Connecting Second Life to Real Life

Today, we’re happy to formally announce SLim, a lightweight, voice-enabled instant messaging client that will allow you to communicate with your Second Life friends without logging in to the full viewer. While the viewer will still serve as the primary communication engine when you’re inworld, having SLim installed will enable you to connect with friends whether or not they are actually inworld.

SLim further lowers the barriers between virtual world and real world communication and ensures that you’ll always be able to connect with your Second Life friends regardless of location or broadband connection. Capable of running on any computer, SLim will extend the value and experience of Second Life beyond the borders of the virtual world.

Among other benefits, SLim will give you:

  • Access to your Second Life Friends list with real-time “presence” status updates
  • The ability to seamlessly migrate a text conversation into a voice call
  • The ability for SLim users to leave voice mails for offline friends

We’re putting the finishing touches on the technology now and will be announcing the availability of the client and a new SLim-enabled First Look viewer very shortly. Initially, you’ll be able to use SLim to communicate with Residents who are using the SLim-enabled First Look. Eventually, the main release viewer will also be SLim-enabled.

Voice is a critical component of the Second Life experience and SLim will play a major role in that facility moving forward.

Click here to see the official SLim press release.

Btw, I’m returning from the Virtual World Conference in LA this afternoon and won’t be able to read your comments until I get home. Will comment on the blog then. Thanks.

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152 Responses to Connecting Second Life to Real Life

  1. wow says:

    Just wow! A blog entry at last

  2. This sounds awesome! Thanks. I look forward to seeing SLim™ in action.

  3. Argos Hawks says:

    You had an opportunity to allow web based messages to get into SL, but instead you have to install an additional piece of software? I would bet that a very large number of the people that need the ability to send messages while not in SL need it because they aren’t allowed to install software on their work computers. Giving us an ability to send a message through the website will allow us to respond quickly to customers when a problem arises while we continue to hold down the day jobs that pay for SL.

  4. Explain Yourself says:

    Fine…but just explain how you went wrong the past week and how you plan to be better. Is there a future for sl or not. Do you understand reliability? Do you understand statistics? Do you understand the importance of consumer satisfaction? Do you think sl has a future if it does not have any people who know how to effectively communicate with customers? Speak up!

  5. Argent Stonecutter says:

    “While the Second Life viewer will still serve as the primary inworld communication engine, SLim is capable of running on any computer”

    I still have a couple of Sparcstation 1+ and 2 desktops running OpenBSD, will it run on those?

    Or, to be more precise, do you have some more information about this application beyond the press release? What platforms will it actually run on? What firewalls will it operate through? And what happened to the XMPP gateway idea?

  6. Chrysala Desideri says:

    so it’s an IM client? you’ll be on lists but agent will not rez inworld?
    would you rez inworld as a ruthcloud?

    how about inventory operations? could it be used as a nerfed bot for automated activities like group invites, resends of products and the like?

    in sum, will there be any worldly interaction possible with it beyond chat/IM/voice?

    sounds interesting anyway, waiting to hear more. 🙂

  7. Anthony Hocken says:

    A version for iPhone/iPod Touch would be nice if anyone is feeling ambitious.

  8. Ariel Moonsoo says:

    Will the SLim protocol specifications be released to the Open Source community? I currently use a multi-protocol IM client, and if I were to take advantage of the SLim protocol, I would prefer not to have another application running with a different interface to deal with.

    I echo Argent Stonecutter’s question about what happened to the XMPP gateway idea, as my multi-protocol IM client of choice supports XMPP connections, and it would make the functionality available now, rather than having to build a plugin for the client to support the new protocol, or wait for the support to be added to the client.

  9. Pyrii says:

    This client is a serious dissapointment. It works OUTSIDE of the Second Life grid, and requires your friends to use a special client and have voice chat turned on. It also equires a separate account with VIVOX and works REALLY slowly (Just like normal for VIVOX then =)

    This isn’t even close to the client that everyone wanted, which was a client that interacted with the main grid like SLeek.

    Anyway, for anyone pondering what the client is like, Tateru went ahead and took a look at the new client: http://www.massively.com/2008/09/03/hands-on-the-second-life-slim-client-is-here/

    I fear there is something very wrong going on in Linden-Land

  10. imohax says:

    This is particularly good news after the Sleek project died some months ago. I sure hope it includes group chat. Voice? If that actually happens I could see Skype definitely losing some ground since people could just jump in world to follow up their voice or chat conversations running over SLim. For those who can’t go in world during work or whatever because of the weight of running the full client, this is just so ideal. You can stay on SL while on conf calls and do other multi-tasking that was not possible with SL but was possible with all the other chat clients out there. Good job Lindens.

  11. Pyrii says:

    It seems that Linden Labs has pulled the SLim page that was at http://secondlife.com/slim/ it just redirects to the main page instead of 404ing.

    Hopefully this means they’re going back to the drawing board.

  12. Shibari Twine says:

    Underwhelming.

    You need to use voice to even get your friends list to Vivox who are running the servers, then your friends needs to use the special client, those with Nicholas, Cool or Linux are out in the cold?

    XMPP would have been better and then I could have attached with my iPhone.

    As far as “on any computer” you don’t even support Linux, so how can you say that?

  13. This sounds pretty nice. Maybe it could get SL blog updates to it or something like that too.

  14. I like when you click on the press release link about the company they joined to make it with you get this. Just shows how much hard work LL does to make sure their website functions right.
    http://lindenlab.com/pressroom/releases/www.vivox.com

    The requested URL was not found on this server.

    Content on this site changes regularly, so it’s possible that the item you’re looking for is now in another location.

    You may want to try navigating directly from the homepage at http://lindenlab.com.

    If you continue to receive this message after following a link from within this site, please send a note to webmaster@secondlife.com.

  15. … and SL is still relying on proprietary closed-source application for voice, and now, IM.

    … Speex anyone?

  16. Chrysala Desideri says:

    ok i see my questions have been answered. not interesting at all in the end.

    thanks for the linx, Pyrii! cleared it all up for me!

  17. Pingback: Dusan Writer’s Metaverse » SLim is Thin: And Is it a Client or an Appliance?

  18. teddlesruss says:

    I tend to agree with the sentiment of – what’s wrong with a web based IM portal, and why not release the API so that I can have it added to a multi-messenger? I’m currently mobile and not able to log in whenever I want to, but I would like to think I’m not wasting my monthly tier by getting nothing back.

    Linden Labs, you’re happy to take my money, so please take my suggestions on board too.

  19. Cold Spitteler says:

    This constitutes another “shiny”.. as a company you should be working on improving the stability of the grid (which is getting better) or work on something that will actually be intuitive and useful for the masses. The actual SLim is a huge disappointment from what Joe posted about in this blog.

    Like Ariel suggested, XMPP and Open Source is the way to handle a bridged application like this.. Trust more in the 3rd Party development community and less with proprietary software components

  20. Frans says:

    Might be better if LL starts working on that agent domain, so we can all create applications that connect to SL, without the wierd artifact of a avatar in world.

  21. Okies, as I read more about SLim™ in the comments here, at Massively, and other places the phrase “damage control” comes to mind. Between the lack of official information and the published “insider” information, I’m not sure that I want to see it. I need Voice for it to work? As an RL mute I’m offended. Thank goodness for AjaxLife. I just park my avie somewhere safe and log in via that brilliant interface and it’s like an IM client.

    It seems to me that your company is stalled in that awkward stage between letting clever people who like cool things run the works and letting corporate lawyers/accountants so that really awful decisions are made. Control of the future of virtual worlds is yours to lose. If what I know about SLim so far is true, then I would say it looks like you are SLipping.

  22. RC Paderborn says:

    I know you were busy at the convention but I read about this on a non-SL related blog about seven hours. Ago. I agree that a Linden Labs sponsored IM client would be good if only because there’s SOME hope that it’ll be supported on OS X and Linux.

    Like the blog at lvrambles.blogspot.com says, I too have used SLimChat and since then SLeek but they only run under Windows.

    At least SLeek is available now and will do what @5, Chrysala Desideri wants.

    Personally for an IM only program I’d to prefer it to be open protocol so it can run under Pidgin, Adium, etc. A web based version would be totally wonderful as well.

  23. RC Paderborn says:

    Uccello, I doubt it requires voice, though I hope not. At the peak I personally knew of three people using voice. All three have since hung up their headsets.

    But THIS is the part of the post that really made me laugh:
    “Voice is a critical component of the Second Life experience…”

    Uh Huh… Voice is only a little more critical to the Second Life experience than a bicycle is to a fish.

  24. Kathy Morellet says:

    I don’t have nor do I ever plan on having voice enabled. If that is a requirement then count me out.

