Wow! LL buys XstreetSL & OnRez. My predictions on the outcome….

Seems everybody is talking about the new deal. I looked around at the info out there and now I am starting to develop an idea in my mind of what the likely outcome will be. Here’s my thoughts on various facets of the matter…..

Un-needed load from Web-to-SL communications:

Right now these two market websites operate by requesting communications from outside Second Life. It has never been an optimally functioning system. More of a clever hack to get it to work at all. The way LSL operates, there is all kinds of delays, transactions get lost, items get misdelivered.

And now all that extra communication from offworld is only a big un-needed load of database queries to slow everything down — now Xstreet has been eaten by Linden Labs — this way of communicating will be first to go.

Expect “Magic Box” to be eliminated:

Why have these boxes talking to SL, from outside of SL anymore? I suspect there will be a simple checkbox on the prim, similar to how “show in search” is implemented now. Getting rid of these boxes eliminates load and would be a very logical solution for LL to implement.  When you checked this box, you might get a pop-up window saying “To list your item on Xstreet, please visit the Xstreet marketplace to write a description & add your product pictures.  Otherwise your item will not be listed!“.  They’d have to do something like that, to save the Xstreet marketplace from being swamped with blank/incomplete listings.

Selling Xstreet SL items from your inworld inventory:

Don’t bet on it. Seems the popular theory….. I’ve read a few people theorizing that LL will set things up this way, eventually. Sorry, don’t think so….. not gonna happen….

Firstly, can your inventory currently be active in any way, or “For Sale” now from your inventory? NO. Secondly, imagine you are Linden Labs. Your business is selling land and prims. So would you then allow these items to sell, when not placed out inworld? I’m guessing no. A lot of owners of tiny shops will have to work something out there to replace their single inworld prim (their magic box) with theiritems placed out inworld on their newly purchased little plot of land, I’m guessing.

Staying ahead of the game:

Buying XstreetSL, with the years of development behind it and thriving marketplace of merchants/customers, pulls Linden Lab another big leap ahead of the competition. If LL had not bought Xstreet, some other grid could have eventually in future seized control of it, and even delisted all the SL stuff (if they wanted to be real nasty). VirtuaTrade, as far as I understood, was planning on dealing with other grids…… Now the other grids get nada…. they got to develop their own stuff, or use so-far-nonexistent third-party sites — this is assuming any of them actually develop a working economic system in the first place — which none have really accomplished properly yet.

Exciting time…… My advice: roll with the change (whatever happens) and try to make the best of it.


Linden Lab developing long-term plan.

The Linden Blog notes that the recent embarrassing level of crashing & outages is highlighting to Linden Labs the need for scalability.

Scalability shouldn’t be confused with land mass, which there is planty of. The problem is only so many people can get online at once right now…… about 80000 tops!

FJ Linden explains in technical language the tight situation. Basically Second Life is at a bottleneck. It needs to be scaled up big time!

Imagine you have a burger stand, that to your surprise becomes amazingly popular. At first, everything is going well. You can serve people in a timely manner, and the place is packed.

Then a problem arises. Your customer base keep multiplying exponentially! (In this world, the entire globe can travel to your door easily without commuting.) So people are lining up at the door & down the street.

Seems good, but you can only serve so many people so quickly! Your kitchen staff (the database system) is exhausted from being constantly overworked. Yet more people keep coming. You’ve expanded your dining area enormously, but you now have too many tables to serve. People start complaining and getting angry because they can only get served half the time. They came for steak & didn’t even get a menu brought to the table…..

The quality of the burgers (the grid) starts to goes downhill fast as chaos grows. As your cooks try to work faster & faster, they start making more mistakes (inventory loss, lag, downtime). Now, those wonderful famous burgers just don’t taste as good as they used to anymore. New customers wonder how this place ever got so big & successful?

So you hire a man (restricted logins) to stand at the door to turn away a good many of your paying customers (both new and old) upon arrival.

This obviously is a terrible solution….. in the long term, it is no solution at all, and would slowly ruin this otherwise successful business.

What is a better solution?

Expand the “kitchen” & remodel, reorganize that workspace towards maximum efficiency – or as FJ Linden says rearchitecture. It’s got to be a tough job redesigning something so that it can be expanded ad infinitum. Tougher still when they have to keep the grid running, while expanding it. This is what the Lindens are working on right now. I’m glad to hear it…. kudos to them for attempting what must be a very arduous task.

When Second Life is always filled to over-capacity these days, how can it grow more? Booting out a portion of the user-base continuously is not a solution – its can only be a stop-gap temporary fix. The pressure’s on at the lab now….. we need a stable & scalable grid — and pronto!

Can they do it? I hope so…. good luck LL. 🙂

New kind of bot in Second Life!

It’s the LOLO Kickabot!

The kickable robot.

This bot is NOT used to fake traffic, bother people, or steal stuff. Its quite harmless. Very Happy

Fully animated: its a walking, free-roaming robot!

You can make your robot talk & even give it a name too.

Best of all, if anyone or anything bumps into the robot, it falls down, and the bot can be kicked around on the ground!

Finally we can get back at the bots.

To take a look at the LOLO Kickabot on Xstreet SL shopping site, please click here.

To go inworld to The LOLO Pet Shop and see the LOLO Kickabot, please click here. (Here you can see the bot live & even kick it!)

In other news…..

The official Linden blog announces some fancy techno-stuff they are busily working away on. Seems lots of people get thrown right off when lots of long technical words are used….. so I’ll try to give a little summary, to the best of my understanding….. I promise I will use no long or unusual words. 🙂

First FJ Linden admits the grid has been a little choppy lately, but this is because big changes are happening. Lindens have been building a special new network called “LLnet”, just for us! This new network will soon be running the SL for us. FJ says LLnet is ready so, next week they will start to move some of our avatars and stuff onto this new network.

Glad to hear they are not trying to just quick dump us all over there…. seems like a slow & careful process, hopefully avoiding grid crashes & downtime.

Next FJ describes the good things about LLnet. Right now we’re all running on this “VPN” system. It’s kinda slow, aged, and clunky. LLnet will be faster, less laggy, and not crash the grid so much.

But that’s not all…. The Lindens have been working on “improving asset storage“. This means keeping your data in a smarter way – more organized. Their new way of storing stuff will save Linden Lab lots of storage space and speed everything up for us too.

It will keep all those great things you like to play with all the time in a place where the grid can fetch them quick for you, when needed.

The things you don’t use much, will get tucked neatly away, so they are not in your way, where you trip over them all the time… You don’t want to sit your home gym out where its half blocking off your front door right?

Its kind of like keeping your car keys on a hook on the wall, instead of wasting time hunting for them each time, because last time you randomly threw them down behind the couch & they’re now hidden under that ugly sweater you never wear, and an old pizza box.

So, soon when you search for your favorite jewelry, it should pop right up in inventory the quickest.

3 cheers for Lindens deciding to put everything in its place & clean their room!

Next FJ goes on to tell us about “HTTP Dataserver and Agent Inventory Services“. Sounds complicated – I’m sure everyone skim read that part. All he’s basically saying here is: when the server and database talk to each other, they use complex language. Probably slows them down & gets them confused. Lindens want to feed them new code so they talk simpler, which should make things faster, and I think less likely to bork.

So, lots of good improvements coming down the pipes. Hooray! More stability. Less lag. Snappier grid. Should be nice to see. FJ says they are also working on some other stuff with the Central Database, but he’ll explain that later this January, probably because he thought his post was getting too lengthy to throw on stuff about another big complicated thing.

I’ll likely post a “Cole’s notes” version right up here for everybody, whenever that post appears.

Squirrels appearing all over Second Life!

New from The LOLO Pet Shop, squirrels have been created now in SL!

Perhaps the most common inner-city animal across North America, they are now appearing in Second Life too. They are alive & animated…. running about, sitting up sometimes to look about — they explore & move about all on their own!

There’s lots of empty green lawns around Second Life. For example look at the photos in the linden blog today. Pretty nice places….. all those hotels, universities, and, colleges in Second Life, with great big, clean cut lawns….. but where is the wild life? Perhaps we will soon see some of those areas infested with these cute little rodents. 🙂

I created the three most commonly seen types of squirrels: Red Squirrels, Gray Squirrels, Black Squirrels…. you can see more about them here on The LOLO Official blog page.

Squirrels are just adorable & I think most people agree. Occasionally, I run across someone who has a phobia of them, or despises them intensely….. thinking they are dirty like rats and should be exterminated?

Well, they are technically rodents in truth….. but very cute ones. Like it or not, squirrels are here to stay in Second Life.

Want squirrels for your land? You can buy some inworld here, or from Xstreet SL (a very convenient SL shopping site).

Linden Lab gives a heads up to scripters: Be efficient!

Many scripters may miss this news, as its put in with a blog entry dealing with Openspaces….. I don’t own an Openspace, but I have made a habit of glancing over any new Linden news release. Reading this article, I found out there is going to be some script limits put in place soon.

Script Limits: Scary Stuff ?

Nobody likes to hear of imposed limitations….. we already have our Prim Limits & Particle Limits, after all…..

Should we be crying for “Freedom” or “NO LIMITS – EXTREME”?

Jack Linden carefully explains why limits are necessary, and it makes sense, at least from my initial reading. Regardless, without a doubt, you’ll hear somebody or another panicking about this soon, at a sim near you….. Somebody will probably rant & threaten to leave SL forever because of this issue…… (I’d bet you 1 $L, if wagering wasn’t illegal in SL.) However, are script limits a bad thing? In my opinion, I think this is likely to be a good thing. Sensible limits are good. Keeping lag down – makes the Second Life experience more enjoyable for everyone.

Grid-Wide Script Limits?

On one point, I found the language used on the LL blog to be a little unclear:

To maintain the best performance for all our Residents, we recognize that script limits are necessary. This is especially true for those products like Homesteads and Openspaces where there are multiple regions sharing a CPU.

So, are we talking about a wider context here than just the Openspaces? Will all regions have some sort of limit imposed? Reading on, I got curious of other implications. Will the limits be per object or per region? Perhaps, us scripters will get some snazzy new performance monitoring tools? I hope so! Will there be Linden-provided efficiency training for the hopelessly inefficient scripter? Probably not!

I do hope the new limits are not too overly draconian….. Ahem…. Dear Lindens, please do leave the people enough room to have a sensibly-scripted animal, or two, running about here and there….. 😉

This move should be good though, as it will finally force all scripters to learn to write more efficiently & force users everywhere to abandon their horribly laggy scripted items for good.

Less lag everywhere soon….. HOORAY!….. I think….. o_O

So what exactly will Linden Lab do here? As a provider of scripted items, I’ll be paying close attention to this, and as always, look to write the least memory-consumptive scripts possible for my creations. We all have the most fun when we’re not lagging! 🙂

The Future of Second Life: Internationality

Clare Linden writes today, on the Linden blog, about the international nature of SL. I think this is a great focus, for Linden Lab to be thinking of in 2009. If the SL platform is to build upon & truly supersede the current Web 1.0 (or debatably Web 2.0) platform of today’s proto-internet, it will need dynamic & far-reaching new capabilities. Breaking down the borders of language, as we explore our multi-cultural heritage together, is a great starting point.

Having something of an international lifestyle myself, I have seen how communities can be isolated by barriers of nationality (hard to cross borders), lack of proximity, geography (mountains or sea), and language. Perhaps Second Life can help bring us all a little closer together — which is especially important as we face together new challenges that demand ever-greater global co-operation.

At sometime in the future, Linden Labs should go all the way, & be international. Escape the clutches of nationalism & provincialism. Get all that equipment out of America & break free into international waters, as Google is currently considering…. that idea strikes me as sheer brilliance.

Avatar-eating dinosaurs appear in SL!

Today M Linden wishes us all a happy new year, and talks of his explorations over the last seven months. The new year time is a great time to reflect, and plan for what to do next. M lists his favorite places that he has discovered so far, and asks us to share ours

My favorite spot in the whole big virtual world Second Life offers, is my own little creation cubbyhole above the clouds. Up there, there is no distractions, & it is there that I can create freely whatever comes to mind. That, for me is more exciting than all else SL offers – I just love making stuff, its so addictive. Seeing the joy my creation brings to other people, inspires me to create more.

Today, I finally finished a MAJOR project of mine. I’ve worked on this on-and-off for 6 months……

LOLO T-rex

I created a free-roaming T-rex, all animated, that can eat Second Life avatars! When I was a kid, I used to be totally obsessed with dinosaurs. It totally took me back, making this big Tyrannosaurus rex. I am happy to be ending this year of creating in SL by finishing this major piece of work…. it feels good to complete something like this.

Now I can freshly plan out what new stuff to make for 2009. 🙂

T-rex box art graphic

Want to get your own T-rex? My T-rexes are now available from The LOLO Pet Shop. To go there, click this Second Life link. You can also check out the T-rexes and read more about their specific features, by clicking on this link to XstreetSL.

See you all next year!

Best wishes,