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It's been quite some time since I've written about Linden Lab and Second Life because well, since we left there I haven't much looked back.  However the experience of a merchant there, Kakia Designs, echoed so much our group experience and the failure of proper response from LL that I felt it warranted note.

The blog post from this merchant is listed here.  Members who were with us before we moved to Inworldz will likely recognize the policies and attitudes.  Kakia's blog is most enlightening.

http://www.kakiadesigns.com/2012/08/the-risks-of-virtual-business-i...

FAILURE TO ARCHIVE

Archiving customer data is essential.  Either the company should archive such data or allow the customer to do so.

When it comes to VR grids such as Second Life, Inworldz, OSgrid or any other grid:

    * Avatars should have an inventory backup file in case something happens to the main file.

    * Regions should have the ability for permanent backup. 

There is too much work and expense involved in both avatars and regions to be lost by either a data glitch or because a region has to be temporarily shut down. Archival process is a long-established standard of the computer industry.  We spend far too much time and money creating these regions and our avatars to have those destroyed without any existing archives.  Had Linden Lab kept avatar archival files... they wouldn't have lost Kakia as a customer.   If a company "can't" keep archival files, they should provide customers an encrypted way to do so, in a method that can be restored in an emergency.  Yes, it needs to be done in a manner that can't be "gamed" by the customer, but it needs to be done.  Failure to do so results in the experience of Kakia as stated in the owner's blog.

Archives are essential.  It's amazing that after all these years Linden Lab still hasn't recognized that reality.

--o--

Views: 180

Comment by Balpien Hammerer on August 17, 2012 at 4:54pm

"Archiving customer data is essential.  Either the company should archive such data or allow the customer to do so." I had the same inventory fiasco happen to me. I went from nearly 80,000 items, to 9,000 one day. I managed to coax it up to 11,000, and finally asked for help from LL, which I did get. But in the end the most they could recover was somewhere around 37,000 items puls/minus 2000. They basically told me they ran through their recovery tool and what I got was it, tough luck.

 

I asked why couldn;t they provide a way to let me save off my inventory encrypted to protect it from changes, but able to be uploaded again if needed. No response other than closing the ticket. That was the day I started looking at other grid because it was the last straw for me in that grid. About six months later I ended up in Inworldz. Never looked back since. Yes, I do miss the fabulous stuff I acquired there, but since there is no possibility of transferring those items, I just count it as a a previously fun time, good memories.

 

I think it is important that grid operators provided the means for residents to backup their inventory and assets and then restore them onto/from resident's computers. Full perms items or items made by the resident should be copied in the clear and other items should be copied completely encrypted to protect the IP rights of the creators.

Comment by Wayfinder Wishbringer on August 17, 2012 at 5:00pm

While Inworldz doesn't provide archivals either, there are two advantages over SL:

1. They do allow backup of full-perm items, regardless of creator (doing so requires a third party program such as Stored Inventory... but it does work).

2. Inworldz doesn't charge $300 a month for a piece of virtual grass.

However, those advantages don't satisfactorily address the issues.  Recently when a member had to close down four regions due to a health problem, I couldn't get those regions archived.  That upset me a bit because they were beautiful regions and chances are the member was eventually going to return.  I had to wonder:  since regions are basically in one file... what's the issue with backing up a region if it has to be temporarily shut down... especially when the customer makes such request?  Doing so doesn't take that much hard drive space... and these days hard drive space is cheap.

It also doesn't address the issue of purchased inventory and the expense thereof if a glitch occurs.  To my knowledge no grid has addressed these issues... which basically puts grids back to the age of dinosaurs as far as computer protocol is concerned.

I think that's something that really needs to be corrected. 

Comment by Minethere Always on August 19, 2012 at 3:55pm

yup..having just lost months of work and about 20-30k prims inworldz recently...archiving would be nice to offer...i might even have paid for it....quite annoying

Comment by Minethere Always on August 19, 2012 at 4:27pm

tho its nice to offer that blogger support...she should know that inworldz does not offer any liability protections for content either...in the course of 'being balanced'

Comment by Wayfinder Wishbringer on August 19, 2012 at 9:58pm

Yes Mine, you're right.  That's one of the very few things I don't like about Inworldz-- or any other VR grid; they don't (in my opinion) take backup and archiving serious enough.  They do some, but no more than Linden Lab (to my knowledge). 

As mentioned Inworldz does allow us to back up full-perm items we own regardless of creator (which is better than SL).  But that's not the same as a safety backup of our inventory in full, nor does it allow for backup of an entire region.   Neither does it allow us to export our own items on an entire region if we want to take it elsewhere (such as for example, to an Opensim based region we may host on our own computers for experimenting and creation). 

Opensim on the other hand does allow for full region backups... so in that aspect it has a hand up on Inworldz.  However... and this is a really big however... sim owners can blatantly steal anything that enters their sim by exercising "god powers"-- which means Opensim also has virtually zero security.   Don't wear any clothing or take any creation you wish to keep secure to an Opensim or hypergrid sim.  It can be copied and taken by the sim owner.