  25. Elwin says:

    Joe said: “Voice is a critical component of the Second Life experience and SLim will play a major role in that facility moving forward.”

    I say: PARDON???? Voice damn near killed SL. None, not one, zero of my friends use voice.

    What on earth is the use of a virtual, fantasy, world that insists on forcing more and more conformity with actual life onto it’s participants?

    Functionality already exists to enable you to answer im on the fly without using the SL client. No extra third party software needed, just use your normal email client. OK you can’t generate a new thread but that could be easily made possible if LL assigned a static avatar ID instead of a transient one. If they did that all you’d have to do is add your SL friends to your email address book and, presto, you could continue to communicate using plain, simple, reliable, email software (including web-based email).

    I think that LL has a terrible tendency to over-complicate things when there are almost always simple and elegant solutions available.

    When are LL going to HEAR that what all their clients want, more than any new fangled flashy add-ons, is stability, reliability and the ability to do business or have fun in SL without having to think about what they have to do to stay connected.

    Every single time, and I really mean every single time, there is a server software upgrade we experience unacceptable instability. In my case my crash and freeze rate goes from once per week or so to once per 5 minutes or so. What that, and the ongoing outsourcing, points to is that LL are seriously under-resourced to support the community they have created. There is clearly insufficient acceptance testing being done prior to roll-out.

    I don’t have any idea if it is the marketing strategy or the business model that is driving this but I hope sincerely that M Linden is on top of this.

    It would be a tragedy of epic proportions if LL became so overburdened by systemic failure that SL failed.

    Just my 2c worth and obviously said without the benefit of knowing what actually goes on inside LL.

    All the best with sorting things out, and please take your foot of the new feature pedal and just work on stability for a while. The new MONO code isn’t working out so good so that might be a nice place to start.

  26. Alvi Halderman says:

    Thx God!
    Finally an official viewer.
    😀

  27. Nice to see this along with Lotus Notes/Sametime client for OpenSim break news on the same day. Interesting to think about multiple vendors (IBM/Vivox) competing for similar virtual avatar user-bases. I can’t wait to try this out.

  28. The great sandwich debate says:

    Wondering if LL really know what real life is anymore.You really have lost touch with SL.whats next social networking?adware?maybe your own browser i know firefox works to well for LL to keep using it for to long.

    To the ideas dept with to much time and to much caffine heres a new idea for you,Fix things stop adding cr4p that we don’t need and will just add more critical fixes until you have.

    While think havok and mono are great and well worth the development because this helps the grid but this is another pointless add in that will need months of patching and if it is VIVOX based not worth the effort.

  29. Shibari Twine says:

    Heh, far from an official viewer Alvi, it’s a third party client (I think written by Vivox) that will only talk to people who run the future FirstLook (which will be buggier than the current RC)

  30. @26 – I’m still waiting for the whole social networking thing to come out. They are currently working on “My” .secondlife.com as stated over at http://blog.secondlife.com/2007/02/16/were-developing-mysecondlifecomyour-feedback-needed/

  31. “Voice is a critical component of the Second Life experience.”

    The hell it is. I’ve gotten along without it for five years, and I don’t plan to start using it now. Voice is optional, and should remain so.

    And why you didn’t go the XMPP gateway + Pidgin/Adium plugin route, I just don’t understand.

  32. Shinobi Hayashida says:

    Good idea indeed, should increase convenience and constant contact to in-world more easily

  33. Winter Ventura says:

    What happened to using the Jabber protocl?

  34. Joe Linden says:

    Hello, all. I just returned from the Virtual Worlds conference in LA and wanted to take a moment to clarify a couple of points in the base post.

    First, SLim is designed to serve the single purpose of allowing Second Life users to take their Friends Lists with them when they can’t be in-world. It’s quite simply a messaging client that will run on most machines (under Win, Mac, or Linux at launch) that allows you to (1) see real-time presence of your friends, whether they’re in SL or also running SLim, (2) engage in a text or voice conversation with them, and (3) leave a voicemail message for a friend who is not online but has opted-in to receive voicemail at an email address of their choosing.

    The First Look viewer and the SLim client have not yet been posted for general use. A URL was “discovered” earlier today that contained some test builds of both applications, but they are not yet ready for public posting as I stated in the blog post above. As soon as we have completed testing of SLim and it’s associated viewer they will be posted as a First Look offering on the main downloads page.

    It is true that this is an application developed by our voice technology partner, Vivox, and is offered as an extension of our in-world voice services. You will need to activate voice for the purpose of provisioning your SLim account with your Friends List and to enable access to others using voice in-world. I realize that only about half of our resident population in-world at any point in time has voice enabled. The percentage has risen each month since voice was launched last August and, as a result, the Second Life user community has consumed a little over 8.5 billion minutes of voice to date. If you are not an active user of the voice service, then SLim will not be of interest to you.

    Initially, SLim will provide direct IM access by voice and/or text chat to individuals on your Friends List. A future version of SLim will add access to text and voice channels based on your group memberships, and will provide access to proximal voice and chat channels in an interesting way. I will provide more details on that as we wrap up the First Look program for this initial phase.

    Please keep an eye out for the First Look launch soon and give it a try. We’re very interested in hearing your constructive feedback on how we can make this better for launch.

  35. Escort DeFarge says:

    Excellent idea!

  36. Cold Spitteler says:

    Joe, would you be willing to actually address the multiple comments in regards to using the XMPP protocol as an additional way to maintain communication in world and out?

  37. Lamont Cranston says:

    Hello Linden? if you are reading this, I have to assume that the more… strident.. voices have been deleted. But, just to recap – people would like a protocol that fits on their current multi protocol IM client, or a browser based item (either a firefox plugin – first choice, or a google chrome one – second choice)
    And having it able to be pointed at an Opensim grid, or freestanding sim server would be quite nice.
    Thank you for your time,
    Lamont

  38. Joe Linden says:

    Cold, Argent, others: I’d be happy to speak to the pros and cons of moving to XMPP for future messaging extensions in an office hour or other interactive venue. We weren’t refactoring the IM system by introducing SLim, however. When we publish the source for the viewer that supports the SLim it’ll be obvious that this is an extension of our xml protocol for communicating with the slvoice process than a modification to the IM system. That protocol will be openly published as it was for the base voice functionality last year.

    I’d like to host an in-world technical session on SLim, how it works, what it is, and what it isn’t, as soon as the First Look package is launched. I’ll work with Katt to schedule and communicate timing for that.

  39. Coventina Dalgleish says:

    Oh wow such an anticipated addition now they can interrupt me from outside the world. You do know they invented that over 100 years ago it is called a telephone.

    Here is an original thought or two give me a switch to prevent it

    Fix the game so that it is usable this thing has more unsolved
    bugs than ever before

    STOP with all the add on’s and spend some time to make the game seamless for one smooth server to server hand off would really be nice when I happen to step across the border of my two adjacent islands I might as well go get another drink while waiting.

    Well at least we have a new blog to pollute.

  40. Ann Otoole says:

    Very nice. Looking forward to this.
    (Oh wait now I will never have an excuse to be out of touch! arrrrg!)

    😀

  41. Theres Tammas says:

    Oh yes, finally some news! Thank you!:)

  42. Maike says:

    “If you are not an active user of the voice service, then SLim will not be of interest to you.”

    Is there anyway to get a 24/7 log of a group chat?

  43. LL,

    With all the work you’ve been putting into interoperability, using a propriatary IM framework is going to be a major hinderance in the long run.

    XMPP is really the way to go, as that will mean instant interoperability with Google Talk and AOL’s AIM/ICQ (they’re working on porting these over to XMPP), plus a wide array of other services that use XMPP.

    In addition, XMPP clients already exist on virtually every platform (including mobile devices), so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel and throw yet another IM client into the already-crowded market with AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, WindowsLive, GoogleTalk/LiveJournal/XMPP, Facebook, MySpace, Skype, etc, etc, etc….

    Interoperability is your friend. Go with XMPP.

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  47. woot! finally 😀 😀 😀

  48. Ren Diqui says:

    Is it just me not being able to find the download link?

  49. Porsupah Ree says:

    “You will need to activate voice for the purpose of provisioning your SLim account with your Friends List and to enable access to others using voice in-world.”

    (1) To clarify, in order to use SLim in a purely textual manner, does this mean someone will need to activate voice once, for some initial process to go ahead, or will voice need to be enabled at all times?

    (2) Will the SLim source be made open, given this comes from Vivox?

    Providing it moves toward – or already supports – not requiring voice to be enabled unless you want to participate in voice chats, SLim sounds like a helpful lightweight addition.

  50. Palanth Drake says:

    “First, SLim is designed to serve the single purpose of allowing Second Life users to take their Friends Lists with them when they can’t be in-world…allows you to (1) see real-time presence of your friends…(2) engage in a **text** or voice conversation with them…”

    “If you are not an active user of the voice service, then SLim will not be of interest to you.”

