Can you hear me now? 7 VOICE CHAT Video Tutorials!

Friendly greetings! You’ve spoken, and I’ve responded… yes, YOU CAN HAS VOICE CHAT VIDEO TUTORIALS!

These teach you how to communicate using your live voice in Second Life. And there’s not just 1, or 2… but 7 tutorials, each covering a specific area made easy!

Now, before you get started, you’ll need a headset or equivalent device. These are pretty common and fairly affordable; we have options — and if you’re curious, I personally use Sony MDR-V900s + a cheapo Logitech mic, or the more common Microsoft Lifechat LX-3000.

It’s time to enjoy!


  1. Getting started – Using the setup wizard, step-by-step.
  2. Etiquette – Don’t talk while eating! I show you why “push-to-talk” matters.
  3. Who’s speaking? – Active Speakers window can tell you.
  4. Improving your hearing – Voice can be heard from either camera or avatar position. With my lovely wife as my special helper, I demo the difference.
  5. Private calls – How to exit public voice chat and be discreet.
  6. Speech gestures – You can animate your avatar while speaking.
  7. Disabling it for yourself & on land – For those times you may want it off… and restricting voice to a parcel.

DOWNLOAD HIGH-QUALITY VERSIONS (streamable in Second Life! Don’t know how? I made a “How to play movies inworld” tutorial too!)

(I filmed these in the 1.19.1 Release Candidate viewer, so if you’re wondering why some things look different, download it to match!)

Supplemental help in our Knowledge Base: “How to Use Voice“, the “Voice FAQ“, and “How can I minimize background noise in voice chat?

Watch for another memorable round of video QUICKTIPS next week (see previous episodes), where I’ll teach you better ways of doing common tasks, how to handle annoyances, and ultimately… help you live a happier, more fun Second Life.

Torley Linden
     Meet me inworld on Thursdays @ 12 PM Pacific

About Torley

Who am I? See
This entry was posted in Community, Creativity & Ideas, Resident Experience, Tips & Tricks. Bookmark the permalink.

123 Responses to Can you hear me now? 7 VOICE CHAT Video Tutorials!

  1. U M says:

    WOW ok i want my FPS to drop alot .LETS VOICE…………..and don`t for to crash!……………….

  2. Pepper Haas says:

    No matter how many nice tutorials you give on this subject, I HATE VOICE
    It has lagged SL to all hell and permanently screwed up group messaging.
    It interferes with the music.
    There is no log.
    With more than three people talking you can’t follow who said what.

  3. Kii Lilliehook says:

    Voice? Isn’t that the feature you use to cyber if you want to be sure of the rl sex of your partners?
    @2: if more than 3 are involved, who is who doesn’t matter anyway:)

  4. Zi Ree says:

    @2 Pepper Haas:

    – Voice does not lag the Second Life servers, it is handled by Vivox’s servers.

    – The Group Messaging problem is not due to voice but due to an architectural change to spread out the load that was introduced a long time ago. Group Chat has been broken a long time before Voice was introduced

    – If you want to hear music and voice disturbs you, switch voice off

    – You could record everything said on your client machine with a simple audio recording software if you really wanted a log

    – It’s the same with normal conversation on a party, people take turns talking or it does not work

  5. U M says:

    “- Voice does not lag the Second Life servers, it is handled by Vivox’s servers.”

    well if enough users login you better believe it does……

  6. Thief says:

    Wouldn’t it better to spend time on something important as content theft instead of posting stupid tutorials?

  7. Thief says:

    With the “Introducing the Second Life Brand Center” post it shows that you do care about your own copyrights, wouldn’t it be time to care about the ones of your content creators as well?

  8. willemijns says:

    please speak about new ToS changes which is mandatory now !

  9. vicero lambert says:

    Voice is a great feature, just think outside of the box when you use it. 🙂 Also if sl voice is slow when you use it, because it is a external program that is run while SL is running you may need to look into getting more ram or a better processor. I have a computer that runs SL with 512 mb of ram and it runs better then the SL client and uses less resources then the client :). So yea SL voice is great and thank you torley for the wonderful video, been using it since it came out 😀

  10. Damian McLeod says:

    @4 Zi-
    Voice can still lag SL… No matter whose servers it is hosted on, the “pipeline” that is your internet connection can only take so much data… The closer you get to it’s saturation point or limit, the more you are going to lag… The same thing goes for the end amount of data your system has to handle, so while the lag may only be apparent for a specific person or groups of people, it is still very real… Especially when you take into account the additional virtualization of sound direction.

    As for recording conversations on your comp, I would be very cautious of such… What you are suggesting without a bit of forethought directly falls under wiretapping laws as well as people’s right to privacy, so unless you notify ALL parties that you are recording the conversation, (and this does include people that may come and go through the area, as well as region / estate depending on the voice channel settings) you are committing what is considered a felony if I am not mistaken here in the US… US laws require that you notify all parties involved in a conversation that you are recording it, and when not conducted face to face, such as a conference table, you must cause an audible tone to be played periodically to remind people that they are being recorded… The only way around such is via court order last I knew… Otherwise any recordings aren’t admissable in a court of law. In addition, laws aside, you now have additional software eating away your system’s resources… Can we say performance hit and/or local lag becomming a major issue again? There is a reason most machimina creators tend to shut ALL non-essential programs / processes down before doing thier recordings to avoid such lag.

    Torley… On a light hearted humor, and sarcastic note, after seeing the new brand center stuff come up in the blog (which incidentally, it was about time for such clear postings on the use of the SL trademarks and such. Now if they would just get the fansite stuff up along with it so it is easy to find). What about Verizon’s TM on “Can you hear me now?” Just curious… *G*

  11. Sharra says:

    Never used voice – and never will.
    Voice splits groups into peaces – the one who wants to talk – the others who don’ t want. So neither ob both smaller groups recognizes what the others are talking about. The voicers because they are concentrated to they’ re voice, and the chatters because they don’ t hear the others.

    Cause of this, if i or any other of my people are involved in the admin-team there is always voice completely disabled.

    Its because we want to form communities, communication with each other, and not to form 2 fragments of a community.

  12. Chris says:

    @Zi – “Voice does not lag the Second Life servers, it is handled by Vivox’s servers.”
    Please explain to me how the distance factor works then? Please tell me how Vivox somehow calculates my distance from someone on grid to see if I should be able to hear them? I call BS

  13. Sean Heying says:

    The overwhelming call is for the Lindens(r) to remove the voice software, in fact the vast majority of people blog after blog want it removed, at best you see one or two people out of 150 posts time and time again who use it.

    If it was so wanted to hear mouth breathers and teenaged griefers how come there were so few votes to have this “feature bling” added over stability and a little decent governance.

  14. U M says:

    @9 everyone knows that voice has its own server………..
    But even people with high speed fiber optical connections 4 giga of memory and powerful high watt graphic card still hits hit hard. Because if the voice very is over loaded it will lag and it will causes stress in on your computer.

  15. Brenda Maculate says:

    @1, @2, @3, @al:

    If you don’t like voice, do what I do: quite whining and JUST DISABLE IT.

    If you don’t know how to do that, watch the first vidtut in this series and do the opposite of what Torley says.

    Geez. One would think that some people just aren’t happy unless they’re complaining about something…

    (Torley, Great job, as always! Thank you!)

