Maybe I Get Points for Trying…

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For the record, I did try and get into Sun’s Second Life situated press conference today, it just didn’t work out. For the first five minutes, I received a message saying the location was full. For the next couple, I got a message saying that I was not allowed there. After that, the Second Life client – which is in a very Alpha state on Linux – hung, taking my desktop instance with it. When Second Life goes down, it really goes down. Incidentally, if you have problems getting the client to run on Linux, follow the instructions here.

Having played around with Second Life a bit this weekend, however, in preparation for today’s (botched) attempt at attending I must confess that I still don’t “get” Second Life. Not the technical part – I think what the folks from Linden Labs have accomplished is hugely impressive [1] – the social part. My explorations have not taken me very far, so admittedly I’m no expert on the subject, but just on principle Second Life confuses me. Perhaps, unlike the allure of MySpace or reality TV, I’ll come to understand it in time. Or maybe I’m just too old and crotchety.

Either way, sorry I missed the Sun folks – hope it went off well.

Disclaimer: Sun’s a RedMonk client.

[1] I’ve linked to this before, but skip to about 16:40 in the video here to hear about Second Life’s use of Mono.


  1. Drop me an e-mail if you want something of a tour, I can give you the programmer by day SL builder/scripter by night tour, and/or put you in touch with people who are working full time in SecondLife.

  2. Hi Stephen,
    Sorry you didn’t make it in today – SL can be a technical challenge, no doubt, but it’s still early days. We wanted in principle to keep the event open, but we had a surge of interest at the last minute and we were concerned that our “region” would crash or freeze. Nevertheless, we’re sure you’ll have more opportunities to interact with Sun in SL.

    And yes, you get mad points for trying. I am confident that, in time, you’ll come to enjoy it very much.

  3. You aren’t alone. Try as I might, blaming my dysfunction on trying to explore with an underpowered laptop, I cannot get fired up about Second Life.

  4. Hmm, maybe I should write a longer discourse on why IT people should pay attention to SecondLife. I think though that I have a simple answer: persistence. Land in SecondLife is basically server hosting in relatively small pieces.

    For example I pay 100L$/week for a 20 prim spot in a mall, so for about $1.50/month I’m getting persistent server space and compute time for as much as 240 scripts, 120 pictures, and a smaller amount of text and data. I could easily get more for less if I wasn’t paying for position in the mall.

    By comparison, I can get a web hosting account with databases and CGI permissions for $17.95/month from a major hosting provider. That has far more capacity, but cost is higher and the skills to setup and use it are quite a bit more rare than a SecondLife resident needs to buy some in world objects and lay them out for themselves.

    Zefrank did a show discussing myspace in a similar light, both are lowering the barrier of entry for authorship. SecondLife is going further, stepping on the preserve of IT departments and hosting providers–persistence.

  5. Andy: would definitely appreciate chatting w/ people who are working full time in SL. that’s fascinating to me.

    Mat: gotcha. may be worth registering folks next time.

    David: i’ll give it a chance, i’m sure, but so far it’s just not doing much for me. could be that the Linux client is rather primitive.

    Andy: we definitely need to chat, because i’m not at all clear on how a hosting account compares with SL. shows what i know.

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