    Emphasis of “text” is mine. I am not a user of the voice service at all, yet I am still interested in the functionality from the first quoted paragraph. I find it odd that it is essentially stated that desire and interest for said functionality suddenly become irrelevant if one does not use voice, especially when it is said that text conversations are part of SLim.

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  52. Noisey Lane says:

    wake me when the next blog is posted.
    o wait… i don’t do voice… never mind.
    lol – hugs anyways LL.
    where would i be without ya!

  53. OMG I can’t wait to be SLim 😀

    Come on LL make this dream reality pleaaaaaaase 🙂

  54. Gil Druart says:

    Wow! Not. *sighs*

    Joe, honey, would love to give you some constructive feedback, but as the man once said, however many man-hours you invest in a mud pie, it’s still a mud pie.

    Looks like you’ve been sold a turkey by your pals at VIVOX. Might be wise to recall that even when you have a partner, they have their best interests at heart, not yours ….

    “I realize that only about half of our resident population in-world at any point in time has voice enabled. The percentage has risen each month since voice was launched last August ” …. only *half* …. when you’ve made it the default for noobs? That means what? 10% of real users actually using it?

  55. Stephan Mrigesh says:

    I am facinated by these leaps and bounds being made with the future of the internet, and by the great minds that are putting it all together; which I suppose is partly (mostly) us the citizens of the SL comunity testing these viewers and servers for you. I have faith that all these gltches, and fears of loss will subside by the time the global comunity accepts this as second nature, as we have done with the net. Otherwise I would have done my laundry, dishes, and looked for my dog months ago.Thier coming to take me away! Now that SL has been, so closely linked to my real life, and my friends have stopped visiting , because all I can talk about is my second life, and the introduction of staying in contact with my virtual friends wherever I go is certainly going to get me that first class ticket to the looney bin. As I walk down the street on my Iphone screaming “I am sorry, I crashed, and cant explain why you cant change the colour of the castle I rented to you right now!, and yes, I will refund the Lindens you paid me for the Stripper that muted you because your avatar was being rude by walking around naked with an erection!” If the guy talking to himself next to me doesnt club me over the head for stealing his gig, I’m sure my friends and family will devise a way for intervention. Right on LL ! one step closer to attaching these circut boards to my skull. Keep up the good work, and hopefuly this new voice technology will help clarify why Bobby (My Virtual Girlfriend) sounds like Bob 😉

  56. Catten Carter says:

    I have friends that log on using the current web clients, and keep crashing over and over again. This will be a welcomed addition to the regular SL client.

    I agree with many here that an XMPP protocol would have been even better, but I’ll take this as a huge step in the right direction 🙂

  57. Jessicka Graves says:

    Well, if it’s forced to have Voice on, that means more hours will be logged on to voice, and the alleged 8.5 billion hours will boost if anyone uses SLim, being it just has to be on. Though it doesn’t really make any sense as to why Voice has to be on, that part hasn’t appeared to be explained yet.

    And furthermore, while I’m thinking about it, how is voice such a critical component, when LL can only claim that less then half the players have Voice turned on? (albeit they don’t claim which significant chunk of them are beginners who don’t know how to turn it off, or don’t even know it exists, or which significant chunk just has it running and simply not using for hours, days, weeks on end.)

    “SLim will extend the value and experience of Second Life beyond the borders of the virtual world.”…unless you don’t (want to) use voice, which is well more then half of the residents.

  58. The Inquisitor says:

    Another useless absolute useless feature which will endanger the stabilty of Secondlife(tm) as we all could witness the past days.
    At least now we know what they were playing with… logins were closed – transactions failing and blah – same old same as everytime a eyecandy is being released.
    If a fairy would ask grant me 3 wishes I would ask for:
    1) No Basic accounts in SL any longer – (see the copybot wave)
    2) Just age verified members on SL to get rid of the Kindergarden
    3) The extermination of all stolen stuff in the Database

    An instant message system with voice for SL? For what?
    Seriously:

    Dear Linden Lab team – before adding useless kink to Secondlife(tm) get rid off the major problems like the copybot (which is actually the biggest danger Secondlife(tm) was ever facing) or the instabilty of the grid!
    Once you managed to handle these problems… do whatever you wanna do.
    If you won’t stop the copybot immediately, the economy of SL will
    go down and noone will spend L$ on stuff, bec. if you get stolen stuff on every damn corner you don’t need to spend 3000 L$ for a skin.

    No economy – no money – no Secondlife…
    For god’s sake… WAKE UP BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

    I love my SL but I don’t wanna see it taken by some thieves and some braindead freaks who think they are “patriotic” (if you know what I mean now).
    They are not patriotic – they are simply criminals with a low self esteem.

  59. I like this idea of SLim. It would be nice if we could also do inventory work from it.. sorting, etc so we dont have to be logged in to the 3dspace just to sort our inventories.

    Inquisitor,
    If LL wouldn’t allow BASIC accounts, I’d never have signed up for Premium. Age verification is good, but not everyone wants to submit their private information, they enjoy anonymity for numerous good reasons. Extermination of “stolen” stuff, why dont you submit a DMCA??

  60. The Inquisitor says:

    @JetZep

    Lord, for what do you wanna sort your inventory from outside?
    DMCA’s being filed in but stuff isn’t taken off the database.

    Well a 14 day trial period is ok… but after that leave or pay.
    As it seems you don’t even have the slightest idea what is really
    going on in SL with the copybot.
    So you can’t be a creator or at least none that i ever heard of…

    And I still shake my head … sorting inventory from outside?
    I’ve sorted my inventory once and since that I keep it tidy.
    Hello – sorry but how sick is that?

    Either you are in SL to do your stuff or not.
    If not tough luck – you can’t be in the caribbean on the beach
    while sitting in Philly at your office desk playing with your pen.

    Sorry but this is really wrong!

    And voice… for heavens sake…. I’m in SL since 4 years and
    I never used voice in there and I never will because there are
    bettter and more professional things to use voice with.
    And it’s not eating up bandwidth.

    If you have some knowledge about outgoing traffic – check your
    router and comapre the difference between a SL experience with
    and without voice.
    After that you will never ever complain again about a chat delay or how you love to say… LAG Chat Lag… CHAT LAG….. loool – cursing the asset server… yah yah yah – and blah – AMEN
    The biggest lag is your PC – Router and connection… and VOICE
    drumroll (add some dramatic tune here) V O I C E

    You don’t believe me…. start your Brain now….

    (assuming it is finally started)
    Voice need additional bandwith in either way…
    Upload (the moment you talk) Download (the moment you listen)
    so up and download is adding to your already existing load of SL
    and that means if you have 256k upload and 4k download you’re kinda busted…
    It won’t get better til you really have a full ADSL connection with at least 12 Mbits – 😦
    A lot of ppl don’t have such a bandwith but complain about the overall expirience in SL… and if you ask… they use voice.

    Sorry to say… Voice and now this IM/Voice whatever system is useless…

    If I wanna get hold of my friends… I’ll catch them later when I can
    sit back and relax.

    Sometimes I really wonder how old some ppl are in SL….

  61. Jonathan Snow says:

    I still am in doubt about the number of people, LL is saying, who are using voice. I think voice is mainly a dream by LL not shared by the SL residents. I am fulltime working in SL “speaking” to a lot of different people each day. Not even 1 out of 100 asked me if we could voice.
    Taking that in consideration, this feature is for a very small group.

    I am also beginning to doubt the realness of the concurrent online figure too. Landprices drop on mainland, Huge amounts of land for sale, Private Estates ALL in real trouble, business moving out of SL and still the concurrent number rizes?

    Please LL, Even though the total votes in Jira are extreem low compared to the alledged number of residents in SL (Mainly because it is a horror to navigate for most people), I think you should look at Jira for the priorities. Luckely the OpenSim compettition is getting stronger every day. Lets just all hope this outside pressure will shift LL interest from developing “LL their own dreams” to developing “the dreams of the people”.

    “Hope is a good thing” (Shawshank Redemption)

  62. The Inquisitor says:

    And Jet….
    you are not premium – you are a no payment info on file.
    Why do you wanna fool ppl in here?

    It’s always the same….

    That’s why I said:
    Lock the Grid!

  63. Xugu Madison says:

    Did anyone say it was a closed protocol? That there can’t be other clients based on it?

    From my understanding of the situation, they’ve been working on decoupling IM from the rest of the SL architecture, so you’ll be able to do a partial login; sufficient for IM, but not actually rezzing in-world. The protocol should be open, and significantly simpler than the requirements for an IM client as they are currently.

