Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Muxlim Pal: Gone before the wind?

Social Virtual worlds like Second Life often resemble Sodom and Gomorra. I remember the days that most headlines made by Second Life were about the slease and dirt and sex empires. No wonder Muslims were out to seek a world of their own in which the name of the prophet would not be slandered, and every one walks the walk and talk the walk of the Koran.

Being a christian, I haven't felt the need to deeply explore this world and haven't blogged it before since I didn't want to fall into cynical "72 vestal virgin heaven" kind of jokes, but Muxlim Pal, as this world is called saw the curtain fall before it ever saw the light of day.

Muxlim Pal is a 2.5D virtual world, launched earlier this month by the Muxlim community site and, as they themselves describe it:

Muxlim Pal is the first Muslim virtual world providing a new kind of family friendly social online environment for your entertainment. In this Beta phase we are giving you a taste of what we plan to be a continually growing online and getting your feedback on how we can make your experience here fun and even more enjoyable.

However, I noticed a tweet flying past by Rikomatic who found out the world had already shut down due to griefer attacks. As Rikomatic wites on "The Click Heard Round the World"

Unfortunately, it looks like they have had to restrict access to Muxlim Pal because of griefers. Here's the message on the site:

Welcome to Muxlim Pal. As you know, muxlim.com are committed to providing all our users with a respectful, open-minded and family-friendly environment, in which to learn, exchange information, play and work. Unfortunately, we have had a short down time, as a small number of destructive elements were sabotaging the site for everyone else. [my emphasis] The site is now up again and users are enjoying it. With these attacks going on we have had to make the difficult decision to temporarily restrict access for new members. All new members are welcome complete this form (below) to trial the site or wait the standard activity and waiting period used for messaging features on the rest of the site. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

The Muxlim Team

I can't imagine the difficulty of moderating a virtual world populated by Muslims. It must be a magnet for every anti-Muslim bigot with broadband on the planet.

Well, for what it's worth, a few screenshots:
Down below is a map of the Muxlim Pal world, with a Beach Cafe, which will probably only serve non-alcoholic beverages, even if virtual.


Dressing up is an important part of the Muxlim Pal world as well, however I haven't seen Taliban approved Burkas yet.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Prokofy Neva vs. Woodbury University

Late last night the infamous Prokofy Neva posted a mega post over at Second Thoughts over an intervention Linden Lab performed. This is bound to create another stir in the community.

Here's the short version:

Prokofy has long faught the presence of griefers in Second Life. Whereas some (including Wired magazine) approached them pretty naively, Prokofy (rightfully) saw these anarchists as a threat to a civil metaversal society. In 2007 the Woodbury University was taken off the grid, suspect of facilitating griefer activities. Ever since Prokofy claims to have been haunted, stalked and harassed by MC Fizgig, the alt of a Woodbury professor. Now Prokofy found out the Woodbury Griefers moved in next door...

"Land bought in Furness next door to me in Ravenglass for the sole purpose of harassing me and my tenants has been confiscated by LL, in a move which some might find as suspect and controversial, but others might see as part of a growing willingness by Linden Lab to leave their hippie anarcho-capitalist technolibertarian days, and become a more established business determined to make a grid viable for civil society online."

The bottom line:

"For once, they've (LL) responded within 24 hours, and responded very decisively in a way which is sure to raise controversy..."

Because of Prokofy Neva's reputation it didn't take long for the first insinuating posts have started to appear on the Second Life Herald and Your2ndPlace.

The SLH speculates in FIC Tables Turned - Ex-Critic Crows About LL Land Seizure that Prokofy apparantly has some tie-ins with Linden Lab and thus becoming part of the FIC (Feted Inner Core -- the group of alledged Linden Lab adorers which receive friendly favors of the powers that be) Prokofy has so assidiously fought over the past year.

Your2ndPlace also speculates on the same issue:

"But for the topic at hand - if she claimed that she had something to do with someone having their land taken from them and banned, even by innuendo, she's claiming the power that she accuses others of having. If she didn't say that,
then Shaun Altman is a liar - as are a few other people I have communicated with. And if she said it and actually had something to do with it, well, the latter would explain why Prokofy Neva has lead such a charmed Second Life."

Both these reports are based on Shaun Altman writing:

"Prokofy Neva went on to inform me that the avatar who purchased this land had been banned from Second Life, after the seizure of the avatar's property (land) by Linden Lab. He then asked me a very chilling question. I didn't log it, so I can't quote it verbatim, but it was directly along the lines of, "Do you see what I can get done if I want to?".

