Concierge Townhall Transcript

Thanks to all those who took part in the event yesterday, for those that missed it – here is the transcript for the October 26th Concierge Townhall event.

Click below to read on..

[14:56] Jack Linden: We’ll get started in a short while. Fritz Linden will be fielding the questions – by direct IM to him only please
[14:59] Robin Linden: Hi everybody, we’re waiting for Joe to join us
[14:59] Robin Linden: He’s going to talk to you for a few minutes about some of the work he and the dev team are doing. If you have questions, please IM them to Fritz
[15:02] Robin Linden: Please say hey to Joe Linden. Joe is the VP Platform Technology and Development. Joe will say a few words and then answer questions.

[15:03] Joe Linden: Hello, all. It’s my pleasure to join you today to answer some of your more technical questions, listen to you concerns, and hear your thoughts on how we can continue to make Second Life a more stable, productive, and enjoyable platform for you and your customers. My role at LL is to focus on the scalability and reliability of the platform as we grow our user base, so I can imagine that you’ll have some great questions for me. 😉

[15:04] Joe Linden: First, I thought I take just a few minutes to give you an overview of the development process at LL today. We have a large (and growing) body of software professionals, grouped into 4 development “studios”. Each studio selects projects based on our long-term architectural roadmap, our short-term priority list, and from a pool of “hot issues” that arise from time to time. At any given time, each studio has between 5 and 8 projects rolling. Each project undergoes a thorough design review, most are coded using modern agile development methodologies (i.e. pair programming), have specific unit tests built to verify the code functions as designed, then each project moves into a QA cycle that may last from several weeks to several months depending on the complexity of the design.

[15:05] Joe Linden: Many of you know we have a main production grid (called “agni”) and a beta test grid, but you probably aren’t aware that we maintain a set of seven other Second Life grids solely for internal QA purposes. We are constantly moving projects in and out of these test grids during the development life cycle, providing design and operational feedback to the developers. When a project nears its completion, it enters a final verification phase where a detailed test plan is completed by the QA department, and if it fully passes that round of testing, the code is then “merged” down into a branch that is targeted for release. We then use an independent group of testers to reverify that the task is complete in a separate round of QA on the “release candidate” branch. And, finally, that branch is usually made available for a period of time for resident testing on the preview grid. So, in essence, each project, feature, or bug fix undergoes four separate rounds of testing, and must pass each of them.

[15:07] Joe Linden: So, that must have many of you asking “Why are there so many rough spots in our deploys recently?” The answer is fairly simple, really: Second Life has now become a nearly organic thing composed mostly of the varied content created by its residents over a three year period. Our test grids, including the public Beta Test preview, are only a general and limited approximation of the production grid with its 22 TB of objects and assets, and 12-15K concurrent user base. So, even a carefully crafted, thoroughly tested feature may behave in ways we simply can’t simulate or anticipate when deployed to the main grid. As I have said in a blog post or two, our deploy days are much like monitoring a Shuttle launch at NASA in that no matter how much “simulation” or training those teams undertake before a mission, there are always surprises and events that require immediate troubleshooting, quick decisions, and action. We do much the same as we launch new code on every other Wednesday morning.

[15:08] Joe Linden: Without bogging down in details, I can tell you that we are working on a way to deploy and test new code using the richness of the production grid to limit some of the kinds of “surprises” we have had to deal with recently (missing textures, grey avatars, etc.) This effort will go a long way to improving the stability of each release, limit our overall downtime for the deploy, and allow us to correct problems without having to bring the entire grid down. More on that work in a later blog post.

[15:09] Joe Linden: So, to your questions and issues…. Let me anticipate two of your first questions and provide you with some new information.

[15:10] Joe Linden: First: Overall simulator performance degradation and time dilation spikes. Believe it or not, this issue has been a top priority for the development team for over three months. We have had (and continue to have) some of our most senior development talent solely dedicated to finding and fully correcting the cause of this serious problem. My news today isn’t that we have fixed the problem, but I can say the team has advised me today that they believe they have found the cause and have something ready to test later this evening. I can assure you that when we determine that this longstanding issue has been fixed, I will announce it on the blog, and we’ll plan to push it out as a rolling update as soon as practical. We will not wait for the next planned downtime to push this out. We know how serious this is and it’s our top priority.

[15:11] Joe Linden: Second: Our next priority is to identify all of the causes of the, so-called, “silent crashes” such that regions will sometimes crash with no apparent warning or cause and do not properly save their “simstate.” This is serious because it also risks the short-term content loss of objects created but not saved since the last hourly simstate save. We also have an active team working on this problem, and while their solution isn’t as imminent as the performance problem, we believe we now know where the problem lies and may have a fix soon for this equally serious problem.

[15:12] Joe Linden: We’ll keep you posted on both of these critical issues. Now, on to your questions…
[15:12] Robin Linden: OK – open for questions

[15:12] Araldia Primbee:What are the chances of uptime indicators on our islands. This would be handy to be able to know if the sim has crashed while owner offline
[15:13] Joe Linden: I saw this as a suggestion earlier and I think it’s a great idea. We have the information available and it shouldn’t be difficult to surface it for you. I’ll take it as a future feature suggestion. Thanks.

[15:14] Kingsbury Yeats: will we be able to purchase bettter servers or higher performance sims
[15:15] Joe Linden: We’ve already announced that we’re upgrading to a new (Class 5) server design and as we run out of the existing inventory we’ll just start integrating them in. We won’t be purchasing any more class 4 systems.
[15:16] Joe Linden: So, there’s really no upgrade path per se, but I believe Ian Linden posted some additional details in the blog.

