February 25, 2010

Thoughts on Second Life Viewer 2 - Part 1

I'm probably going to make a series of posts on this topic since I think the direction Linden Lab has taken with Viewer 2 is ultimately doomed to some sort of whimpering failure. Thus, the Part 1 label. Will there be a Part 2? Who knows. Just have to see if I'm motivated or burned out.

Unfortunately, I think commenting on all the things that are wrong about this Viewer will probably be futile. As with so many things the Lab is doing these days, they appear to be disconnected with how people actually use and interact with Second Life. Yes I appreciate that this is the result of a lot of hard work. But sadly, I think it was work done in a vacuum and not really immersively in-world.

So if I can put this in a nutshell, there were two goals behind this viewer. One was to add features and functionality that residents have long demanded and that Linden Lab feels are necessary to maintaining the long term growth of SL. The other was to make it easier for people to start in Second Life and stay in Second Life.

I love features like virtual outfits, tattoo layer for alphas, html on a prim and things that add functionality to SL. What I find amazingly short-sighted are the design elements in the viewer that totally fly against the way ANYONE, new or old, uses software.

Let's see....what's on the menu bar of most browsers? File / Edit / View / History / Tools. Hmmm. And what does SL Viewer 2 have? Me / Communicate / World / Build / Help. Me?? Huh?

Second Life is supposed to be immersive. A way of taking your RL self into a virtual world. Instead, what you've given us is a window into a world that's covered with decals, magnets, sticky notes, doo-dads and general crap. How am I supposed to feel like I'm wearing a $4000 ballroom gown with diamonds and pearls when what I'm actually seeing looks more like the front of my refrigerator. How am I going to enjoy that gorgeous Windlight sunset with a sweetie? Slide the sidebar in, the whole screen jumps. Slide it back out, it jumps back. Ick.

Simple things that used to take 2 - 3 clicks now take 7 or 8. Media controls are awful. IMs and group chat are so painful to use that it almost seems by design. As in  "let's screw it up so no one will use it and we won't have to fix what's wrong on the server." I remember back when LL first changed the chat stuff to "Contacts" and Nicholaz (who made all those great viewers that fixed LL bugs) first response was an XML that changed it back and made them usable tear-offs.

Finally, when all is said and done, I can't believe this is really going to be easier for a newbie to learn or even more so, get them to stay. It feels so cluttered and scattered. Even Facebook with all its stupid plug-in games and toys never looks this nasty.

I'm not in the "hate it" category as so many are, but I'm sure squarely in the "don't like". I sincerely hope the Lab allows the Emerald folks to carry on what they're doing but still incorporate the Viewer 2 features because I'm sure they can do better.

February 23, 2010

Second Life Viewer 2 Beta - First Impressions

Like any software product these days, there's a lot to like about the new viewer and some annoying things to dislike. Here's a screen shot to get started (click on it for full size view):

Here are some of the new features:
  • Darker, more "gamer" oriented color theme. I'm agnostic on this. It looks cool but it's also harder to read.
  • Icons, icons everywhere! They've gone cookoo for icons. Even chat now defaults to having an avatar icon for everyone in your group. It's like Twitter on steroids! Personally, the avatar icons take up a lot of screen real estate and seem to make SL much slower to load. You can disable this somewhat in Preferences.
  • Chat reorganized. This is the one change I really don't like. Linden Lab keeps messing with how chat is presented and, IMHO, they keep making it harder and harder to actually use. Group chat has turned into an iconic mess. You can turn off the individual icons from showing up in the chat stream, which helps on real estate a little, but it's still very hard to read and looks visually cluttered. See screen cap to the left. It's a Facebook/Twitter treatment and not very suitable for realtime chat. Plus, when a group is minimized, it only shows an Icon for the group. Not very good if the group doesn't have a recognizable picture for the profile. This area is currently a FAIL for me.
  • Simpler and reorganized menus. You'll see Me, Communicate, World, Build and Help across the top menu bar now. The old hidden "Advanced" menu is still available but now broken into two parts - Advanced and Develop. That makes sense. I'm not sure about the other changes though.
  • Improved voice. This could be huge although I haven't had the chance to try it yet. There's an auto-on/off feature, auto levels plus echo cancellation to help deal with those peeps who insist on having their speakers and mic on at the same time.
  • Flyout menu tabs on the right. Generally, I like this although I don't like that the screen jumps right and left when you activate it. It also shoves your HUDs off screen. It now contains some of the things that were on menus before INCLUDING inventory, profile, places, people and a new clothing tab!
  • Virtual outfit folders. YES YES YES!!!! This is teh awesome!! I love it. I can create outfits that reuse NO COPY items to my heart's content! Whatever you're wearing can be turned into a complete outfit including hair, skin, clothes, attachments, etc. This may help trim the load on the asset servers a bit too.
  • New tattoo layer. Any new layers will be an improvement! Still no mesh upload and I'm not sure if alphas on avatars are available yet.
  • Favorites bar. A nice place for frequently used landmarks. Yay!
  • Media controls. Ugggh. They've moved this into a little button at the top right of the screen and made it completely unclear what it does. While the old ones weren't great, at least they made sense and allowed immediate fine tuning of all the sounds and junk around you.
The big question for Linden Lab is, will all these changes help improve the new user experience? Frankly I don't think it will have much effect. There aren't any big breakthroughs in UI design here. Some things are more complicated and obscure, some things are easier. What hasn't changed and what really needs to be addressed is the hand-holding needed (like mentors), griefing at Help Islands and the "what do I do next" issues. Until Teh Lab solves these bigger issues, no amount of eye candy in a viewer is going to help keep someone in Second Life a day longer than whether they are having fun or not.

