The problem with spending a largish chunk of my time pre-occupied with either writing about sl or thinking about writing about sl is that, over time, one becomes borderline obsessive: Obsessive about writing, and all it involves; and obsessive about sl itself.
Imagine, if you will, a careless splash of water over the worktop during a vigorous session of washing-up. Slowly and inevitably, it spreads towards the edge until a steady stream begins to run down the cupboard doors, pooling on the floor below… The need to be constantly thinking about sl permeates the commentator’s life in much the same way. The initial splat of inspiration gradually grows and extends itself into new areas; finding its own pathways and trickling, unnoticed, to form a large and slippery pool upon the floor tiles of your daily routine. By then, it’s far too late – the kitchen roll of normality struggles to mop up the spillage – sl is suddenly all over the place, everywhere, finding it’s slippery way into every corner of the kitchen of your life. The wet footprints and streaky marks, testament to the way in which it catches you unawares, threatening you with lost footing, slips and embarrassing moments and causing the sensibilities of those more prosaic observers to twitch.
This is my lot – i find myself wondering if i’ve developed an unhealthy obsession with the virtual world… it’s everywhere!
On the train journey to work, i catch myself idly thinking how lovely the Buddleia on the trackside would look in a sl garden; a snatch of overheard conversation tickles me, prompting me to think what a great gesture it would make – “The toilet is absolutely bogging!”, (and i find myself waiting for the obligatory sl witty comeback – “no wonder you look flushed!”). i see textures everywhere that builders would die for and buildings that are just begging for a virtual copy; ideas for HUDs pop into my mind, along with potential animations, played out by the people around me: i have to keep reminding myself ‘this is the real world!’.
Then there’s the other side to writing about sl – the constant search for ideas and inspiration. You’d imagine it could all be gleaned from sl itself but that’s not always the case – i’d soon tire of writing, ‘i went to a club and listened to music and danced with friends, then i did a bit of shopping… here’s a LM to my favourite hair shop. There was a bit of lag but nothing i couldn’t cope with. Crashed twice – not bad for a Sunday…”, and i’m sure you would tire of reading it. There is, of course, some pretty amazing inspiration to be had from within the virtual world and, when it occurs, it’s a joy to be able to turn it into words. Other times, a bit more work is needed or perhaps something else needs to be brought into the frame… something that will bring together random events and occurrences within the virtual world in a cohesive and entertaining manner – and this is where rl can often come to the rescue. So, whatever i’m doing and wherever i might be, i’m always on the lookout for something that sparks associations, rekindles memories and knits together virtual events in ways that i hadn’t even considered.
Unfortunately, it does rather mean that i’m fighting a constant battle to keep sl in it’s appropriate place and setting – perish the thought that it should take over completely!
Just before i go and prod the furry things in the fridge, to see whether any of them could possibly resemble what i might tentatively call ‘supper’, i’d just like to raise a textualised eyebrow at Linden Lab’s latest announcement on their purported improvements…
Apparently, they’ve cracked that old bane of our lives – group chat lag. According to the venerable Gabrielle Linden, this particular favourite feature is now no more. Proving once and for all that the Lindens have a sense of humour, they’ve even gone to huge trouble to create a whole Jira entry bemoaning the loss of chat lag. Erm, sorry to tell you this guys, but it’s still very much around and in evidence – despite the fact that LL assure us that, for the past 2 days, group chat lag no longer exists, i’m sorry to say that only yesterday one of my good friends was so chat lagged she couldn’t even take part in the conversation. Nice try chaps… what’s next, no more Ruth?
Then there’s the new system avatars – yep, you really can be a cartoon dog, robot or Ferrari and look as good as, well, a cartoon avatar? Cue thousands of noobs crashing the dance floor as tonka toys, (and still ignoring friendly greetings!).
Again, nice to know the Lindens are concentrating on the important issues of sl.
The other big thing, which is actually pretty scary although most people won’t realise it, at least for a while, is the ‘enhanced’ profile. Reading between the lines, this is essentially the first step towards Facebook integration with sl – when it happens, you read it here first, ok? Yes folks, in future you will be able to have multiple pages to your profile and – here’s the best bit – you’ll be able to allow people to comment on your profile… just like on FB, oh joy. Guess what else? – Yep, auto-updates on Twitbook and FB from within sl, and you can even receive updates on what your friends are getting up to – (Serendipidy Haven has just bought some new shoes and is currently writing a very rude comment about your butt on your profile.) – how wonderful is that?
Sometimes, i’m so happy i’m using Phoenix!
One day you see a strange little girl look at you.
One day you see a strange little girl feeling blue.
She’d run to the town one day, leaving home and her country fair.
Just beware, when you’re there, strange little girl.
The Stranglers – Strange Little Girl