The one thing that never changes... the fact that there will always be changes.

People hate change.   I don't quite get that, because life IS change, but we humans are creatures of habit.  We learn to do things in a certain way, right or wrong, and we fight any attempt to change that process.   We become comfortable with a certain process, and rarely to we embrace any attempt to alter it.

I personally am not afraid of change.  I have fought against change at different times in my lilfe, but overall I try and be open to change.  I do not subscribe to the notion that change for changes sake is a good thing, but I do try to look at what benefit any particular change might bring, before I sign onto it.  When my wife and I decided to pick up and move to another state 10 years ago people thought we were nuts, but it was the best thing we have ever done, and has had a huge positive affect on our family.   Change is not always bad.

In that light, I have been looking forward to the new Second Life Viewer 2.0, which was released to Public Beta today.  As soon as I heard about its release via Plurk (thank you Prad!), I downloaded it and began to poke around.  The interface is quite different, and after watching a quick video on it, I just started to play with it to see what I thought.

First of all, the biggest concern I had was how would the new viewer run on my aging Dell laptop.   Up until today, most viewers would not run well on my poor lappy, except for the Rainbow viewer by Boy Lane, and the latest Snowglobe viewer.  I was pleasantly relieved to find the new Beta 2.0 ran pretty well on my system.  That was a huge hurdle in my book.

After playing around with it between RL phonecalls and meetings, I felt pretty comfortable with the whole thing.   There are still parts I have not explored yet, and I have had to ask on Plurk where to find a few things that I was too lazy to dig around for (thanks to all that have been helping with that), but I can see where Linden Labs was going with this new interface.

I don't want to make this a review on the new viewer, because I think if you want to see it, you should download it yourself and give it a run.  Don't be scared, it won't bite you (or at least that feature has not been added just yet).

But I would like to point out one thing.  Even though this new beta version seems to run pretty well on older hardware (and btw, the new Snowglobe V2.0 even runs a bit better on my older hardware), there still is a lot of work underneath all this fancy new interface stuff that needs to be done.

I know that Linden Labs has quite a bit on thier plate on the back end.  There has been much written about making the communications process between the viewer and the servers more efficient, changing the protocols used, etc.  My main hope with this new 2.0 viewer is that they have laid the groundwork for those changes to be implimented in a much cleaner fashion.

The debate over new features vs improved reliablity has been waged over and over.   There does need to be a balance of both I feel.   A stable grid and viewer do enhance the overall experience, as do new features to make everyday Second Life living easier and more enjoyable.   The new feature train has been moving ahead very quickly with all the 3rd party viewers available these days, from Snowglobe to Emerald to Rainbow.  I hope that with the new 2.0 code, that more changes will be made to help the speed and reliability part of the equation.

We also must not forget, that Linden Labs is a business, which needs to be able to make a profit for it to continue operating.   They have been implementing things to help draw in new users, then keep them at a higher rate.   The new linden homes is just part of that process.  The new interface for the viewer is also part of it.   Looking to the future is essential for any business, especially in today's economy.  If these changes help Linden Labs remain a profitable businss for many years to come, I am fully behind it, and I will change to accomodate.

I know change is hard.   Any new idea, or venture, or change in direction requires energy to get off the ground.   People are busy, and to have to learn something new takes time, but I feel it will be time worth spending.   This new viewer is just out in beta, so right now there is not pressing NEED for everybody to use it, but I would suggest you set aside some time and start getting used to it.   It will make the inevitable changeover less burdensome when it happens.  Also remember, that the point of a public beta, is to see how it works in a much larger pool of users.    There is still time to make tweaks, fix bugs, and possibly even implement some new ideas before it becomes the official viewer.   If you have ideas, bugs, suggestions for the new viewer, make sure you make then through the proper channels.  it's the only way the people behind the viewer, will know what is really going on.

A few links to help you along:

and remember..Change...CAN be...good!

Practice makes Perfect!

There are certain jobs in our real world that take a LOT of training to do. Many of these professions use virtual simulations to help people practice their skills, before putting them into situations where a mistake could cost millions of dollars, or lost lives.   Think about what pilots have to go through, in order to keep their flight status.  The simulators they use these days are simply amazing to see, and I bet even more amazing to actually use.

I have worked on several projects inside of Second Life during my stay, and each one has taught me something that has had a positive affect on my skills in RL.  I have been learning website design, and graphic design, and have been doing more web marketing recently, which as rolled over into a few RL projects I am currently working on also.

Which is somewhat interesting, because one of the articles that I read many years ago that peaked my interest in SL was about how the Dept of Emergency Response (Which now I believe is the Dept of Homeland Security), was using the technology of Second Life to simulate real disasters, and training the responders.  That was very fascinating.

I was thinking more about this subject recently, especially when I got a compliment on a logo I did for the company I work for.  Granted, it was nothing real fancy, and could be tons better, but the skills I have learned in SL doing photography really came in handy.

It also reminded me of an old friend that is no longer in SL.  Shortly before she left, we had a nice long talk.  She told me that being in SL really helped her come out of her little shell she had created for herself, and had helped propel her into the dream job she had always wanted, and even helped her become more confident in herself, which led to her going out more.  Because of all that, she then met a man that she was really starting to have feelings for, and he was falling for her also.  In her mind, she was able to use SL as a testing ground for some real life achievements.

So what if SL is more than just a fantasy world.  What if it really is a testing ground for some very real challenges, and improvements of our real lives?   Does what we do in SL really have that much of an affect on our Real Lives?  Does how we conduct ourselves inside this fantasy world relect who we are in RL?  Is it possible to really become more than what we were when we started by practicing in SL?

I am not sure of all the answers to these questions, but I do know that my experience in SL has taught me some very valuable things about RL, from both a personal standpoint, and a professional one as well.

So I will add one more thing to my list of things that I love about SL.  It gives me an opportunity to practice things that will allow me to improve my RL, in ways I probably would never have considered before.

I hope that SL can be that for all of you also.   It is a very valuable resource, when used that way.

Have a great Monday everybody!