SL Herald on a Prim

by Pixeleen Mistral on 18/10/06 at 10:31 am

Pr0n on a prim coming soon?

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk

Suitable for wrapping fish – the Herald on a prim

Jeffronius Batra told me he planned to start selling HTML-on-a-prim once he “figures out the mechanics of selling things in SL” when I called him from Joe’s Bar in Athabasca. Athabasca is a gritty mainland sim with furniture stores and rotating prims offering loans from a “bank” that charges 6% interest – per week. Two doors down from Joe’s Bar is where Mr Batra – an developer – has an HTML and text-on-a-prim demonstration, and a metaverse classroom for Amazon’s S3 web offerings. I felt instantly at home. Athabasca is a classic working-class SL neighborhood with an urban dynamic unlike the distant island sims where glossy corporate PR campaigns launch and then soon fade from memory. Is it surprising that this is where some of the more interesting work in SL is being done?

Joe’s Bar

I learned of Mr. Batra’s HTML-on-a-prim from an aspiring builder named Joshua Culdesac who has offices next to Mr. Batra’s land. Joshua had suggested we go to Joe’s Bar for a drink, and told me about his neighbor. Although the HTML-on-a-prim work seems to be a hobby, there may be hints at where Amazon is headed by looking at what Mr. Batra is up to. Unfortunately, Mr. Batra cannot talk about Amazon’s SL ambitions without a corporate PR handler present – so we stuck to his personal pursuits, which are certainly interesting for those involved in publishing in Second Life.

The Herald staff have been dreaming of in-world kiosks that would automatically update from the Herald web site’s RSS newsfeed so we could publish once and reach both the web and in-world. I asked Mr. Batra about this, and he told be to join a group named “Text On a Prim / Web On a Prim” to get updates on his progress. Mr. Batra is also involved with – an RSS newsfeed directory, so this all sounds promising. Apparently, the Lindens are interested – Mr. Batra told me, “I was at LL last week and even they thought it was cool.”. The Herald will refrain from commenting on the Linden Lab’s broken slightly delayed HTML-on-a-prim promises.

Please read the manual completely

From what I gather, Mr. Batra’s prims depend on an external server to turn the web page into a texture which is then uploaded to SL and placed on the sim. This would explain the delay between telling the prim which site you want and seeing the result – it was generally taking around 10 seconds to get a page on a prim. Still, getting a slightly fuzzy view of a page might be enough if there was a “one click” way to start a normal web browser . Fuzzy is probably good enough for Herald headlines. This external server could also be a place to track use patterns — this sort of thing could be a marketing gold mine and a possible reason for Linden Lab’s long standing silence about 3rd party data tracking/mining.

At this point you cannot really interact with the page on a prim, and must fetch pages by typing things like “/3” into chat. This all may seem slightly awkward, but we might assume Amazon has some mild interest in improving this technology. If not Amazon, perhaps the porn industry will find a way – didn’t they pioneer one-handed web surfing? Fleshbot on a prim, anyone?

if not Amazon, then who?

3 Responses to “SL Herald on a Prim”

  1. Howie

    Oct 18th, 2006

    So this means every single page/text refresh will cost L10? ouch… And i’d be worried about the asset database getting spammed with textures if this thing takes off.

  2. Tomas Hausdorff

    Oct 18th, 2006

    I thought about this exact same approach a bit over two months ago. There are PHP libraries for performing image conversion, and I’ve heard of (but never dug into) similar libraries for capturing rendered HTML into an image.

    As Howie says, the implications regarding uploading and rendering the image are another matter. I’m not sure how exactly that would work: for myself, when I heard LL was in progress developing HTML on a prim, it didn’t seem like a worthy investment of my time to pursue further. But its been months, and no updates from LL, so…Jeffronius’ work in that regard would be interesting to hear about.

  3. Jeffronius Batra

    Oct 18th, 2006

    Hi, thanks for the great article! To answer Howie’s question, there is no uploading or incremental cost per page refresh since this is all done through the media control. This doesn’t put any additional load on the asset database as far as I know. All of the rendering takes place on my server ( — there’s an empty page there at the moment).

Leave a Reply