Wednesday, February 24, 2010

everywhere, so white, the river has frozen over

Sometimes packages do very odd things.

I'd managed, in my involvement with the Wear Grey campaign, to forget to go to the fashion show. Someone tipped the fact that there was a video of the show made. I think my dress for the project shows up around 6:16, but you know, it's hard to tell?

Tipped my way by Miss Rucker, proof that Wagner James Au (formerly Hamlet Linden) has lost his friggin' mind. I don't agree with anything he says in that.

Miss Astolat Dufaux lists precisely the problem I'm finding with 2.0; that it is not intended for people like me, it is not intended for serious builders, serious scripters, serious anything; it's intended for people who find FarmVille fascinating.

Versus those of us who find Echo Bazaar fascinating. It really may well come down to which browser games we prefer. If we prefer stalking out clues, and getting mysterious hints as to which dark forces in the land can be trusted, and which cannot...viewer 2.0 is not for us. If, on the other hand, we go out of our minds with glee when we seed and harvest fifteen acres of virtual land...viewer 2.0 is our baby: embrace it, cuddle it, hold it close. Enjoy.

We'll just be over here in Snowglobe or Emerald, doing functional things. Have fun in the fish tank.

And Boy Lane brings out the banhammer on her blog; in short, she says, if you connect to Second Life with any non-Linden-approved viewer, the Lindens can ban you. Does anyone else have any verification on this?

First, minor drama in Caledon last night when a new feature of the Emerald Viewer was discussed. Namely, Emerald has recently implemented a system whereby those who are on your friendslist, but whom you don't have set to see you if you are online, can see you. This to me seems a recipe for arguments and hurt feelings and--as confirmed on the Emerald forums--it is! How unsurprising. This "feature" needs to be erased from the Emerald viewer, stat! It was a very bad idea to add it to the Emerald build in the first place.

Second, major hair drama on the grid. Near as I can figure, the whole mess starts on the Rags 2 Riches blog, February 17th. The blog writer received a whole box of ripped hair and was horrified; she tossed up pictures of the hairs in question, along with the ripped skin, because she couldn't identify all of them.

In the comments, people mentioned Gritty Kitty, the Abyss, Sirena, Zero Style, Second Image, Sixty-Nine, Cake, Detour, Shop Seu, Armidi, ETD, Eat Rice, Truth, Here Comes Trouble, Curl Up & Dye, Raspberry & Cow, MMS Hair, Naughty Designs, Laqroki, Calla, Waka Yuki, Tiny Bird, Maitreya...and Deviant Kitties and Magika.

But also in the comments, someone going by the handle Fine, thanks made this comment on the 18th:

GEMINI is doing something to combat this. Please keep your ear out for some news within the week.

Two days later--after the release of the GEMINI system on XStreet--Arora was labeled a copybot and banned from Deviant Kitties. Why?

This is where the tale gets very strange.

First, she is a user of Emerald, not Neillife. I have no reason to believe someone would fight copybotting in the ways she has, and be a ripper under Neillife, it makes no sense. Second, there is a clear and distinct difference between the two browsers, it's not at all easy to confuse them.

Now, Helyanwe Vindaloo had recently acquired the GEMINI system; after setting it up, she went about her day, no further owner input needed. But her system banned Arora. Why? Because she was listed as a copybotter under the GEMINI system.

Why?

Arora contacted Helyanwe on the 17th, asking why she'd been banned. Helyanwe had no direct clue. And if the GEMINI protection system was normal, that's where the story would stop. But it's like Bloodlines for grid protection: once your name gets into the GEMINI system, it's in there. And every time someone else rezzes out a new GEMINI unit, the database for the scripting funnels in all current banned people...including Arora.

Essentially, she was banned from Deviant Kitties for wanting to support the store; and for using the Emerald viewer. But she's now banned from every store, every parcel, every sim that is currently protected by GEMINI.

Prad Prathivi writes on the Metaversally Speaking blog that the GEMINI system is more than a little Orwellian, as apparently it's been sitting quietly on the grid, gathering information over the past several months. If anyone on the grid ever, even once used a suspect viewer, and that viewer was recorded tagged to that avatar's name in the GEMINI system, now that the system has gone live that avatar will be banned. Not might be; according to Prathivi and others, it is most definitely will be.

She goes on to write that Ember Farina wrote to ask the question in the Emerald Forums, as well, and that she was instantly challenged--and in wrong ways--by Skills, a developer of the GEMINI system. (I'd link it and tell you to check for yourselves, but every time I try to use the link given, the Emerald forums tell me, Access denied. Very interesting.

(Also? I love how the developer says "I am sorry if your system confused Emerald with Neillife, my system didn't." Really? But your brain confused Arora being banned from Deviant Kitties from Arora being banned from Magika. I guess your brain isn't that reliable. So how's your system, then?)

It's a very long post, I encourage people who care to to read all the way down--but again, from the comments section, comes this telling bit from Skills:

I later digged more deeply and found out that you were indeed using Emerald when you have been ejected, but you have been detected using Neillife some time ago, when the auto-ban system wasn't active yet.

Save the grammar issues for later, this is what I wanted to reinforce: "...you have been detected using Neillife some time ago, when the auto-ban system wasn't active yet."

Really? How long ago, then? Back when the word was first going out about how the copy-enabled viewers work? I can't recall ever downloading any copybot viewers myself, nor using them--and so I will be raising holy hell if I find out I'm banned--but there were people, copybot vigilantes and makers alike, who downloaded 'bot-abled viewers to see for themselves how bad it was. Or to take pictures for their blogs to urge others not to use them. To get the word out on how damaging these viewers were.

Under Skills' logic, anyone who uses a bad thing for a good reason needs to suffer. Anyone who used Neillife even once while his system was nefariously collating data, invisible and untraceable, needs to be banned. And anyone, once in the system, stays in the system.

So I suppose by this same logic, the reporter for Sky News who found evidence of continuing child sex sims in 2009 should be registered as a sex offender? What?

I think, personally, GEMINI goes too far. I think, personally, anyone trying to help the infringement of copyright should not be punished for doing so. I think, personally, I won't be buying the GEMINI protection system and I think, without major revision to their database and how names are entered into it, I don't think, personally, anyone else should either.

From that same comment on Arora's blog:

"We are currently discussing ways of giving people the ability to appeal a ban in case they have used one of the banned viewers 'by accident' or however you want to call it."

Translation for the folks who don't speak snide in my audience:

Since this all went public and we want to keep sales up, we're currently tossing over the concept of letting some of you sleazy douchbags we KNOW copybotted things, because you're EVIL, off the hook, because you're probably too stupid not to get caught again. Since you're that stupid, putting "by accident" in quotes will actually mean something to you, you troglogdyte. We KNOW you used a copybot viewer in the past because we've been gathering information on everyone on the grid since 2008. Die on fire.

But then, I'm sure, Skills wouldn't have put it that way; after all, the way he did put it was simply to emphasize "by accident" as if to say "by no accident". Pfff.

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