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Benjamin Duranske's Second Life Avatar 'Benamin Noble'VB passed a mini-milestone a few weeks ago and I didn’t realize it until a reader pointed it out: July 21 was the site’s six-month anniversary. Hardly an eternity, but it’s nice to be past the infamous “six month wall.” That makes now a good time to implement a few changes I’ve been planning.

One change is the removal of “Snap Shots” (the little popup link previews that showed a mini version of the linked page). I’ve read some good arguments for getting rid of them, and a couple of readers complained about them too. For those who like the feature (which I, personally, do) there is now a multi-platform browser extension available, so you can get the option on all sites, not just ones where it is enabled.

I’m also streamlining the features here. I’m getting rid of the collections of unrelated short items that were running as “Quicklinks.” I’ve learned that they’re hard for other writers to link to, and I’ve also noticed that they never generated good discussion in comments, likely because there was no focus to the feature. I’m also getting rid “Reader Roundtables.” Readers have found the comments here now and use them regularly, so who am I to say what people should talk about? I’m also giving “Three Things” the boot (and I bet you didn’t even know about that one). I periodically — okay, twice — ran thematic “Three things…” lists, but it always felt pretty gimmicky, and, like Quicklinks, was difficult for other writers to link to.

It’s not all taking and no giving though; there are new features on the way.

The first one you’ll see is called “Click To Agree.” In these articles, I will take a close look at one section in one virtual world or MMO game company’s Terms of Service. There’s another feature in the works, but I’m still tinkering with it so I’ll announce it later on. I’m can say that I’m definitely going to be posting more often though now, since I won’t be saving the short items for multi-item posts, as discussed above.

Finally, on a personal note, I’m upgrading my Second Life avatar (who, as regular readers may recall, “has a rat face.”) I’m hoping to make him look as much like me as possible, so any pointers on Second Life companies specializing in photo-mapping or hyper-realistic skins would be appreciated. And on that note, why do all of the guys in Second Life have their height set at about 7″ 4′ (225 cm)? (The actual answer to that question is here.) Though predictable, it’s unfortunate. When I set mine to my actual height of 6′ 1″ (185 cm), I look like a Tom Cruise refereeing NBA game. When I compromise at about 6′ 8″ (200 cm) my avatar is still comparatively short. It’s dumb, but it’s also rather unfortunate, because it makes projects like this (links to video) hard to pull off using regular, human-sized architectural plans.

Thanks for coming by for the last six months. It’s been a lot of fun writing the site, and I plan to keep at it for the long haul. Virtual law is becoming an important part of the legal landscape even faster than I anticipated, and I’m excited to be covering this emerging field.

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7 Responses to “From the Editor: VB’s Six Month Anniversary”

  1. on 08 Aug 2007 at 1:13 pmFlipperPA Peregrine

    I would highly recommend Nethermind Bliss for doing look-a-like avatars. She did four for me for the band Trouble Everyday, and the resemblance was uncanny. I’m 6’2″ in SL, and somehow, it works? :)

  2. on 08 Aug 2007 at 1:14 pmFlipperPA Peregrine

    Oh… and congrats on 6 months!

  3. on 08 Aug 2007 at 1:30 pmBenjamin Duranske

    Hey Flipper – thanks for the recommendation and the congrats. I’ll look for Nethermind. Also, I think I’ll join you in avatar height normalcy. ‘Noble’ is no more a power forward than I am.

  4. on 08 Aug 2007 at 2:01 pmAshcroft Burnham

    Congratulations on making it to six months – may you have another six at least!

  5. on 08 Aug 2007 at 2:35 pmMeg Kribble

    Congrats on your milestone!

    I had my av set to my real height for awhile–it’s even harder to stick to that when you’re under six feet IRL! Her current height is whatever looked approximately average in SL at the time. I’m curious to check it, but of course the grid is down.

  6. on 08 Aug 2007 at 3:13 pmDamen Gorilla

    I’ve always considered the height thing has its root in something a little more subtle than macho posturing or following some sort of trend, I believe it may be something to do with the fact that the default camera position is well above your head and angled slightly down, thus distorting perspective…

    As to the “real life” avatar and skin, swing by my website and check out the design projects section.

    Congratulations on your six months, keep it up, incisive and true.

    Damen Gorilla

  7. on 08 Aug 2007 at 4:10 pmBenjamin Duranske

    Ash – I’ll bet you a pint next time I make it over there that I’m doing this in six months; I’ll be surprised if I’m not doing this in some form for the rest of my career.  It’s too much fun.  Thanks for the congratulations.

    Meg – Thanks for the congrats. I know what you mean! I kept wondering why my ceiling was so high at the office, and then I tried lowering it. We’re all absurdly large, so everything from cars to houses gets scaled up too.

    Damen – Thanks for the link and the congrats. I didn’t realize Adam n Eve was yours. I visited a bit ago when I was shopping and liked it. I’ll drop by again.

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