PostHeaderIcon More Linden Lab changes (Classifieds) affecting merchants...

Just received email... I thought this new change is what the original "changes" were to be... @Linden Lab: make-up my mind, will you please?!

Email from Linden Lab:

Two Important Changes to SL Classified Advertising


Dear SL Advertiser,

We wanted to ensure that you are aware of two big changes to the Classified ad program.

Maturity Changes: Previously, advertisers declared the maturity level of their ads. However, to prepare for teens coming to the main grid, we will be using the maturity system used for Search that is based on two factors:

  • Parcel maturity level
  • Content of the ads themselves

Advertisers’ declared maturity will still be visible in Viewer 2, but will be informational only and not affect the actual maturity rating for each listing. We are targeting these changes for the week of Dec 13th.

Ad Content Limit: All ads have recently been standardized to 256 characters. To maximize relevancy, new characters limits will help you choose only the most relevant descriptive keywords to help Residents find your products and services. Our testing has shown that this limit increased relevancy and click-through rates for classified ads.

For more information, please read about Classifieds on the wiki.

Thanks for advertising!

Kindest Regards,

Linden Advertising Team

PostHeaderIcon It doesn't matter how you voted, this is still funny (and true?)

PostHeaderIcon Who gives a sh!t what #LindenLab thinks of their customers?

It doesn't matter what Linden Lab think of their customers. As long as their customers are treated with enough respect that they stick around. And there is no doubt Linden Lab is making money because a lot of people are sticking around. Here in my blog I have taken Linden Lab's side a helluvalot more often than not over the "controversial" issues that the loud-mouth bitchfest crybabies absolutely go ballistically vitriolic about. For example when Voice first came to the grid. And currently the "Display names" feature and so on.

My favorite: Viewer 2 (which by the way, version 2.2 is released and it's actually quite kick-ass.) Yo: if you don;t like it, shut-the-f*ck-up and don;t use it. Linden Lab doesn't give a flying sh!t whether you like it or not. They do listen to those who actually use it (why the hell would or should they listen to you boneheads who think you're "all that" who just diss on the thing and refuse to use it?)

This is my own response to "Former Linden" who posted the "explosive" comment at Prokofy Neva's blog. Even if every single word of "Former Linden" is absolute, utter truth, how does it matter at all? And do remember, "Former Linden" is making comments based on their perspective. So it may be truth from their perspective, but not necessarily the "big picture".

And as for Philip Linden catching the bus: who cares? He doesn't and hasn't run the company in a few years. His vision has had it's time. The grid have moved-onto more rural pastures a couple years ago. Philips vision for the grid simply doesn't apply any more.

In the end, as with all customers of all sellers you have a choice to take it or leave it and vote with your time and dollars. When enough have chosen to vote on something else, then and only then will Linden Lab be in dire straights. But the vote goes slow. Linden Lab will see the tide turning long before it gets to that point.

Additionally, I have always said: Second Life grid is Linden Lab's house. Who the hell are we to tell Linden Lab what they should or should not do in their house, especially when we (most of us) are non-paying guests in that house?

How about we call it Linden Lab's doom or demise the day Linden Lab actually sends out the "We are discontinuing operations..." notice, and until then: just shut-up?

PostHeaderIcon Love: American Style

PostHeaderIcon Gruesomely Creative

PostHeaderIcon I so hate numbers... now I know why:

PostHeaderIcon #Facebook = Turning Into Laughable Adolescent Cesspool?

If you use Facebook, take a step back for minute and really contemplate this: what use is it for you, in a productivity sense? I mean, really? Though most people read blogs, they rarely ever respond. But if you're willing to comment... and you actually are able to find a genuinely useful and productive way to use Facebook I'd really like to head about it. (It seems the serious "productivity" service is Linked-In, not Facebook).

Indulge me if you will...

For "shits and giggles" last year I did what a lot of other Second Life users are doing: create a Facebook account under your Second Life account name; A.K.A: you In-world avatar name. The first "failure" of Facebook is in how they absolutely insist that only real names of real people be allowed to create accounts at all. However, this creates a conundrum. The same conundrum Linden Lab has: enforce your terms of service with regard to account creation, or allow people to bend the rules so you can boast the number of users you have?

For Linden Lab and Second Life: you are allowed to create up to five (5) accounts, full stop. However, I hear word of people who have tens even hundreds of "alt" accounts. And of course it also creates the "bot" problem, which I won;t bother rehashing now. The issue though is that all these alternate accounts are included in the "number of users" Linden lab can proclaim; even "active" user numbers as "active" means any account that has been used at least once in the last 90-days. Bots are really good for those "concurrency" numbers.

As for Facebook, though they have previously enforced their terms of "real person, real name" and killed some high-profile accounts, they don;t actively hunt these bogus people down. The "number of users" result is just way too tempting. They recently have claim 500-million "users". Though I suspect at least half of those are users like me: I don't use Facebook. At all. it's a ridiculous waste of time and a complete joke.

