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Last Names and Linden Lab


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I logged onto my account page tonight to check out a few things. At the top of the page, I noticed a large ad for MySecondLife. Gee, I haven't been to that site in ages, so I click on the link to take a look. I see some comments running in the feed, Lillie's performances and a few cheerful replies. Hey, and there is an interesting comment from Marianne McCann. Something about history of SL, which should be interesting.

As I read her post (http://marianne.secondlifekid.com/2012/03/04/the-old-frontier-feel/), I notice something about the Last Names problem that LL is working to solve. Hmmm, what? Something is wrong?

I then log onto the SL Blog to scan the threads. Nothing about Last Names, whew! I pop over to the SL Forum and scan the list of threads. Nothing new about Last Names. Okay, I guess I misread something in Marianne's Blog. On a whim, I scroll down the list and take a peek at the long-running thread on Last Names. Wait, something is not right... I work my way backwards through the posts until I hit this:

http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/03/01/rod-humble-updates-on-last-names-announces-new-round-table/comment-page-2/#comments

What? I then click on the link:

http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Your-Avatar/Update-Last-Names-Roundtable/m-p/1409403

If I had not checked my account, if I had not clicked on a comment by Marianne, if I had not gone backward through an old thread, I would never have found Rod's post. Why, because a post of this magnitude would not be buried deep in a sub-forum; it would be on the official Blog, obviously.

So, I am not in a good mood at once again having come across an important announcement by sheer luck. My negative opinion of Linden Lab has not been improved. As to the announcement... I am disgusted. Furious. How can this company be so paralyzed, so unable to accomplish a simple task?

There are no less than 200 million threads spread across the internet about this Last Name problem. It was a foolish mistake to have buggered with the system in the first place, but to be unable to fix it - and then to abandon it - strikes me as the height of gross incompetence.

I normally seek to take a measured tone in posts. I normally seek to withhold my passions at Linden Lab's utter disconnect from the human race and the world of business, but, after all these years, the unwillingness of Linden Lab to fix a simple problem has burst a blood vessel for me.

It is normal that a person suffering a delusion will find ways to ignore evidence in order to cling to a belief. Well, I have been clinging to the delusion that one day Linden Lab would grow up and become a real company. For five years, I have lived in hope, waiting, wondering, praying that Linden Lab would finally get a grip on Second Life - would actually begin to understand it - but no, no, no, no. There seems to be a genetic defect that prevents Linden Lab from understanding Second Life. As in the novel Neuromancer, Wintermute says, "I knoweth not the word. I am incapable of knowing the word. If you tell me the word, I cannot know it." Thus Linden Lab and Second Life.

Yes, I should delete this post. Yes, I should wait until tomorrow when I have a cooler disposition, but I am so goddam angry after so many years waiting for this company to wake up that perhaps, this one time, I should let my rage flow unimpeded across the screen. Thousands of reasonable threads containing thousands of reasonable posts are pointless, pointless, pointless. Linden Lab simply doesn't give a damn about Second Life, never has and never will!

I am so angry I could spit!

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i got as upset about this as many, how can something so simple to fix (none, list, custom) can get forever shelved because of a lack of a solution? lots of solutions were presented for months, and 1 hour presentation of the IT Lindens bringed everything to the ground and buried forever.

 

 

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It is understandable for people to be upset.  Rodvik says they are working on it and then back tracks completely.  Then it is revealed that the two name system is still functioning, meaning that there is no reason why we cannot have access to them.  I would have been embarrassed if I were in his position.  I wonder if he was.

So now we know that there is no reason why they couldn't have made last names optional for those that didn't want one, and still preserve the 2 name system for those that would want them.  Display names would still be an option for those wanting complete freedom with their names.  

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Dont forget, LL staff is mostly a bunch of technicians who have no clue what its like to create and live in SL.

Been here 5 years and not once I saw a message from them indicating they understand their product, They don't and they never will, because for them its a 9-5 job keeping servers alive and playing with code, not a SecondLife. Just business.

Its frustrating, I know, but we have to live with it.

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Most of this is re-posting what I wrote in another thread. A lot of people are assuming the last name is simple. Maybe it isn't...

