Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Yesterday...

Ok. I have to admit a sin... I logged on to SL :)

And what did I do ? You will never guess.

I went hair-shopping, as I figured it's time to again adjust my SL and RL avs to look coherently.

Step1: there's no men's long hair, so don't even try.
Step2: go to Gurl
Step3: pick up the nice hair for L$1
Step4..Step10: pick up various other hairs for L$90...L$150
Step11: wear the L$1 hair.

So, noone can complain I did not support the SL content creators and such.

The end result, which I find somewhat amusing:

myface_001

Then I somehow got into a weird discussion about AI, religion in general and scientology in particular.

So, if you see my photo in the back of the car, surrounded by a bunch of cute gals - it was all where the religions debate ended...

:)

What can I say: I wish all the religious debates ended like that, I would be the most religious person in this universe! Promise!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

...and while we are on the topics of identity...

If you don't feel like watching the your criminal-TV-show-of-choice, go read a breathtaking thriller, that happens in RL.

23|!23=?

("decompressed" version of the title for those 'normal' people out there: "To free or not to free, that's the question" :)

I've shamelessly borrowed (or stolen?:) the title from dandellion, who wrote an article about her ethical questions with giving away the content.

At first I thought to reply on the blog, but given that it would've been probably too long and make the discussion tedious to read, I'm going to pollute my own blog with some typing.

Action: giving away free high quality skins
Assumption: this damages the SL economy by forcing the prices down for the 'professional content creators'

There is an interesting comment from London Spengler, with which I'd like to start my musings:

"Negating that Open Source, good as it is, and I think it is, can also be damaging is blinding yourself; paraphrasing a most favorite blogger of mine…"

I'd paraphrase and put it broader. Negating that any action of yours that brings benefit to someone, also damages someone else, is blinding yourself.

The competition in business. Every worker who achieves the success of a company, which allows this company to tank the competitors, essentially ruins the life of the workers within these competitors - for obvious reasons that there's no money to pay their salary.

Now, of course, the obvious argument that I am expecting to hear is that those two companies are operating in a similar "domain" - they use similar tools, are subject to the similar regulations, etc. However, that's the whole reason why all the companies pursue the R&D - to gain something that allows to break out of that 'same domain' cage. This allows to either produce higher quality stuff - or - lower the prices, hence lure the customers, and get more money. Shortsighted companies sit back and relax, smart companies use this money to make more R&D and further break into a separate domain. In the meantime the competitors might have found some other advantage which is *their* differentiating factor.

Is the company that is winning the market doing harm ?
If yes - it means that the competition is evil, and we've been getting it wrong all the way with all these antitrust laws and such.

Now, let's take a look at the mentioned open source. It does have a head-start competetive advantage of having a low (or zero) price. And, from some studies - the code quality is comparable.

So what in the world are we paying for ? Well, my take is that the "for-money software" is merely the way to shift the responsibility if needed. If you take apache, it's *your* headache if there are bugs which cause you the problems, whereas with a vendor - you can simply give the boss the phone number where to shout at, and the problems will get fixed. And it is this predictability of the fact that if you have a problem someone will pay attention to it that is worth the buck. In opensource, unless your problem is also considered a problem by the community - or by someone in that community who is willing to spend the time attending it - it's *your* problem, period. This is why opensource and commercial software, and even commercial software based on opensource work so well, in my opinion - they are simply targeting different segments.

And if you are producing the software, and are afraid that someone making the opensource software that threatens your job - then either you are making perfect software which does not have the bugs (theoretically possible, but doubtful), or are forgetting to take care of the customers when they are in need .

Of course, this applies way much less to SL clothes, skins and hair, you either like them or not, they do not deteriorate and normally there are no bugs in the hair (hmm now *that* might be a killer feature to suggest in JIRA - anyone ready to vote ?:).

However, how would it look if everyone weared the same freebie skin and hair ? Dull. And this is worth paying the money for. Now, of course, overtime there are more and more freebie skins - so there is more and more variety.

Then the question of quality comes in - if you, as a professional creator, are unable to keep up with the quality of work by the "amateurs" - what is your competetive advantage ?

