PostHeaderIcon Second Life: Endorphin Rush Drug Fix

[Update: totally freaky-weird - Tateru Nino has posted an new article on the whole "first hour" thing here. Well - I just noticed it, I'll put it that way. - though this article of mine was written on Friday last week. /me hears Twilight Zone music in my head]

There has been a lot of commentary over the years about the retention of new users most, if not all virtual worlds and MMO's struggle with. Tateru Nino and others have written on this many times. It seems a pyramid is built where the base is the start resembling the many, many people reviewing the web site and working up to the top: the completion of that "first-hour" experience.

Egypt, April 2009

You know the routine: The 'base" being the first step: reviewing the web site information. Next step up: actually creating an account. Next: downloading the software, then installing that software, moving up the pyramid to actually fire it up, then login... then fiddle with the interface and seeing the world for the first time. And thus begins that 'crucial first hour'.

But it doesn't stop there.

The pyramid is bent, like the Sneferu's second pyramid in Egypt, affectionately nicknamed the "bent pyramid"; A very wide base that narrows as we climb higher. Then, we reach that point of downloading the software and actually logging-in. This is where I suspect the "bend" is located, where the numner of people dramatically falls-off. However, if you take it further still, beyond the 'crucial first hour', our pyramid is actually bent in the opposite direction: Extend the height of the pyramid to say two years beyond that first hour. It goes from a very wide base to a narrow size almost immediately. From there, the sides are very steep. And the majority of our pyramid is more like a spire. The point where it goes from being a pyramid and changes into a spire would be the conclusion of that first hour as people "fall away' steadily, but at a far more gradual pace.

If you consider the base to be the number of people investigating the Second Life web site, and the further up we go being the people that actually follow-through to then create an account, and continue on to download the viewer, then actually install it and fire it up and finally even to finally log-in to the grid...

Then make it past that crucial "first hour"... we have a 'new resident'.

Well, unless it's an alt.

PostHeaderIcon SL Changes Web Search, Screws Business Owners Over

Most Second Lifers have likely not used the web-based 'search' function for searching all things Second Life. Even though there has been quite the controversial ping-pong diatribe with regard to all the newest changes, including the new 'Adult' rating and search-result filtering efforts; traffic gaming and ranking in results; I. P. offenses (such as with recognized commercial logos and namesakes) and a whole-lotta other hoopla about it.

I, on the other hand don't partake in the shrill side of these changes, bashing Linden Lab directly or their policy changes and additions. You see, I clearly recognize and understand I am the guest in their house. Because of age or experience or both I have simply learned to adapt and 'go with the flow' making do with whatever I have to make-do with. In adapting I am referring to turning whatever the powers-that-be come-up with to my advantage wherever possible.

Surely you have noticed by now that Linden Lab has implemented their new web site look. I actually like it. It's interesting, it's new and fresh and I prefer the subdued colors more and it makes things a bit easier to read.

I don't really have any complaints or whines about any of it.

Except one.

PostHeaderIcon Attention Second Life Creators: Stop Causing Lag!

GeminiSecond Life is a wonderful virtual place to be. For those of us enthusiasts, it has to do with the content and lack of rules. Okay, allow me to qualify this statement: by 'lack of rules' I am not speaking of morality or anything like that. I am referring to what is commonly referred to as "code law" - what the computer code allows us to do.

In the case of Second Life, there is a lot of code-law, but I am referring to the lack of 'goals' and 'quests' and all that stuff. In other words: no levels to "level-up" to. Which brings us back to content.

Except for the virtual land we run around on, everything on the grid is user-created (yes, technically even the Linden builds). That means we start with a clean slate, a blank canvass and start creating as we choose. And because of this the variety of creative 'builds' is stunning, fascinating, and impossible to see all of it.

However, the down side to this also has to do with the way all content is created as we choose. You could, in simplistic terms refer to the Second Life grid as a three-dimensional web page. Okay, each sim could be a page, group of sims be a web site and so on. This is a good thing. This is a bad thing.

