2009.01.22 13:00 - If there's no one logged on to Second Life, does it still exist?

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    The guardian for this session was Storm Nordwind. The comments are Storm's.

    I sat quietly. No thing happened, as it always does. Ten minutes rolled by.

    Udge Watanabe: hello storm
    Udge's translator: bonjour tempête
    Udge Watanabe: lol
    Udge's translator: lol
    Storm Nordwind: Hello Udge
    Storm Nordwind had optimistically set the pool to show

    "Optimistically" as it allows for the most people to show up.

    Udge Watanabe: did you see Fael's mails to the group?
    Storm Nordwind: Yes. I understood the first sentence before my brain gave out
    Udge Watanabe: if you click on the fountain base (listener) it will register you as GoC and mail you a URL to the logging database
    Udge Watanabe: heheheh
    Udge Watanabe: I am planning to issue an english translation soonest :)
    Storm Nordwind: Why would I want to do that?
    Udge Watanabe: well, to obtain the preformatted log, as she suggested.
    Storm Nordwind: That is never the problem for me
    Udge Watanabe: yes, you would still need to comment and prune and prettify it as you replied
    Udge Watanabe nods.
    Storm Nordwind: I have that in seconds from my own log
    Udge Watanabe: agreed.

    I sounded very ungrateful, and it wasn't meant that way! Meanwhile, Udge told me of an activity I suspect he is very good at.

    Storm Nordwind: I wondered if I would have the session alone today, but at least I got an email done in the first 10 quiet minutes!
    Udge Watanabe: I was mentoring, couldn't get away (means: didn't want to abandon the newbs to their fate. So I waited until a replacement mentor turned up)
    Storm Nordwind: It's a very worthy cause and you (and the other mentors) are to be commended! :)
    Udge Watanabe smiles modestly. We do try.
    Udge Watanabe: Pure self-interest actually :)
    Storm Nordwind: And why self-interest?
    Udge Watanabe: I want SL to succeed and it will do so better and faster if the retention rate of new visitors increases.
    Udge Watanabe: so I turn up at the birthing places and try to make people happy.
    Storm Nordwind: And what percentage want to be made happy?
    Udge Watanabe: well, hard to say.
    Udge Watanabe: Willing to ask questions? maybe 15%
    Udge Watanabe: about a third want nothing more than to get off the island and start having sex.
    Storm Nordwind nods
    Storm Nordwind: And easy to spot newborn alts I guess?
    Udge Watanabe: well, on a Help Island everyone is brand new except me.
    Storm Nordwind: I thought alts came through the same route?
    Udge Watanabe: oh, you mean _really_ brand new.
    Udge Watanabe: yes, it's usually easy to spot the alts.
    Udge Watanabe: but through body language, gesture, confidence
    Storm Nordwind nods
    Udge Watanabe: they're the ones who have modded their appearance, mixing and matching items from different avs, within a half hour
    Storm Nordwind: right
    Storm Nordwind: Actually I am looking at your avatar and being inspired to try make something that reflects my real age again (having failed several times before)
    Udge Watanabe: but you also get the ones who are naturally curious and explorative, who start by rejecting the standard body shapes and faces and trying for something different
    Udge Watanabe: they are seldom alts, oddly enough :)
    Storm Nordwind nods
    Udge Watanabe: I always try to encourage these, I think they are fine future citizens.
    Udge Watanabe: *active* citizens, I meant to say
    Storm Nordwind: Ah yes, active makes all the difference
    Storm Nordwind: Although I like respectful and active best! :)
    Udge Watanabe smiles

    Not all new citizens are nice to have around though...

    Storm Nordwind: I banned my first avatar from the Cafe on Tuesday
    Udge Watanabe: hmmm
    Storm Nordwind: For throwing noisy fireballs around
    Storm Nordwind: and increasing the activity when asked to stop
    Udge Watanabe nods.
    Storm Nordwind: (It was right before Maxine's Dream workshop)
    Storm Nordwind: Then I quickly realised I'd have to do the adjacent plots of land too
    Storm Nordwind: So they ended up being banned from 2 whole sims!
    Udge Watanabe: huh
    Udge Watanabe: well, serves them right.
    Udge Watanabe: there were a lot of newbies at that session, I wonder why.
    Udge Watanabe: hello solobill, nice to see you
    Storm Nordwind: It's a catchy subject. Everyone's got an experience
    Solobill Laville: Greetings, Udge! Storm!
    Storm Nordwind: Hi Solo!

    Solo had joined us and Udge picked up on something I'd said earlier.