  16. Zi Ree says:

    @10 Damian McLeod: Of course, each and every program on your system eats resources. Voice does not take a lot of resources, though. The bandwidth is very low (you only receive one single stream, pre-mixed from Vivox), and if you really see a performance hit using voice, you probably have the same problem when using parcel music streams or listening to internet radio. And if this is the cast, you have a serious problem with your machine.

    About recording conversations: The point was: “No logs.” My point was: “You can have them.” I wasn’t going into legal discussions, because they are highly dependant on the country you’re living in. A lot on Second Life residents are keeping log files of private and public chat on their computers, without notifying anyone. Most other chat systems like IRC do this by default. So the same rules would probably apply to voice. I am not a lawyer, I’m just stating the facts.

    About recording software: As stated below, if your system shows a performance hit while recording audio, you have a serious problem with your system. The resources needed for this are very very low. Machinima creators do this to prevent a program from causing performance “spikes”, eating CPU cyycles for a short period of time due to heavy calculations, such as virus scanners. Simple audio recording (and this is happening while capturing a machinima as well) should never lag your system.

    @12 Chris: Yes, the Sim sends position updates to Vivox, which really is not very much data. The actual voice bandwidth – and this amount of data is really a lot – is handled by Vivox, though.

  17. annon says:

    @13.. The client does the work, it’s technically possible to listen to voice chat for a region or other i’m sure if the voice portion of the client was investigated.

  18. Janerella Voom says:

    @ the previous blog quoting
    It would be nice to see LL put as much energy and effort to help the business residents secure THEIR own branding, brands, trademarks, intellectual property and so on.

    After all without residents, business owners and consumers alike, there would be no SL.

    Maybe this newfound interest will trickle down eventually to the content creators. One can only hope”

    I agree on this totally

  19. @3: No, voice is that features you use to communicate when you do not have too much time to waste.
    We run voice events with 3, 5, 10, 20 and 50+ persons involved. With some know-how (eg mute your mic to avoid echos, and adjust volume of other participants) everything works well.
    For events with participants who are not too familiar with the system, I look fwd to moderation features, eg mute everyone to “give the floor” to a next speaker.

  20. S J says:

    The actual voice data goes through the Vivox servers, yes there is obviously some integration with the sims but it shouldn’t cause the performance issues at the scale you are claiming.
    According to the Vivox whitepages (Online Games and Virtual Worlds, December 2007), no voice data goes through the game servers, only access control and channel management which frankly, shouldn’t cause performance problems as large as you’re claiming they are.
    If your experiencing performance issues, then don’t use it, turn it off. The voice component is a separate from the client. If SecondLife is following the same design that the Vivox papers state, then I don’t see how it could be causing a large performance hit.

    I think it’s just because your internet connection can’t handle the data, which may not actually be your fault. It could be because the compression that Vivox is using for the voice data might be poor or the Vivox servers cannot handle the load, but I doubt that.
    However, according to the the whitepaper, Vivox offers an option to directly connect to another player/user but “If
    security concerns or firewall restrictions make peer to peer communication
    inappropriate or inadvisable, the voice traffic is routed through Vivox’s media
    Whether that is being used in SecondLife I don’t know.

  21. Gully Miles says:

    @4: If you record the voice session, how do you then turn that into an archive as small, manageable and easy to search as a set of text files?

    My text chat logs are helpfully indexed by name automatically (i.e. my IM conversations with each person are saved as a text file with that person’s name). OK so general chat is saved as “chat.txt” but any text editor with a “Find” function can easily skip to the bit you want.

    My SL chat log folder has months worth of conversations in it, and is 18.1Mb in size. I wonder how many hours of voice chat it would take to use that much disk space?

    I’m sure voice has its uses. I also suspect the people who want to use it are using it already. I doubt video tutorials will make a lot of difference.

  22. Funninonebabe McBride says:

    Why do you hate voice so much? Why disable and spoil it for those who use voice, hmm wonders what have you to hide?

    If you don’t like voice just disable its as simple as that. My group of friends & I use it all the time and we have the best time chatting & laughing with each other, plus we always include all non voice people, some people like to listen and comment in type, for those who don’t have ears on we always include them in our conversations…..150 bloggers against voice does not mean the majority of SL users hate voice get real… Long live voice in SL

  23. @11: “Its because we want to form communities, communication with each other, and not to form 2 fragments of a community”

    We want to form communitiES, plural, where everyone can choose the communities more suitable to her, him or whatever. There is nothing wrong if people join communities where their preferred communication mode is encouraged. It is called freedom of choice you know, I wonder why this is so hard to understand.

    Kili: I don’t care about cybersex, i don’t care about your gender in SL, and I don’t care about your gender in RL. Just feel free to adopt the lifestyle you prefer in SL and RL, and leave others free to adopt the lifestyle they prefer. Again, freedom of choice.

  24. Hippyjim Starbrook says:

    Thanks for the excellent set of tutorials Torley. Any chance of a tutorial on how to remove the background noise of my house, with 3 kids, 1 wife, 2 cats and a tv?

    Voice isn’t practical for a lot of users, and I agree with some of the earlier comments that it’s creating a two-tier SL culture. I’m about to run a very important meeting, and as my kids have trashed my headset (microphoes on booms get bent and snapped) and I’ve no chance of getting quiet in the house on a Saturday I’ve had to make it text chat only. Which is dangerous, ‘cos I have no idea what people are saying in voice chat, and I can’t disable it for the entire parcel for the sake of one meeting.

    I think the whole voice thing needs to be looked at again – maybe to allow people who don’t/can’t use voice to be able to see when voice users are talking – it’s rude to whisper!

    Also….on the point of using voice to tell somebody’s gender…look up “Voice Changing Software” in Google. For $25 you can buy stuff that hooks straight in and gives you any kind of voice you like (Male/Female/Furry). Some even say they’re designed for SL!

  25. Janelle says:

    I am not really happy with voice, since my mistress and her other slaves use voice, but since I live with my parents still, I am not able to talk or listen along. It makes me feel quite like an outsider.

  26. LOL – WONDERFUL tutorials, Torley as always!

    Unfortunately, the voice detractors `still` come out of the wood work. I love the comment above about how “I don’t want to hear breathers and teenager griefers” etc.

    Ummm.. then you must be using voice! LOL.

    Because, if you don’t like voice… and have it turned off, it doesn’t use any more recourses than if it weren’t part of the system to begin with, but also, you can’t hear anyone else on voice – at all! Woot!

    If you don’t like voice, turn it -OFF- and it will not be there! Ta-da!

    Amazing how flexible that is – those who want it can have it and those who don’t, won’t.

  27. Pepper Haas says:

    Zi Ree, I do have voice off, thank you; and it sure IS a major lag factor in SL because those voice servers sure have to interact with the SL servers.
    Voice is useless. And that group IM got all borked when they started introducing Voice, is just coincidence, right. I hate the new communications GUI, I HATE VOICE.

  28. Pepper Haas says:

    @Ari Blackthorne, even if I (and so many thousands of others) never use voice, it STILL lags SL. It was simply a bad decision to put voice in SL. There is already perfectly good software available for those who wanted to use voice while playing SL, like Skype. But no, it had to be forced upon an already buggy system and caused permanent defect in group communication.
    All that trouble, for nothing. Voice is useless. Take it OUT!!!

  29. Zi Ree says:

    @27 Pepper Haas: As I said, the Sim needs to transfer position and orientation data to the Vivox servers. But that is a very small amount of data, considering that there are maybe 40 or 50 avatars at maximum in a Sim. Even the transfer of a single 512×512 texture of medium complexity to one single avatar consumes much more bandwidth than a positional update of all the avatars in the Sim.