February 22, 2010

Linden Lab to announce Viewer 2 beta tomorrow

I just received a notecard inworld from Pink Linden as follows:

Hello SL Merchants:

We wanted to give you an early heads-up on a big piece of news because we greatly value our relationship with you and this community. Tomorrow, at SL Pro! (http://www.nmc.org/2010-slpro) Tom Hale, our Chief Product Officer will announce the availability of the next generation of Second Life viewers—Viewer 2 Beta. It combines an easy browser-like experience with shared media capabilities--giving all Second Life Residents a new option to choose from among Viewer 1.23 and other approved third-party viewers. We are also going to announce Second Life Shared Media(tm), a standard capability in Viewer 2, that makes sharing standard Web-based media and content in Second Life easy, and enables content creators to place Web pages, video, Flash content, and other web media, on any surface in Second Life.

So, keep your eyes peeled to the Second Life Blog (http://blogs.secondlife.com) and once the news is out—go download the software and let us know what you think in the Viewer 2 Forums. And, if you Twitter, then use the #SLViewer2 hash tag.

Looking forward to a very exciting day tomorrow!

That's all!

UPDATE: Pink clarified that Viewer 2 would be available for download tomorrow. It's not just an announcement.

February 19, 2010

All Cybernetic Skins - $1L - WOW!!

Cybernetic has all their skins on sale for $1L. I don't know how long this will last but you owe it to yourself to check them out! The skins are lovely and just my style. Not too heavy on the makeup, nice tones, excellent shadow details. My only quibble (and a very minor personal one at that) is that they are a little too perfect. But oh my, how can you pass these up when they are only $1L each?? I bought samples of each of the tanned and darker skins. Most are available in 3 or 4 shades plus 16 makeup variations.

First off is Amy -- probably my favorite. Great shadows,  good body definition and overall perfect fit with my avatar shape and style. It's very similar to a skin I made myself based on Eloh Eliot's Pleiades (I did a fair amount of texturing to make my version more "blemishy" and freckly).

Next is Gina. Clearly going for the pouty lip look with this one. But not over the top into the Angelina "bee sting" look as many skin designers seem to do these days. I would wear this if I were feeling a bit vampish. :-)

And finally Jessy. A little darker on the makeup with lips that are right between Amy & Gina. This would make a great skin for a mysterious evening out and about with someone special in Second Life!

There are two other skin styles, both lovely in their own ways. Also Cybernetic has some really nice men's skins complete with 12 variations on the facial fuzz. From simple mustache and Apollo Ono soul patch to full beards and the 3-day old shave look.

So check these out. Here's your limo!


February 17, 2010

The Nany State in Second Life

Yes Nany is spelled "Nany". I'm referring to Nany Kayo, a self-described real, authentic, full-blooded, card-carrying, certified, US government enrolled, Native American Indian. Actually Nany Kayo is a Second Life avatar and the person (or persons) behind the keyboard may or may not be a real Indian but she talks an authentic, if racist and xenophobic, game.

So why bother with a blog post about her? Simple. Through her numerous posts in the official Second Life forums, Ms. Kayo frequently raises the ugly specters of thought control, political correctness gone wild, and censorship over yours and my Second Life experiences.

