Sansar, Sustainability and Suspicion

A couple of unrelated articles about virtual worlds have caught my attention. One is by Cecilia D’Anastasio for Kotaku : Hands-On With Sansar, The New Second Life.

The second is regarding a greener future by Julia Rosen for Nature, International weekly journal of science : Sustainability: A greener culture.

Whereas the articles are unrelated, I’m going to link them because the latter article covers a subject that Sansar could help with.

First Cecilia D’Anastasio’s article for Kotaku, this as the headline suggests, takes a hands on look at Linden Lab’s Sansar and has some very positive commentary about the platform :

my favorite, an Egyptian tomb. In real-life, this tomb is only accessible with permission from Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities. The level of detail a Lidar-scanned image of it betrayed in Sansar was astounding.

Also impressive were Gholston’s facial movements as we toured around the world. Sansar is developing a new facial recognition software that contorts avatars’ mouths into shapes it knows people’s faces make when they pronounce certain sounds. It’s like vocaloid software, but it blends into the whole Sansar caprice of “immersion,” an empty buzzword that took on sudden meaning inside Sansar today.

This exemplifies how immersive Sansar and other Virtual World / Virtual Reality ventures will get. Whether this makes them more popular remains to be seen because beyond superb technology you will also need communities.

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Facebook Soon To Require A Personal Facebook Account To Manage Facebook Pages

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The above message reads :

To improve the security of your Page and to make it easier to control who can work on it, you’ll soon be required to sign in with your personal Facebook account to manage this Page.

To get started, add your personal Facebook account as an admin to this Page. If you don’t yet have a personal Facebook account, you can create one. Learn more about how to give people a role on your Page.

This is relevant for Second Life and other virtual world users who chose to create a Facebook page to comply with Facebook’s terms of service but didn’t want to create a personal Facebook account.

Hamlet Au over at New World Notes has talked about creating Facebook pages more than once, here’s a post from 2013 : How To Use Facebook Using Your Second Life Avatar Name.

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Facebook Relaxing Their Real Name Policy? R.U. Sirius?

First of all I’ll cover some old ground and take us back just under four years to November 21st 2011. Author Salman Rushdie had been embroiled in a row with Facebook because they wouldn’t allow him to use the name “Salman Rushdie”. This was due to the fact that Salman Rushdie’s first name is actually Ahmed and initially Facebook changed his account to use that first name.

Eventually, Facebook saw sense and Salman Rushdie was allowed to use the name Salman Rushdie. A name he’s widely known as. Fast forward almost four years and numerous articles about the pro’s and cons of Facebook’s real name policy, Facebook are still at it when it comes to being stubborn over names, despite claims that they are relaxing their real name policy.

Alex Hern, in the linked Guardian article writes :

The new rules still officially require the use of “authentic names” on the site, something which has previously resulted in criticism from varied groups including the drag community, Native Americans, and trans people. While Facebook does not require the use of “legal names” on the site, it does demand that users identify with the name that other people know them by.

That doesn’t sound like much of a watering down of their policy to me. However further in the article Alex Hern writes :

Firstly, the site will now allow users to “provide more information about their circumstances” in order to “give additional details or context on their unique situation”.

According to the company’s VP of Growth, Alex Schultz, this should allow Facebook to accurately assess whether the name supplied fits with the rules. Additionally, he says: “It will help us better understand the reasons why people can’t currently confirm their name, informing potential changes we make in the future.”

Initially, that sounded a bit more positive, although it still requires users to jump through hoops and be authorised to use a name they are already widely known as. To highlight why this is still very much a problem we need to turn to Hamlet Au over at New World Notes who has been covering the Facebook problems faced by R.U. Sirius, AKA Ken Goffman.

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Twitter Change Favourites And Stars To Likes And Hearts, This Won’t End Well!

Twitter, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to change Favourites, which had a star icon, to Likes, which have a heart icon.  By Akarshan Kumar, Product Manager, announced the change on the Twitter blog; Hearts on Twitter. The blog explained Twitter’s reasoning for the change :

We hope you like what you see on Twitter and Vine today: hearts!

We are changing our star icon for favorites to a heart and we’ll be calling them likes. We want to make Twitter easier and more rewarding to use, and we know that at times the star could be confusing, especially to newcomers. You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite.

The heart, in contrast, is a universal symbol that resonates across languages, cultures, and time zones. The heart is more expressive, enabling you to convey a range of emotions and easily connect with people. And in our tests, we found that people loved it.

The reaction on Twitter, hasn’t exactly been sharing that love. I’m more than a tad bemused as to how anybody could find a star confusing, a star is a pretty universal symbol too whilst being less irksome and patronising than a heart.

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Avatars Run Into Facebook Real Name Policy Twist

A couple of Avatars have ran foul of Facebook’s real name policy, which at first glance might not sound unusual, but in a bizarre twist on the naming policy, the couple concerned actually have a last name of Avatar.

Madison Malone Kircher published an article on Tech Insider; This guy claims Facebook has banned him from using the site until he proves his unique last name :

A couple in Arizona claims that Facebook has banned them from using the site until they verify their unique last name: Avatar.

Earlier this week, Balizar Orion Avatar claims he tried to log into Facebook and discovered that his account had been deleted, KTVK reported.

Avatar is recently married. His wife, Audry, says she has not been able to change her last name on Facebook, though her account remains active.

The reasons why Avatar is ringing alarm bells are almost certainly due to the film of the same name, but according to Tech Insider, there may be another source of concern for the name being flagged :

The Cameron movie isn’t the only reason Facebook tends to flag “Avatar” as a fake name. Digital communities like “Second Life” refer to people’s characters as avatars. For this reason, it’s one of several names that the site flags as potentially fake, a Facebook representative told KTVK.

I should say at this point that I can’t see any quotes in either of the linked articles that actually seem to quote a Facebook representative suggesting Avatar is flagged due to Second Life. Indeed if Second Life names were being flagged then “Resident” would be a more likely cause for concern.

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