Monthly Archives: March 2008

A Scripted Bagatelle

This evening, Lexx handed me a small object made by a fellow named Petr Brandenburg, that alternately flashed yellow and cyan. She couldn’t read the script inside it, so she didn’t know how it worked. She asked if I could figure it out.

Within a few minutes, I had handed her this:

// Neon Flasher Script
// Erbo Evans - 3/23/2008

// List of colors to cycle through, specified as  tuples.
list colors = [<0.0,1.0,1.0>, <1.0,1.0,0.0>];
float delay = 0.5;  // how long to wait between color changes
integer index;  // counter used to keep track of color state

    { // initialize the color index and display the first color
        index = 0;

        // set up the timer to flash colors
    } // end state_entry

    { // advance to next color and display it
        if (++index>=llGetListLength(colors))
            index = 0;  // wrap around back to beginning if we run off the end
    } // end timer
} // end state default

Simple enough to understand. The script itself is basically a timer-driven state machine, using a table (the colors list) to specify the colors to be displayed on the prim (which uses a blank texture on all faces to better show the effect).

As an exercise, I asked her, “How would you extend the script to flash more than two colors?” Because of the way I wrote the code, it’s very easy (just extend the colors list). However, she stared at it and felt her brain begin to melt. I think it was mostly due to the fact that she was running on only four hours sleep, though. 🙂


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Filed under Scripthackery

Professional Courtesy

I don’t know if it’s really true that “every 3rd person in Second Life is a DJ,” according to one wag I read recently. Still, there are plenty of decent DJs out there, and Lexx and I ran across one quite by chance this evening.

StormShadow Maertens DJs for three different clubs; his home club is Ignite, but he also spins at Restless Souls and The Night Owl (where Lexx and I encountered him). He seems to specialize in modern rock, but he had no problem playing either Muse (Lexx’s request) or Nightwish (my request!). He also did something interesting when we entered the club; in his next voiceover, he mentioned us by name. I may steal that trick. 🙂 In RL, he’s a network professional…which makes him not unlike myself in a number of respects.

And he is also among the ranks of SL bloggers, as you can see…so I’m pleased to add him to the Elite Evans Avenue Exit Blogroll. Check him out. And, Storm, you’re welcome to come by Lexxistential Deviances or Cowboy Country when I’m spinning, so you can compare styles. 🙂

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Filed under People, Roadside Attractions

Philip Is Dead, Long Live Philip

Philip Rosedale in RL, Philip Linden in SL (Courtesy’ve never had the honor to meet Philip Linden/Rosedale, either in his real or virtual forms. (Though I have had the privilege of “running against” him in the 2007 SL Gubernatorial Elections.) Yet I’ve been a Resident for nearly two years now, and in that time, I’ve been very much aware that I’m “living” in his dream world, which can be sometimes banal, sometimes awe-inspiring, and sometimes just flat-out weird. The one thing I can’t deny is the essential brilliance of the underlying concept.

Now, he’s stepping back from his day-to-day role as CEO of the company he created, moving into the board chairman’s slot as well as working more on “product strategy and vision,” as well as evangelism. There are obvious parallels here to Bill Gates and his transition away from the CEO role at Microsoft, but I also get the impression that Philip isn’t as much of a “genetic entrepreneur” as, say, Andre Durand is. Philip strikes me as more of the techno-geek sort, who loves to get down and dirty with the details. Keeping him in the role he’s comfortable with will be good for both Linden Labs and the Second Life platform as a whole.

The question now becomes, who’s likely to replace him? LL appears at a loss, as the esteemed Ms. Malaprop remarked over on Twitter: “No successor being named says that there is going to be a bit of a mess for a bit, though. Otherwise it would have been ‘philip down, X up!'” And, well, that’s obvious; replacing someone like Philip is not exactly a cookie-cutter kind of deal, if you know what I mean. Prokofy seems to think that LL is most likely to promote someone from within, and that strikes me as both the easiest course for LL to take and the one that’s best for SL, as someone who’s already involved with SL is likely to disrupt it the least over the short and long terms. We won’t, however, know anything about what they plan on doing until they make up their minds. My best advice at this point would be to remain cautious, yet optimistic.

In the meantime, we can all wish Philip the very best of good fortune as he transitions into his new role, and hope that this new role will allow him to continue to make Second Life everything it should be.

“We must have faith…that the universe will unfold as it should.” – Spock to Valeris, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

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Filed under Current Events

How Not To Run An Event

Recently, I was asked to DJ an event at another club, which I agreed to do and for which I was paid my standard rate. However, when I got to the site of the gig, I found that certain things hadn’t fallen into place…

  • The club’s stream information had just been changed, which apparently they do on a monthly basis. (I do approve of this as a security measure, as it keeps rogue DJs from hijacking the stream.) I had received the correct login information, and it worked…but the club’s stream changer had not yet been updated with the new stream URL.
  • Only one person had access to modify the settings notecard for the stream changer…and he was unavailable.
  • I thought that perhaps the URL could just be set on the parcel manually, via the land settings dialog. Unfortunately, the club’s land had not been group-deeded, so only one person (the land owner) had the ability to change the parcel media settings…and he was unavailable as well.
  • What’s more, the event had not been publicized (via a listing in SL Events or such), so it was likely that there would be little turnout, even if the stream issues could be resolved.

In the end, the event was postponed to a later date, and I agreed to come back at that date. But this particular event had required a lot of prep time on my part, so naturally I was somewhat miffed.

There are some lessons to take away from this experience. First, always have a backup plan in place for your business operations. First Life does take precedence, but if the absence of one or two critical people can throw your business into disarray, you need a better backup plan. In the case of Lexxistential Deviances, if Lexx is not present, I can perform her functions, as can Lilli. The businesses I’ve been involved in have a long history of having backup plans, to the extent that, when Danielle’s home in RL was burned in a fire, I was able to keep the Gin Rummy open despite her extended absence.

Second, group-deeding business land is good. If your land is group-deeded, you have a lot more options in controlling who can do what to the land, thanks to the group role and permission capabilities we’ve had for some time now. In our case, we allow people designated as “DJ” to change the parcel media settings, as, obviously, they may need to do that to broadcast. We do use a stream changer of our own, an Erbosoft Distributed Music Changer (of course!), and it does have a “manual override” mode where you can feed an arbitrary URL in via a chat command, if you have the right access; still, it’s good to have a backup capability (which relates back to my first point).

Third, have procedures in place for publicizing events. In our case, we determine the events for a weekly block (Friday through Monday) in advance, complete with staff assignments for each event, which Lexx distributes to the staff group via a notecard attachment to a Group Notice. Then I take her notecard and write the descriptions for the events, which I post to SL Events. Just before event time, our host for the evening grabs a copy of the event text and uses that to create a Group Notice for the VIP group.

N.B.: I am deliberately not identifying the club involved in the little snafu above, because I believe they can do better and I don’t want to embarrass them, just help them and others to keep from making those mistakes. Any comments which identify the club in question, even very generally, will be deleted with extreme prejudice.


Filed under Audio, Business