    And as I also said, the Group IM problems started after introducing a load balancing solution, spreading out Group IMs to the Sims rather than having one single server handling the traffic. This has nothing to do with voice and was happening long before voice was introduced to Second Life.

  30. “it STILL lags SL. It was simply a bad decision to put voice in SL.”

    Nonsense. Sounds like a user-system issue. You are lashing out because YOU don’t like it – so you would rather punish those who do.

    I don’t like cottage cheese – so it should be OUTLAWED and NEVER PRODUCED AGAIN. Because it makes me queasy just to see it. If you like it, I don’t care. Cottage cheese-eaters all be DAMNED! LOL.

    Enough of this whining everyone – let’s stay on-topic.

    @Torley: Thank you again for your tutorials. I always seem to learn something new. No matter how well I know the system – there always is something new to learn.

    Now – here’s something for you:

    RE: GESTURES (of any kind): Right-click the folder and choose ADD TO OUTFIT – activates all of them! Right-click and choose “TAKE OFF ITEMS” – they all become DEACTIVATED. LOL


  31. Nedrae Messmer says:

    Nice tutorials as always. I chuckled when Torley just up and flew away from his wife while she was talking 😛

    That said, I’m having problems with the bundled voice program under Linux and trying to use it with PulseAudio (0.9.6). The old solution of wine (OSS) + SLVoice.exe works fine on the other hand. Anyone know what’s up with that?

  32. Nedrae Messmer says:

    Ahem, for the sake of being more clear: By “bundled voice program” I mean the vivox blob in the tarball (SLVoice), and by “SLVoice.exe” I mean, of course, the one that comes with the Windows installer, along with the DLL files it requires.

  33. Broccoli Curry says:

    Any stats to show the “massive increase of people with voice activated” since it defaulted to on instead of off a few releases back – because they don’t know how to turn it off or what that little white dot actually means?

    Should valuable blog space be wasted on little ‘tutorials’ rather than being put in the knowledgebase/support where they belong?

  34. jacquelinetrudeau says:

    @10. Yes… the newly ascendent LL legal department should have done a better job in vetting Torley’s headline. Verizon doesn’t take lightly to others infringing on their trademark:

    “Verizon Wireless, the cellphone company, in which Verizon holds a majority stake, asserted in court papers filed late on Monday that union officials violated the company’s trademark by using the ”Can you hear me now?” phrase last week during a conference call with journalists. ”

  35. S J says:

    @24 You can still use the Voice feature to *hear* other people without a microphone. You’ll just have to communicate back to them via text.

  36. Shinobi Hayashida says:

    Always thought voice (and even video why not) was a natural feature for a virtual world as Second Life, but nevertheless, thanks again for yet another video tutorial about it, it explains things well.

    Can really say Torley is an endless pond of knowledge within SL, we might think there’s must not much things not covered by video tutorials already but still always new ones arrives.

    Great work!

  37. nandra says:

    there nothing “seriously wrong with my system” if there’s already enough lag and instability beyond my control and I dont like any additional to be introduced. Voice is a vastly unpopular add-on thats being forced upon us as if there were no serious issues to work on. But its always pushing your own ideas regardless of what we think, like protecting your own logos and trademark at a time when everybody asks for a serious effort against in-world content theft. Now better shove in a new blog post quick to hide the public outcry in the comments again.

  38. DaQbet Kish says:

    Flexi causes lag! Flexies eats up resources. I cant go to a formal dance when all these flexi dresses are lagging the whole sim! Please remove all flexi items in SL. We don’t need these fancy pantcy features like flexies when SL is broke. Fix SL. No More Flexi! 😛

    Oh and thanks for the tutorial Torley 😉

  39. DerDepp Schnabel says:

    i know , its off-topic, but:
    what is happen now to the grid? i cant move any objects with another creator
    than me! (i am owner of these objects)
    something really goes wrong now!

    about voice chat….never used it, does not really work for me
    we use teamspeek or similar

  40. TheOther Girl says:

    >>If you don’t like voice, do what I do: quite whining and JUST DISABLE IT.

    You miss the point, Brenda. The App footprint still takes up unnecessary memory which leaves a reduced amount of resources…. Not everyone likes to fill their RAM with unused data.

    Then there is the imposition of having to put up with the lag of OTHER voice users!!! It is like a whole area being griefed by one single person’s poofer.

    Some people just cannot see anything beyond their own skin.

    Now all of you who are so keen on bloatware, put your money where your mouth is and donate some hardware and bandwidth to those who cannot afford the uber leet systems to match what you own. Otherwise just STFU.

  41. Patrio Graysmark says:

    Oh thank goodness! i hate open mic-ers XD now i have something to help them get into the better habits

  42. Chris says:

    The cottage cheese analogy and flexi sarcasm are not valid due to there not being viable, less resource intensive, options already in existence to flexi or cottage cheese. To voice there are hundreds of better options instead of yet more bloatware on redundant services.

    Funninonebabe illustrates perfectly the division in place with ‘wonders what you have to hide’ instead of taking at face value when HippyJim (@24) can’t voice because of kids etc etc, Funninonebabe will no longer trust you really are HippyJim – her loss I guess.

    Ari moans that people ‘still’ come out in detraction, yet he ‘still’ comes out in fanboism… pot… kettle… live and let live. Respect other opinions, even if they’re not alike.

    If you’re serious about the cottage cheese or DaQbet’s flexi issue, I’ll respect it and politely disagree as they have a unique and unimitable place. Voice is redundant however.

  43. nandra says:

    @38: yes, flexies cause lag. But just on your client-side. Turn down flexi detail in your graphics prefs and you won’t be bothered. But the real invalidation of your point is the simple fact that unlike voice, flexies are quite popular. 🙂

  44. Heh – @Chris: point respectfully taken.

    not fanboi – just think it’s funny when people make comments such as “Voice is a vastly unpopular add-on”.

    Cottage cheese is vastly unpopular, too. Fortunately, it’s not being forced upon us all. LOL!

    Woot! 🙂

  45. U M says:

    You know kid people that have been using voice and had problems “KNOW” what the outcome is. Trolling people just to get attention just shows that some people just don`t understand the proformance issues that voice has on ever level of computer buildt. So ther you have it little boy facts. If you don`t believe them thats your own “LIITLE” problems. deal with it………….Have a nice day………….and make sure you enjoy your second life…………….I do………………


  46. DaQbet Kish says:

    Obviously Im parroting what I see as nothing more then speculation offered up as fact.
    After a almost a year of reminding people that Voice is a choice and that many things can cause lag the voice haters still cant resist attacking anyone who dares to mention Voice and Second Life in the same sentence. Why no lashing out at Troley’s many other helpful tutorials other then to take cheep shots when ever the opportunity arises.
    Ill comment no further. And once again thank you Torley for your efforts.

  47. Zi Ree says:

    Voice does not cause performance problems on a system that is able to play parcel radio streams, for example, because it’s nothing else than that. It’s playing a compressed audio stream, nothing more, nothing less.

    The difference between SL Voice and Teamspeak/Skype etc. is, that you have different voice channels per parcel, you don’t have to ask the owner, where to connect your voice client to, and the audio is spatial, not flat. If you don’t want or need it, that’s just fine.

  48. Naoki Ninetails says:

    For once I’m inclined to agree with Ari 100% – the whinging from residents on this post is just pitiful. Just because you’re uncomfortable with voice doesn’t mean you have a right to demand that it be taken away from the rest of us. I’ve been present in an almost-full sim where half the people were using voice and I didn’t experience any extra lag. The whining is completely unfounded. Go back to your holes, trolls.

