• 17Aug

    Last month, Google rolled out its new “Google+” social networking platform, and it enjoyed an enthusiastic reception among metaverse residents, tech bloggers, and others. Google+’s “Circles” feature, which gives you more fine-grained control over who you share with, seemed to be an indication that Google+ would be more privacy-conscious than its established competitor, Facebook.

    Unfortunately, the appeal of Google+ quickly wore off, as it became apparent that Google was suspending accounts judged to be using a pseudonym or other “not real” name. The first highly-visible case among the Second Life crowd was Opensource Obscure being suspended, but hundreds more Second Life users were suspended within a week. And it wasn’t just Second Life residents: pseudonymous accounts of all types were being suspended en masse, along with accounts representing companies and organizations. Official statements from Google employees confirmed that Google+ users are required to use what Google calls “common names” or “real names”.

    Continue reading »

  • 13Dec

    Every once in a while, some Second Life drama will erupt about a “client detection system” (CDS), a scripted product that supposedly protects your store from content rippers (aka “content thieves”) by banning users of untrusted viewer programs. There was such an episode last week, with a certain store using a certain CDS that wrongly banned a legitimate customer using a legitimate viewer. I won’t bother mentioning the name of the store or the CDS, because this post isn’t about that specific incident. This post is about every CDS, every store, and every viewer.

    (Full disclosure: the viewer in that particular case was the Imprudence Experimental, which I am involved with. But, users of other viewers have been wrongfully banned by similar systems in the past.)

    Simply put, a CDS does not provide any significant protection against content rippers. It is snake oil: a product created to commercially exploit store owners’ fear. If you have a CDS set up in your shop, you aren’t protecting your content, you’re just paying someone to invade your customers’ privacy, drive away legitimate customers, and blemish your reputation.

    Most people don’t understand how a CDS works, but believe that it might actually be able to stop content rippers. The purpose of this post is to explain how they function, why they are ineffective, and furthermore why they are harmful to your customers and bad for your business.

    Continue reading »

  • 26Oct

    Lately, I’ve been thinking about Minecraft, a 3D exploring/digging/building game that has been receiving a lot of attention lately. I first started playing Minecraft about a month ago, and it was clear after two days that it would consume my every waking hour if I let it. I put some self-imposed limits on how much I could play it, with modest success. After 10 days, a painful-yet-fortuitous glitch deleted my world, and I used the opportunity to try to pry myself away from the game.

    Yet, even though I haven’t played it in over three weeks, I still feel an urge to play it nearly every day. There is something about its creative, free-form play that is incredibly attractive, even addictive. Meanwhile, I have my own OpenSim region where I can create and do anything I want, yet it sits neglected for lack of time, interest, or motivation.

    Why this stark difference? Why is Minecraft, the more limited and less creative of the two, the more appealing? And what, if anything, can I do to harness the creative drive that Minecraft inspires, and channel it into my OpenSim region and other projects?

    Continue reading »

  • 23Apr

    Yesterday, April 22, was my fourth rezday. It was four years ago yesterday that I logged in to Second Life for the first time, and the persona of Jacek Antonelli was born.

    Yesterday was also the last rezday I’ll be celebrating in Second Life. A recent culmination of circumstances has pushed me away from Second Life, and triggered my migration to OpenSim. I’ll be wrapping up my affairs over the next month, then putting my Second Life account on the shelf. By this time next year, I expect SL to be mostly irrelevant to my day-to-day life.

    Continue reading »

  • 31Aug

    I’ve been making some positive life changes lately. You know, the usual stuff: eliminating stress, exercising more, focusing on the things in life that are important to me, … and transforming into a mermaid!?

    Mermaid 4 in SL

    As you can see, I’m shedding my human-ness in SL, and embracing my aquatic side. There’s still a ways to go in the transformation. I need new hair, eyes, and probably a new wardrobe! (Hrmm. I guess that’s what my fortune cookie meant: “You will be doing a lot of shopping soon… in bed!”)

    But, the first stage is done: a new skin! My deepest gratitude to Eloh Eliot for her Starlight skin, which I used as a base. Without Eloh’s generosity, my skin would have taken weeks, instead of a few days. Actually, I probably wouldn’t have even attempted it, as it wouldn’t have been worth the time investment.

    Continue reading »

  • 21May

    I’ve counted Dusan Writer as a friend (or at least a friendly acquaintance) ever since I met him in the course of his UI design contest a year ago. He’s an interesting personality, and generally an intelligent fellow and a thoughtful writer.

    So, it’s with some disappointment that I read Dusan’s recent post on Second Life’s permission system. His post is prompted by the progress of VWR-8049, a proposal to allow users to choose the default permissions for new objects that they create.

    Dusan comes out strongly against it, and although I’m firmly in favor of it, that’s not the disappointing thing; I don’t mind people disagreeing with me. What disappoints me is that Dusan has bought into the baseless FUD that certain individuals have piled onto the issue.

    Alas, not only does Dusan believe the FUD and let it color his entire analysis of the feature, but he also regurgitates it in a most unsavory and uncharacteristic manner, littered with baseless attacks, ranting nonsequiturs, and flawed thinking. I’m usually content to let this sort of thing lie, but it boggles my mind that FUD of this sort could spread when it has so many holes in it.

    Continue reading »

  • 23Jan

    An abstract sculpture I created on a whim. It’s 8 prims, created it in Blender in about 1 hour.