PostHeaderIcon "I'm sorry, I can't help staring..."

One of the fun things about Second Life, or anything Internet for that matter is the ability to present yourself any way you choose. Male, female, human, anthropomorphic, cyborg, robot, flora or fauna...

In Second Life, the thing that kinda-sorta irks 'experienced' users has mostly to do with those who choose to remain in their native human species and the wild variation of 'body shapes'. The first problem in this has to do with the shape editor ('appearance editor') - because the "measurements" don't correlate to anything we are familiar with as far as measurements go. The numbers are strictly static and (I surmise) "percentage-based" rather than anything easy to compare to. Yet the other measurements in world, specifically prim measurement is based on the metric system and easier to understand and relate to.

Secondly, most people don't really care about the level of detail with regard to their look. As long as "good enough" will suffice, that's all the effort they will put into it. So those who do pay attention to scale (myself included) try to correct our basic appearance in a way that allows everything else to 'fit' properly.

PostHeaderIcon Are Most People as Ignorant as They Appear?

Heeeello!I know the title of this post might seem insulting and abrasive - it's not my intent. It is simply stated matter-of-factly in a shotgun burst to everyone about everyone in general terms. No, I am not trying to project a 'greater-than-thou' attitude or that 'I am always right, regardless of whether you are or not.'

However, it never fails to humor me in a ridiculous way when I see what appears to me to be common-sense being questioned over and over again, even though the answer to that question is right in front of the questioner's nose in plain view.

The problem is in how lazy and gullible people are. Lazy in that they simply refuse to do their own research on things and actually make a good-faith effort to understand anything (as in actually comprehend things.) Gullible in that they will believe anything people say to them without citing or referencing anything - hence the other half of the lack of research.

PostHeaderIcon Making Money Golden Rule

It's true in Second Life as it is in first life: making money requires the golden rule to be observed and practiced. Unfortunately, you don't have much control over the golden rule; only the ability to influence it.

In my last post I discussed how most merchants in Second Life do not properly utilize the tools at their disposal, specifically the search tools and how they will appear in the results of a search, if at all.

A 'merchant' is anyone with anything to sell. That 'thing' is your product, which could be a creation, scripting, service — whatever. In order to sell your product the "golden rule" must apply. That golden rule is simply a triumvirate of requirements that must be met before your potential customer parts with their money in trade with you for your product.

PostHeaderIcon SL Search: Any Keyword = Keyword Spam

You have likely by now read the news about how Linden Lab is revamping policies and terms of use at XSL (XStreet SL, a.k.a. SL Exchange, a.k.a. SLX) to bring it in-line with the Content Management Roadmap.
Certainly it was planned all along, but now the Lab has finally updated the X Street SL policies to bring them in-line with in-world policies

[From Blackthorne inSL™, Ker-Punk!]

In other words, Linden Lab is finally going to take a little responsibility at enforcing some of the rules they've been harping on us all these years. Good for them. Of course there is a long thread of talkbacks (a.k.a. "comments" for all you blogodicts out there) and one in-particular that caught my eye - and I won't post the name of the poster, but rather simply repeat their statement:
Can you clarify use of keywords? When the search was revamped a couple of years ago, I seem to recall the Linden giving advice to business owners on placing ads, to use proper keywords to make their ads stand out and get more hits.

Here is the AD to the store we have in our sim.

High quality low priced Kitchen living room bedroom couch sofa lamp table entertainment center rug carpet chair animated bed art plants curtain drapes vase pottery dresser

Is this keyword spam?

The bold emphasis is mine. That is their advertisement in-world verbatim (according to them) - I ask you to read it again.

What is wrong with that picture?

PostHeaderIcon Second Life; Derangement Relief?

Been busy, so I haven't been posting as often as I'd like here. The first requirement is a subject matter that actually interests me (either to debunk falsehoods with facts or sheer curiosities) - and I must say that in my life-experience there simply isn't a whole lot I could see or know of that would offend or shock me.

