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Town Hall 7/7/06

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Forum Link: Announcement Post
Forum Link: Transcript Post Media Page (contains mp3 of this town hall) Direct mp3 link
iTunes Podcast link

Town Hall with Philip Linden

[Note: Audio Town Hall, hosted by Johnny Ming and using Skype. Transcript typed in real time by Zero Linden. Spell checked and otherwise corrected by Oz Spade.]

Jeska Linden: Welcome to the Closed Captioning Channel!
yankee Faulkner: hi hun
Victoria Jacques: ty:)
Mystique Batra: Ty:)
Zero Linden: I'm warming my fingers up....
Victoria Jacques: lol
Jeska Linden: The fabulous Zero Linden will be providing closed captioning for us today :)
Victoria Jacques: ty Zero:)
Nat Primbee: He Type faster than Robin? :-)
Victoria Jacques: Zero :) sorry
Jeska Linden: :)
Feles Coffey: hello
Zero Linden: welcome
Zero Linden: John Swords == JS
Zero Linden: Philip Rosedale = PR [Philip Linden]
Zero Linden: JS: Welcome to the town hall meeting for today
Zero Linden: oops
Zero Linden: Johnny Ming = JM
Zero Linden: JM said that!
Zero Linden: Johnny Ming
Zero Linden: we are experiencing some silence here...
Zero Linden: PR: Can everyone hear us now?
Zero Linden: PR: if you want audio, start and restart
Zero Linden: the audio stream that is

PR: We are going to try to talk about as much as we can. We obviously went to open registration and there had been lots of follow up work... last week we added information about the CC information in the profiles that seems like the right thing to do.
PR: We believe very world wide and internet wide, and CC information seems sensibly like something that you as a land owner control, like over who gets in after registration, we have been working to fix the features in the platform with respect to that last week we have the ability to see who has given payment in the profile next week we're doing more follow on info 1) is the ability to set on a parcel if you want people who have CC info on your land or not 2) there is this scripting push ability that is a often used as a griefing tool we are adding features to manage that, first is the ability for you as a land owner to set if pushing work on anyone on your land, secondly this makes other kinds of experiences like fighting is more even if you turn off the ability to push at a distance that will be in the Wednesday release the other is that we inadvertently removed the ability to see who pushed you we'll be putting that back in so you can see the history of who pushed you and put that in an abuse report there are also lots of bugs being fixed we also added the ability when you ban someone from your land, it now bans up to 700 m. Other bans are still at 50m like land passes, etc... looking forward to capabilities and features there are two previews now hopefully we'll get most of 1.11 into next Wednesday’s release there are a lot of amazing things in it a lot of it is that we finally got a large pass on the UI one is that most of the UI is now XML, which will allow anyone to convert SL to local languages we are also moving forward on that too there are a whole bunch of UI issues there are a bunch of fun new capabilities like significant improvements to snapshots you can now move your camera around while you're snapshoting with everything frozen like "Bullet Time" from the matrix also you can set your resolution up to high values there are other fun things in there, like a new eyedropper tool to pick up colors and textures, tear off menus, but most importantly it sets the stage for us to fix UI bugs and get SL working in as many different languages as we can. The other preview that is up is 1.12 and that preview is mostly a substantial over-haul of the groups capabilities, more powerful commerce abilities, abilities to delegate responsibilities, these will be very exciting these are in preview now so you can try them today get in there and check it out now back to Johnny.

JM: The first question is from Michi Lumin: "The parcel ban limit needs to be increased from 50".

PR: Yes, we're working on that right now it is a little hard to do due to a packet size, but someone is working on it right now.

JM: Prokofy asks "what do you think about the deluge of private islands will have, and do you have plans to close the mainland?"

PR: Last I checked the majority of regions were not islands the new capabilities in groups should set the balance more right on the main land offering more estate like abilities to main land. You are starting to see island clustering I think our main land is important in that you can do anything in it the clustered islands, those people are going to be conducting their own social systems their own social experiments I think you're going to see everything in-between on these clustered islands I think a year from now you'll see what looks like many mainlands with respect to the land market, I can't predict it seems important to allow the resale land in as granular way as possible there are already many estate owners effectively selling land through rentals so I don't know if that change will have an effect I wouldn't hazard a guess.