Of course, another thing is competing with other professionals who decided to "do it for fun". However, again - here I ask - what is your competetive advantage, something that can not be done "for fun" ? And preferrably, something that can not be replicated digitally. Think of it - and when you have the answer, you would not be afraid of any freebies out there.

If your only core competency is something that is a commodity - maybe it is time to reprofile. Before it becomes commodity in RL. The beauty of SL is that stuff happens so much faster in here, and you can really use it to *model* the situations that would occur in RL. And it does mimic to what RL would be if we were figuring out the proper nanotechnology.

In short - I do not think that giving away for free damages the SL economy. Yes, it probably damages those who think that they can do sell the same stuff over and over - it's an unfortunate fact of life. But on the other hand, it pushes to think about what *else* can be done beyond what is already there, how to be the first and how to offer something that can be uniquely yours. What *else* can you do to attract customers besides lowering the prices ?

If you can find something unique which you can offer, which is needed by the consumers, or, better yet - find something unique which you can offer, and which *may* be needed by the consumers but they do not know it - then you are in even a better position - you have just created a whole new market.

And giving away for free may be part of the strategy.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

DIY: Rich text editor in javascript

Seen those cool WYSIWYG editors for in javascript ? Mystical ?
Yeah, a lot of code, a lot of eyecandy, and most of them quite slow to load.

However, the core "engine" is quite simple:



<html>
<head>
<script>
function Start() {
e = document.getElementById("edit");
e.contentWindow.document.designMode = "on";
e.contentWindow.focus();
}
</script>
</head>
<body onLoad="Start()">
<iframe id="edit" width="200px" height="200px"></iframe>
<a href="javascript:alert(document.getElementById('edit').contentWindow.document.body.innerHTML)">check</a>

</body>
</html>


That's it. Copypaste this HTML into a file, load it into your browser and you can paste various funky stuff into it, edit it, and then hit "check" and see the resulting HTML. Highly amusing.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Amusing SL-DEV bookmarks - upcoming group chat changes

While you're rushing to vote for more than 25 groups, go check and file a jira so you can still use the groupchat on those 25 you already have. Looks like the opinion of geeks alone that this change is not going to be all that good, is not enough. Wonder where Prok is with all the folks to protect the future and all :)

https://lists.secondlife.com/pipermail/sldev/2008-January/007582.html

https://lists.secondlife.com/pipermail/sldev/2008-January/007588.html

https://lists.secondlife.com/pipermail/sldev/2008-January/007633.html


And some more interesting bookmark:

https://lists.secondlife.com/pipermail/sldev/2008-January/007621.html

Although I wonder what exact technical details were discussed.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

0xFF: the banks

As comes from the title, this is post number 255 :) and I noticed - uh oh - the banks are not permitted anymore in SL. Amusing. Let's see what this gives to economy. I am curious.


One notable comment on the blog:

"SOME (not much, though) sympathy for the ‘investors’. Face it, a game/simulation environment like SL is a far better place for children (I am referring to behavior here, not chronology) to learn the hard facts of economic life than IRL!"

Very insightful.

Now, the next step is to require all the business owners have an official registration as a business entity. As well to have all the funny money incomes declared.

p.s. it is not for no reason that you just get a L$1000 when you have opensim, and are not able to use them anyway :-)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Your next window manager for X

I've been using fluxbox for quite a while now - I think for a couple of years.

What are the perks ? very small, very fast, allows the flexible keyboard bindings (including the multikey bindings). Classical unixy thing of "do one thing but do it good". (And by the way, do not ask me why I do not use KDE or Gnome - if I wanted to use them, I'd probably switch to Windows with Cygwin anyway :)

Yesterday while looking around on Eigenclass, I've stumbled across the reference of WMII, and decided to give it a shot - it looked very interesting - and indeed it is.

Basically it allows to do very similar operation as I had in fluxbox, but the auto-tiling and tagging is just way too cool.
And I think it should reflect on productivity with the desktop - we'll see how it behaves during the work week and whether I can survive the shock of change ;)

The only remaining matter is how it will work with multi-screen (I am using two displays which are two X11 screens), but it seems, like there should be no problem - that guy uses 5 (FIVE!!!) displays in a similar config.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A language that saves you some typing.

