A tip of the hat to the respected journalist Mr Hamlet Au, who has had considerably more success than I in eliciting a response from Channel Four Radio, whom I believe I mentioned earlier. I must say that Mr Au's full piece is well worth reading, highlighting as it does the regrettable tendency of our men and women of business to slip into a most peculiar automatic argot when confronted with a question for which they appear to lack understanding, answers or interest. Below, however, you may find an extract:
"In the UK Guardian story," I asked her (Natalie Schwarz), "you're quoted as saying [Channel 4 is] 'the first radio station to launch in Second Life’… Many members of the SL community have objected to your assertion of being 'first’, because it discounts this pre-existing culture of SL-based radio as if it wasn't even there. What would you say to them?" Schwarz's reply: "We do not discount the pre-existing culture of SL-based radio and respect it. What marks us out as different, is that we're combining real life broadcasting with virtual world news and culture. Second Life is in a rapid period of change, one that is starting to see more traditional media channels combining with virtual worlds. This is a very exciting time, and we want to work with you and help it grow and flourish."
I am left very little the wiser as to quite how the content of a station - even were it to be the case that this was the first radio station in Second Life referring to both the Other Place and the Grid, which I would doubt - has any connection with it being "the first to launch" in general. I suppose that one could narrow one's definitions of the terms "radio station" and "launch" to such a degree that one is indeed the first radio station to launch, but in that case I am in fact the first resident of Second Life to build anything, if by "resident" you mean "diminutive ginger inventress" and "build" you mean "construct a giant lighthouse that actually looks a bit like a teapot".
I must add at this point, as I am experiencing slight pangs of guilt for my sarcasm, that I am not at all offended by and am in fact quite keen on the projects behind these latest two "firsts" (the above, and also our first Tabloid, both referred to in Mr Au's piece). I am always very encouraged to see new projects emerging to inform and entertain the good folk of the Grid, and at the moment I am not of the opinion that either tabloid or station will bring about the demise of existing organs. To be quite honest, the fact that the hectoring of residents is often put down to "jealousy" or "fear of the new" irks me not inconsiderably - no-one is more excited by novel developments than I, as we boldly march forth towards the Twentieth Century.
Said counter-criticism misses the point entirely, which is that nobody wishes to have their own achievements and the achievements of their peers publicly dismissed, and doing so then being surprised at the reaction reveals a lack of both research and understanding, the latter of not just Second Life but also humankind. Such a lack, I fear, does not reflect well upon anyone. I would be delighted to be proved wrong on this point and do of course keep a perpetually open mind.
Incidentally, there has been extensive kerfuffle concerning a new Automaton colloquially known as "CopyBot", which demonstrates the capability of certain new systems to capture every single item that can be seen. The Herald has a piece on it with linked cinema of an early, crude version, but I was able to instruct it to copy me last night during a meeting of many Grid luminaries, with results both amusing and personally disturbing.
The copy was exact down to the last rivet, though the automaton itself is a mere clown, simply mirroring everything that one does, including one's animations. It would disturb me considerably more to have an actual person mimicking my appearance but behaving differently. I do not expect any creation to allow the mimicking of one's actual personality for some time to come, but when one spends a lot of time on one's appearance, as residents of the Grid usually do, and one is intimately familiar with it as the representation of one's self in a particular world, seeing it duplicated has a visceral effect, a sapping of a portion of one's individuality. We are not all Taoists.
The potential legal, economic and social issues of being able to easily duplicate anything exactly are of course considerable and something upon which I may write at a future point. On one hand I am thrilled at Scientific Advance, on the other I am extremely concerned that folk receive their Just Reward for their efforts, even if it be merely recognition (something that I am mostly concerned with) and do not wish to see a world whereby there is no real exchange of effort.
I have no respect for the "Market" and despise the Invisible and Bloody Hand, but at heart Currency is a system that allows for resource distribution, the resource here being creativity and skill and effort. Furthermore, one's land requires the input of Capital for it to survive. Already I see that some scoundrel is distributing copies of this Bot for a sum, and others are distributing its program for free. It is uncertain whether the simple remedy of Instant Messaging the Bot with the phrase "!quit" works with these versions, or whether, as with the one that I encountered, it requires deliberate confirmation first. Even if so it will not be long before such barriers are removed.
Perhaps the best solution that I have seen (excuse me for not being able to find the original) was referring to Mr FlipperPA Peregrine, saying that since everyone is his friend, nobody wants to copy his work, because nobody copies their friends' work. Reader, will you be my friend?