show #5: mr. altberg goes to linden lab

show #5
show #5

big week in virtual worlds: a new fearless leader has emerged at linden lab, he is of swedish roots & as a natural consequence has an awesome name: ebbe altberg.

so: on the show today we speculate about digital leadership and hear from a retired linden with historical perspective.

we have a feature interview with a successful sl entrepreneur who started as a 13-year-old on the teen grid.

and we are talking with pioneer educator barry joseph about what sl did right with young folks and what minecraft et al are doing [possibly a lot] better today.

enjoy [and remember – you can also listen to us on stitcher]:

links pertaining to the discussion below:

– new ll ceo ebbe altberg announced

two draxes try to read the forums [2nd opinion = important!]
two draxes try to read the forums [2nd opinion = important!]
[and he is on twitter + forums already]

ebbe on forums about apples/oranges
ebbe on forums about apples/oranges

– frank zappa on why old guys with cigars are better than hippies for innovative product


– feedback, advice and welcome wishes for ebbe from strawberry singh, vic mornington and robin harper

bad journalism or just sloppy blogging? you be the judge!

project spark

project spark requires giant tablet
project spark requires giant tablet

sony enters headset game

mona on land bots

– background on teen sl and some flickr pics from the teen grid/global kids

teen second life homepage ca 2006
teen second life homepage ca 2006

– mike mikula in the wsj, some of his work on flickr, in-world at jnyc & skoolaborate

– background on copybot

global kids, their video “a child’s war” and drax reportage on their virtual video project

american museum of natural history upcoming project in sl: adventures in science

– jo loves the love to decorate coffee tabale magazine

love to decorate [and own!]
love to decorate [and own!]

the drax files radio hour [with jo yardley] is a weekly production of basicdrax entertainment.

the show is supported by ciaran laval, inara pey, canary beck, daniel voyager, arton rotaru, masami kuramoto, mona eberhardt, bear silvershade, jaimy hancroft and maddy gynoid.

special thanks to barry joseph for providing the station ID this week.

music by terrylyn melody

contact the show via skype draxfiles, avatar draxfiles or email

43 Comments Add yours

  1. Yay, great show Drax. Thanks for adding my name and blog link to this page.

    I’ve now added The Drax Files monthly series and The Drax Files Radio Hour to my SL Blogroll because it’s world class.

    Keep the shows coming because I’m a big fan. 🙂

  2. Great show! Thank you for including my welcome message to the CEO even though I did a horrible job of speaking up, lol. Big welcome to Mr. Altberg, definitely looking forward to all the positive changes he brings.

    1. draxfiles says:

      Berry thank you for calling in and hopefully encouraging others! You have a beautiful voice & your points are well made. Don’t beat yourself up just because Skype answering machine sucks hihihihi….

  3. Inara Pey says:

    Excellent show – and superb comments from Barry Joseph – there’s a show in that in it’s own right ;-). Good coverage of Mr. Altberg’s appointment.

    Also, don’t write-off education in Second Life entirely. Here in the UK (and in Europe) SL is very much at the centre of thinking on how to leverage virtual environments in higher education. At the risk of plugging myself, see: this announcement and also take a look at the Euroveristy Network Project, which is focused on Second Life.

    1. draxfiles says:

      Hi Inara, we have not at all written off education – as a matter of fact one of the big points we [and Barry!] were trying to make is that education may be the “killer app” of virtual worlds – if the interface works AND if the price point makes sense!

  4. Another great show. Perhaps Governor Linden needs to be a management position at the lab. Would take a special kind of person to be a regular in-world Linden.

    1. draxfiles says:

      It sure takes a special personality to withstand some of the [possibly legitimate] discontent among residents….

  5. Great show. Regarding the image Second Life “enjoys” with the Press, there are some issues that need to be pointed out. First of all, it was overhyped to death, and here the blame lies not only with the Press, but also with the Lab. Second, much of what Second Life was hyped to be is simply not what its users made of it. It did not become “the 3D web” (for various reasons, more or less obvious – and some of them are way beyond LL’s control), but it became a medium of personal expression for a considerable number of people. Third, have we considered whether its association with griefing, cyberstalking and other unsavoury activities has a bit to do with the community’s tolerance and even favourable stance towards such acts, attitudes and behaviours?

  6. Pauline Clary says:

    Another wonderful show. Many thanks again!

    1. draxfiles says:

      Pauline please consider supporting the show [contact avatar draxfiles in-world how!] & spread the word. Many thxxxxx

  7. “hippie-adjacent” Love that.

