Author Archive

Linden Lab’s Second Life Adverts

Posted in Parody with tags , , , , on July 10, 2010 by Prad

I love the Second Life adverts which Linden Lab have come up with. When it’s not some random SLer you’ve never heard of being morphed into a pixellated form, it was an obvious rip off of Avatar. Amazing how IMVU had the exact same idea..

Amazing how the LL vigilantes are cleaning up XStreet SL for anything which vaguely looks like it’s infringing on real world copyrights, but they have no issue when it comes to jumping on the Avatar bandwagon and using such blatant advertising to misleadingly draw people in. Oh, this is the new one, by the way:

Is there a vampire movie coming out or something? I can’t say I’d noticed.

Of course you can be a blue-skinned utopian dreamer, or a glittery pale-skinned bootylicious vampire. Alternatively, Linden Lab can put out more direct adverts which are guarenteed to be much more appealing.

Hey Linden Lab’s Marketing Department – you can have these for free, because I’m feeling generous:

Speak Now, or Forever Hold Your..

Posted in Op/Ed, SecondLife®, Virtual Worlds with tags , , , on January 30, 2010 by Prad

I was once criticised by irrelevant individuals for “sitting” on the story of VirtualGet which appeared to be a phishing scam, in that it asked for credit card details in return for a subscription to unlimited goods from SL merchants.

However, on first appearance, the website appeared to be an elaborate marketplace for copybotted content. Upon asking the merchants whom’s products I recognised, it became clear that they hadn’t consented to this, so emails were dispatched to the website owners as well as informing Linden Lab themselves.

The irrelevant critics felt I should have come out publicly with the story and let everyone know about the huge marketplace of copybotted content.

The reason I didn’t was pretty simple – if a website like that is getting no coverage whatsoever, then it can be dealt with quietly and cleanly by the relevant parties. In broadcasting to everyone who reads an SL blog, you are basically holding up a big sign saying “STOLEN STUFF HERE!”. And that big sign is visible to both the concerned and the unethical.

Certain Second Life blogs cover copybot on a regular basis, and will often mention the names of these copybots. I am unable to fathom how this is helping anyone’s cause, as a simple Google search for the said copybot client will allow any person to download it and use it to rip SL content.

There have been a few occasions where the name of a website distributing copybotted builds in XML files have been passed to me (presumably to blog) which instead I’ve passed onto the relevant parties (including the ripped creators) for it to be quietly removed. Observing the traffic, these sites disappear swiftly and quietly, and the content creator’s work doesn’t get mass-distributed, which in my opinion works out better for them.

So I can’t understand the logic in causing a mass-hysteria when stolen content is found in isolated incidences – surely it’d be better to deal with it quietly, rather than letting the would-be thieves know that it’s out there for them to find?

Viva la SL Revolution

Posted in Op/Ed, SecondLife® with tags , , , , , , on September 20, 2009 by Prad

Twelve months ago, a group of smart and switched on people combined two of Second Life’s most popular multi-authored blogs and formed The SL Revolution – a blog with the aim to not hold back from what needs to be said. A group of people who didn’t take themselves too seriously – guys and girls who simply enjoyed Second Life, and didn’t think of themselves as journalists or fashionistas. They were simply normal people who were too busy laughing at the dumb things going on within the SL community (in particular the SL blogging, or SLogging, community) with the same out blogs churning out the same old dramas.

So the Rev was created to give a wide angle lens – to inject some humour back into the SL blogging community, and remind everyone that actually your petty little dramas are meaningless and you should really try being constructive to the Second Life efforts, instead of just trying to bring each other down all the time.

We mocked Plurks with extreme sexual content and made fun of the PostSecrets. We laughed at the girl who liked to make lists of names, and we’ve reminded you all what an opinion is really worth.

But then we’ve also offered advice on how to create eye catching promotional images and thought about the Freebie issues and how it affects the SL economy. We’ve looked at the impact of blogging on ourselves and in world, and

And we’ve talked about Drama. Again, and again. And then again.

