show #83: perspective

Jo Yardley:

A new Drax Files Radio Hour episode!

Originally posted on the drax files radio hour [with jo yardley]:

show #83

show #83

today with our guest roblemVR we ponder the state of vr in the context of sl plus interviews with castAR founders jeri elsworth & rick johnson. and more [of course!]:

read on fellow enthusiast, read on now:

bright canopy almost there bright canopy almost there

luxury hoodie for your wearing pleasure but you gotta take a pic luxury hoodie for your wearing pleasure but you gotta take a pic

a techno dwarfin take a glimpse [pic by ciaran laval] a techno dwarfin take a glimpse [pic by ciaran laval]

  • rob crasco joins us [his sl biz is snatch]

our guest roblemVR our guest roblemVR

is jaron lanier to blame for the vr terminology? is jaron lanier to blame for the vr terminology?

sl pregancy machinima with 34 million views yet no drax files sl pregancy machinima with 34 million views yet no drax files

  • jimmy kimmel spoofs faceworld:

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show #82: catching up

Jo Yardley:

We’re back on the air!

Originally posted on the drax files radio hour [with jo yardley]:

show #82 show #82

a new linden lab project and older [yet NOT expired] tape from svvr 2015 are on today’s drax files radio menu.

we do hope you enjoy words of wisdom from some bright minds [yes, we mean the guests, not us!]

and more to read on the matters discussed below:

remembering adele kling [pic by jo yardley] remembering adele kling [pic by jo yardley]

the verge picks up ll press release = screenshot sans ads the verge picks up ll press release = screenshot sans ads

fusion on virtual abandoned porn??? wth? fusion on virtual abandoned porn??? wth?

  • nonny dela pena and her trayvon martin piece at svvr

nonny and partner at their booth nonny and partner at their booth

  • matterport [we spoke to co-founder matt bell]

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Sansar opens up to first testers!


According to a Press Release Linden Lab invited the first users to start testing Sansar today.

A select few ‘creators’ got their invite today or will probably get theirs shortly.

Are you one of them?

Go on, let us know if you are, we won’t tell anyone.

And where is my invite?!!

The full press release;

Linden Lab Invites First Virtual Experience Creators to Project Sansar Testing


New Platform from Creator of Second Life 
Will Democratize Virtual Reality as a Creative Medium

SAN FRANCISCO – August 18, 2015 – Linden Lab®, the creators of Second Life®, today announced that a small number of creators have been exclusively invited to be the first to help test its new platform for virtual experiences, codenamed Project Sansar.

Slated for general availability in 2016, Project Sansar will democratize virtual reality as a creative medium. It will empower people to easily create, share, and monetize their own multi-user, interactive virtual experiences, without requiring engineering resources. The platform will enable professional-level quality and performance with exceptional visual fidelity, 3D audio, and physics simulation. Experiences created with Project Sansar will be optimized for VR headsets like the Oculus Rift, but also accessible via PCs and (at consumer launch) mobile devices. Users can explore and socialize within Project Sansar experiences through advanced expressive avatars, using text and voice chat.

Drawing on more than 12 years of unique experience running Second Life, the largest-ever user-created virtual world, Linden Lab will make it fun and easy for Project Sansar users to create social VR experiences, eliminating the complicated challenges that today limit the medium to professional developers with significant resources. Project Sansar will allow creators at all levels to focus on realizing their creative visions, without having to worry about issues such as hosting and distribution, multi-user access and communication systems, virtual currency and regulatory compliance, and other challenges associated with creating, sharing, and monetizing virtual experiences today.

“We want to lower the barrier of entry for VR experience creation,” said Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab. “Project Sansar will do for virtual experiences what WordPress has done for the Web: empower a broad range of people to create with professional quality and reach global audiences. By greatly expanding who can create virtual experiences, Project Sansar will also extend the value of VR to a wide variety of use-cases — from gaming and entertainment to education, architecture, art, community-building, business meetings, healthcare, conferences, training, and more.”

The small group of initial creators invited to help test Project Sansar will create 3D content using Autodesk’s Maya® software and will export their creations to the new platform. At consumer launch, Project Sansar will support a variety of third-party creation tools as well as native building options, so that creators can work with their preferred software.