  64. The Inquisitor says:

    @59 Jonathan

    I totally agree with you.
    And I’m happy that you’re not one of the LL claquers who’s just
    trying to please a Linden in the hope to get some benefits.

    sighs deeply

  65. Suzan says:

    Though it is a nice idea somehow, i am not really happy about this. The fact that you have to enable voice to use this will let the most linux users stand out.

    I would love to see using the XMMP protocol, so you can use the normal IM client like Pidgin for this and REALLY can send IMs from every computer.

    A possibility to send IMs via a webportal would be also a very nice idea, would love that.

  66. Argent Stonecutter says:

    “I’d be happy to speak to the pros and cons of moving to XMPP for future messaging extensions in an office hour or other interactive venue.”

    So long as your office hours coincide with my office hours I’d have to take time off work to do that. Not going to happen.

  67. Quantum Destiny says:

    @ 59.

    Jonathan,

    In my experience, the majority of those who have voice activated have absolutely no intention of speaking – they have voice activated solely to listen to open chat and ensure they don’t miss out on anything. So I think the discrepancy between your (and my) experience, and the figures quoted by LL can probably be put down to how one defines ‘voice user’.

    I think SLim will be a nice addition, and though I can’t see a high percentage of the SL population using it (for reason stated above), it will be a handy tool for some. Still, a text-based IMer that can access in-world IMs and contacts is sorely needed. Can we have that next pwease LL?

  68. Stephie Gymnast says:

    /me puts head in my hands and sighs @ LL.

    Umm If voice is the “future” where do people with speech or hearing difficulties belong in the grand scheme of things? Or those that don’t speak the same language?

    *sighs* voice is not the be all and end all of things.

  69. Qie says:

    Echoing Porsupah @#47 : Besides other SLim users, will in-world users of the SLim-enabled viewer need to have voice enabled in order to exchange IMs with SLim users?

    (Just in passing: If they do need to enable voice, then the voice-minute usage statistics will have even less validity than they do now.)

  70. Moll Dean says:

    Hi everyone! 😀

    WoW
    Big step forward!
    way to go LL…

    BTW
    # Anthony Hocken
    Nice comment! hope you had been heard

  71. @32 Thanks for the additional info, Joe. “Initially, SLim will provide direct IM access by voice and/or text chat to individuals on your Friends List.” Slap the RL mutes. Slap us hard. We need more reminders that we don’t function as you wish. :::calms herself::: Sorry, I get militant. I’m sure this isn’t intended as a slap. If it is just an on/off for setup then that shouldn’t be a problem. I am concerned, however, about privacy issues when my Friends list is shared. I’ve looked and i don’t see details about which information of mine is shared with groups outside Linden Labs.

    ” … and will provide access to proximal voice and chat channels in an interesting way.” Sounds like our avies will be standing around. That could be amusing. To someone.

    @40 Check out http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Release_Notes/Second_Life_Release_Candidate/1.21

  72. Esther Merryman says:

    When I read this Blog initially I thought great 🙂

    but then as I read through the posts and saw the majority of reactions, I must say my initial enthusiam ebbed away completely.

    Why you may ask?

    Well firstly voice is just a shiny white elephant, which I seem to always be disabling as it does seem to slow down the performance of SL, not being a boffin I am not sure why buy the Inquisitor seems to have a point at post 58

    Secondly what is the point of having a yet another package you need to install to IM your friends in world, it would be much better if from his account page my husband could text IM me from work without having to install packages on his computer.(as this is not allowed)

    Being able to IM out of world seems like a great idea but voice is not neccessary, just a nice little addition.
    Functionality is far more important than adding bells and whistles in my view!

    It does seem LL have missed a great opportunity to provide their users with the ability to send and recieve IM’s out of world here.
    Instead opting to complicate things and provide unrequired options.

  73. LS says:

    Half the users may have voice turned on (*cough* default settings never tweaked)…But how many are actually TALKING on it? I also don’t know anyone who uses voice. It’s a waste of space, always needs fiddling with, and ruins the immersion in Second Life. Other than the first hour to give the benefit of the doubt to try it, have never had it enabled since. Not a single acquaintance of mine in world uses it. I think your stats are weighted.

  74. Marcoh Larsen says:

    @61 it will be an open protocol, so everybody is free to build an XMMP-gateway.

    Luckily the Vivox-protocol will become open as well. (http://www.vivox.com/open/)

    Those are all small steps, but I think LL will finaly reach a point where it is completely compliant with the current technology, but at the moment they are definately not.

  75. Damona Rau says:

    I understand the intention from Vivox to bind the users more to SL (and their own VoIP-Service), but i don’t see the need for SLim.

    I’m sure you know sleek / metabolt etc, with this thin and textbased clients i can communicate will all my SL-Friends. At least metabolt is plugin-ready. It supports already streaming media from SL, some SIM-Stats and a nice overview about your SIM how many ppl are there and where they are. Thats my prefered non-graphical SL-Client, when I’m on the road or office either. I would never install a second / third / fourth Messenger.

    I hope the implemention from this “messenger-thingy” will not produce such many problems like the mono-lounch (4 Serverversions in 2 weeks and many).

    On the other hand, how many ppl uses voice? Is this “messenger-thingy” the next try to increase the usage of SL-Voice? The most ppl i know don’t use voice in public, some use it in private at their SL-Home, but for that skype is 1000 times better, easier to use and more stable.

    And what you think how many ppl will use it? Many ppl tried out some messengers, sometimes they run 1-2 messengers and after a time, they decide to use one messenger only. I’m sure in the first time, many ppl will try this messenger, for some of us it may be a alternate to sleek / metabolt, but after 1-2 month you will see, that the most ppl don’t run this “thingy”.

    It’s a question of usability, the major messengers supports voice already. Maybe it’s better to write plugins for other messenger?

  76. Chrysala Desideri says:

    #’s 20(RC), 23(Elwin)..

    Thanks, I’ll sure check out SLeek!

    ..and wow, it DOES kind of seem like a way to allow vivox to claim those (MOST) of us who care nothing for voice as users.

    Side note.. I’m premium & did the silly verification (sorry, I gave in to stupid fears in the end, though I still STRONGLY oppose it).

    AND I have NO problem with anon. accounts, as long as abuse and infringement cases are ACTUALLY dealt with.

    We don’t need Total Information Awareness to do that, just the actual will to deal with problems when they arise.

    Sorry, but there is no automation answer to those problems.

    Anyway, sorry to those who invested time working on this but…

    fail.

  77. Ceera Murakami says:

    Joe Linden : “If you are not an active user of the voice service, then SLim will not be of interest to you.”

    Thank you for being honest about that, Joe. So why even bother referring to it as also being a TEXT IM system, when that functionality is almost negligible in SLim, and you are forced to use Voice to make use of the minor text-based feature? Looks like I can ignore this product. I’ll never use Voice myself, and extremely few people that I know in SL use it either.

    I see this as another way to break down the walls between Second Life and Real Life, making RL intrude on SL in new ways that destroy the functionality further for anyone whose avatars are not carbon-copy clones of their real-life self. Further proof that the people running SL have no clue about the innovative uses for their own virtual world that the majority of their customers enjoy. If I want communications that work just like my real life, I already have that. It’s called the telephone, and business-class teleconferencing and web meeting services.

    If I want my friends to contact me when I am not in-world, via a voice method, I’ll give them my private cell phone number. The sum total of people on my SL friends list that have that number now? ONE, and that person’s Player had been a friend in RL for over a decade before they ever heard of SL.

    A web-based, text-only interface to SL’s IM system might have been useful to me, and to a lot of people that I know. Guess I’ll continue using ICQ for that, even though it doesn’t directly tie in to SL’s system. I can still list my SL friends that have ICQ accounts in my ICQ client, and text message them there, when I am not in-world.

  78. Voice in SL is simply very little desired.
    None of my friends use it, nor do I. I can’t rember anyone every asked me to use voice. Probably there is a small group of people whow probably know eacother in rl, so they trust voice for that.
    Would I start a voice conversation with someone i don’t know in rl?
    Of course not. We don’t start to call someone by phone we don’t even know do we? We just see an avator. So, rl voice and an avie is the most awkward combination, mixing rl and sl… weird and for me undesired. Voice kills the imagination instantly.
    And, I certainly are NOT going to voice conversate with a person I have never met in RL.

  79. Ric Mollor says:

    It would be enlightening to see the roadmap concerning SLim and it’s integration into Second Life. Some obvious questions that many would be interested in include.

    * Will group IMs appear on the SLim client? It seems as if group IMs are somewhat non-functional within Second Life at the moment (and have been for a very long time) so perhaps that is a bit to ask.

    * Will users current mute lists be automagically imported into SLim? And will changes in the muted user list be reflected when logged in with the normal client. Additionally, will the mute list functionality extend into group IM sessions.

