PostHeaderIcon It's Not Your Owner's Collar Anymore

When asked 'what do you do in Second Life'? - a bevy of answers will be returned based largely on who it is you ask. When asked "what is there to do in Second Life?" - again, a multitude of different answers. There are the common ones we all know of already: Build things, Visit places, role play.


When it comes to role-playing, most will think of the common genres such as fantasy, vampires, medieval, middle-ages. There are very large communities of the Roman Empire and everyone's favorite subject: Gor. It seems there is so much "role play" that involves collars and leashes and latex and leather. In fact, if you search places for "Role Play" or "Roleplay" the majority of results always seem to involve Gor or BDSM, then more regarding some sex club or something.

After which you will find a lot of "Medieval" and then of course there are the requisite"Vampires", "Star Wars" and "Star Trek". And any time you see "Fantasy" it can go a lot of different ways, primarily leaning toward "Faeries and fantasy" beings or toward the indescribably 'bedroom' genres. However, there are other communities rarely spoken-of, a little harder to find (if you aren't sure what you're looking for) and yet have been around since early-on in the life of the grid. I have read about them and not really given them much thought until recently.

Playing a 16th century profiteer puts me into the middle ages as for theme and this is a time rife with piracy, slavery, sword-play and political maneuvering. In order to prepare myself for my newfound role, I had to equip myself in the appropriate costume and regalia and this included a "tall ship" - you know the kind: two or three tall masts with all manner of sails.

There are a lot of tall ships to be had in SL, the most common is the 'static' decoration you will find all over the grid - in fact most Gorean and Medieval role-playing sims force you to land on one when entering their sims. These are simple prim "props" that do nothing but look good. Then there are "vehicles" that you drive, like a car or an airplane. But these aren't much fun for "tall ships" or sail boats in general because it just isn't very realistic at all - hit the wrong button on your keyboard and you'll swear Peter Pan dropped some pixie-dust onto your sails. It's fine for motorboats and yachts, though.

But then there are those that actually sail - using the wind on the grid (you do know there is wind on the grid, don't you?) These are physical vehicles scripted to react to the wind simulated in Second Life, meaning that you really must learn to use the wind in order to move about - and try not to get stuck in the "irons angle" (turned into the wind where you can't move.)

So I purchased a couple ships from TSS and SPD. The real sailing kind. I've read about the sailing community but had never really taken much interest in it. But I hadn't known there was a Pirate role-playing sub-community. Second Life has become interesting for me again.

One of the problems with the grid in it's current state the way I see it is the congregation of like-minded people, especially in role-play genres. There is a lot of water to sail on in SL, but it can be difficult to find others to sail with - or so I thought. It turns out the sailing and pirate communities are quite active. So I joined the "Pirates of SL" group to keep up on notices. Eventually I might actually join the group (of people) proper and perhaps make some new friends and acquaintances.

I remember reading about the new Linden Lab-sponsored "Blake Sea" - a series of a dozen or two sims, primarily water-based put onto the grid specifically for the sailing community. So I plop my Corsair, Ketch or Galleon into the water and enjoy a leasurely sail exploring the area - and there really is a lot to see and explore. Of course my cannon must remain silent through these excursions lest I be reported for "griefing". Then this news comes across the wire:

From MarkTwain White, United Sailing Sims Director, Captain of the Blake Sea
An Open Letter to SL Pirates and Ironclad Sailors,
My name is MarkTwain White. I am the official liaison between the United Sailing Sims and Linden Lab in regards to the Blake Sea area of Second Life.
The United Sailing Sims (made up of nine sim owners) are working in conjunction with LL to provide the Blake Sea area of SL. The principal purpose of the Blake Sea is to provide support for furthering the development of SL sailing not only in a dedicated area, but also throughout all of Second Life. The secondary purpose of the Blake Sea is to provide activity area for all SL groups needing access to large unencumbered areas for marine activities (and aviation for that matter).
A number of pirates have contacted me regarding the possiblities of pirate battles in the Blake Sea area. Thanks to all of you that I have meet with or chatted with concerning Blake Sea pirate activities. I wish I could contact each of you directly in order to update you on the future of pirate activities in the Blake Sea area. Unfortunately the notecard I was maintaining that listed those interested parties has been eaten by the LL inventory system (I know, I know, what is the likelihood that SL would ever lose inventory items, right?).
Therefore I am sending out this open letter to what pirates and Ironcladists can identify in world and asking you to pass it along to the leaders of your various pirate groups.
In the very near future a section of the United Sailing Sims, presently occupied by the Lilliput and ZATZAi sims will be converted into "CONTESTED WATER SIMS" to support pirate and ironclad combat activity. In addtion to that, four Blake Sea Sims will be designated "CONTESTED WATER" sims as well.
These CONTESTED WATER sims will operate under a strict rules of engagement. Armed vessels will only be allowed to fire on other armed vessels or parcels designated by the community as "contested", i.e. combat enabled. Rezz and object entry will be turned on in these sims.
You can read all about the Contested Water sims here:
For those who enjoy 'fighting' in SL, whether be as a futuristic soldier, combat in the middle ages or even attacking a city in Gor, it all comes down to a bit of excitement in the 'up-close and personal' melee. I'm not of that sort. However, the strategic requirements of ship-to-ship battle with cannons and sails... now that's a real challenge.

Just when you think you've seen and done it all in SL, stop and look around. There always is something new that will strike your fancy for certain.

PostHeaderIcon Freebies No Longer As Evil As Bots

...but only barely are freebies better than bots. They are still eeevil no matter what, primarily because they create ridiculous entitlement attitudes, which are often rude.

Shopping in Second Life is seriously hit-or-miss because the entire grid is like one gigantic strip-mall, infesting the virtual landscape the same way those pesky "Borg" infested planet earth for a fleeting moment in that Star Trek movie called "First Contact".

The entire grid is, for all practicality one giant wall-to-wall bazaar where everyone is pitching anything and everything. No matter where you turn, there is the vendor, often with loud images (sometimes of rather blush-worthy imagery barely suitable for sailors on shore-leave.)

However, with all this 'competition' for your attention and scrawny Linden Dollar, it might even be considered amazing that we don't "window-shop" as much as we might.

Ciaran Laval wrote a piece over at Your 2nd Place about how malls are closing-up because the merchants are leaving because traffic is falling like a rock because the mall-owners have removed their bots. (To clarify, Ciaran is describing  a couple particular malls he knows of - not in general 'across the grid'.) I have proclaimed the bots were the first problem that begot all the others. Ciaran feels I am missing the point as 'while the bots were there, so was "real" foot-traffic, and now that the bots are gone, so is the foot-traffic, and thus traffic ranking falls and so the merchants leave'. In the words are our great fore-forefathers:
Of course we each see things from our own perspective, so I will rebut Ciaran by stating that he is misguided and misinformed (from my perspective): the point being that those real people who were there were not "window-shopping" with money burning a hole in their virtual underwear. 49 of 50 of them were there because they teleported directly in looking for a particular merchant's wares. They certainly weren't there because of the bots.

The merchants were there because they were hoodwinked into thinking there was genuine traffic at that location (and they were wrong for assuming very many were window-shoppers to begin with.) Since the bots are gone, these foolish merchants think the mall has become unpopular, so they leave (most likely still unaware they were tricked into thinking the traffic was genuine, and still unaware the wool was pulled over their eyes with bots.)

When the merchants leave, there are fewer merchants. Of course the "real" traffic will diminish: there are fewer destination merchants that people are teleporting to.

This is serious "duh" deductive-reasoning.

