Beware The Virtual Ides Of March…

(Yes I know the ides of march were technically yesterday, pedant..)

To be honest I’ve been too distracted by what has been happening in Japan to even consider blogging this week; major events and catastrophes on such a scale tend to make one reflect on what is important in life and writing about a virtual world hasn’t been on top of that list.

In fact, if I am being REALLY truthful it hasn’t been for a while.

I’ve become disillusioned in Second Life of late.

I’ve not been logging in as much and I’m not really sure why, but I think my lack of in-world funds has a hell of a lot to do with it. Second Life, for me, has always been about shopping and socialising, and now that I’m being more frugal with my Linden dollars  I’m finding a lot of the fun has gone.

For example: I can’t participate in the weekly events like Fifty Linden Friday or Humpday Happiness, and I can’t mooch around fairs such as Relay For Life because quite frankly I’d feel terribly awkward being there seeing as I don’t have the cash to splash. I could blog about freebies I know, and from time to time I do just that, but there are many freebie blogs out there that do the job a million times better than I ever could and I don’t want Kittywitchin to solely be about freebie finding.  I like to write about a range of metaversal stuff, and this means that to write about it I have to be able to buy it.

I think that losing my land in-world has had a huge impact on my enjoyment of the game as well; even though the place where I now live is totally gorgeous, it’s rented and I’m prim-limited, so I can’t surround myself with all the glorious furnishings and decor that now hide in my inventory gathering dust.  A huge element of Second Life for me was building a virtual home and decorating it and I miss that very much.

But I digress. It’s not my own future in Second Life that’s causing consternation, but whether there will still even be a Second Life to enjoy. And I’m not talking long term either, I’m talking soon.

The future of our metaverse is causing some concern. I heard some rumblings a while ago that Microsoft was interested in taking over the product but it seems that ship has sailed and Linden Lab were not aboard, and to make matters worse there are now rumours surfacing that key financial backers have pulled out of their dealings with the lab and do we all need reminding that  there are very few original Lindens in key positions left. Obviously without these founding members of the original team at the helm, Second Life is now left to drift along without any true direction, and this is not good.

I e-mailed Hamlet Au, New World Notes uber-blogger, about this subject earlier on and he wrote back to tell me that he’d literally *just* finished writing about  it. You can see his thoughts here. Hamlet’s post is interesting in that he mentions that it’s his sincere belief that some people would rather see Second Life fail than change and thrive. I think he’s correct.  I’ve been in-world over 5 years and change is NOT something that the community likes to see; avatars (and their operators) are creatures of habit and cry out at even the smallest change.

I had a natter with Prad Prathivi, a highly respected voice in-world, about the current speculation.  Prad’s is the kind of opinion that matters, the kind that Linden Lab should be taking on board, and Prad is concerned. He’s also very strong in his views; “A lot of Second Life bloggers are all romanticists with Second Life and would rather deny the harsh truth that Second Life is dying and probably isn’t going to survive for much longer…”  Romanticists? Seriously? Well..actually yes.  We are guys, we write about a metaverse that is just pixels upon a page.  He goes on;  “They’ve invested too much into it to be able to accept the demise that’s happening, and so they’ll continue to whitewash it, rather than pressing Linden Lab to demand the change that’s needed.” Again, kudos to Mr Prathivi for saying what needs to be said. There are only a few bloggers who have dared to stick their heads over the parapet and say changes need to be made, let alone what the changes should be.  The rest of us, myself included, just write about all things squee. New skins, new breedables, new hairstyles count for bugger all when you’ve got no metaverse to use them in.

Can Second Life recover? Again, Prad makes some really valid points.” I don’t envy them(Linden Lab) as nobody’s done virtual worlds before so there’s no precedent for them to refer to. But they need to drastically lower the cost to the users for land value and monthly tiers, and improve customer service. But they won’t do either of those things, because they can’t afford to.” So if they won’t take action on these points, what is going to happen? Prad thinks they won’t make the necessary moves because they have no intention of developing the brand, and would rather prime it for sale. This makes perfect sense doesn’t it? Why bother to add new features and make it even more cutting-edge if you can sell the company?

But it’s not just the problem of whether Second Life can continue to exist at all that concerns me; what about the emotional effect this is going to have upon people who do indeed live full second lives? For example; married couples who for whatever reason have no relationship out of the game; what will happen to those relationships? Make no mistake about this there are many people with totally committed relationships in-world and it’s inconceivable to think what would happen to them. Also, consider the implications upon friendships and the communities that have been built, not to mention the businesses that thrive and provide a real life income for a small minority of inhabitants? I hate to say this, but we need to seriously think about what is going to happen when the plug is pulled on our metaverse because if current speculation is anything to go on, this may be a situation we find ourselves in sooner rather than later.

