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Second Life mounts assault on reality

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The felchland Second Life refuses to stay out of our synapses despite some of our best efforts. This month we find the puerile game creeping into our courts and into popular prose.

The Washington Post - the poked lady - brings us the tale of six virtual vendors suing New Yorker Thomas Simon for allegedly making off with their make believe products. Some of the goods said to be taken would seem to include sex facilitators, clothes and kinky boots.

Eros LLC - one of the companies behind the lawsuit - brags that its sex gear has "built a reputation within Second Life for performance, quality and value."

The fact that these companies make money off their gear, however sad, does seem to add a tad of muscle sinew to their complaint. Sex mat sales have been hurt, and someone needs to pay for that.

Still, we're talking about a game here. Isn't a bit of code trickery all part of the battle? Shall we expect emotional distress lawsuits every time a sister beats a brother at Monopoly?

To answer such a question we might turn to Daniel Sadville who writes under the pen name Daniel Terdiman for CNET. He's the virtual prose poser we mentioned and apparently an expert on these big business issues haunting Second Life.

Terdiman has spent years pumping up Second Life in articles penned for a variety of publications. When some news outlets cheered the virtual world, Terdiman cheered harder. When others crapped all over Sadville, Terdiman cheered harder.

Now Sadville has put out a book on - wait for it - how to cash in on Second Life. The book is titled "The Entrepreneur's Guide to Second Life: Making Money in the Metaverse" and if anyone knows how to cash in on hype by hyping hype, it's Terdiman. So this could be a big seller.

"Written by an award-winning author and Second Life expert with deep ties to the business community, The Entrepreneur's Guide to Second Life begins with an overview of the virtual world and its flourishing economy as well as the challenges it presents to entrepreneurs," we're told by the book promoters.

And by "deep ties to the business community," they're not kidding. Terdiman, for example, had Second Life creator Linden Lab CEO Phillip Rosedale on his resume until we pointed this out in public. In addition, Terdiman's wife works for a company that creates Second Life presences for other companies, and Terdiman has confessed to convincing CNET to build a shop in Sadville.

He's a one-man dynamo, although modest about his work.

"It's true, of course, that I've never been a successful Second Life entrepreneur, although since one of the categories I discuss in the book is making money blogging about SL or writing about it in some form, I guess I qualify at least a little bit in that regard," Terdiman writes on his blog. "And anyway, my role is journalist, not builder."

Keep telling yourself that and eventually someone else might believe it.

Anyone curious about the shape of Terdiman's next book need not look far.

The unbuilder recently penned a blog entry on the Pleo - a type of robotic pet. Beyond being as amazing as "the Segway," the product "just changes the game," "is hotly anticipated," "(is) such a game changer," "is so amazingly lifelike that it's hard not to treat like it's real," "is one amazing toy," "(is) totally charming," "hard not to believe it's alive," "is going to set the toy industry on its ear," "will blow away consumers," "is fantastic," and "will generate amazement."

Just in case you were confused by what Sadville thought of the product, he adds, "I love it, though, and I want one. I'm not sure what I would do with it, particularly because I'm pretty sure my cat would have harsh words for it. But here's hoping Pleo is available soon. I'm really looking forward to seeing how people react; I expect a collective dropped jaw. "

Er, you've got your collective dropped jaw already.

Is life imitating art with these lawsuits and publicist-turned-author? We sure hope not. ®

Register hack Ashlee Vance has just pumped out a new book that's a guide to Silicon Valley. The book starts with the electronics pioneers present in the Bay Area in the early 20th century and marches up to today's heavies. Want to know where Gordon Moore eats Chinese food, how unions affected the rise of microprocessors or how Fairchild Semiconductor got its start? This is the book for you - available at Amazon US here or in the UK here.

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