The fact of the matter is that 99% of all shoppers will use search in-world or XSL and then teleport directly to the merchant they believe carries what they are looking for - not waltz around some virtual mall just because there is traffic there. Thus, malls are moot. Bots are evil and actually create a cascading failure (as described clearly in Ciaran's post - linked-to above.) To Ciaran and other merchants of that mall: you were hoodwinked (and you are still hoodwinked thinking disappearance of previous traffic bots are causing the people to not come to that mall.) I don't mean this in a bad way. Some people can put one and one together and still come up with "three".

Of course this is not a "black and white" issue. There will be some truth to what Ciaran describes, but that is a minority portion of the big picture. Of all shoppers who appear at one of these malls,  perhaps 2% to 5% of them will actually take the time to "browse" around, and certainly what got them there to begin with is almost always one particular merchant (unless it is a role-play or other specific "destination" sim, etcetera.)

People haven't stopped coming to the mall because the bots are gone and parcel traffic count is down. They have stopped coming to the mall because the merchants they are looking for are not there now.

Searching for product to buy is painstaking at best in Second Life, both in-world and on XStreet SL. This is why we will gravitate to what and who we already know, meaning that when we finally make a purchase that we really like, we will return to that merchant time and again because they are a known quantity.

All bots do is slow-down the shopping process and making the experience less than desirable and they clog sim resources and suck-up the same bandwidth I'm trying to use to rez product pictures on the vendors of the merchant I want to buy from. (This is why in my book "Successful Business in Second Life", I oh-so-strongly recommend all merchants set-up shop in parcel where traffic is the least!) As for returning to our favorite vendors, the problem occurs when we buy them out. Meaning we have purchased all the stuff they sell that interests us.

So we are forced to go on the search. This is where, even though freebies are the evil-incarnate scourge of the grid, they can come-in handy: as a resource in the shopping process. The blog "Themed inSL" is based on the idea that there are quality freebies to be had on the grid, a means to equip and outfit yourself on a budget. The one good thing about this blog is that it might be the one single break these creators are trying to get by offering freebies to begin with: generate interest that turn into actual sales.

Most people who gather freebies rarely, if ever turn into purchasers. Thus, the effort and kindness of these creators goes unrewarded for the majority of time. Return on investment probably isn't very good at all, unless the freebies are of the normal product lines and either considered old and placed on "clearance" or only temporarily put into the freebie box.

However, even those of us who believe the freebie never should have been invented can use the inevitable freebie bazaar to our advantage by following such blogs as "Themed inSL" - because it is a way to see and discover new creators creating what we often find ourselves frustrated in searching for - all without the waste of teleport time and rezzing frustrations. Specifically, the kind of thing "Themed" is covering: role-play-specific content. And the best part: none of that crazy, stupid, ignorant fashionista drama nonsense that all the freaks feed-on. Just plain, simple, straight-forward and pithy "here's what it is and what you get". Nothing more, nothing less — it's as though the author has some kind of empathic pity on all us guys!

Everyone makes dresses and jeans and shoes and silks and veils and... you get the idea. However, as someone role-playing a 16th-century-era Profiteer (simply a pirate by another name) - I need specific styles and searching for them is a pain in the backside. Along comes Themed inSL - a blog about freebies of this very nature.

And I want to be clear about something: I am not looking for the freebies at all. But rather looking at the quality of what is featured so I can "shop" for new creators who create the quality and styles I am looking for. I will be able to spot creators new to me that I simply must go check-out with regard to their 'regular' line of products as I can judge the quality of their work through that blog. No more rezzing all over the grid on the hunt, dealing with stupid bot slogging my bandwidth and rezza-rezz-rezz with each teleport, wasting time waiting for vendor images to appear and so on.

(Hint to all you merchants who use picture-changing vendors: find the place with the least traffic. You'll be doing your potential customers a huge favor.)

Yes, freebies are still evil. But in this one case, because there is no stopping them anyway, I will use that evil to my own advantage. I've added Themed inSL to the blogroll at the bottom of this page. And here is a direct link for your convenience.

Now, as a sideline notice: I have pre-written 15 selling tips for all merchants who sell products in Second Life and they will start appearing here beginning November 2nd. They already are posted, but scheduled to appear every Tuesday and Thursday at 6 a.m. Pacific time. These are specific techniques you can use to improve business and all are summaries of many of the techniques I cover in my book (linked above). The post titles will begin with "SLST #01:" ...and through "SLST #15:" - and these will be pithy 500-word or less posts. Two or three-minute reads.

So, no matter the state of business for you, follow these Second Life Selling Tips and I guarantee business will improve over whatever it is right now. Topics will include how to optimize for Product Art, Traffic, Marketing, Referrals, Item Permissions, Vending, Word-of-Mouth generation, Pricing Techniques, Customer Care, ...okay, okay - I don't want to give it all away here. Just keep your eye on this space for the next fifteen posts to this blog (there may be additional non-tips posts between.)

PostHeaderIcon Stroker Strokes and Not Much Else What do Barrack Serpentine and Stroker Obama have in common? Practically everything:
  • They both love attention and will make over-the-top alarmist accusations and statements to get it.
  • They both have practically no skills whatsoever, so they shovel shinola.
  • Both will do whatever they can to rile-up their own constituents and slam-down anyone and everyone who disagrees, no matter their religion, national origin, race, color, or sex. Especially if your political affiliation is Republican or your surname is "Linden".
We've all heard of and know about copybot and ripping viewers and all that nonsense. In fact, it's old news now. However, Mr. Stroker Serpentine still jumps up on his estrogen-filled hysterically-emotional soap-box to shout rhetoric and diatribe to his faithful worshipers.

Over at SL-Universe (which is really just a drama-filled gathering place for the mostly loud-mouthed unreasonably hysterical,) Mr. Serpentine has gone for too long without any attention so he turns on the purple-blooded-bleeding-heart violin fodder:
My day just went to shit. If you are a Content Creator and faint of heart, I suggest you read no further.
First of all, are we supposed to care?
As for reading further, are you serious? You should really write for the National Enquirer. No, wait, better yet: the Alphaville Herald. Seriously, dude, you need to GTFU (Grow The Eff Up) and take charge of your own destiny rather than whine about crap you have no control over - oh but wait, you do have control over it all but you choose not to take that control. I'll get into that a bit later.

Mr. Dramatic goes on to say:
This afternoon I was IM'd by a friend who alerted me to receiving a full perm copy of one of my SexGen Beds. A model that is only 3 months old. I immediately teleported to the site and found that indeed inside a "Gold Nugget" hunt object was one of my beds FULL perm.
Wait, a "model" only three months old? Are you referring to the prim-work? Because the only thing worth a single Linden Dollar I have personally seen come from your company was the scripting and animations - and even those have fallen way behind the competition over the last couple years. In my own personal opinion, your prim-work looks like it was all created by two-week-old n00bs.

To be fair: I am referring to what I have personally seen, which was two years ago, and it was such overpriced junk I never returned since. I am of the opinion SexGen anything is way over-rated and the actual quality-to-price ratio is a bit out of whack. But that's my own opinion.

Anyway, my own deductive reasoning suggests what Stroker-who-strokes-flames is referring to is very likely the same bootleg box contents that was thrown around the grid and earned about 50 account bans from the grid. In other words: it really is old news. Get out much at all, Mr. Serpentine?
I looked up the profile of the owner and he was PIOF and 6 weeks new. He even had his RL pic in his profile. I assumed he was unaware of what he had done. I contacted him and he was very apologetic. He told me he had received a "package" at BURNING MAN that was named "LOADS OF SHITS".
So far all hearsay and we won't get into how first life pictures may or may not be. However, this all seems pretty legitimate. Okay, so submit an Abuse Report and let Linden Lab check their logs. I suspect your estrogen-infused and unstable thought-process has you all seeing pink... er, I mean red. So you feel the uncontrollable urge to begin your witch-hunt.

