As someone who was very involved in the second wave of virtual worlds on the internet (it depends if you count Habitat or MUDs as the first wave or not), I’ve watched them periodically come up and die again with amusement. It was always obvious the first time around, that it wasn’t a technology problem. Sure, Alphaworlds, Black Sun, Microsoft Virtual Worlds and V-Chat (my project) could have looked better or been slightly more responsive, but their main failings weren’t polygon counts. The main failings were all about having no reason to exist. none. They were novel, they were amusing for a short time, but they didn’t really bring much to the table that wasn’t there before. In the end it was just providing a new way of text chat. Adobe Atmosphere came out, gave me and the V-World’ers I know a laugh, and then died looking for a market.
Then came Linden Labs. Especially when the first details came out, I was really unimpressed. It seemed like a technology built by cyberhippies with nothing new to offer except some vague notions of on-line togetherness. I read some articles about it, and then ignored it, expecting it to go away soon. It persevered though and grew. They took their economy seriously and started selling real estate and making it possible for people to easily make a living within world (neither of these things was their idea, both have been done before). They started making large deals and announcing incredible usage (not profit) numbers. Of course, it is all a sham. The above article does a nice job skewering the Linden Labs numbers. Does this mean Second Life is a failure? Nope, even their (corrected) meager numbers are quite nice. Does this mean that Second Life is the first viable (long term) virtual world? Well, depends on if you want to count the on-line RPGs. Those were successful and have been around a lot longer. The question is if a purpose-less (non-game) virtual world can make it.
I guess we’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out.
It is obviously just getting going (even Lark didn’t have a user comment yet), but I like that they have the local press reviews as well as people ones. Nicely organized, well arranged. We’ll see how they grow…
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So, I’m staying a nice hotel in the self-proclaimed capital of Silicon Valley. Of course, they have hot and cold running internet (wireless and wired!), but there is no outlet with 10 feet of the desk (where the wired internet is). Unless, of course, you move the bed away from the wall and unplug the clock.
Ya know, I’d like a Menorah in addition to XMas trees if they are going to be on public property too. I however think that suing the port “to make a point” during XMas season was a stupid move 10 times over. All it does it make all of us look petty and horrible. If it was a cross or a creche, something undeniably religious, I’d sign up on that suit myself…
Then again, the responses to the article also harken to my worst fears. The kind of stupidity on the other side “This is a Christian Nation” kinds of crap…
You get what you deserve. Everyone knows that the situation in Iraq is a quagmire and that our plans (or lack thereof) have been flawed and are still flawed. Report after report comes out saying that we are doing the wrong things and yet the president feels firm in his convictions. He is the decider, the commander in chief. His will is strong. Which is exactly why so many of you voted for him, right? The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Democrats on Iraq report: Bush just doesn’t get it
Now, there are two ways to look at this diagram. One is Microsoft is Stupid and the other is Microsoft is Evil. Having all these different versions is going to do nothing but confuse customers. How many times has this lesson been proven?
The Microsoft is Stupid argument goes like this: Microsoft is being good intentioned, meaning to let users pick the features they want for the price they want. This gives Microsoft customers a lot of options and options are always good, right? Having worked there for eight years, I know that the ‘soft isn’t as evil as most folks think. More, bumbling and not aware of its own size and influence. Kind of like the St. Bernard that is continually knocking things over. The folks in Vista marketing didn’t quite get the fact that the differences between all the different versions only make sense to a Software Design Engineer with a degree in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon. Now, when my mom goes to the store to buy her copy of Vista, she’ll just stare at them for an hour and then call me, an Engineering Manager with a degree in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics from Carnegie Mellon. While I understand the differences between the various versions of Vista, I’m gonna hafta figure out how to explain it to her. Good luck on that. “You don’t need disk encryption” “why not?” etc… Maybe this won’t matter ’cause most folks will just get the version of Vista that Dell slaps on their new machines and only the ones who care will upgrade. We’ll see.
Now, The Microsoft is Evil argument will have a lot of traction, especially on Mac fan websites and Slashdot. The argument is this: when faced with such a daunting set of options, most folks will just go for Ultimate, ’cause that must be the good one, right. No need to figure out which has what, just get the one with everything. This plays into American’s love of supersizing and Hummers. Now, when I said that Microsoft wasn’t as evil as most people thought, I should have added as a whole. There are some absolutely evil bastards working there who are just as plotting and evil as most people think. So, I think that the evil argument has some weight as well.
So, was the Vista version model the product of good-natured idiocy or soul sucking evil? Only Steve Ballmer knows.