    You can view it at my friend Skitty’s flower shop in Second Life. The sculpture is not for sale (but the pretty flowers are!).

  • 24Nov

    Serving simple HTML by LSL script

    I’ve written an LSL script which “serves” custom-generated HTML via a neat trick I discovered. But don’t bust out the champagne just yet — this method is extremely limited, so I don’t expect this to revolutionize HUDs or anything like that. Still, it’s a fun curiosity.

    The trick is this: If you use text of the form “data:text/html,[html code here]” as the web URL, Firefox (and maybe other browsers?) will render the HTML code as a web page. For example, visit data:text/html,<html><body><h1>Oh hai!</h1></body></html>, and Firefox will render the words “Oh hai!”. It’s not accessing a web page, and it’s not loading a local HTML file, it’s loading the HTML code from the pseudo-URL.

    The same trick works in SL as well, by setting the parcel media URL to the “data:text/html” string. You can use an LSL script to generate the HTML code and set the parcel URL, or even set the URL for an individual avatar. The result is that your LSL script acts as a very simple web server!

    However, as I mentioned, there are some serious limitations: SL won’t let you set the web URL to a string longer than 254 letters! That means you have to cram all the HTML code into that tiny string, which severely limits the complexity of the HTML you can display.

    Continue reading »

  • 18Oct

    Gwyneth Llewelyn recently offered a proposal to try to plug “the analogue hole” that makes content theft inevitable. Her proposal drew a lot of criticism, particularly from open source developers, and she has since withdrawn it.

    I’m glad to read that she has; I was among those with objections to the proposal. But I’m disappointed by her reaction to the criticism she received:

    The current community of developers — and by that I mean non-LL developers — is absolutely not interested in implementing any sort of content protection schemes.

    … Their argument is that ultimately any measures taken to implement “trusted clients” that connect to LL’s grid will always be defeated since it’s too easy to create a “fake” trusted client. And that the trouble to go the way of trusted clients will, well, “stifle development” by making it harder, and, ultimately, the gain is poor compared to the hassle of going through a certification procedure.

    I won’t fight that argument, since it’s discussing ideologies, not really security. Either the development is made by security-conscious developers, or by people who prefer that content ought to be copied anyway (since you’ll never be able to protect it), and they claim that the focus should be on making development easier, not worrying about how easy content is copied or not.

    … “Technicalities” are just a way to cover their ideology: ultimately, they┬┤re strong believers that content (and that includes development efforts to make Second Life better) ought to be free.

    Despite what Gwyn suggests, one can object to a specific content protection scheme without being an ideological extremist who believes that everything should be free. Yes, there are individuals who take that viewpoint. Many of them are quite vocal, and some are rather arrogant and obnoxious. (I am of the opinion that this latter kind ought to be swatted hard over the head with a rolled-up newspaper. Repeatedly.)

    But to imply that anyone opposing her proposal must be some kind of anticommercial tekkie-hippie is fallacious and juvenile, and just as dismissive as the rudest comments she received. I must admit that I expected better from Gwyn.

    Now then, let me explain my opposition and criticism of the proposal. (This is not criticism of Gwyn as a person, nor of any of her other ideas besides this particular proposal.)

    While I do appreciate and respect the choice to make one’s own efforts open and free, I do not believe everything should be forced to be free, and I did not oppose the proposal based on my views on that topic. I opposed it because I see three major flaws in the proposed system, two of them purely security-related:

    1. the certificates could be easily forged, which defeats the purpose of having them at all
    2. an effective certification system would put an extraordinary burden on developers
    3. the system does not address the most commonly exploited methods of content theft

    I’ll expand on these points so that there can be no confusion about why I objected and still object to such a system. (I’ll give fair warning, though, that this is a rather long and probably dull post by most standards.)

    Continue reading »

  • 21Sep

    Tateru Nino poses an intriguing question about why disabled users often become quite attached and identify with their avatars, more so than able-bodied people do:

    To many such physically impaired users, the body is no more nor less a tool than an online avatar, and the latter (despite lag, occasional inventory loss, network problems and all the other hurly-burly of a virtual environment) is the more reliable, expressive and liberating, allowing more ability to contribute, work, play and socialize.

    Why then, do the able-bodied among us tend to see so much more distinction between our bodies in the physical world and our digital representations? Is that distinction merely an artificial one, a handicap brought about by our able-bodied perspective?

    I suspect it’s a matter of the strength of the connection between thought, action, results, and feedback.

    For a perfectly able-bodied person, the mind directs the body smoothly, precisely, and effortlessly. Thought easily translates into action, and the feedback — sensory input confirming the results — reinforces the mind-body connection. As a result, your body starts to feel like part of your “self”, rather than an external thing.

    But for an able-bodied person using an awkward tool or interface, the translation from thought to action is not nearly so effortless, the feedback is not as rewarding, and thus the connection is not as strong. As a result, the person feels less in control, and more conscious of manipulating an unwilling external object.

    Continue reading »

« Previous Entries   

Recent Comments

  • The feet and hand control bones can be used for inverse kine...
  • thanks! It's woahking! However I have a problem...someho...
  • it is very nice.i can easly understood for animation work.th...
  • I just want to thank you very much!...
  • Sorry, the exporter only works with Blender 2.49 and earlier...