Ironic that Halloween is just around the corner, so why not?
He sent me a copy of it and I immediately AR'd the creator. I had also AR'd the original nugget owner before IM'ing him. I do not believe he was complicit.This box and all of the boxes inside of boxes are copyable.
That was bright. A.R. yourself? Or do you mean the creator of the box?
The object was *CREATED* by Damen Hax.
Perhaps I should go to your point of sale in-world and grab whatever I can - you know, informational notecards, any kind of box (freebie or whatever) and so on. Then, put some of my stuff in it and pass a copy to an alt or a friend... then have it passed it around the grid. And when I "discover" my stuff has been stolen (ZOMG!!!) and I get all emotionally unstable and vitriolic, I'll pull the creator from that box (Oh, gee! It's Stroker Serpentine: the thief!) and Abuse Report him immediately, and... and... and file a ticket! And... and... and... you know, file a lawsuit! And then I'll go to SLU forums and spew bullshit so I can start a witch-hunt against that box creator!

Remember the hassles Gwyneth Lewellyn had to deal with because someone used (re-purposed) a notecard she created? Get a clue, knuckle-head. You know very well the only way to find-out who did what is through Linden Lab log files. Yes, you keep-on stroking the flames, Stroker. All you are doing is showing your amateur, adolescently emotional thought-process. You're supposed to be this "big player" in Second Life, right?

Then instead of suing Linden Lab and flaming the fire by riling-up the throngs with pitchforks and torches, how about you actually invest some of this 'big money' you're making into a system that actually protects your crap. Er, I mean your 'quality' items that you broke sweat over in the creation of.

The concept is damned simple and is actually done already in SL for XPose scripts and other higher-quality things:

Someone actually purchases your junk.. I mean high-quality product. That avatar name and UUID is logged into a database. The scripts inside simply check the database for "authenticity" when rezzed and perhaps once every week. If not "authenticated" then the scripts go dormant, defunct, delete themselves, whatever. As for gifting: simple, there are tracker scripts available (I use them myself) that will report a transfer along with the name and UUID of the previous owner and new owner. There is even a script that will protect the contents of no-copy prims by deleting all those contents as soon as the first attempt is made to copy the first item out of said prim into inventory.

GTFU. Get a clue. Stop relying on Linden Lab to secure your own junk - a job you should be doing for yourself. Put your tons of funny-money cash where your vitriolic loud-mouth is, Stroker, and actually try to be proactive instead of reactive like a whiny, crybaby three-year-old who can't have his cookie and eat it, too.

As for sales slumps: There is the 'down' economy, meaning people are a bit more discriminating in their purchases and your stuff certainly isn't the best that can be had for the price. It comes down to simple competition. Back 'in the day' you were one of the very few. Sales were good as there wasn't really anyone else selling what you sell. Now that there is competition, you are having difficulty holding your own because there is a lot of better, less-expensive stuff out there. So how about you take the idea I just gave you, and market it. Subscription-based security for any serious creator. You'd make a killing and people would actually consider you smart and innovative again, instead of the whiny, crybaby you've turned into.

Of course, that would only work if those who subscribe to the idea were utterly stupid enough to take me up on my offer.

I know there will be many who will shout-out "but this hasn't happened to you, dimwit!" Actually it has. There are bootlegged, full-perm copies of some of my best products. Does it hurt? Absolutely. Have I filed tickets and abuse reports and all that stuff? Yeppers.

But rather than try to start a stupid trolling firestorm, I've taken that experience and adapted how I do things to help beef-up the security in my products, double-check everything before packaging and test, test, test. Even all that only goes so far.

The difference is I don't take anything Second Life so seriously as to be ulcer-inducing. I'm not that stupid.

Strokers violin-fodder is here: The Thieves Motherload - SLUniverse Forums

PostHeaderIcon All Users: Please Tell Us You Are breaking The Rules. Please?

If you have been following the Slogosphere the last couple days (of course you have, you're reading this SLog, aren't you?) then you are surely aware that Linden Lab has added a new preference to your Second Life account via your preferences page at Second Life dot com.

This new preference is something Jack Linden mentioned way back when in his posted announcing the policy threatening all SL Residents of being banned from search results if they "game traffic" via the use of "scripted agents" (a.k.a. "bots") or "camping devices". In that post, Jack mentioned the idea if allowing user to set a preference in their 'bot' accounts that would identify them as bots (group-inviter, clothing models, etc.) - and therefor not count in system traffic statistics.

At first blush, this is a great idea.

I noticed the original OSLB (Official Second Life Blog) post that finally announces the availability of this new preference early-on and no one had yet asked the question that suddenly ran through my mind:
Oct 21, 2009 1:25 PM
Ari Blackthorne says:
Does this mean I can set my regular every-day use normal account to also act as a "scripted agent" and then everywhere I go my activity will NOT count toward their traffic - even though I am using the account 'normally'?
I know it sounds like I am being sarcastic - but it's a serious question! Really! (I am genuinely curious)
Of course at this point nothing happens when you set this preference, other than some field in the database is turned from a 0 into a 1. How Linden Lab will eventually use that field is anyone's guess right now, though Surname Lindens have been suggesting or reacting to suggestions that these accounts be visually identifiable on the grid proper. Some suggestions have been to change the color of name tags and even add additional text to them, much the same way as the Emerald and other after-market viewers do to identify the viewer a user is connected to the grid with.

But right now, it's still just an ineffectual exercise, as Tateru Nino makes clear at Massively:
"[...] it's sort of like being asked 'Would all citizens who have firearms and do not use them to break the law, please leave your name at your local police-station.' That is, there doesn't seem anything actually wrong with the idea, but you've got to wonder why it is being asked at this time."
Some of the comments that appeared after mine are fascinating as well, things I admittedly didn't think of, like this one that was posted immediately in answer to mine:
Mackenzie Ariel says in response to Ari Blackthorne:
That would be great Ari - not only can the cheaters pad their traffic with ILLEGAL bots and alts that they WON'T register but they could register themselves so that any place they go they won't be counted as traffic for someone elses place. They get THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS!!
Yes, this one did occur to me and Ms. Mackenzie makes the most important point of all: the cheaters will cheat always. The preference is voluntary and thus, they the cheaters won't set it. As for some applying my question to their own accounts, Tateru gives what is among the best reasons for doing this:
[...] teachers and site staff would like their own time on parcels not to get tangled up with actual traffic figures from visitors, students and guests, so that their own traffic metrics are more useful to them.
Again, I would refer them to a "greeter" or other traffic-counting device as they are more flexible, many able to ignore the owner and anyone on a "white list" and some even able to count the length of time a visitor stays along with other data.

Ooh, and then there was this:
Ceka Cianci says in response to Mackenzie Ariel:
The thing i would see being a problem with people setting their main accounts they use as a scripted bot and going to other places is this..If you are indicated as a bot with some sort of tag that comes with the identifying proccess..It is going to be pretty easy to spot you out in my business..People are gonna be like.. What the heck is this bot doing that i don't own walking around my store for?
Maybe it's a copybot hehehe..Ban hammer it and get it out of here!! Spread the word this bot is out roaming stores..
Okay that's a real good 'yikes' factor. Then  there are comments suggesting the ability to 'ban' these bot accounts from entering parcels (as part of the parcel preferences) as there is no reason for a bot to be traveling around the grid, save for those "land-bots" that run around buying and reselling virtual land. I actually concur with this. There is no legitimate reason a genuine bot should come to my place.

