Saturday, October 24, 2009

cast aside to be forlorn...

Off in the distance, the autumn wind carries a hint of woodsmoke on the air, the damp must of fallen leaves, and just a faint, faint edge of overheated metal, slicing through the comforting surroundings like a knife.

She looks to the east, and sees the glow of fire, far far away. As far as the train whistle is, thin and distant and plaintive as the train she cannot see winds around the far side of the mountains.

Here we go again.

To stave off such depressing thoughts, let's go back to the third-party viewer comments.

RockAndRoll Michigan had this to say about Emerald in response to Blondin Linden:

"When our revised policy goes into effect, any viewer containing functionality that can be used to impede our efforts to manage Second Life will not be tolerated"

Does this mean (hopefully) that Emerald's built-in avatar scanner will not be tolerated?

Let's see. I can use this to scan for any avatar within 4096 meters of my location. Check

Contrary to what people have said to me in-world, this will allow for people to be found even in other sims. Check

This will allow me to teleport to the location of anybody that I find in its scan range of 256 sims. Check

This renders the ability to decide who can and cannot map my avatar absolutely useless. Check

This feature doesn't even care if the avatar that it has found is somebody on your friends list or not, it will allow it for total strangers and friends alike. Check

Let's take this point by point.

First. There are gadgets in world--I have one myself--that scans for avatars on a sim. ON the land I admin, I can scan for who's on the sim and where they are. Any estate manager can do that. There are also tools one can buy and rez out that show every avatar's mame and position on the sim.

None of these gadgets, tools, and abilities are illegal on the grid.

I still don't think you can find people in other sims by doing this, but nothing stops someone with a strong enough computer processor from maxing out draw distance with no cam restrictions, and that also is not illegal.

Next, if you think you can sit in the center of a 4096-meter-wide space and access 256 different're just too mental to talk to.

Finally, on avatars porting in without warning, I have two answers to that. First, avatars on or off your friendslist can always port in without warning, in a number of ways--none of them, either, illegal, most of them just deeply tacky. But more than that, if you set your parcel to have a specific beam-in point, it is incredibly difficult for people to just "pop in" unexpectedly.

Think of it like Caledon's telehub system--you can't just go into any house, you go to the central hub, unless you own that parcel. Set up a beam-in point away from your house, and the only avatars that will port in and interrupt you are the jerks who would have done it anyway.

Torrid Luna says what everyone's thinking:

You know, Linden Lab are just about to launch their own new viewer soon, and they have thrown lots of money on that project. Probably they just want to milk out a list of "must have" features from you all, for their baby to profit.

Of course they are. This is, or at least should be, known by everyone.

That doesn't mean it's a worthless conversation to them, and, in fact, could be a valuable conversation indeed if they *listen*. Because seriously--no alternate viewer would have a chance in hell of succeeding as a solid, community-approved choice, if the Linden viewers didn't suck so badly, most of the time.

Suella Ember remarks again:

Actually, i often wonder why LL don't work more like this anyway.

Keep the open source nature of the viewer, but adopt an approach more akin to Firefox with one "official" viewer that the open source community can contribute to (think Firefox extensions).

And that's not the worst idea, either. One official viewer, but add-ons that anyone can download and install. It doesn't change the nature of what the official viewer does, it changes what the client sees. That could be the best of all worlds, and anyone who's used to Firefox, Chrome, or virtually any computer game is already accepting of the concept.

Prokovy again:

The people using encrypted chat are more likely to be motivated by the desire to conceal financial fraud or engage in illegal activities like child pornography than they are to use it for "corporate communications" -- if they are genuine corporations, they're not on the main grid, duh, they're on Nebraska.

And again, my first reaction is, You have to be KIDDING.

While I am not one to deny the rampant ills of pedophilia in American--and worldwide--society, on the net there are far easier ways to exchange child pornography than downloading the Second Life Viewer, uploading the picture to the main server, sending it to someone else who's downloaded the viewer, and making sure they receive it. While of course it's possible that people are doing this, it seems--to me, at least--a path fraught with cumbersome complications and the very real risk of getting caught faster.

So, let's see. So far Prokovy Neva hates Communists, the open-source movement in general, the ecologically aware, anyone who isn't foursquare for capitalism as a business model, hippies, people who use Linux, child pornographers, pedophiles, terrorists, anyone who's been on the net longer than five years, and people who make freebies--and he equates all these people as one group in his head.

Yeah. That's just insanity, that is. That's get-him-to-a-therapist-STAT right there.

Prokovy again:

Fraud, copyright theft, and griefing THROUGH THIRD-PARTY VIEWERS have all been *amply documented* by *both residents and the G-team* and *acted upon* by the G-team.

This is something that the big boosters of the third-party viewers don't want to admit. In fact, they'd rather bully and harass anybody pointing that out and commit more violations than admit that in fact their beloved viewers have been widely used by griefers, stalkers, thieves and fraudsters.

The Lindens know that, those of us that have suffered at their hands know this, we've got plenty of eyewitnesses AND Linden action, and THAT IS WHY THE LINDENS ARE ACTING SO AS TO RESTRAIN THIRD-PARTY VIEWERS, DUH.