I just came to a realization that would explain a lot. We think of our SL last names as letters that can be put together in any combination, but it's very possible that isn't what they actually ARE. It's very possible that they're stored as a comparatively small, fixed number, so, for instance, an old last name like "Song" may be encoded as the binary equivalent of 0117 and "Tennyson", which was one of the last ones, could be 8563. These numbers would be looked up from a list in the viewer to display the words we're used to seeing as last names.This would explain why Linden Lab doesn't do what would seem to a human (but not a computer) to be the logical thing, which would be to let us enter our own words as last names. The process of getting a custom last name has always been a comparatively major undertaking. This may be something that the touchy-feely people at Linden Lab (like Rodvik) may not have been aware of themselves.

If this is the case that value field will eventually run out of room when the value hits the largest possible number that the software allows. This would explain why there was talk of Second Life "running out otf last names" and why it was suggested that accounts would need to be six months old to get a last name, which would amount to rationing. That would mean that the lists of possible new names that people were suggesting to help Linden Lab's "creativity problem" would be useless as useless parts of a boar hog. The problem wouldn't be in the words, it would be in the numbers and in order to add more room for last name values everything that involves that data field would need to be changed, and to add true custom last names the change would be enormous.

This makes a lot of sense to me. It would be nice if it were confirmed by someone at Linden Lab, but, well, you know.

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It's not just LL complete and utter screw up on this matter but virtually everything they do.  This is an example of a company needing a CEO that is not a techie, nor an Ivy League business graduate; but a long term resident of SL that understands how their client base uses the product and is a business leader at the same time.  The present leadership is falling into the same traps as past leadership.  Its actions are like those of a new successful company transitioning from a start up company to a more established company.  They struggle to find the right leadership to take over the healm.  I propose though that they will never find the right person in normal business circles because SL is such a unique product.  And just going inworld now and then does not, will not, and will never give one the experience inworld to understand just how unique it is.  A person doing that will not see the whole picture with all of its twists and turns, ups and downs.  As far as the tech side, thats what techies are for.  The are best at what they do when told this is what we want, now make it happen.  Innovation is not in your typical techies dictionary for anything not technical.  So how do we as residents get LL to make changes.  It might be best actually to start writing their board of directors.  Yes, they have a Board of Directors.  If they begin to get a flood of hand written letters they will begin to take notice.  Yes, you heard me right, hand written letters.  Why?  E-mail can be blocked and filtered to easily.  The way companies handle normal mail is quite different and alot of them will get through.  That will get their attention.  And if its one thing a Director does not want is to be hearing ishow a company that THEY ARE ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE FOR is making major screw ups, that there is no such thing as listening to their customer base, that management is completely out of touch with the product they have and their customer base, and their PAYING customers are in danger of disappearing.

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"Dont forget, LL staff is mostly a bunch of technicians who have no clue what its like to create and live in SL. Been here 5 years and not once I saw a message from them indicating they understand their product."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

@ everyone

Other than Kodak, I can think of no company that has made such a mess of things. Here is Linden Lab sitting on the hottest product in the history of the human race and the company flaps around like a headless chicken. As for customer relations, I suggest watching this video:

http://treet.tv/shows/phoenix-firestorm

Whether you like the Phoenix/Firestorm product or not, notice the venue, the media, the information content and Jessica Lyon's level of professionalism. It is a superb example of a team of residents who get Second Life. Meanwhile, the CEO of Linden Lab tweets occasionally from the company's ivory tower.

What I cannot understand is why Linden Lab holds onto Second Life. Sell it to someone who understands it, take the money and do something else! Philip has his Coffee & Power (which I understand he is messing up with new restrictions). Go and create a new product (and mess it up if you must), but why cling onto Second Life when you obviously don't like it, don't want it and can't manage it?

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Deltango I think if the Board (whom, as far as I know, include venture capitalists who funded the Lab's creation as well as Philip Rosedale) could find a company that would pay them what they want so that they could cash out with a nice profit they would in a heartbeat. I just don't see any rational for-profit doing it. The short-term liabilities (a declining membership, niche product, massively lacking technical infrastructure, etc.) far outweigh any potential long-term profit. If you were CEO of say Electronic Arts how would you make the pitch to your Board of Directors to buy LL? How would you justify the massive up front capital investment to buy the company, not to mention the investment needed to handle the numerous technical issues we all know about? What about ongoing R&D, advertising and promotion, customer support costs?