Of course there are the boneheaded traffic-gamers who try to operate under the guise of "group-inviter" or "models" (what the hell reason is a bot needed to model furniture for? If I want to see what poses are included, I'll use the furniture myself. Obvious traffic-gamers.) who are now splitting hairs over the term "scripted agent". Not only are they laughable, but also quite deeply pathetic.

Warning...dip-shit alert:
Phil Deakins says:
"Scripted agents" is a very poor term to use for what Jack possibly means. So poor, in fact, that many store models aren't scripted at all - they are just on poseballs. For instance, I have 4 demo models in my store. They are on poseballs on furnutire, and people can use the furniture menus to see the animations that are in it - the models perform the animations. They are not "scripted agents" - they are not scripted at all, and could never be reasonably described as such. They do fit some people's idea of bots, especially since they are logged in using OpenMetaverse but they could be logged in on viewers and be just like any other agent because the keyboard would be manned. (That how they used to be)
So it's not altogether clear what Jack intends to mean by "scripted agents". It's clear what scripted agents are but it's not clear if he intends that other agent types are included.
Wait... are you serious, Phil? Do you really assume everyone on the grid and the Surname Lindens in-particular are that stupid? I hope people who see your set-up choose to TP away and spread the word how shady and unscrupulous you really are.

The simple fact of the matter is that gamers will game no matter what. This comment, pithy and to the point says it all:
Itazura Radio says:
/me waits patiently for the first person who decides to make a bot army so they can plant them around their competitor's sim to max it out without adding to their traffic.
 /me sighs.

True. So true.

The problem, as many have been saying since the beginning of SL time is that there is a traffic count appearing is search result listings to begin with. All Linden Lab needs do is remove that statistic from participating in the ranking or sorting of the search results. It's that simple, really.

One way to do it is to leave things status quo - just don't show the traffic number in the listings. Keep that number private by only allowing it to be displayed in the "about Land" widget. That way, the number itself won't be a major influential factor in the search result listings and these traffic gamers might actually ease-up on their efforts. Yes, they still will game traffic, but it will be far more difficult for them as they cannot see everyone else's traffic via a simple search result list.

Hey... that's a good idea. Maybe I should put in a JIRA project suggesting that. Nah - too many JIRA projects, it will get lost. But I think I will make that suggestion in the thread right now!

/me bails on you,, leaving you standing where you are as he runs full-steam toward the OSLB to post a comment reply...

Even though I spotted the original Linden Lab blog post and commented long before I saw Tateru's article, I want to give her credit for the original story:

source: Second Life users can flag accounts as bots, to no effect - Massively

PostHeaderIcon More Knee-jerk Fodder from Linden Lab

broad st blueSheesh. Okay, Linden lab throws out a couple blog posts that as expected cause the Second Life Universe to either quake in it's boots or cause panic among the system-gamers. What else is new? Surely you've heard or read by now that Linden Lab will be reviewing their 'after market' viewer "policies' soon and, according to many bloggers (and wrongly so) you will be banned if caught using one that is not "approved"!


Please people, get an effing grip, will you? Hell, even the Rezzable folks are soiling their pants:
We have been working away to get perms implemented in the release version of BuilderBot. It seems to work ok, but there are some session issues that are a bit tweaky. In fact we sent a copy of the pre-release application over to Jack at LL last night. We would like to be among the first to have registered status for SL. There have been a lot of tech issues getting this to run smoothly -- makes us wonder if LL isn't messing around with something somewhere to block 3rd party applications completely. [emphasis mine. —Ari]
Good for you, Rezzable for actually getting a clue that you need to implement permissions checks. How, oh how did you ever figure-out that it is the only way to placate the shrill, vocal masses at large? As for the rest of this quote from Rezzable, note this part of the statement: "...makes us wonder if LL isn't messing around with something somewhere to block 3rd party applications completely."

Are you serious? First, Linden Lab will have to figure a way of authenticating viewers and that includes finding a way to identify spoofed viewers. The Neil Life viewer is a variation of the Emerald source code and reports itself as Emerald. So if the Emerald viewer becomes "approved" what's to keep Neil Life from "ambulance-chasing"?

I just don;t see it happening. The following statement is what causes me to serious roll on the floor laughing out loud like I were watching a classic Mel Brooks movie for the first time:
LL's latest threat to kill accounts that use "unapproved" viewers has also stopped our testing on the SL grid for BuilderBot. No one, rightly so, wants to give LL a reason to delete their account (especially if they can copy their own stuff off the grid)
[From Update on BuilderBot Release | Rezzable]

What is it with people taking so much of what Linden Lab says out of context? I am absolutely convinced that most bloggers (no matter what they blog about) and all complete imbeciles when it comes to reporting things like this. Linden Lab will not be killing any accounts over this stuff. Get a grin and while you're at it: a clue.

In the official blog post, Cyn Linden states:
When our revised policy goes into effect, any viewer containing functionality that can be used to impede our efforts to manage Second Life will not be tolerated.
Not tolerating something is a state of mind, not an activity. So, Linden Lab, if you won't "tolerate it", what ever shall you do?
We will create new guidelines and policies outlining the standards that third party viewers must meet in order to connect to our platform, as well as tools and programs to help the developers of third party viewers and the wider community learn about and comply with those guideline.
Okay, a "guideline" is not law. it is not a rule. it is a...well, guide line. As in 'try to stay within the lines as you scribble your crayon." In other words, Linden lab is setting policies that they are asking viewer developers to follow and these developers will know they are following the policies if they follow and to not go astray of the guidelines.
Hedge heads - Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2009Policies are good. They are effective and tell everyone what they must do. Or else... I know for a fact that policies work because Linden lab has, back in April set the No-Gaming-Traffic policy! It means that if you use Bots or "camping" devices to game traffic scores, then... then... well.. OH! Yes, of course! Then you will be: removed from search results!

How drastic!

Of course, even though the policy has been in effect for half a year, perceivable results are non-existent. Thus, Linden lab "policies", as you can see, carry a lot of weight with the population of the virtual world and the grid proper.

Oh! As for all these bloggers being complete imbeciles with regard to what Linden Lab is saying and what they are reporting:
Residents who use third party viewers with the functionality described above to violate our Terms of Service or Community Standards, will be warned and then suspended from the service. [Emphasis mine. —Ari]
All of you who report on this Linden lab blog post and even once use the term "ban" or "kill" in the same sentence as "account" all need to sue your school. They may have taught you to read, but you failed at comprehension. A suspension is not a ban.

And this goes for the third-party viewers and the accounts of people using them. Because too many people with simple educations and lazy minds who can't comprehend to save their own lives shout-out the wrong message proclaiming it to be Linden lab's words, Linden lab must then issue an update to the original post:
***10/21/09 UPDATE***
Hey all, as stated in the original post, we support an open platform. We've been receiving feedback from many in the development community that have interpreted yesterday's post as an attempt to ban all 3rd Party Viewers from Second Life, but this is not the case. We wish to take proactive steps...
Translation: "All you dip-shits who can't read what is written and insist on reading between the lines when there is nothing there, don't know the definitions of the simplest of words we use in order to actually be clear and concise, were all wrong and need to stop your shrill rhetoric by putting words into our mouths, and you wonder why we don;t like to communicate with all you idiots at all."

Now, as for the new "set your account to report as a Scripted Agent" blog post is another hilarious concept that I'll write about at another time. But, suffice it to say, these announcements from Linden Lab are intended to placate the whiners and crybabies with the loudest mouths across the grid.

art: Paul Gentile; Lee Howel

PostHeaderIcon Try To Have Faith In Your Customers. Please?