You see, the SL Rev makes fun of these things, but then we’ve also caused drama too. And on an opinion blog, that’s pretty easy to do. But there’s a smart way of calling people out – it involves not saying anything, but saying everything, and that’s an artform which most the writers here at the Rev employ in their writing. We’re fortunate that we’re not a trash blog which creates witch hunts. Or is fortunate the right word? After all, blogging is about who has the most page views, right?

Wrong.

Blogging is about intelligent discussion where people are happy to give thought out opinions on matters and discuss/debate in a civilised manner which doesn’t involve trashing someone without reason.

A year ago, I wrote that the growing popularity of blogs which are kicking off witch hunts will cause nothing but paranoia and ill-feeling within the SL community – I said the situation would hit a point where people would start basing their opinions simply on what a blog has published, rather than seeking out the truth themselves.

And why? Because by giving into this witch-hunt mentality, we create group-think. The type which involves someone who is quite happy to go after someone they don’t know (probably due to a lack of self-confidence or immense jealousies). They exploit a part of human nature in which people love drama (as long as it doesn’t involve them) and this creates an atmosphere where it becomes normal for ideas and opinions to be suppressed, rather than openly discussed in a sensible manner.

The number of bloggers who have risen up by trying to crush others is on the rise, and I can only see it creating an SL where people will be too afraid to say what they think. But blogs like the Rev continue pushing back the boundaries and will carry on fighting the good fight – because no matter what the fucktards say, we refuse to be silenced, and we refuse to be told what to write. We won’t put up with self-referential little spiteful groups who feed drama and insanity – we’ll carry on mocking those types, and we’ll carry on speaking our minds as individuals. Without fear or favour.

So Viva la SL Revolution – here’s to the past year, and may the diversity of writers here long continue to bring some of the best discussion to the SL community.

He Said, She Said, They Said.

Posted in Op/Ed, SecondLife®, Virtual Worlds with tags , , , , , on September 1, 2009 by Prad

Firstly, I’d like to thank the SL community for upgrading it’s drama from chickens to hair. You have no idea how happy that makes me.

As the TruthHawksRocksMadisonGarden’sJellyBeans thing descends into more comments than I care to read, I can’t help but think of the old He said, She said, They said scenario. It’s been around since the dawn of time, and we all know it oh so well.

It’s starts when someone says/does something which then offends someone else. So they get growly and then spout off about it, and suddenly a lot more people come along and offer their own opinion. Before you know it, you got yourself a full scale drama on your hands, which, in this crazy-mixed-up-grid of ours, will encompass as least three platforms of social media.

Usually, we need a love interest which keeps the story going. Add in a near-death scene and some special effects and you have next summer’s blockbuster release. But usually all you need are just some normal people going about their way and crossing paths.

Because it’s human nature for us to have disagreements, and to see the same thing very differently. What makes Second Life worse for this sort of thing is the “They said.” element – people as a entity, given a small scale situation, will be like fuel to the fire. Add in an audience, and suddenly you’ll have a few dozen people with more popcorn than you can shake a stick at.

To be clear, I don’t actually care much for the whole hair “confession” thing – my interest lies in how this third party gets involved and what role they play.

In many cases, the third party seems to act as an escalator of the situation. They can be residents in world, on Plurk or on blogs. And they’re territorial. They stick to the home territory of the side which they back. It’s like watching a really bad nature program being played out on a colourful timeline.

The third party will be anyone looking in and offering an opinion – a friend, a relative, a customer, a reader or someone completely neutral. However, with the way the Second Life community seems to work, it’s a very small grid and everyone seems to know each other in these circles. So the third party also tend to be insiders – they’re in the know about some, if not most or all of the details. This gives them the impression that they’re informed enough to offer their own opinion.

Take a mobilised community like the Second Life fashion/social media world – I estimate say about 1,000 avatars are in this circle. People tend to behave in a systematic way – you do what you do, keep your nose clean and conform to avoid getting outed by a vulture blogger. Yet, the same community is motivated by a meaty news story – people love to see others getting down and dirty, as long as they can watch from a safe distance.

Everyone watching is a third party, and everyone offering an opinion is a third party. Simply by giving attention, it will escalate.

The police force have a simple three word method to de-escalate such situations: Prevention, Resolution and Containment.

Prevention is pretty simple – spot a problem before it occurs and deal with it in-house. It takes someone with patience and the ability to provide, teach and build bridges whilst maybe swallowing some ego to be able to stop a situation from occurring before it turns into a “thing”.

Resolution is required once a conflict of interests has been established, and the lines of communication have become public. Disputes and feelings of unequal power can lead to rash words being exchanged, and before you know it, everyones crowding around and there’s a guy with a dodgy accent selling beer nuts for a dollar.

Resolution requires a mediator to step in and sit the two main parties down, and reach an agreement that both sides can accept. This is almost never be done in public where everyone is watching – it simply doesn’t work, because of the “They said” factor. Keep it simple and closed doors, and if a resolution is reached, the whole thing just goes away and people move on.

Containment is stopping the situation from engulfing even more people into it – just the initial parties is more than enough to cope with in any disagreement. Start adding new people into the equation, and you have a much tougher time trying to arbitrate a dispute. At this point, you want to bring in the peacekeeper – that’s the guy who simply doesn’t care what everyone’s problem is, but tells everyone to chill the feck out, or else he’s going to get cranky.

Getting people who shouldn’t be at the table to go away again is the harder part here – the third party in these cases get too close to the situation, and simply aggravate it. To reach resolution, things have to be kept simple and manageable.

The Second Life resident pysche has always been that Fighting is Inevitable – it’s always going to happen, and it’s just a case of who’ll be next, and how much popcorn we have left.

Changing that pysche to one that makes us understand that Fighting is Preventable will go a long way to a more harmonious bunch of people

There’s an old Irish saying:

“Is this a private fight, or can anyone get in?”

Public disputes are preventable if you want to be able to resolve them. Recognise what stage the situation is at, and take steps to diffuse it before it gets out of control – that way, the involved parties suffer less stress, and the popcorn manufacturers will finally go out of business.

Thank You Ever So Much For Letting Me Know. Again.

Posted in Op/Ed, Parody, Satire, SecondLife® with tags , , , , on August 16, 2009 by Prad

[10.30] Random Avatar: THIS IS NOT A HOAX! An avatar called Ivor Biggun is distributing a prim/HUD/freenis to random avatars which when you wear it will STEAL ALL YOUR LINDENS!!!!!!11111ELEVEN. It will also STEAL YOUR INVENTORY!!!!!!1 And it’ll copy your avatar!!!!! And it’ll spread itself through your ENTIRE FRIENDLIST!!! And then it’ll download itself onto computer and STEAL UR CREDIT CARD!!!!! And then it’ll control ur computer and make it do all evil stuffs, and hack teh PENTAGON!!!!! And then the FEDS WILL COME TO YOUR HOUSE and lock you away FOREVER!!!!! Pass this on to ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND GROUPS NAO!!!!!!1111ONE.

This should have died back in 2007.

An Open Letter to Senator Stephen Conroy

Posted in Real Life, RL, Satire, SecondLife®, Virtual Worlds with tags , on June 26, 2009 by Prad

Dear Senator Conroy,

We have a lot in common you and I, Sir. We’re both filthy Poms (Don’t try to deny or denounce it – we can live and work through this) and we both love the internet and the potential it can offer us.

As the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy in the land down under, I imagine you spend a fair amount of time just surfing the web and looking at random stuff. Again, this sums up my job pretty well too.

So I totally understand when you introduced the internet censorship scheme to deny the access to child pornography to the Australian people. It certainly won’t make the problem go away, but why not make life that little bit harder for paedophiles, right?

Then you extended the things you wanted to censor.. drug usage, criminal activies, cruelty, extreme violence or “revolting and abhorrent phenomena that offend against the standards of morality”. I can live without seeing those things on the internet.. especially that last one. Domino’s Pizza really is something wicked.

But then you turned your attention to online games. Now I remember when you had Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas taken off from sale because of that Hot Coffee scandal. This was the first time I became aware that Australia had no rating for adult-only content.

And I guess I can understand that. Us Brits, Senator, do have a reputation for being prudish. But even then, a pot-smoking, homosexual, chainsaw weilding one-eyed pizza delivery boy can still start up his own blog in the UK, and not get blocked.