The issue here is in Shaun's last line: What's stirring up the fuzz is:

"Do you see what I can get done if I want to?".

The weakest link here is:

"I didn't log it, so I can't quote it verbatim,"

Now, I don't have all the evidence at hand, but here's a number of thoughts which have crossed my mind:

  1. There have been suspicious activities at Woodbury in the past. Evidence seems solid enough to justify the removal of the sim from a legal point of view when looking at the ToC.
  2. Where possible, action should be undertaken against griefers. Although they can perform very little actual damage, they are a threat. They will hamper growth in qunatity as well as quality.
  3. I personally it is a bit overdone to call the whole scene a "Woodbury Conspiracy", but I can imagine griefers not being happy over expulsion and stalking the person responsible for their exposure.
  4. Based upon Prokofy Neva's narrative of the situation, Linden Lab has taken a rightfull decision. When this is going to cause havok, I hope LL does have some unbiased evidence to support their case.
  5. The sole reason for the SLH, Your2ndPlace and Shaun Altman blowing this skyhigh is Prokofy's reputation. I'd rather see them try to figure out facts - though must admit

    "Do you see what I can get done if I want to?"
    is an interesting line. I do have some thoughts there, but won't articulate them yet as they are thoughts, not facts.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cry Havok

Linden Lab is working under the hood of Second Life again and is upgrading it's Physics Engine shortly. Currently they're testing the Havok 4 engine on the Beta Grid. The upgraded engine is supposed to bring more stability to the Grid and make it less vulnerable to griefer attacks.


Here's a YouTube testing


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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It's Infocalypse for Second Life

Infocalypse at the economic heart of Second Life?

It's a warzone! The Linden Index has crashed, it's economy is imploding and one after the other financial scandal is hitting the blogoshpere. Someone just shouted "The end is near!" over at twitter. Well, there is some truth in this part of the blog.

Due to Linden Labs taking actions against gambling in SL - incorporating RL law there has been a drop in money exchange. This will be a temporary setback as it will make way for new and healthy business. What is serious is that there has been theft at the WSE, the World Stock Exchange, an inside-job so it seems. Extensive coverage can be found at the Virtually Blind blog.

Infocalypse at the social heart of Second Life?

Then there is rumours of Terrorism in Second Life, coming from a paper Down Under. Fortunately this piece of bad-research has quickly been dysected by Mitch Wagner at Informationweek:

"The article cites well-known reports of "griefing" in Second Life -- malicious practical joking -- and employs a lot of breathless prose and distortion to make it seem like the global terror network is on the brink of using Second Life to launch a real-world terror campaign against all decent people everywhere."

There's no such thing as Second Life taking casualties. We're not talking about real life bombings. What we are talking about is griefing, which is WEB -10.0 [in other words neanderthal behaviour which is sooo 2007 (BC)]

What will be the fall-out of these stories? In my personal opinion it is way overdone. These blogposts over at Second Thoughts and Metaversed are providing the Griefers a sublime stage. They're feeding it! It seems Prokofy's fabled paranoia and FICification have entered the next stage of the conspiracy-theory-virus.

In my humble opinion, this is all strongly overhyped. This is confirmed by reliable sources who say that Linden "can shoot themselves in the foot just fine."

Infocalypse at the creative heart of Second Life!

Before we all go dramatic on Second Life, here's the twist: The only place where real infocalypse is going down is on the islands of Infocalypse, Saijo City and Nexus Prime, home to the cyberpunk community and spindoctor Eric Rice.


There's the Infocalypse project which is offering a podium and decorum for writing vivid new cyberpunk stories. Second Life proofs to be an excellent stage once more for collaboration and making stories come to life!
Here's an extract from the original blogpost mixed with some screenshots of these sims:
Say you wanted to create derivative work, say, a novel or video game or drawing, and place it in those locations, technically you can’t. You *can* if you consider fan fiction (’fanfic’ for short), but don’t ever expect to do anything with it beyond your own personal amusement. Build as little as a fan site, one that celebrates a franchise, and you could be beamed up to the USS Litigation. This has a long history and is certainly not new (flashback: Wired, Dec. 1996).

Enter Saijo City. Saijo exists as a newborn franchise that could be any one of those works of fiction. There are characters and there is the place of the city itself. Saijo’s genre is cyberpunk, set in a near future of maybe 60-100 years out.