The whole copybot thing is really a non issue except for some creators and the count of those is microscopic when taken into account the 'big picture' of the Second Life grid. However, there are many who express childish emotional knee-jerk reactions at the very mention of copybot or the misnomer: "copybot viewer". Many, if not most of these people are needlessly suffering stress-inducing panic-mode because sales are down. Some will say "way down". However, they aren't taking many things into consideration.

For 99.98% of you merchants and creators across the SL grid, sales are not 'down' because of copybot or these ripping-viewers (viewers that "rip" prims and textures like "ripping" music from a cd.) For the microscopic minority of you: perhaps. And that's only when the rippers turn around and resell your stuff - which is only temporary if you apply your DMCA rights and do so properly and seriously.

The truth is sales are down for many because of several reasons, but primarily it's because people don't want to buy your stuff. Or, they don't know your stuff is available to buy. Put simply: your stuff must be worth the price. Hell, your stuff must be worth 'ripping' even. I can easily attest to this as when I had the ripping-viewer I spoke of previous. I am an honest person (and have far too much to risk going about doing such things) - looking around, most of what I see in SL isn't even worth the effort, to be perfectly truthul about it.

We are coming out of Summer. Every year there seems to be a "Summer slump" in the economy, or at least in many merchants' sales (depending on your genre of business or service, of course.) Part of this is how the population of the grid dips in the Summer. Winter is coming. It's colder outside, so people will be staying inside more. And when they do that, they'll likely come in-world more and, by extension, shop more. Thus why the perception is 'historically' Winter is when sales tend to pick-up again. But the first life real world economy is in the toilet right now, and that will have a definite effect on the in-world economy.

My own business is running strong and smoothly and I am fortunate that I haven't experienced any perceptible slowdown in sales. However, I also am not idiot enough to actually make a go of relying on my pretend-business for any first life income - even to suppliment it. Rather I am quite happy to take my earnings and reinvest it back into the grid, first by covering all my costs (tier, shopping funds and so on) - then having ridiculous amounts of discretionary throw-away money - which I promtly donate to my favorite sims.

However, I also don't rely on that whole "build it and they will come" routine. I don't break my back at it, but I do actually manage my business. I have been in SL three years and in that time I've learned much in the way of selling in Second Life and there are a lot of idiosynchrosies that don't mesh-up with common business practices we might consider. I outline all this clearly in my book "Successful Business in Second Life." (Go buy a copy now and you'll thank me for it.) There will be a series of 15 selling tips that will be posted soon, each a summary of what I cover in-depth in this book. But that's for later.

Because I'm in a convivial mood, I'm going to throw some serious selling and business-management tips at you. I am about to pass along portions of my business recipes, which I consider my own "company secret". And the worst part is that I am going to tell you more or less how I do it. I really should change my mind right now....

Throughout my "SBSL" book I harp on one thing - the platinum rule of business: make it as easy as possible for anyone to give you their money.

Let us consider the 'hazards' of shopping in SL:
  • Too many competitors and options. it is near impossible to easily find what you are really looking for. The entire grid is one gigantic shopping mall with bazillions of sales-vendors.
  • Pricing for anything is ridiculously inconsistent and not an indicator of quality or usability.
  • Quality is entirely hit or miss; often the quality is stunningly wonderful and better than you expect. But more frequently quality is subpar or even ridiculously sloppy - buyer's remorse sets-in fast.
  • The concern over delivery issues; a purchase where (for whatever reason) the product is not delivered (that's never happened, right?)
  • The fear that a product is not going to do what we want it to do, or not appear as advertised, etc.
  • Too many creators take a negative attitude towrd you, the customer. Especially with no-copy items. They immediately assume you are trying to 'scam' them out of an extra copy. Though many are cordial, they are less than freindly and certainly not very cheerful when dealing with you.
The list can go on considerably, but you get the idea.
Making it 'easy as possible for your customer to give you their money' involves eliminating all these doubts for them. Handle the emotional and mental hurdles for them, the rest will fall in-line. First, you must believe in your product. If you believe in your product, you'll focus on quality and never be satisfied with it until it's perfect, and it never will be perfect. This is a good business attitude.

You seriously need to have some real faith in your customers. Of all the sales you make, even if that one customer claims they didn't receive what they purchased and are asking for another really is scamming you, so what? Just give a replacement without any question and with a big smile and a "thank you for your business." Is it really worth coming-off as curt and unapproachable because of that one in a hundred?

The fact is the overwhelming majority of people on the grid are naturally honest, and wouldn't even think of doing this, much less actually do it. Besides, if you believe in your product and the quality is high enough, word of mouth on your customer service will spread faster than any testimony about your product.

Now that you have true faith in your customer and really do believe in your product, keep this in mind: it costs you nothing but a touch of effort. You have an unlimited supply of inventory and throwing that product around willy-nilly costs you zip, zilch, nadda whatsoever. So why be anal about it?

Here is my business paradigm: and presales message to my customers:
  • The sale is never final. You may request a refund within 72-hours, even on no-transfer items. This should be plenty of time for you to decide whether you are happy with my product.
  • You may trade your product for a likewise product of a different style. At any time. Even if you bought it three years ago. Even if it's a no-transfer product.
  • You may trade-up at any time by simply paying the difference in price. Even if you bought your product three years ago.
  • You will receive updates for life (mine or yours, whichever ends sooner.)
  • If the product ever breaks for any reason or goes missing, I will replace it cheerfully and as immediately as I am able without question. Even if you bought it three years ago.
  • If you make a purchase and the product isn't delivered, notify me immediately and I will resend it, remotely even if I am offline.
  • All I ask in return is your word-of-mouth advertisng. I am asking you to tell everyone you know, not as much about my product, but rather about my customer service and how important you are to me.
So, how can I make all these guarantees? With proper business management tools. Some of which I'll share with you now. First, grab an Apez iVend system - they're free. Use the server to remotely deliver any product to anyone who claims they didn't receive it, even when you are offline. An IM to email message will give you the name of the person IMing you. If you are not in-world, reply to the email (which replies to the IM in-world) and let them know you will remotely "resend" the itme to them.

Then go to the Apez web site and send the item to them. Have some good "consolation" gifts in there, too. Send that as well and thank them for their business and inconvenience. They don't care that the grid is wonky right now. They just want their product. How often have you waited, biting your nails because some creator of a product that didn't arrive is off-line - and then wondering if they will treat you suspiciously and balk at sending you a 'replacement'?

Additionally, my products include a "tracker" script. Every single time that product changes hands, I get a report that looks like this in email (this is an actuall report with the buyer's name changed):
Object-Name: Deluxe Aged Roman Delivery Voucher
Region: Dunbeath (151296, 241920)
Local-Position: (224, 214, 26)

New owner: Philip Linden
Previous owner: Ari Blackthorne
Creator: Ari Blackthorne, key is c0984c38-bd27-4757-985d-
Object name: Deluxe Aged Roman Delivery Voucher
Original item name: Blackthorne Delivery Voucher
Sale price: L$995
Current time: 2009-10-20 8:52:48
Start of life: 2009-10-19 5:7:33
Age: 1 days, 3 hours, 45 minutes and 15 seconds.
Position: Croix <224.61894, 214.97064, 26.01392>

Message: Product Tracker Report

I will know immediately if someone is "scamming" me because if "Philip" gives it to someone else, I'll get another report. No, it's not a question of trust or lack of faith. I use the script as a tool I use for my resellers. I don't use "commission" vendors. I actually sell the real product at a discount and this tracker helps me to know where the sales are occuring so I can use the data to help my resellers. But the side benefit is in knowing when the product is transferred from one account to another. Obviously this applies to no-copy, transferrable items.