JM: from (Name?>) "Are there any plans to support other animation formats?"

PR: I'm not sure there is any work on that. What's important is to open up the client enough to allow others to do plugins to other formats since there are many formats, the best way for us is to open the API up and allow people to do plug ins though if you want to start a discussion or a vote on that, we'd be happy to look at it, BVH seems like the predominate format.

JM: Lola Marquez: Question: Any plans to allow estate owners the option of letting renters pay rent automatically deducting USD or L$ from the renters account, then informing the renter automatically when it is time for renewal allowing them to continue

PR: I think the plan is to allow the estate owner to sell land to an individual with the ability to get the land back if there is a payment problem. I don’t think it is a good use of our time to put automated payment systems in place, we are just going put land sales out and see how it goes.

JM: Dirty McLean: Are there any plans to add more keys that we can script controls for?

PR: I'm not sure anybody is working on that, we have not more broadly opened up the keyboard access but there is lots of interest, but no, not right now.

Millie Thompson: Will there be new features in the avatar appearance editor? I'd like to see a slider to apply a spandex morph for the female avatar's upper body.

PR: A spandex morph, I'm not sure I understand, that might be good to send me an e-mail on this there are so many ways to go with the AV editor somedays we don't even know where to start there are so many things we could do on that. I'd say on that, send me an e-mail probably we're a little behind on updates on the AV right now, but we have a group here on pushing new ideas on the AV there are only 2 or 3 of the 17 or so devs here with expertise on that.

Michelle Margetts: Will we ever get layered tattoo/skin options?

PR: I was just asked that the other day. We have definitely have that on the list but I don't know when. The way the system works, there is really only one layer, we just mix 'em. We will have the ability to mix multiple layers, we just need a good UI. The architecture supports it, but we have to work on coming up with a UI and things like changing clothes with scripting calls....

si Money: With the addition of the unauthenticated accounts, is there anything going to be done about IM control/privacy? I hate to block IMs from the public, but lately I get spammed by no payment info accounts constantly asking me to give them L$

Viceroy Tardis: I am curious if we will ever see the sim limit of 40 people to a sim be increased anytime in the future? Also I am curious if there will ever be a way to view the number of people who have been referred by you in your account settings?

PR: I'm not aware of any work on letting you set such a preference, but I'm writing that down and I'll pass it along. I don't feel like it is something we've discussed yet in the follow up to the open reg. We should see how many people are having those issues obviously there are TOS issues if someone is doing it a lot - and so definitely follow an abuse report if one person is doing it a lot.

PR: We have a fairly good ability to identify the account by different things we can look at that are commonly used by ISPs we can aggressively ban in these cases, even though it isn't perfect, we can be 99% effective compared to spam - imagine if spam e-mail had ability to track who - we can do that it is against the TOS to do that kind of IM.

Johnny Clarke: Question: Do you think the map will be filled with land one day, with no more free spaces? So I would be possible to walk to the whole world by foot?

PR: Huh! I'd love to see that happen, we'd love to be free to let people put sims anywhere I'd love to be able to swim or walk or fly anywhere I think we'll do a better job about letting the software carry you over regions that don't have sims.
PR: I think that is the direction we'll ultimately go in of course, if you're talking about a sailboat, we 'd have to do simulation in those void areas but in the long run, pretty likely yes from a strategic perspective it is what makes SL so cool: that you can kind of see everywhere and get every where.

Canimal Zephyr and Surreal Farber asked about Texture theft. Texture theft is becoming an increasing problem. How will you address the GL Intercept problem specifically and theft in general? Similarly, Lola Marquez asked about a girl in Teen Grid who was found stealing/copying designs a month ago, now she was caught stealing another major designer’s work and reselling it and asking why she wasn't banned when it first happened.

