Littlefield Grid purchased by Linden Labs

Posted April 1, 2014 by Dirk Mathers
Categories: Uncategorized

Early VR Helmet

Early VR Helmet

“We’re quite excited,” said Darth Linden, interim manager of Littlefield Grid during the transition. “We needed a solid platform for testing and introduction of our new tablet and Oculus Rift project. Combining the portability of a tablet with the virtual reality helmet. Our own servers were far too laggy to work effectively.”

Experimental VR Suit

Experimental VR Suit

Evidence points to “The Lab” courting Facebook with several floral delivery trucks seen at Zuckerberg offices and home. And then there’s the restraining order. “Who hasn’t experienced a restraining order in the course of a relationship?” asked Darth, defensively.

When asked about portability issues of the helmet and accidents involving early beta testers walking into doorways and one in front of a casino shuttle bus, Darth was quick to dismiss these as “growing pains”.

The current beta unit does have power supply issues, currently requiring the user to carry a car battery in a back pack. “Since most of our users are sturdy youth we don’t anticipate this will be an issue. The rumors about radiation leakage are untrue. I can’t say more on that because of the non-disclosure agreement part of the settlement. However I will say the tanning application that emerged from that is pretty sweet.”

Curremt Beta VR Helmet

Curremt Beta VR Helmet

Former LFGrid admins were enroute to Bermuda and could not be reached for comment.

(Happy April Fools Day!)

At a hotel somewhere…

Posted March 27, 2014 by Dirk Mathers
Categories: Uncategorized

concierge

Laghaven

Posted February 20, 2013 by Dirk Mathers
Categories: Uncategorized

Here’s an addendum that popped in my head earlier today and as long as I’m in a posting mood I may as well share it.

Stonehaven was so laggy at times we jokingly called it Laghaven.  I’ve heard some people express theories on why this was.  Opinions are like assholes — everyone has one.  In the case of Stonehaven it had many.

“There’s too many scripts running!  Its the glass maze!  There’s too many cages!  Waah waah waah…”

The first week Stonehaven was open, there was no lag until you got to about 35 avatars on the island.  The cage count never really varied.  In fact, the script count went way down after I evicted Beverly and her particle crap and laggy-as-hell Chorazin Allen cages. (Chorazin, you’re a nice guy but your cages are lag monsters.)

I will tell you EXACTLY what the problem was with lag in Stonehaven. It was two-fold.  First, BDSMers tend to be scripty as hell to start with.  Then you throw in hair with a jillion prims, each with a resizing, recoloring, denture whitening script… But worst of all, Linden Labs BROKE THE SOFTWARE.  The killer lag hit when they introduced Windlight, Voice, and the real culprit — Mono.  There was a bug in Mono.  You don’t believe me, go ask Psi Merlin.  She spent six months doing research, presenting the evidence to the Lindens and finally FORCED them to admit there was a bug in the Mono script compiler.  There was no real lag in Stonehaven before Mono.  From what I understand of the technical side of the issue, the problem could only be fixed by upgrading Mono which also would have required an upgrade of the OS and I think one other package as well.  It was an interdependence issue.  Of course the obvious solution would have been to roll it the hell back out, but by the time Psi had shoved their noses in it everyone was crack dependent on the extra script memory capacity Mono afforded. (Perhaps one day Psi will emerge from one of her comas and give the full and factual details behind this, but this is my understanding as I am best able to convey it.) The problem was never properly addressed and the one Linden who seemed to understand the issue was downsized in the Great Purge.

Proof the Linden Labs software is still broken and runs like a pile of steaming poo?  Stonehaven is alive and well on OSgrid.  There aren’t as many cages in the cage room as there was in SL.  (We’ll build more.  Give us some time.) But there’s enough scripted stuff here to be a taste of what it was Back In The Day.  So how come it runs smooth and lag free here on the “inferior” Open Simulator software? There’s no rubber banding, no swim walking in oatmeal, no delays getting script menus to open.