I now have 85 friends. 85! Every single one of them is another Second Life user and almost all of them are in Facebook under their avatar account names. Here's the kicker: I *vaguely* know one, *just one* of all those people. Every. Single. Person. Except that one are 100% total strangers to me. Not a single one of them have ever attempted to so much as IM me in-world with a simply "Hello!". What a fekking joke.

To these people, and likely 75% of every other Facebook account holder, the goal is to boost that number of "friends" as high as possible. Then there's those stupid, idiotic "games" like Farmville and Mafia Mob or whatever the hell it's called. I mean, really?! Here's the irritating part of it, though: these 85 "dunno who you are, but let's call us *friends*" play these stupid games and then select me to participate. This of course messages me inviting me to "install" the "app" so I can waste my time just like all the other losers.

I had to turn off email notifications from Facebook a long time ago. Now I get a message from Facebook once every month or two telling me there are messages waiting for my attention. So I log-in, and click "ignore", "ignore", "ignore", "ignore", "igno..." you get the idea. Fact: facebook is becoming is horribly bad to "legitimate" people as "MySpace" dot com. it is turning into an adolescent playground except at least this time you don;t have viruses, trojans and disgustingly-loud music blaring in your face when you inadvertently visit someone elses profile or "wall".

It's known fact the the grown-up use Kinked-In as their genuine, go-to "circle of contacts service.

So, Linden Lab is hoping to incorporate more "social" features into Second Life, undoubtedly to include Facebook and Twitter. But I wonder if they ever will go the route of the "serious" with services like Lnked-In? Because let's face it: Plurk is a waste of time (sorry, folks: you just aren't *that* interesting in terms of following your "adventures" on a minute-by-minute timeline); Facebook has turned into a typical adolescent playground, admittedly not yet the cesspool MySpace had become.

Though Twitter actually is useful as long as you can find the ones worth following and communicating with. And at worst: the crap-garbage that comes through at least are only force-fed in short, 140-character burps. Easy enough to quickly determine the "followability" of someone there.

PostHeaderIcon Apple Pwns the Tech Industry (Infographic)

PostHeaderIcon #NotPhotoshopped

Not Photoshopped: Fafe, Northern Portugal

PostHeaderIcon @Torley moonlights here. :)

PostHeaderIcon Chick Magnet... >:)

PostHeaderIcon #LindenLab on-track with #Viewer2; Crybabies and whiners go crawl back under your rocks.


So I finally grabbed the beta version of the official Linden Lab Second Life viewer 2.2x. I read through the release notes and decided to give it a go. There are still a couple of outstanding bugs, but they are minor (for example: mouse-hovering over anyone then the green "i" and clicking does not bring-up the context menu. But right-clicking still works).

Rezzing seems much, much faster. Does V2 beta 2.2 include Snowglobe code? I don;t know, but it really does feel like it. Also, a few additional long-awaited features, such as "double-click to teleport" (turned on in the debug menu). This was the single one and only feature of Emerald I missed when I dumped that viewer in Januray 2009. Then I found it in Imprudence and always happy for it. Now that it is in the Official viewer, I will use Imprudence even less.

The simple fact is: no matter what the crybabies whine about: Viewer 2 is a good viewer. Who the hell are they who complain about it to say what is right and what is wrong? If it doesn't work for you, then don't use it, shut-the-feck-up and move on and leave those of us who do like it enjoy it in peace. But even as Linden Lab tries to placate these "I am greater than thou" crybabies, they will get no reprieve. The crybabies will continue to bitch about how "bad" Viewer 2 is and how it should be burned and Linden Lab nailed to the wall over it.

For example: the whiners try so hard to justify their bitching by proclaiming that side bar takes up too much room and therefore blocks their view of the virtual world. Of course any 5-year-old can figure out how with a single-click, the sidebar disappears entirely, but these crybabies apparently can't figure-out this function even exists, much less how to make it work. No, they proclaim the sidebar should be detachable.

Hurray! You get what you wished for. V2 2.2 beta now has a detachable sidebar. However, when you detach it, it takes up more room than the sidebar proper and is not as easy to "put away". Fortunately Linden Lab has made it very difficult to accidentally detach. But of course the whiners and crybabies will go ahead deriding Linden Lab over something else about the "horrendous-should-be-burned" Viewer 2.

Linden Lab: good work here. Keep on the same track you are on because all the loud-mouth whiners who proclaim Viewer 2 is a piece of shit are all bullshitters who wouldn't dare eat their own dogfood. They bitch about Viewer 2 all day long, but choose to use a third-party-viewer all day long and wouldn't use any of your official viewers no matter how perfect it is. They hate for hate's sakes, so turn a deaf-ear and a blind eye toward those dip-shit hypocrites and just keep on doing what you're doing. After all, if I were to spew the same filth about their chosen viewer then they'd turn on me like a pack of rabid dogs. In short: they all are irrelevant, no matter how authoritative they appear to be or sound in their other blogging diatribe. You bloggers of whom I speak already know who you are.

