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  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/ordinal/ordinalmalaprop.com/engine/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 159.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/ordinal/ordinalmalaprop.com/engine/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
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Firsts and Seconds

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."

fourth-estate.jpg 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.

Two Ordinals 1 Two Ordinals 2

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?

Young Geoffrion's picture
15 Nov200607:58
Young Geoffrion (not verified)

That is an invitation no reader would lightly refuse! You have my friendship and my respect, particularly if you think it can profit you in any way, Miss Malaprop. You are an inspiration, and many might happily copy your Success and Influence, if they were not in want of your Originality and Invention. Appropriating a work in its entirety without acknowledgement is Plagiarism, without permission is Theft, and without good intent is base Viciousness, however ingeniously it be accomplished. I wonder if it is empty headed thoughtlessness or criminal intent that motivates the creator of such automata, for I fail to see how he benefits himself or Society by inventing a crutch for the slothful and unoriginal.

CopyBot « nand Nerd of Second Life's picture
15 Nov200608:22
CopyBot « nand Nerd of Second Life (not verified)

[...] Also, Ordinal Malaprop has dedicated half a blog post to this subject which you can read on her blog, An Engine Fit For My Proceeding, here. [...]

Tateru Nino's picture
15 Nov200615:11
Tateru Nino (not verified)

Nearly a year ago, I was sloppily dragging a change of clothing (including at that time, shape, skin, hair, and all of the accessories) onto my avatar. And missed, dropping them all on the person who I had been talking to.

Reflexively, she put on the folder that I'd passed her, and I was left looking at myself. On the whole, I found it a profoundly disturbing experience.

I'm probably a little to the augmentationist side of center, but ... well, it felt really very creepy in ways that are hard to explain.

The most severe effect that copybot will have on Second Life will be our reaction to what we /fear/ will be done with it, rather than anything that is actually done.

Erbo Evans's picture
15 Nov200616:01
Erbo Evans (not verified)

Madam, though the offer is directed quite generally, I am honoured. I have the utmost respect for your talents, as I am sure you are aware.

I think, however, your own items are relatively safe from copying by this Engine-driven Pantograph...I am given to understand that it does not copy scripts, which of course provide the greatest part of the value in your ingenious devices. Furthermore, your personal style is so distinctive, that any blackguard attempting to copy your designs would undoubtedly be spotted at once. Nonetheless, I do advocate that all Residents refrain from the violation of Copy-Right, and have posted an appropriate notice in our own place of business.

I shall make a point of dropping by the Lighthouse soon with a deposit of a few more Linden-Farthings...in the interests of the Advancement of Science, of course!

Barney Boomslang's picture
15 Nov200616:59
Barney Boomslang (not verified)

Well, for one: of course, Ms. Malaprop, you can count me as a friend and I would never copy any of your items without you being aware of it (by giving them in a copyable fashion).

And Mr. Evans is right - only prims, textures and other things that are loaded to the client are affected. Scripts are a complete server-side thing, only transferred to the client on editing, so they are not visible to the copybot and so not cloneable. At least not in the way the copybot seems to work now - I don't know wether there is a UUID for scripts, too, and wether that would allow you to use some other SL protocol format to move a script into an objects content to copy it effectively.

But what many of the protesting residents ignore is the fact that a lot of what copybot does is allready possible with SL only tools - you can copy things manually by taking prims parameters, either by script or by hand. And you can fetch textures and other things from the OpenGL function calls. This is an inherent problem of the architecture of client/server systems, that a client that renders things has to get transferred those things. There are a few obstacles LL could put in the way of copying, but essentially that will only be obstacles that can be circumvented by anyone with enough desperation ( and those who would use copybot against fairness would use any other tool, too).

So in a way I think it is good that the libsecondlife creators did this - because they are open about what they do. That way this is public knowledge. It would be quite different if this was done in some closed and hidden project in one of the darker corners of the aethernet by some viliains who are only out to cause grief and wreak havoc (not havoc II, though ... hahah .. sorry).

I am aware that this copybot does crush the false sense of security some residents employed, which makes the whole discussion rather heated and emotional. I am sad to hear that several fellow caledonians (and others) close down their shops in protest of this - I hope that after a few days worth of discussion and thought they open back, because the only one they hurt with their action are those of us who are willing to share both recognition for ones superior work an lindens to recompensate for the efforts to create that work.

Oh well, we live in interesting times ...