So really, there’s no reason to hold the moral high ground in Aus.. I mean, they’re just like you and me Senator. Only with nicer weather, better sportsmen and more shrimps to put on the barbie.

Senator – I think it’s time for you to come home and let us take good care of you. It does sound like you’re missing the green, green grass of home, and perhaps it’s time to let mommy love you again. I just don’t want to see you do anything stupid like ban those nice Aussies from online worlds like Second Life.

Because, Senator, I know many of them. And when they get deprived of their second lives, they get a little homocidal and crazy, and I can’t let a fellow Brit face that sort of danger.

I have a spare room that you can camp out in while you find your feet again, Senator. Maybe you and I can work together and take over the running of the British Government? I don’t think anyone can do a much worse job..

Just.. umm.. leave running Internet censorship type of things to me, okay? You can run the House of Commons or something.. that pitifully corrupt lot could use your iron fist.

Yours,

Prad Prathivi

It’s Time To Backup

Posted in SecondLife®, Virtual Worlds with tags , , , , on June 7, 2009 by Prad

In a lot of the countries we live in, at one point or another, we’ve lost faith in our Government.

In Second Life, a lot of residents at some point tend to lose faith in Linden Lab. Be it because the sim you were just on crashed. Or because your inventory just halved and you can’t get the lost items back. Or because they just kindly told you tier’s going to go up, and there’s little you can do about it. 

Well the word on the grapevine is that Linden Lab’s investors are all distancing themselves as far away from the Second Life brand as they can. All this negative press and reputation of SL as a haven for sex isn’t the virtual world that they were pitched when they first opened up their chequebooks.

So the money that Linden Lab have left is basically whatever they’ve milked us for. And with the spate of sackings and changes going on at San Francisco and around the world, one has to wonder if there is a crisis abound. Are they cost cutting across the board to save expenses?

The other factor is that Second Life isn’t going to attract any new venture capital. Businesses and corporations won’t touch Second Life, which isn’t a huge deal as we’re all doing just fine by ourselves, right?

Wrong. Real world businesses and media are what provide virtual worlds like Second Life with their market. Events like CSI:NY bought droves of people into SL, although the interface of Second Life failed to keep them there.

However, the reputation of Second Life has driven companies away from Second Life. Even companies which specialised in virtual environments are abandoning SL. So what does that mean for the rest of us?

Second Life requires a constant stream of new users in order to be sustainable, and at the moment it’s getting it because of the lack of alternatives in the way of other virtual worlds.

But there are new worlds coming soon, including the much hyped Blue Mars. And they’re appealing to businesses and educators to bring them into their world, and placing stronger restrictions/regulations of things like sexual content and IP rights. And of course, as businesses and media move away from Second Life and begin promoting these new worlds, the potential users will be diverted to these metaverses.

For anybody who makes a sizable income in Second Life, or has content in world which they don’t want to lose, it’s time to start making a backup strategy. Be it to use Second Inventory to backup all your work, or to start learning new software to be able to adapt to these new virtual environments.

Either way, it’s becoming apparent that Linden Lab are losing their grip on marketing Second Life to the masses. And for that, I do think the peak of Second Life has passed, and the Lab are lacking a plan to keep the metaverse competitive.

The Death of Debate

Posted in SecondLife® with tags on May 24, 2009 by Prad

debate

The number of SL blogs which will take a debate and blow it out into a dramafest is exponentially growing. The number of retarded people who have access to Plurk, Flickr, Twitter and Heaven knows what else is growing too, and as a result, the chance for a reasoned discussion is dead.

There used to be a time when somebody would make a point, and others would come along and agree/disagree without having to deal with personal attacks and vendettas, but again, the vocal minority of the Second Life community is showing itself to be against progress.

In recent months, we’ve seen several people singled out for abuse and attacks, and quite frankly, it is sickening. All it does is breed an atmosphere whereby people will simply not say anything at all. We’ll be left with an SL blogging community of hardliners who won’t dare to stray from the “norm”. We’ll have designers who won’t try to push new frontiers in case they become ridiculed for doing so. We’ll have people who simply won’t want to stand out from the crowd and say “This is me and this is what I do” because some batshit crazy will hit ‘New Entry’ on their blog, and suddenly the flock move in for the kill.

How about this, for a change – before you hit the ‘New Entry’ button, or before you type in that Plurk/Twitter, or before you click “Publish”, how about you think.

It’s not hard – just think.

Am I contributing to a discussion? By submitting this to the public domain, will I be benefiting a promotion for thought? By letting the world see what I have to say, will they take something of value from it?

Or will the primary objective of it be to deface someone? Will it simply serve to stir up a drama which there was never any need for? Have I even read the original post, or did I just read what I wanted to read? Do I have the mental capacity to be worthy of sharing my opinion, or am I just that stupid that I have no clue how to make an intelligent point, so I’ll just spit on somebody else to make myself popular?

Here’s another simple idea:

Learn to fucking blog.

Second Life Drama

Posted in Parody, Satire, SecondLife®, Virtual Worlds with tags , , , , , on March 14, 2009 by Prad

The by product of the two largest driving forces behind Second Life (Love and money) is, of course, Drama. We watch it, live it, participate in it and laugh at it. We laugh at how pathetic it all is, and wonder why the people involved don’t devote their passion and time into something more productive. And then we realise we’re watching it unfold and close the window.

I’ve never failed to be amazed that people twice my age can kick up such a fuss that’d put High School kids to shame – it’s amazing how catty and bitchy residents can get.

SL drama, obviously, will pretty much always originate from Second Life. Whether it be by a failed relationship, a competing store or just because someone has a complete lack of any social skills. What differs Second Life dramas from Real Life ones is that they very rarely involve politics or religion – oh no. It’s much more childish and pointless than that.

So here’s how it rolls: Someone says something that somebody else doesn’t like. That person retaliates with personal attacks, which the other person then responds to. Then the friends turn up in hordes to protect their friend, and the whole thing embroils into a small scale fiasco. And of course, Second Life being Second Life, obviously someone has to blog it..

So then it’s out there for anyone in the world to see. Before you know it, it’s being spread on Plurk, across Twitter, into Flickr and other bloggers are wading in with comments and their own entries. All the minions group up and form sides, backing each other up in their blog entries and making a big deal out of what initially was a small little thing.

It’s important to note that there are never any winners – just a whole lot of losers who are mocked silently amongst the masses. Regular participators become “blacklisted” for embroiling themselves in drama at every given opportunity, and people class them as someone who has serious mental issues. You know you’ve hit rock bottom when I’ve bothered to satirise you.

People seem to like examples, but the scenario above will fit just about every SL drama you can think of. If you find this post offensive, then it’s likely because you’re the subject of it. But just for you, I’ll do an example, because you probably wouldn’t mind a model to practice out your next dose of drama with.

Blogger#1 posts a blog entry with a slightly passive aggressive tone, but nothing worth really noting.

Plurker#1 reads the post and goes off on a tangent on Plurk, calling Blogger#1 homophobic/xenophobic/sexist/racist/emoist/idiot/freenis.

Blogger#1 responds to the Plurk and writes a nasty response to get back at them.  Plurker#1′s friends all feel like they have to be offended too, and go to Blogger#1′s blog to leave nasty anonymous comments.

Plurker#1 then goes to their blog and bothers to write something with is longer than 140 characters, and winds up with something nonsensical, catty and venomous. Blogger#1′s snarky friends turn up to make stupid comments on the blog entry, and Plurker#1′s friends respond in the same entry, creating a huge orgy of empty-mindedness which the blogosphere turns up to see.

Then sections of the blogosphere decide they want to take sides, and use posts on the feed and Flickr pics to illustrate their points.

Other people watching the chaos descend just sit on the sidelines and shake their heads, wondering how the hell these people are able to function without being locked up in a padded room.

Finally the whole thing just gets blown out of proportion and someone satirises the whole thing just to remind everyone how stupid it all is.

Confused yet? You should be.

Second Life in Graphs

Posted in Parody, Satire, Virtual Worlds with tags , , on February 22, 2009 by Prad

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