Viewer 2 Developer team: keep going because it's those of us who actually appreciate it and like what you are doing who are remaining quiet about it so we don't give the same impression of blithering idiots the way all those loud-mouth, greater-than-thou whiners and crybabies do.

via AriBlackthorne.com

PostHeaderIcon They’re Mobile!

PostHeaderIcon The Only Way to Go!

PostHeaderIcon Emerald Development Team Make Use of Ill-gained User Information

I am seriously curious HOW. THE. FUCK. The emerald team got my email address, then have the BALLS to contact me regarding anything Emerald.

YO, PHOX: Suck my balls and if you contact me again off-world you dick head, I'll invoke Washington State AG on your ass for sending unsolicited email. Ummm, yeah, it's been done and a few people are the sorrier for it.

As for all you gullible idiots with an Emerald Viewer withdrawal who go running to the Phoenix or other derivatives? I hope you get your comeuppance with trojans and God only knows what else. Phoenix and Emergence and the rest should be banned from the grid also. And the email shown below just proves it's not only the viewer, but the sinister minds behind it. No god dammed wonder spam email has been on the rise for me. Fortunately it's  a more or less throw-away address.

Emerald Dev team: Do not contact me again.
Linden Lab: Consider this fair warning that this is an example of you falling through on your own ToS enforcement. Therefor, shall we consider the ToS moot and Ill go to town doing what I want whether it fits within ToS or not?

From: "Emerald Viewer Forum" <phox@emeraldviewer.net>
Date: September 20, 2010 6:41:32 PM PDT
To: redacted
Subject: New Emerald Viewer for VWW

Dear Emerald User,

You may have seen our recent blog post concerning our new viewer for the Virtual World Web. (If you haven't, see our blog post about it here http://blog.modularsystems.sl/2010/09/10/new-emerald-viewer-for-vww/ and the Utherverse press release here http://utherverse.net/emerald/ )

We've got a special offer for Emerald users - Utherverse is offering a 7 day VIP trial FREE. You can take advantage of this offer by visiting http://www.utherverse.com/emerald/ and signing up for a tour, or by downloading the Emerald Viewer for VWW and sending an email to worlddev@utherverse.com

Don't miss out on this chance to see what the Virtual World Web can offer.

The Emerald Team

PostHeaderIcon Comparing Windows XP to Windows 7, and @Torley's Mac vs. Windows Comparison of #SL #Viewer2...

In short: Got Windows XP and thinking of bumping "up" to Windows 7? Save your money. As for the Second Life Viewer 2 comparison between the Windows and Macintosh versions... new comparison coming soon. Now, back to our regularly-scheduled programme...

I just plunked $200 down at technet.com, which allows me to legally download and use everything Microsoft makes and sells from their "business" units, including every version of each from the current and all the way back. So, I downloaded and installed Windows 7 (Ultimate) for the very first time and I agree: it is a vast, massive, stunning improvement over anything "Vista".

However, like the majority of commercial enterprises, I had downgraded my Vista back to Windows XP and have been utterly happy-go-lucky because of it. Even before Service Pack 1, I had felt and proclaimed Windows XP as being the first version of Windows Microsoft "got right". I understand that even though Windows 7 is "selling like hotcakes" (primarily through attrition - as people buy new computers) - it still has not achieved the number of "seats" that XP still enjoys, primarily through commercial users, though it is catching-up slowly.

So I plopped Windows 7 onto my Macintosh via VMWare Fusion 3.1. I see it has the same interface as Vista (which I gave a full vetting for 11.5 months before I was fed-up enough to return to XP). However, other than the eye-candy, I can so far see absolutely no compelling reason to spend any money upgrading from Windows XP to 7. None. Zip, zilch, nada. Seriously, Windows 7 runs as fast as XP (apparently) but not any faster. At least not that can be seen by the naked eye or felt by the user (benchmarks are really moot unless you are an uber-geek who thrives on information useless to the overwhelming majority of users.)

In addition to spending the bucks for Windows 7 (I don't actually have to buy it because I get it free with my Technet subscription) there is the issue of first backing-up everything on my XP computer, installing Win7 from scratch, then restoring all my backed-up stuff, reinstalling all my software and setting preferences and then... dealing with the learning curve of a new interface. Windows 7 offers no real benefit for going through all this headache and time.

My point: Windows 7 is not a compelling upgrade from XP. Why try to fix what isn't broken? Vista on the other hand is definitely broken. My recommendation is if you have a Windows XP disc and key: downgrade. Now. You'll hate yourself for not doing it sooner. If you don't have XP with a valid key, then and only then: upgrade to Windows 7. But if you do, wipe-out Vista completely and start from scratch.

