 years of the same-old, same-old LL song-and-dance. They epitomize, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Wanna write about something newsworthy? How about writing about how weeks on interminable maintenance is killing traffic for many folk. How about digging into why we're putting up with weeks of uncertainty and mayhem.

It sure as hell isn't to fix 4 year old bugs.

Dave Bell

Some of the problems I have seen over the past year lead me to think that nobody at SL is coordinating the big picture. Mesh wasn't really ready, and its reputation was dragged down by some coincidental graphics problems. The Marketplace has been an ongoing disaster. Search seems to keep on failing. We know about long-lasting JIRA reports, and I've seen claims of fixes which are trivially easy to falsify.

I get the impression of a bunch of programming prima donnas, and a sustained management failure.

There are Lindens who come across as more competent. I am almost scared to draw attention to them.

AKA Shelby Rasmuson

Every now and again, after not being a part of SL, now for about 1.5 years (and before that being a blogger who logged may hours a week taking pictures and being part of the fashion scene..)I'll start missing SL. I'll go back to the blogs, I'll check out what's happening etc. etc. Because I want to see if anythings changed...

no it hasn't ....

I left because my puter, overnight stopped taking decent ingame pictures ... I tried everything ..save spending a fortune on a new one. Well I still have the same puter, I can run Skyrim, I can go on MMO's, there is no Lag, no performance issues at all .... It's sad ...
I always felt and still feel that there's huge
potential with SL and the Virtual world presented, and I do miss all of the contacts I made and interesting characters I met along the way.

But I don't think I'll be coming back any time soon. (first joined 2007)

Rusalka Writer

Oh, if you knew the massive time and resources LL expends trying to make SL work for everyone with a six-year-old netbook with an Intel graphics chip.... Time taken away from the viewer and search and mesh and everything else.... When they won't even warn people that their hardware sucks....

Afraid after two years in the mesh beta I'd love to see LL cut the lower-rung machines dead and kill viewer 1.23 with fire. They work so hard to make SL work for anybody that it's falling behind for everybody.

ii singh

@pussycat
Your knowledge of technology is sadly wanting. Virtually every one of your posts is filled with hearsay and nonsense. You certainly have a lot of opinions but very knowledge or facts to back up your wild assertions. Perhaps it is time for you to go read more and write less.
I don't have time to correct all your erroneous bibble-babble or the energy to attempt it and frankly I doubt it would be very much benefit to you. Read more write less and there will be a reduced chance of you sounding like a tool.

Deoridhe Quandry

I think this is something I really liked about the Firestorm Browser; for a while I was having problems running it, and I would get pointers to the wiki. I followed the links, went to troubleshooting, and found a list of symptoms. I clicked on the ones that applied, and got lists of things to check and do. Did ..oh three of them, didn't take long, the explanation was clear to me, and Firestorm is now running so well I can go around the grid in High on a two year old laptop.

I honestly don't know if the official browser wiki is any good; once I got the vertical tabs for chat in Phoenix, they became a basic requirement for handling all of my groups and friends in world.

Wayfinder

@ ii singh: Question-- did you actually have a point to make, or were you just trolling? While I don't agree with pussycat, she's just as entitled to state her opinion as anyone.

@ Rusalka: While I agree LL (and everyone else) spends a lot of time trying to maintain compatibility... they also spend a whole lot of time destroying compatibility. As Shelby and othes stated above, SL is the most equipment-intensive software package I use... unnecessarily so. I know this because not only does it max my quad-core killer comp and require me to buy a graphics card five times the power I would otherwise require, but very competent techs who have studied their source code state that SL was apparently written by howler monkeys on crack. "Worst code I've seen" and "most of my time is spent fixing their blunders" are common comments.

I do really appreciate the scope and difficulty of the SL product. If it had been done right I would be very impressed. But that package (which is definitely not bleeding edge) is more obese and sucks down more resources than anything I've seen since Windows. If LL had really spent proper resources developing that package, they'd have long ago fixed all the things third-party TPV coders and grid-monkeys are working at fixing now. As far as I can tell, they couldn't pay me enough to be a LL coder and work with that mess of spaghetti code and kluged routines.

iphone app design

Sanctuary cities are the way to distort redistricting because it's based on people in the district, not citizens. Also, federal funds are distributed this way as well. No coincidence, of course.

BAY AREA DJ

I do really appreciate the scope and difficulty of the SL product. If it had been done right I would be very impressed.

Phantom Republic

After reading the quite legitimate complaint by Au, and several of the similarly legitimate comments by readers ... it struck me. SL has never been successful as a world for consumers (and what an enormous success it would met all of those original goals if it were - Facebook successful, it would be).

What it is and has always been is a big sandbox for creators ... and that's who stays, the ever-patient, long suffering 1% whose imagination is greater than the technical handicaps LL doesn't bother to fix.

Sadly, for us, which points us to Au's original point, the creative folks of LL have been quite content with the success of their product's beta phase, so we've never left it.

OurHYD

Recka Wuyts @ "Why not? And I believe someday it will"

Because until the laws of thermodynamics change heatsinks are going to remain the size they are.

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