Saturday, June 13, 2009

so I go insane, like I always do

There's now a movie in the verse that deals with Second Life, but only in a casual sense, not the center of focus. As that article says, it's a movie that features SL how it might be used in a typical remote setting--and the writer is definitely hoping to see more of that as time goes by.

We are, inch by inch, millimeter by millimeter, moving into the future. Will we be ready for it when we arrive?

Two kinds of people in this world
I lost my power in this world
'Cos I did not use it...

So tonight the Trainwreck hit least it was brief (I think), and we can resume our normal Survival Tips/What's Playing Now channel later on.

In the meantime, the reply to Miss Winter was getting rather long, so I'm tacking it on here. She'd sent a list of the known affiliations for the Lindens currently in charge; it's very eye-opening, to say the least.

We start with RealNetworks: Reporting record profits for 2007/2008, even though individual stock prices were down, and have at least one active suit against the company. RealNetworks, in at least my opinion, is the least useful format of all the industry standards. I don't even have the RealPlayer downloaded to this computer, and, given the choice between Rhapsody (managed by RealNetworks) and eMusic (managed by Dimensional Industries), I take eMusic hands down. It's a note of some importance--to me, at least--that Radio Riel has licencing rebroadcast rights (though more with Magnatune with some of eMusic's content.

* Philip Linden (Rosedale) works for RealNetworks; he may have when he was CEO of Second Life and Linden Labs, as well.
* Sandy Gould: was a ten-year employee for Real.
* Mitch Kapor: in addition to designing Lotus, he also invested heavily in Real.

So I go insane
Like I always do
And I call your name
She’s a lot like you...

PriceWaterhouseCoopers: Well, this one's obvious. I don't think there's a technology or industry that PWC doesn't have a goddamn hand in. They're everywhere.

* Mark (M. Lindon) Kingdon: is the representative from PWC.

MCI/Verizon: Now staggeringly huge on their own, operating cell/mobile phone communication networks in over sixty-five countries.

* Frank Ambrose: comes from MCI (and AOL, which apparently was scraped off from Time/Warner like a disturbing growth in May of this year)

First there was Adobe, then there was Macromedia, then Adobe bought out Macromedia because they couldn't code as good and wanted less competition. Macromedia should have seen this coming--in a weirdly dark, synchronistic turn, Adobe had done the same thing with the buy-out of Aldus, then released PageMaker--whose clunky, hard-to-use interface spawned a much easier to use product, DreamWeaver, from Macromedia. Before Adobe leapt on them from a height and scattered the bones.

Now Adobe spends the bulk of its time convincing every new business that it needs to run .pdf files, which of course gets them links from everywhere to download the Adobe Reader, which gives them a sufficient amount of oh-and-while-you're-here-buy something action. Up until recently, no .pdf-coded file could be run in anything other than Internet Explorer. Bastards.

(Thanks to Miss Sphynx Soliel for helping me revise this section.)

* Tom Hale: comes out of Macromedia.

Two kinds of trouble in this world
I lost my power in this world
And the rumors are flying...

TurboTax & Quicken were both developed to serve a basic need for Americans who wanted the IRS rules all in one place, and wanted one-touch access to financial records. They've made a lot of money being simple to use and understand.

* Brian Michon: comes out of Quicken and TurboTax land.

Which brings us to eBay. Man. eBay used to be great. eBay used to be a monolith across the industry. For a while there--before they starting placing ads--you could find anything on eBay. Then the moralists took over, and they made their adult listings impossible to track down--you had to know the exact name of the seller or the shop, or the exact name of the item, or both--and people fell away from the service in droves. They regained a little ground with large equipment, car, boat and land sales, plus DVDs; other than that they're pretty much useless for most people.

* Marty (Linden) Roberts: was or is the lawyer for eBay. He's also legal counsel for the Lindens.

So I go insane
Like I always do
And I call your name
She’s a lot like you...

Atari has a wildly diverse history. If you don't know, and you want to read up, hit the Wiki page or for more. Suffice it to say now that for their several decades of history, they are currently operated by a French technology concern, IESA.

* Joe Miller: Near as I can figure, Joe Miller--whose avatar is one of the only nonhuman Linden avatars--may or may not still be an operational Linden? I'm not sure. But he comes out of the Atari group.