PR: I got some e-mail on that earlier today. I'm concerned about that as well, first I want to make sure we are rapidly following up on all DMCA claims. I don't have an answer on that as it was only a few hours ago because SL things have the owner’s names on them, we can respond to DMCA quickly, it is definitely important that there be a respect for Copyright. Having said that GL Intercept, there is no solution to keeping people from making copies of things they can see and from a legal perspective it isn't clear on what you can restrict on this sort of use, the file sharing debates show how rich and deep this topic is technically, there isn't a way to stop the copying of something you are experiencing on your PC. We aren't going to spend time trying to create inadequate solutions, since we don’t' think it is a good use of our time we need to create systems for easily handling cases where is it clear infringement, longer term, people are going to have to build their own systems for regulation, and policing around reuse of content I think that are going to start seeing it and it is good in the evolution of SL as a whole. We will continue to create many tools to handle it rather than there being a single standard for all situations.

JM: Our first Skype caller: (waiting for audio) Foxdie Ghia: I've got a question about link sets and physics at one point it was possible to create joints is there a plan to bring them back?

PR: There is, I built the wind chimes using joints, they are so cool I love 'em. We did an analysis of all the sim states and found that I, Philip Linden, had made over 95% of all the content using joints. The problem was that the UI was hard, and there were a lot of crash reports using joints and so we felt for stability we should take it out for now. And when we get to Havok 2, which will happen eventually, but it’s not as important as other stuff right now but, once we get to a new version of havok, we'll be able to get joints back and maybe motors... I really think that physics is really compelling, but only if it is buildable and stable.

FG: How about plans for multiple link sets?

PR: There is an issue of hierarchy among objects, which we aren't working right now, but that would be cool as people are now doing it in SL through complicated scripts.

Arrekusu Muromachi: Question: Is it true that the group limit will be raised in the next version?

PR: I believe it is 25 we are raising too? It is a technical problem with scaling... To 25, I see in IM.

Mario Fonzarelli (via skype): Any implementing of voice in SL? And any protection for designers about copyright ?

PR: I addressed designers and copyright earlier: with dealing with DMCA and adding tools like we are with open registration.
PR: The issue on voice is that we are playing around with this, like others are. I don't have any specific this is what we're going to do when we are trying the systems and playing with it in world it is very powerful for certain kinds of communication, on the other hand, I can't just "be" Philip Linden and keep anonymous as I can when I type. We'd like to see voice filtering and masking, but the technology isn't very advanced yet and it’s just sort of infuriating. If there is technology that can change your voice, age, gender, and you can't tell -- I'd love to see it.

MF: Would there be any way to turn it off if you wanted?

PR: Sure

Unverified Quackenbush: Phillip. What is your take on Golf in SL, following your round at Holly Kai?

PR: I think Unverified was my caddy for the first couple holes. I went to the opening last weekend I was actually in the passenger seat of a car over EVDO driving 10 mi in real life while cutting the ribbon on the golf course in the SL. We are working so hard make a platform that has the kind of interactivity people expect from games, I'm so happy to see this kind of progress. The golf game is a great example, what it opens up is a great experience in SL you can play with 8 of your friends all dressed up and making fun! I imagine you could play with that golf game but in an urban setting, hitting balls through buildings.... it also seems like a reasonable economic model and a good way to make money and, caddying? What a great job in SL!

Mark Barret (via skype): I'm primarily a web developer and would really benefit from a web API for accounts and other info is there anything in the works?

PR: We have a group of 4 or 5 people working on our web services initiative which offers just what you're asking. The first thing will be creating new accounts via web calls and we hope to be rolling out stuff in the coming weeks, not months, our over all approach is create a rich web api so that it will be very easy for people to create a rich applications hanging off SL. Look for some initial releases on that in the next few weeks.

otakup0pe Neumann and Meno Rich ask if Linden Lab has plans to implement open standards and also have private grids for educational organizations. Could be moderation necessary

PR: First of all, open standards, and I've said it several times given how broad the people are in SL, coming from all over the world, and no really create technology or revolution hasn't been open specifically, for grids for educators, YES, that makes sense. We built the teen grid as the first thing we could do with our resources it doesn't cover all possibilities that one could want. There are over 50 islands owned by educational institutions and that is a tremendous amount of education activity in SL. It is very exciting to see. I have three teachers in my family and I'm on a school board here in S.F. - so I'm very excited by this.

