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Monday, March 16, 2020

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Sarah

At my former university, it wasn't the basic land cost that killed the deal. It was 1) scalability (how do you sell an experience that caps at 40-100 when there are MOOCs) and 2) loss of intellectual property (they get grants and spend much money building an experience or a simulation but then can't consider it truly theirs because it's not portable or archivable). It's a rare dean or provost who can swallow that in these times.

Ezra 2.0

Rivers Run Red & most Schools went to OpenSim as Stand Alone Grids or bought a Private Grid from Kitely.

Unless they are willing to bring the Teen Grid back to life to go along with this new found interests then it's all just puffery to say 'Hey Linden Yabbers is doing Something!'

They have not sold Sansar, so why not offer Experiences there? after all it is PG Rated.

Linden Lab really needs to hire a great veteran business strategist who specializes in online gaming, most importantly one who understands they need to upgrade the game engine to atleast take advantage of more then one CPU Core..my threadripper has 32 cores and core counts are only going to go up.

Anonymous

Penn State had Second Life installed on every single computer and laptop on their campus. This stopped the moment they stopped giving their educational rates.

While I no longer have contact with Penn State's IT department, I can guarantee you they will never give it a second chance.

Clara Seller

There is a lot to cry about these days. LL is making an appeal to past Institutions to bail them out. We already know the answer to this. It's kind of pitiful to see LL at the door with their 10-year-old boxes of discounted Girl Scout cookies. When will they ever learn that Institutions don't have a heart?

The news of the day just underlines The Labs decade-long misguided sense of who they really are. How much would the promise of a newly re-vamped Second Life adventure be worth to all of it's past customers right now?

How appealing would the escape and promise of community, well-being, dreams, imagination, creativity, and connectedness be as our real lives are turning into some dystopian nightmare? How fun would it be to call a friend and say come join me for an escape? I'll teach you. Let's just pretend for awhile. Let's go out and meet some people from around the world. Let's go to a dance party. Let's shop for something besides survival. Let's find a crowd.

They have neglected SL down to another dystopian nightmare as they have sold their soul at the alter of corporate capitalism.

This may be the hill they die on.

Dick Dillon

If LL wants to make a dent, and be truly helpful in this uncertain moment in history, they might want to give educational institutions, nonprofits, etc. a six-month free trial before charging them a single cent. This would be adequate time to allow for any proof-of-concept work that new users might wish to do. If using SL proves effective, the sim costs will become a marginal piece of the equation. People and organizations who have to move to virtual in the short term are faced with many options (e.g. Zoom Meetings, MS Teams, etc.) and don't have money to spend on all of them. I suspect SL is a ways down most people's priority list at the moment.

Fionalein

You don't make money from universities, universities are your example environment and indoctrination camps. Once everyone and their cat got trained in using virtual worlds, they will demand them from their employers and hopefully this is where you finally make the big money: Selling office environments folks already know how to use because they did learn using them in university.

 Fionalein

PS: Ebbe is a former Microsoft employee, he really should know this route...

Iggy 1.0

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...Won't get fooled again"

George W. Bush said that, more or less.

As noted in an earlier comment on this topic, colleges and universities are ahead of the Lab, technologically. We have been holding multiple sessions daily to train faculty on ZOOM. Business resumes Monday. My Google Sites, Drive, and handy video apps will take on the slack.

No avatars needed, no clumsy and GPU-intensive client, no adult content lurking nearby. Best of all, no LL price-gouging after this desperation move disguised as altruism.

Professor Afterthought

My school had a sim years ago and never used it. They're way too busy now to re-learn Sl and train everyone on how to use it.

Kaylee West

We are still using SL for a range of inworld lessons after 12 years at my university. I have to say that over this time over 2000 of my undergraduate students have done our lessons. I have no idea how many long term users have come out of this, but as someone else mentioned, we have been a conduit for introducing a lot of potential future users to SL. I have been fortunate that through a lot of hard work at my end in terms of maintaining good relationships with out IT people and through showing my institution that our SL lessons do have pedagogical value through my research, publications and student feedback (no, not all of them like the lessons, but a lot do), I have been able to continue to have the three regions we use continuously funded for 12 years (and still going strong).

Over the years I have had periods of great trepidation, particularly in relation to the point made by other commentators about IP and not having anything archivable. This has been somewhat mitigated by the advent of mesh some years back and my own personal ability to build in mesh and keep the models on my own computer, as well as the fact that the lesson plans, quizzes and other content I have developed is all stored on our Moodle servers. We would still loose a lot if LL closed shop one day in terms of buildings and other things that we have purchased over the years, but we could re-build in OS (or other platforms) if we had to.

Like many other institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic we are using Zoom for live online classes, and Zoom and similar platforms are excellent for a lot of the teaching we need to do. However, they can't do what VWs like SL can do (simulation and multiuser collaboration), so my SL lessons will continue. For the first time, however, I won't be physically in the same computer lab as my students, but will use a combination of Zoom and SL to conduct the classes. Zoom, with it's screen sharing capability, will enable me to brief students at the start of a lesson, and help them solve technical problems during the lesson, which is much easier if you can see their screen. For me, this has been one big area that I would love to see better developed in SL - some form of desktop or screen sharing. Maybe this takes development into a whole other technical area that LL can't support, but it would make the functionality of SL much greater for assisting students and newbies during lessons. Still, if LL wants SL to be able to compete with platforms like Zoom and Collaborate for certain types of interaction, they will need to look at features like screen sharing, etc.

Mostly my students are not too fussed by the interface (we use Firestorm), and I've noticed over the years that student's ability to learn how to use and comfort with the interface has been improving as new generations of students come through. I am sure there are ways that the various interfaces could be improved, one of which for me would be the ability for me to set certain parameters in the students' viewers that are needed for a good experience via some kind of script so that they don't need to worry about those kinds of technical details.

I've also noticed that in a slightly counter-intuitive way that the fact that the SL engine is relatively old has worked to our advantage somewhat. Whereas when we first started with SL 12 years ago even our university computers couldn't run the programme well, nowadays most student laptops (usually Apple Macs) run the programme quite well.

We recently started looking much more closely at VR, in particular Sansar and High Fidelity. While I thoroughly enjoy using VR, it isn't a realistic option for our classes as students cannot be expected to purchase headsets and current multiuser VR platforms are not well developed enough for us to be able to easily script the kind of interactivity with, for example, NPCs, that we currently have in SL. LL has continuously improved the platform over the years, albeit very slowly. I have to say for our purposes, in which simulation is important, the advent of animesh, for example, has been a blessing. Hopefully LL will continue to make improvements over the coming years. I will say I was amazed and incredibly impresses at experiencing over 200 avatars in one virtual space on High Fidelity as these kinds of numbers have never been achieved on SL and would certainly be a feature that could make some types of teaching and meetings (e.g. academic conferences) much easier in SL.

Sorry for the long ramble. Looking forward to things getting better and better with the platform in the future. LL, educators are valuable to your platform, but we do face different demands when justifying financial outlays by our institutions than the average user. It's not just about cost, but that is a big factor.

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