Theyjust announced a new access policy. If hte network starts to be overloaded (like it's been doing on the weekends lately) they're going to restrict logins to people who have premium accounts, or have some other financial relationship with the company (like accounts that have purchased money through the linden exchange.
Lots of discussion on the SL Educators list. What if you have a class meeting in SL and all of a sudden they kick in the restrictions and half of your class can't get online? Is SL less atrractive if you have to pay to use it (buy a premium account)?
Interesting questions. One of the coolest things about SL is that students can get started with no monetary investment. Whatever money they want to spend they can give to buy things in world; money would go to designers and builders and artists rather than to the folks at Linden Lab.
We'll have to see how the access problems work out. In the long run - Linden lab needs to figure out how to scale up - it may require a rewrite of the basic structure of the world. That will not be an easy task.
I'm still a big supporter of this virtual world. The opportunities still seem to outweigh the problems. Students can be media creators, and own the things they create. People get recognized for skills in SL that might not be recognized in their real world lives. There are concerts, ballets, lectures, live music - - and lots and lots of conversation. You just have to find what you like or start something on your own. To me - this is something worth pursuing.
I'm worried (heck - i just spent almost $4k of the school's money on SL) but not ready to cut and run yet. It's a limitation we'll have to deal with int he future. Like building restrictions, and figuring out who can schedule events - we'll just have to figure out how best to set up new accounts and how to communicate possible shut downs to new users. right now i think the problem is the unknown - we don't know how often it's going to happen or how long hte shutdowns will last. Exhale folks. Keep your fingers crossed. And enjoy SL.