Gordon (via skype): when are you going to expand the scripting?

PR: One thing we can do is making easier to modify the properties of things with scripting, another is making scripting easier perhaps, joint, live editing of a script like when Marc Andressen had folks first using the early web language. SL is basically this amazing way to program the 3D world, as a random plug: on the topic of gas engines we are now a community of 30k a day using SL, if you think of us as a small city, how green we are! We use just a few KW of energy - (kilowatts) we are a sort of really green small city.

Robin (via skype): my q is : we own one full sim, and three of the sims that surround it is a country based sims and we want to connect it all together. We looked into getting an island, but we thought was more advantageous to stay on the main land. We want to know how to join them together?

PR?: There are tradeoffs here if there are people owning parts of those sims, then it wouldn't make sense to let you kick them off but the new group features that are coming out give you many of the features you want like you can deputize who can manage the lists of people who can go on your land. These tools make it possible to allow you to do more of what you could do if you have an island. Check it out in preview I'd say. Stay on the mainland, the idea of clustering and the magic spell of working with your neighbors is just a great appeal. If I were doing things in SL, that is what I'd do - on the main land 4 sims? The biggest privately owned area on the mainland?

Robin: 2nd part: I go up and look at popular places, and we are consistently busy, but the popular areas have all the numbers due to dance pads and chairs.

PR: We need to do better searching and classifies and listings that lets people find good content in other ways that are more effective than just dwell.

Nightspy Rebus asks if it is possible to separate the user name from the avie [avatar] name for login purposes, for better security?

PR: We've talked about that, there are a sophisticated set of questions around that no matter how we do it. This XML UI change will make it much easier for us to make such changes. It is a topic for discussion.

Cory Edo (via skype): 2 qs: 1) I do a lot of group building will there be any change to allow group building less buggy? Could you look into doing something past giving modify perms?

PR: There are two things: 1) have you looked at the 1.12 preview... I'm not sure if it addresses those issues? The other thing, I know that we're also doing work on scripts like we couldn't turn off scripts without turning off all scripts. Sounds like you have a more of a laundry list send me an e-mail and I can run it by the team.

Cory: About the god mode hack two things I like: the long cam feature, and the ability to select things this is a big help to builders of large things.

PR: We like when people get those things we like to see what happens as there are always two ways to go. There are viewer options that are supposed to be hidden but you can turn them on by hacking the client, BUT it doesn't flip any bits in the back end system - so you can't do stuff you aren't supposed to. Our strategy is that we should just give people all the features that they like on moving the camera a long ways. One thing is working on restricting where you can put the camera -- the privacy issue I would suspect that we'll just add that ability for everybody we should give everyone those features or just make them not work at all...

DJ Under: Would it be possible to make it so if you own a sim, you can change all parcels on that Island at once?

PR: All the parcels properties? I don't know, we may have done a little of that with the groups enhancement. I think the answer is no, and realistically, it probably isn't very easy. A good thing for the feature voting list.

Stroker (via Skype): Looking forward to SL Con. in a few weeks. Can you elaborate on the physical avatar you've teased us with, on that what can we expect? What time frame? On a side note - process credit balance turn around? A trader developer account where you pay extra 1/2 % to expedite?

PR: I'll take that to finance

S: The security risk is minimal, I'd like to see it.

PR: You're talking about the time delay right? the only issue is fraud, ... so in cases where it is obvious... I don't know the steps, I'll bring it to accounting.
PR: I don't want to steal any thunder from the Physical AV team I'm not sure what we've said about it. We are doing some really neat work that I don't think anyone has seen in a game before that lets you move your body with your mouse. Today we do it with animations, but there is a magic membrane we can't push against, we really want to move our bodies like we do in RL. We have a team of people working on that, I don’t want to say anything more than that.