    *Are there plans to extend this beyond a text based client and include a 3D experience similar to IMVU, Lively, Meez, or There.com’s newly announced ThereIM client. (click on my name to see review of ThereIM)

    * If 3D functionality is planned will it support existing inventory and avatar configuration or will users be forced to create another ‘look’ for use within the IM client. If existing SL inventory is used will full inventory function be support to allow changing of clothing, attachments, etc?

    * Is a Flash or Java version planned? Or will a separate download and install always be needed.

    *Since SLim can also be considered to be competing in the IM market will support for webcams be included?

    *Since this is essentially a Vivox product, what plans are in place if Vivox discontinues support? Or changes their TOS? Or is absorbed by a competitor and all the formerly private data is owned by a company with with a completely different TOS? What if Vivox fails financially and the formerly private data is sold to the highest bidder? Enterprise users are very concerned about issues like this.

    *Do future plans include a Facebook plugin?

    And no, I’m not interested in attending ‘office hours’. A simple document with a clear sense of direction would suffice.

  80. Meghan Dench says:

    Hey there,
    I don’t use Second Life right now because my PC wont let the Client Run, I have to Update my Drivers and Video Card and blah blah blah lol and when I do that it mucks up my Screen.

    Will I be able to use this new Client, just to Communicate with people In World? What are the Minimum System Requirements? Is it like AjaxLife, and MovableLife?

    Thanks,
    M

    Btw this will really help me, if I can use it. Great job! : )

  81. richard says:

    SOMEONE USES VOICE?

  82. Damona Rau says:

    @77
    The answer for the most questions, except 3D, is metabolt.
    – You can receive Group-IMs and answer to them
    – The mutelist is the same like the regular viewer
    – You have access to your inventory and you can change clothes
    – Metabolt is complete opensource under BDS Licence
    – Metabolt can play audiostreams from the parcel you’re in.

    The big minus point: runs on windows with .Net 3.5 only. I’m not sure if there is a way to compile it under linux with the mono-librarys.

    Maybe LL/Vivox helps the developers from Metabolt to write a voice-plugin.

  83. MaCelia Morane says:

    Well, this is interesting. I don’t use voice except to listen to lectures/readings, but I could see that this new SLim thingie could be appealing for some folks. I’m more interested in an offline text chat feature. I like the idea of offline inventory organizing, too. However, if SL was more stable in the first place, why would most people need/want offline stuff like this? Anyway, I hope this new feature won’t just add bugs/lag to SL and will always be optional.

    Wither goest SL…? I sometimes wonder with new features rolled out but unstable viewers, communication changes, outsourcing, and delays in dealing with adfarm issues.

    Strangely enough, I still love SL and I’m still hanging on to hope for the future of SL – so, Lindens, rock on & rezzies hang on!!!

  84. daleinnis says:

    I’m also feeling some distress about Joe’s “Voice is a critical component of the Second Life experience” and “If you are not an active user of the voice service, then SLim will not be of interest to you”; this kind of statement makes me feel very disenfranchised, and implies that me and my friends (and for that matter everyone that I run into casually inworld; I must just hang out in the wrong places) aren’t of any interest to the Lab.

    Is it really necessary to say this kind of thing? Whose interest does it serve? Would you say “combat is a critical part of the Second Life experience”? Or “auto racing is a critical part of the Second Life experience”? Or “dating is a critical part of the Second Life experience”? Different Residents use Second Life for all sorts of different things; why does the Lab feel it’s necessary to anoint one particular use (voice) as Officially Critical? It’s depressing…

    I was very interested in SLim for its potential to allow text-IM (even group IM?) while not inworld. But I guess that’s not an important use-case?

    Now I am Sad! 🙂

  85. Meghan Dench says:

    I don’t have .NET atm…. lol but thanks for the advice! : )

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  87. Digital Digital says:

    Awesome! Now what would be really cool is if this could do AOL , AIM , GTALK etc! too!! But even if it doesn’t this is just awesome!

  88. Hard Rust says:

    I echo the desire/interest for an iPhone client. I’m not always at my computer, but I have my phone with me all the time and being able to keep in touch with the SL world this way would be a great help.

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  90. Neptune Shelman says:

    I think the voice feature has many applications inworld, some role play groups hold readings while sitting round the campfire, others chat away telling jokes etc.

    However to say “Voice is a critical part of the SL experience” is simply rubbish, it is an additional feature that can enhance the experience, that’s it.

    Why waste time making an outside SL voice communication package when clearly voice is of little concern to the users, read the BLOG Lindens read the responses and concentrate on making something people want for a change instead of trying to dazzle with your shiny new additions.

    A stable platform with good customer service an easy to use BLOG/FORUM with easy accessability to all users, TOS that don’t aid the villians who extort and steal would be much more desirable to all users than pushing a few unwanted trimmings now and then.

  91. Toy LaFollette says:

    Im often at a region that aids new residents, at least once, but far closer to several, I get a question from a new person “Why am I the only one with a dot over my head?” The reply is always the same, “You have voice activated.”
    The first words(text) out of their mouth is “OMG how do I turn that off.” Im certainly not going to tell them its on because its critical to SL, last I saw it was a preference.

    I suspect someday voice may be forced on us all but do remember LL many large ISP’s are soon restricting accts to caps.

    If I have close friends I must to be in contact with I have several options I can use that doesnt need to be conected with SL.

    Try to remember, there is a reason it’s called Second Life and NOT Real Life.

  92. Sounds great !

    Love the ‘announcement’ but when will it actually be available for download ?

    We will then be able to test and decide how useful this really is.

  93. Ricky Yates says:

    A big hand for the intention of providing off-line IM capability. This would be a very desirable function.

    But … is there any reason at all to integrate IM capability with voice except that it’s the same company expected to deliver these functions?

    As for the overall criticality of voice to the SL experience, only an observation: I can’t remember the last time I saw a resident with the tell-tale white dot over the head … anywhere.

  94. Wordfromthe Wise says:

    Katharine Berry to the rescue. !

    Why just you make us an slim version of the Ajax Life Client to log on and just IM or chat with our Friends. Mayby a funtion that friends can TP us to them (and play tricks on our helpless avatar while we cant see what they are doing) .. 😉

    i think this is what the residents want. Personaly i use voice just occasionally and at least need it in an IM program.

    And with just a slim Chat interface it would also run on all mobile phones ..

  95. Always good to hear that NEW things are available. Kudos for the SLim – hope to try it a.s.a.p. Of course, this blog will now fill with comments about what ISN’T available. There is no better way to get a list of complaints than telling people that they now have something new and free 😉

  96. Edward Artaud says:

    If I understand this correctly, Slim does not actually connect to the SL grid at all, it’s a seperate IM network that is bolted on to the viewer and that uses the viewer’s IM user interface. When you fire up the new firstlook viewer and log into SL, you’re also simultaneously logging into the Vivox IM network. Essentially, it’s the same thing as if SL automatically created a GTalk account for you with your resident name and then launched GTalk when you started your viewer and quit Gtalk when you quit the viewer. Actually, if they’d wanted to, LL could have done the same thing with GTalk since it’s built on Jabber and they could have just but something in the preferences where you put in your Gtalk credentials. It sounds like the advantage here is that adding this feature didn’t require any work from LL, just taking the code from Vivox and adding it to the client.

  97. Psistorm Ikura says:

    Im all for being able to access my SL contacts from off-world. however I dont have a need for voice, really. so any chance on doing an even lighter-weight chat client which simply handles IM functionality? that would be all Id need, really. voice is good and fine for some, but really I havent found much of a use for it yet.

  98. Oracle Weatherwax says:

    This sounds to me like a good idea, although there have always been ways to do things like this – Used SLeek and Metabolt and always using skype to the people I atually want to talk to. However there is a lot of negativity about voice in second life (once again), i’d say 1/2 of my friends don’t use it – but for the ones who do it is amazing and makes SL much more vibrant and fun. SL has voice and it’s not going away (personally i’m glad of that) – If people dont like it – they don’t have to use it. So I really don’t see what the big problem with it is – and don’t wan’t to hear others in SL (disable it?). I think it would be silly to release this client WITHOUT voice. As a lot of people do use it and for the ones who do why deprive them of this? Personally I doubt I will use this client for this reason – If I get an important ofline IM i’ll either just log on, or send a responce from email. Log into skype and hat on that or just log in SLeek if I need a really lightweight client (for some reason) and chat on it. But a good idea.

  99. Andrea Sands says:

    Does any one know if that tool will be able to run over a HTTP proxy/firewall?

  100. Maximillian Desoto says:

    “If you are not an active user of the voice service, then SLim will not be of interest to you.”

    Again, SL has it backwards. SLim is of GREAT interest to me!! Voice is of little interest to me.