As for copy items, how can I offer refunds or trades?

I include a content-locker script (XSL Image at top). This allows me to "ban" any particular person from using the product (and it is made known up-front, so nothing sinister or secretive going on here). If a refund is requested, I give the refund then "disable" that product for that person. If they change their mind and repay the sales price, I can 're-enable' the product they already have in their inventory.

Now imagine the peace-of-mind all my shoppers have when considering my product in the knowledge that no matter what, I will refund their money if they aren't satisfied. I have yet to have a single person even ask about it in three years.

As for the 'gifting' of no-transfer items: I use the Giftex system which allows me to plop all the different styles of a similar product (which all sell for the same price) into a server (and a server for each 'genre' of product,) then sell the transferable "voucher certificate". As a gift certificate it's wonderful because the receiver of the gift (or the purchaser, of course) can now choose which style of the product they want (color, shape, whatever). The certificate destroys itself on delivery of the product proper.

As for the 'fear' of people pulling scripts and animations out of my transferrable items (read: fear of copybot or ripping-viewers) there's a script for that, too (though I don't use it currently) by Rumbler Boa called "Prim Content Protector" (vendor image immediately above) which, if one article of a prim's content is moved into a user's inventory, the rest are automatically deleted.

I also pay close attention to where my potential customers are coming from with Kerhop Seattle's "Visitor Source Tracker" - this helps me to know how effective each of my marketing efforts are and where I need to concentrate further work. I know when my visitors arrive by searching "All" or from a landmark I include in a notecard, or one given to them by someone else (a referral) and so on.

There are many other "business secrets" I employ and most of it doesn't require very much effort at all (all outlined in my book - buy it now while you're thinking about it.) It comes down to the whole 'work smarter, not harder' paradigm. But before all of that, it is most important to believe in your product enough, concentrate on quality and focus on your customer satisfaction and people will want to buy your stuff.

Have some killer faith in your customer and stop worrying about copybot, ripping-viewers and scammers. Because when you have happy, satisfied customers, they will support and stand-by you. They will buy from you again. They will bring and send their friends. They will spread a very positive word of mouth - not about your products per se, but rather about you. And that is priceless marketing you just couldn't pay for.

Make it easy as possible for anyone to give you their money.

PostHeaderIcon Whining and Crying version 1.23.5 Update Released

Here we go again. Linden Lab force-feeds a new viewer upon the masses of the grid and the replies to it via the Official Second Life blog are flying-n at breakneck speed. The requisite whining and crying are there, as well as the usualless waste of space comments. Oh, and of course there are instances of our favorite: the obligatory "I'm leaving SL!!!11".

I'm telling you this is all pure entertainment at it's best. It's been quite a while since Linden Lab forced an update to the throngs en masse:
Residents using the Official and Release Candidate versions of the 1.23.4 Viewer are required to update to version 1.23.5. Those of you still using version 1.22.11 will be offered version 1.23.5 as an optional update. If you choose to remain on 1.22.11, you may notice changes in the way notecard editing behaves. If you use a viewer not created by Linden Lab, you may also see changes in the way notecard editing behaves.
Fortunately, since now the blog requires you to actually login with your Second Life name in order to leave comments, they still tend to be shrill, but no-where near as vitriolic as they used to be. Albeit, it's all the same old story, different day: "how dare you, Linden Lab?". Linden lab provlaims this is in regard to an urgent security issue. They aren't saying what the issue is (wise as it would be exploited quickly) - but it obviously has something to do with the asset servers.

Lets have a smattering peeks, shall we?

ZenWarrior Fousing says: "LL again misses the obvious.   Merely releasing a new product isn't the same as selling it.   Hasn't LL noticed the increasing proliferation of GreenLife Emerald viewer tags in SL?   It might wish to get its marketing department on the ball and give me (and many others) good reason to switch back from Emerald now."

This is true. As the "alternate" (aftermarket) viewers gain traction in features and stability, they are becoming far more popular that the 'Offical' viewer. I do believe Snowglobe is gain huge ground on the official, version as well. Linden Lab has a history of fixing things and breaking other things in the process. The oldest "break" that still bother me is the alpha layering issue. Where two prims that have textures including alpha will not layer properly - the itme behind, appears in front of where it should be. It's irritating as hell.

Ever since the 1.23.x viewer, Linden lab has broken the snapshot-to-disk feature. Set Quiet Snapshots to Disk and High Resolution Snapshots in the "Advanced menu" - then create a snapshop with keyboard (CTRL + ~) - the snapshot os borked. Only the lower left 75% is captured. This bug has also found it's way into all versions of GreenLife Emerald, CollViewer and the rest. Only the Snowglob viewer does not have this bug. /me sighs.

Pavcules Superior says: "I don't know if anyone else has spotted this, but this new viewer has a serious memory leak. Whilst writing this I'm in a sim with 60+ people, and every minute 14MB of memory is being consumed."

Well, Pavcule: it's business as usual. perhaps looking into Snowglobe or Greenlife Emerald will help?

Levy Flanegan says: "LL just needs to get their act together." (at the end of the requiasite bullet list of what LL needs to do to make things "better".

Hey, Levy: how about we jkust fire all the Lindens and put you in there? You know, so you can put your money where your mouth is? As for the rendering issues you describe: problem in your computer and bandwidth, not SL Servers. As for more than 25 groups: why? Are you a group-whore? You say LL needs to "prioritize" - how about you practice what you preach? I could go on and on about this comment all day, but I digress.

Deltango Vale says: "For the first time in three years, I have backed down a version in viewers. I tried 1.23.4 and found it inferior to 1.22.11. I uninstalled 1.23.4 and returned to 1.22.11. I am not even going to try 1.23.5."

Word to the wise. To clarify: Deltango's wise words to the throngs. (Or go to Snowglobe or other aftermarket viewer.)

Lady Diamond Detiny says: "How can you download if it constantly tells you that the download has failed????? I don't get it."

I know it could be a stretch, but if you stop and think on it: new announcement, many, many SL residents reading it along with you, oh sya about 50-million people all trying to download the new viewer at the same time?

Lewis Luminos says: "I've just been inworld, with Emerald, trying a few things with notecards, and no it doesn't change the creator to yourself. In fact as far as I can tell, it does everything just exactly as it did before. Opening, editing, saving, permissions, everything works fine. As far as I can tell, nothing is broken if using a third party viewer (except maybe whatever security loophole has been closed)."

Are there still any questions as to why anyone and everyone who's even heard of and looked at the GreenLife Emerald viewer (and others) are jumping off the Official Viewer faster than a human blink of an eye?

Prokofy Neva says: "Question to the forum: is the Emerald viewer secure? I have heard great things about it, but I'm not a techie, so I'm somewhat reluctant to trust it. If something like Emerald is secure, does it make sense for Linden Lab to produce a viewer at all? Perhaps LL should focus its resources on the server code and let third parties work on the viewer."

The problem with this idea, Prok is simple this: That just makes way too much common sense. Therefore it is not allowed and how dare you utter such blasphemous ideas! But as Prok often is: it's a rhetorical, sarcastic question - even though it just makes too much sense. However, it also means a lot of "services' would have to be moved server-side so that Linden lab can maintain control and it already is well known the server and viewer code is "spaghetti" (a complete tangled mess). /me snickers.