    Udge Watanabe: oh, that reminds me. A friend of a friend of ours who makes lovely women's skins has started making skin for men too.
    Udge Watanabe: including some with old and greying features!
    Storm Nordwind nods
    Udge Watanabe: I'm going to have a look later on.
    Storm Nordwind: I think I'd like to hear your report on it, though I doubt I have time tonight
    Udge Watanabe: only very dark skintones at present, she's planning to bring out a tone a week.
    Udge Watanabe: will do
    Storm Nordwind: much appreciated :)
    Udge Watanabe: I just noticed this line actually: [13:20] Storm Nordwind: Actually I am looking at your avatar and being inspired to try make something that reflects my real age again (having failed several times before)
    Storm Nordwind only now sees Solo's appearance changing from grey
    Udge Watanabe: that reminded me of Lorac's ageing gent skins
    Solobill Laville: Your still ethereal to me Storm :)
    Storm Nordwind: Subtlety and authenticity are the keys I think for an aged avatar
    Udge Watanabe smiles at the punning Solo
    Solobill Laville: I can see Udge fine though
    Solobill Laville: (yes, sorry...)
    Udge Watanabe: yes, it is very difficult to get right.
    Udge Watanabe: there is almost no old-guy hair in SL
    Udge Watanabe: I searched weeks to find this
    Storm Nordwind is at the end of slow net link, and will be for a few more weeks

    Of course this was a subject close to my heart.

    Udge Watanabe smiles, remembering. How long now?
    Solobill Laville: Do you have a moving date Storm??
    Storm Nordwind: I wish I did, but I don't yet
    Solobill Laville: (or is that 2010?)
    Storm Nordwind: Only intuition at the moment!
    Storm Nordwind: No it's a small number of weeks away I believe
    Storm Nordwind: I expect to be ensconced and married by March at the latest
    Udge Watanabe cheers
    Solobill Laville: :))
    Storm Nordwind: But the embassy's wheels grind exceeding fine, and therefore exceeding slow
    Storm Nordwind: But I have no more hurdles except the final visit there
    Udge Watanabe: well, you might be an islamic jihadi!
    Storm Nordwind wonders what to say to that

    You never know who might be reading or listening. And I'm well aware that anyone that counts who might indeed be reading is undoubtedly doing a very good, worthwhile and much needed job. But I'm also well aware that they're not paid to have a sense of humour!

    Storm Nordwind: I think I will simply say "No I am not"
    Udge Watanabe: :)
    Solobill Laville: As the only American present, I would like to officially sigh and shake my head while gazing off into the distance
    Storm Nordwind: I have to deal with forms that ask you those very questions and expect a Yes/No answer
    Udge Watanabe: hheheheh
    Udge Watanabe nods.
    Udge Watanabe: you know of course that the answer is insignificant. The actual evaluation is done via spy cameras and room-air-sampling techniques :)
    Storm Nordwind: Then I'm doomed!
    Udge Watanabe: "hmmm, fear is up 7.3%"
    Storm Nordwind: I don't wear aftershave afterall
    Storm Nordwind: Which reminds me...
    Solobill Laville: At least you won't end up in Gitmo anymore....
    Udge Watanabe: true.
    Udge Watanabe: off to a fine, if symbolic, start
    Storm Nordwind: 73.6% of all statistics are made up on the spur of the moment
    Udge Watanabe: really, storm? as low as that? ;-)
    Storm Nordwind: And the US is officially cool again
    Udge Watanabe: mmhmm

    So I make a concerted effort to introduce Play as Being into the conversation.

    Storm Nordwind notices a MARKED deviation from PaB topics tonight!
    Udge Watanabe looks around. What is this "PaB" of which you speak?
    Storm Nordwind looks up to the title bar of his viewer
    Udge Watanabe: ah!

    The title bar said simply "Play as Being Pavilion".

    Storm Nordwind: This place is playing at being a pavilion
    Storm Nordwind: Apparently
    Storm Nordwind: I wonder what it is the rest of the time
    Solobill Laville: and playing well
    Udge Watanabe: a good question, Storm.
    Udge Watanabe: perhaps it is the avatar of a RL building?
    Storm Nordwind: If it is, I have not seen it in RL
    Solobill Laville: I believe it may be, from one perspective, 000101010101001001..., or somesuch :)
    Storm Nordwind: perhaps we all are
    Solobill Laville: If no avatar is in a sim, does the sim exist??
    Udge Watanabe chuckles
    Storm Nordwind: That depends whether it is falling in virtual gale