Important notice: part of the subject of this article may be offensive or even repugnant to some as I use the subject of vorarephilia as my main example.

Image: "Hannibal Lecter" character of "Silence of the Lambs" - a vorarephile (Anthony Hopkins,) which is the fetish of cooking and eating human flesh, often while still alive.

I've seen it all. No, really, I have. If not 'all' then enough that anything new I run across will be just that: 'new', but rarely ever surprising or shocking. And that's just through my adventures in First Life.

Second Life, however, is an entirely different beast. Not different in what goes on in-world, but rather how freely and transparently it happens. Even today Second Life could be thought-of as a wild wilderness or 'rough country' like the 1800's of the western United Sates where there was little law and practically anything goes, often without consequence.

I have been saying here for a long time: rue the day when Linden Lab drops the hammer on 'acceptable' public display and access of 'deviant' (my word) activities and, in some cases, mere display. Thus the new continent of Zindra (a.k.a. Ursula) and the requirement that all "adult-rated" content be allowed only there and the redefinition of the 'official' terms "Mature-rated" and "PG-rated" as they relate to the Second Life Grid.

Many have shouted out in shrill form, angry that Linden Lab is doing this. Others angry not at what is happening, but how it is being implemented. Most simply don't care. I think it's a good idea and probably one that is very late in coming. "Zoning" of the grid is perhaps something that should have been implemented long ago, but Linden Lab tried to remain as hands-off as much as possible. But now, their hand is forced as the 'world' evolves and more conservative users join the grid.

Why is sex and violence (especially sex of a deviant nature) so prevalent across the Second Life grid to begin with? Because we can.

Allow me to elaborate...

PostHeaderIcon Roadmap - Please Don't Get Lost

Snapshot_006I always have said that I stand behind most of what Linden Lab does regarding ideological policy and "code law". I have harped time and again that employees of, and Linden Lab itself as a whole are not tyrants (though a few likely are or could easily be cast into that category.)

I also have harped on the fact that Linden Lab turns not on a dime, but rather more like the Titanic or other behemoth, whether it really is or not. This is due to the nature of relationship Linden Lab has created and maintains with it's customers.

They are not wholly transparent (and people actually will whine and bitch about this,) but they are far more transparent and accommodating than (choose your country) your Federal Government, your Automobile manufacturer even the very ISP you use to connect to the internet proper.

Case in point:
Intellectual property infringement is a serious matter, and we trust that those developing copying tools will view it that way. The penalties for copyright infringement under U.S. law include damages in amounts up to $30,000.00 USD per work and in cases of willful infringement up to $150,000.00 USD per work.

[From Official Second Life Blog]

PostHeaderIcon The BuilderBot Question « Prim Perfect

Prim Perfect is hosting a discussion on the "Builderbot Question" today, August 4th. My first reaction is "what exactly is the question?". And secondly, "what would the answer possibly be?"

Prim Perfects blog entry:
In the next edition of Designing Worlds, on August 4, we’re going to look at the whole BuilderBot question. We’ve lined up some interesting people to talk from both sides of the issue and we hope you’ll join us in our Northpoint studio on Tuesday, August 4 at 2pm SLT for the live panel discussion.

[From Prim Perfect]

Strui, YOU ARE D-E-A-D!

[Update: link to today's post about the discussion]

I'm sorry but I suppose I am in the minority of people who, although concerned about any copybot 'technology', just feels such discussions are really a waste of time and effort. They build-up false hopes, tend to create abrasion and rows and, in the end, often prove to be a hugely wasted effort with a lot of hard feelings left in their wake.

It is important to me that you understand I am not in any way detracting from the effort Betina and company are attempting here. I am only stating that far more often that not, the proclamation above is what prevails.

So, my reply at Prim Perfect was rather verbose, as I always tend to be no matter how hard I try to keeps things simple and concise: