Lab -v- Life

Gosh! Talk about dedicated… Here i am blogging on my day off, but i’d hate you to think that i didn’t have my finger on the pulse!

i had intended to let all the flak die down before i commented on any of the three, (yes three!), bright shiny new things that were all announced, pretty much on top of each other this week, however it would be very remiss of me not to and, since i think at least one of them deserves comment…

My Second Life, Linden Lab’s FaceSpace wannabe, which has taken pride of place on the Dashboard doesn’t interest me in the slightest and already seems to have been taken over as freebie advertising space by those who know a gift horse when they see it and will no doubt become a fertile flaming and trolling ground for the all usual suspects before too long.  It’s hardly news anyway: The first indicators that something of this nature was going to crawl from the pits of SL Hell were being touted back in August last year, probably even further back than that – i just don’t have the inclination to investigate, to be honest.

Then there’s the beta launch of the Pathfinding LSL calls – this is actually something i shall be keeping a beady eye upon and, when i’m good and ready, i’ll certainly be having something to say about it. Initial thoughts are, believe it or not, ‘well done LL!’ – yes, you did read that correctly – i like the concept, i like the fact that the Lab really seem to have thought this one through, i like way the developer tools will be built in to the viewer and, most of all, i love how simple, clean and intuitive these tools appear to be. My only real reservation about the new functionality arises not from the technicalities but from knowing  that future shopping trips will be plagued by not only irritating, flapping, flitting fairies welcoming me to the store, but goodness knows how many creatures, objects and LM givers pursuing me every step of the way – oh joy!

The news that interests me the most however is LL’s acquisition of Little Text People. You won’t find any announcement on the sl website, although it’s no secret and has been indecently splurged across most of the web in the last couple of days. In case you missed it, here’s the press release. Again, it’s been no secret that the Lab were looking to branch out, although there may be a few eyebrows raised in surprise that the Lab has acquired another company. i don’t know much about LTP and their product isn’t really my cup of tea anyway – maybe we’ll see it infiltrate sl in due course? Some seem to think that will happen, personally i don’t.

What i find particularly striking about this news is that it effectively draws a line in the sand – up until now, Linden Lab and Second Life have been synonymous and could pretty much be used interchangeably… not any more. Reading between the lines, the lab has made strenuous efforts to keep this new venture – aka ‘Product 3’, (and the several others still in the pipeline – such as ‘Product 2’… some sort of adventure game, i’m guessing?), and sl very much apart and i imagine that’s exactly how things will continue. Linden Lab appears to be flexing its corporate muscles and consciously making the decision to move away from being a one-trick pony into the big bad world of diversification. It’s also very clear that CEO Rod Humble is keeping a very close eye on what is being said in the metaverse about the acquisition – the normally reticent Rodvik, whom residents seldom hear from in the normal course of business, has taken to commenting on blog posts and subtly guiding readers where he wants them and, to all accounts, working pretty late at the office to do so!

Expect more in the way of announcements around March 5th – although i wouldn’t bank on them being directed towards sl residents. It’s certainly changing the gameplan for sl – no longer is it going to be an only child, but one of a family of offspring and, who knows, maybe it’ll have to compete for attention if any of its younger siblings gain any measure of success. With LTP coming on board, that possibility becomes ever more likely: If for example the Lab successfully breaks into the mobile market, which is now very much an option, and does so successfully, then what will that mean for poor, old, wheezing sl? With its ageing architecture and so much user-created content based on old technology that it’s impractical to bring up to date, it’s a worrying thought what the future may bring!

s. x

And if your train’s on time
You can get to work by nine
And start your slaving job to get your pay
Bachman Turner Overdrive – Taking Care Of Business 

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