Also, to all of you who whine about how Linden Lab is "ruining" Second Life and  feel the incredible urge to throw out the obligatory "It's time go, good-bye SL" I only have this to say: it will be a good riddance. Firstly, who are you to me? I don't know you so why do you think I would care at all? Actually, since it is population that causes issues with the grid, especially rezzing and movement lag in crowded areas, I should think your leaving will actually make the grid a better place.

As for those of you who proclaim the viewer is broken because it constantly crashes, doesn't run properly, won't start-up. is painfully slow, etcetera: look inward first. You most certainly are using Microsoft Windows which is the first issue you must face (no, I am not 'slamming' Windows or users of Windows PCs.) It is well known that Microsoft Windows (all current versions) slowly destroy themselves. When was the last time you completely wiped out your hard disk and reinstalled everything from scratch?

Most software issues you will have, Second Life viewer or not will be Windoes problems, not software application problems. Darren Oates hits the proverbial nail square on the head with a sledge-hammer:

"Just installed this latest viewer and it works fine as expected i never have any problem with these official viewers but do keep my PC in optimal working condition with a bit of good housekeeping and my Pc is no top spec just a clean running machine works for me anyways."

Second Life Blogs: Release Team: Viewer 1.23.5 Update Released

art: Dvoarak Uncensored

PostHeaderIcon ZOMG, Linden Lab Sneezed!!!11 And There Was Boogers!
I would expect the more 'vocal' of the better-informed of Second Life residents actually, do freak-out every time Linden Lab "sneezes". The issue comes down to reading too far into what Linden lab says, often via their 'Official Second Life Blog". It is the "better informed" who read that, and this and many other SL-related blogs, so they are "in the know." However, they also tend to be rather highly social, I suspect more-so than the average SL resident. And, in that, have a serious propensity to react emotionally to things first, rather than logically. This also tends to mean they are easily influenced.

Gather a throng of these people (SL-Universe or Shopping Cart Disco, anyone?) and you end-up with a throng that easily can turn into a mob because they constantly influence each other, most of whom are like-minded and so any 'debate' turns into a shrill, vitriolic cry for blood.

Ciaran Laval has written about the return of "Eyecatcher" and "" to the Mature lands of the virtual world, first emigrating into Zindra as was (and still is) though by the majority of "informaed" residents, then realizing they have overthought, or "over-understood" the "Adult-rating" policy.

I say good for them!

And here is the crux of their decision, which is not a change in the Linden lab policy, but rather a clearer understanding of what was always there to begin with:
Fetish clothing, collars, items for use by adults but in reality, this is mature content, use of the content could well be deemed adult but the items themselves are really mature items when being sold.
Read the article and it's a good one. I like Ciaran's writing, even though I feel there is often a bit of "panic" in there, but that could simply be writing style. So, I threw-in my obligatory rhetoric in long-form as I usually do (with corrections and formatting here):

I have been saying this all along: people are (were and are still) over-reacting about the whole "adult-rating" policy. It's just like the Bots and Campers policy: it's not "illegal" to have and even use them. What is "illegal" is to use them to "game traffic ranking". The only penalty: removal from all search result listings. As for the adult-rating policy, if you go astray it will only affect your listings (or lack thereof) in search results, unless some bonehead decides to Abuse-Report you, then Linden lab will come and evaluate whether it's a justified AR..

The issue (problem?) is that people always try to read "into" what Linden Lab says, and I am referring to SL Wiki, Knowledge-base and all that stuff - not live chat by Linden Surnames. The situation stems from people who rather than trying to understand what is actually being said at face value, they try to figure-out what Linden Lab is implying. It is better to read word-for-word and take the meaning exactly as stated.

I sell "role play" thrones. In my thrones are many menu options, of those many one is called "intimate" which contains the requisite naughty activity. However, the throne itself is not "adult-rated" because it is not designed explicitly for "adult-rated" activity. It just happens to contain that ability.

My retail point of sale also is in PG-rated land. And it is fully "legal" per the policy on what is allowed on PG-rated regions. if there ever is a question, no worries: I simply disable that portion of the menus on my display models. As for listings in search results, I simply have to be more creative with my descriptions and the same with my parcel.

I salute Eyecatcher and for taking charge of the situation and moving back to the un-walled mainland (or estate - whatever).

It cracks me up to no end how hysterically paranoid people can be every time Linden Lab sneezes. Sure there are times when the outrage is justified (Openspace to Homestead, for example) but most of the time it is wasted stress on the part of the often panic-stricken. Linden Lab, as I have said again and again on this blog, are not tyrants (though some of the Linden surnames can be) and they will not run around just dropping the hammer on everyone's heads all over the grid.

I have seen Ciaran write about (imply) how horrible it is that Linden lab will start crucifying people who don't follow this new Adult-rating policy to the letter and at other times write how horrible it is that Linden Lab not enforce their policy by dropping the hammer (Bots and Camping to game traffic). Obviously I am not claiming Ciaran is a hypocrite or anything even remotely close to that. Bloggers write based on whatever emotional chord has been struck at the time and with passion. I highly doubt Ciaran has even looked at his own posts in the very context I have just described. (I am only useing Ciaran as an example because I am quoting his article, but be clear that I am referring to a huge population of bloggers, no-matter the subject matter.) As for the hysterically panicking throngs of residents on the grid sweating bullets in worry that Linden lab will drop a piano on their heads over the Ault-rating policy, I say please do continue your ulcer-generation-techniques. I, on the other hand, use all of that to my advantage. I have acquired my 8600 square-meter parcel (rounded of course) for about L$1.3 per meter at the height of the trepidare exodus from the mainland into Zindra - because of the rush to move into Zindra.

And I still use all of this, as it continues, to my benefit with regard to marketing and maintaining business. Business has never been better - no slump. Simply because I paid attention to what Linden Lab is doing, made an effort to understand it, applied some actual common sense and adjusted operations accordingly.

As for Eyecatcher and Good for you, welcome aboard the wise-boat. Hopefully not too many others will stop and think like you did, else my competition will increase again.

Source: Eyecatcher and move back to mature land | Your2ndPlace

art: "Zazzle"; George Grie (via Neo Surrealism Art)

PostHeaderIcon Did You Just Change Your Hair In Front Of Me? Birds & Bees Guy Tip #73: If you actually notice a lady-friend has changed her hairstyle, something's up. As a rule of thumb, there is some kind of change in her life, profound or not, but significant nonetheless.

By now, you have likely noticed Common Sensible's 'hairstyle' has changed rather dramatically. For those of you whom have followed this blog for some time, this is likely no great surprise. In the past I have changed the look for no reason other than tiring of the old look.

Well in this case: "something's up".

No, I haven't gone and offended a sim-load of women (though I would suspect that happens on a  daily basis, ) but rather I was having issues with WordPress.

I use many different methods to post my diatribe on Common Sensible, including Mars Edit and Ecto when on my Mac or often via the Flock browser when I am not inclined to use either of the previous two.

However, for some darned reason WordPres is acting wonky when Flock tries to connect and it has problems reading the categories lists. I know it's a WordPress issue because most of my other blogs there work just fine. But a few, including this one are just 'hosed' for some reason.

So, it's back to Google's Blogger for Common Sensible and while I am at it, I decided to throw-up this look, which was my second choice when evaluating themes the last time. I like how the home page will display only the initial rhetoric, hopefully earning enough of your attention to have you click-through. But more importantly to me is that you can browse the current and previous six posts without scrolling the page.

So there you have it.

Now to the house-cleaning, starting with the spaghetti of old tags scattered throughout this dusty old place.

PostHeaderIcon The Tainted Wonderland

Kill yourself.