++++++++++

This scenario does, however, present me with an unique opportunity:
I will install and test Cryptic's "Star Trek Online" and Linden Lab's "Second Life" and compare them in the following scenarios:

  • How do they compare when running native in Windows between XP and 7?
  • How do they compare in XP between native hardware (Bootcam) versus virtual machine (emulation via Fusion)
Additionally, I will in the next few weeks run some fascinating comparisons on Linden Lab's Second Life software in what will certainly be the most accurate comparison ever done between the different versions. I will compare Viewer 2.1, Imprudence and Snowglobe in the following ways:
  • Windows version native in Windows XP (Via bootcamp - native hardware to Windows XP)
  • Windows version native in Windows 7 (Via bootcamp - native hardware to Windows 7)
  • Macintosh version native in OS X
  • Windows version in Windows XP emulation via VMWare Fusion (Fullscreen)
  • Windows version in Windows 7 emulation via VMWare Fusion (Fullscreen)
  • Windows version in Windows XP emulation via VMWare Fusion (windowed in OS X)
  • Windows version in Windows 7 emulation via VMWare Fusion (windowed in OS X)
Because every single one of these tests will be happening on the exact same hardware (not just comparably-equipped separate hardware, but the exact same machine - exact same configuration in all instances), it should prove to be a fascinating comparison among all scenarios, even more accurate than Torley Linden's comparison between the Mac and Windows version of Viewer 2 (which was not a very precise test, but a great effort just the same).

Because I am out of town the week of the 20th, I will begin these tests on my return and most certainly post my results here.

PostHeaderIcon Amazon Headbutts with Apple...nice!

PostHeaderIcon Iceland - Ísafjörður

PostHeaderIcon Sunset

PostHeaderIcon Simplified.

Nice.
(Found via Grace McDunnough (link above))

PostHeaderIcon Behold: #LindenLab "Display Name" to be the End-Doom of #SecondLife!

Well, the whole end-doom of Second Life because of the new Display names feature coming to the grid is considerably overrated and frankly only goes to show the knee-jerk overreaction so many Second Life users tend to express every time Linden Lab tries to make things better for those very same users.

The main shrieking appears to come from creators, fearful of impostors ruining their reputations or otherwise swiping their sales via deceit. To them, as with so many other "end-doom" policy decisions by Linden Lab, this ability to change one's name willy-nilly will be the death of their businesses and by extension: a collapse of the Second Life economy and then further by extension: collapse of the Second Life grid.

There are two ways to view and react to anything: with heart or with logic. Rarely do the two mix. Of course, thinking with one's heart involves a lot of passion and blood pressure increases causing you to raise your voice when you really should be reinforcing your argument. I, for one, do not strand with the doom-and-gloom crowd. In fact, I anxiously await for this fancy new feature to be rolled-out to the Second Life population at large and I wish I knew the right Lindens that I could ask to even participate in the closed beta-testing!

So here I am, thinking with my head and not my heart, reinforcing my case. I suppose this commentary is addressed to all of you who think the Display Name idea is a bad one because it will create more problems than benefit for people in Second Life. Granted that I am not an expert in this and I only know what has been expressed by Linden Lab thus far. Accordingly, I may be misinformed or otherwise mistaken in some of my conclusions below.

1)... The Display Names feature will automatically assume the account (user) name you already have. In other words: when the feature goes "live", you will see no change whatsoever in name tags across the grid and will likely not even notice it is in effect, except for the "User Name" information suddenly appearing in things like the Edit window on prims and other "system" messages. But the name tags hanging over avatar heads will not change. At all.

2)... In order to change your display name, you must be using Viewer 2 or another third-party viewer that supports Viewer 2 functions. Since so many (wrongly, in my opinion) despise Viewer 2 and absolutely refute the idea of ever using it, those people will not even be able to change their Display Name from the current name they have right now. In plain terms: is "ridiculous few" on the grid will even have the ability.

3)... Even if 25% of the Second Life population changes their display names overnight, it still does not matter because these Display Names will only display in... you guessed it: Viewer 2. Thus, as in the above, only a small fraction of the population will even see it.

4)... Each person can change their Display Name only once then there is a one-week cool-down timer before it can be changed again. This is a great idea because it curbs abuse (except for the irritants that create throw-away alts on a daily basis). People will think carefully before changing their Display Names, knowing they will be *stuck* with that name for a full week.

5)... Impostors will be far and few between for the main reasons I have already stated. besides, in all system "messages" - such as the floaty text that appears when your mouse hovers over an object or avatar, always will show the actual Account (User) Name of that person or who owns that object. Profiles also will always show the "real name" of all people. The User Name can only be "hidden" from the tag over your head (and in truth, you only control *your* view not everyone else's, as it should be) and in chat windows.

All the panic is inducing unnecessary stress on all the end-doomers and naysayers. You are no different that the fatalists who shouted-out against the introduction of "voice" abilities being added to the grid. Honestly, have you nothing more important and relevant to worry about?

Linden Lab Display Names announcement: http://blogs.secondlife.com/community/features/blog/2010/08/17/display-names-...

