2011 RAFTWET Jewell

So, I’m a little slow in getting the ubiquitous New Year blog out. Que sera. Real life was calling, and commitments, much more fun than the daily grind in Second Life, were overwhelmingly more fulfilling. I like to party.

GOL 8 : raftwet jewell

I’m coming of age. An old avatar from the Beta days told me so. He told me that there were several transitions of aging in this virtual world. And, I am about to begin a new journey.

I now realize the futility of dreaming of a utopian metaverse. It’s impossible. People are behind the cartoon characters and are ever so present with their psychological baggage that all of us carry. That’s ok. But, we can’t expect the world to be peaceful and without strife or drama. Fer shur.

THE A LIST! owners raftwet, xavier

People are people, no matter where they are. There is jealousy, envy, hate, greed, war and one-upmanship, just like my every day real life. Did I really believe this place would be any different?

RUSS SCRIBE : raftwet, xavier

What I have found are great people and creative fun in here. Good and decent folks who care and respect each other. Artful places that are soulfully satisfying have inspired my real life art.  That’s a big plus in any place and time.

The metaverse is the new frontier, and I am so honored that I got to beta the whole thing before the general public. Everything has changed in Second Life. The place has a feel of totality now encompassing everything possible in one’s life. From education to business to services to retail to creation and art; the place reeks of innovation for the future. SL has become a dream come true. (Yes, we still have a ways to go…)

CHRISTOPHER135 QUAN : xavier, raftwet

So, I carry on with my real life and invest there wisely. The time in Second Life should be fun and surrounded by good times and wonderful people.  My focus now is to do the best job that I can do for myself and the alliances that have formed in my groups. The rest of the bullshit just comes with any world’s territory, and now I understand that. I should not invest in the avatars who seem to spend their time undermining and back-stabbing with a smile on their face. It’s just not worth my time and effort in any world.

raftwet at nuclear winter

So, I carry on knowing that things in my virtual life are changing for the best. My old avi friend has told me that I am becoming one of the old guard. I fiercely defend this place, but I no longer will sacrifice the well-being of my own avatar. I love my avi and she is truly the best part of me.

My photos and photo groups can be found here:

Advertisements

Metaverse Future

Sunset on WETLands

Some have said that I am a cheerleader for Second Life. I suppose they are right in that evaluation. When I first read about the world, I could see the infinite possibilities. I wanted to be a part of that place. Art, music, building, programming and business all together in one social environment is already in place in the real world. But, the real world is limited by geography, politics and expense.

The virtual world of Second Life did not have those constraints. It is pure magic.

The economic world’s woes have hit every business very hard including Second Life. We are watching SL cut programs, trim the fat and recreate itself much to the chagrin of the residents and businesses there. Avis/people are upset, and I hear the daily complaints in forums, blogs, group chats and in IM.

A lot of people have left the grid along with their businesses. “The sky is falling!” I hear it everyday and the self-prophecy of the cries are wearing me down.

Second Life as we know it must end. It has to morph into something that addresses the technological hurdles. The improvements are coming, and I am excited about Mesh Project Viewer. What people don’t understand is that the decisions are based on money. How do you pay the electric bill? How do you pay your employees? How do you maintain the servers? It takes money.

I have watched SL, a relatively small band of un-business-like people try their best to maintain the infrastructure, try to address the multiple computer platforms in-use, try to improve the grid and the interface, and try to keep everyone happy.

I am willing to wait it out. I am not leaving until the door closes. But, many can not afford to do that because their own economic decisions are based on personal funding. So, I am watching members of our business community flee to Blue Mars and Inworldz. It’s cheaper. Why, because, it’s new and has a very small user base. And business always expands to new real estate. There is also a psychological comfort in having those worlds out there, especially with a “just in case” kind of attitude.

They will have the same woes; the same problems in their infrastructure. It is inevitable. What I want everyone to understand is that SL is light years ahead of the competitors. But, those nimble little worlds can do things that SL can’t. And, that is react and morph quickly to changing technology because they are so small… or can they?

I poked my head in several worlds recently. Only one was interesting for me as there was no one there, and I could build quietly on an entire empty sim. A good place to practice building the concepts in my head. The other growing world was too complicated and required me to jump through too many techie steps to just get there.

Here is where, I think, the metaverse might be going: a world of social and business apps; a world of builders and creators; a world of youth-orientated markets; and a world that combines all of it in one place (Second Life).

I would be willing to not log in for two weeks to allow Second Life to upload a new grid; new interface that addresses the awful lag, the limitations on numbers on a sim; and a new browser-based app on my desktop. [UPDATE: As soon as I posted this bloggy, I received an update from one of the clubs I frequent. Ambrosia Dance Club is testing a beta on a Browser Based app that works in Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari; the wait is over!] I would be willing to even lose my inventory. I would be willing to pay a monthly fee just to have an avatar here. No more free accounts. It is the ultimate experience that I crave. An experience that all of us dreamers have dreamt about from the very beginning.

Unified Theory

I read David Weinberger‘s book, “Small Pieces Loosely Joined” a long time ago. The last I heard was that he was a commentator on National Public Radio (NPR) and was the publisher of JOHO (Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization). Several books and magazines were privileged to have him as a writer. But, I am not sure what he is doing now.