So why didn’t Linden Labs ever fix their mistake(s)?  Several reasons.  Its easier to tack on new shiny than fix something.  And shiny distracts you.  “Its a different kind of programming!” was a frequent excuse.  To which I would say, “Then fire the useless people and hire someone who can fix it.”  A real fix would have required upgrading a couple other software packages.  ( I find it ironic that a company who used to endlessly badger us to update to the latest video drivers with every client release was unwilling to take their own advice and update their own software.)  But the Real Reason Mono never got fixed?  Linden Labs would have to admit They Made A Mistake.

The decline and fall of Stonehaven in SL and it’s rebirth in OS

Posted February 20, 2013 by Dirk Mathers
Categories: Uncategorized

Its been brought to my attention that someone is posting free form delusions and theories as to the disappearance of Stonehaven from SL and my association with Walter Balazic. I guess its more fun to speculate or eat a handful of hallucinogenic mushrooms than actually ask me.

The decline of Stonehaven in SL was due to several things.  Trying to keep both the roleplayers and the vendor renters happy was a constant and ultimately impossible challenge.  Marketplace sucked most of what was left of the life out of that mall.  There were a few stalwarts, but it wasn’t enough to support the place.

Then there was a mental defective carrying on a crusade against Stonehaven.  I don’t think it cost us many people, but I’m sure it kept a few away.

Then there was the dismissal of a bunch of Wardens.  Once someone became a Warden they almost always vanished within a week. I didn’t need twenty Wardens who were never there. A few took offense. In the case of Yasmin’s crew, Yar Telling actually asked to be removed, and then wanted back in again.  I guess she wanted the tag but didn’t want the responsibility.  (Yar was another great one at inventing tales.  You and she should get together, Magnuz.  Unless of course you’re Yar.) Since Yasmin’s crew were thick as thieves, if I got rid of one I had to get rid of the lot.  In fact, I said that when the first one signed on. I really should apologize to Yasmin for the way that went down.  In fact, I will.  I had told her after someone had accused her of something that I’d always give her the chance to defend herself and if I let her go I’d do it to her face.  I’m sure she thought that extended to this as well and felt betrayed by it.  And that wasn’t my intention.  I still think doing them all at once via notecards to everyone was the best way to do it rather than one at a time and listening to the rumors fly.  Bad feelings from that made a few others wander off.

And then there were the people intent on starting their own play spaces.  This splintered the few people left.

Okay, so what brought on that act of firing all those Wardens? We’ve heard the theory that Walter was pulling strings behind the scenes.  So what was the deal with Walter exactly?

Walter came to SL and was not impressed with the state of BDSM there.  He was a RL lifestyle Dominant looking for Safe, Safe, Consensual play and places. He was disillusioned and about ready to leave when someone put him on to Stonehaven.  He fell in love with the place. Samatha Congrejo (another female impersonator, like Yar Telling) was impressed with Walter and suggested I keep an eye on him.  Up until then all the Warden appointees had been female.  Also, someone behind the scenes (Yar among them) was pushing the idea that men were not welcome in Stonehaven and I must say I barely felt welcome there myself.  I knew it would cause a sh*tstorm if I offered him a Warden tag, so of course I had to do it.

October rolled around and Samatha and a friend of hers went completely batsh*t and put 5000 prims of halloween related crap on the island without asking me.  I was taking so many beatings on a daily basis that I was worn down.  I was sick to death of Stonehaven and all the assh*les in it telling me how to run it.  I tried to give Stonehaven to Walter.  Several times.  He refused.  He encouraged me to man up and take back what was mine.  Far from pulling my strings, he helped cut them.

I donned a black leather jacket and with a whiskey bottle in my fist, I proclaimed myself to be a “mean drunk.”  I started returning prims.  I got an IM from Sam’s friend chewing me out for returning all her prims.  I replied, “Yes, how dare I return 5000 prims from My Island that YOU rezzed there Without Asking Me.”  I imagine Walter thought he created a monster when I started examining items and asking, “Whats that?  I didn’t tell anyone they could rez that here.  Its gone.”