    1. “Oh my hair is getting good in the back!” Zappa = Who needs the Peace Corps =

  8. Ciaran Laval says:

    On the Mitch Wagner Information Week article, I’m afraid guys maybe some research of your own may have helped too..

    Mitch was running podcasts in Second Life for a show called Copper Robot, which also had an inworld studio where they interviewed people. He was a Second Life enthusiast but seemed to become somewhat jaded. However he has a lot of experience of Second Life.

    Maybe you should invite him to talk to the show, he really is someone who once had a lot of time for Second Life, he didn’t just pop in every few months.

    1. draxfiles says:

      We are very aware of Mr. Wagner’s prior history in SL 🙂 Let’s just leave it at that!

    2. Ahhh I remember when the Copper Robot summoned me & we discussed the nature of public broadcasting in his beautiful skybox…good times good times! One does wonder though how someone with intimate knowledge of the space and the luxury of having the megaphone of the Google news feed would choose to perpetuate such a narrow view on the complexity of the issue of virtual world adoption or lack thereof. By “choose” I am implying the lack of editorial oversight, which is another issue but overall quite telling about the state of “journalism” in the United States [and elsewhere]. Thankfully this is only about pixels, RIGHT? “)

    3. Jo Yardley says:

      We do lots of research, that is how we found he article in the first place.
      I think it was clear that I agreed with some of his ideas of SL appearing forgotten by the outsiders but I took issue with him describing our avatars as cartoons, they look pretty awesome and have been for a while.

      1. You guys do research??? You mean like subscribing to a Google News search for “Second Life” ?

  9. Thank you so much for the mention! Really appreciate it 🙂

    1. draxfiles says:

      I hope we can interview you at some point!

  10. Jerry says:

    Thank you! I found it very intersting and informative.

  11. Masami Kuramoto says:

    Second Life proved bewitching for many people. I was one of them. But most people sneered. It’s still around, and it got a lot right, but it’s mostly forgotten.

    This is not “bad journalism” but a perfectly accurate summary of Second Life’s status quo. Seriously, you people need to take the blinders off and look around. Second Life was interesting to the media as long as Linden Lab was (or claimed to be) committed to building the 3D web. The moment when Linden Lab broke their promises and nailed Second Life’s doors shut was the moment when SL stopped being interesting to the rest of the tech or geek world.

    Early adopters can put up with a lot of bad things — a complex interface, bad graphics, lag, an overpriced product — as long as these appear to be mere temporary obstacles on a path to something bigger and better. When I joined SL in 2007 along with probably a million others, Second Life was fascinating not for what it was at the time but for what it was aiming to become: a distributed 3D web, not controlled by any single entity (or CEO).

    They actually came very close to that goal one year later:

    And then Linden Lab dropped the ball.

    Second Life’s growth plateaued shortly after and then entered its phase of decline which persists to the present day. There are still new sign-ups of course, but hardly any new investments. Ironically, the same vendor lock-in that keeps some people glued to SL makes it unattractive for others to get involved with. The wall that Linden Lab has erected to keep you guys inside keeps the rest of us outside.

    The reason why Linden Lab stopped communicating is because there is hardly anything worth talking about. The only people still pursuing Philip Rosedale’s original vision of a 3D web are the developers of OpenSim — and Philip himself, if you are inclined to believe what he says.

    There is an OpenSim feature called Hypergrid which enables avatars to teleport from one world to another while retaining their appearance and inventory access. It also enables friendships and message transmission between avatars in different worlds. Landmarks work across grid boundaries. Even if you don’t join a grid but only run a copy of the OpenSim software on your home PC, your place can be part of that Hypergrid if you want. You can visit other places, and people from those places can visit you. Each place on the Hypergrid has a unique URL. You enter it into the viewer’s world map search field, and the place pops up a moment later.

    The Hypergrid is the 3D web. It’s a federation of virtual worlds.

    However, every time I listen to your podcast, I hear the same question in the background, over and over:

    “Second Life has so much potential, why isn’t it getting any attention from the mainstream media?”

    I’d like to offer an answer by asking another question:

    Why is the 3D web not getting any attention from the SL mainstream (e.g. you)?

    1. Jo Yardley says:

      I love the idea of VR worlds being all connected, but they are not.
      At least not the one that matters the most to me.
      I am not part of the 3D web and have not read any kind of news about it in a long time.
      But who knows, maybe it is something you should suggest to our new CEO, why not call us on Skype and leave a message about this subject, maybe we can use it and then talk about the subject.

      1. Masami Kuramoto says:

        I’m not a Linden Lab customer any more, so I’m hardly in a position to suggest anything to their CEO. I just wanted to respond to your complaint about “bad journalism” regarding Second Life because I think it is not justified. It’s Linden Lab’s sudden roadmap change, from 3D web to 3D AOL, that ended the gold rush period of 2006-2008. Everything that followed is a consequence of that.