So why should we worry? (After all, most people consider her a troll.) Because she and others like her appear to be at least partially successful for convincing Linden Lab that moving adult content to Zindra was the right way to take care of an external image problem for Second Life. And, if Nany really had her way 100%, adult content would have likely been banned altogether.

People do this under the guise of making Second Life friendly for education, learning and business. In fact, what they often do is make it so miserable for people engaged in activities they don't approve of that many just "give up" trying to fight this creeping vision of the "nanny state". They also provide easy cover for Linden Lab to punt on some of the more difficult decisions about Second Life.

Back to Ms. Kayo. Here are just a few of her "interesting" views (in her own words):

On who is a "real" NA:
Native Americans do have a very clearly defined means of determining who is or is not Native American, and all of us who are agree on how to tell what is and is not appropriate use of Native imagery.
On how pure Nany herself is via mitochondrial DNA (does this sound like Aryan purity?):
I am tested and verified and looking 100% per mtDNA. That's how it works. this is one of the credentials we ask each other for, so I have it ready. sorry if it offends you. sort of sorry. really, I could give a shit, but you know.
On thought control:
My suggestion is for Linden Lab to get someone onboard who can serve as a laison and provide guidance as to what is and is not appropriate use of Native American imagery in SL.
On race and Second Life:
The problem that has arisen in SL is that the fakes are preventing the real Indians from using this platform. I dont know if that is also happening to Germans or Japanese. I have heard it is happening to Gypsies.
On what she thinks about your role play:
It's our religions. What these people are doing is desecrating our religions. Kind of like trashing your cemetaries, spitting on your flags, crapping on your alter. It may be freedom of expression from your point of view. Maybe nothing is sacred to you, or the concept of sacredness is incomprehensible to you.
Comparing Second Life to porn:
As a result, Native Americans are not using Second Life. Our leaders and teachers are refusing to have anything to do with this. They take one look and leave.
How Nany thinks Second Life should be really be used:
What matters to me is putting this tool to use for the benefit of American Indian people. I will use any and all means I can to accomplish that.
On using pixels to depict Native American themes:
It is against federal law in the United States to sell anything as Indian made unless it was made by a person who is legally enrolled in a federally recognized tribe.


Some of these roleplay operations are breaking the law.
If you're like me, you probably think this is fairly fringe stuff. But true to her word, Ms. Kayo has now promised to try to take down a RP sim, Tombstone. In her opinion as the arbiter of Native American views, it's a violation of Linden Lab's TOS. Yikes!!
It turns out Tombstone's exploitation of Apache culture is extremely offensive to Apache tribal members. We are going to file a formal grievance with Linden Lab concerning Tombstone's violation of SL's Terms of Service and enlist the help of the tribal governments involved. It looks like Tombstone will turn into the initial test case that will set the standards on this issue.

It apparently comes as a surprise to a lot of people that there is more to Second Life than roleplay, but it's true. There is also education and commerce going on here. This particular kind of roleplay has negative real world impacts on Native Americans use of this platform for education and commerce.
Further discussion on Tombstone's violation of the Terms of Service and Community Standards will be conducted through formal channels.
Each of us should take our own PERSONAL experiences from Second Life and not impose them on others. If it's patently illegal, then it doesn't belong in SL. But just because one person has a moralistic and xenophobic view of their world, it doesn't mean they should be able to apply it to mine. Even more chilling is the idea that someone actually THINKS they represent the views of the greater universe.

Linden Lab, I sincerely hope you will reject the attempts of the Nany Kayos of the world to hijack my world, my imagination for their narrow-minded views.

February 16, 2010

COPPA, hate speech and Avatars United

Oooh two more issues that are probably going to bog down Linden Lab following their purchase of Avatars United: COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act) compliance; and hate speech.

Just when you thought the security issues were enough to make Mark Kingdon start to regret his purchase of AU, a number of folks in the Twittersphere (Maggie Darwin for one) have been asking some rather pointed questions about some other apparently overlooked elements at AU.