What's needed is a passionate visionary with extremely deep pockets who would defy conventional business wisdom and take on this basket case with a willingness to absorb some hefty short-term losses and an eye towards future (whatever he/she sees that future as) profits and intangibles.

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I completely agree, Del.  I'm pretty hacked that Rod just dismissed us all with a seemingly disinterested wave of his hand.  You are correct.  This makes us think they are not at all interested in Second Life.  Rod:  "Oh hey guys...I know I kept saying that we're working on bringing back last names and that they're comin back and all....but...I've decided we're not gonna do it after all and so here's some dashes and dots and smiley faces!"

Then you are correct...to bury notices as important as the upcoming roundtable into the General Discussion forums is ridiculous!  This announcement should have been plastered all over the Second Life web site, on the viewer start-up screen and maybe even signs put up in many locations of the mainland!

However, Rod's second paragraph states; "It’s kind of morphed into a sort of unofficial roundtable discussion. It’s been enjoyable and even though this one has not brought about a change many of you would like its been a good process. Low key and direct feedback off the radar, I like that." (emphasis mine)

So you see he likes to keep things off the "radar".  Quiet.  Secret.  So it's no wonder it took you a rigmarole of searching to even find it. 

Now...of course there are Linden Lab fanboys and fangirls who think the Lab can't do any wrong.  Everything they do is fine and dandy and we all should just shut the hell up because...you know...we don't know what we're talkin about.  The apologists for the Lab will do anything they can, say anything, to try to make people think we're all just bein silly about the whole thing.  You just watch:

Linden Lab fanboy or fangirl response in 3........2..........1

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"If you were CEO of say Electronic Arts how would you make the pitch to your Board of Directors to buy LL? How would you justify the massive up front capital investment to buy the company, not to mention the investment needed to handle the numerous technical issues we all know about? What about ongoing R&D, advertising and promotion, customer support costs?"

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Yeah, Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell had the same problem. Gray had the drawing ready a year before Bell, but his financial backers said they didn't want to waste money on his stupid 'telephone'. Bell's backers said much the same thing. Who needs a telephone when we have the telegraph? Unlike Gray, Bell said FU to his backers and developed the telephone. A year Later, Gray woke up and rushed to the patent office. Bell beat him by a day. Bell offered to sell his patent to Western Union for US$25,000. Western Union threw him out the front door. Bell started his own company. Western Union finally woke up and offered Bell US$25 million. Bell told Western Union to take a hike.

The mobile phone began as a niche product. In the early days, one was ridiculed for using it in public. "Hey, look at that airhead with a mobile phone. Who does she think she is?" Sure, it took a decade to catch on, but how many VC are considering suicide for having missed that train?

Second Life is the new 'telephone'. It is the new 'cellphone'. It is the new 'Facebook' x 1000. At the moment, it has crude graphics and a horrible interface (V2/3). It runs on an antique platform that cannot handle heavy loads. Will it require a large financial investment? You bet, but, what successful product didn't require a large financial investment? IBM spent US$5 billion to develop the IBM360 (yes, $5 billion, the same cost as the Manhattan Project to build an atomic bomb) and made a fortune!

The problem is not the money; the problem is a lack of vision, intelligence and leadership.

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Deej Kasshiki wrote:

What's needed is a passionate visionary with extremely deep pockets who would defy conventional business wisdom and take on this basket case with a willingness to absorb some hefty short-term losses and an eye towards future (whatever he/she sees that future as) profits and intangibles.

And a willingness to carry on despite a userbase that will scream like a pack of howler monkeys if it doesn't run on their obsolescent computers, look exactly the way it used to and work with years-old content that was built based on the present massively lacking technical infrastructure.

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Oh, and that roundtable discussion he promised, yeah, that's not happening either

rodvik.linden Hey folks, as I mentioned to some of you over the weekend I am going to do the next roundtable stuff in private one on one's rather than as a free for all. That makes it more low key and doesnt turn it into something which is contentious. Thanks for all the feedback.

https://my.secondlife.com/rodvik.linden

So that's cool and all, except that it is another broken promise, it is not a round table, and I doubt he will have the time to speak to everyone one on one.