PostHeaderIcon Gmail Flags Gmail Mail From Google As Possible Scam. Go figure.

PostHeaderIcon Porpoise or dolphin?

What the hell is the difference, anyway?

PostHeaderIcon Rainforest

PostHeaderIcon Tibet

PostHeaderIcon Message from @LindenLab on #Emeraldgate finally comes through...

And finally Linden Lab speaks, and from the "horse's mouth" specifically to boot.:

*Malicious Viewers and Our Third-Party Viewer Policy*


Dear Second Life Resident,

Late last week, we discovered a denial-of-service attack that was being served through the widely distributed Emerald third-party viewer.This is in direct violation of our third-party viewer policy (part 2, section d, paragraph iii).

We have removed Emerald from the list of third-party viewers,and are now in touch with the Emerald team to discuss what can happen next. We did this to do our best to protect the safety and security of Second Life users. We will not tolerate a viewer that includes malicious code, nor will we tolerate development teams with a history of violating users’ trust or disrupting their lives.

We take privacy, safety, and security very seriously, and we will act to the best of our abilities to protect it. We have not yet disabled logins via the Emerald viewer, but will do so if we feel the software and the team behind it is not able to meet the standards we’ve set. While Emerald is currently the focus of our attention because of what happened recently, all third-party viewers are held to the same standard, and must comply with the third-party viewer policy. Read more [a link goes here]


If you have been using the Emerald viewer, for now we would encourage
you to consider either one of the Linden Lab viewers, or an alternative third-party viewer.


Philip Linden

You are receiving this announcement because you have agreed to receive
messages relating to services offered by Linden Lab. For more
information refer to our Terms of Service

-SNIP-

Copyright 2010 Linden Research, Inc., 945 Battery Street, San Francisco,
CA 94111

SECOND LIFE ®

PostHeaderIcon Making the move.

Dust should clear soon.

PostHeaderIcon Best Practices for Creator Support in Second Life

Four years on the grid and I can count failed "customer support" from in-world creators on one hand. And in those cases, it always was a case of "AWOL" where no response to my inquiry was ever received. Of course, I've dealt with my share of rude, crude creators, but as a rule of thumb, I've always received excellent support from practically any creator when I needed it.

I am willing to share my simple recipe for success in the scenario of needing creator support. When I say creator support, I am referring to those times when you need to contact the creator of something you have purchased in-world. These scenarios include, but obviously are not limited to:

  • Failed deliveries on purchases
  • Wrong permissions from those advertised
  • Missing portions of a "package"
  • Something does not operate as expected
  • Something becomes broken
  • Something becomes lost

Before I go into the "best practices" for obtaining creator support, I'd like to pass a quick message to the creators themselves:

PostHeaderIcon Sorry, Folks, but Emerald Viewer = Meh

Viewer 2 is wonderful for the Second Life uninitiated. However, it also is a disaster for those of us experienced with second Life for more than a month with the "classic" viewer. Linden Lab had announced open-sourcing the Second Life viewer in 2006, there is now a smorgasbord of "official Linden Lab Second Life Viewer" alternatives.

Among all the current third-party viewers there is no question that the Emerald Viewer by Modular Systems is the best known, most popular and most actively in-use non-Linden Lab viewer on the Second Life grid. I like Emerald, but I have some reservations about it, which if you'll indulge me, I will explain below. I promise to do my best at keeping pithy about it all.

The short answer: most popular does not translate into "best".

PostHeaderIcon LONG-LIVE Second Life Viewer Version 2!

Kill it before it multiplies! That's what Linden Lab should do. But they can't. They have championed it too hard. So they will allow it to whither away as Terri Sheivo was, except as quietly as possible.

"Download Viewer 2.1 Alpha Now! Sound Like Donald Duck!" (Or whatever).

That has been the Message Of The Day for some time now as you go through the logon process into the Second Life grid. This MOTD is worrisome to me. Not so much all by itself, considering the ramifications of pushing Alpha-phase (ALPHA!) software to a mass population who can barely understand the operation of release version software. But rather in the "between the lines" message I suspect is being sent along. If you aren't seeing that message, allow me to highlight it for you...

PostHeaderIcon ZOMG! It's A Run On The Linden Lab Second Life Banks!!!

I've been hearing from some that there's a panic run on the LindeX (Linden Exchange). After going in and taking a good look, my reaction is more or less: ummm, no. Actually, a "run" on the LindeX (in the current way it is happening) is a good thing, because the exchange rate between the Linden Dollar and U.S. Dollar is becoming ridiculously stable.

Is the LindeX being affected by the sledge-hammer news dropped by Tateru Nino (Massively) and confirmed by Linden Lab with regard to a 30% cut in their workforce? Short answer is yes. The good thing is: not by very much. Unless you are exchanging money by the higher-end hundreds of thousands of Linden Dollars for the tens of thousands of legal tender dollars, you wouldn't feel much at all - pennies, actually.