In the coming months, Linden Lab will welcome additional creators and content partners to Project Sansar as new features are added to the platform and testing expands.

Linden Lab is also currently recruiting talented engineers to join the team developing Project Sansar. More information about working for Linden Lab, current positions, and applications can be found at


show #81: sansar anxiety

Jo Yardley:

We’re back!

Originally posted on the drax files radio hour [with jo yardley]:

show #81 show #81

season 3 of the podcast is here and the next generation virtual world linden lab is building [working title “project sansar”] may or may not cause anxiety in second life users.

our panel discusses emotions and speculates about the future of the metaverse.


meshy rhododendron by cube meshy rhododendron by cube

qz screenshot qz screenshot

chaos and partner make sl web compatible chaos and partner make sl web compatible

josh on a beam telepresence robot at awe2015 josh on a beam telepresence robot at awe2015

  • upload vr talk with ebbe altberg about sansar:

ebbe's new av [pic from re:code article] ebbe’s new av [pic from re:code article]

vr scifi and fact vr scifi and fact

  • in celebration of…

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Does Facebook now officially allow pseudonyms… if you’re German?


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Facebook is changing the rules on pseudonyms here and there and this may be the beginning of the end of their peculiar real name policy.

To explain the whole situation in one sentence; Facebook wants us all to use our real identities, many of us do not for one reason or another.

The solution; Facebook should create Pseudonym accounts where you get the same account as everyone else except it clearly says pseudonym, so everyone knows you’re not using your real name.

But till Facebook realises this, we’re playing a cat and mouse game.
People make up accounts, someone reports them, Facebook demands identification, if it doesn’t come, they close the account.

For many people this is a very serious issue that can even be related to life threatening situations, for instance imagine someone on the run from an abusive ex or for political reasons who still wants to stay in touch with friends and family.

For us in Second Life the issue is generally a lot less drastic, but one many of us care about nevertheless.

Recently Johannes Caspar, the Hamburg commissioner for data protection and freedom of information, explained that according to German privacy laws, Facebook was not allowed to demand from its users to send their identification or change their profile name.
More about this in my previous blog you can read here (click).

A website called ‘cyberwarcone’ even wrote in this article  (click) that Facebook now allows people from Germany and specifically from Hamburg to use pseudonyms or at least use Facebook without identifying themselves, but I am not sure what their source is for this claim.
I think they just repeat what everyone else is saying; Johannes Caspar wants Facebook to follow the German laws but nothing has been officially announced yet.

As far as I can find out, Germany is making demands but Facebook has not yet responded.

While Germany and Facebook were duelling it out over these rules, someone I know but who prefers to remain anonymous, was actually confronted by Facebook over the use of their name and asked to confirm their identity.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 12.47.30
She was about to accept that her account, like one before, would soon be deleted but then remembered my story (click) about the German privacy laws and decided instead of sending them a picture of her Identity card, to send them a picture of this note she wrote which was practically a copy of what I mentioned on my blog;

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 11.08.57

Much to her surprise Facebook accepted this identification and reactivated her profile.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 12.47.42

So either they don’t care about what kind of picture you send in as long as you send in a file when they ask for your identification, or someone at Facebook wasn’t paying attention or somehow they asked her for identification by mistake or… if you live in Germany (or claim to do so), they will simply have to accept that you don’t have to identify yourself.

Has Facebook already accepted these laws, are they just being careful awaiting what will happen next or is it all just a big coincidence?

Fact is, she told them she was German and didn’t have to send them her ID and they seem to have accepted it.

Of course this could have been a glitch, a mistake, an error, just a fluke, or just luck.

If you have any experience in this matter, if something similar happened to you, please share your story in the comments section.

Lets hope that this could be the thing that pushes Facebook over the edge towards accepting pseudonyms.
For years their real name policy has been getting a lot of flack and it even gave the competition a step up.
Websites like Twitter and Google+ have very liberal identity rules or have listened to their users and relaxed them, this has send users in their direction, away from Facebook.

Besides, Facebook is fighting a losing battle, an estimated 170 million Facebook accounts are fake and that number is growing.
There is nothing they can do about this and their struggle is only damaging their reputation.

Moviepilot website changes its tune with positive article about SL.


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You may remember a website called “moviepilot” (what a name!) when one of their articles caused quite a kerfuffle a while back.

Writer (and I use that term very loosely in this case) Marlon McDonald made a real mess of things when he wrote an article about Second Life back in 2014 that was one of the worst I’d ever seen.
All the negative cliches were brought up, SL was “unmasked” as a place full of perversion and hanky panky.
On top of that, the article was illustrated with pictures from the SL prehistory and some even from completely different games!

It was horrendous and there was a lot of backlash.

You can read my blog on that story by clicking here and Inara Pey’s blog by clicking here, she even got them to publish her rebuttal which you can read by clicking here.

When they published another article on Second Life I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but it seems they have changed their tune and published something about our virtual world that actually makes sense, sort of, and even involved doing some research.

The newest article, called ‘Second Life: How to navigate an Online Virtual World (and Maybe Even Make Some Money), written by Jack Carr, is a lot more positive and honest.
It also uses a few decent and up to date illustrations.
Sex gets quite some attention but this is balanced by also talking about some of the other things possible in SL.
It is also nice to see our 1920s Berlin Project get some attention although we really don’t have a cabaret club on every corner!

So although there isn’t a lot of depth or detail in the story, it is balanced, factual and about a zillion times better than the hysterically bad piece written by Mr McDonald.

I know my dear fellow cynics, I know, Moviepilot doesn’t really care about SL or about what their writers write some of the time, but they have 5 million likes on Facebook (yes really! That is even more than I have), 40 thousand twitter followers and they’ve finally written something positive about our virtual world, so that is a good thing!


Upload VR interviews Ebbe Altberg about SL and Sansar in a rather lovely setting


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Ok, I know, I’m shallow, I care about the visual aspect of interviews, not just what is being said.

So when I saw this interview, I immediately liked it.
The interview was made for a website called Upload VR and takes place in front of a lovely old fashioned fireplace, both gentlemen are having an alcoholic (?) drink, there are books on shelves and dogs walking around.
Before you get too excited, no this is not Ebbe’s home or a corner at Linden Lab.

Image copyright; Upload VR and youtube

Image copyright; Upload VR and youtube

Of course it could be better.
Both gentlemen should be wearing 3 piece suits, smoking a pipe and of course refrain from wearing a hat indoors!

Anyway, so far the super-visual part of this blog.
What is being said?

Not much exciting news that we didn’t know yet, but interesting nevertheless;

Sansar is still a few weeks away from letting testers in.
First half of next year more people will be allowed in and maybe by the end of 2016 a public version may be released.

Ebbe mentions something very important; that if you want to create an interactive VR experience today you have to be an engineer, it is very complicated to do but not so in SL.
We all know that of course, but I think you can’t repeat this enough.

The alpha testers for Maya will download Sansar and it will have an add-on for Maya, the software SL is using to build it.
This explains why LL is looking for Maya users to start testing Sansar, you may not even be able to get into Sansar without it, for now.
However, once you “publish” your Sansar VR experience, you can share a link to it with your friends and everyone can come and explore it.
The idea being, I think, that Sansar will be extremely easy to use and share.
I hope to one day be able to share a link to 1920s Berlin with RL friends and have them explore the sim in minutes with no or almost no installing of viewers and no or almost no instructions.
I think Ebbe is right in promoting SL/Sansar as a place where we can all experience and create VR without the skills needed to do this in any other way.

Ebbe says that SL has experienced a slow and steady decline, from just above 1 million monthly users at its peak, it is now just below.
But SL is still very strong and people cashed out 60 million dollars last year alone.

Ebbe describes Sansar as a “parallel universe” to Second Life.
I wonder if perhaps there is a good name for this world in there somewhere.
It is going to be less world focused, it will be more like several platforms.
This has been touched upon before and I think people will be sad to see the idea of living in a virtual world together change so drastically.
Some of us enjoy just exploring, running around, flying from one sim to another not knowing what they’ll bump into.
With Sansar, it seems, you’ll have to actively choose your destination before you can go there.
That is why LL prefers to compare Sansar to a virtual version of WordPress, and not a world.