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I hope some of the many great ideas on how to make everyone at least a little bit happy about the names will be conveyed to him by those he chooses to speak to one on one.  I am one of those old, jaded residents that LL wishes would disappear, so I won't be counting on hearing from him. :smileylol:

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Charolotte Caxton wrote:

Oh, and that roundtable discussion he promised, yeah, that's not happening either

rodvik.linden Hey folks, as I mentioned to some of you over the weekend I am going to do the next roundtable stuff in private one on one's rather than as a free for all. That makes it more low key and doesnt turn it into something which is contentious. Thanks for all the feedback.

So that's cool and all, except that it is another broken promise, it is not a round table, and I doubt he will have the time to speak to everyone one on one.

Oh my god.  Well...yeah...see...yet another lie.  One on one?  Right, Rod.  Sure.  You're gonna talk to people one on one.  And here we go with this "low key" business again.  Free for all.  Low key.  (read: secret so he can say whatever he wants) I would be interested in hearing from any one person Rodvik talks to one on one and hearing exactly how that conversation goes and what EXACTLY they say to him.  

I can tell you this, though...I'm quite sure I won't be one he picks to converse with.  He will only want to talk to the Linden Lab apologists and fanboys and fangirls so he gets as much "You're doing a great job, Rod!  Don't pay any attention to those other rabblerousers.  Anything you do to SL is fine with us and we'll just smile and think it's the greatest thing ever!" ego stroking he can get.  

/me rolls his eyes

What's gonna be your next lie, Rod?  

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Nothing new....I always stated that Second Life could have been much greater and popular then what it ended up as. The lack of growth is largely due to bad Management teams since it's inception. They didn't realise what a rough diamond they had found.

Another bug bear is the inability of Linden Lab to market it's own product on a large scale like other MMOG platforms (IMVU & Habbo Hotel spring to mind) Those 2 platforms managed to grow it's concurrency during a recessionary period....IMVU 3 to 4 times the amount of 2009.

I think Linden Lab have run out of steam....and probably better off selling SL to another company (like a Gaming or Entertainment company)...otherwise it will slowly dissipate into nothingness.

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you have to give Rod this one, is true that im mad about the decision to not go forward about Last Names, but im not gonna condemn the person, im gonna condemn the event.

if i were a CEO maybe i would have done the same after the results that a lot of people got very angry with me after posting the results of the first roundtable. if i would select people for bringing that frontier feeling back, i would choose Jo Yardley and Marianne McCann between others.

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Canoro Philipp wrote:

you have to give Rod this one, is true that im mad about the decision to not go forward about Last Names, but im not gonna condemn the person, im gonna condemn the event.

if i were a CEO maybe i would have done the same after the results that a lot of people got very angry with me after posting the results of the first roundtable. if i would select people for bringing that frontier feeling back, i would choose Jo Yardley and Marianne McCann between others.

The event was brought about by the person, Canoro. The person was the one that said last names were coming back. Then they said they would come back with titles. Then they said they couldn't come back. Then we find out the same exact day someone created an avatar with a last name.

If you were a CEO would you be surprised that your followers were angry that they are being lied to? This isn't like Coca Cola where if they change the recipe on me I am gonna freak out..oh wait, that did happen. Well, you know what I mean, it's not like this is important or anything. 

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its important to separate the event from the person, im as disappointed about that decision to not look forward in finding a solution to bring back last names as many, specially knowing that is possible, that the same exact day someone created an avatar with a last name, but i try to not think that because he did this wrong everything he is gonna do is wrong, and i try to look at the reasons behind it and after the results of this roundtable he doesnt want the same.

"If you were a CEO would you be surprised that your followers were angry that they are being lied to?" i wouldnt be surprised, i would expect that, what i am surprised is that this decision was taken. he was doing great, he bringed the FUI, some improvements to the creation tools, introduced mesh, this was an opportunity to give back to the community what they really wanted and be a hero, and he let it go. i think the decision to not bring back last names is one of his lowest points, i hope is the lowest and every other decision he makes is better than this one.

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