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Tali Rosca
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Tali Rosca

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LL has introduced some iconography to designate how clothes fit.

There are a fair bit of bizarre circumstances around this. Aesthetics/recognizability of the icons aside, it is arguable how well the categories align with what people are actually looking for when trying to find fitting clothes.

The system was created in cooperation with "Second Life content creators", but it doesn't seem anybody know who these creators are, and they are not telling.

I assume this is based on Ebbe Altberg's "when customers tell us how to do things, they are often wrong". But if there is one thing Second Life users actually do know about, it is outfitting their avatars and running zig-zag between the various hacks and workarounds needed to get a satisfactory result. Assuming that they are wrong about that and designing a categorization system for it from an ivory tower is… perhaps not the best way to show LL's new community engagement under Ebbe Altberg.

But the icing is really that LL had the gall to release the icons under copyright, requiring attribution with each use, i.e. on every vendor image using the icons. This is so amazingly tonedeaf that I don't know whether to be appalled or impressed.
In fairness, they have waived that copyright in a later update, but it doesn't change the fact that LL initially thought this was the way to do it.
 
Which Merchants Have Got Linden Lab’s Ear? » Ciaran Laval http://bit.ly/1mkxzHJ #SecondLife
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Ebbe Altberg promises changes to the ToS

200 people gathered for the Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education conference keynote is about as serious business as SL gets.
So when Ebbe Altberg tells them, not that LL "may perhaps look at the ToS", but that they are working on changing the wording, that sounds like an honest commitment.

I am not popping the champagne until I see the actual change, but I am finding the bottle. This is very good news.
 
LL Terms of Service: Ebbe – “we’re working on it…” | Living in the Modem World http://bit.ly/1nekGOY #SecondLife
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Was good to learn of a transcript here. Thanks, and...
Cheers. 
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With the acquisition of Oculus, Zuckerberg is painting pictures of virtual reality consultations with your doctor and ringside seats at events.

The thing is, that has very little to do with Oculus Rift.
Oculus Rift is a display technology, being fed from you graphics card. It is a logical extension of current display technology, and to some extent Hollywood's desperate attempt to make 3D cool.

This is not to slam Oculus. They are making a cool toy. But the mere fact that a small group funded by hobbyists can pull it off, and that several other players are at the same place at the same time tells us that it was bound to happen 'round about now. It was simply time for another go at it.

Facebook has not bought Oculus for the unique technology. They have bought Oculus to own the hype. Oculus is being hyped as "Virtual Reality", and 80'ies sci-fi has taught us what that is, allowing Zuckerberg to repeat those visions and make it sound like Facebook is bringing them to you, irrespective that Oculus has nothing to do with the input and infrastructure needed to make such scenarios work. (If they even can work, without full sensory deprivation. But that is another discussion).

Facebook is extremely good at abusing cookie loopholes and tricking people into checking the wrong box, leeching data that way. But that is not the data needed to build a virtual reality. Zuckerberg handwaves this by talking about "playing the long game".

If you want to see that long game played, look at Google. Street View, Project Tango. Google is on a trajectory of making the sensor devices smaller and more ubiquitous, going from Street View vans to indoor scanning with mobile phones, and it seems a fair bet that Glass will also soon play an active role in feeding data. This is the sort of data needed to make Zuckerberg's vision of "virtual reality participation" happen; to join other people as events are happening, rather than simply play Call of Duty with the monitor strapped to your face.

Facebookulus is a way for Zuckerberg to say "Look at me too!", banking on people remembering The Matrix rather than Street View when they think about presenting a shared dataspace for end-users, and what infrastructure it will take to make it happen.
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A Facebookulus Rift

The metaverse and gaming world was rattled by the surprising – and frankly, poorly received – news that the much hyped and anticipated Oculus Rift was bought by Facebook.

It has left people wondering about the future direction of Oculus, and more than a few backers of the original kickstarter feeling rather betrayed. While the whole point of Kickstarter is to, well, kickstart a business which can then go on to operate in the market, few expected that they would be funding a Facebook venture.

My personal take is that Facebook desperately needed something to counter Google Glass, and while the two products are, in fact, almost diametrically opposed in use, they both taste enough of cyberspace that they can battle it out on equal footing in the headlines, lending some air of hip innovation to Facebook which was sorely losing on that front.

But what that means for Oculus as a separate product is a question. It is no secret that I am deeply distrustful of Facebook and its business practices, and I feel there is historical justification for this. Palmer Luckey, co-founder of Oculus, has promised that Oculus will not be pushing any Facebook integration or agenda.
There are a couple of problems with that promise:
One, having sold the company, he is in no position to decide that.
Two, it is how Facebook operates. Believing that Oculus will somehow be exempt from this is naïve in the extreme. I hardly believe he is that naïve, so I can only assume that he is doing the "this is absolutely, unquestionably true and written in stone this month" (which, incidentally, certain Lindens are also adept at). He may even have practiced enough double-think that he actually believes it to be the honest truth, but most people are skeptical.

Markus "Notch" Persson (of Minecraft fame) puts it well:
"Facebook is not a company of grass-roots tech enthusiasts. Facebook is not a game tech company. Facebook has a history of caring about building user numbers, and nothing but building user numbers. People have made games for Facebook platforms before, and while it worked great for a while, they were stuck in a very unfortunate position when Facebook eventually changed the platform to better fit the social experience they were trying to build.

Their motives are too unclear and shifting, and they haven’t historically been a stable platform. There’s nothing about their history that makes me trust them, and that makes them seem creepy to me."
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Tali Rosca

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LL has a unique ability to avoid good press like it was the plague.

It would have been so easy to play the good guys and let Emily Short go with a pat on the back (and even a boost), but no; LL played the standard corporation card. –Which, it should be said, they are fully in their right to do.

Apparently, they have decided to keep the rights to Versu just in case they may at some point want to do something with it.

But +Ciaran Laval is completely right in pointing out how badly this attitude grates against their “just trust us. We have your best interests in mind”.
LL can “take and reuse” content as they please. That is explicitly what the ToS says, and I don’t understand why Hamlet keeps insinuating that this is a misunderstanding. The only thing we have against that is a non-official blog promise going, “Of course we would never use the rights we have for some corporate maneuver. We love the creators”. And then they go out and do it to a well-known and admired creator.

Apparently, they love them so much that they want to hug them to death.

LL, once again, I have to say: Your words, your actions and your legal documents are not in line. Though worryingly, your actions and legal documents seem to be the ones converging.
 
New World Notes: Limbo Status of Emily Short's Long-in-Development Interactive Fiction Project at Linden Lab Goes Viral http://bit.ly/NfT6UO #SecondLife
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I see Firestorm has mostly caught up. It will be interesting to see how many times I will now be recommended to switch to Firestorm to get the awesome, genius new killer features they have invented (and which the rest of the viewers have had for 6+ months).
 
Firestorm Viewer 4.6.1-40478 Released-Review | Nalates' Things & Stuff http://bit.ly/1fu5APr #SecondLife
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I am honestly a little curious to see if this will now lead to the general belief that Firestorm has invented and introduced massive updates to SL-as-we-know-it, or if people have, in fact, realized that Firestorm was lagging behind.
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Have her in circles
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Tali Rosca

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Diverging a bit from my usual topics, these photos are just so gorgeous and unique that I wanted to share them.
Talented Ukrainian nature photographer Vyacheslav Mishchenko has an eye for taking photos that bring small natural worlds up to our level, showing us how the world might look if we could see it through the eyes of an ant, snail or lizard. Mishchenko's interest with the miniature natural world ...
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Corporate protectionism run amok

Somewhat apropos the LL ToS, in another case of "of course corporations should have the rights by default", Sony blocked the movie Sintel from YouTube, claiming to own the copyright to it.

Now, for those not in the know: Sintel is an 3D animated "open source" movie created by the Blender Foundation entirely from scratch, as a demonstration of both Blender's features and the community's abilities.
The claim that Sony owns the rights it patently, obviously absurd. Yet nevertheless, Sony claims they do, and * poof *, it disappears.

What happened is most likely (this is me making an educated guess) that some Sony-owned program showed a clip from Sintel. Sony submitted the entire program to the automated content tracking system, and Sintel is now being flagged for "using clips from that program".

But despite there being an explanation which is not pure malice from Sony's side, the question is still: Why do Sony (and other corporations) think it is ok to submit content tracking ID for material they do not own? It would be fairly easy to exclude specific segments from a program when submitting. But I guess that a corporation cannot be burdened with such work; with the task of not lying about ownership until they are caught in it.

This ties back to my complaint about the attitude that "Corporations are the important players; they should by default have all the rights, and individuals will have to fight to claw back their rights millimeter by millimeter".
The lopsided, corporate-lobbied terms like the DMCA's "guilty until proven innocent", or LL's "we can do anything we please with your work" is an attitude which seems to take root as more and more companies consider it the standard, and people are boiled slowly to accept it.
At the moment of writing, the official Blender Foundation version of Sintel on Youtube is unplayable. Instead, it shows the following message: “This video contains content from Sony Pictures Movies & Shows, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.” No … Continue reading →
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I have repeatedly said that VR is being re-invented in cycles, every time promising to revolutionize everything. (Interestingly, it seems to be on roughly the same cycle as voxel graphics).
Yes, we get slightly sleeker technology each time, but the fundamental obstacles of use cases, motion and interface remain the same.

"What you have to remember is that people have been making the same pitch as Zuckerberg for a good thirty years, and it has never come to fruition. "I didn’t hear anything that Zuckerberg said that hasn’t been talked about before in the VR community for a very long time"
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Jaron Lanier, who serves as a kind of patron saint for the idea of virtual reality, says Oculus reminds him of the first VR company, VPL Research, which arrived in 1983. "So many of the stories that come out of Oculus and the bits of rhetoric that emanate from it are similar to VPL," he tells WIRED. "It's sometimes bizarre for me. Feels like a time warp." It does indeed."
Mark Zuckerberg is betting we'll live in a world where you strap on a pair of googles and, through the wonders of virtual reality, meet face-to-face with your doctor. That's a bet even he can't cover.
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MakeHuman put down a major milestone, and officially released the 1.0.0.
If you are at all interested in 3D modeling, it is well worth looking at, even if just for taking inspiration from their well-laid out quad mesh topology. It is really nice work, and quite educational.
After many years of development, MakeHuman 1.0.0 is released.
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Hmm... the news don't show up in Feedly yet. Thanks for sharing.
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Have her in circles
168 people
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Scripter, sculptor, sometimes builder and overall Rennaisance Cat.
Introduction
With a both professional and personal interest in computers as a media (and the associated storytelling), I joined SL at the cusp of its mainstream explosion in early 2007, in anticipation of soon having to explain to customers what all the buzz was about.

Coming at it with skepticism bordering on prejudice, I was nevertheless instantly hooked when I saw the opportunities for building and scripting, and realized that this was a platform for creation, and not merely The Sims in 3D.

SL never took off as a generic platform and faded from professional sight, but I stayed as a hobby, exploring whatever aspect catches my fancy; from artistic to technical.

With a feline curiosity, I seek knowledge about how and why things work, loath to take on the responsibilities and deadlines of turning such knowledge into marketable products, but eager to share it with interested cohorts.
Bragging rights
Inventor of SL's politest death ray.