WETLands chill zones

A great mind is all I cared about. He wrote a very profound book on sharing, networking and how the web/internet worked. He influenced me greatly as many other minds have done in the past.

The book should be read by anyone who works on the web or is a social networker. The philosophy applies to any setting on the net where there are people or groups in dynamic relationships.

raftwet jewell in a hammock on WETLands

A simple way to understand his book is to understand that all of us represent a small piece of the web. We create websites, videos, photos, blogs, avatars, accounts and groups. Even our screen name or email moniker is a small slice of a greater pie.

How we interact is unique, but yet a shared experience. When we go to a website, we usually don’t ask for permission to view it. Most sites are free to use. Yes, there are some that ask for registration or small fees to maintain space on a server. But, mostly, the net is free and we all share it.

When we create an email or website and we link a site, we don’t pay anyone to give that link out to our readers. In fact, most site owners welcome the links into their sites as that just draws more traffic to their products, services or information.

Weinberger points out the difference between real world restrictions versus digital. He says that you can’t build a door to your neighbor’s apartment or space. You have to have permission. But, the net allows anyone to come into a space or domain. This is how Tim Berners-Lee originally created the web so that scientists could share their research and communicate as a group.

With groups, we create them because of shared interests or goals. In the real world, groups are refined to a small geography… your neighborhood, the gym or a club you frequent. In the digital world, the geography is meaningless. Your group is expanded by interest only. Not even demographics apply because the interest or subject matter is more important when sharing.

WETLands waterfalls

I bring this up because of THE A LIST! group in Second Life. When we created it, we had a singular focus in mind. We wanted to have a group that would support each other and everyone’s interest. Someone said it was impossible since the goals of each member were so different. But, I had to point out that the real goals and interest were to preserve the grid and the health of the economic base. It was purely a business goal.

All of us in this group want to prosper and we want to share our interests with the grid. We want traffic, we want our retail to be successful, we want to expose the best artists and musicians to the grid and we want to all have fun doing this.

WETLands in virtual world

So we network together. Sim owner A may find a builder in the group who helps them create a mall. Then A might find out that a popular musician can help them bring traffic to the sim on a grand opening. An artist may network with both to get their art on the sim and in the builder’s builds. A scripter might help script an awesome dance floor for the builder as they network with A to make a small club. A fashion designer might create a special t-shirt for the grand opening and then decide to rent a space there to sell her fashion line. There are no degrees of separation; just finding the next connection.

Weinberger ends his musings with this, “…it is not quite true to say that we’re sharing the new world of the Web because we want to. We’re sharing the new world of the Web because that’s the type of creature we are. We are sympathetic, thus moral. We are caring, thus social.” He says the web is “fundamentally ours.”

WETLands in Second Life

The social network is the key. We share and we will thrive. We care about this place. Our exposure to other resources and information from each other will help us grow. And, how we do that is by networking together and putting our differences aside. That my friends, is THE A LIST!, and how we do this is up to each of us.

second life, phil linden and browsers

Summer of 2010 and many things are changing on the Second Life landscape. Recently, Linden Labs laid off 30% of their staff. Included in that group, were part of their dev team, some from support teams and other well-known Lindens. I saw a memorial over on Codie’s Rouge sim that was installed honoring those laid-off avatars. So many well-known avatars such as Blue Linden, who had reached out to the grid community in way of forums and meetings on a regular basis. When I saw Blue’s name, I was, quite frankly, shocked. Is Torley next?

Svarga in Second Life

Yesterday M. Linden aka Mark Kingdon, CEO of Linden Labs stepped down, and  my favorite avatar, dreamer, Philip Rosedale has stepped up as intermin CEO. Welcome back Phil Linden! (Gawd, just in time… I hope!)

When a company lays off their employees, there are usually several motivations. First, of course, is a cost cutting measure as labor expenses are usually the largest in a budget. Or, LL could be consolidating departments and job duties to be more cost effective. Or the grid is not supporting the amount of employees that the lab has hired. Or, LL was getting rid of employees who were not team players. Who knows?

Whatever the reason, Second Life is about to morph. We have seen it coming for many years. And, I am feeling quite privileged in knowing that I got to be here during the beta (hey, it’s been beta since it launched!). Now, I am very excited to see what is coming next… Mr. Rosedale, the dreamer extraordinaire… my hopes are with you!

WISH LIST & questions:

  • Browser based with a killa search app (which entities will partner up in this quest for control of the virtual metaverse?)
  • Who will be divine? and reign this metaverse?
  • I see Apple and Google and MSN and Sony and Second Life and others joining together to bring an easier platform.

IMAGINE:

  • a browser that handles the virtual world with a tool bar that we can load up with specific apps
  • builder’s tools; sim building, artist palette, clothes design, scripting tools, photoshop and more
  • media tools; music, live music, performance, DJ tools, musician tools, machinima, video apps, video streams, websites, and more
  • business tools: spreadsheets, writing, b2b tools, purchase tools, service lists
  • retail; buying power, cc merchant services, store, inventory management
  • social media networking; virtual, business, social etc
  • education; school, resources, educators tools, books, presentation, etc
  • photography/video; social network, photo/video tools, photo/video directories

Uhhhh… it’s already here. It’s just not in one neat little browser that includes the virtual metaverse. That is coming very, very soon…

Welcome back, Phil… we missed you… a lot!

RAFTWET Jewell is in the Virtual Metaverse