Saturday, November 5, 2011

I know I can't take one more step towards you, 'cos all that's waiting is regret

Welcome to the Steam Emporium (and a tip of the hat to Miss Terry Lightfoot for finding it). Among my favorites: their strange and wonderful bookends collection, and their steam walking sticks collection. Most of these items are for sale, but keep in mind that they are one-of-a-kind collectibles of their type, so prices are high.

Towards more American-centric creations, Dippin' Dots has filed for bankruptcy. Obscurely, they also assert that they will remain in business. I guess futuristic ice cream isn't as profitable as they thought it would be, all those years ago.

More news from the world beyond the screen--today is Bank Transfer Day. To that end, here's a list of seven banks that are actually amazing at customer service and fairly high-yield checking and savings accounts.

In other news, I'm introducing Surviving the World on the sidebar. Dante Shepherd is a research scientist working out of Maryland in a fairly prestigious thinktank, and this is what he does in his spare time. Lucky us, because he's funny, smart, and well worth reading. I've been following him for a while and I've finally decided he needs to be a daily read.

And for some unknown reason, the FBI is suspicious of Second Life. Yeah, I have no clue why either.

And finally, over on Laughing Squid, there's mention of the new Kina Grannis video: using 288,000 jelly beans--provided by Jelly Belly, of course--and taking over two years to complete, start to finish. Even better? It's not a bad little song. Kudos to her, and kudos to Jelly Belly for donating the beans.

The best part? Joining her mailing list gets you a free download of the acoustic version of the song. A great stop-motion vid and a free song just for getting news about the artist? I'm there.

Back to the last names JIRA, last seen here:
Strange that just a seemingly minor change like this could cause Second Life to lose so much of it's charm. Regardless of intentions, it's a comlpete mess as it is and really ought to be fixed.
Spelling not corrected, and partially, that's because it did make Second Life different from other MMOs, and even other social networks (because let's be fair, SL is both, and neither).
On Blue Mars the log in is unknown to the public and the display name is all that is shown. It was great (sarcasm) to have someone take my name, throw numbers and ascii into it and walk off laughing. Last names mean individuality, an individuality which was taken away. Resident was not the way to go.
Again the charge (and the not at all inaccurate charge) of impersonation of existing names and avatars, which is a real problem. (And yet another problem that the Lindens seem to care nothing about.)
I believe removing this option only makes it easier for people to make alts that grief. I'm not saying that people with the last name resident are griefers/smappers/bots etc, but it certainly looks like it immediately.
The "Resident" surname, or even worse, now, the lack of any surname at all (which is seen now and again in the comments in that very JIRA), makes this sort of knee-jerk rushing to judgement not only easier, but encouraged. It's a very bad trend that the Lindens should step in and stop.
SL without proper last names, be then LL provided or not, makes it feel like IMVU.
Speaking of which, IMVU has for many months now, deliberately been treading on the toes of Second Life. To wit:
(from the miscellaneous album)

This has been running for at least six months. Another variant that often pops up is a referral site they've set up called "", for Google searchers who can't spell, one would imagine. I'm also curious how many people sign up for IMVU thinking it's Second Life from these paid ads.

So making Second Life appear more like IMVU? Not in anyone's best interest unless the Lindens are actually angling to sell the property to IMVU.
I wholeheartedly agree. SL names are a part of the culture of SL. SL is not Facebook. SL is not Google+. They are them and we are us.
But it is interesting that both Facebook and Google+ seem so insistent on real names, to the point that the Lindens briefly flirted with the concept of real names only...with "display names" being the solution to the "problem".

Yeah. Like that ever would have gone over. That lead balloon never left the ground for one single second, nor should it have.
Last names actually contributed to the creativity of residents. The first thing you got to do in SL was to choose a last name, and then, with that as a parameter, create a first name. The last name encouraged people to take care with their first name, think about it, because they were creating a NAME, an identity, not just an account label. Now residents are just creating an account label.
This is an excellent point, too. I'm thinking of other games I've played, like Runes of Magic--I chose one account-level name, with every character created tied to that account name, but not dependent on it. City of Heroes does it slightly differently--you have one global name (which is known if you friend anyone or they friend you), and then all your heroes and villians (or Praetorians), that are sub-categories off that global name.

In City of Heroes, at least, you can change your global name...once. (After that it's kind of a pain and involves paying the company for a formal name transfer token.) But before you change it, your name is your first character.

Of course, this wouldn't work in Second Life, because so many people want their alts to remain alts, with zero connection to their main accounts--and believe me, I understand why. And trust me on this, it's not always for prurient kinky sex options--for instance, say you're a major estate owner (waves at Des). You have alts and, though most of them are known, not all of them are. And sometimes, you might want to just get out and wander the grid, without having to worry about anyone contacting you for support, sim help, estate issues, rent questions...whatever.

I'd imagine the same thing would go for major store owners, but even getting away from rental issues or store support, there are valid reasons why people would want that sense of separation.

Instead, what we have now is a group of people who use main accounts and alts, who use titlers for specific roleplay or store-group identification, who have last names...and another group of people who may be intelligent, charming, witty, wonderful people, who are nigh instantly dismissed for being Not of the Tribe, stupid, unintelligent, children. Yeah. That worked, Lindens, what's your next plan? Set your server room on fire?

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