    As for the claim that 50% of SL’ers use voice, that’s only because the client enables it automatically. Search the Forums for topics such as “what is this white dot over my avatar” and you will see how important voice is to SL residents.

  101. Joshua Philgarlic says:

    I welcomed many of LL’s innovations, even if they didn’t work properly at the beginning (like Mono), just because I think they lead into the right direction. But introducing a communication tool forcing people to use voice… what a stupid idea! If one could decide to use either voice, text or both would be perfect, but the way it looks at the moment makes it useless for a big number of residents.

  102. Neptune Shelman says:

    How many tier paying premium account customers use voice?

    I would think the number is fairly slim, lol

    Voice is a fun addition but thats all, not critical in any way.

    Any serious communication is always done using text, so that logs can be kept etc.
    Tighter security for inworld group communication would be much more desireable to many users.
    A text interace to group IM’s, simple and functional would have been great and kept everyone happy.

    But probably wouldn’t have added much of a sparkle!
    Am I being cynical?

  103. GC Continental says:

    Hrm. It would be preferable to make a pidgin plugin instead, or an IM client that is officially supported with only a minimal login presence, i.e., not rezzed in-world, but still have full access to your inventory, mute list, etc. Voice is only a shiny bell (or whistle, if that sound better). I don’t use the voice capability in Yahoo IM, and I have only used a webcam a few times. Voice – not critical.

    Though I must say it was pretty funny to hear someone’s phone call in RL over voice the other day. They’d accidentally clicked the lock button and I got to hear an (unfortunately) uninteresting one-sided conversation. Voice shouldn’t be automatically enabled in a new viewer install, and should not be required for offline use of an IM client.

    My $0.02, but my feelings seem to echo most of the other posts here. Offline IM: Good Thing(tm), Voice Required for Any Reason: Bad Idea(r). If I had the time, I would *love* to figure out how to do this myself.

  104. Muzicole says:

    Ugh, so many people here who are obviously not what they say they are… If they were then they wouldn’t mind about talking on voice. Even if you don’t wanna talk on voice, why the resistance to even having it turned on? Bandwidth issues? Then you must not have a very good connection? Slows SL? Then upgrade your computers. I’ve been using voice since FirstLook days back in May 07 and I love it. Even on my old PC it was fine but now I have my quad core and I experience SL the same way the Lindens do, I can say that SL without voice would be dull and geeky. If you’re really worried about ‘revealing your true identity’, then get a voice modulator – they’re available, to alter your voice and make you sound like a giant, or a kid or whatever you want… Or maybe that’d be too much trouble. And people talk about it ruining immersion and killing imagination. You’re the ones with no sense of adventure.

  105. griefed post says:

    I have never seen so many bitter ignorant people in my life, SL I feel sorry for you!

    You should always keep these post closed, there are millions of companies out there that have way less means of communications, you do not need these negative people making wise cracks at everything you do.

    This is not meant for the people that post creative critics BTW, only the real nasty bitter ones.

    On the slim idea grats alot of people will probaly use it, as SL is part a cummications tool, and for some business and schools this will be a added benifit.

  106. When I first read this I thought “so, it’s an SL client with LESS features?”, now i’m thinking “so it’s not even an SL client? (if you can’t talk to others not using it and only using SL, I don’t call that an SL client)

    It would be nice to add web integration or even a slimline viewer that doesn’t rez an avatar and this probably wouldn’t take much work. Hint: Create a new server project using the same basic structure as newsim that only handles IM stuff. From what I can tell based on the message template and llmessage source of your internal backbone, this would be incredibly trivial for even an external developer to code.

    In fact, thanks for the idea LL 😉

  107. Joshua Philgarlic says:

    @ Muzicole:
    I think we shouldn’t start an ethical debate here why residents like to use voice or not. Sometimes it’s that simple: the sound quality and background noises transmitted by most chat systems is horrible! Sitting in my beautiful virtual garden I don’t like to hear the TV, phone, fridge etc. running at my conversational partner’s home!

  108. Matthew Dowd says:

    From the version which sneaked out, and the description here, it sounds as if SLim is not actually a client allowing access to the *SL* messaging system. Rather it is a client allowing access to a third party messenging system run by Vivox (hence the need to create a new account on vivox’s server to use this), and the firstlook SL client basically adds the ability to logon to this third party messenging server, sync your friends list with the third party and receive messages from this third party messaging server in the same UI as for inworld messages.

    This does seem an extremely clumsy way to do this – and certainly not the way people (including I suspect the AWG folks) were expecting LL to go.

  109. sloopy cooder says:

    Joe Linden says: If you are not an active user of the voice service, then SLim will not be of interest to you.

    Well, yes and no Joe. As a SLeek user, the CONCEPT of SLim interests me a great deal. However, the IMPLEMENTATION does not interest me in the least.

    Inworld voice I can understand. It’s usable in group settings and during role play. lightweight client voice (non-inworld) is a WHOLE DIFFERENT THING.

    The people who can’t use the full client but CAN use voice (for example, at work) are going to be a very very small fraction of your userbase. I also have zero interest in giving yet another third party access to my inworld data. A very good start on a light client would be the normal client with all graphics turned off. That would allow inventory operations and all other functionality of SL, minus the super-heavy graphics / resource requirements.

    Just how hard would it be to stub out all the graphics and multi-media code? You could probably enable text only operation with a simple command line option! just “if (!textmode) { do graphics stuff }” where needed…

    But back to other users concerns… XMPP is the way to go. Use well established standards please.

    So let’s refresh – lightweight client = good. Voice required / crappy integration = bad.

  110. Leah Salome says:

    Can you use SLim on a mobile phone?

  111. Toy LaFollette says:

    @102 I have a very good connection I am able to run voice it’s a PREFERENCE I do not appreciate LL adding options that do not support all preferences. Something to hide? that’s such a worn out argument. In my, going on 5 years in SL I have found voice to be by far the most divisive. Use voice, its your preference, not mine. But pls LL do not add to the divisivness you have created.

  112. Jewella Stine says:

    others (21, 23, 29) have already made the same point – but it’s worth repeating often – voice was an unnecessary innovation – SL (and all the people in it) got along fine before it was intoduced, and would continue to do so if (I wish) it was suddenly taken away. I assume Lindens have some agenda of their own for trying to turn SL into a call-centre.

  113. Neptune Shelman says:

    Muzicole obviously you are very lucky to have a nice new computer with ability to run SL with all the bells and whistles.

    So in your opinion SL is for the wealthy only?

    People who choose to build or script in SL are just Geeks with something to hide?

    Well I for one am glad to be one of these geeks in your view even if my scripting abilities leave me feeling far short of the title:-(

    And while on the subject of owning super spanky PC’s with quad cores etc., and having internet connections offering huge bandwidths.

    LL what about about the potential SL residents out there with crappy old PC’s that would like to log in but cannot because of all the great visual improvements that have been made?

    Maybe thats a high number of people that will never experience SL now, but as Muzicole seems to think they should never be allowed to enter the elite virtual world of second life!

    BTW I love the new viewer and my PC can handle the graphics OK so I am not suggesting that changes, but the minimum Computer spec is now is quite high, with no ability to run a stripped down version of the client on older computers has anyone thought this may be limiting the number of people who can actually enter SL?

    Also I like the ability to use voice inworld and have seen uses but don’t feel it is neccessary outside of the client, if I want to speak to friends out of world using voice I would use skype or make a phonecall.

  114. Muzicole says:

    Sure it’s a preference, but why PREFER not to use the most effective means of communication available? Why PREFER not to hear the meaning and inflection in what people say to you or what you say to them? If you hear annoying background noise when using voice, as sometimes happens when there are a lot of people together, then ask them to use their ‘push-to-talk’ feature to keep them off mic unless they are talking. What I don’t understand in the slightest is this ‘us and them’ attitude that some people have to voice, like being expected to use it or at least have it active is an attack on their privacy – PLEASE. Why should LL stifle the developent of the platform because some people still this is a roleplaying game? I applaud LL for continuing to promote the FULL SL experience to its users. As for an IM client that uses a standard protocol so any multi-messenger client can access it? Yes, do that too.

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  116. Ann Otoole says:

    This arguing back and forth about voice will end with bandwidth capping by the broadband ISP companies. Along with use of voice, listening to music, and watching videos over the internet. Maybe the Lab will get busy building a lobby group to force congress to declare internet access a public utility and take control of the infrastructure out of the hands of companies that will not properly maintain the capacity.

    Anyway say bye bye to voice, music, and videos in Secondlife when bandwidth capping hits you. You will barley be able to afford to use good old text style SL as it is. Till then have a blast. No sense in arguing about voice in SL because it is here to stay. Your choice whether or not you use it.

