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Real Problems for Virtual Rockefeller Center

Linden Lab faced more criticism Friday after struggling to get its Second Life virtual world back online after a scheduled outage for technical upgrades. The glitches affected several areas of the so-called metaverse and marred the launch of a virtual Rockefeller Center, believed to be the largest single concurrent event in Second Life history.

Second Life, the 3-D virtual world created by San Francisco-based Linden Lab, has become home to both individual users and big businesses. While residents are creating 3-D identities in order to design and sell goods in this virtual world for real money, corporations such as Dell (DELL), Toyota (TM) and Sun Microsystems (SUNW) are making a big push to gain traction in this burgeoning world.

Aimee Weber, who helped American Apparel establish an in-world storefront , and The Electric Sheep Company, a company that specializes in bringing real-world companies into Second Life, joined forces to develop a whopping 18 replicas of Rockefeller Center for General Electric's (GE) NBC Universal division. The famous destination in New York City came complete with holiday decorations, gift boxes and falling snow. In addition to the celebrated holiday tree, there are faithful representations of the famed ice-skating rink, the NBC Rainbow Room neon sign and a replica of the Top of the Rock restaurant.

But continued grid outages, as well as database issues following Linden's systemwide update, almost prevented the holiday tree lights from being lit.

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