Sven Okonomi: Would it eventually be possible for people in Europe to get other payment options? Currently there’s only Direct Credit card, or using a paypal account, but only if that account has creditcard info. Some people love SL but do not own a CC.

PR: Yep - I couldn't agree more, about half of the people signing up for SL are outside the US. We want SL to be a global phenomenon. We have done a back end system change over and you'll probably see us do more payment systems over time. Adding payment systems is very slow and difficult.. beurocracy we are well aware of Europe. Look for this in the next few months.

DJ Under: They just tried to answer my question but they asked it the wrong way. I was wondering if you could change the MEDIA of all parcels on the sim at once?

PR: Oh that would be one to put in the voting tool. I don't think we are doing any work on that. That is something you CAN do with scripting, if you have an object on each parcel that is something achievable today.

Student Grant: Are there any plans to allow mainland landowners to select the ground textures?

PR: There could be thousands of ground textures and that could be a challenge as the current ground is procedurally done, but short term it is a hard problem for 100s of textures.

Rosie Arnaz: Are there any plans to increase the support call in for folks regarding missing inventories, connection issues, billing and such?

PR: Send me an e-mail on what sorts of things you want 24 hour support on. It depends on what sort of thing, we have in world 24 support, but other things aren't as easy, such as billing.

JM: That is all the questions [looking for questions]

Fireshadow Mistral: More regarding Appearance: Tinies and quadrupeds are very popular - will there be options to allow smaller avatars or quadruped options from the Appearance screen?

PR: We don't mean to be discriminatory about our bipedalism. The challenge is creating a multi-jointed model for the AV that does all we do. We've been thinking about how to create a jointed model. The rendering challenge is that there can be all these AV's all standing about looking individual. We can do some things to reduce the load if everyone has the same skeleton but, I don't know how long it'll be, but we'll get there.

Ethan Therian: What is the status of including an integrated browser into the next few releases? And if so, will its support for online tech like PHP or Flash be included?

PR: We're trying to get Mozilla in as fast as we can. We've got the help in Mozilla. Since it is open source, it is a moving target, and we've had to rework several times as it changes. I know that we've got someone moving that forward. On the flash side I think we asked the open source community to help us, we got some help, but I'm not sure what will work now....

Tiger Crossing: Since prims are tied to land and land is tied to money, can we get better script control over how many prims people (visitors, group members, etc) can use on a parcel? This would be invaluable for rental properties.

PR: We are doing some work on that, we'd like to do this via scripts, we'll just keep putting in the appropriate restrictions in.

Miller Rust: Can SL billing check if there is enough money in paypal's "Source of Funds" before taking a monthly fee, the same way it checks before we buy linden dollars?

PR: Send me an e-mail, I just don't know right now. I don't know about the paypal gateway APIs, I can try to get you an answer.

Brooks (via skype): When will LL start to hire teen interns?

PR: I did suggest that a while ago. We are kind of overloaded, we took a few summer interns - and we don't have the ability to do it now, I'm sorry, I kind of spoke a little ahead of the game there. I don't have any spots now, and I apologize for jumping the gun here.

PR: We always have too many questions. Sorry, if we didn't ask yours it is just because we have too many, not because we are filtering them. I've got to go, I think we've got more questions answered this time. This is going smoother and smoother each time we do it.

Lewis Nerd: I wanted to ask you about non-profit builds and people who didn’t want to use commercial stuff?

PR: Sorry Lewis - we are out of time, but in general, non-profit and non-commercial stuff is a huge percentage of stuff in SL. I'm not sure how to answer it.

Lewis: (abridged) Will you keep a focus on things in SL that aren't Commercial?

PR: Some commercial applications in SL are very exciting, and some commercial uses are exciting, but the things that make SL fundamentally great are that it allows anyone to do things that the sense of community and helping are things discover I don't care if it is talk about making money that brings people here.

PR: Alas, I've gotta run. I'll see you all next month. Thanks for all of you being here, take care everyone and thanks to all the Lindens, and to Johnny Ming for being our host.

JM: There will be a transcript and MP3 will be posted later.

Jeska Linden: Thank you to Zero for TYPING along :) :)

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