        Ironically, the biggest threat to the success of Philip’s new virtual world venture is the continuation of his previous virtual world venture. It will be very hard to make people move from SL to High Fidelity since they cannot take their inventories with them.

        If I was still in SL today, I’d be somewhat concerned about the news that Linden Lab is a stakeholder in High Fidelity. I don’t think it’s possible to successfully run SL and High Fidelity side by side because they will cannibalize each other. Linden Lab will likely be forced to drop one of them in favor of the other. Which one will survive? Your guess is as good as mine.

        The one thing that sets the Hypergrid apart from all the other platforms is that no one can shut it down. Each part of the software is open source and therefore impossible to eliminate. The 3D web will outlast each of the AOL-style virtual worlds.

    2. draxfiles says:

      Masami thx for the comment. Maria Korolov is being booked for the show as we type this. My comment on the show about the Silicon Valley press core was primarily about them being complicit because they perpetuate the perception of virtual world efforts [not only SL] being a failure after they were very comfortable hyping the concept to no end and creating very warped expectations!

  12. Kyouko says:

    @ Masami:
    If Hypergrid is so phenomenal, why are there still no podcast shows from other people that introduces us to the interesting life in OpenSim grids?

    @ Drax and Jo:
    Thanks for another very interesting show!

    1. Masami Kuramoto says:

      If Hypergrid is so phenomenal, why are there still no podcast shows from other people that introduces us to the interesting life in OpenSim grids?

      There is one (here), and it’s actually older than this show. But that’s not the point.

      The point is that you guys seem surprised about SL being ignored/misrepresented/patronized by the mainstream, although you exhibit exactly the same behavior towards another platform that is trying to implement an improved version of SL. The idea that SL may be unattractive not because of minor technical flaws but because of being overpriced and locked down doesn’t seem to cross your mind at all.

      The mainstream media could justify reporting about Linden Lab’s product as long as it seemed to spearhead the transition to a 3D web. If you look up old interviews with Philip Rosedale from around 2007 (e.g. here), you’ll see that this was one of the topics that were discussed every time. With that justification being gone, any further reporting would look like blatant advertising of an overpriced, locked down product with no future. So the media stopped reporting. That is no one’s fault but Linden Lab’s own. There is no conspiracy here.

      1. Kyouko says:

        This is no podcast about OpenSim. If I look to the headlines I read the following topics: Ebbe Altberg, Rod Humble, Cloud Party, Korolov’s letter to Linden Lab, High Fidelity, etc.

        Again: Why are there still no podcast shows that introduces us to the interesting life in OpenSim grids?

        In my point of view, there is not enough stuff to talk about.

      2. Jo Yardley says:

        Well I can only talk about things I know about and I’ve never tried OpenSim and rarely hear anyone talk about it or read something exciting about it.
        Maybe I should give it a go.
        But we did talk about Cloud party and Project Spark, so it is not all just about SL.

  13. Yordie says:

    Another excellent program. I’ve become a regular of the Radio Hour. 🙂

  14. Becky says:

    I just loved to hear about Mike Mikula and his success story from the Teen Grid and transitioning to the Main Grid. Barry Joseph too, added a very interesting perspective about what was happening on the teen grid and how it related to the education community in Second Life! This is a subject I was not at all familiar with, so I’m glad to have learned more about it here.

    His comment about Minecraft and its differences to Second lLfe in regards to motivation was also very intriguing: “do whatever you want to do and find meaning in it” is certainly a heavy burden. It takes an enormous amount of intrinsic motivation to operate within that dynamic. The intrinsic desire the propels creativity can be exceedingly rare, especially given the hand-holding coddling that the institutional education. Hey, maybe SL should market itself as a “School of Creativity” – there certainly are a lot of role models – Mike Mikula included – that testify for the platform’s ability to create a space for inspiration.

    1. draxfiles says:

      We must not give up the dream of a world full of intrinsically motivated human beings despite as you rightly stated an increasing scarcity….sigh….

    2. did a machinima PSA of sorts once against a local ballot measure [which unfortunately passed] spending MILLIONS of US$ to buy more automation and testing software for the school district. At the same time they look at me with them rolling eyes when I talk about virtual world creativity…. HELP BECKY – you the marketing expert 🙂

  15. I do blog about OpenSim grids on a regular basis which may be of some interest to the show >

    I would like to see a section in the show on a weekly basis on opensim if thats possible with stuff going on in Second Life too. 🙂

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