  49. U M says:

    Shakeshead……..I like to know what type of computer you have? No what people are saying is voice does a neg effect of people computers. What your saying is everyone that has problems doesnt understand their own computers ( highly doubtful )…….Team Speak doesnt have even close to the this one…..nobody said anything about “problems on a system that is able to play parcel radio streams”……

  50. Mmmyes says:

    I like voice once in a while. And I have discovered a little secret that many people on this blog have yet to figure out: I can turn it off if I don’t want to use it. I mean, can you imagine? If I don’t want to use it, I simply disable it instead of pissing all over everyone else’s fun! Incredible, isn’t it?

  51. Kopilo Hallard says:

    Suggestion for people running linux, if you are using alsa or oss for a sound driver, I recommend using esd (esound) ie enlightenment as the sound driver for second life and using alsa or oss for voice.

  52. Hippyjim Starbrook says:

    Just to clear up – I think voice is a great feature and it should definitely stay in SL.

    I just can’t use it myself, and would love to see some way to compromise with all those folks who do. Being able to see the little dot above avatars heads would be handy, without them getting upset because I can’t talk to them. Maybe an indicator to show that I’m “voice listen only” or something would work?

    p.s. I love cottage cheese – but Orange consumption in public should be made punishable by public hanging.

  53. Ric Mollor says:

    Question for the collective wisdom of blog readers here.

    Are there any speech gestures that work as well as the built in gestures of the world “” within SL? The “immersive” experience of Second Life is severely compromised by voice usage as the avatars don’t actually appear to be talking. Ideally, the avatar mouths should be moving with a users speech to maintain the illusion.

    For those unfamiliar with “There” gestures this link points to a YouTube video that clearly demonstrates avatar ‘speech’.

  54. Pingback: ALAS! A “voice” of reason! « SL Review

  55. U M says:

    @49 I am not one of those the want to get rid of voice. I just don`t turn it on( anymore ). If people want to use voice wonderful. But those forcing voice us to use it is the problem. These days i try to ignore those types. But you know blogs they always some that want to play stupid blog games…because they they they are untraceable…..stupid kids……….

  56. Mmmyes says:

    Tone down the condescension just a notch, Usagi. You’ll find that people may be annoyed by you a little less. And who is forcing you to use voice? No one! I don’t like talking prim penises. However, I am neither trying to stop people from using them, nor is anyone forcing them down my throat. OMG what did I just say?

  57. richard says:

    Physicist Miguel Alcubierre has suggested the use of so-called “exotic matter,” a theoretical type of matter with negative energy. If it could be found or created, the exotic matter would do the job of repelling space and time and creating the gravitational field.

    Unfortunately, that’s as far as it goes for possible fuel sources — there are more problems than solutions when it comes to the concept of powering warp speed. Even if the Enterprise were to travel at sublight speeds, known as impulse drive to “Star Trek” fans, the amount of fuel and energy needed to travel quickly through space would be too much for a single starship. The impulse drive of the Enterprise is powered by nuclear fusion, the same kind of reaction that lights up the sun and creates huge explosions from certain nuclear bombs. According to Dr. Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and author of “The Physics of Star Trek,” if Captain Kirk wanted to travel at half the speed of light (150,000 kilometers per second), the starship would need to burn 81 times its mass in hydrogen, the fuel used for nuclear fusion. The technical manual for “Star Trek: The Next Generation” lists the Enterprise as more than 4 million metric tons in weight, so the ship would need more than 300 million metric tons of hydrogen just to move forward. Of course, to slow down to a stop, the starship would need yet another 300 million metric tons of fuel, and a potential trip across galaxies would need 6,642 times the mass of the “Enterprise.”

    Some people have proposed a system in which a device gathers hydrogen as the starship travels, foregoing the necessity to store huge amounts of fuel, but Krauss suggests this device would have to be about 25 miles wide to capture anything worth using. Even though hydrogen is the most abundant element in the galaxy, there’s only about one atom of hydrogen for every cubic square inch.

    Making the warp drive work would be another thing. The warp drive in “Star Trek” gets its power by reacting matter with antimatter — the result is complete annihilation and the release of pure energy. Since antimatter isn’t very common throughout our universe, the Federation would have to produce it, something we can do today at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Illinois. Again, the problem turns out to be a issue of the amount of fuel necessary to power a warp drive. Kruass notes that Fermilab is capable of producing 50 billion antiprotons in one hour — enough to produce 1/1000 of a watt. You would need 100,000 Fermilabs to power a single light bulb. Producing enough antiprotons to bend the space-time continuum looks near impossible as far as our current technology goes.

    Although there’s little chance during this century of humans developing a spaceship that could bend space and travel to distant galaxies faster than the speed of light, this hasn’t stopped scientists and fans of the series alike to think about the potential. As recent as November 2007, the British Interplanetary Society brought together several physicists for a conference called “Faster Than Light


  58. Foxxe Wilder says:

    goodie… more videos…. do you have anything that that shows how to FIX MISSING PROFILES or BLANKED PROFILES? I have been looking for a friend of mine for almost 2 WEEKS only to find her on YAHOO (Apparently she’s been online DAILY but SL is so buggered up recently that we can’t make the connection by IM)

    I’d sent in a bug report but by the time they find it or act upon it WE’LL HAVE DIED OF OLD AGE.

  59. sirhc deSantis says:

    That, Richard, is the most off topic blog post I have ever seen 🙂 well done. And voice – Thks to Torley for showing how to turn it off. Informative as always 🙂 Guys the debate is over – its here. Just ignore it

  60. Letti says:

    lol i still can’t stop laughing, when I’ve heard that the Lindens were thinking of charging voice.. Do they expect a lot of people to pay for that? It’s a good thing they’ve changed they’re mind. Anyway, with all these problems, and the lack of knowledge of coding and any etc that the Linden labs have, Second Life is in it’s worst shape for that long. Plus, It took them that long to fix their website. They only listen to the people sometimes. Linden Labs even leave they’re weakness Way open.. A few of my friends have the better knowledge then Linden labs. They can make SL a better place but then again, they can destroy SL. Why don’t you look around for people and listen to them, instead of hiding.. Second Life is not going to last that long if they keep this up.

  61. Wanja Lubitsch says:

    Please don’t attempt L$ or land transactions or transfer of valuable assets until we give an all-clear.


  62. Ann Otoole says:

    every day another debacle. someone needs to review something lol. this is out of control and is really making this *thing* questionable.

  63. Jmengate Kawabata says:

    Yeah for the tutorials! Speaking of voice (did that make sense), I was wondering if anyone else noticed alot more people using voice when it first became available. Not sure if everyone has noticed this or if it’s just been my experience.

  64. sexina Rayna says:

    Second Life ist der größte desolateste Scheissehaufen im Internet.

  65. sexina Rayna says:




  66. Ian Eros says:

    I still fail to see the passionate hatred that many have of voice in SL. Voice is the most NATURAL communication method available and it has brought my community so much closer together. You can accomplish tasks so much more quickly using voice and it’s by far the best method of socialising with friends. I do appreciate that due to RL circumstances using voice might be difficult. Well in such cases, just listen and type your response back. Disabling voice completely just means that the world is going to gradually become a quieter place for you. Oh, and why do people keep complaining about voice causing lag and/or performance issues? It doesn’t. I can run SL with voice on a modest laptop without any extra problem at all.
    I hate it when I TP into an area that has voice deliberately disabled. Part of my SL experience is removed so guess what I do. I leave.