  117. Muzicole says:

    @111 The minimum spec for SL has ALWAYS been high. It must continue to be all the while the graphics and physics of SL continues to develop. That means necessarily that for some people they will wake up one day and find their computers no longer meet the minimum requirements. SL is a developing world. I’m not saying that SL is ‘only for the wealthy’ – don’t put those words into my mouth when I didn’t say them – but I would say that access to SL is not a right. People are not ‘entitled’ to be in SL just by virtue of being online. FYI, I’m a builder and personally, I find it takes a quarter of the time to explain to a customer how to set up a product if I can actually TALK to them. On another point, has anyone who says they use Skype for VoIP, actually compared the sound quality with SL voice? Skype is by far inferior to the sound quality of SL – like the difference between CD and AM radio, at least on my connection.

    Finally, although the minimum computer spec for SL continues to rise, this SLim product will probably enable more users and some with lower spec computers to access voice functions in SL, so that can’t be a bad thing.

  118. Joshua Philgarlic says:

    @112: The problem is not whether people like or don’t like voice. The problem is that voice is REQUIRED – even if you want to send just a text message.

  119. Muzicole says:

    @116 So? It’s just a little checkbox in your preferences. Why the resistance to ticking it? If you don’t wanna hear voice then mute it in your sound preferences, but still leave voice itself turned on. You don’t even have to have a mic. So voice is required… Newsflash – SL is a voice enabled product and has been for the last year. Things move on, this is SL moving on.

  120. Travis Lambert says:

    I don’t mean to belittle your efforts on Slim…. but as someone who exclusively uses text-chat, and being one who could benefit immensely by a lite-client text messaging solution into SL, I’m feeling a bit left out here 😉

  121. Chrysala Desideri says:

    so, Muzicole, recapping:

    you’re a builder who can’t write decent enough documentation to avoid having to talk a client through your product use, can’t stand the idea of someone behind the keyboard not being exactly what you see onscreen and think that microphone mumbling is the only decent form of communication.

    you’re bringing the ‘us and them’ to it in your original post, by stating that everyone that dislikes the immersion busting voice feature has something to hide.

    you’re forgetting that SL is a Babel of accents and language proficiencies, and WAS a means by which people with certain disabilities can feel equal to everyone else.

    you signed up for SL why exactly?

  122. Ricky Yates says:

    Anybody else frustrated by the voice dependency of SLim might be interested in following a current forum thread … http://forums.secondlife.com/showthread.php?t=280293&page=2&pp=15 … where a resident plans to develop a text based IM-only client. Just what most of us need instead of the Vivox-hosted add-on utility, in my view.

  123. Muzicole says:

    @119 My documentation is second to none – don’t knock it till you’ve read it. The problem is that some people are too lazy to READ it and being a helpful sort, I try to ensure that they end up as happy customers, even if it means reading it TO them.

    Secondly, you’re right, I’m not big on roleplay. I’m me in SL just as in RL. I know that’s not what some people want out of SL, but don’t forget that majority interest, not to mention investment in SL right now is taking it away from roleplaying applications. Goodness knows, it may even be possible to have both.

    Voice communication IS the most efficient form of verbal communication. Fact. Why? Because of all the information carried by the voice which is NON-verbal. I can type the same sentence and mean several different things but if I SAY it the way I mean it, people will understand straight away.

    For those who are less proficient with languages or those who are deaf or unable to speak. There is still text. I didn’t say I was prejudiced AGAINST text use, the way some people on here appear prejudiced against voice use.

    What about those, like one of my friends, who can’t type because of problems in their arms? Voice is a huge relief to those people. Don’t try the disability card on this one.

    I signed up for SL because I’m interested in virtual worlds, as in just like the real world, but virtual, easier and with fewer problems.

  124. Victor Komparu says:

    Joe: Please just tell me that this doesn’t end any possible development of LL’s own out-world text IM interface. If the Vivox’s SLim offering is the end of the road for offline messaging, many who were praying for ANY sort of LL-sponsored solution will be very disappointed.

  125. Argent Stonecutter says:

    Marcoh@72: open source != open protocol. The SL protocol isn’t an open protocol, otherwise this would be a non-issue… you could write a portable pure chat client hat used the SL protocol without doing the rest of the SL stuff or having to have your avatar in-world. Having TWO proprietary protocols with open source implementations instead of one is not a huge step forward.

    Here’s a few better protocols that are available for LL to use:

    SMTP: they have already implemented this, and if they just allowed people to email “firstname.lastname@residents.secondlife.com” (even if it was limited to people on your friends list) to initiate a conversation they’d have an 80% solution.

    HTTP: They already have a variety of HTTP-SL gateways and web interfaces for various in-SL activities… heck, they’re moving to webify everything else in SL, why balk at this one?

    XMPP: Jabber. Versions from everything from your mobile phone on up, including public XMPP-web gateways.

    What’s missing from all these?

    Voice?

    They’re holding up a REAL open IM interface for voice?

  126. Matthew Dowd says:

    Muzicole,

    Based in the UK, I currently pay for the number of GB network data I use per month. Paying per data used rather than capacity is quite common outside the US, and from the chatter about capping on the forums is likely to become quite common in the US too.

    I wouldn’t go to extreme picture than Ann O’Toole paints since the costs per GB are pretty reasonable (roughly works out to be about $1 per GB), I don’t really want to check that box and hence pay for streaming voice data that I don’t use just so that someone else can use SLim in order to text chat with me.

    I’m actually, however, beginning to wonder if SLim is the first part of a plan by LL to outsource the whole messaging system of SL to a third party…

  127. wonderin says:

    *Great*

    Does this mean that stupid white dot will follow me around in RL too…..?

    /me rolls eyes

  128. shockwave yareach says:

    Problem 1: I can’t sit at my desk and chew the fat with my friends while I’m working. Even IMing would probably be bad.

    Problem 2: Even if I could, installing software at work is verboten, on pain of being dipped in honey and thrown to the ants.

    I would be happier if a) stability in the grid and b) reduction in island tiers were addressed. I don’t know which 3 of your buddies this system is going to help – most of us aren’t going to be able to even think about using it. But with the RL economy souring and our renters not being able to keep up the tier as it is today, it’s likely I won’t have any reason to be on SL in the near future anyways.

  129. Matthew Dowd says:

    “I didn’t say I was prejudiced AGAINST text use, the way some people on here appear prejudiced against voice use.”

    I don’t think people are really prejudiced against voice use – they are prejudiced against statements such as “Voice is a critical component of the Second Life experience” – whilst voice might be an important part of the secondlife experience for *some* users, there are also a lot of users for which voice is a fairly trivial part of the secondlife experience.

    I would argue that the 3D aspect is *the* critical part of the secondlife experience. It is certainly what differentiates the SLexperience from say the skype experience.

  130. Raul Crimson says:

    Any option to increase the possibilities of communication in SL will be good, we all agree that some things can be improved in the performance of Second Life, but i think both things can be worked at the same time.

    Anyway i agree that this is not exactly a main feature under my point of view, we have Skype, MSN and Yahoo messangers, AIM, etc…

  131. Cincia Singh says:

    I really don’t understand this add-on to SL or it’s importance. Who wants a bunch of SLers IMing them in their RL because they happen to be playing the game at the time and think you have nothing better to do than chat when you should be working? I’ve been on voice with several people inworld and it’s been very unsatisfactory; sound quality is poor, people don’t sound anything like what you might have expected (even when they are the proper sex for their avatar), what DOES a furry or dragon avatar sound like anyway, and voice gets in the way of enjoying the music and background sounds. Voice has its applications, mostly business related from what I can tell. Oh, and wanker guys who find out I have voice and suddenly think I’m in SL to help them get their jollies! So … do I need a service to extend a game into inappropriate areas of my life? I’m afraid not!

  132. Beezle Warburton says:

    Email-to-IM has worked fine for me.

  133. d.spitz says:

    Cool!
    will it be also available as plugin for outlook? Just a bit like IBM did http://secondlife.reuters.com/stories/2008/09/03/ibm-adds-virtual-worlds-support-to-lotus-sametime/ ?
    That may be for some companies and stepps right the way unified comunication should.
    Even also cool would beto give the ppl the interface defination, so they could do mobile or whereever integrated solutions.
    Ciao
    Dil

  134. Armin says:

    great, I like it. Will it be possible to use it same time as the normal SL client?Benefit would be great then when using two computers (or one computer with 2 screens): free view with the regular viewer on one screen, communications (and maybe any sounds and streams in future?) on the other one.

  135. Storm Basiat says:

    When will this be out?

  136. Meghan Dench says:

    BTW… I think you’ll need to be able to run the Second Life Client just once… to Sync SLim with your Friends List etc….

