Tuesday, August 24, 2010

your devils and your gods, all the living and the dead

The last picture in this artist's mention I found curiously haunting. I looked up the artist and the first thing that struck me was the sedate, yet inordinately innovative website. (Chase the 'click to enter' sign with your mouse anywhere across the screen, once it loads--and it will bring you in anywhere it is. It's beautifully subtle.) The second thing is that Ellen posed for that shot in 2007, for a photo series called Polyester.

An article written for the Robert Berman Gallery said of her work:
Playful yet bizarre scenes are a balancing act between fantasy and reality. Much like the tradition of Cindy Sherman, film stills are staged that have a vague familiarity that keep the viewer wanting more.

This body of work that has been realized over this last year continues to intrigue and titillate with a fresh yet strangely comforting uneasiness.
Fascinating stuph, and I think they're right, that's what's so capturing: especially in the case of Ellen's almost doll-like makeup, vintage outfit and hair, contrasting so vividly with the artifact of the modern world--it jars, it unsettles, and yet, pick any single detail and it is both comforting and familiar.

I can see the allusion to the work of Cindy Sherman, as well. She also works in that strange, half-vintage, half-modern world of women as still lives.

Meanwhile, in more Second Life-related matters, a post was thrown up on the Modular Systems blog on Wordpress--then, for unknown reasons, taken down. Amusingly, Katharine Berry tracked down and put up the Google Cache version of the post. I quote:
LL requirements for Emerald
August 24, 2010

Today, the Emerald Development team has received a large list of requirements and conditions from LL. We have reviewed all of these conditions and fully intend to address and conform to ALL of them them as soon as we possibly can.

We feel the conditions are reasonable given recent events, however some will take more time than others to fulfill. It is a big list of things that we need to do, but we expect we should have all these conditions met within the next two weeks. By that time we will have a fully TPVP compliant viewer release out and re apply for the TPVD.

The use of the Emerald viewer is still a decision that is yours to make.

We have been informed that LL wants us to stop using the emkdu.dll file which improves rendering speed in our future releases. I would like to take a step in that direction as a show of faith to LL right now and ask our users to go into your Emerald install directory while you are not logged into the viewer, and delete the file named emkdu.dll. The viewer will continue to function correctly however possibly a bit slower.

In closing, I will reiterate, Emerald Dev Team intends to fully comply with the conditions set out before us by Linden Lab, and we plan to do so within the next two weeks. Use of the Emerald viewer is still your choice, Emerald is not a malicious viewer.

Sincerely, Jessica Lyon
Interesting. Why was the post deleted? Who knows? I know I don't trust them based on a combination of factors, including over nine months of inventory problems pared with the last-straw situation of speaking with an Emerald dev, who was extraordinarily rude and snippy, when she didn't have to be. This? This is just further incentive to do what I was already doing, which was not using Emerald. Frankly.

Second Life also chimed in on their official blog:
Late last week, we discovered a denial-of-service attack that was being served through the widely distributed Emerald third-party viewer. This is in direct violation of our third-party viewer policy (part 2, section d, paragraph iii).

We have removed Emerald from the list of third-party viewers, and are now in touch with the Emerald team to discuss what can happen next. We did this to do our best to protect the safety and security of Second Life users. We will not tolerate a viewer that includes malicious code, nor will we tolerate development teams with a history of violating users’ trust or disrupting their lives.

We take privacy, safety, and security very seriously, and we will act to the best of our abilities to protect it. We have not yet disabled logins via the Emerald viewer, but will do so if we feel the software and the team behind it is not able to meet the standards we’ve set. While Emerald is currently the focus of our attention because of what happened recently, all third-party viewers are held to the same standard, and must comply with the third-party viewer policy.

Now, if we can move past the irony of Linden Labs talking about taking privacy and security seriously when they've been hacked twice--and once, directly for credit card information--in the past, this may be the first time they've ever taken a direct stand against any third-party viewer. And this time, it's one of the most popular viewers on the grid.

Is Emerald on the way out? Is this just a bad patch of turnover, getting the hackers out, the bureaucrat coders in? I don't know. But it's fascinating to watch from the sidelines.

And just to tie things up where interests are concerned, Katharine Berry makes the Kittyviewer, which isn't a viewer I've ever heard of, so I can't say whether it's stellar or a mess.

And in sadder news, director Satoshi Kon has passed away. He was responsible for such impressive animated works as Perfect Blue and Paranoia Agent. At the time of his death, he was working on Yumemiru Kikai. He will be missed.


Serenity said...

Yeah, I have to give LL a lil bit of credit though for actually doing something about it. Makes me have a lil bit of faith they're trying to uphold 'some' things they've said.

As for the Emerald thing, I think you're going to see consistant drama just flowing out of that viewer. e.e

Emilly Orr said...

Yeah--I have a watch and see attitude, because under ANY management, they've been extraordinarily disconnected from their user base, and that's been there since '06 if not earlier--but I like that they're finally standing up and saying, look, right now? We don't recommend this. Try something else.

Unfortunately, there are Emerald users on the grid now who are pretty much Emerald evangelicals--not only is Emerald PERFECT, they say (over and over and over), but anyone who USES it is perfect, and anyone who DOESN'T is a rat bastard Communist who wants SL to fail. It's freaky. It's just a viewer, guys. What the hell?

Serenity said...

Wow never seen people say that to me but I do know I've seen people go on and on THIS IS THE BEST VIEWER WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU?! YOU NEED TO USE THIS VIEWER! It's sometimes downright scary how much people will go to protect it now these days too.

Emilly Orr said...


Only thing I have that stops them--even for a bit--is saying the Lindens sent out emails advising people to switch viewers. They don't do that unless they suspect something is really wrong; in point of fact, they've never done that for any other viewer. Including the black-hat ones developed solely for ripping and reloading.

Sphynx Soleil said...

Likely because any typical blackhat viewer they can just block without nuking nearly HALF their userbase.

They have enough troubles getting users to stick, apparently, and auto-blocking Emerald without giving users time to switch would be seriously shooting themselves in the ass.

...hmmm, does that mean someone there actually has a few brain cells left? OMG I may pass out from shock...

They may block Emerald once they see that userbase shrink enough that they can afford to.

Emilly Orr said...

Yeah. There are--slow, and struggling, but perceptible--signs of business sense at the Labs. Could it be that it took M and his heavy-handed machinations to wake the Lindens the hell up? Who knows?

We'll see how it goes from here, though. And how much Emerald grovels to get back on that TPV approved list.