What makes Saijo City different and not spectacularly ‘new’, is that it exists as many pieces, both traditional and contemporary, that are simply rearranged. It would be easy to say, “Yes, I’m writing a science fiction book, due out this summer,” and the conversation would be over.
But that’s not how life in my city goes.
Saijo City as a piece of transliterate content, operates on some very simple and familiar principles. (read more at I, Platform)

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

All England SLawn Tennisclub

I've been wondering a lot about why there are so few UK companies in Second Life. Big brands from the US, Germany, Netherlands and Spain seem to be flocking this virtual world, but - to my knowledge - no English corps have immersed yet. A few pointed out that the English were perhaps to conservative, too carefull to thread unchartered waters.

Tonight's Things to Do event was a guided tour around Wimbledon which proves that statement wrong. If there's anything traditional in England, in my opinion, it is Wimbledon. It's history is fabulous.

Although I was an absolute fan of Stephan Edberg, I very much recall the first time Andre Agassi entered the All England Lawn Tennisclub. His long hair and wild clothing was considered provicative at the time and people wondered how he would appear at Wimbledon.... well his appearance was a statement. Wearing the same attire as usual, with stretch pants underneath his shorts and hairbands and all... but totally white to honor the tradition of Wimbledon.

Okay, no pic of Edberg, Agassi or Sabatini here, but of Epredator, IBM's metaverse guru, who's actually at Wimbledon - and still found time to give us the guided tour.

IBM has capturing lots of match data in the past years as ofifical IT partner. That data and the rest of the site is used to extend the experience to people who cant be here. For IBM it is a natural step to use a metaverse for this extended experience.

First of all there are the goodies, the avatar, the clothing and the rackets. You can also buy real life tickets at the Wimbledon shop, but of course the main event is the centercourt.

"its one that we take the pointracker data from the real meta event and inject that into the ball that moves around -- ok the ball is pushed around having made http requests for the data the main scoreboard is then updated. We also then let people take the players eye view. Technically we have a lot more data, the strokes played etc but we are balancing how much code we have to pack in to get aronud http limits in script etc. and on the scoreboard if dynamic flash worked we would just use the normal pub sub scoreboard on wimbledon.org so we are looking see how we can represent the event but as I blogged on eightbar its hard to get data for bits that are not tennis points e.g. e do not capture on court wich chair a player sits on but we can imply things.
we produce DVD's for players in RL of matches which implies things from crowd noise to index the dvd large crowd noise, exciting points etc."


In the demo you could see the balls trajectory quite well. A lot of scripting is going on at this side, though for non-IBM (i.e. visitors) scripting is disabled, as IBM feels they and Wimbledon would be a prime target for griefers / hackers.



Aside from the usual visitors, IBM itself brings in a lot of people at C-Level (ceo/cto/cfo etc) to show their partners what they are doing in Second Life.
"Last year they just laughed alot and said how quaint, but this year they have all heard of SL and want to see what we're doing here."
What a difference a year makes!
And surely we are looking forward to the Australian Open as IBM has already build a complete Rod Lever Arena.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

PA gets Griefer consult

On the 15th I reported over gridwide precautions taken in fear of griefer attacks. Well, not truly gridwide. Several sims did suffer attacks, though not as massive if feared beforehand.

From inside sources I received confirmation that the sim owned by PA Consulting had been subject to a Griefer attack.



"and yes we had griefers here, two people - one in the air - the other in the water at the edge of sim. I was in the air - wasn't affected - but when coming down I saw lots of parcels falling from the sky in different colors - that caused the lag."

The attack lasted 10 minutes before the griefers were banned. However, in RL a 10-minute stop could be a costly disaster, but in SL we're not yet to the level that it has become business-critical. As PA said "well it is anyoing - and the reasons not understandable for any intelligent person. There is WOW or other combat plays - for them to go to."

PA Consulting Group (PA) is an international management consulting firm known for its expertise in technology and new product development. As of 2007 it operates in more than 35 countries, so you could say that PA is a Player. The firm works across both the private and public sectors. It has won independent awards and recognition for its client work in financial services, energy, life sciences and healthcare, government and public services, manufacturing, defence, and telecommunications. PA's Report and Accounts for 2005 defines its services as: helping clients to design strategies for growth, achieve effective IT that improves business performance, mobilise human resources, deliver complex programs and major business transformations, and develop breakthrough products and processes. The latter are created at PA's dedicated applied technology facilities at Melbourn, Cambridge, UK, and Princeton, NJ, USA. (from Wikipedia)

The PA sim itself doen't differ from most Business sims. A rather conventional office setup with the usual places, built by Rivers Run Red

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