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So, Philip Rosedale, Linden Lab’s CEO thinks that Second Life should be more like the iPhone.

Is that, expensive, shiny, rigidly controlled by the manufacturer, and coupled to a heavily-monetised Web-based store?

No, that’s just what I happen to think of first when I think of the iPhone. Rosedale means the same sort of enjoyable ease-of-use that you get with the iPhone out of the box.

And yes, that sort of thing is achievable. You just need to throw away all the complicated bits until you’ve got something that is (a) simple enough to fit into that model, and (b) that isn’t really the product you started with. The same way you’d adjust World of Warcraft until it was Barbie Horse Adventures – although BHA might be a little complicated still.

See, that’s the thing. I don’t mind having a bit of sophistication to my virtual environments or to my games. I don’t mind having to learn before I can accomplish. Maybe that makes me weird, but it means that I wind up in places where I can accomplish something meaningful, rather than lining up with everyone else to click the left mouse-button to kill an orc or to plant a flower.

“If I want to accomplish something that is hard or complex, I’m willing to work hard for it.”

I’m not saying that things should be any harder than they need to be, but if I want to accomplish something that is hard or complex, I’m willing to work hard for it.

If that burden can be eased, that’s great. If it can’t be, then I’m okay with doing the hard yards.

Safety-scissors and glitter are all very well for some people and will do everything that they ever want to do (so long as it’s sparkly and gets all over the carpet). Give me some power-tools, and lock up your grandkids, because I want to do more, even if I have to read a bunch of books, experiment for weeks, cuss at the screen and feel like I’m not making any progress. Because that’s what usually happens when we’re trying to learn something completely new, yes?

This is why I’m not an early adopter. Early adopters are generally stuck with glitter and safety-scissors (but also with the hazard that the scissors break now and and again). I like to come in later when things have gotten a bit more sophisticated.

So, sure. If it brings in the punters, let them have a special-needs system. Bring it on.

It’s just that I know how you’d really rather not have the teams maintaining more than one viewer; everyone at the Lab seems to be saying so. Just don’t forget that there are also plenty of people who will still want to pull out the power-tools and make things, break things, run businesses and accidentally injure themselves.

Thanks to Mitch Wagner for this installment of his talk with Rosedale. There’s at least one other part of it that I’m going to talk about a little later.

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