So why all the worrywarting? Because most people do not have a comprehensive grasp of just what the LindeX really is and how it works. So I'll explain in as pithy a way as I can.

First, LindeX is not a bank in any sense of the term. You are not placing money (virtual or real) into any kind of account. Rather the LindeX is simply a trading post. You are trading money: whether it be Linden Dollars (L$) or U.S. Legal Tender Dollars ($US). Additionally, your are not trading anything with Linden Lab at all. Rather, you are trading with other people who want what you are offering.

Whenever you buy Linden Dollars, you are not buying them from Linden Lab. You are actually buying from other Second Life users who are selling their Linden Dollars (also called "cashing out").

Linden Lab's only hand in it all is to act as the escrow agent. So, if you have L$1000 you want to trade into $US, you offer it for trade (or as LindeX puts it: for "sale"). Someone looking to "buy" L$ will then trade with you. The question is how many Linden Dollars will you give them for each $1 U.S. - and how many Linden Dollars the buyer gets for each $1?

So here is how it works:

PostHeaderIcon Linden Lab Nuclear Option: Viewer 2

All government manuals (such as military field manuals and the like) follow a very simple, consistent rule with regard to callout notifications. A plain three-tiered level system designed to be clear and easy to understand with the concept of saying what it means and meaning what it says. These callout usually highlight something important you need to know as you follow the instruction on the main page and usually have to do with "If you do A, the result will be B".
The three tiers are as follows (with ridiculous examples):

  • The "Notice".
    As in: "NOTICE: If you do not replace the light bulb, the brake light will not function when applying brakes."

  • The "Caution":
    As in "CAUTION: Attempting to shoot your rifle while the barrel is plugged-up with mud could damage the rifle."

  • The "Warning":
    As in "WARNING: Do not inspect the end of a tank barrel during live-fire exercise or serious bodily injury or death could result."

The rules are pretty simple and consistent: A "Notice" simply means a certain way of doing things might not get you the expected result. However, a "Caution" could irreparably damage the item you are working with. And finally a "Warning" means screw the equipment, you could really end-up with a bad day if you fuck-up.

Now, back to Linden Lab's nuclear option regarding Viewer 2: It's like drugs... use it and your hooked. No, not emotionally, but rather kind of like a "once you use it, keep using it or else".

PostHeaderIcon Facebook & Second Life: Successful Failures?

A while ago, it was "My Space", the grand social place to be. Then the site was run into the ground by the My Space powers that be. Facebook rose up to fill the gap as it is more or less a My Space with a prettier face. Now with the whole uprising regarding Facebook and user privacy, one would think with all the shrill screams and shouts, Facebook will soon suffer the same fate as My Space: insignificance. It won't happen. Many will shout the same things about Second Life and how the powers that be (read: Linden Lab) also will run it into the ground, or at least turn it more insignificant than it already is. I beg to differ.

What I would refer to as "successful failures" - meaning a "failure" to those of us who use it and expect more, but not in the least as far as the general public is concerned. They simply don't know any better and thus, they maintain the successful nature of the thing. Even though a huge number, possibly a majority of users are completely inactive. At least this is how it feels on Facebook and the SL Grid. Not so with Twitter because it's a rather targeted system. We each create our own little worlds or "rooms" where we find and see only those we follow directly. So it feels busier than it might be at the big picture level.

It just depends on which side of the door you're standing on, I suppose. I never have been much of a twitterer even though I have a Twitter account The same is true with my Facebook, Lined-In and myriad of other "social media" accounts. However, I decided to try a little experiment to see if my gut-feeling on a few particulars about "social spaces" were accurate. They are.

Within a few days, I received so many friend requests from people I've never heard of and who no doubt have never geared of me all coming out of the woodwork like crazy. I had to turn off my email notifications because of it. So here we are, a few months later. Not a single one has written on my "wall" or mentioned me or even written on their own walls it seems. Not so much as said a single "hello!"

It's a game. For many, it's a simple game to see how many friends I can get in my friends list.

How many followers I can get on my Twitter feed. How many RSS subscribers I can get on my blog. So I can feel important. As though people actually give a rat's behind about what I think on anything. At all. This is true for anyone and everyone who creates these accounts on these social media spaces and chooses to use their Second Life (or other anonymous) persona. I think the same may be somewhat true on the grid also. But one thing I have discovered about Facebook and Twitter and the Second Life grid: your friends aren't. Not really, anyway. Some turn into really strong acquaintances. Many are drive-by "hiyas". Most are just a number. Another notch on the "friend stick just so I can say I have more than you or worse to make myself feel better about...myself.

Of the hundreds of friends I have so mysteriously obtained on Facebook, I think two or three actually wished me a "happy birthday" Saturday. Of course it was just the system sending them a system message "these friends have birthdays today" and they shoot-off the messages like clockwork. however, I agree it was at least thoughtful they took the effort. As far as Second Life grid and friends go, there are three I work with as part of our (we are a team) store. I don't know which of them remembered, but they three each passed along happy wishes and I do appreciate that more than any others.