First things first. Linden Lab bought AU. Linden Lab is located in the U.S. AU is located in Sweden. Is AU subject to COPPA regulations? Oh you bet it is!! Here's the language:
2) OPERATOR.—The term "operator"—
(A) means any person who operates a website located on the Internet or an online service and who collects or maintains personal information from or about the users of or visitors to such website or online service, or on whose behalf such information is collected or maintained, where such website or online service is operated for commercial purposes, including any person offering products or services for sale through that website or online service, involving commerce—
(i) among the several States or with 1 or more foreign nations;
(ii) in any territory of the United States or in the District of Columbia, or between any such territory and—
(I) another such territory; or
(II) any State or foreign nation; or
(iii) between the District of Columbia and any State, territory, or foreign nation; but
What does COPPA mean? Basically it sets standards for consent for use of the site AND for collection of data about the user that are different for children under the age of 13 vs. 13 and older. You can read the gory details here: http://www.coppa.org/comply.htm Bottom line is that NO website operator wants to have to abide by COPPA if they can avoid it. This means that MOST sites have an immediate "Must be 13 or older to sign up" registration process unless their content is absolutely squeeky clean G-rated.

Because Avatars United is open to "avatars" from a broad base of MMO games including Playstation Home, the presumption may be that AU is "targeted" to children under 13. Ooops. That kicks off COPPA right away regardless of the registration.

So is AU doing any of this? Nope. The registration asks your birthdate but since the date goes to 2005, theoretically I could be 5 years old and sign-up! See screen shot below:
Linden Lab, you got some 'splainin to do! Clearly there's a LOT of content on AU already that's adult oriented. From skin shops to sex groups, you'll find it all. And that's the point of COPPA. Kids shouldn't be able to. So I wonder how many avatars are going to be kicked out for being underage? Or will the Lab be forced to make AU a G-rated site? OK, on to the next topic. Hate speech.

Hate speech and Avatars United

Since AU is like the wild west right now, it doesn't surprise me in the least that haters and griefers would show up. Since anyone can create a group in AU for any reason, a few have caught the attention of the Twittersphere. One, called Gayhate, simply states: "We hate gays, geeks, and fat people who sit around all day." A couple of 14-year olds probably created it as a crude joke, but still, it poses a huge problem for Linden Lab. How are they going to police AU for this sort of garbage? There are already 2800 groups on AU and, assuming the site gains popularity, there will be thousands more.

Linden Lab can't even moderate its own forums and blogs! (Which are now public by the way and not firewalled behind the "must be 18 to participate" that used to be required for the old vBulletin forums.). I'm very concerned that the company is teetering on the edge of total anarchy.

Mark Kingdon, how are you sleeping these days? Did you guys think this one through?

More Avatars United security holes

WOW!! Just wow! As if the default security settings in Avatars United weren't bad enough (they expose your email address to untrusted applications), Isoz Bioworm has uncovered two new vulnerabilities that are far more serious. One is cross-site-scripting (XSS) exploit, which, as I've learned, is a way that a hacker can redirect your browser to a malicious site.

The demonstration is particular creepy -- it shows three exploits based on the same method. A script is inserted into the "Comment" field of an Avatars United blog post. When someone browsing the blog gets to the comment, it automatically displays in image, popup or even another website of the hackers choosing. It's just a simple matter of making the other site look like an official Linden Lab one, ask for your password to continue and poof, you've lost your account.

The second exploit shows how an arbitrary file can be uploaded to AU including .exe, .html, etc. This could be used to gain entry to AU servers themselves.

Until Linden Lab brings this crap under control, I will not be using Avatars United. So all you peeps who have friended me without response, you'll just have to wait a bit longer.

UPDATE 2/16/10: Linden Lab has responded to my JIRA and says that both vulnerabilities are being fixed. As to the email issue, Soft & Yoz Linden both say that OpenSocial is not capable of returning an email address itself back to a plugin app. However, a number of people have reported big increases in SPAM after signing up for AU so I still have questions for teh Lab on this.

February 15, 2010

Stop camming Second Life without consent!!

That's the rather strident title of a recent post in the official Second Life blogs by resident activist, Prokofy Neva. You see, dear Prok is all worked up over something I blogged about a few weeks ago. It's a gizmo called Peek360. Basically, it lets you put in a region name and some coordinates and voila, a "bot" takes a 360° rotating view of whatever's at that location.

Prok sees this as in invasion of privacy and quite possibly, the coming of the anti-Christ. True to form, her post stirred up a lot of dust. Comments ranged from total agreement to "it's a TOS violation" to some rather ridiculous comparisons to real world legal practice.

Let me start with my personal view. It's all a tempest in a teapot. Pixel camming is not real life photography. They aren't remotely the same. What I see on my screen is not real. It's a cartoon of reality. But let's get a few misconceptions out of the way too.

Real world photography

Several comparisons were made in the comments to the post about photography in real life. Other than my opinion that any comparisons are bogus, a few things need to be made clear. In the US, there is no simple "right to privacy" with respect to photography. As a photographer, I am free to pretty much take pictures of anyone, anytime, anywhere (with a few exceptions). If I can see you from a public space, or from a space I have the right to be on, I can take your picture.