[15:17] Kiwini Oe: How have required/recommended system requirements changed over time, and how do you decide when to require more out of client systems?
[15:18] Joe Linden: We haven’t changed our client system requirements in quite some time (over two years) and we continue to strive to support widely available systems. They do need to meet those requirements, which means residents who attempt to experience Second Life with a system that doesn’t meet the published spec will probably not have a great time. But, we don’t intend to climb the “spec ladder” to require even more modern equipement than we already do.

[15:20] Jesse Murdock: How do you intend to deal with the bandwidth deficiency caused by the rapidly growing number of residents, and why are all sims not getting 1 Gb ethernet gear throughout, only the new class 5’s
[15:20] Joe Linden: We plan to replace equipment every three years (we do it more frequently than that now) but there really isn’t a bandwidth bottleneck on the simulators today (and none are Class 5s) — the system is architected to provide sufficient bandwidth with the 100MBps ethernet — we just need to solve the problems I alluded to earlier.

[15:23] Wagahai Oddfellow: Is there a plan for us to be able to see what scripted attachments are worn on our visitors?
[15:23] Joe Linden: Beyond the current top scripts display and beacons?
[15:24] Joe Linden: There is nothing in the works for attachments in that regard.
[15:24] Wagahai Oddfellow: worn scripts are not shown in top scripts
[15:24] Joe Linden: Yes, I understand. Not at this time.

[15:24] Rraven Moonlight: when will we as Sim owners be able to host our own sims locally on our own gear via remote access to the main grid?
[15:25] Joe Linden: we have no timeline for that capability.

[15:25] Umphrey Sachs: why and how often do sims change servers? I notice on some of my land that the sim has changed over the past few weeks.
[15:26] Joe Linden: The system is designed such that any region may come up on any available CPU (of the proper class) out of a pool of “spares”. There is really no way to know which machine a given region is going to come up on and no reason to “peg” a region to a given CPU. Anytime a region goes down for any reason, it may come up on another machine.

[15:28] Dai Vega: are there plans to release a separate application for LSL development?
[15:29] Joe Linden: Hmmm… No plans for that, no. There are many plans to improve the scripting language and capability, but not as an external app. Sounds like a great project for an enterprising resident. 😉

[15:30] Effsey Nelson: Q.Island owners are currently unrepresented on the Feature Vote. Could there be a Feature Vote section exclusive to Island Owners only?
[15:30] Robin Linden: That’s a good idea Effsey.
[15:30] Effsey Nelson: thank you
[15:31] Robin Linden: What we’re doing right now is evaluating an open source project managment system to replace the current tool. It would allow a similar voting and proposal structure, and it has categories to make searching considerably easier.
[15:31] Robin Linden: We’re working on authentication issues, and if it passes, we should be able to port the whole system over. It’s a much friendlier system than the current one so I’d like to hold off making any changes to the current tool until we deicde if we’re ready to make that change.

[15:32] Felicity Marat: is there any plan in the works for those of us with customers who run up large bills and then just leave our islands without paying?
[15:32] Robin Linden: I think the real challenge is for you to work out a system for paying
[15:33] Robin Linden: it has to operate outside of the Linden system for now.
[15:33] Robin Linden: of course then the risk becomes the tenants. It’s something you should think about as you work out your covenant.

[15:33] Bill Stirling: question/suggestion: can your billling department consolidate all the individual purchase billing in a month into one monthly billing? it is hard to track in our rl books when you bill each purchase on a different date in the month.
[15:34] Cyn Linden: Hi Y’all! Actually yes Bill, there are plans in the works there. More details after I get an update from the finance team
[15:35] Cyn Linden: We realize it is a pain, I am eager to change they way that reporting works

[15:35] Umphrey Sachs: can you make statement about custom names and/or name changes.
[15:36] Robin Linden: We believe that names play a very important role in Second Life. That’s why we haven’t offered custom names so far.
[15:36] Robin Linden: However as more and more people are starting businesses and need a name to identify with the business, and also as we continue to muddy the line between virtual and real, it’s making more sense
[15:37] Robin Linden: We have a plan to allow both the purchase of a unique name and also the purchase of a last name in bulk.
[15:37] Robin Linden: By that I mean to purchase multiple accounts with the same last name. What is not yet done would be the ability to change names. So if you create a unique name you will need to create a new account.

[15:38] Jesse Murdock: clarification: if a sim comes up on a random machine and isnt pegged to a certain one, how do you say that a new estate bought after the upgrade get s a new machine?
[15:38] Joe Linden: Good question… As I indicated, the region will always come up on a machine of the correct Class, so if you bought a Class 5 it’ll always come up on one.

[15:39] Angel Fluffy: Is there any plan to allow Island Owners to set up direct debits (with the donor resident’s permission), so that we can automatically take our “tier” bill from island residents?
[15:40] Jack Linden: No.. not at this time.. we have no plans for that i’m afraid

[15:40] Wagahai Oddfellow: Is there a plan for a SLA (Service Level Agreement) for sim owners?
[15:40] Robin Linden: There is a SLA built into the TOS. I don’t know that it’s possible to build a different SLA in just yet, but I’ll take a look.

[15:41] Nexus Nash: I’ve always been ‘pro’ open spaces in SL. Question: Instead of putting up more ‘voids’ per sim, would it be possible to have ‘bigger’ sims (in area) however maintain them to current limits (15k prims, 40ish avatars)
[15:42] Robin Linden: I’m afraid not Nexus

[15:42] bartelby Pegler: question for Joe: Can you explain how maintenance fixes get back into the code build which is in test for the next release cycle
[15:43] Joe Linden: We maintain a separate code branch for maintenance fixes and (regardless of the planned set of features for a given release) we test the maintenance items on an ongoing basis and roll those into the release branch separately so, they are triaged and fixed based on our assessment of priority, severity and the affect they’re having in-world. I hope that answered your question.