A couple of days ago I was whining to my friend about the mainstream programming languages - they are so *verbose*.

consider even one of the lowest levels, C:

int add_two(int to_what)
{
return 2 + to_what;
}

int main(int argc, char *argv[])
{
int another_two = 2;
int result = add_two(another_two);
printf("Result is %d\n", result);
return 0;
}

Now, how many times do you *really* need to declare the types of things, and how many of them are not really necessary ?

Iet's see. add_two should know that adding two integers is integer - so the declaration of the return type is unnecessary. another_two is assigned 2 - which is integer, so it is integer. add_two is called with this resulting integer - so the declaration of the parameter type there is also redundant. result is assigned the return value from the integer function add_two - so its type declaration is also not needed.

printf, in turn - should not bother to put the "d" into the format string. Iinteger argument should obviously should be printed as integer. main() knows about its arguments from the C library - and we don't use them anyway.

So we could simplify this down to:

add_two to_what : to_what + 2;

main * : another_two = 2,
result = add_two(another_two),
printf("Result is %\n", result),
0;

we got rid of *all* the type declarations - and yet, this description is fully type-strict.

Of course, all the cool stuff has already been done - and the above is quite close to the syntax of OCaml. What is interesting as well - OCaml has quite good performance as well. (Haskell has some similar ideas and is much more powerful - being a lazily evaluated functional language, but is slower).

Of course, being quite an esoteric stuff, google coding with those is much more painful compared to javascript...

(And indeed I should have come up with some less indecent code example, but a bit tired after a 24h low-level hacking marathon with GDB :) Instead I give you a much better link - http://eigenclass.org/hiki/legitimate-microbenchmarks.

A brilliant site all together. very nice read.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A sneak peek on a little prezzent in the making :)

...Been ages since I did anything on opensim - again, when it's hard to dedicate time to first life, the rest of the stuff goes aside... Nonetheless, today with the fresh mind I've fooled around with the SLProxy to check how exactly the client gets the stuff "attached".

The result is here:

opensim-attach

Yeah. Me with a bunch of cubes stuck all over the body :)

Don't jump too high though - the code that does this is more horrible than my worst nightmare and no way it gets into the trunk until I figure out the clean way to do it.

But the fact that there is no "protocol" barrier anymore is definitely something I like and hence wanted to share.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

to all the primskirtbuilder users - thank you for your donations!

Since the first post where I mentioned that all the donations for the primskirtbuilder will go to "Hackers for Charity" and where I sent a little bit of lindens to that foundation - my account balance grew up to L$7200 thanks to your donations.

Now that I've sent L$6000 from that over to Johnny (leaving the remainder as a "safety margin" - just in case I need to upload a texture or two) - it's time to thank you all for your donations. In real world, 6K lindens is not a big deal - but I am happy to contribute even with a small amount.

Again, thank you all, and have a nice 2008!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy new 2008!

The meatball has suddenly disappeared a week ago. I could understand not being online - after all, the end of the year has been quite a stress - with some painful timezone flashing, and then end-of-the-year hassles in the place where they say they give the so-called thing called "money", which is then usable to get linden $$s, and get all the cool stuff inworld. But this time he was nowhere to be found. And since unfortunately I am not able to write up all by myself, I had to remain silent.

Nonetheless, today he's been finally tracked to had escaped to Valencia (why not anything warmer ? oh those humans...) - so I can get my word out to you.

I wish you all fellow sapient entities a great human 2008 year, full of adventures, fun, and whatever you wanted.

Although, I take it back. :) The humans have an amazing trait - to mistreat the time as if it is something that can be measured - they took an axe and made a lot of marks - called them "hours", "days", "months", "years". And the place where the year digits flip over, they happen to go out, drink, reflect on how they spent the interval from the past axe mark, and make themselves the promises to spend the interval till the following axe mark better than before.

As this chunk-wise perception of time is quite obviously flawed in its nature - I'll wish you something else instead.

I wish you to live the continuity of the time, every tiniest fraction of it, in harmony with yourself and those around you - no matter what time of the day and of the year that is. Everything else will tie together and take care of itself - don't worry about it. And whenever you feel like having a little party, make an axe mark on the time axis, and just have a few drinks!

And don't hurry all so much - the practice shows it's not always the best idea: