On the Recent L$ Weakness…

June 18th, 2010

This isn’t just a panic.  The market has fundamentally shifted and there isn’t sufficient buying pressure to sustain the amount of L$ that are being printed through stipends and etc.

This was bound to happen at some point because no network can grow forever.   Not quite a ponzi, but ponzi-like in the sense that Linden Lab’s actions required constant growth that never leveled off or dropped.

So anyway things should continue to bounce around.   The only thing keeping a lid on the L$ at all is because people have ingrained ideas about the worth of the L$, which leads speculators to lay down big bets when the L$ bounces up.  If it weren’t for people willing to pick up “cheap” L$ at 300, we’d have much more of a breakout.

This psychological inertia won’t last forever.  There’s only a few possible outcomes I see:

  • Linden Lab takes action to revalue the L$
    • Accepting tier in L$… comes straight off the bottom line, the owners and VC will not like this one.
    • Cutting stipends retroactively.   If they just cut stipends while retaining premium membership the way it is users will be upset.  So if they go this way, they’ll have to do something drastic: get rid of premium entirely, for every account regardless of age.  They’d have to make this effective on the renewal date so this measure would take about a month to really start having an effect.
  • Linden Lab does nothing.  Demand for L$ may increase, but it’s June, so that’s kind of doubtful with people doing things outside.

There should be some solid foundation this weekend as demand picks up again.  Around the beginning of July, things might get nasty.  I predict fireworks around July 4th.

Thermodynamic Immortality

February 4th, 2010

Entropy, in lay terms, is a measure of the disorder or chaos in a system.  Anyone who has to keep a house clean can tell you that entropy tends to increase on its own.

Our current understanding of the second law of thermodynamics is that entropy in a closed system will tend to increase.  It doesn’t, however, steadily increase.  It will only increase in long run, taking a statistical random walk on the way.

The stunning implication here is that there is a non-zero chance that entropy will drastically decrease.  It’s infinitesimally small, but it’s non-zero.  An example I saw used once is that you might start a game of pool with a nice hard break, and there’s a non-zero chance that all the balls will wind up exactly back where they began.

The odds of this happening are so small that we can generally ignore them.  But suppose the universe is enduring.  Suppose that time goes on forever.  A non-zero chance taken over a period of infinity is guaranteed to happen eventually.

The ultimate implication here is that every moment that has been, and will ever be, will happen again.  Not only will it happen again, but it will happen an infinite number of times.  Next time you have a feeling of Déjà vu, maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it.

Air Bernanke

November 23rd, 2009

Tracer Graves writes:

You obviously feel we are heading for economic disaster.  What kind of window of time to you think things have before everything just collapses? Contrarily, what kind of economic indicators would it take for you to reconsider your fears?  at what point in time?

I don’t know that things will “collapse”.  I think telling you where my savings is might be instructive in terms of my outlook.

Most of my small retirement investment is still in S+P index funds.  I have some positions in foreign gold and metals mining companies that I hope will hedge against the worst.  They have turned out to be very profitable investments thus far.  I still view a total collapse as unlikely, but possible.

I believe that the massive cash injections were a mistake.  I believe that we will pay for them through inflation and malinvestment.   The worst case scenario is a runaway feedback loop of prince and wage inflation combined with massive government spending and currency rebasing that is a hallmark of foreign hyperinflation scenarios.

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SL Grid 08 - Seventh Sun Mirror

September 21st, 2009

Since the Seventh Sun is discontinued currently, and I am not sure of the future hosting situation there, I am reproducing this article for historical interest here.

Gigs’ Corner: SL Grid 08

This month begins a new regular feature of The Seventh Sun by contributing correspondent, Gigs Taggart. Gigs is a software engineer who is working with Zero Linden and others on the next generation architecture for the Second Life (SL) grid. This month’s topic is the development of an open grid, what Linden Lab refers to as “SL Grid 08.”

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WikiCoup: Wales’ Authority Challenged

June 30th, 2009

On Wikipedia, a community proposal has been made to remove Jimbo Wales from his postition of absolute authority.  Wales has always enjoyed a title of “benevolent dictator”, even though he dislikes that particular wording.

It is unknown what such a proposal might mean, as Wales would still be on the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.  The proposal has currently garnered mixed results, with about half of the comments positive and half negative.

Capturing Video With Sound in Linux

May 9th, 2009

After hours of work, this is what I came up with.  YMMV

mencoder tv:// -tv input=1:norm=ntsc:driver=v4l2:width=720:height=480:alsa:adevice=hw.0:amode=2:audiorate=44100:forceaudio:immediatemode=0:buffersize=64 -o file.avi -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbitrate=4000 -oac mp3lame

Quoted for Posterity

April 30th, 2009

What are “PG” Regions, groups, events, and classifieds?

There are some landowners and Residents who desire a Second Life experience distinct from the activity that occurs in Mature and Adult Regions.  Region owners who wish to host this sort of Second Life experience should designate their Regions as PGA Region may be designated PG so long as it does not advertise or make available any content that is suggestive of any (even mildly) sexual or violent themes, or references to social drug or alcohol usage.

For instance, institutions such as universities, conference organizers, and real world businesses whose users may not wish to view or interact closely with the broader Second Life experience may designate their Regions as PG to achieve this added level of protection and segregation.

Since Linden Lab will probably deny this policy ever existed in a couple months after they silently change it, I’m posting it here.

I’m off to have a beer now.  Oops, I guess that means this blog post is no longer PG.

Jefferson, on fiat currency

March 20th, 2009

I found this today:

I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article taking from the federal government the power of borrowing. I now deny their power of making paper money or anything else a legal tender. I know that to pay all proper expenses within the year would in case of war be hard on us. But not so hard as ten wars instead of one. For wars would be reduced in that proportion besides that the State governments would be free to lend their credit in borrowing quotas.

The Writings of Thomas Jefferson Being His Autobiography, Correspondence, Reports, Messages, Addresses, and Other Writings, Official and Private By Thomas Jefferson

Every dollar in existence is backed by exactly 1 dollar of debt. It is impossible to increase the money supply without increasing aggregate debt. It’s also impossible to decrease debt without decreasing the money supply by the exact same amount.

That’s one reason the Fed is pumping out money like crazy, and congress is spending it. As the debt markets unravel, people are paying off debts, and other debts are being declared total losses and being written off and new debt isn’t being offered as much… all of this causes money supply contraction.

So why are they spending and creating so much money?

The optimistic answer is that they are doing it to prevent deflation. The cynical answer is that they are spending money because they can, giving it to political friends in massive pork spending contracts, and the Fed giving directly to politically friendly bankers, in the most massive wealth redistribution scheme this country has ever seen. Except it’s not the socialist kind of wealth redistribution, it’s the kind where a corrupt government transfers money from everyone to its political friends. The worst sort of crony corrupt capitalism. And yes, Obama is a party to it.

Whoever controls the volume of money in our country is absolute master of all industry and commerce…when you realize that the entire system is very easily controlled, one way or another, by a few powerful men at the top, you will not have to be told how periods of inflation and depression originate.

-James Garfield, 20th President

Firefox navigating away while you try to type?

March 19th, 2009

I had a problem for a long time now that Firefox would go forward or back while I was trying to type into a text box. I discovered, somewhat by accident, the cause of this today.  It turns out if you have a wheel mouse that uses detents to scroll in discrete increments, sometimes the wheel can stop between detents, depending on which mouse you have.   A few seconds or minutes later, the mouse wheel will “pop” into place, normally just causing a little unintended scrolling.  This happens with a lot of Microsoft Mice apparently.

But when you are holding the shift key, say because you are typing in a text field and capitalizing a letter, instead of scrolling, the wheel popping into place will cause you to navigate away from the page you are on, potentially losing all that you typed.  It’s extremely frustrating, and it doesn’t happen often enough to realize what is causing it most of the time.

Here is the solution, for Linux and Windows at least:

Go to about:config and change mousewheel.withshiftkey.action to 0.  This makes the wheel scroll even if shift is held down.  This prevents firefox from losing text that you type with unintended navigation.

So if Firefox is going forward and back randomly while you try to type a message, this may very well be the cause.

A Linden Lab Time Capsule

March 14th, 2009

The passage below is reminder of how far Linden Lab has gone from their original dream of being “bigger than the web”.  Self-limiting decisions such as this “adult ghetto”, banning people for “unacceptable fantasies”, and in general, moving further and further from the concept of a common carrier, and turning into something more and more like AOL in 1995…  a sandboxed playground for kids and people who can’t figure out how to use anything better.

Linden Lab wrote, in December 2006:

We could never write a set of rules that would work for all people all the time, nor could we enforce them across a population that is growing so rapidly. Instead, we believe that the best way to foster communication and expression is to put power into the hands of the people by giving you better tools for local control. And that’s what we’ve been doing for several months now. [...]
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