Philip Linden Griefs SUN News Conference

by Pixeleen Mistral on 11/10/06 at 5:09 pm

LL might overlook abuse report on first-time offender

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk

grey goo jumpsuit – new pants for Philip Linden?

Tuesday, Philip Linden was abuse reported at a snooze-fest much hyped SUN press conference when the would-be goon was caught griefing a video of SUN’s Chief Gaming Officer, Chris Melissinos. Showing that the devil makes work for bored avatars, or perhaps looking to demonstrate his building skills, Linden Lab CEO Philip Linden created a large pair of plywood spectacles and strategically placed them on a talking head in the SUN promo video. Unfortunately, the video ended before there was time for devil horns or other prim decorations to be added. Approximately 50 members of the Second Life press corps and two Linden staffers witnessed the event but were helpless to stop the grey goo covered Linden CEO as he turned to the dark side – event griefing. We all have to work together to fight the griefers, so I was careful to save a chat log from the incident:

[10:40] You: is Philip griefing the video?
[10:40] SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: doug engelbart baby
[10:41] cuco Corleone: Bill Corleone. Consultant. Is the scripting language now going to be Javascript? What if we want to user other than Java?
[10:41] You: he is…
[10:41] Counting Numbers: whatcha up to, Phil?
[10:41] dustin Linden: Philip’s making him some glasses!
[10:41] Counting Numbers: now I get it!!!
[10:41] You: Philip is going to get abuse reported
[10:41] chalmerswayne Kondo: Please, turn it off!
[10:41] Philip Linden: Yeah I’m going to get reported.
[10:42] Philip Linden: It was too tempting.
[10:42] Jean Linden: LOL

That Philip’s griefing was the absolute highlight of the press conference suggests metaverse PR events have not quite reached the excitement levels of most powerpoint presentations. When I arrived at the just-opened Sun Pavillion sim, there was an certain air of anticipation. Would the grey goo fence hold? Would a phalanx of Furries and Gorean role players form a danceline on stage before John Gage made his entrance? To the great relief of the Lindens, the self replicating object fences held, and there were no impromptu singing and dancing avatars – instead, the sim was filled to capacity with perhaps 50 members of the SL press.

As the event started, there were signs of a recent cataclysmic struggle – Philip appeared to be have been dipped in a vat of goo. Christano Midnight observed, “there is a certain irony in that”. In hopes of getting better pictures, everyone implored Philip to rebake his avatar’s textures, and eventually his clothes did appear. Philip was not the only one who had issues with SL fashions. A number of avatars at the press conference were making popular fashion statements – a risque outfit called “default skin with no clothes” and another known as “missing texture”. Will these looks still be in style when Governor Mark Warner visits our world again?

the SL press: missing textures and clothes

Which brings us to John Gage and Chris Mellisimos of SUN. Rather than text chat, we were treated to their RL voices in an audio stream – at great length – before any questions were entertained. In time, the dulcet vocal tones of Mr. Gage and Mr. Melissinos became slightly cloying, and even King Philip Linden’s attention wandered – a possible cause of the griefing incident.

Linden Lab shares the limelight with SUN

The difficulties in mastering our virtual world technology were clear when we experienced an accidental multi-media metaverse mashup. After talking about how cool it is to have streaming video, Mr. Melissinos accidentally began speaking over the top of the canned video – which also had him speaking. This went on for quite some time – probably because Mr. Melissinos could not really hear what was happening. The resulting audio word salad was amusing, but not particularly informative. A bit later, someone may have neglected his avatar a bit:

[10:52] Tbone Moxing: John’s talking in his sleep!
[10:53] Intolerable Ginsburg: john, wake up!

Perhaps these challenges are why so many SL press conferences seem to be about, well, “holding a press conference in SL”. Other than that, SUN’s message seemed to be that SUN has a big grid of computers for hosting games written in Java. But SL is not written in Java, and there was a slight dissonance when Philip Linden mentioned that he had a pretty big grid of 3500 linux machines. We were spared further comparison of Philip and John’s grid size, and the SUN people reminded everyone that they have many fine SUN commercials that we can watch 24 hours a day in the SUN Pavilion sim.

After the press conference, I asked Chris Melissinos if we should be worried about bad uses of collaborative world technologies like the guys who have been working together to crash the Second Life grid lately. Mr. Melissino told me, “Well, we need better safeguards”, and continued, “these are things that Sun knows about handling”. I suggested that perhaps the Lindens can use some help, and maybe SUN ought to work with them, and Chris said, “well, we agree :) ”.

Could this be the beginning of a business relationship? SUN appears want to help the Lindens, and the Lindens can certainly give the SUN people some pointers. After the press conference, I met two rank-and-file SUN engineers needing help with their avatars. I decided against send them to Glorious Ar to recruit a danceline for the next press conference since the Gorean position on engineers with missing texture skins remains unclear.

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