[15:45] Effsey Nelson: Q. When a region crashes, I have no way to see what caused the crash. Could we get a “last” crash report added to the Estate/Region tools?
[15:45] Joe Linden: Effsey: you want to read a crash report and core dump? I dont know that would do you much good actually. Please send me your thoughts on what you’d like to see in an email to joe@lindenlab.com

[15:46] Chance Unknown: Q: when will appropriate training be given to liasons to help them appropriately address estate owners as paying customers in addition to those that use mainland when concierge is offline?
[15:47] Robin Linden: Right now the liaisons along with Live help are mighty busy.
[15:48] Chance Unknown: yes they make that abundenly pparent when you talk to them.
[15:48] Robin Linden: We know that the current system isn’t scalable, and we also know that it isn’t possible any longer to offer the same support services to everyone. how we address that is still being discussed.
[15:48] Robin Linden: We have a communitiy roundtable meeting coming up next Thursday afternoon. I blogged about it recently.
[15:49] Robin Linden: There’s a discussion going on in the blog comments, and we’ll continue it at the meeting. I think, given the interest level, that I’ll schedule additional meetings to talk with people as we go.

[15:49] Elliott Eldrich: Every so often I have strange things happen on my islands. At those times, I request help from a linden, and the solution invaraibly becomes “restart the sim”. Any reason I should not just go ahead and do a restart on my own when I feel it is necessary?
[15:51] Joe Linden: That is usually a course of last resort — and it isn’t always necessary to do that to isolate the problem and find a more permanent fix.

[15:51] Kiwini Oe: Will there be a predictable lead-time for new island purchases, so we can set our clients’ expectations better when we are ordering new islands?
[15:52] Cyn Linden: Actually, yes. We have a better supply of hardware now, so we can keep a more consistent stock level.

[15:52] Dai Vega: are there plans for Estate Tool like access from the website, so that banning, adding estate managers, etc. can be done wihtout logging into the SL client?
[15:53] Joe Linden: Dai: what you describe is exactly where we’re headed with many of the “under the cover” changes we’ve been making to the platform …
[15:53] Joe Linden: I can’t announce timing for anything specific yet, but you will see many features like that available when we’re done with that work.

[15:54] Chance Unknown: Q: since estate customers are expected to fill the function of ombudsman of the regions under their control, when will we have the remainder of the linden menus open to us to assist with those functions?
[15:54] Robin Linden: Whether we do it with additional Linden menus or some other way, we know you need additional controls.
[15:55] Robin Linden: For example, being able to better manage disputes is something you’ll see
[15:55] Chance Unknown: this includes diagnostics too probably
[15:55] Robin Linden: Yes, Chance, it could also include diagnostics, so both technical and social controls and of course the billing controls we already mentioned

[15:56] Jana Fleming: Any plans to hire more concierge staff and possibly extend the service into a 24 hr one?
[15:56] Robin Linden: We definitely plan to offer 24/7 service. When that will happen I can’t say yet.

[15:58] Angel Fluffy: Q3: any plans to fix the ‘run other scripts’ setting so it works all the way up to the parcel ceiling and thus is effective at stopping attachments in skyboxes, therefore reducing lag at popular places in the sky?
[15:59] Joe Linden: Angel: I’m not aware of that particular issue, but let me take it and look into it. I’ll get back to you on it.

[15:59] Jack Linden: Okay folks, i think that’s it for this meeting, thanks for taking part!

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42 Responses to Concierge Townhall Transcript

  1. Pingback: Mobil Avenue » Blog Archive » SL support services

  2. Pingback: Mixed Dominance » Blog Archive » Concierge Townhall Bulletpoints

  3. prokofy says:

    Can you explain why you did not use this Concierge Town Hall to reveal to your main old tier-paying customers your plans to increase the price of new islands to $1595 and their tier to $295?

    Can you indicate whether the servers that people will purchase for these new amounts have any improved features, i.e. greater avatar capacity or prims?

    Can you explain why only a few select customers got the word about the planned increased evidently scheduled for Nov. 1, and others were not informed?

    Can you confirm or deny that sims previously purchased before Nov. 1 will have their tier rate of $195 grandfathered?

    Could you explain how this will impact the mainland, whether tiers for new sims on the auction will go up there, too, as well?

  4. Aslan Pertwee says:

    Thanks Lindens for sharing the transcript with us. Prokofy has some interesting questions.

  5. Lewis Nerd says:

    Interesting Prok… that’s the second time I’ve heard this information in as many days, but I didn’t pursue it further because I expected such a major change of policy to be made known publicly – although I wasn’t aware of the 1st November date. That’s … um… Wednesday?

    This is indeed a major issue, if it is true – and I can understand LL keeping it quiet as long as possible because I am sure there is likely to be a lot of backlash.

    I seriously hope that the next step is not an increasing of tier figures, becuase that will have major repurcussions right across the board, with the lowering of land values and I expect the L$ value to shoot up as people dump their holdings.

    Thinking of charging for customer service… increasing fees… these all point to major financial difficulties, and I think a statement from Philip is due to assure worried customers that it’s worth still paying to play.

    Just think how much money you’d have raised if you’d just stop this stupid free, unlimited, unverified sign up idea. It’s financial suicide and you know it.

    Lewis

  6. Magnum Serpentine says:

    If you increase the fees across the board (Not just the island fees) I will have no choice but to tier down my land.