And then I turned to the issue of the Wardens.  Like I say, I do owe Yasmin an apology because I’m sure she must have thought the “do it to your face” thing applied here as well.  But since, as I say they were thick as thieves, if I got rid of one I had to get rid of them all.  And Yar and her rumor mongering definitely had to go.  The choice of names was mine alone.  Yes, he knew who I was going to let go.  No, he didn’t pick a single name.

Ultimately, $300 a month with minimal income from a half empty mall was far too much to pay.  I told Walter I intended to close the place down and he encouraged me to delay while he looked around the OpenSim metaverse for a possible place we could move to.  Eventually he found OSgrid and he presented it as a “lifeboat”.  Frankly, the place was a mess on the first visit, but by the second the software had much improved and I saw it not just as a lifeboat but as a place for Stonehaven to live.

The mistake a lot of people make in moving to another grid is to go it alone.  We went there as a group.  Walter, his girls, myself and a few other friends.  All of us had something to bring to the table.  Rather like the old story of stone soup, everyone threw something in.  We started with literally nothing, but we weren’t lacking on most of the skills we needed.  Like the early American west pioneers we went in with nothing and built a home.

So, is Walter the Puppet Master with me now?  Functioning as a group here is just the smart way to do it.  I suppose some mental defective thinks if I don’t rent a server on my own and put up some regions all by myself I must be someone’s sock puppet.  Truth is nobody has their hand up my ass.  The name of the group is Littlefield — that’s the name of the first region Stonehaven was on in SL.  Now tell me I have no sway here.  We’re all equals.  We each bring something to the table.  And here on OS we can do it a damnsight cheaper and with a lot more control over the servers than we ever had in SL.  Ash has the servers all tweaked up so they perform great and lag is only a bad memory.  Its great here and I don’t miss SL, its cost and its drama one bit.  And I’m really lucky to be here with Walter and all the wonderful people in the Littlefield Group.  They’re my family and I am truly blessed by them all.

Goodbye, Lydia

Posted April 10, 2012 by Dirk Mathers
Categories: Uncategorized

I should have posted on this when I first found out, but I’ve been dreading it. Lydia Wycliffe recently passed away after her cancer recurred.

Lydia was at one time a Warden in Stonehaven; someone charged with protecting the guests and protecting the region.  She also built and ran the old prison high over the island.  During the time she ran that place, you could be reasonably sure of a warm welcome by herself or her helpers.  I remember her excitement and enthusiasm while she was building it.  Sadly, real life challenges pulled her away from us.  Lydia had a turn with cancer, which she beat.  She had a difficult pregnancy, carrying twins to birth and losing one shortly thereafter.  She recently had come to OSgrid, was excited by the possibilities to build a new community there and expressed a desire to be there with us.  And then she disappeared.  That’s so often the problem with online friendships; people disappear and you never know what really happened.  For better or worse, we now know what happened.  Her husband had spent time online with her in SL.  He knew how to log in and what her password was.  He came online in Lydia’s avatar to let us know.  Her cancer had recurred.  The end was mercifully swift.

In all the time I knew her she was unfailingly good-natured.  She was a kind soul.  She lived only a few miles from me in RL; I recall threatening to come to her house and put a ball and chain on her and give her husband the key if she didn’t take it easy during her pregnancy.  That made her laugh, but I think having to take it easy during her challenges chaffed against her.  That’s why I say this final bout with cancer was at least merciful in that it was quick.

Her name is now added to those of MiaKate Merlin, Wilma Huckleberry, and Tania Boyd/Janet Manby, on the memorial marker in Stonehaven.  It is my sincere hope I don’t have to add to that marker too often.  To her husband, family and friends, my sincere sympathies.  I guess, in truth, the pain isn’t such a bad thing — it’s the price we pay for the joy of knowing such a person.  And Lydia is definitely worth it.

Lydia Wycliffe is offline.

Dirk M

Happy Anniversary part 4

Posted February 22, 2012 by Dirk Mathers
Categories: Uncategorized

continued

New Years 2008 arrived.  Littlefield was overcrowded, we had what could be interpreted as “child porn” right next door, and I was terrified at the thought of guilt by association.  We needed to get the hell out of Littlefield.