So I appreciate the added security on Inworldz... but I do wish they would add proper, professional archiving and backup procedures and policies to their system.  Ideally we should be able to go to a function on their website and choose:  1) Back up your avatar or 2) Back up your region.   It should be automatic, customer-triggerable, and permanent.  They can of course allow us limited backups (say,  ten full backups, at which time it recycles backup slots)... but there certainly should be a method available.   Avatar inventory loss happens too often to not have archival procedures.

Of course there are caveats to that.  What's to prevent a user from backing up their avatar, selling a bunch of stuff, and then pulling it back in?  My thought on that is that avatar restoration would be limited to once a quarter maximum... so it should only be used in an emergency.  If anyone is ever found gaming the system, it would mean permanent banishment from the grid, no second chances.  At the very least it could allow us to backup all items to which we have full perms... but that would be very limiting. 

Archival of important data is an ancient business practice.   A business that doesn't archive data is stating that data isn't important enough to archive.  Is that the case with virtual reality?  If so... maybe people need to find some other way to spend their time and money.   If avatars and regions, our creations and work and time are important... we need trustworthy archival and retrieval procedures.

Comment by Minethere Always on August 20, 2012 at 4:34am

I am very happy to see a discussion of this, as it is VERY important. It also shows where the priorities of vws have been, and are, and ppl should really pay attention. That creator/blogger is only one of many many ppl who have lost inventories...and not just a few here and there [which is bad enough but ppl accept these things in the course of these very buggy vws]...but large amounts of inventories. And as she stated, the recourse is going through A TON of work 'attempting' to re-find that which could be offered by these vw 'companies'. [and is then still NOT found]

And the fact is, they are companies, but there are not many laws that govern them. Surely, there are gambling laws, there are sexual exploitation laws, there are DCMA recourse's..heck, they can even be sued for negligence...but would it be worth the trouble and likely un-useful outcome? doubtful.

The fact is, they do have some archival abilities. I, myself, had a full sim and all of its items moved to another sim. EVERYTHING in it was put on another sim. Of course, I had much better standing then...lol.

The issue is, of course, one of manpower, and where a vw wishes to put its resources. And where they do this shows very clearly where their priorities are. VW owners are ppl too, with their own sets of priorities, friends, favorites, needs, and time.

As you state, it is a simple matter, really, for data [which is all this all is-really] to be backed up...and as you stated..it is something done as a natural course of doing business FOR ANY BUSINESS. Heck, there are backup services across the grid, for just this reason.

Heck, tho it is little known, even simple deletions on computers ARE NOT FULL DELETIONS...as just one example, deleted emails can be easily retrieved by going into the proper actual directory/folders for the data. I used to do a wipe/erase, years ago, that wrote 0's and 1's several times over the cleaned areas of my computer in my then paranoid attempt to make data unavailable [hey!! don't go there! I weren't no criminal!!-hehe] And I learned one very important truth, that if you do not want others to see anything on your computer, the only true way is to destroy the harddrive...or, don't put it there in the first place -lol]

As well, here is another interesting and fun website that has been archiving the net for many years [look at some of your old websites[hope you didnt do something...err...bad..hehe]] http://archive.org/web/web.php

So, maybe more and more discussion will get the vw owners to actually put their mouths where their words are, and offer TRUE backup support...even such as you suggest...and other ways can be automated and they could even charge for the service [and make more money!! yeaaa]

Comment by Minethere Always on August 20, 2012 at 4:39am

just to add...often the more and more talk done on matters, the impending possibility that laws will come about to force actions, has been enough to get companies to do something 'right' just to avoid the red tape government laws would require of them...jus' sayin'

Comment by eekee eebus on November 3, 2012 at 4:53am

Anyone know the conclusion to this? The linked blog post has been removed.

---

>What's to prevent a user from backing up their avatar, selling a bunch of stuff, and then pulling it back in?

I've said before ownership and selling of digital property is a very hairy business. This line prompted a few seconds of thought which made me think a fair situation is even more impossible. I don't want to end up typing all afternoon so I won't start.

@Mine, I half-hope the law doesn't get involved because what I see from law so far is almost entirely politicians displaying a staggering lack of comprehension of how computers and the internet function.

Comment by Wayfinder Wishbringer on December 8, 2012 at 9:35am

I just checked the blog link and it's back online again.  Must have just been a temporary glitch.

Comment by Minethere Always on December 8, 2012 at 7:18pm

A RAW file is just the terrain [heights and depths], it has nothing to do with any prims on it. That is called an OAR file. OARs can and are done easily in kitely and osgrid and any opensim grid where you are actually the owner of the region rather than just renting a region from a grid...just fyi-))

I actually only will spend time building up a sim now where I can get the OAR, otherwise I see it as a to fragile endeavor [ie grids go down and lose assets, ppl can have their access removed, bugs...etc]

The very best way to preserve individual assets would be to export anything you create into your harddrive. This lesson seems to need to be re-learned..often.

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