TiVo is a publically-traded company that has revolutionized television watching as we know it, and paved the way for mass development of DVRs, Hulu, Joost, Vimeo, and other services, and made advertisers scramble in all new terrifying ways to retain our attention. Pixar on the other hand came about in 1984 from a group of dissatisfied employees from both Disney and Lucasfilm; it incorporated and moved into animation, and pretty much established from there.

* Howard Look: came from involvement with both companies.

Now, Cyn Skyberg has no fixed, targeted company she descends from, like the others; but her background is fascinating, in regards to the others:

Cyn Skyberg guides the Second Life support teams: billing, risk management, high end, technical, and inworld support, as well as all external sales and their management. Cyn has worked in the customer relations field for 15 years, and has been with Linden Lab since 2005. Prior to working with the customer relations team at Linden Lab, she held a directorship at the San Jose Museum of Art and a senior management role at the Portland Art Museum. Her varied background includes owning a coffeehouse in Colorado, working as a telephone cable contractor across the United States, sorting osteopathic remains in a natural history museum, and managing a large travel book and map business. Cyn has a BA with honors from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Cultural Anthropology. Her senior thesis was, amusingly, "Complexities of Human Behavior in the Prehistoric Age".

I admit, Cyn Linden has not overly impressed me with her handling of the adult content situation, but from this, I might give her another hearing.

So I go insane
Like I always do
And I call your name
She’s a lot like you...

Finally, we come to Mitch Kapor Industries itself; and there, things get confused. Mitch Kapor has done so much in so many directions...he's like a thousand-legged eel, slippery and flailing. But the one thing we do know that he did was bring over:

* Judy Wade: directly from KEI.

Here's a few more relevant culls from cNet regarding the Labs.

So what does all this tell us? It tells us that all the dreamers, all the teachers, all the creative souls, all the designers, most of the coders...they're all leaving the Labs. Who is replacing them? In nearly every case, hard business types, people for whom accounting, budgeting, advertising, sales, investment, and retailing are the new gods.

So what does all that tell us? This is what I predict, for the end of this year through 2010:

* that the Lindens will slowly phase out adult content
* that the Lindens will then slowly phase out user content
* that the Lindens, by acquiring nearly all web-based resources for external purchases, seek a monopoly of control on all purchases made.
* that at some point Second Life as a service will cease to be available to the non-premium resident.
* that at that point, Second Life will cease to be about the residents, and more about the use of virtual world technology to access existing web-based businesses--for example, have eBay, TurboTax, Quicken, TiVo, Real, Rhapsody, all open 'home' offices or islands, so happy consumers can happily consume in a stress-free, resident-free environment.

Let's see how far off I am at the end of 2010.

She’s a lot like you...

Words of wisdom (?) from Maia Gasparini: "Only whores and children wear red shoes."

It's on her profile.


She’s a lot like you...

Also, Miriel Enfield has finally decided on a date that she is releasing her sim: Saturday, June 20th. She will be missed.

She’s a lot like you...

(Lyrics taken from this intense, live version of "Go Insane" by Lindsey Buckingham.)


Sphynx Soleil said...

Adobe used to be Macromedia, but now has (somehow) managed to convince every (domestic) government agency to support its reader so everyone needs to download Adobe Acrobat to read any government file. Bastards.

Actually, Adobe *bought* Macromedia. Adobe was it's own separate entity for a few years before Macromedia even started, and GoLive could never take the crown from Dreamweaver. Probably is THE reason they bought Macromedia, really - to buy a better product then make mincemeat out of it.

Adobe also bought Aldus yearrrrs before that - that's where PageMaker came from, originally.

(Nah, not cynical...much...)

The list of who's currently in the lab is, indeed, VERY enlightening.

Don't suppose there's a list of where the creatives have gone TO? :)

Emilly Orr said...

The only one I'd found prior to publication was Cory Ondrejka (formerly Cory Linden); he's got an old and new blog, and he used to teach at the University of California for a bit after leaving the Labs.

Hamlet Linden is known--he's gone back to Wagner James Au, and writes for New World Notes. This post goes a bit into why.

As far as Robin Linden, Katt Linden, Prospero Linden, Jean Linden and others? No info on what they're doing now.

slhamlet said...

Cory is now a bigwig at EMI, one of the major record labels.

"all the dreamers, all the teachers, all the creative souls, all the designers, most of the coders...they're all leaving the Labs. Who is replacing them? In nearly every case, hard business types"

Emily, you have a very interesting take, and there's some truth to it, but I think your analysis assumes that it's an either/or deal. Most of Linden Lab's head staff have always *both* had a combination of idealist and hard business backgrounds. Cory's an idealist, and he also designed weapons systems for a major defense contractor. Robin's an idealist, and she also has an MBA and started in advertising. On the other side, Mitch Kapor isn't just a serial capitalist, he also co-founded the EFF and the Open Source Foundation. Hardly the MO of someone bent on converting Second Life into a sterile censored place.

Emilly Orr said...

That's actually what I'm hoping, is that this is just adjustment, the old guard moving on, the new kids taking for since M stepped into place there have been so many bad changes in the game, it's getting hard to keep up.

I tend to be a very either/or person; I'm working on it, I haven't gotten far yet. :) But part of what's encouraging those feelings is that, by and large, no one at the Labs seems to be listening to what their residents are saying. This indicates, to me, a fairly solid disconnect between the user, and the producer.

Sooner or later, that's going to get the Labs in trouble.

Dale Innis said...

I'd bet heavily against them disabling user-created content as early as 2010. There's certainly a Big Fail scenario in which they do get rid of it within a year or two after that, but I'm hoping that smarter heads prevail.

If not, the creatives (and what ol' Profoky dubbed the "imaginatives") will just move on to something freer and opener, as they (as we, heh heh) generally do, when the thing that used to be free and open sells out and decides to appeal to the least common denominator because That's Where the Money Is.

I'm sure this is an incredibly common cycle, where a new thing appeals to the creatives who don't pay much money but get things hot and test and try and improve the system, then management decides it's now good enough to appeal to the LCD, amps up the advertising, dials down the freedom, and the hordes pour in and the early adopters flee.

There's probably even a name for it...

(CAPTCHA word: "hotrawk". Woot!)

Emilly Orr said...

*laughs at the CAPTCHA word* Hey, it cuts down on the spam, but that is funny.

It's very common, it happens all the time, but here's the odd bit--this already happened. The tonnage of demi-positive press kept SL in the news throughout 2006, and a lot of new folks climbed on board; I was one of them.

And people who'd been there since inception, or came in in 2004, 2005, viewed us as the arrival of the pablum horde. And in many cases, we fit the description.

So...what's it called when the product dumbs itself down twice?

Dale Innis said...

Well, that are true; I are a 2006 Baby myself also. It is a good cohort. :)

I wonder if this layering thing is a common whatsit also. That would be an inneresting study. So some crazy weird geniuses who never bathe take over a few abandoned factories in some city an' start doing weird things and taking drugs heavily, and that attracts some merely slightly wild and creative artsy people (and the crazies get annoyed and move on to a cave system somewhere) and then the artsy stuff attracts the yuppies, and the artsy folks get annoyed and leave, and then...

It's a phunny werld.

(CAPTCHA word: "boorin". Evvyone's a critic!)

Emilly Orr said...

Actually, this is pretty common. I've seen it happen over and over again.

City rises. Center of the city falls into disrepair as people move from the center out to better, 'safer' zones.

Artists, writers, musicians claim the disreputable zone, refurbishing, repainting where they can. They open galleries, they open theatres, they open coffeehouses with hand-painted revolutionary art and sayings on the walls.

People start coming back in to downtown, drawn by the club scene, the art scene, the coffeehouses. They want a piece of the action. They buy in, spend serious money making over warehouse spaces into lofts, industrial buildings into natural food supermarkets, give better deals to the artists so they'll move into swankier digs.

The people who moved in for bohemian reasons move on, either successful enough to afford higher rent elsewhere, or move on to another small town to start again. More young professionals move in, and chain stores considered 'hip' by the masses move in.

Ten to twenty years earlier, a group of rebels and the mad risked potential death and brutality to stake a claim for art.

Ten to twenty years later, there are well-groomed streets unspooling in front of quirkily sedate loft condos, 'fresh' boutiques where the price tags equal one month of rent in one of the thoroughly remodeled apartments, small eateries on the corners full of small plates of fusion cuisine selection and tapas in the watering holes.

And all the artists, writers, and musicians who haven't sold out have moved on.