Well, not all of you, of course, but rather that part of you that is so cynical and negative (I know: redundant terms there.) Second Life is such a wonderful wonderland upon first entry, but gradually dulls and seems to grow darker with time, the way brass will dull and tarnish without a constant polishing.

Zara Mistwallow has a great post on her blog regarding how we just don't really talk to each other anymore, how we've become indolent in our little virtual worlds inside the big virtual world as far as our social attitudes go.

Side note: nope, not trying to use overly-fancy words. But rather trying to avoid the trap Tateru Nino writes twice about in her blog, a traps I myself fall into quite frequently, with regard to using the proper word to obtain the "right shade" of meaning in my writing.

It's no secret that our little wonderland is full of wonder... and 'deviance' all over the place. Much of which is really only perception and the actual 'deviant' activity never really occurs at all. For example, I am currently entertained through role play in the "Barbary Coast Project", which if you look-up the real history of it can be rather 'off-putting' to 'sensible' people. The way I see it: did Schindler's List offend you? The Color Purple? the mini-series Roots? It's about experiencing history and, well, having something a bit more exciting than "Mother Goose" stories to role play.

This is one of the reason the Gor role playing theme is so popular and often some might say "thrilling" at times. It's why the "slave" meme is so ridiculously prevailent on the SL grid. And not only in the Gor role-playing sims, but all over the place in every imaginable and conceivable theme, such as the Furry "culture".

I've even run seen listed in search results Furry BDSM and Gorean-themed sims. How, whatever turns your crank, drive-on and have your fun, it's your sandbox.

So this morning I am working on updating scripts in my products and an IM comes through on the "Barbary Coast Project" group chat. A simple, straight-=forward question:
"Does Barbary Coast sims allow furries?"
My first thought is: thank you for checking. really, it's is wise and kind of you to do so rather than just popping-in and running around as though nothing is amiss. In the end I was able to give this lady-furry some ideas on how to find what she was looking for.

But my first reply to the group channel was as such:
/me looks-up the real history of the barbary Coast as it was in the 16th and 17th centuries on earth to invesatigate what furries were in population at the time.
The reply from the one asking the question was an expected "no need for a smatass answer".

And she was right in every way.

I have a rather abrasive sense of humor. Most people I know in SL and possibly first life either love me or hate me. Likely more the latter - until they get to know me. But either way, my comment was uncalled-for, even though I was genuinely going for humor.

Which brings me to the way we all are becoming less friendly as we weather our Second Lives. Hence, the comments Zara made on her blog. We communicate with strangers far less than before, and we tend to take comments in a negative way automatically, rather than first assuming it was meant in jest (though my comment definitely appeared to be a snarky one, I'll admit.)

The real deal So, like the beautiful, shiny brass railings you might find at movie cinemas, fancy banks and barber shops, perhaps the Second Life exerience begins to tarnish with age and we are simply procrastinating the effort to break-out the Brasso and soft linnen to polish it up?

art: "Gifts 4 Heartbeat"; "Chainsaws & Jelly"

PostHeaderIcon You Are The Sugar in Second Life's Water

Grains of sugar in water Pour a teaspoon of sugar into a thimble of water and you'll have an incredibly sweet drink. Pour the same teaspoon of sugar into a five-gallon bucket and it becomes engulfed, lost, overtaken by the water. Not only is it not sweet, you can't taste the sugar at all.

This is how I view the Second Life grid. Okay, not really, but a way to describe how I view the grid - with regard to the bigger picture.

I have been complaining (to myself and to you, through this blog) about how the grid becomes increasingly diluted and more uninteresting by the day. This has been on my mind for the last year or so, but considerably entering my thought more profoundly in the last few months.

When I first entered the grid in 2006, it was a wonderful new world. Certainly just the newness of it to me was exciting and it was a joy to explore and see things, being built by the other "residents" made it even more interesting. It was easy to find fascinating things to see and do, easy to find and meet new people, make new friends, socialize.

There was one mainland, then two and a smattering of privately maintained simulators (a.k.a. 'sims' or 'private islands"/Estates (though an estate can contain multiple sims)) and though there was a massive number of things to see and places to go, in comparison to today the entire grid was minuscule.

Now think of the virtual land in SL as water and the people on the grid as a grain of sugar each and the activities (meeting people, seeing awesome things, doing things, etc.) as the 'taste' of sugar-in-water.

Second Life has become incredibly diluted.

And this is the problem.

The grid is becoming so heavy with land and virtual space that it will slowly break-apart and float away. In 2006 it was a teaspoon of sugar in a thimble, then a shot-glass, in 2007 with virtual land appearing everywhere, the grid turned into a tumbler, then into a drinking-glass, and the grid grows still.

That's good for Linden Lab as every square meter of all this virtual land is potential legal tender income. However, the sugar becomes increasingly diluted. Add to that the new continent of Ursula/Zindra and the compelled move to it from all other points on the grid by all "adult" (formerly "Mature") rated activity.

Not only is another continent created, but in order to fill it, existing continents are drained and emptied. This creates a vast deficit in the 'people-to-space' ratio. Add to this, at least 30% and possibly as much or more than 50% of all agents (avatars) on the grid at any one time are automated robots (bots) or inactive "campers" or both and suddenly the concurrency number looks incredibly inflated with "air".

There is an insufficient number of often niggardly people to fill-out the virtual space, causing them to be spread far too 'thin' across the the Linden world. Too many bots, too many campers and too many alternate accounts means the deficit is considerably larger that what might appear at first blush.

However, Second Life is a social platform. It's useless to be in-world unless you actually have something to do, and 95% of all of that will include your being with other people and it is becoming increasingly harder to find them.

Linden Lab now corrals all those partaking in what is likely the most popular activities across the grid, what some might term "adult deviancy", into a single new continent. The up-side to this is that it brings all the people scattered all over the vast, gigantic grid into a more confined space.

Whether this is the intended side-effect of this move or not by Linden Lab, it is among the 'pluses'. I like the idea of segregating this content and activity. However, Linden Lab still has a long way to go as far as how the grid itself works. Too many 'threaten' (most are just hot-air) to leave the SL grid for an alternative because of the copybot issues, ripping-viewers, and even the new Adult-segregation policies.

And the new adult filtering doesn't even work very well. If you know how to fly in no-fly land, then you know how to defeat the 'adult-rated access' restrictions whether your are a verified adult or not, the same technique to fly in no-fly land apparently also turns-on the "adult" search results option.

As I was contemplating how to approach this blog article (thinking on it for the last month or so), Kirsten Winkler made a blog post of her own expressing her view regarding the state of Second Life where she concludes:
[T]he problems SL has are not related to bad graphics, bad usability or connection problems. The problem is the athmosphere [sic] and there [Linden Lab] did everything wrong it could possibly do. Maybe they over estimated the creativity of the community or the fact that humans still act like humans no matter if they are online or in the real world.

I am not so great a writer or orator. I ramble-on as is evident in this and most of my other posts. So, when someone else says what I am thinking in a far more eloquent and meaningful pithy way, I would rather quote them on the subject. For instance, what I have often tried to describe over the last year or more and in this specific post is this, as conveyed by Kirsten:
[Linden Lab relies] on the community, no borders, too big.

Second Life is based on the idea that the community will build the
world. That is not a bad idea in itself but the problem is that
everyone wants to be his own boss. So instead of working together and
building one giant world people buy thousands of little islands to
become “king” there.

Therefore the world is constantly growing leaving the handful of people back in more and more space.

Basically, Second Life becomes less and less 'sweet' by the day. How long before it goes from sweetness to 'bitter', as no doubt it already has for many people?

Kirsten's full commentary here: Some thoughts on Second Life | Kirsten Winkler
art via RoofTopKitchen

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