And ask yourselves this; what if Linden Labs is taken over? What changes would be enforced upon us, and would we be able to live in a virtual world without Linden Lab at the helm? In my current frame of mind I don’t know that I could, but I’ve come too far and have invested too much emotionally in Second Life to give up on it just yet.  Perhaps we do need a fresh start and a new beginning, and if that is the case we have to be brave and understand that our metaverse cannot continue in its present format and going forward has to undergo some drastic changes to thrive.

So what do you think? Are we looking at the end? Or are we looking at the chance of a fresh new beginning? And would you stay with Second Life if someone other than Linden Labs was running the show?

 

 

They say that if you truly love someone then you have to set them free.

I believe that the same applies to Second Life.  We have been holding on too tightly, and it’s time for us to loosen our grip.  We have nothing to be scared of, nor nothing to lose.

Second Life will thrive or fail whether we, the inhabitants, are brave enough to embrace change or not, but I would rather be part of a metaverse that goes out with a bang, not one that fizzles out in a cloud of grey goo.

 

STOP PRESS: The Crown And Pearl To Close?!!

Have you noticed how February, and not January, is often the cruellest month? It’s all about love and happy and quite often the reality is a complete contrast to that.I’ve just had some really sad news that i need to share with you dear reader, and that is that Prad Prathivi has announced that at the end of the month ‘The Crown And Pearl’ will be no more unless a buyer can be found.

This is heartbreaking news to a LOT of people, and not just because in many ways The Crown And Pearl picked up where The Three Lions finished. The same crowd were there, the same vibe, but eventually C&P developed into a unique identity of it’s own all housed in the plushest surroundings and with some of the best DJ’s on the grid to boot.

I cannot tell you the myriad of fun times I have had there. The place is full of some of the most charismatic, intelligent and plain blinking mental avatars the grid has ever seen. I have so many memories that still make me laugh; Bonfire Night 2008 when myself and many others followed Hellspawned’s lead and decided to sit ON the fireworks that were being let off in the bar. We were flown high up into the air before joining the exploding shards and plummetting back down to earth. It was totally surreal and so much fun. The Crown And Pearl was also amazingly supportive of Dee, and raised funds in her honour for Breast Cancer charities ( It’s always been such a generous venue, time to pay some of that back methinks) Fortunately I have photos of Dee and I dancing there together on the many times that we visited. She loved it.

Let’s not forget Rrishanna’s music nights, which are the stuff of legend. I’ve never known a more eclectic DJ in my entire life, nor a lady with such an extensive record collection covering every single musical style you can imagine. Christmases were often chaotic but great fun too..the madness, the laughs and the drama to boot. Finally, another special memory, my first ever rez-day.. a surprise party was held there for me and the place was covered with ( flattering) photographsof yours truly..I was moved, exhilirated and very,very happy by the effort that went in to that.

I confess,I feel guilty because I haven’t been there as much recently as I should. But here’s the thing, in the back of my mind I *knew* that it was there. I knew that the same faces would be causing a rumpus should I decide to pop by. I guess like many others who were once VERY regulars I became complacent and forgot that these places do not fund themselves, nor do they go on forever if neglected…

I know that it’s the people that make a venue, but I also know that the regulars and new visitors LOVE C&P it with all their hearts and it will be a HUGE blow to the virtual community if it does succumb and close its doors for good at the end of February. Yes, I know that there are other clubs and bars to visit in-world; I visit Republik often enough, but the vibe is different there, and I love it for different reasons. But something that is very different for me between the two venues are the amount of frineds that I have there. For starters, I only really know Amanda and Sable at Republik, whereas at The Crown And Pearl I have friends like Prad, Rrish, The Two Baileys(Longcloth and Dazy),Mowgli, Hellspawned, Marisa, Jacomo, Aribeth, Dellik, Wilds, Bonni, Mysti and many, many more… Some of these people I haven’t seen for an age, but I can tell you that the connections I made with them at 3L and then at C&P have meant a lot to me, and still do. Perhaps C&P was born of the zeitgheist, and now that time has faded, perhaps it should close down? I don’t know..there could be a case to answer there I guess. All I know for sure is that I hope it can be saved. We have until the end of February to see..Here’s hoping.

So long, and thanks for all the fish..(sob)