The issue is what can I do with a picture of you once taken. In the US, I cannot use your image for commercial purposes without your permission IF it clearly identifies you and you are a primary subject of the photograph. If you are in a public crowd scene, you are fair game. If you are involved in something "newsworthy", such as a car accident or bank robbery, your image is again fair game (there are exceptions for minors). If I'm using it as art, it's fair game.

Kim Komando has a pretty good article about what's legal and what isn't for photography.

Virtual photography in Second Life

So how does this apply to Second Life?? Well even if we could apply real life law to SL situations, we're still faced with problems.

First of all, what's public and what's private? As it stands, unless you flag your parcel as limited access (ie. group or avatar list using banlines), then your parcel is public. That's the way privacy works in SL. There isn't any. And even if your parcel is private, as long as someone can stand on a public parcel within camera distance of your house or sexgen bed, they can see into it. Linden Lab's official viewer allows the camera function to fly literally anywhere -- underground, inside walls, even inside your avatar's head. And yes, right on top of you two on the purple sex bed doing Wild Thing menu selection #12. (STOP THAT NOW!!)

So the Lab has given us the tools to see just about anything, anytime. Want to stay out of view? Then either don't do it or get yourself a private island sim.

OK so what do the Lab's TOS say about all this? Well, as usual, not much. Here's the official verbiage:
Residents are entitled to a reasonable level of privacy with regard to their Second Lives. Screenshots or video taken without permission, in an area where Residents reasonably expect privacy, might violate Linden Lab's rules against disclosure; or, more generally, might constitute harassment.
The keywords are "might" and "reasonable expectation of privacy". I would argue that expecting privacy in a home on a public parcel is neither practical (given the tools the Lab has provided) nor particularly reasonable. However, assuming one believes they have been "photographed" unreasonably, one has to file an Abuse Report and the Lab has to determine that a violation has occurred. Hmmmmm. First you have to KNOW that you were photographed. Second, that photo has to be abusive or harassing. Third you have to file. And finally, the Lab has to agree with you.

That's a lot of work for preserving your cartoon's right to privacy. Can you imagine it?
"But JUDGE, JiggyCameraGuy360 Snowpaw was taking pictures of my human avatar, HugeBoobies Biggers, having sex with PurpleFurryGuy Heartsdale!! That's a violation of my personal privacy rights!"
Sigh. And then what are the legal damages?

So back to the Peek360 app itself. One can parcel ban the bot used (Paparazzi Artful) or disallow scripts. That keeps the bot itself away from your parcel and from being able to center the camera on your coordinates. It still won't stop the bot if lands next door and captures you on your deck all nakey on one of it's passes. But in reality, the chances of you being caught by this are about the same as getting caught the same way by Google Earth. Slim and none. In fact, in every single Peek360 view I've seen, avatars have been completely absent.

The real solution to privacy in Second Life

Technology to the rescue? The best solution I've seen is to allow the creation of so-called "privacy zones" or "privacy basements" on parcels that function independently of the region or parcel access settings. The are a number of ways to achieve this. Some have asked for privacy prims that function as virtual walls that you can't see into or out of with chat restricted to inside. Others have asked for spaces underground that duplicate the shape of the parcel and function in the same way -- no camming in or out, chat restricted and access restricted.

Here's one JIRA for the privacy zone concept.

Either way, having a solution like this would eliminate a LOT of SL issues. If Second Life had parcel privacy flagging for access and viewing then the entire Zindra adult continent move would have been completely unnecessary.

A final thought

While I fully understand that people's avatars become mental extensions of themselves, there's a point at which you have to draw the line between real life and virtual life. Whatever it is you see on your monitor in Second Life is NOT YOU. It is your imagination. And maybe that's why people get so touchy about it!

February 9, 2010

Death of the Second Life Forums

At about 12:05, Linden Lab pulled the plug on the official Second Life Forums marking the end of an era. I was proud to have been an active part of them and also proud to be a member of "The Forum Cartel", an inworld group of people who frequented the external forums. This is what you see now if you go to the forum URL.

It's sad that Linden Lab chose to replace a platform (vBulletin) that, while flawed, is vastly superior for many-to-many communications to the Jive Clearspace "blogrums" they are using now.

The last two days of posting have been marked by threads that have been fun, nostalgic, sad, whimsical, outrageous and thoughtful -- sometimes all at the same time. I'll miss you forums.

I made some freebie t-shirts to remember the occasion. You can snag them for free here.

/me sniffs and cries a little.

UPDATE: New flogrums are now up: Second Life Forums

The Tao of Linden

I thought it would be interesting to post what used to be the guiding philosophy of Linden Lab. How many think teh Lab still follows these tenets? I sure don't. Seems to me that "Walk in our Residents' shoes" has become "Walk all over our Residents".
The Tao of Linden
Vision and Mission
To connect us all to an online world that improves the human condition.

Company Principles
Work Together.
We are engaged in a wildly ambitious and complex endeavor. We need to take on risk and accept the occasional failure. But we dream, stumble and win only together. This requires a level of creative collaboration you won't find in many companies. You must not only respect but actively seek out differing views, and then find closure after dissent to move forward together. When you look back, do so to find ways to improve rather than to blame.

Walk in our Residents' shoes.
We are blessed by some of the most informed, passionate, committed customers imaginable. They are our reason for being, they are our world, and we call them Residents. They are an insuperable source of advantage and an awesome responsibility. In every choice you make, consider how your choice will impact their experience.

Good People Make Good Choices... and vice versa.
There's love in the spirit of our mission, the enjoyment we take in each others' company, the style and humor we have at our best. We're here because we're open to all the wonders of the world and the goodness in each other; even the cynics among us harbor the begrudging belief that all things are possible. This is a place where you can be you, and we ask you to make the choices that enable your colleagues to bring out the best in themselves.

Be thoughtful and transparent.
We build trust through transparent and open communication. Be prolific in your communication but thoughtful, and remember that context is key. Report on your progress regularly and in language that benefits the widest possible range of your colleagues. You are responsible for ensuring that your messages reach your intended audience - make sure your signal does not become noise.

No Politics.
Sharing our mission requires that you honor this rule at all times: Never act to advance your own interests or someone else's interests at the expense of the interests of the company.

February 6, 2010

Peek360: Remote Perv Cam or Virtual Real Estate Tool?

I'm not quite sure what to make of Avatrian's Peek360. You enter the coordinates of a location in Second Life, a brief description and your email address and, if things are working right, about 10 - 20 minutes later you get a link to a virtual 360° view around the coordinates. The results are embedded Flash clips that are pretty damn good. I'm not sure how they pull this off technically (hey I'm only semi-literate on this) or whether it can go into private access regions, but it was fun to play with. Here are two clips from inside my house in Second Life.

View from downstairs (yes it's underwater)

View from upstairs.

So what would you do with something like this? Spy on your neighbors remotely? Create virtual tours for selling real estate in Second Life? Make people dizzy sick from watching them?

February 5, 2010

Lindal Kidd's "An Open Letter to the Lindens"

With the imminent closing of the official Second Life Forums (in favor of Linden Lab's horrid "blogrums" aka Jive Software's Clearspace), literally hundreds of farewell messages are being posted. They range from the drama embued "I'm leaving SL" posts to "See you on the SL Universe forums" to the more normal soft, whimpering acceptance of grief and loss over what was truly a remarkable community. Count me in the latter group.

None of these posts though, can hold a candle to Lindal Kidd's parting shot, "An Open Letter to the Lindens". Lindal cross-posted it to both the Forums and to the blogs, although, as has all too often been the case of late, Lexie Linden locked the thread (and will probably delete it) before it's had a chance to really see the light of day.

I urge you to read it before it's too late. Lindal does a great job of summing up what's right and different about Second Life and all the crappy things Linden Lab seems hell bent on doing to kill it.

If you have access to the official Forums, you can read the post there and offer your own comments.

It's a sad time.

February 1, 2010

SPAM via Avatars United?? Security black hole?

Since joining Avatars United, I have started to get more spam on my (non-public) email account which I use for Second Life. Going back through the privacy settings at AU, under Manage Applications, I found that the defaults for uninstalled applications had "Allow non-installed applications to access my friends list" checked AND "Allow non-installed applications to send me e-mails, notifications and Inbox messages."

Holy crap!! That looks like an open door for anyone who wants to write an app to grab my email address and start sending me spammy stuff. I've unchecked those settings (see the yellow highlights in the piccy above) but this is really disturbing to me.

Anyone else seeing this?

UPDATE: Here's another point of possible unwanted intrusion. It's in each of your installed applications settings. Shoutbox is shown here. It's "Do not prompt me if this application requests permission to access my data". Yeesh. It's checked by default too.