  7. Lewis Nerd says:

    You won’t be the only one Magnum… SL is already very expensive for what we get, especially if you are just here treating the game as fun rather than milking it as a cash cow.

    Despite LL’s insistence that “you can make money here”, the vast majority of us have absolutely no hope of ever covering our monthly costs because we are here for fun.

    Yes, I’m sure I could turn my land into a boring plain mall and fill it full of vendors, but why bother when there are too many already? The real world is full of diversity, and I just wish Second Life would promote that it has even more possibilities than just the boring old “make money” side.

    Not only does customer service need a revamp, so does marketing.

    Lewis

  8. kerunix flan says:

    If this is true, i expect some real good explanation from LindenLab.

    By order of importance :
    1) Can you explain why only a few select customers got the word about the planned increased evidently scheduled for Nov. 1, and others were not informed?
    2) Can you explain why you did not use this Concierge Town Hall to reveal to your main old tier-paying customers your plans to increase the price of new islands to $1595 and their tier to $295?
    3) Why are you still mute ?

  9. Ishtara Rothschild says:

    I would also like to read the answers to Prokofy’s questions.

    In addition I’d like to know what’s happening with the island that I’ve ordered 16 days ago. Islands are supposed to be finished within 5 business days, I’ve read. A concierge told me he’d expect the island to be go up after the last release update, but I didn’t hear anything since then.

    I’d also like to know why my questions in Linden Answers concerning the island purchase (expected time frame; money withdrawn from account balance or credit card?) stay without a reply while many newer posts were answered meanwhile.

    And of course I’d like to know if I will get the sim for the conditions I ordered it at, i.e. purchase price and tier, and if the island will be hosted on class 4 or newer class 5 servers. I didn’t know about the changeover to a new server class so far and assumed all newly ordered sims would run on modern hardware.

    Also, if I could get either an island on class 4 servers for the old price and tier or one on class 5 servers for a higher price/tier, I’d like to know what exactly the differences or rather the performance gains are, and if my order could still be changed towards a class 5 sim order.

  10. Lewis Nerd says:

    I’m sure that a mere user like me shouldn’t need to remind Linden Lab that, when something like the issue of price increases that should have been made public in the first place, is then leaked after being announced to a select FIC of players, the rumour mill will go into overdrive.

    So… Customer Service failed. The Marketing Department have failed. Seems like Public Relations need a shakeup too.

    I’m watching Ebay closely to see Philip’s codpiece up for sale. Then we really know you’re about to go under (although many of us feel you aren’t far off already and these are the last death throes of the failure of what could have been so great if only it had been run in a proper and professional manner).

    Lewis

  11. Gattz Gilman says:

    There was a linden that said that the new class 5 machines are indeed more expensive.
    So, if the rumors of the price hike is only for private islands that will be on the new class 5 machines, and its reasonable, considering that performance will be much better, as they had stated in the blog post about the new class 5 machines.
    but we should be able to decide if we want a class4 or 5 when purchasing a private sim.

    But if they are going to raise the prices for everyone without any increase in performance, then it will greatly suck.

  12. Jamie David says:

    I just do not understand. For us as sim owners we have had to deal with 4 months of trauma and troubles. For this we going to have to pay more if we are desire expansion? It boggles the mind. The costs of Hardware, Bandwidth are dropping yet the talk is of costing more????

    Oh and it is a November Supprise, just telling the inner core.

    How many bumps before the vehical falls apart???

    Lindens please, please, please COMMUNICATE what is going on.

    The town hall was not needed, there is bloggs for the announcements and letting hear us and are fixing the broken things not breaking more…. Let more participate and all get to be the wiser. A Forum, A uber Blog what ever. A public meeting in SL just does not work. To many unknowns. Too many People. Too many griefers. No control and heated tempers focused on one moment. It just does not work.

    I assume this is all a nightmare and Torley going to come on and go there there…. was just gossip gone wrong…….. Torley…………..?

  13. Ishtara Rothschild says:

    Lewis Nerd Says:
    October 29th, 2006 at 2:29 pm
    “I’m watching Ebay closely to see Philip’s codpiece up for sale. Then we really know you’re about to go under (although many of us feel you aren’t far off already and these are the last death throes of the failure of what could have been so great if only it had been run in a proper and professional manner).”

    Well, that’s more water on the rumour mill. I don’t see how SL with the current land fees and the Lindex revenues in addition could possibly not be profitable.

    The way I understand it is that the new class 5 servers are simply more expensive and (if this rumour is true at all) LL wants to get a part of those higher costs back, which would be understandable.

    But I’d like to be informed about such things, not left waiting for my first island for 16 days without a word. I’d like to have the choice between cheaper class 4 hardware and (possibly) more expensive class 5 servers. Then I could decide if the performance gain is worth the extra costs.

    And of course I do want to have a choice, since I ordered the island at the old (the current) price. If the fee was raised for all islands, I might as well stay in my mainland sim.

  14. Lewis Nerd says:

    Jamie: “I assume this is all a nightmare and Torley going to come on and go there there…. was just gossip gone wrong…….. Torley…………..? ”

    Two people I trust told me independently about prices going up.

    I don’t think even Torley can spin this into being positive, unless the people at the meeting who were told, and the Linden that confirmed it to a friend in IM as an “unfortunate leak” are all lying.

    It may, of course, be another “test the waters” like charging for customer service to see what the playerbase are able to to tolerate, followed by a “no, we didn’t really mean it like that” statement.

    Lewis

  15. Delicious Demar says:

    No that I am paranoid. But, I noticed today that all auctions have dried up. Not a single parcel is up for auction right now. And the Land Store is closed again, with the same message about new hardware that I though had been resolved.

    Of course it would be cynical to suggest that if tier rates are going up on November 1, with grandfathered existing tiers (how would they do this anyway – seems logistically difficult)…

    Well, I will leave you to speculate… But I’ll be interested to see if any parcels come up to auction or the Land Store opens again on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday….

  16. prokofy says:

    So, if the rumors of the price hike is only for private islands that will be on the new class 5 machines, and its reasonable, considering that performance will be much better, as they had stated in the blog post about the new class 5 machines.

    Is this going to be the face-saver then, that this new price hike only applies to class-5 machines? But could we get a *very precise read-out* on what their “better performance is”? It doesn’t involve having more prims, or more space for avatars — we’ve gotten that answer already, it seems.

    So what is the better performance, just not crashing a lot like the others?

    And usually when LL upgraded its servers, it would replace all across the board as it did with class 4 or whatever. So is Second Life to be second-rate for some, and first-rate for others?

    Just explain.

  17. Gattz Gilman says:

    Ian Linden posted this about what users will notice about the new class 5 machines.

    “From a resident perspective, the key difference is that the new machines should offer higher, more consistent sim-side performance for heavily-loaded regions, especially when there are a large number of scripts running. LSL performance should be quite a bit higher, although we won’t know by exactly how much until Class 5 has been running in production for a while. More generally, the new servers have some future-proofing features for us, and use less electricity than previous generations.”

  18. Vanessa says:

    When a high profile land owner places a L$ 80,000 classified offering to buy existing private sims at above purchase price (and is willing to incur the $100 transfer fee on top of that) it’s hard not to believe the rumours.

    If true, those in the know are clearly abusing their privilege of knowing before anyone else, making stepping up sooner rather then later the only decent thing for LL to do to avoid people being taken advantage of.
    If not true, the sooner LL makes that clear, the less damage its image with its residents will sustain because not only do most of us have no trouble believing you’d do something like this, very few will see your silence on the issue as a “good thing”.

    In short, there’s really no reason why we can’t get a public answer now, or could have gotten one the very instant the rumour started.

  19. Rocky Rutabaga says:

    Since you closed comments on the price increase announcement, I’ll try to post here:

    Outrageous. Disgusting. And yet, so corporate America. Are all y’all owned by Halliburton or Enron?

    And what does one receive for this new price and over 50% increase in fees? (SFX: crickets quietly chirping.) Right. I thought so.

    So now vision and building dreams is out the door. Welcome to more commercialism and the further uglification of SL. I can see it now, since only mega-corporations can afford these islands, they will develop giant showrooms/altars to their latest consumer goods. Budweiser will introduce its new beer, offered up by jiggly avatars ready to table dance at the drop of a Linden. Disney will build mega stores to sell its delightful DVDs and stuffed toys of cute corporate symbols with ears. Exxon will create its phony nature sanctuary as proof of its phony stewardship of our planet.

    Gone is Starax. Gone are the entrepreneurs’ motivations to help make this place amazing. Gone are the dreams of building communities where pre-teens can’t shoot you just because LL likes how they pad its population numbers.

    I certainly hope a splinter group from deep within the Fetid Core leaves Linden Labs and builds the world right. I’ll be on the boat with them as soon as they do.

  20. Maklin Deckard says:

    “and power supply efficiency goes from 67% to 84%; power usage while running the sim process is about 175 watts, vs. 230 for a Class 4.”

    “This gives us better performance for fewer watts, while supporting our standard 64-bit OS image. ”

    “The big gain will be in LSL performance – if you don’t intend to really max out your script capacity, it shouldn’t make a big diferrence for you.”

    LL saves 23.91% on electrical use per server, cuts server rack space with the new cases, doesn’t have to do any real work (the images stay the same) AND the only big gain Ian Linden could come up with was for LSL on script heavy servers.

    You get a 33.89% increase in monthly tier for the new sims AND an increased setup charge!

    From LL’s perspective, this is a win-win scenario, they spend less on maintenance and CHARGE YOU MORE! For the player, you get shafted yet again (and probably will once they decide how much to charge for support.

    Also, I find it rather suspicious that a certain land baron is spending the kind of money that is being spent to buy older (read lower tier) servers. Wonder how LONG the Linden-annointed land barons have known and have been allowed to use this inside info to screw players who, if they had known could have waited a few days and sold for more? THEN locking the post to comments? Disgraceful, LL, utterly disgraceful. Once again, you confirmed my belief that the blog was NEVER intended to facilitate conversation as Torley claimed, but rather to allow for instantaneous application of PR spin by throttling conversation on the boards most likely to be seen by investors and new players. When does this blog entry get locked, Torley?

  21. Delicious Demar says:

    I choose to believe that Linden Labs is not actively evil, and that they are finding their way through unfamiliar waters, growing faster than their knowledge and expereince, etc., etc.

    They are well within their rights to increase the price for the private islands – in fact the rate at which new islands were being sold and their inability to meet the demand, is a clear indication that a price increase was due. Simply the law of supply and demand.

    What worries me is that this seems not to have been a very well kept secret, and that as a result, people that had inside knowledge have been able to take advantage of this news, and may profit from it, at the expense of people who did not know.

    Well, no point in shutting the barn door after the horse is out. However, Linden Labs, as you grow, the more likely it becomes that people will us SL as means of trying to make money. The more that happens, the more you will need to implement good processes for change management – not on the technoplogy side, but on the economy side. Changes like this have significant implications for the land-based economy of SL – which may in fact be very positive in the end. You need to find the right balance of telegraphing your intentions, keeping your intentions to yourself, and giving (or not giving) advanced notice of changes that are going to be implemented.