So Prad Prathivi has hung up his hat and said farewell to the blogosphere. He cites over exposure, personal vendetta and old fashioned childishness as his reasons for stepping back, and to be honest with you readers I am GUTTED, because ‘Metaversally Speaking’ is quite simply one of the best Second Life blogs around. That’s because Prad is a genuine ‘Second Life Wunderkind’. He’s talented in so many ways; not just as content creator par excellence and skilled metaverse observer which he manages to achieve whilst his ego manages to remain firmly rooted to the ground. I have *never* seen that lad behave in the drama-queen fashion favoured by so many so-called ‘SLebrities’ and I am full of admiration for the way he has risen through the ranks of SL to become one of the most recognisable names on the grid. The lad works bloody hard and is entitled to that success. Prad is a talented humourist and writes with the perception and honesty that some blogs in our metaverse lack.   Fact is, he has had more than his fair share of jealous detractors recently, but I’m afraid that goes with the territory. You don’t build up an audience as vast as his readership for “Metaversally Speaking” without steppingupon a few toes along the way, but at least Prad is the kind of gentleman who would stop and apologise for that.  Regular bloggers know that via our writing we expose ourselves and our flaws for all to see, and with that comes the criticism that we have to take. It’s the nature of the beast. You don’t start a blogthat you hope will be successful without acceptingthat there are always goingto be people out there who have a different agenda to yours, and who will not relish your success as much as you do. Jealousy is a harsh mistress indeed, but as individuals we are all entitled to our opinions so you need to understand that before publishing an article not everyone will like what you have written. Often this may cause heated debate or argument, but at no point is it acceptable for commentary to degenerate into viciousness aimed at the author personally. Put simply there has to be a cut off point…and it’s obvious that Prad has now reached his.  I think that Prad should be very satisfied with his achievement and I sincerely hope that he does not view his withdrawal from the blogging arena as a failure. In fact, he should view it as a victory for being brave, confident and having enough balls to share his genuine thoughts and feelings on all matters Second Life with his readership regardless of any reprisals. Conflict gets wearing, and when you reach the stage that Pradhas, as he documents clearly in his closing text that blogging is no longer fun, then it is indeed time to take a step back from it and pursue other interests. I sincerely hope that this is a brief sojourn, rather than a permanent change, because the metaverse will be a poorer place without Prad’s wry observations and comment.  Metaversally Speaking will continue, but without the captain of the ship at it’s helm. The crew that remains behind however will keep her on course I’m sure in the meantime, but Prad please consider returning very soon!

Lounging around in ‘The Aqua House’…


..just got a heck of a lot comfier thanks to the ‘Otto’ collection, the latest release from PRim Designs. I’d like to say I spent the weekend exploring the grid in a mad and happy fashion, but alas- a combination of being perpetually booted out ( is anyone else getting this on a regular basis?) and a migraine meant that I couldn’t log on for long. I missed a dinner party as well, which is never good- I like food and parties very much..so apologies for my none attendance Francesca, I was a poorly Kitty. BUT I must say when I was on I managed to have quite a happy little time, seeing as I’d been sent some utter gloriousness from two of my fave designers- Tesla Miles and Prad Prathivi. Now, Prad is a very dear friend of mine, but even if he wasn’t I’d want him to be. Not only do I have a bit of a kitty-crush on him, he also crafts furniture happiness with his business partner Rrishanna Regina, as I’ve blogged many a time before. So you can imagine I was delighted to receive the ‘Otto’ set from hime to review, and as soon as I’d opened the package I knew I was going to have to find space in my pad for the items inside- funky bean bags, stools and a really sexy wall unit with built in TV. My Dad, Leapylee Cliffhanger, hadn’t realised that you can actually watch TV in-world, so as you would expect it blew his noggin when I switched the box on. (I then went on to explain that you can watch and rent movies in world, and not just of the ‘special’ type..his virtual gob dropped in amazement:) Prad always picks great textures for his items, and this wall unit is no exception. The linear design and the juxtaposition of the glass insert against the wood frame works really well, and if you have any virtual knick-knacks then you can display them to maximum effect on this piece. (Hard as it may be for you I don’t really have that much in the way of virtual knick-knackery, so now I’m looking for daft things to stick on my shelves!) The Otto bean bags are simple constructions but perfectly proportioned (much like Prad himself I’d imagine-ho ho!) I’m sure that the hardened shoppers amongst you know that you can purchase some pretty sublime bean bags from many stores in-world (Ms Callie Cline and Corn have some nice examples) but what sets these apart from the crowd is their overall simplicity and compact design, coupled with two great sitting animations built in. I have the both the navy and white versions now deposited around my home, and both will easily mix and match into any interior with ease, provided you tend towards a more modern approach to interior decorating. Of particular interest however is the Otto chair/stool. Remember the Berlin stool I reviewed last week? This is PRim Design’s version of the same home essential, and although similar in styling it is very different in the way it’s been rendered. Texturing is great, although it doesn’t have the same degree of detail that the Greene Concept ‘Berlin’ chair/stool has, BUT that isn’t a fault, it’s just been created differently. This one also has nice chunky prim feet, and again includes excellent seating animations. I’ve decided/concluded that there’s just no excuse for bog standard sitting poseballs and animations anymore- you know the ones I mean, the same ones you see again and again all over the grid. Perhaps this is one of the benchmarks that we should consider now when buying furniture, it’s not just how it looks, but what it does when you sit on it that counts! ;P All in all I love the Otto range, I really do, and I’ve adapted my home to feature it. In fact I had Shinjles over for a quick natter and she concurred that the seating was great too. I’ve come to realise that there are more chairs in my virtual house than there are people to sit on them..but who cares? It all looks so pretty! Oh, and speaking of pretty I mentioned Tesla didn’t I…..