  67. Argent Stonecutter says:

    @22, @26, and others… voice has already disrupted many communities, splitting them into the ones who can use voice (fast computers, fat network links, good headset, quiet environment, good hearing, pleasant voice or extroverted personality, and no people around them to bother) and those who can’t. You might not care about this, but don’t pretend it hasn’t happened.

    @4 and others… about the last point… many people in RL don’t go to parties because they have trouble distinguishing voices in a crowd. They can’t use voice, even on listen, if there’s more than one or two people talking.

    In practice most places I’ve found people using voice, you get one or two people dominating the conversation, and nobody else saying anything or using text chat to reply. You don’t get a large number of people taking turns in an orderly fashion… it’s only the text chat that lets most people get a word in, and since most people can’t listen and type at the same time voice slows the conversation down.

    The whole idea that voice is faster is a myth. It’s faster to talk, but it’s slower to listen… most people can read much faster than they can talk… so when you have more than a couple of people around each person may type slowly but because it’s queued up they’re not delayed waiting for people to respond, so you can have a much richer and more complex discussion than you can in voice. To make voice faster, give us good voice-text transcription and have it dump what you speak into text chat.

  68. Stephe Ehrler says:

    @ #2
    – Voice does not lag the Second Life servers, it is handled by Vivox’s servers.

    You guys can claim this all you want but if this is SPACIAL sound, it HAS to put a load on SL servers. There is NO WAY it can help but do that! Also knowing which sim the voice is on etc requires the sim server to talk back and forth to these other servers. More network traffic. Then the client software also has to be involved, more code = more bugs. Also if this wasn’t being used for voice, this money, server space and code time could be spent fixing bugs etc rather than adding time and resources to keeping voice working right. I don’t know how many times I’ve see the “we are working on voice” messages” so resources are being spent on it. The DAY they released voice on the grid, SL saw a HUGE performance hit and has never fully recovered.

    We all know voice is here to stay but don’t insult the people who know the BS about “It doesn’t create a load” is just that, total BS.

  69. Hyddin McMillan says:

    I think they should just close comments on most all topics, that way we don’t waist such valuable bandwidth on a place for unhappy people to vent and complain because they are of the belief everything in SL and RL should be flawless!
    : – )

  70. nandra says:

    march 21: “please refrain from uploading textures or making any transactions…”
    march 22: “please refrain from transactions…
    march 24: “in the meantime, please refrain from making any transactions or rezzing objects”

    Massive failures like these are just part of the sl experience along with all the lesser ones. It has been that way before voice was introduced, while voice was introduced and after. Do you really need to wonder why there is some thinking that LL should set their priorities straight and start committing themselfs on fixing SL instead of making pretty tutorials for features that most of us didn’t want or at least can live without until the rest is working? It just shows to what level LL has detached themselfs from their users. In one of the last tutorials we got a glimpse into torleys friend list. Lots and lots of lindens were there but not a single of us mere mortal non-lindens. go figure.

  71. Stephe Ehrler says:

    @12 Chris: Yes, the Sim sends position updates to Vivox, which really is not very much data.

    Hate to spam the blog but yet another BS allert. Exactly how much “data” are you talking about (do you know or is this just a guess?) and how often is this data being updated? Unlike a texture or even like a dance animation, which is only sent one time, this info must be constantly polled, which never ends. Sure we all know when we first TP somewhere there is texture lag while everything loads. But once all this has loaded, that info stream stops.

    This position data stream in continous and unless you have info I don’t, you have no real idea about the size of the data packets, how this info is gathered (llSensor done in short repeated bursts will bring a sim to it’s knees) or how often it’s polled. And while this may not be a huge amount of data, it is just MORE data on top of already oversaturated pipelines coming -out of LL-. Unlike the physics etc which use this data internally, this sound position info must be sent through the same pipe which HAS to create lag. There is no way around it.

    Again unless you have specific details of the data packet sizes and how often this is polled and transfered, you have no way of know how big a hit this creates. All I can go by is what happened THE DAY this was released on the grid, using a non-voice client, and the immediate performance hit that resulted. Seems an odd coincidence if in fact voice has no effect on non-voice users wouldn’t you say?

  72. Zi Ree says:

    You can watch the logfile of the SLVoice.exe binary to check upon the bandwidth usage of positional updates. Unless you want me to count the packet sizes by hand, I can give you a rough estimate of 200 bytes per positional update. This is XML encoded and probably being compressed before being sent over the wire. But even if it’s uncompressed, 200 bytes per avatar is not very much.

    The data gets updated every time an avatar changes their position. From what I have observed in the logs (yes, I analyzed the traffic, because I was hunting an ALSA Linux bug), the updates on a moving avatar get send about every other second, which makes a grand total of 100 bytes per second. That’s not much.

    Your own positional updates are being sent from your client to Vivox. I guess there is some data being sent from the Sim to Vivox as well, to make sure you’re not faking your position, but that’s just a guess, since we can’t look inside the Sim code yet.

    The audio itself is mixed on the Vivox servers and sent as a single stream back to your client, so your machine doesn’t have to cope with spatial calculations at all. As I said before, if your system can handle a parcel audio stream, voice should be no problem for it.

    I can’t remember if the day voice was released any performance hit came with it. I was testing voice on the beta before and was using the Voice first-look client before release. So I can’t really say which day I should take as “voice release”. But I can say, I didn’t see any kind of performance hit that could be traced back to voice release.

  73. Expert says:

    I know for a fact that flexies are the primary source for all lag in SL. I know this because I post in the official SL blog and because of that I’m an expert and know what Im talking about so any of you who think that flexies are not the cause of all lag in SL well you are full of horse hooie!

  74. t.A.T.u title says:

    Happy to have all voice turned off notices a trademark violation using a song title for promoting a tutorial.

  75. Lucian Zadeh says:

    Am I the only one who noticed the glaringly obvious grammatical error in “YOU CAN HAS VOICE CHAT VIDEO TUTORIALS!”?

    should be:
    “You can HAVE voice chat video tutorials!”

    unless “YOU CAN” is the name of a person or thing, which doesn’t seem all that likely.

    /me = pedant.

  76. Ann Otoole says:

    @74 – all your voice are belong to us

  77. pantaiputih korobase says:

    me irons his shirts with his laptop while reading this blog

  78. Kuroyanagi Habsburg says:

    @Torley: I love this one! Voice chat is very frustrating to help others set-up and this will help a lot. Thanks! I wish there some sort of subject index listing of your tutorials set up for you tutorials linking the like ones together.

    @74: It’s perfect grammar. He’s speaking “kitty pidgin”. Search Lolcat in Wikipedia. kthxbai

  79. Lucian Zadeh says:

    @77: Makes sense now, pedantry withdrawn.

  80. Broccoli Curry® says:

    i only use voice when i want to be sure the woman im with is really a man

  81. Tater Todd says:

    Nice tutorial T, as usual. Thanks.

    By the way…

    I are playin ur avatar.. ru’ning ur weputashun!

  82. Fiona says:

    Some people are so childish and ungrateful.

    Mr. Torley — thank you SO much for these tutorials. I love them. =)

    For what it’s worth, I didn’t even realize there were speech gestures. So that’s really really neat.

    Thank you again.