    But under no circumstances should it be the case that some citizens have knowledge, on which they are free to act to make a profit, while others do not.

    Good luck, this is going to be a tricky tightrope walk for you over the coming months.

  22. Koz Farina says:

    I agree – posting here as comments disbabled on that post, after 4 comments.

    I thought these new servers were cheaper to run on the power? (I hear power is the largest expense)

    I was just about to consider moving to my own sim after a year of pondering about it. Not now. That’s quite a rise.

    I’m sure these new servers will be more powerful and I cant wait for Mono scripting to kick in, after seeing Babbage’s demo – but that monthly price is just too high now.

    So, it looks like I’m stuck on my mainland parcels on a sim that rebooted about 6 times tonight, that I sometimes can’t even get on due to a laggy strip club full of camping chairs in the same region. Also crossing sim boundaries is worse than ever since the goo fences went up.

    I think alot of people are going to feel quite saddened by this news. I am.

  23. Koz Farina says:

    I am also very concerned about what happens to currently ‘protected’ or unnamed land on sims around the region I am on. The maps around the area used to say ‘no image’ now some are all blue and some have crosses.

    Does this mean that some day the beautiful sea view I paid a premium for will be sold and split up for even more clubs and shops, floating in the sea?

    And if so – I’ll bet Anshe gets first dibs on that land. There does appear to be cases of inside knowledge at times. Hmmmmm……

  24. Maklin Deckard says:

    “I choose to believe that Linden Labs is not actively evil, and that they are finding their way through unfamiliar waters, growing faster than their knowledge and expereince, etc., etc.”

    I used to feel that way too, Delicious. UNTIL the following –

    They eliminated new basic stipend ‘for the good of the economy’ which was a bald-faced lie, they cut it because they knew they were soon opening the floodgates to freeloaders in order to get their ‘magic million’ accounts.

    They floated a trial balloon about charging for support – not that we truly HAVE support now, due to the stressesf the freeloader accounts place on support.

    Now they are introducing new hardware to help fix lag – and increasing tier on sims using that hardware, in order to fix a problem THEIR own plans to reach that ‘magic million’ caused.

    No, I would believe LL wasn’t evil if they introduced a BALANCED solution…a MINOR increase in fees to account for inflation, coupled with an ‘UPGRADE OR LEAVE NOW’ plan for the freeloaders. Sure, it would cost them their ‘magic million’ numbers, but I see no reason for paying customers to pay MORE to fix problems brought on by LL and the non-paying, parasitic accounts. As it stands, LL’s entire policy is to squeeze the paying customer harder to coddle the freeloaders. And this is not right….If LL is not evil, their methodology certainly is. 😦

  25. Delicious Demar says:

    I hear you Maklin!

    But I’d point out a few things:
    1. they aren’t increasing account fees. They are raising the price on the private islands, which are selling like hotcakes. This is not evil – it is good business.
    2. I LIKE trial balloons. They are far better than unannounced changes. Now I know that at some point, Lindens are likely to charge for support. And, just possibly, the backlash will be sufficient that they won’t do it. Not likely, but a girl can dream….
    3. I’d hardly call “UPGRADE OR LEAVE” a “balanced solution”. To me it would be pretty radical for Linden to abandon their key business strategy at this point. You can call it unwise or not like the strategy, but they have definitely set and achieved a goal that was important to them. And, from an objective point of view, the free accounts, and the magic one million, have drastically increased SL’s exposure and brand identity. At some point, when the competitors begin to arrive (which they will), this might be what saves LL.

    No, I am hardly an LL basher – I am not going to second guess their business decisions, and SL remains incredibly open, creative, and citizen-defined. It is one of a kind, and I LOVE my Second Life.

    The thing that bothered me on this was the fact that some people seemed to know in advance about the price increase. That just isn’t fair.

  26. Maklin Deckard says:

    Delicious – “The thing that bothered me on this was the fact that some people seemed to know in advance about the price increase. That just isn’t fair.”

    Get used to that, they call you paranoid and say you believe in the FIC, but EVERY time something that negatively impacts others takes place, certain land barons (one in particular) come out with minimal damage, if not ahead of the game. NO ONE has that kind of luck without inside info. And that is flat out wrong.

    Lewis – “I’m watching Ebay closely to see Philip’s codpiece up for sale.”

    Something you won’t see, since the emperor has had no clothes for quite some time and unlike the fairy tale, doesn’t listen to those that point it out.

  27. Rat Racecourse says:

    Some people did in fact seem to know about the price increases, but personally, as a brand new resident, I think its great. At least in my virtual second life, the ones that profit the most and the ones with lots of money get to foot a bigger part of the liabilities. Whomever made this decision, … for President of my real world!!!

  28. Delicious Demar says:

    Ok I think I AM getting paranoid now…. Thanks a TONNE Maklin! lol

    I just re-read the notice of the increase in price and tier fees for private islands. the last sentence says, “Prices on the mainland and for qualified educators and non-profits will remain unchanged at this time.”

    Is it just me, or does “at this time” sound ominous?

    *hurriedly checks under the bed for monsters*

  29. Maklin Deckard says:

    Oh this is real good….from the answers forum.

    “It’s not uncommon to let large customers know in advance of significant changes to policies and features. In this case developers, including agencies, long time SL residents, and community builders were given notice so they could work the price increase into proposals they were making.

    It’s important to note that this knowledge did not allow them to purchase any regions to the disadvantage of other Residents.” – Robin Linden

    Oh, the land baron that has an 80K ad buying servers and who LIED about why “Because of supply problems of Linden Lab we are looking to purchase several more private island estate sims from resident owners to expand” isn’t taking advantage of those that do not know that come next week their sim will be worth more? Robin has a STRANGE definition of disadvantage to other residents.

  30. Ishtara Rothschild says:

    Delicious Demar Says:
    October 29th, 2006 at 7:47 pm
    “And, from an objective point of view, the free accounts, and the magic one million, have drastically increased SL’s exposure and brand identity. At some point, when the competitors begin to arrive (which they will), this might be what saves LL.”

    Ehm… when the competitors arrive, they’ll come with a brand new 3D engine. And exciting new features. And low land prices.
    SL has now (at least on the paper) account numbers that will make established online game publishers like SOE (Sony) jealous. They might try to copy SL instead of WoW – less competition on that market. Whom would you trust, as an investor – Sony or LL?
    Well, an online world created by one of the big players will likely be “smut-free”. I like my smut, so I’ll stick with SL, as will all the fellow sex fiends I guess (until the next adult MMOG without too many restrictions and with similar possibilities opens its doors).

  31. Delicious Demar says:

    Well, I guess that confirms it.

    What were you thinking, LL? You don’t seem to realize that you are talking about real money here, and sooner or later, what you’re doing will ruin you? Either legally, or simply in the lost trust of your residents.

    This is nothing less than insider trading. It is scandalous. If you really believed that those you told would not use the information to the disadvantage of other residents, then I want to live in your world, where eveyone hugs each other and floats on a pink cloud.

    I am no land baron, but I own two sims, and have paid thousands of $$ to play this “game”. I have an increasing sense of worry that, since I am not really important to LL, my own investment (which is significant to me), is going to be pulled out from under me, as the Lindens change a “policy” or a “feature” without fully thinking through the effects of it.

    Take as a simplistic example, their idea to “green up” mainland sims. Sounds great. But it also increases the value of the land in those sims – green land sells for more – quite simple. Whether this is good or bad is not the issue. The issue is that they didn’t even consider that when they brought the idea forward. They are stumbling around changing things, and thereby affecting peoples economic reality ingame – it seems without really understanding what they are doing.

    Which, for me, might just make it too scary to continue. Right now – my tier and account fees approach $6000 US per year, and I make just about enough inworld by selling items/services and buying/renting land, to cover all those costs. I get off on it, and don’t need to make money – just break even. But, when things like this happen, it makes me feel vulnerable, like this balance could be so easily upset by a policy change by the Lindens.

    I might go back to the days when I hung out and danced in clubs, and was all sprakly and witty, and stop trying to actually build something in SL…

  32. Kala Bijoux says:

    I think it is EXTREMELY unfair that private island tier for exisiting islands will be grandfathered in. For those of us that might want to expand to an island in the future, we will be paying $100 more a month than our older competitors. Talk about an unfair advantage. Way to discourage new business on SL.

    I think that the price increase for new islands is understandable to cover the high demand and extra costs. But not making everyone pay the same is just plain unfair.

    I suppose I should have listened to my instinct that told me to buy an island on Thursday (not informed by insiders, just a gut feeling). But now I’m pretty much stuck to the mainland.

  33. yiffyyaffle says:

    I never could afford a sim before, and now i never will. This will definatly discourage growth in second life. You could buy your own computer for less. And you can do more with it!!! 1,500 USD can be used for many things to make your life easier instead of wasting it on a virtual 256x256m region of land… If ANYTHING i think the price should DROP! This is another one of your tipicle Laim Brain Linden Plans that ruin the environment for everyone… As if the plague of Newbs and griefers caused by them starting the unverified free access weren’t enough…

  34. yiffyyaffle says:

    Another thing i should bring up. Seeing that the ONLY way to get total privacy in Second Life is to buy your own sim and hide it, this totally screws all of us “not so rich” people out of commen decency. The fact = no matter where you go in SL some newbie or inconsiderate person is going to find you start nosing around. Even if your on a visable island sim in the middle of a checkerboard of 500 sims. They find you…

  35. Rock Ramona says:

    Hi ,me again,simple minded know nothing happy go lucky ,actual Second Life Player,Rock Ramona.First of all,lets talk about these new servers.these servers will save the Lindens money on electricity,anyone seen a California Gas & Electric Bill lately?Even though the percentage may seem small to you,to the Lindens and all of the electricty they use it will be a huge savings overall.Yes,these new servers will be more efficient,but probably not in numbers or ways that the average daily user will know of.We will have no idea of how these servers perform until they are up and running for several weeks and the numbers have been gathered.I build and sell gaming computers and servers and the price increases I have seen listed seem very fair,matter of fact,for those who dont believe this,try starting your own server farm,walk a mile in the Lindens shoes.The majority of performance problems that people cry about on a daily basis here are not Linden problems at all,they are due to old,out dated computers.These are not attempts at Brown Nosing,anyone who truly knows me(the guy that started petitions 3 weeks ago condemning the Lindens for letting in griefers with the free accounts)knows that what i speak are plain simple truths.The Lindens arent holding a gun to my head to spend 50usd a month or more on this place.they provide me with an escape,and I praise them for that.It reminds me of the days my family owned a marina .The same people every saturday morning would walk out on the dock while i fueled their 250,000 yacht.they would begin to complain about how much this damn thing is costing me,and all the problems and troubles they have keeping it afloat,and damn the people that made the boat…..have you people forgotten what this place is all about,because id tell the folks to either sell the boat or hand me the keys,they d shut up and walk away,id yell,have fun with your boat,theyd turn and give me the finger usually,then a smile…….pardon me while I take my medicine…………………………………………….

  36. Doc NNolan says:

    It seems that a lot of the comments concern ‘social engineering’. The elephant in the living room is whether LL is going to follow a Swedish model or a Brazilian model, i.e. is the ‘goal’ an educated, egalitarian society of innovators , or is the governing paradigm simply a stratified society of party animals presided over by an eduated elite … It would be interesting to be a ‘fly on the wall’ and see if this BASIC issue is getting any attention in LL… The ‘insider trading’ issue IMHO is subsidiary to the basic stance regarding the rights/obligations of elites, and the ethical/legal underpinnings of 2L society.

  37. fran cesc says:

    I think it is EXTREMELY unfair that private island tier for exisiting islands will be grandfathered in. For those of us that might want to expand to an island in the future, we will be paying $100 more a month than our older competitors. Talk about an unfair advantage. Way to discourage new business on SL.

    I think that the price increase for new islands is understandable to cover the high demand and extra costs. But not making everyone pay the same is just plain unfair.

    I suppose I should have listened to my instinct that told me to buy an island on Thursday (not informed by insiders, just a gut feeling). But now I’m pretty much stuck to the mainland.

  38. fran cesc says:

    Hi ,me again,simple minded know nothing happy go lucky ,actual Second Life Player,Rock Ramona.First of all,lets talk about these new servers.these servers will save the Lindens money on electricity,anyone seen a California Gas & Electric Bill lately?Even though the percentage may seem small to you,to the Lindens and all of the electricty they use it will be a huge savings overall.Yes,these new servers will be more efficient,but probably not in numbers or ways that the average daily user will know of.We will have no idea of how these servers perform until they are up and running for several weeks and the numbers have been gathered.I build and sell gaming computers and servers and the price increases I have seen listed seem very fair,matter of fact,for those who dont believe this,try starting your own server farm,walk a mile in the Lindens shoes.The majority of performance problems that people cry about on a daily basis here are not Linden problems at all,they are due to old,out dated computers.These are not attempts at Brown Nosing,anyone who truly knows me(the guy that started petitions 3 weeks ago condemning the Lindens for letting in griefers with the free accounts)knows that what i speak are plain simple truths.The Lindens arent holding a gun to my head to spend 50usd a month or more on this place.they provide me with an escape,and I praise them for that.It reminds me of the days my family owned a marina .The same people every saturday morning would walk out on the dock while i fueled their 250,000 yacht.they would begin to complain about how much this damn thing is costing me,and all the problems and troubles they have keeping it afloat,and damn the people that made the boat…..have you people forgotten what this place is all about,because id tell the folks to either sell the boat or hand me the keys,they d shut up and walk away,id yell,have fun with your boat,theyd turn and give me the finger usually,then a smile…….pardon me while I take my medicine…………………………………………….

  39. prokofy says:

    No, you are in fact brown-nosing and misleading people with these statements.

    First, your arguments would be helped by putting a space after your commas and your periods — and paragaph is your best friend at a time like this.

    Second, how can a product’s performance capacity not be known until after you use it? Huh? Please. The Lindens are not children and we are not children. They can look at a new piece of hardware, just its improved specs over their other, older hardware, talk to the manufacturer of the hardware and other industry people, and give a guestimate at least as to how it will do.

    Electric bills? Well, we all have electric bills. California isn’t somehow a special case. And Lindens are grown-ups and can calculate their costs and factor them into their billing in a rational way over time, no? What, they grow so incredibly fast that they can’t plan their electric bills?

    OK..but…who said they had to grow so incredibly fast? They themselves brought it on with free account. I don’t oppose them in the slightest. I don’t attribute griefing to them even as I know from actual inworld business practice that the most harmful griefers are calculating long-time players with even payment info on file.

    Say, there are quite a few server farmers on this game/world/platform. I’ve seen servers farms operate myself, and I can only say that the received wisdom of many of SL’s back-seat drivers from the IT world still has to be heard: that hardware gets cheaper, not more expensive as the years past and as you buy in bulk.

    So how come it costs more? Any rational person would ask that. If the answer is, oh, we forgot to make a profit because we were all utopianists and thought we should subsidize you, well, say so. If the answer is, oh, we provide not just servers but an entertainment program open 24/7 which you can’t say for any movie theater or carnival, so factor that in. Etc. Explain it. Rationalize it. Justify it. And don’t let brown-nosers do it for you.

    Oh, the Lindens aren’t holding a gun to my head? Um, actually, they are. For anyone who has invested in this platform large amounts of money, they aren’t stupid, they aren’t children, they realize the risk. But then they want normal, adult, rational behaviour in return, where they are told the plans, the costs, the estimates in some kind of way that doesn’t sound like a secret society at work suddenly uncovered.

    Please, stop it with the fanboyz stuff. We’ve heard it all. We’ve seen it all. The expectations people have here are normal, rational, and appropriate. The responses are not.

  40. Kyushu Tiger says:

    “SL has now (at least on the paper) account numbers that will make established online game publishers like SOE (Sony) jealous. They might try to copy SL instead of WoW – less competition on that market. Whom would you trust, as an investor – Sony or LL?”

    Well, as a former Star Wars Galaxies player, I would probably trust LL more. There are actually some similarities between SWG and SL, the main one being the large amount of updates or patches that introduce big new bugs. When SOE made a big change, you knew there would be a huge amount of pain coming with it. The same seems to be true with LL latetly.

    I am amazed that we still have this many missing image problems so long after it came up. Rebake seems to be one of the most used words in SL. It’s pretty typical LL — have an idea that sounds great from a theoritical perspective, then implement it in a way that causes the users tons of pain.

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