Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Free Speech and Opinion Media

Seems to me that everybody's a critic these days. Myself as well, and the post prior to this one has brought out the long knives in the comments, which I moderate before they are shown publicly. Consequently, I can post or not post comments that insult me personally, instead of taking to task what I wrote about. If you want to address what I wrote, I'll publish your comments anytime. If they're filled with hateful comments on how pathetic my life must be because I took the time to write about whatever, I'm not going to publish them. Simple.

I can do that. It's my blog, and I'm entitled to my opinion and if you don't like it, tough titties.

I wrote a review of the SL Chicago Jam that wasn't well received by the organizers. So what? I'm allowed to post my own opinion of things in my own blog and as long as I don't threaten to assassinate the president, I'm allowed to do that with impunity. Its called free speech.

Free speech isn't always speech you agree with. Most often it's speech you don't agree with and although I will defend the maroons writing me hate mail, I won't dignify them by posting their drivel on my blog any further. Again, I can do that.

If you want to post on your own blog or in your own forum that I'm the devil incarnate, you can do that, also with impunity. Of course, I won't be reading it or writing you hate mail because your opinion of me matters little in the scheme of things. Just like my opinion of a botched and bungled event shouldn't really matter to you. If it does I can only surmise that I hit a nerve and perhaps you should ask yourself why you let one blog post by an unknown woman make you crazy enough to write personal attacks on her appearance, rather than attack her ideas.

Just sayin....

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Review of the Second Life Chicago Jam 2010

I'm a huge fan of live music in Second Life.

That said, I've been greatly disappointed in the way the SL Chicago Jam 2010 was showcased. Not by the music, which was great, but by the conspiracy amongst a few of the participants to hijack it with the intent of making it an "exclusive." By that, I mean the broadcast was limited to one venue and if you didn't have the knowhow or the connections to get the URL for the music stream, you had to go and, basically, camp out at that one venue to hear it. From what I've learned about streams, they are intended to hold several hundred listeners at a time and the URLs are generally available for the asking. One of the musicians, the one with the stream, told me that he had bandwidth issues with many people listening to his stream from different locations, which is odd, because that's how it works when they play a gig. This is plausible, but given that these streams are set up for multiple listeners, I'm not sure I believe him.

The problem with limiting the broadcast to one venue is that when you have a real life jam going on, there are a bunch of musicians there who have never played together, have their own equipment and their own styles, and sometimes just getting set up between sets can take a while. Then, they have to go through "let's play this" or "do you know that?" This process can eat up more time and to those marooned in the venue, there is no sound. So, there you sit, trapped in a sim with nothing to do (there is a small shopping area in this particular sim, which takes about 5 minutes to see completely) and your screen lighting up every few minutes as a few morons play multi-line ASCII art gestures over and over because they think it's cute. Those gestures are particularly annoying because they take up, sometimes, as many as 15 lines of the open chat, and when you have your viewer set to only 5 lines of chat, your whole conversation disappears in broken up ASCII art. One of this venue's owners is particularly fond of huge ASCII gestures, so it's kinda hard to discourage their use when the owner is banging them out every 5 minutes.

I've been in SL for over 3 years now and I've never seen something like this done to a RL (real life) jam, and this one isn't the first. I don't understand it, either, because the SL venue did not charge a cover for anybody to hear the music, but I resent being marooned in one sim for hours when I can paste a URL into my winamp and go about my daily business and have great music too. The only scenario that makes any sense to me for doing it this way is money. They had a huge prim tip jar set up in the sim, with a promise that it would be split among the musicians after the real life event is over. Personally, I don't see how they can do that fairly, so I suspect all the money collected under the assumption, on the parts of the donors, that their money would be going to *all* of the participating musicians, will instead find it's way into the pockets of only a few people, namely the sim owners, the stream provider and a couple of the musicians who are in on it. I may be wrong, but what other reason is there to confine 60 or 70 people to one sim for that length of time? And what musician is gonna say "where's my cut of the tips?"

The music, however, was wonderful and I saw several musicians I'd never seen before. Participants included Gina Stella, Maximillion Kleene, Skye Galaxy (both of whom look pretty much like their SL AVs!), Kaklick Martin, Krystian Radikal, Kurosh Eusebio, Anek Fuchs, and several more that will go unnamed because we were not given that information, which brings me to another issue. The video stream was not monitored, and most of the marooned AVs were watching it while they sat listening in the venue. We had no idea who we were watching, and there were times when the stream would either time out or crash and because it wasn't monitored, the video feed was off for long periods of time. At one point during the day, the video stream was switched to another channel completely, but nobody remained on the first channel to let new viewers know they were not in the right place!

There is supposed to be more music today (Sunday) but after what I went through yesterday to get a few hours of quality music, I doubt that I will try to tune in today. Being marooned in a full, laggy sim for several hours to get maybe 1 or 2 hours of actual music isn't really worth it in my book. Maybe the next jam will have more generous and thoughtful sponsors, and I can just get the stream URL and paste it into my Winamp and enjoy the music wherever I am.

I sure hope so.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Entitlement Mentality

Anybody who reads this blog knows that from time to time I post an essay about the virtual world I play in, otherwise known as Second Life.

I think it's fair to say SL is a microcosm that represents, pretty much, the rest of the western world and to some degree, parts of asia and the middle east as well. I've been debating a virtual friend of mine, lately, on the merits of socialism. He tells me it's a perfect ideology and I say, far from it. In an academic setting, where everything is on paper, sure....socialism looks good. But in practice, with all the messy details, it becomes fascistic. It has to. Socialism requires that everybody "play by the rules." But....the messy fact is, some folks don't and some never will.

I got a lesson this morning in the entitlement mentality that socialism tends to foster and it just blew my mind. I was in a store that sells hair and I got a message from another player asking me to "give" her hair, skins and other fripperies of the game. Things that require Linden currency. She did not ask for help. She asked for a handout, and in the process, she told me that she doesn't put her own money into Linden currency because she finds it "stupid." Turns out, she was from France.

I was appalled.

She gave me every reason in the book as to why I should give her money and other things that, for years, have been "no transfer" (meaning one person cannot give the object to someone else) in Second Life. For good reason. She gave me her best sob story, while out the other side of her mouth she was basically saying to me "you're a rich American, you owe me because you have more than I do, and I'm much more comfortable spending YOUR money on myself than my own." I could feel her disdain for my American-ness even as she begged me for money.

This is the sort of entitlement that the Europeans have been spoon fed for several generations, and why Europe is headed down into the sewers of history. They have forgotten how to work to support themselves, they have no imagination and no desire to even make an effort. Begging is not shameful to them....working is.

I might have been more inclined to help her had she asked me where to find the things she wanted for free, or if her SL age hadn't been almost 2 years. At 2 years of age in SL, you should have enough experience to know where to find the things you want at low or no cost. I do, and it isn't like I don't want to help folks who may have less than I was her entitled attitude that just blew me away. She didn't want information on how to seek out what she wanted for herself, but like a spoiled, envious child, she thought that I should give her what she wanted because my avatar was well done and obviously, for SL, well heeled.

I've never been a Ron Paul supporter because I feel like his notions are somewhat simplistic, but at this point, his simplistic "isolationist" point of view is starting to look good. I get so tired of euro-trash looking down their patrician noses at the "barbaric" Americans while their hands are out for our money and our military protection. Maybe it's time to leave the soft bellied Europeans to their own fate before they drag us down with them.