Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Linden Lab Disputes Real Name Requirement for Project Sansar, But Unanswered Questions Remain
Last Friday, Linden Lab spokesperson Peter Gray responded to my e-mail to him from last Wednesday, asking if it was true, as original reports and an interview with CEO Ebbe Altberg seemed to suggest, that Project Sansar would require users to create accounts with their real life names. Peter insists that this is not accurate, but I haven't gotten an official response from Altberg himself, despite three follow-up e-mails requesting one.
"As Ebbe said [in the interview]," Peter told me, "requiring a user to provide their real identity to Linden Lab in order to create an account wouldn't preclude one from using a pseudonymous (or anonymous) persona when interacting with other users on the platform. This is quite clear in the quotes below: 'So I could go into a role-playing, or into an experience as an anonymous user in that context. But to the platform, I am not anonymous...It’s definitely something we’re thinking a lot about. But do I want that people in Sansar should be able to walk around anonymously? Absolutely!'"
However, in another part of the very same interview, Ebbe also suggested that the company is considering an identity system which integrates Facebook's real name policies with a pseudonymous one akin to Second Life and Twitter:
Fantastic Flickr Album of Virtual World Still Lifes
Pepa Cometa has curated this glorious collection of virtual still lifes shot in Second Life, images that make such fantastic use of dynamic lighting and SL's full palette of tools they hover right between the virtual and the real. Featured above is Mich Michabo's "Dust has a right too...", one of many images Pepa found in her wanderings through collections by Flickr's large community of SL photographers:
Monday, June 27, 2016
SL Users Raise Over $5000 USD in Donations for Pulse Shooting Victims - Major Fashion Fundraiser Starts 6/28
Big leap in donations over the weekend brings the total Linden Dollars raised for victims of the Pulse shooting to well over 1.3 Million in L$ -- well over $5000 USD at current market rates. After being converted to cash, that sum will soon be sent to the official GoFundMe Pulse Victims Fund for Equality Florida , which as of today, is still about $700,000 short of its $7 million goal.
Wouldn't it be awesome if SLers could substantially help Equality Florida meet that goal? Good news, we can -- starting tomorrow, there's a huge SL fashion fundraiser with over 100 designers participating:
Top Seven New World Notes Posts from Last Week!
- Open Forum: How Will Brexit Impact SL's Many UK Users?
- Oculus Rift Terms of Service Warns VR Exposure May Increase Risk of Injury "in the Real World"
- Project Sansar May Require RL Names, Suggests CEO
- VR Industry Risks Major Liability Exposure Due to Disorientation, Expert Warns
- Oculus Rift for Second Life Promoted on Official Site But Actual SL Viewer for Oculus Outdated
- Second Life Users Raise Over One Million Linden Dollars in Donations for Orlando Shooting Victims
- Watch Realistic Avatars Powered by Oculus & Vive Interact in High Fidelity
Friday, June 24, 2016
Open Forum: How Will Brexit Impact SL's Many UK Users?
UK users, the floor is yours -- how will last night's Brexit influence your usage of Second Life? British SLers make up a large percentage of the active userbase, and most economists believe the Brexit will have a heavy negative impact on the British economy, so the overall influence is likely to be sharp and noticeable.
Your own take, UK readers? And come to think of it, as the Brexit will probably impact every user in every country, this open forum is open to all.
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Trump's Second Life Supporters Erect Giant Anti-Hillary Billboards Across the Street from Hillary HQ
So remember that Hillary Clinton headquarters in Second Life I told you about earlier this month? The one that had replaced a Trump fan's tribute to the Republican's Florida mansion? On a visit to the Hillary HQ this week, I felt a blobby mass looming over my head behind me, and so slowly turned around. And saw this:
Yes: Trump's Second Life fans may have lost the mansion, but they put up a big billboard for Trump's SL headquarters (with a couple proposing Hillary for prison, for good measure) directly across the street. So now, both Trump and Hillary HQs stand at a literal crossroads:
Oculus Rift Terms of Service Warns VR Exposure May Increase Risk of Injury "in the Real World"
Some VR experts believe the technology can endanger users in the real world, and in fact, Oculus Rift's Terms of Service warns consumers of just that -- however, you need to dig around to find that caution. Item 15 of Oculus' ToS, "Disclaimers", points to a .pdf document with safety warnings, then says "BY USING THE SERVICES, YOU REPRESENT AND WARRANT THAT YOU HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND THESE WARNINGS AND INSTRUCTIONS". The "Health and Safety" document is pretty standard for high tech devices until you get to the Discomfort section, which lists a host of symptoms ("seizures, loss of awareness... involuntary movements; altered, blurred, or double vision or other visual abnormalities" etc. etc.) followed by a passage in bold (captured above), which says this:
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Project Sansar May Require RL Names, Suggests CEO, UPDATE: Audio/Transcript Confirms, "But We Have Not Made Final Decisions", UPDATE 2: Linden Lab Disputes
Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg made a public appearance in Second Life yesterday during that virtual world's 13th year anniversary, and dropped this potentially unlucky bombshell about Project Sansar:
Ebbe was then asked if users of Sansar would have the option to chose their own names for their avatars, or would they be having to use real-life identities. Ebbe answered he was leaning to the latter, "I think what's best for Sansar is real names. ... anonymous identities makes things confusing."
I missed this press appearance, so it's possible that SL blogger Bixyl Shuftan misheard Ebbe on this point; I'm double-checking with Linden Lab now. But if that's accurate -- still a big if -- that's a pretty big potential showstopper:
VR Industry Risks Major Liability Exposure Due to Disorientation, Expert Warns
"How big an issue is the nausea problem for Virtual Reality products?" is the title of a really fascinating if disturbing Quora post by Steve Baker, who's been working in VR for over two decades, primarily for the military and defense contractors, who got into the virtual reality business way back during the Cold War. Baker carefully analyzes the nausea problems associated with VR, argues they are fundamentally unsolvable, and then drops this jaw-dropping factoid taken from a military study of test subjects' reaction to long term use of a flight simulator:
Anecdotal data continues to be received indicating there is a part of the aviation population that experiences delayed problems beyond the simulator exposure and for periods that exceed 6 to 8 hours for approximately 8 percent of the population and l-to-2 days for an even smaller population... an aviator should wait postflight before piloting an actual aircraft or even driving a car.
"Yeah," Baker observes, "the US Navy believes that some people shouldn’t drive a car within one to two DAYS of being inside a VR environment."
In conclusion, he raises a liability issue I brought up from another direction a few weeks ago: