Monday, April 30, 2007

// project open letter

In the past eighteen months, Second Life has expanded, growing from a small community of early adopters to a platform supporting millions of users. Linden Lab has created a world that inspires a deep level of passion in its users and provides unprecedented opportunities to share creatively, socially, and financially.

With explosive levels of growth often come unexpected problems. In keeping with your company's policy and rich history of resident involvement, we the undersigned would like to take this opportunity to address some concerns that we feel have gone unanswered for too long.

There are some consistent, ongoing problems that are getting worse under heavy load, not better, and are not simply irritants but problems that are causing financial loss in some cases, which is unacceptable. Here is a brief list of the main concerns:

* Inventory loss - this is a devastating problem that is worsening. We have no ability to protect our own inventories through backups, and are trusting you to protect that data. This is the highest priority. Sensible inventory limits (on non-verified accounts only), combined with better management tools and ways to protect our inventory ourselves would help to mitigate the problem as well. Regardless, this cannot continue - we will not accept financial loss as a feature of Second Life. It is your responsibility as service provider to ensure our data is not lost, and you are failing us.

* Problems with Find and Friends List - we continue to see search outages on a far too regular basis. It is bad enough trying to get anywhere without being able to use search, but many users are also paying money for classified ads. Our friends lists just do not work reliably any longer, after years without an issue with them. If America Online/MSN/Yahoo can provide presence information for hundreds of millions of users, surely there is a way to make our friends lists work again.

* Grid stability and performance - teleports fail quite regularly, especially under heavy load. Attachments end up in places they did not start out in, and sim performance varies wildly. None of this makes for a very pleasant experience for users. Long promised improvement to physics and scripting would help dramatically to reduce these problems, but there are a lot of other scalability issues as well. It often feels like the grid is coming apart at the seams. The promised use of limiting logins of non-verified accounts during peak load has been severely lacking. This would be an effective interim solution to load issues, but Linden Lab seems unwilling to use it.

* Build tool problems - the importance of build tools that actually work as promised cannot be overstated enough - we rely on them to create content. Prim drift, disappearing prims, imprecise placement, problems with linking and other issues with the tools need to be addressed. Too much time is being spent trying to work around the problems.

* Transaction problems - inventory deliveries are failing with an alarming (and annoying) frequency, leaving merchants with the burden of replacing missing content and having to try to confim the transaction in the first place. We trust that our L$ balances are accurate, but given recent problems, that is a cause for concern as well, and one we place our full trust in you to ensure its accuracy.

We remain fully supportive of Second Life and are more than willing to continue doing our part to help, but our confidence is steadily being eroded due to a general lack of communication and the apparent failure to successfully address the many issues detailed above. What we are asking for is that these problems are addressed immediately, ahead of new features, and that we are able to see tangible improvements. We accept that this will not happen overnight but it also cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely either.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.


The Undersigned

Above is the full text of the letter being sent to Linden Lab out of concern for ongoing stability problems that are worsening as Second Life is experiencing massive growth. For more information about the motivations behind the project and, please see the projects about section.

Many thanks to Cristiano Midnight, for trying to make a difference for us all. Lets get behind this, if it means anything to you, sign.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dr Qui

Laugh? Oh hell yes.

This one's for Angus ;-)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

This Changes Everything

Watch this, read this, and rejoice. Finally, sweet as a nut, here comes sculptured ("scupties") prims :-)

It's been a long time since SL did something that didn't piss me off. Well done. Now, just make the world stable enough to take them, eh?

First Attempt

Had a go at some Machinima over the weekend. Just a few shots from a ball in Caledon, cobbled together, that's bound to cause a right old stink on the grid.

Top stuff by those that sorted it all. For plot bits and clues, see the blogs of: The Duchess of Carntaigh,
The Duchess of Loch Avie, Mr O'Toole, Mr. Pearse, Miss Kiralette Kelley and that of Lord Bardhaven.

I was just a by-stander with a copy of FRAPS :-)

Hats off to ya folks.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Whacking his Pony in Public

Simon is leaving us today, which is a great shame. It's always nice to have a ginger around to make you feel good about yourself.

We did a pint or 2 at lunch and chipped in and bought him presents. This afternoon we made him batter a brightly coloured pinnata horse while wearing a pillow case in the courtyard, just to make sure he had no credibility or self respect left.

Nice chap, but alas he's smugly moving to pastures new. Treacherous little shit weasel ;-)

We'll miss him, but he's not done sod all for weeks so nobody is really going to notice a peak in workload.

Keep in touch Si, and thanks for everything over the last couple of years. Remember what Messenger is for, and be happy dude :-)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

All in the Name of Science

Fair doos, I may been a bit obsessed in my quest for Super Powers over the years. All that medical research and experimental narcotics.

Anyway, I may have met my match in the 'tired-that-one-and-just-burnt-out-a-load-more-neuros' department in the form of Anatoli Petrovich Bugorski. This man, would never have to buy a pint in my presence.

Anyone who knows me knows I like my armchair physics. I've had a permanent search in eBay for the last 2 years under the phrase of 'hadron accelerator' (thought this is mainly to use as a Super Lair and to take advantage of the giant electromagnets in launching superheated plasma into space to take out satellites.

I digress.

The basics are thus. When two protons collide in an accelerator (though personally, and this is just me, I prefer the term atom smasher) they make muons (and some other micro bits of lepton particle crap).

One Russki physicist offered this analogy: "it's like two Soviet Fiats colliding to produce a bus and a Mercedes Benz 600". That's the biblical thing about high-energy physics: the total is invariably mysteriously beautiful and entirely different than the sum of its parts. In short, these things are not pissin' about.

So it was, in 1978, that when the proton beam entered Anatoli (Dr. Atomic) Bugorski's skull it measured about 200,000 rads, and when it exited, having collided with the inside of his head, it weighed in at a healthy 300,000. Bugorski, a 36-year-old researcher at the Institute for High Energy Physics in Protvino, was checking a piece of accelerator equipment that had malfunctioned - as had, in all the best origin stories, the several safety mechanisms. Leaning over the piece of equipment, Bugorski stuck his bonce in the beams path and saw "a flash brighter than a thousand suns". According to him, he didn't feel a god-damn thing.

From what I know about radiation, about 500 to 600 rads is enough to kill a chap. Now, to be fair, I've never heard of anyone else who's been exposed to radiation in the form of a proton beam in the side of the noggin before and certainly never met anyone with such a claim to fame. The left side of Bugorski's face became "swollen beyond recognition" and he was rushed off to clinic in Moscow so that doctors could observe his dying days with the morbid fascination the medical profession do.

Over the next few days, the skin on the back of his head and on his face just next to his left nostril peeled away to reveal the path the beam had burned through the skin, the skull, and his brain tissue. The inside of his head continued to smoulder away: all the nerves on the left were gone in two years, paralysing that side of his face in the same expression for the next 2 decades. Bugorski, however, remains a normally functioning happy go lucky human being, fully capable of continuing his work in the field of particle physics until his recent retirement.

And still, so many years on, Anatoli claims no super powers. He must be gutted. He claims not to be able to stop bullets, leap buildings, chase down trains, or control his capitalist oppressors like puppets with the power of his mind. Fair enough. I've read Planetary. In that political climate I'd keep it quiet too.

My hat is off to you sir.

Ickly Biddy Prims

Very cool. I didn't know some of this :-)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

SciBAr Derby

Derby SciBAr, a kinda public discussion forum thingy that'll be looking at "the implications of science and technology in everyday life", is launching from 6pm on the 30th.

Topical scientific issues are up for debate over a pint and a bag of plain crisps at the Five Lamps, in Duffield Road. It's gonna be on the last Monday of every month, from 6pm to 7.40pm, and the first three sessions will discuss the oh-so topical 'climate change'. It's also got a live webcast so you don't have to interact with anyone or leave the comfort of the spare room.

Might be interesting.

Oh, and speaking of climate change. We had another site go beta early on this week. All the best to Steve and Adele on Big Green Switch. Looks like I'll be doing some video and stuff for them after the BBC thing last year.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Watch Out Kent

Kryptonite is no longer the stuff of myth. Well, kinda.

A new mineral matching its 'unique chemistry' - as described in the last Supes flick - has been heaved out of the ground in Serbia.

Unfortunately, the real stuff is white and totally harmless to reporters (other wise I'd be sprinkling it around our offices and recording my observations in the name of science). There's more than one type of kryptonite though, as all good geeks know. Though the newly found element doesn't seem to be particularly deadly to indigenous plant-life or contain any noticeably traces of alien cosmic gasses.

Dr Chris Stanley (mineralogist at The Natural History Museum) said: "I'm afraid it's not green and it doesn't glow either - although it will react to ultraviolet light by fluorescing a pinkish-orange..."

"Towards the end of my research I searched the web using the mineral's chemical formula - sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide - and was amazed to discover that same scientific name, written on a case of rock containing kryptonite stolen by Lex Luther from a museum in the film Superman Returns."

"The new mineral does not contain fluorine (which it does in the film) and is white rather than green but, in all other respects, the chemistry matches that for the rock containing kryptonite."

Dr Yvon Le Page (of the Canadian National Research Council) said: "'Knowing a material's crystal structure means scientists can calculate other physical properties of the material, such as its elasticity or thermochemical properties, and being able to analyse all the properties of a mineral, both chemical and physical, brings us closer to confirming that it is indeed unique. Finding out that the chemical composition of a material was an exact match to an invented formula for the fictitious kryptonite was the 'coincidence of a lifetime'."

Imagine that on ya CV. "Nov '06: Discovered kryptonite". Sweet.

Alas the new compound can't actually be named kryptonite (under international nomenclature rules) as it has jack all to do with krypton (a colourless, odourless, fairly expensive gas in the existing Periodic Table), which is a gosh darn shame. Unfortunately, solid krypton is a kinda white crystalline stuff with a face-centered cubic structure that's common to all the "rare gases". It looks like they will be calling it Jadarite instead.

One can only assume that this mine is the crash site of a long abandoned alien vessel, and I look forward in the coming days to an announcement regarding Vibranium.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Saints Day

"We, as members of the House of Commons and House of Lords, meeting in Westminster Hall this St George's Day, Monday 23rd April 2007, hereby establish an All Party Parliamentary Group for St George's Day, the aim of which will be to promote the 23rd April as an annual celebration of England and the country's Patron Saint, St George and to campaign for St. George's Day to be established as a public holiday for all the people of England"

The inaugural meeting of St George's Day All Party Parliamentary Group took place on today at The House of Commons and The Committee was duly established with over 15 MP's attending. In addition to Andrew Rosindell who has tabled the Early Day Motion , MP's from across the House attended including David Blunkett , Peter Bottomley , Sir Nicholas Winterton and his wife Lady Ann Winterton.

It's nice to have the knowledge that at last someone is doing something to foster the sense of pride in this country of ours. I understand it was free to get into Alton Towers today if you went with a dragon (no jokes please).

Go on my son :-)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Daleks in Manhattan: Wank

Another episode of Who floated to the surface this evening.

It had nothing new that was any good, but was at least (I suppose) set in 30s New York.

What did it have? It had boiler suit clad humanoid pigs in the NY sewers (blatantly akin to the "alien" from the Slitheen story in season one and a shadow of the Ogrons) and some weak genetic botch job of a Kelad/human hybrid that graced the cover of the Radio Times earlier this week.

I just hope they are saving their budget for a crackin'
Master episode at seasons end, cos this is starting to get thin. After the belting Shakespeare episode I was hoping for great things. Such is life.

It's not helping that I'm also getting rapidly bored of Martha Jones. She's just a bit too familiar too quick. I don't want her to instantly fill Roses shoes, she hasn't earnt the privilege yet, even if she did
resuscitate him in Smith & Jones.

Oh, and joy of joys this was a 2 parter (
Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks) so there's more wanky whining new-style Dalek next week. "There are four of us, and millions of humans. If we are superior, why are we not victorious?". Boo fuckin' hoo. Cult of Skaro my arse. Jesus guys, just nuke the fuckin' planet will ya, your supposed to be the superior beings. Planetside, it's the basics, get a grip.

You could generate electricity off Terry Nation he must be turning so fast in his grave.

Must try harder. See me. C+.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I'm Back. And it's About Time.



Okay. See how we go. One more time. New title. Sharp intake of breath. Suck in the gut. On my terms.
An all new me. No bull. Yada, yada.

Things are a bit different. More than one life now.
Bit fatter. New series of Who. New rabbit. New blogger features. New shit at work. Passed 40 last month. Just that bit less tolerant.

The cream of lactose goodness
, or an old stoner rambling on about his fantasy life? You be the judge.