    We had stumbled on a basic philosophical question but we were applying to Second Life. For readers who want the background to the famous riddle, please see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_a_tr...ls_in_a_forest

    Udge Watanabe: actually that is a very good question, Solo.
    Udge Watanabe: I've often wondered about that, whether my buildings "exist" when there is nobody within visual range of them.
    Udge Watanabe: Does the sim maintain all scripts, all objects, all textures permanently "on"?
    Solobill Laville: Prospero may know that one
    Storm Nordwind: There needs to be continuity of script state
    Udge Watanabe: mhmm
    Solobill Laville: I'd think it would make sense to somehow turn as much "off" as possible
    Storm Nordwind: But you cannot do that for a script.
    Udge Watanabe: yes, so would I. But scripts that continue to run suggest otherwise.
    Udge Watanabe: but they ....
    Udge Watanabe: I was about to say that they aren't physical like a building, but of course they are EXACTLY like a building!
    Storm Nordwind: Yes they are!
    Solobill Laville: Is the script always running server-side?
    Storm Nordwind: yes
    Udge Watanabe: there is no difference between stones and theories here.
    Storm Nordwind: For example, the Kira Cafe has a visitor logger
    Storm Nordwind: And will log the time and zero visitors for later report dispatch
    Storm Nordwind: No one need be there
    Storm Nordwind: And if no one comes for a day, I will still get a report
    Solobill Laville: ah, ok
    Udge Watanabe: okay, so a sim that has running scripts needs to exist. If it didn't have them, though?
    Solobill Laville: good question
    Udge Watanabe: Heisenberg enters stage left.
    Solobill Laville: Shroedinger's cat?
    Udge Watanabe: that too!
    Storm Nordwind: Rather like a variable's references decreasing to zero, eh?
    Udge Watanabe: there is no way the test the hypothesis without interfering with it.
    Udge Watanabe: fascinating.
    Storm Nordwind as usual, tries to find a way to break the bind. And, as usual, fails.
    Solobill Laville: Yes it is, it is just like RL, I assume my office is there if I am not
    Solobill Laville: Is my hermitage in Magoja if noone is?
    Solobill Laville: There is a solution however
    Udge Watanabe waits eagerly.
    Solobill Laville: Forget about it :)
    Udge Watanabe: ah.
    Solobill Laville is only half joking
    Storm Nordwind: The map says so, but that is no proof, only a past snapshot
    Solobill Laville: OK, here's another one
    Solobill Laville: If you to my hermitage now, then leave
    Solobill Laville: Then I go
    Solobill Laville: Is it the same hermitage?
    Storm Nordwind: From a pragmatic point of view, it might take more energy to find out whether any scripts are running in a sim so as to be able to shut it down, than to keep it running anyway
    Udge Watanabe: that may well be true.
    Storm Nordwind: Is it the same even if we go together? :)
    Udge Watanabe: solo, as long as you are not both present at the same time, that is also undecidable in RL
    Storm Nordwind: It's undecidable in any case i suspect
    Solobill Laville notes the parallel :)
    Udge Watanabe: and even there, you'd have to have seen it separately before so as to have a comparison
    Storm Nordwind: I might, after all, be simply imagining you there with me! ;)
    Udge Watanabe: at a low enough level, of course, it is entirely different. The dust is always moving about.

    Time to interject.

    Storm Nordwind: Are you gentlemen going to Stim's workshop?
    Solobill Laville: yup
    Udge Watanabe: oh, yse. good point.
    Udge Watanabe: I should log out, our mutual friend wanted to attend.
    Solobill Laville: bye, udge, nice to see you
    Storm Nordwind: This is therefore a good conversation for getting us in the mood
    Storm Nordwind: OK Udge.
    Udge Watanabe: indeed :)
    Solobill Laville: yes it is!
    Storm Nordwind: Always my pleasure
    Udge Watanabe: goodnight gentlemen, take care.
    Udge Watanabe: a fine conversation as always.
    Solobill Laville: You are amazingly still vapor to me Storm
    Storm Nordwind: Oh dear
    Solobill Laville: and with only two of us here as well
    Storm Nordwind: perhaps I will be better in the Cafe
    Solobill Laville: we'll see
    Solobill Laville: I much took to heart your re-emphasis on simplicity a while back
    Storm Nordwind: Perhaps we could take the balloon up there now and see if there's any change
    Storm Nordwind: Oh?
    Solobill Laville: ah, good idea!
    Storm Nordwind: Please tell me as we travel
    Solobill Laville: Yes, easy to complicate

    We walked to balloon and flew to Stim's workshop in the Kira Cafe.

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