  83. nikki bechir says:

    I wonder about SL so much. It said it had to ban gambling because it breached US Laws (stuff the rest of the world). It’s doing its TM thingie now cos its Lawyers need to justify their jobs BUT it fails to protect its residents (especially female) from Sexual harassment. California has strong sexual harassment Laws to protect but does Lindens do enough to comply?

    Voice allows predators to harass and threaten “wanna f*ck baby’ is a mild and common experience in both PG and Mature sims. Text can be ignored, voice is heard, it impacts. The words are heard in your head without warning in your home, in your real life world. Someone is whispering to you directly. most guys won’t comphrend I know, but the real girls in here will.

    All Lindens say is lodge an AR, that never gets acted on. Seems to date Lindens only selectively applies US Laws when it suits them to make money or may hit their hip pocket .

    They opened this can of worms, have they failed (perhaps negilently,) to protect their residents? Have they failed to to put in place and funded a simple, effective and efficent complaint system, that is acted upon in a timely manner? Have they failed to adequately protect customer personanl details? Beyond the myraid of Age Verfication concerns, simply refer to today’s blog on TM’s and note the faulty link to register for the TM that sent personal details in HTTP instead of HTTPS.

    Have they uniformly applied all relevant US Laws equally ie anti gambling laws, TM business Laws and anti sexual harassment laws or Privacy laws?

    For the Linden lovers who sit in their parent’s basements in their trekkie outfits, who will just say “mute” the creeps or more pathetically sneer don’t use voice or “suck it in” (laughs). The answer is all residents have an equal right in SL to be treated with the same respect (yes, even virgin trekkies).

    Lindens makes voice the default setting when logging in, they constantly push its useage, ie this blog is an example and they devote considerable resources to ensure it works and it is marketed as a major selling point in its virtual world The issue is this “does Lindens have a duty of care to ensure it does everything possible to protect its residents from being sexualy harassed, especially its females and minors?”, A TOS saying don’t be a bad boy is questionable, has it actually done something? A mechanism in place to show it takes such matters seriously? It set a precedent with its applying US anti Gambling Laws, it is now doing its TM Laws, is it doing enough to show it must comply with all relevant US Laws?

    These are just idle question *smiles* I know there will be no yellow postie note reply from a Linden. So the future could be most interesting as they say. California is the home of creative litigation is it not? Wonders if virtual rape could become a reality, that would be a wonderful topic for the forum.

    Perhaps we will see a cheery Torley video rushed out to say “yes!”, “yes!”, “yes!” we have an AR system “click here”, “click there”, and this simple action will mean teams of dedicated Lindens will instantly leap into action to personally solve your problem. *coughs*

    Maybe (dare I dream) a stern blog on behaviour, (haha) I know what won’t be seen, something actually being done to

  84. Argent Stonecutter says:

    @71 Zi Ree: Many people *can’t* handle a parcel media stream. Yes, really.

  85. HackedofwithSL says:

    voice in secondlife seems a little second rate at best not that i use it that much quality wise not very good at all, and as for paying for that service you can only but laugh personally when i want to use voice with the friends i have we use skype better quality always available and does`nt interfere with anyone else, sorry but as i see it just another useless feature.

  86. Tiny Mind says:

    “No matter how many nice tutorials you give on this subject, I HATE VOICE”

    Right on! That, plus SL Client memory leaks, Both nasties on the computer hardware. And those idiots who ‘accidently’ leave their mic open so you can hear them getting to to take a wizz, Yeah, that’s class.

    No thanks.

  87. First: Torley, you’re doing a GREAT job with these video tutorials. Educational material like this is something that Second Life has needed for a long time. People have different learning styles, so other tools are useful too (notecards, prim dioramas, in-world classes, books), but video is valuable for many people. I’ve been in SL for well over two years, and I learn things from them.

    And now, the rest of the story…

    Voice certainly causes SOME lag; anything that adds more load to the servers does. The amount appears to be minor, however.

    In a perfect world, we could certainly argue that options are good. (Back when voice was introduced there were also questions of whether people would feel severe social pressure to use it, but that does not seem to have happened.) But development resources are finite, so the question must be asked: was devoting resources to SL voice a good use of them? Certainly in the way I lead my own Second Life it was not; fixing group IM would have been far more useful. (I have voice off about 95% of the time, and 75% of the things I DO turn it on is for things that could have been done just as effectively in audio streaming. But the broken group IM affects me just about every time I am in Second Life.)

    But then, how many of the development resources came from Linden Lab, and how many from Vivox? Arguing that the Vivox programmers should have been redeployed to fix bugs in the SL viewer is silly; they wouldn’t have done it. (The same argument applies for WindLight.) This points out a difficult problem in all development projects; people want bugs fixed, but programmers would rather work on shiny new features, and shifting the programmers around doesn’t always work — the people will leave the company rather than not getting to work on the things that interest them. And the majority of LL’s programmers work in Silicon Valley, where it’s REALLY EASY for programmers to walk and find another job.

    From the outside, it’s difficult to tell whether people are being used as well as they might be. I suspect that LL is doing well, but could do better… and could certainly do better about communicating the reasons for its development choices. Without that communication, people will continue to feel that resources are being put into things that are unimportant to us (as many of us feel about voice) rather than into things that are important.

  88. Chatty Cathy says:

    I love using voice, I just hate the way everyone else uses and abuses it. It’s great when chatting and building at the same time. I don’t need to keep interrupting object editing just to type the next line of chat. It is great for small pivate conversations, yet those necessarily block out the open public voice chat.

    In club settings, especially where one wants to listen to the music, it is terrible. There is invariably the multiple open mics with people yelling at kids and pets, TVs and radios blaring and all of this being fed back and echoed. I can’t forget about the off key karaoke artist either.

    The roll off for voice is also unnatural. Two groups of people seperated by 10-15 meters talking in normal voice levels should not interfere with each other, yet conversations occuring 40-50 meters away are heard as if the speaker is next to you conflicting with your nearby conversations.

    In the end I, except when conversing with my closest friends, the SL implementation of voice sucks big time. Compared to when I use Skype concurrently with SL, SLVoice.exe is also a client side resource hog. Why does it need to use 25-30% of processor clock cycles even when idle, mic off and not processing any active conversation.

  89. Neurotically Paranoid says:

    @71 Zi Ree

    >Your own positional updates are being sent from your client to Vivox.

  90. spaace rockett says:

    Dear Space Rockett,

    I have reviewed your account and there are two issues here; one is the unclaimed auction 26203869 in Sababurg, and the other is the you received 397000$ Lindens from a fraudulent source.

    In both cases you were notified and action was taken.

    The unclaimed auction in November 2007 was reclaimed and you were credited with 80% of the winning amount as per policy at that time. When auctioned land is unclaimed it can be put back up for auction as was done in this case.

    The 397000$ Lindens acquired by you from a fraudulent source were assessed and removed from your account June 18, 2007.

    I apologize for any confusion, though there is no other action that can be taken at this point with either one of these issues.


    Linden Lab

    once again your so called “solution” does not solve anything from my point of view, not only is the statement “In both cases you were notified and action was taken” is incorrect you completly failed to be able to view this whole episode fairly.I have on several occassion made it clear that i did not acquire lindens from a fruadulent source, if you accuse me of obtaining lindens in that way I would be interested in knowing who or what is that source,as far as being notified that my land was to be reclaimed, please provide me with the notification as I have not received any such notification to date.Also you have denied me access to my transaction history, you again make the statement “When auctioned land is unclaimed it can be put back up for auction as was done in this case” how much did the land bring at auction ? what is 80% of that amount ? where is the transaction information regarding the sale etc ?
    Your apology is meaningless as you have taken my money illegally and you have failed again to put the rights of your customers first.
    I will pursue this outside your corrupt and dishonest system.