    Maybe not? : )

    We’ll see

  137. Sherri Galicia says:

    I agree with ArgosHawk – we need access WITHOUT needing to install a new software. Another idea is if you could make something so that we could access it with web-enabled mobile phones.

  138. yeahdayada says:

    I don’t really see the point since most ppl already use skype or some such

  139. Argos Hawks says:

    Joe,

    You should really stop with the 8.5 billion minutes line. It’s a load of crap. That counts every minute that anyone has voice enabled, not the minutes that they are actually using it. The only reason that I leave it enabled is so I can tell if someone is trying to talk to me with voice. That’s only happened twice. Most new people don’t even know what the dot above their head means. The percentage of people with voice enabled goes up because it’s enabled by default. It has nothing to do with whether or not they want to use voice. Have voice disabled by default, and you’ll see those numbers plummet. I’ve had voice enabled for a year, and I’ve heard about 30 minutes of actual conversation.

  140. yvon says:

    I think LL isnt happy with the number of residents using voice
    and they cant say to the rest of the world that voice is an succes

    so they invented SLim, a clever way to increase the stats of voice users in sl

  141. Angsty Rossini says:

    *sigh*

    Well, I am not interested in using Voice for SL and have no intention of EVER using it.

    I also am not able to install “non-standard” software onto my computer at work, so I guess SLim is irrelevant to me.

    Here’s hoping someone can make a web-based version that I CAN use from work, or on the road, or anywhere else.

  142. Brenda Connolly says:

    This is sadly another step in making SL nothing more than RL v2. The whimsical fantasy world I discovered a mere 18 months ago is gone LL has shown the fantasists the door. A feature is there to be used or not, and although I have no interest in Voice, or out of world contact methods, it isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. But with the vision Mitch laid out earlier, and Joe’s comments here about lowering barriers between the world’s it is clear that the plan is for elimination of any barrier between real and virtual. SL is on it’s way to becoming just another MyFaceSpaceBook, with extra EHarmony on top. No need to log into the virtual when it’s just a copy of the real.

  143. Dante Tucker says:

    I have never met a person in SL that refused to use voice. Everyone I have ever met since voice was rolled out uses it. Most use it as there primary means of communication.

    Just because you don’t see anyone use it means nothing. It all depends on the areas and types of people you spend time with.

  144. Dante Tucker says:

    Your fantasy world is not gone… and it is going nowhere. This is your world, you can make it what you want. Remember? Remember those values you hold so important?

    You can easily limit what and who you spend your time with in SL to only what YOU want. YOU make your world.

    Create a community where you can have what you want. That is the beauty of SL.

  145. Sedary Raymaker says:

    Voice is a critical component of the Second Life experience

    You misspelled “niche component” there, Joe. Merely counting the minutes that Voice is turned on (which it has been by default for awhile) is dishonest. I wander around with Voice turned on half the time, too, but I rarely hear anybody using it, much less use it myself.

    Voice is very useful for certain people in specific circumstances, and I’ve eased up on my initial criticisms of the service, which were more social than technical. Luckily, the schism I was concerned about between Voice and non-Voice users never really materialized because so few people use Voice on a regular basis, so I’m happy to have been wrong.

    What I’m not happy about is Linden Lab’s habit of inflating their numbers. Saying that Voice has been used for 8.5 billion minutes is as disingenuous as claiming that SL has 15 million residents. While it might be technically correct, it ignores some very basic realities behind those numbers in an attempt to pump up empty stats.

  146. Elwin says:

    Fascinating discussion this.

    The majority of feedback is that voice isn’t a critical part of the SL experience, at least not for those who have responded here.

    As to “out of world” contact it would seem that it’s a pretty even split.

    On the question of Linden Labs/Vivox being the appropriate providers of such technology it would seem that the feedback suggests strongly that is NOT the case.

    Much comment has been made about open architecture and XMPP.

    Dear Joe, please do the numbers and get back to us with a solution that supports what the community wants and DO try to resist the temptation to foist yet another LL proprietary piece of crashware on us.

    Your users are still quite clear that what they want is stability before anything else.

  147. Elwin says:

    Dear joe,

    I thought I’d save you the rouble of counting things (I’m worried about counting the 8.5 billions minutes to be honest). Here is a rough count;

    People who actually want voice in this blog = 5

    People who hate voice = 32

    Pretty BIG difference don’t you think?

    People who think XMPP/Web based solutions are preferable = 27

    People who give SLim a cautious thumbs up = 2

    People who think SLim is a good thing = 14

    People who thin SLim is a very bad thing = 18

    And finally people who make specific mention of wanting a nice stable SL experience = 9

    I have filtered out the duplications and the irrelevant comments.

    So, in closing, over 600% more people prefer their SL without voice.

    I hope this helps a little in making the decision to invest more money into this or not.

    Kind regards
    Elwin

  148. Tegg B says:

    145 Elwin Says: “Dear joe,
    I thought I’d save you the rouble of counting things (I’m worried about counting the 8.5 billions minutes to be honest). Here is a rough count;
    People who actually want voice in this blog = 5
    People who hate voice = 32
    Pretty BIG difference don’t you think?
    People who think XMPP/Web based solutions are preferable = 27
    People who give SLim a cautious thumbs up = 2
    People who think SLim is a good thing = 14
    People who thin SLim is a very bad thing = 18
    And finally people who make specific mention of wanting a nice stable SL experience = 9
    I have filtered out the duplications and the irrelevant comments.
    So, in closing, over 600% more people prefer their SL without voice.
    I hope this helps a little in making the decision to invest more money into this or not.
    Kind regards
    Elwin”
    Voice didn’t near kill SL and this won’t either, I don’t use voice unless I need too and SL still works fine for me. Voice has enab;e some great inworld lectures and events, if you don’t like it turn it off.
    I for one want voice and want new shiney, if you want a stable world that stays in the 20th century try active worlds.
    If you can’t keep up, bad luck, this is the cutting edge not MSN with pictures.
    If there are no new features there are no new products, the world stagnates and dies.
    I hear they may bring in a B&W viewer for the anti-windlight crowd next…..

  149. Bryon Ruxton says:

    Will that same IM system still have such a restrictive 25 messages IM cap?
    I don’t see them mentioned as added “benefits”. (in quotes because of VWR-7866)

  150. Elwin says:

    @146
    Tegg, I see no problem in LL having voice or not. I simply don’t use it, nor do any of my friends. In my case I have a restrictive ISP and with voice on I get capped, ergo no SL at all. Where I live I have no option but to accept this (small population/large country= low density of population which results in prohibitive capital cost to address this sort of issue)

    What I do see a problem with is an SL experience that keeps being interrupted by client crashes or freezes. The more functionality LL tack onto the client the more likely it is for that to happen. The real issue is the underlying instability of the client which isn’t going to get any better by tacking new shiny things on.

    Linden Labs are to be applauded for being innovators but the problem is that it seems that LL is now on the bleeding edge rather than at the leading edge.

    The client is getting better all the time but at a cost of needing ever more bandwidth. That is analogous to the software bloat in Microsoft packages. Not a problem for people who have the resources available but what about all of those who can’t for one reason or another upgrade/expand/increase or whatever?

    Good quality programs use resources efficiently. I think the SL client doesn’t fall in that category and that is a great shame because it is the key thing that is holding LL back from being every bit as successful and significant as Google.

    The entrepreneur in me would love to invest in LL but the cautious investor in me runs a mile from the enormous risk they represent.

    I enjoy SL both as a role player and as someone who does some business there. I spend time helping new people find their feet and I have a strong interest in seeing SL succeed.

    I wish LL well in their continuing efforts to make SL a unique and immersive environment. So far they are doing pretty well. Let’s hope that they continue to lift the game.

    Elwin

  151. McCabe Maxsted says:

    As long as this is an actual IM client–that is, I open it, put in my SL account name and password and it gets sent only to LL–I’ll use it. Otherwise, what’s the point in introducing something with a poorer usability than ajaxlife–which you could implement yourself?

    I’m also assuming this will be opensource, so we can submit patches to fix this. From what I’ve read on massively, it’s going to need some community development.

  152. Matthew Dowd says:

    Whilst I can’t say I’m particularly happy with LL over-inflating the statistics by interpreting anyone who has voice switch on as an active voice user (actively using voice every minute they are online!) in their press releases – what I do find worrying is when LL themselves start believing these statistics – particularly if SLim requires you to enable voice in the viewer just to receive text messages from other users of SLim as the descriptions suggest (so the statistics may drastically increase even if voice usage itself will not).

    If SLim really is just an extension of the functions of SLVoice.exe – the irony is that many were hoping that SLim would be to answer to those wanting some access to SL from work based computers. SLVoice.exe (and hence by extension SLim) is less firewall friendly than SL itself – requiring you to open up about 1000 more ports on the firewall to work than SL itself.

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