SL Go logoOn March 5th, the launch of OnLive’s cloud-streamed third party viewer service SL Go was announced on Linden Lab’s official Second Life blog. This new TPV offered a way for users of tablets (Android only, for the time being) and owners of lower-spec desktops and laptops (no Linux version yet, sadly) to enjoy Second Life with all the visual eye candy that can be offered by the official viewer, with the performance that would be expected of a high-end machine. Unlike typical TPVs that are installed and executed locally, SL Go is a commercial service, so its use is not gratis.

Its introduction was met with considerable drama that had to do with (i) its initial pricing structure, (ii) the misconception that, from now on, Linden Lab would require that users use SL Go and other subscription-based services to access Second Life. The former has been duly addressed by OnLive, and the pricing structure is as follows:

  • $9.95/month for unlimited access, which starts with a 7-day free trial.
  • Pay-as-you-go for $1.00/hour.

As for the latter (the misconception that caused considerable drama in the blogs and forums), perhaps it has to do with the fact that OnLive’s service is endorsed by Linden Lab. Thankfully, it cleared up soon enough. I reviewed SL Go back in April, so for my opinion on SL Go on both tablets and desktops, please read my review.

SL Go's default camera position.

SL Go’s default camera position. Click on image for the full-size version.

Now, while SL Go was praised for its performance and visuals, there was some well-deserved criticism. For starters, its camera offsets are even worse than those of the official viewer; navigating low-roofed and cramped buildings becomes nigh-on impossible, because you can easily end up seeing the roof, or the floor above, and not your avatar. Second, it did not support fitted mesh at all. So, any avatars that wore fitted mesh garments were plagued by the well-known “stretch to (0,0,0)” issue.

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Three days ago, I wrote my opinion on Mrs. Karyne Levy’s article “Second Life Has Devolved Into A Post-Apocalyptic Virtual World, And The Weirdest Thing Is How Many People Still Use It” that was published on Business Insider. I noted that the article left a fair bit to be desired on several levels, even though I didn’t list them all. The article started off by citing a few articles and opinions, and then we saw a narration of what Mrs. Levy experienced by starting a new account and diving into Second Life. Since Mrs. Levy’s article is still talked about and a meta-discussion has already begun in various places, it seems appropriate to revisit it and expand on it. Please note that I use quotation marks for the word “controversial” in the title, because I feel that the whole controversy surrounding Mrs. Levy’s article is completely unjustified, even though I was critical of it.

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Romy Nayar's unsettling installation

Romy Nayar’s unsettling installation “El Laberinto Perdido” at MetaLES. Click on the image for full-size version.

Back in mid-July, Ziki Questi’s coverage of Romy Nayar’s (with scripts and sounds by Ux Hax) exhibit “El Laberinto Perdido” at MetaLES prompted me to visit it. However, as RL obligations took over, a write-up on this installation was postponed for far too long.

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Karyne Levy’s article “Second Life Has Devolved Into A Post-Apocalyptic Virtual World, And The Weirdest Thing Is How Many People Still Use It” for Business Insider reminded me of James Thurber’s fable “The Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing“, whose moral was “don’t get it right, just get it written.” While this article has already been thoroughly lambasted for various reasons (some of which miss the point entirely) by various SL bloggers, prominent or not, I think it warrants some attention and close examination.

Beautiful regions like Kaelyn Alecto's (now sadly closed) "It All Starts With A Smile" are not spoken of in Mrs. Karyne Levy's article for Business Insider.

Beautiful regions like Kaelyn Alecto’s (now sadly closed) “It All Starts With A Smile” are not spoken of in Mrs. Karyne Levy’s article for Business Insider. Click on the image for full-size version.

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la-penseuse-en-latexI’m back from a short (unfortunately), but much-needed vacation and already there’s a sizeable deal of things that need to be tackled. I had hoped that the first things I’d blog about in August would be potential uses of virtual worlds in the tourism industry (such as showcasing destinations, monuments, archaeological sites etc), in vocational training and education – not least because of a shift in the direction my use of SL (and other virtual worlds in the near future) is more than likely to take.

Unfortunately, right now I have to start considering other things, like self-hosting my blog and perhaps even switching to an entirely different CMS (Content Management System)due to recent “improvements” to WordPress.com’s editor that make composing long posts (longer than 150-250 words) a major chore.

Let me also point out that WordPress.com’s cavalier attitude is entirely unacceptable – mind you, Linden Lab’s developers are actually infinitely better than the ones at WordPress when it comes to listening to the user base. So, I’m going to have to start considering my options. Until then, I’m afraid my blogging here will be slower – not only because of the counter-intuitive and counter-productive WordPress “improvements”, but also because I’ll be busy considering my alternatives. I think that, come September or October, some major changes will have to take place.

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