  91. Kamachi says:

    I never used voice, and I will never use it. It breaks the character / role play experience and sets international barriers – those who speak with an accent and those who don’t. People that work on voice support at LL should start fixing longlasting bugs, but also ruthing, crashleport, slowmo and asstachments.

  92. Torian says:

    When it takes 7 tutorials to explain one function I think that shows just how bad the implementation is. This should be so much simpler and it needs to be because LL are falling into the “cater for the lowest common denominator” trap. Like most people, I tried voice and shut it off because of poor quality, underage griefers, high CPU use and various other bugs/features.
    As to recording your voice chat sessions…without informing everyone that you are doing it is illegal in the USA. That’s why whenever you talk to any big company you get the “this message may be recorded for training purposes” message. People using voice to play music.. that’s illegal too unless you are paying royalties the same as for an internet radio station. These may seem minor points, but sooner or later someone will find a way to make a lot of money here.

  93. richard says:

    i’m glad we are keeping the real world out of second life.

  94. Foxxe Wilder says:

    #79 – Broccoli Curry

    “i only use voice when i want to be sure the woman im with is really a man”

    OMG I don’t believe you are THAT naive to believe THAT!! Female voice impersonators have been in HIGH ACTIVE USE in the PHONE SEX TRADE since BEFORE YOU WERE BORN!!

    Wake up and smell reality little boy. Voice does not gender verify no more than a mere photo does. You “play the game, you takes your chances”.

  95. U M says:

    This issue is getting worse. Pushy on both sides now……As someone said early just don`t turn on voice. But then again don`t insult others at don`t want to use voice. Lets all get along……There wsa one les then mature person IM once trying to explain about voice. Turns out he was just like some of those others on this blog insulting people just because they don`t use it.Then again this same little minded person says Flex objects are lag free…………….And there you go………….

  96. Zi Ree says:

    @83 Argent Stonecutter: I was specific about parcel *radio* streams, not media streams. Streaming audio does not take a lot of bandwidth (voice usually even less) and next to no computing power. I really have a hard time to believe that any machine that is able to run Second Life at least with 2-5 FPS (which I would see as the absolute lower end where SL could be usable) would not be capable of playing back a mp3/ogg stream.

    However, let’s say, we have such a system. The solution is obvious: If parcel radio is too much to handle for the system, the user will switch it off. If voice is too much to handle for the system, the user will switch it off. Very simple. There is no reason to remove voice from the whole grid to make this machine work.

    @90 Torian: Just because there is a tutorial for it doesn’t mean, the interface is poorly designed. I agree, the Second Life viewer is not the best example when it comes to usability, but there are people who need help finding the “Preferences” dialog on the login screen, just because there is no button for it anymore. So I think the problem is not the UI but the people not being curious enough or willing to explore the menus and buttons themselves. This has been the case since the first day user interfaces (computers or not) have been designed.

  97. U M says:

    I just love people with all the answers……If users fault right please……………..many of use knows this UI inside and out……facts are there are just some that continue to suck up ……please

  98. nandra says:

    Torley is just the friendly face that LL needs to put on in trying to convince us they care more about us than they actually do. If people complain here that we are not thankful enough it seems to work..How many non-lindens are on his friend list,actually? In reality their own interests are way above their users. Failed transactions between residents are common and WE have to resolve that, someone paying you with fraudulent L$? Nothing you can do about it but you take the risk and might even get your account blocked for that. Does tier payment ever fail on their ends? Makes you think they really do have a few capable programmers but assign them exclusively to the tasks they consider to be essential.

  99. audrey says:

    “You cas HAS” ???

    really ??

  100. Vikarti says:

    as for illegality of playing music using voice, is it too much difference
    how such music gets streamed, via SLVoice.exe or via parcel audio streaming?
    Anyway legality of such action could be different and difference is ..vague…
    could you listen to music with your RL spouse?with SL one?what changes
    if you have several spouse(rare but possible in RL, not too rare in SL in
    several situations). Where border is?In both cases this is not
    distribution to unlimited number of persons?

    Recording..well, it brings interesting questions.
    (sometimes it’s necessary to use tools which record full or partially filtered
    datastreams and, as it was said many times, laws are different,
    one of problems is recording would be of no usage to the court,
    but what if i don’t ever intend for it’s usage in such way?
    What if I’m offended by calling someone speaking to me
    ‘hi slut/go here so i could fuck you’ and activated recording specifically
    to file AR?(and what if I’m NOT offendeded, specifically asked other av
    to do so and 3rd party records that and file AR?)

    It would be better to have TOS amended on this issue,
    and additional popup of possible legal issues (on which residents
    are usually having problems) with voice shown
    on voice activation.

    p.s. I personally think that there are too much important things than voice.

  101. Pepper Haas says:

    Zi Ree, yes they took apart a working system of group communications, in order to implement voice. That is why it happened “long before” voice came. It was the first step and it went wrong right away and everybody complained, thousands of groups went belly up, but they REFUSED to put things back together because they wanted voice so bad, and these changes had to be made to accommodate that. Then we got voice and the corresponding communications GUI change which is truly awful, and a year later group IM is STILL borked. Don’t tell me it had nothing to do with voice, voice is the exact reason the problem happened and continues and will continue.

  102. Zi Ree says:

    @98 Pepper Haas: The Group IM changes have nothing to do with voice. It was an attempt to spread out the load from one server to multiple servers rather than one dedicated machine. You can read up on the reasons on the SLDEV mailing list archives:

    The UI is awful, I agree, and I voted for the JIRA on it.

  103. DaQbet says:

    Torley, Im not sure if you’re surprised by the heated debate that’s going on here but Im not.
    Ive been up to my knees in this #!%*! for almost a year.
    For those of you new to this conflict between voice, no-voice, don’t be mislead by what your reading in this blog.
    I see the same familiar names over and over again taking sides and stomping through the forums and blogs passionately arguing their side…me/ raises hand.
    And that’s what this all boils down to is a small group of people who want you to believe they represent some majority or have some special knowledge or some inside scoop on a LL conspiracy.
    My in world observation is this: and let me preface by saying I am in world every day! And not held up on some private sim either, but out there amongst the massas.
    Voice is used by only a small minority of residents in Second Life! Mostly as a tool for instruction or in education and also entertainment. I’ve seen Shakespeare’s Hamlet performed in voice here. It was pretty cool!
    Most every Infohub and Welcome Area is silent say for a few that have regulars who are using voice. And generally those using voice will welcome and include anyone who chooses to speak or join along in text. But if you don’t like hearing them you don’t have to enable voice (choice…remember?)or you can also MUTE those who offend you. Yes there are assholes bent on disrupting things. That was the case before voice and will always be, no matter what!
    I personally use just text probably 90% of the time. And voice only when helping others with troublingshooting or for training or with some close friends.
    But if why so few use voice, why have it at all?
    Because just maybe Second Life is always moving forward! It’s seems in continuous beta no matter how LL wants to package it or spin it. Maybe that’s the truth that hurts the most for some people. Your hardware will become obsolete because LL can only support so many obsolete systems for only so long.
    And yes. Corporations and Educational Institutions benefit from voice.
    Ultimately to be part of the metaverse you should probably have some knowledge of technology with its limitations and its potential. And for those who feel this is all too much too fast. I suggest you go read a paperback! Maybe Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.
    Oh sorry. I said I would not comment further back @45….ooops!


  104. Argent Stonecutter says:

    Zi Ree: I’m not arguing that voice should be removed, I’m just trying to get across that there are real problems that voice has caused, and that pretending that these problems have “simple solutions” is what’s preventing better solutions from being worked out.

    It’s not the compute overhead that’s the problem, it’s bandwidth. The way bandwidth is throttled by ISPs every new source of traffic can have non-linear impact on packet loss. If you’re trying to limit your bandwidth to play SL on a 256k DSL, you may have to throttle your bandwidth down to 180k or less. If you add another stream, even if it’s only 5k, you may have to throttle your Sl bandwidth by another 40 or 60 k to avoid packet loss showing up in SL. Now you’re down to less than half of the DSL’s capacity.

    So you turn voice off, because you *can’t* turn it on. that’s the “simple solution”, but that causes problems. Why?

    Well, the next problem is that now you have people who are in a community who are using voice, and people who can’t realistically use voice even passively. So now you have an existing community that’s split up into two groups, one of which is primarily chatting, and one of which is talking or chatting and listening. So voice has fragmented communities in SL.

    So what happens when people bring this up? People in this blog come back with “Turn on voice but use chat”. But that takes us back to the beginning of the loop. 🙂

    First, let’s acknowledge that voice *is* causing a problem, and that there aren’t simple solutions to this problem.

    OK, now on the other side, there’s the people who don’t like voice, or can’t use voice. The “simple solution” there is to get rid of voice. But that’s not going to happen either.

    So, second, let’s acknowledge that voice isn’t going away, and that there aren’t simple solutions to this problem.

    Everyone on the same page?

    Any response to the issue of voice has to deal with both of these facts: (a) voice causes problems that don’ have simple solutions, and (b) voice isn’t going away, so that’s not a solution. Who wants to suggest a way forward? Voice transcription software might be one path… think of it as subtitles. What else?

  105. Zi Ree says:

    @101 Argent Stonecutter: I don’t know why you tell me this. I never argued on the social effects of voice. I stated the technical facts. A lot of people on IRC networks hate Second Life in general, because a number of people migrated to Second Life while others couldn’t or didn’t want to. It’s just what happens when new technology becomes available. I deliberately do not go in the social debate, because this is a highly subjective topic, depending on the group you’re in, your friends and your preferences.

    My only point is, voice in itself does not cause major stress, neither on the Linden Lab servers nor on the client machine. This is what I want to make clear.

    Voice to text transcription is a nice idea, but I don’t see that happen in 10 years or so. It’s just too complex to be working reliably.

  106. U M says:

    shakeshead……..keep repeating the same thing………Anyone can come here press the issue and make things look so correct. But really its not that way for everyone. One size doesnt fix all is my point…….

  107. FireFox Bancroft says:

    @Zi Ree, you and I both know that if people switched voice off because it annoyed them these people wouldn’t have anything to complain about on the blog and they wouldn’t feel like they had some kind of personal mission to have it removed from SL.

  108. FireFox Bancroft says:

    Oh by the way, the SLVoice process is removed from your system processes if it’s disabled, people who are saying that SL voice chat feature still uses up resources even when disabled are full of BS. I have verified this, turning off voice chat removes the process entirely, therefore it consumes 0% of your system resources when it’s disabled. It’s a simple checkbox in a simple dialog, either disable it or don’t.

  109. GetReal says:

    I like voice and use it maybe half the time. I enjoy the pros and cons here in the blog as if voice is a religion – only one way is true and the others damned. . .

    However, my favorite is the guy whose excuse is he records months worth of chat logs and neatly itemizes them in files by person and is disappointed he can’t do this with voice. wtf? Very scary. Does he go to rl parties with a recorder in his pocket? Several punchlines possible here . . .

  110. CheerGirl Allen says:

    so like “Can you Hear me Now?” is that not Verison Wireless’s Trademarked Tagline? do they know you are using it? after your Blog post about Trademarks, Copywrites, and how to properly use INSL logos, How can Linden Labs just go and blaitently use that Trademarked Tagline? Do you think Trademarks and copywrite apply to only You?

  111. Argent Stonecutter says:

    Firefox: When i don’t use voice, I’m isolated from people who do use it. When I do use voice, the experience of SL changes significantly, and I miss people who don’t or can’t. The social effects of voice are real.

    Zi Ree: The bandwidth issue is a real issue, and a technical one. And when you say that there’s a simple solution in the form of turning off voice you ARE getting into the social debate.

    There are no simple solutions, on either side. Yes, I know transcription is a hard problem. So can you, or anyone else, think of other solutions?

  112. Tater Todd says:

    @97 audrey — It’s “lolcat speech” — google lolcat and you’ll find some amusing things (at least to me).

    but on with the dicussion of voice… Someone mentioned that voice most likely isn’t going to go away and I think thats reasonable to assume. Lets face it, voice is becoming (or has already become?) a very common feature in multiplayer games and virtual worlds. And I anticipate “voice blogs” will become popular at some point as well.

    I won’t dispute that voice may cause problems for some — but I don’t see how it causes any more problems than text chat with users who speak different languages.. Plus it can be turned off afterall. Perhaps voice does use more resources even if its not on — well, its not that much different than new releases of your favorite applications — they all use more resources and you eventually need to adapt. But in this case, I have noticed no difference in performance, even with my modest system.

    It reminds me of all the debate, not too long ago, when the web began changing from text-only pages to pages with fancy graphics, animation and plugins, and even when businesses started using the web. I recall people yelling that it was the downfall of the web, but now its what we all expect. Voice is just one new feature that is a natural evolution of the platform. In my opinion its that evolution that will keep more people interested in SL and help grow the community, and increase the possibilities in world.

    soapbox mode Off 🙂

  113. Letti says:

    pfft. The community is growing? It’s more like the same number since 2006. Especially when voice was introduce.

  114. DaQbet says:

    Letti FYI:

    Looks the numbers just keep on growing.
    Hell the people who screamed Voice would ruin SL are sill here, still screaming 😀

  115. Letti says:

    I’m sorry but that’s not growing. I still see the same number of people. Of course the people who are against voice, is still here because they have friends in SL. Not just rl. That’s half of them though not all of them.

  116. U M says:

    The only real knowing person here talking is Argent Stonecutter. Atleast a few of people here can explain what is real and what is Hype and Rah Rah………

  117. DaQbet says:

    Letti says: “pfft. The community is growing? It’s more like the same number since 2006. Especially when voice was introduce.”
    Registered Users:
    January 2005 – 18,876
    January 2006 – 123,438
    January 2007 – 3,136,259
    January 2008 – 12,240,161
    Premium Members:
    January 2005 – 5,273
    January 2006 –13,403
    January 2007 – 57,661
    January 2008 – 92,096
    Letti says: “I’m sorry but that’s not growing. I still see the same number of people.”


  118. Bubba Bracken says:

    My Girlfriend loves chat so I have minor gripes about it there. I was more impressed about Verizon being involved with it….why else would the great and powerful Linden use their trademarked slogan? Really hope they followed Verizons “Terms and Conditions” which are really easy to understand unlike those laid out here.

  119. Letti says:

    DaQbet: Well duh, That’s the register users but a big half of those users don’t even come online and the other half are just alts. So i’m sorry. It’s still the same 60,000 or whatever it was.

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