“I tried installing and running Second Life and now my whole laptop screen is black!”, the technology reporter with National Public Radio told me on the phone, somewhat panicked.
And now I was hyperventilating. I had just arranged an interview about Second Life and the metaverse in general with this reporter, who covered technology issues for a major news outlet. (This was during my days as a contractor for Linden Lab.)
But instead of getting the opportunity to show them all the potential of the virtual world, we now faced the likelihood of a PR disaster. A reporter specializing in high-tech news, surely savvy around computers, had just experienced a major client crash, suggesting Second Life had major show-stopping flaws. (A bug? A hack?)
I escalated this issue to a senior Linden Lab engineer who scrambled to a phone so they could walk the news correspondent through some troubleshooting checks. Meanwhile, a team of developers in the office attempted to replicate the “screen goes black on client startup” bug.
After some back and forth dialog, we finally realized what was happening.
This technology reporter for the United States’ most reputed news radio outlet had launched Second Life … and then somehow tapped on the laptop keyboard until their avatar walked into a nightclub and careened into a black marble pillar at the edge of the dance floor.
The viewer camera, which usually hovers just above the user's ...