Psi had been trying to talk me into the idea of each of us buying an island and parking them next to each other.  Linden Labs had recently upped the setup cost of a private island to $1675, which had made me choke by itself, but what really worried me was the recurring $295 a month in tier.  As it turns out, I was justified in my fear, but three years early.

Beverly Ultsch offered to occupy 1/4 of the island in return for paying 1/4 of the tier.  That eased my mind some, but I was still worried.  I was not and am not a rich man.  $295 a month was a lot of money.  Unfortunately she was not as good as her word.  I only got rent from her about half the time.  Eventually I reclaimed her quarter, took over the entire island and I lied about the circumstances to protect her reputation.  Since shes chosen to badmouth me since then, I will no longer lie to protect her.  She was a deadbeat tenant and I threw her out.

And now it was time for some karmic payoff.  The free vendor area, which I had started simply as a matter of convenience for the guests and myself was the obvious way to pay for tier on the new island.  I already had a list of potential renters to whom I’d been giving free space.  I’d demonstrated Stonehaven had the traffic that could and did deliver customers to them.  It couldn’t have worked out better if I’d planned it that way.

The Islands

The Hill

Psi's tower - Looking short

Gritting my teeth, I decided to bite the bullet.  Psi ordered her island first.  January 29th, 2008 I ordered mine, and we both submitted letters to Linden Labs waving the restriction on adjacent land being owned by two different people.

The special dispensation from the Linden Gods took a couple of days, but eventually, there it was.  Nothing but a single teleport hub prim.  It was amazing.  A full region and absolutely nothing in it.  Zero lag.  That first night we flew laps around the hill that would eventually expand to become the foundation for the castle.  It was exhilarating.  Like mountain air that had never been breathed by a living thing before.

Psi had already gotten a start.  Her tower, which would eventually become the tallest structure on the two islands, was already up.

Knowing it would be impossible to get any work done with constant visits by the curious, I restricted access and elected Fawn Lovenkraft the photographer of progress.  She stopped by from time to time to take pictures and posted them for the curious back in Littlefield.  Unfortunately she sent very few to me, so those are lost.  I also placed a notecard dispenser and would add comments to the notecard after a day’s work, detailing the latest progress.  Sadly, I only edited the notecard in the object and deleted it without thinking when its job was done.  So my build record is also lost.  If anyone has any copies, please send them to me.  I’d be grateful.

The work commenced and I had a setback almost immediately.  My original plan was to build a village down below the castle and have that be the shopping area.  Psi objected.  She didn’t want to see any shopping from her island.  This would begin the battle between the vendors and the roleplayers that would prove a constant challenge over the next three years.  I built a sky platform for the shopping area and made it too low and put the teleport landing spot in the wrong place.  It was rushed.  I should have sat down and thought it out once my village was torpedoed, but I didn’t.

The work continued, but it was very much a one step forward, two steps back thing.  I made a conscious decision to cut corners to get the place open fast and neaten it later.  Unfortunately, I had a lot of “help” and “advice”.  Once flaws were pointed out to me it was no longer possible to ignore them.  Its a mental deficiency of mine.  Not the only one, but in this case one of the more annoying ones.  I had to go back and re-do things many times.  I’d been hoping to open by Valentine’s Day, but it soon became a wan hope.  Eventually I simply declared I was on strike and halted all work for almost a week.

Eventually it all came together.  One night we stood on the edge of the new patio.  I believe Tat1ana Pera, Fawn Lovenkraft and Psi Merlin were present.  I can’t recall with certainty.  The only major problem was defective leash anchors which I was about to replace.  We held a brief conference.  “Is there any reason we can’t open tonight?” I asked.  No one could come up with an objection, so I quickly replaced the anchors and teleported to Littlefield.  I already had the landmark giver built, loaded and ready in my inventory.  As soon as I rezzed up, I addressed the people present.

“Want to see something cool?”  I rezzed the landmark giver.  “Come get some.”

I started picking up cages from the cage room to bring over to the new place.  Stonehaven Island was open.

Dirk

Stonehaven Island April 11, 2008




Happy Anniversary part 3

Posted February 20, 2012 by Dirk Mathers
Categories: Uncategorized

continued

The consensus had been that 1/8th of a region was big enough.  That I should take it easy to start with.  The adjacent lot, the NE corner of Littlefield, was still up for sale and this was no time to settle for half measures.  I bought another 1/8th region lot and merged the two for a whopping 1/4 of Littlefield.  The new lot would double my available prims bringing the total to 3750.  My new “prim farm” lot was going to have to stay mostly undeveloped if it were to be of any use.  Happily I had another thought there.  A toy I frequently liked to use back then was my cage thrower.  The problem was not all land owners were okay with someone using one on their land.  Why not throw in a few trees and chunks of ruined wall and make a hunting ground?  Encourage people to use their own cage guns and play capture games?  I built a wall around it the Linden way; one 10m block at a time.

All told, tier for the 1/4 of Littlefield came to $75 a month.  After a lot of cajoling, I did finally put out a donation box.  For the first months tier was covered entirely by me.  Even with later donations almost all of tier was paid from my wallet.

When Mia gets out of there, Lace is in BIG trouble.

I invited friends to come and play.  And they brought friends.  And slowly things began to take off.  Niamh, MiaKate and Lace had volunteered to help me run the place, but they couldn’t always be there.  Over time, I asked a few others to keep an eye on the place.

One day a strange girl showed up in the cage room with a magical sphere she was building.  I thought it was an interesting looking toy and let her set the thing up in the middle of the cage room.  She spent all her time standing next to it.  Her name was Psi Merlin.  It wasn’t long before Psi decided to start buying land in Littlefield herself.  Eventually she ended up owning almost half of Littlefield.  I built a gate at the Southern end of the capture forest between our two lands.

The leash anchors on the front of the castle wall were a popular place to gather and talk

Although the glass lounge did see use, it never caught on as I thought it might.  Instead people tended to congregate near the leash anchors in front of the castle so they could talk with and tease the captives.  Obvious.  I should have realized.

The place grew in popularity and the list of available toys began to grow.  One of the most popular items was Marine’s handcuffs, which had showed up on the scene around the time I was haunting Pak Open Prison.  Another were Daisy’s cages.  These were the items people would ask, “Where can I get those?”  I handed out a lot of landmarks to Marine’s vendor in Pak and Daisy’s cage shop.  Finally I did the smart thing and offered free vendor space to a few select people so I could stop being a human landmark giver and instead simply point and grunt.  Eventually a little vendor area appeared on the West side of the cage room.  Those spaces were invitation only and free for the remainder of our time in Littlefield.

We had our share of drama and griefers, but a real problem developed with a 1/8th region lot in the SW corner.  LaLinda.  It was a kiddie camp where adult and child avatars interacted in… adult activities.  And to make matters worse, some of these child avatars were coming over the wall and exploring Stonehaven!  To say I was alarmed would be an understatement.  With her 1/8th region lot she was taking half the region allotment of 40 avatars, sometimes more.  Between Psi and Stonehaven we were taking half, sometimes more.  And then came the IM from the owner of LaLinda.  She said she’d moved once already and wasn’t moving again and wanted to know what “we” were going to do about it.

My first inclinations were to state the obvious: A) We were here first.  B) Between Psi and myself we owned almost 3/4 of Littlefield, so if anyone was entitled to at least half the avatar load we were.  C) Having child avatars doing adult things with adult avatars was something I didn’t want near me or my guests and would they kindly get the hell out of Littlefield and off SecondLife for that matter.  Several of us had filed complaints, complete with pictures of a graphic nature, but apparently the Lindens didn’t care because nothing was ever done while we were there.  (The crackdown would come later, and after Linden Labs could no longer ignore it.)  However, there was one undeniable truth in her rather ballsy IM — Stonehaven had become popular and we had outgrown Littlefield.

more later

Dirk

(edit: added pictures.)