Tier is also brought up, land is very expensive in Second Life but this will change in Sansar.
Land in Sansar will be much bigger, much cheaper and, Ebbe said with a smile, much more beautiful.
To be able to afford this there will be a sales tax on the Gross Domestic Product.
In short, property taxes go down, sales taxes go up.
Right now in world transactions are tax free (which I sure hope they will stay!) and marketplace taxes are 5% which is very low, 30% is the norm.
By doing this LL hopes that Sansar becomes appealing to many more users to start creating content, to build things and experiences.

Ebbe also shares a few examples of how SL is used, the musician who can afford to have his RL record published because of SL concerts, the fashion designer who made over a million bucks selling SL clothes, the man who make an income selling jeans, etc.
These kinds of stories appeal to people, it may be a bit daft, but fact is that when people hear that you make virtual goods for some virtual world they may think it is a bit silly but when they hear you can make a living out of it they are often suddenly very interested.
But also the many other wonderful things people do in SL get mentioned, lots of different ‘use cases’ that I think will give outsiders a real good idea of what SL is all about.

And even that crazy woman from Holland who build 1929s Berlin gets mentioned again.

You can enjoy the full interview here;

Germany fights Facebook thus perhaps paving the way for using pseudonyms


The Hamburg data protection authority is confronting Facebook on its ‘real name policy and telling the social media site that it can’t demand its users to provide them with a photo ID.

The German regulator said that this violates the right to privacy and in a statement (click here to read, in German) could not force users to send them copies of their official identification papers nor could it force them to change their chosen names to real names.

These real name rules have been making things very hard for people who for one reason or another prefer to use a name that is not their official one or one not recognised by Facebook.
Artists, transgender men and women, American natives, people hiding from abusive relationshiips and of course those of us with a virtual identity.

Many of us at one time or another have had our profiles deleted by Facebook because we weren’t real enough.
But Facebook is just too good for running and managing communities, staying in touch, organising events, etc.
So we keep coming back.

Right now Facebook can lock your account and force you to identify yourself and change your name, or your account will be deleted.

Technically, according to Johannes Caspar, the Hamburg commissioner for data protection and freedom of information;

The requirement to use a real name violates the rights, enshrined in German law, to use a pseudonym, while requests for digital copies of an official photo ID also contradict the passport and ID card law and the unauthorised modification of the pseudonym … blatantly violated the right to informational self-determination and constitutes a deliberate infringement of the Data Protection Act.

This is very interesting for people who like to use Facebook but not share their real life identity with everyone.
Who knows this will finally allow us to create and keep profiles for our avatars.
Even if it means pretending we’re all German citizens :)

If Facebook made special”pseudonym” profiles that look, act and feel the same as regular ones but are somehow clearly marked as belonging not to an identified person, everybody would be happy.

You can read more about this in the Guardian newspaper article here.


The Eldorado Cabaret celebrates its 4th anniversary!

Originally posted on The 1920s Berlin Project:

Picture by Jelena Matova Picture by Jelena Matova

In 1925 (2011) the infamous Eldorado Kabarett opened its doors to the public for the first time.
A place that would embody the wild, free and bohemian spirit of our city.

With the well known designer Sonatta Morales at the helm our Cabaret soon became one of the most popular spots in Berlin.
Every Saturday she builds a set, choreographs a dance and puts a costume together for a different show every week!


This Saturday at 2pm we’ll have a special 4th anniversary show, everybody is welcome as long as you’re wearing 1920s clothes and have a realistic avatar.
And just like in the 1920s; cross dressing is encouraged.

Just like the real Eldorado, our place is a safe haven for gays, transvestites and of course straight people as well.
Back then Berlin was probably the only place where you could have a place be this public…

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1920s Berlin kid needs your help after RL house fire

Jo Yardley:

One of our own needs your help.

Originally posted on The 1920s Berlin Project:

One of Berlin’s favourite streetkids has experienced one of the most awful things in real life I can imagine; a house fire.

Although everyone managed to escape in the nick of time and nobody was wounded, the house and most of their belongings were pretty much trashed.

skylerAt the moment Skyler Gant (RL name Mark) and his mom are staying in a hotel, having almost nothing left except the clothes they were wearing when they escaped, their phones and the cat.

The 1920s Berlin community is a strong one and when we don’t see certain of our neighbours for a while we get worried, when they have a celebration in RL we’re happy for them and when something bad happend in RL we try to help.
Skyler has been with us for a very long time and we know him as a wonderful sweet kid both in SL and RL, although…

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