Ordinal Malaprop's picture
15 Nov200619:34
Ordinal Malaprop (not verified)

To be quite honest I doubt that there will be many instances of copying and distribution resulting from these tools in practice; the vast majority of residents have no interest in such activities, and the vast majority of those left have not the technical abilities to carry them out or the knowledge that they are possible.

My speculation as to such a world may have given the impression that I am more concerned than I am; at this point in time I can see two specifically dangerous situations -

1. some skilled Anarchist modifies the device to allow simple duplication by even a criminal dunce, then distributes it widely, and no protocol change is carried out; or, more likely

2. a feud or campaign of harassment involves the duplication of someone's goods simply for the purpose of intimidation or punishment.

I doubt for example that anyone would duplicate Mr Shang's houses, say, for the fun of it or out of greed, unless such a tool described in #1 existed. However, if someone skilled enough took a dislike to him they might well copy his entire line and cost him a number of sales. (Though who would take a dislike to Mr Shang?)

To be honest it is too early to tell what sort of development of the Copying Facilities and changes to the world will result, and I would say that it is *certainly* premature to shut up shop, but the mere idea is disturbing to many. I certainly bear no ill-will to the "libsecondlife" team, all of whom that I have met have been fine folk - I might say though that their enthusiasm for the project in this sort of situation has been interpreted as arrogance and high-handedness by some. Chaps, chaps, do take down the plastic duck.

Ordinal Malaprop's picture
15 Nov200622:26
Ordinal Malaprop (not verified)

And goodness, while I have been asleep there does seem to have been a quite astounding reaction from the folk of the Grid to the idea of having their - distributors of CopyBots being shut down by mass protests, tiering down, sales of sims, closing of shops, and even a Statement from the Laboratory giving us the (slightly redundant) information that "the use of CopyBot or any other external application to make unauthorized duplicates within Second Life will be treated as a violation of Section 4.2 of the Second Life Terms of Service and may result in your account(s) being banned from Second Life. If you feel that someone has used CopyBot to make an infringing copy of your content, please file an abuse report." Well, I suppose that clarification of the point is appropriate under the circumstances.

Shockwave Plasma's picture
15 Nov200623:03
Shockwave Plasma (not verified)

Dear Ms Malaprop,
It is sad to see in the current day, that those who would use the wonderful Marconi-Telsa transmitter device should resort to Marketing Double-speak in their communications.

If this is how they talk, why would anyone listen to their broadcasts?

Your consise and thoughtful interactions with these benighted persons are an exercise in manners, that many would do to emulate. I will match Mr Evans Linden-Farthings, and raise it to a Linden-Shilling.

Desmond Shang's picture
16 Nov200608:24
Desmond Shang (not verified)

We enter a brave new world here, for at the end of the day the Analog Hole still remains.

To whit: anything which is to be displayed simply must be sent down the pipe in decodable form.

So our solutions lie in carrots and sticks, and not technology. Sure, we can make it *harder* to copy things, but never will it be impossible.

In medieval times, there was a concept of 'just value' - the inherent cost of an item was decidedly and *exactly* the same as the effort required to produce it. Simply because a market economy made no sense in such times.

Now, in what is rapidly shaping up to be a post-market economy, what will drive the engines of change?

Technology changing faster than society - an echo of a revolution! Which reminds me, I've been dying to read a book, aptly named "The Victorian Internet":


Ordinal Malaprop's picture
16 Nov200608:45
Ordinal Malaprop (not verified)

That work has been recommended to me before, and I am myself dying to read it; I should order it now before I forget.

I will be absent for a couple evenings, I fear, as I will be engaged in Parisian business matters, but I will return soon.

Erbo Evans's picture
16 Nov200615:13
Erbo Evans (not verified)

Though I fear this comment is rather off-topic, I echo Mr Shang's recommendation of The Victorian Internet; I have a copy of it in my own library, and it makes for a fascinating read.

CopyBot: Endgame or Detour? « Evans Avenue Exit's picture
17 Nov200609:47
CopyBot: Endgame or Detour? « Evans Avenue Exit (not verified)

[...] Prokofy Neva, of course, is utterly ripshit, accusing the libSL group of being nothing more than a glorified griefer group, and accusing LL of being, at minimum, utterly clueless, if not outright malicious, for associating with such. On another side of the issue, the esteemed Ms. Ordinal Malaprop contends: To be quite honest I doubt that there will be many instances of copying and distribution resulting from these tools in practice; the vast majority of residents have no interest in such activities, and the vast majority of those left have not the technical abilities to carry them out or the knowledge that they are possible. [...]