Um, no, not all third-party viewers. As far as I know, no features of Nicholaz were in any way against the Terms of Service of Second Life. And, while there are some features with Emerald that can be misused, yes, it was not designed as a hack viewer.

Features of Emerald I really like while I'm on the topic:

* The "worn" tab. Yes, I know it's possible to search through my inventory to find everything I'm wearing. I can also "detach all" or "remove all". But it is so much easier just to click over to that tab and see everything--prim clothing, HUD attachments, system layers--that I have on.

* Double-click to wear or remove items. This used to be part of the official Linden viewer when I started, and I missed it. It came back with Nicholaz, and then Mr. Beresford stopped updating his viewer, so until Emerald, I didn't have this ability. It's such a simple little thing, but it's wonderful.

* Built-in radar. Radar has been essential to me for many, many reasons. Mostly as a host in various places, I will admit, but it's also good to be able to see at a glance who's around me, if I'm otherwise off doing something; I can at least respond if I can't see them due to working on textures, or building, or what-have-you.

* Built-in AO. While I still use an external AO, just knowing that, when on Emerald, I can have my AO drawn from the viewer, as opposed to the HUD I have attached to my viewer screen, means so much. I don't have to lag parcels with my cycling AO when I have it packed full of cool new animations, I can let one hard-coded script accessing a simple notecard in my inventory take care of everything.

* Presets on new prims and new textures uploaded. This one's INSANELY USEFUL. Knowing without a doubt that every texture I upload is automatically full-permissions, knowing that any system layer I create is automatically mod/copy/'s a small step, but incredibly helpful. Better, knowing I can create any prim on the grid to default white, over plywood, helps bunches.

robertltux McCallen had this to say:

My take is don't block/ban a viewer make an [official] list of both "hostile" and Known Good Viewers and please don't nerf the great but powerful features of the third party viewers just because they can be used for both sides of the coin. (example the avatar radar and tp to feature: great tool for anti griefing and [griefing])

He's not wrong. Any strong, sturdy tool to use for good on the grid could be turned; radar, for instance, is incredibly important for hosting and for sim management, but can be used to harass other avatars. TP to height/TP to avatar features have good uses; but we only hear about people who've been surprised by friends and not-friends alike barging in on their private spaces without asking first. (Of course, there's an easy solution for that, as well, even in Caledon--security orbs are allowed at skybox level, just not on the ground.)

Meade Paravane in answer to a question from Dnali Anabuki:

| Why is encryption such a big deal?

Because terrorists will use it to hide their activities.

A (very tired) cliché? Oh yes. Absolutely.

True anyway? Yep. Well, maybe not exactly terrorists but there are lots of jerks in the world and many of them have computers.

Let me get this straight. OTR encryption for privacy--which, by the way, no one has to use--is bad because:

* Terrorists will say bad things using it and plot world devastation.

* No, wait, maybe not terrorists, but hackers will use it to say bad things and plot griefing devastation.

* No, wait, it's just there's a lot of jerks in the world and we should know what those jerks are saying.

Is this seriously the point she's trying to make?

Look. First thing, I can't use OTR encryption if I'm not using Emerald, or if the person I want to communicate with isn't using Emerald and I am. Second, I don't use it for business IMs--whether I'm the customer or the retailer. Because I want those conversations logged, and, as near as I can figure, OTR encryption means just that--no recording of the conversation at all.

And I only use it with certain people when I do use it, and generally because we discuss very personal things . I'm not so much trying to hide criminal or unsavory activities, as detailing things about myself, RL, that I don't necessarily want spoken openly, in SL.

How is that hard to understand?

And I love the step-down, I adore the stepdown--TEH HORROR TEH TERRORISTS WILL WIN! to Jerks, you should watch 'em, bet they're planning to do something stupid.


*watches Rubbery Trenchcoat wander by in world and goggles*

Man. People and their names. Apparently, Sanura Sakai dealt with a "Death Soup" yesterday, in her store.

At any rate, this is more than enough griping for this entry. We'll move on to the next one!


Rhianon Jameson said...

Oh, Miss Orr, why do you torture yourself so?

But it is amusing. For the record, I'll also admit to being on the Net for a few more than five years, though how that could be remotely relevant to anyone but my insurance actuary is beyond me.

I've heard some of the grousing on ISC about being able to TP into someone's abode, and your phrase - "deeply tacky" - hits it on the nose. Look, if someone TPs in while you are engaged in snogging, or picking your nose, or anything you'd prefer to remain private, I feel for you. But consider how trivial it all is.

As for the complaints about IM encryption...sheesh. Crimeny.

Emilly Orr said...

Well, it's either this or back to trudging through copyright law.

Frankly, I think some people are just oversensitive. While I have a fairly sober grasp on how some things in virtual can seem very real, in the end, anything you can log off from unharmed = not real.

Finding someone in your skybox is tacky, definitely; may be awkward, certainly; but is it harm? No.

Samantha Poindexter said...

For what it's worth, the Emerald radar does detect people in neighboring sims, unlike the in-world devices I've used. I didn't even have to deliberately test this; it was obvious the first time I tried the thing in my skybox.

That said, should that be illegal? Nope.

Emilly Orr said...

That is interesting, though, Miss Poindexter. I should check and see if Mystitool (my default gadget for radar and other options) will do the same, next to a sim border.