Except one.

I saw it this morning. A couple days after the fact...
A simple "happy belated birthday".

This happy birthday wish actually carries the most weight with me. It feels the most sincere. I know there wasn't some computer calendar reminding them of the day. I know they didn't have to send the message. I know they went out of their way to send it.

It was from someone who only addressed themselves as "L".
You know who you are.

And you know what? I know who you are, too.
Thank you.



PostHeaderIcon Your God-given Human Right to NOT be Offended?

/me groans.

Okay, fair warning here: anyone who really knows me knows I don't like to beat around the bush or soften things up for anyone. I actually do try hard to say what I mean and mean what I say and sometimes truth just plain hurts. So, I'm getting ready to offend a lot of people and you could be among them.

First I want to say I am sick and tired of the "you are intolerant' crowd because to use the very word is to proclaim yourself intolerant. The word itself is an oxymoron when used as an accusation. And only morons will ever throw it around that way.

With that said, I will boldly proclaim myself more tolerant than anyone else I know. I see something I don't agree with, I might whine and bitch about it but that's more or less the end of it. I won't demand you change whatever it is I think you are wrong about. For example: Linden Lab proclaiming the letters S and L as a trademark. I proclaimed that I will not recognize "SL" as a trademark of Linden Lab, but I haven't demanded they stop using it.

See? I'm "tolerant".

PostHeaderIcon Linden Lab to You: Get A Freakin' Life Already!

Okay, not Linden Lab's words. Mine.

It's no secret that with the Second Life Viewer version 2 there are leaps ahead in features and leaps backward in performance and stability. The same is true with the entire "search" function on the grid and because it's a direct link, on the web-side.

There are a lot of complaints from the usual, typical minority about it and the complaints are the same old tired arguments that couldn't hold a single ounce of water.

Ciaran Leval, God bless him and his passionate, albeit always seeing the glass half-empty self, has blogged about the current search result situation as it applies to the Second Life grid.

He makes many good points and I, overall, agree with what he says and complains about. However, to take the "discussion" just a tad further, I reply to Ciaran's post with this (forewarning: /rant on)

PostHeaderIcon More than he bargained for

I was so alarmed when I saw Ari hasn't updated even once this whole month, I sent him an email. When he didn't immediately reply my email, I got even more alarmed and sent a tweet. Ari, you must understand the enormity of this; I hardly ever use Twitter, because I hate it! :p  He didn't respond to that, either. I was about to go into major panic mode when he finally replied my email, two days later. Phew. *stops hyperventilating*



So, I'm going to post something I meant to post months ago... in January, to be exact. I'm the queen of procrastination. I've procrastinated over my Master's thesis for two years. ("How far have you gotten?" "Err... I haven't collected any data yet?") Nevertheless, I'm currently aiming to finish the darned thesis by the 3rd quarter of this year, so I guess it's also fitting that I finally write the post I had always planned to write here.



Luckily I already have the picture loaded on my server, because my Internet connection is being a bitch (it's ok to use words like that on your blog, right, Ari? *bats eyelashes*). Or rather, my ISP is being a bitch. That's what I get for living in a Third-World country. The connection's been horrible for about two months now. I can't get inworld at all. Just as well that I took the picture for this post back in January. When I intended putting this up. Uh-huh.



chubby Quaintly



Ari's always given me grief about my avatar not having enough flesh, even after I fattened her up a little. The guy is super hard to please! In a fit of pique, I decided to try making Quaintly as fleshy as he could ever wish for. Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it!



Happy now, dude?!! *sticks tongue out and quickly makes a dash for it*

PostHeaderIcon Linden Lab: More Like Apple or Adobe?

Unless you've been is somewhat of a vacuum of late, you already know Apple CEO Steve Jobs refuses to allow Adobe Flash (Player) on the iPhone OS, hence all "iDevices" will not and cannot play anything that requires the Flash Player.

There have been just-short-of-expletives lobbed at each other between Apple and Adobe, primarily between Apple CEO and Adobe Engineers. My personal opinion is that the Adobe side of the argument is outright laughable. They proclaim developers don't have a choice (by not being allowed to develop the Flash platform on iPhone OS) and that users of said iDevices don't have a choice to choose whether to use Flash Player or not.

I beg to differ.

PostHeaderIcon Linden Lab to Woodbury: Good Riddance and Don't Come Back

Second Life in 2006: Gray Goo griefer (griever) attack shuts down the grid for a few days. Other griefer attacks are constantly creating an unstable grid, combined with the horrific instability and bugginess of the SL viewer makes Second life, at times, a terribly miserable place to be. Well, griefers always have been a part of Second Life, but it's become a lot better since then for the majority of grid-surfers. But the Woodbury institution was apparently a bee-hive of griefer activity, or at least a hideout.

I don't remember when I first started reading about "Woodbury" - an educational higher learning institution having their own sim and it always had to do with being a haven for griefers - at least according to all the articles I've read and what I've heard about.

Even though many of those article must be taken with a serious grain of salt as the "reporters" of these stories tend to sensationalize everything, there seems to be no doubt as to the "community" of the Woodbury region...or anything "Woodbury.

I don't really care to remember whether it was 2007 or 2008 when Linden Lab sank the Woodbry sim on grounds of... whatever. I don't recall if it was a billing issue or a griefer issue. But that's moot at this point.

Linden Lab to Woodbury: get the hell out and stay the hell out, have a nice life:

"Linden Lab has decided to no longer support Woodbury University in Second Life," said an E-mail notice from Linden Labs sent to Edward Clift, the dean of media, culture and design at Woodbury.

"We are making this decision based on historical and recent events that constitute a breach of the Second Life community standards and terms of service. We ask that you please respect the decision and do not take part in the Second Life platform in the future."

To me, it is ridiculously ironic that it has taken Linden Lab this long to drop the ban-hammer. Must be someone intimately involved with Woodbury as done something to call down the Linden thunder and that lightning has struck.

Of course the griefers of Woodbury will not fade away. They'll just disperse and regroup. The destroyed bee's nest that scatters the swarm, who only regroup later to build another nest. Often somewhere nearby.

/me shrugs.

I suppose it was nice knowing you, Woodbury.
Not.

link: California College Loses Second Life for a Second Time (usnews.com)

[art: 'Big Daddy K' via Flickr]


PostHeaderIcon Who's (Left) In The House?

Last person on the region please turn the lights off.

I still am amazed at the amount of land-to-population ratio when it comes to the Second Life grid. I'm not even referring to the private estate regions, but rather the Linden mainland.

I remember seeing those television commercials for Philadelphia Cream Cheese where they loved to proclaim "ounce-for-ounce less than half the calories of butter!" However, when spreading that cream cheese over your toast or bagel, you need to spread it thick. Really thick else you won't even taste it. Thus, even though that brand of cream cheese might be less than half the calories of butter per ounce, you put three to four-times more of it onto your food, negating any benefit of "less calories". The only benefit is to spread the stuff thin. But then you can't even taste it.

It would seem the same is true with the second Life grid.

There are many who may not be genuine "newbies" in Second Life, but not yet of complete understanding with regard to the dynamics of the grid. So they will proclaim "Second Life is a ghost-town!" others will debunk it, but both are correct.

PostHeaderIcon XstreetSL: Flash Ads = FAIL

I'm cruising XstreetSL this weekend and I noticed that stupid pop-up window on my browser about "Plug-in Content" and how I need the plug-in to display the content. It was irritating. I dismissed the dialog and continued on.

Then a few pages later it appeared again. My first thought was WTF? What has Linden Lab broken now? Then I realized what was going on. Bonehead merchants buying banner advertising at XSL are now putting-in Flash-based advertising and it's their loss and waste of money.

PostHeaderIcon Is Second Life as Hard to Quit as Nicotine?

Hardly.

Quaintly has been mentioning to me about her internet connection difficulties. More specifically, her difficulties in connecting to the grid (and probably other high-bandwidth destinations).

Our short discussion bursts have come to that all-too-familiar subject of "what if I leave SL, will I miss it? Go stir-crazy? Have withdrawals?" Those are my words, not hers.

The dramatic divas of the grid like to be shrill about it. Whenever Linden Lab sneezes, farts, coughs policy or anything to do with how something works system-wise, they become shrill and start shouting about how they are leaving Second Life forever as though Linden Lab (or anyone else for that matter) cares a single iota.

Quaintly views it the way I do: nothing Second Life or Linden Lab for that matter is important enough to really care about. Let's face it: virtual worlds are a discretionary option; not needed in the least. Thus, it's really either "entertainment" or "experimental" but nothing more.

PostHeaderIcon Idiots of Second Life

Linden Lab unleashed a months-worth of blog posts in a single day. Among that truckload of information was an update to the Linden Lab Terms of Service (ToS) - which is really just a rephrasing of what already was in there. In the blog post, to help make clear just what the changes were, those changes were summarized in the blog post itself, so one did not have to go through and read the entire thing trying to pick-out the difference between the previous and now current versions.

Except the summary had a suspicious, albeit major omission.

PostHeaderIcon Xstreet SL: You Bee-ach, You!

As a shopper, I love Xstreet SL. However, as a shopper I hate Xstreet SL. On the other hand as a merchant I love Xstreeet SL. But I also hate Xstreet SL for the extra work is causes me.

You can't live with it and you can't live without it. I won't hold my breath for something better to come along.

PostHeaderIcon New Version of Copybot Hysteria is Laughable

Copybot scenario has run rampant without anything to hold it back since mid 2006. The only thing keeping the activity at bay was the technical geeky knowledge one must have to make it work. Then along came the open-source Second Life viewers where all the computer code that explains how things are put together on the grid were unleashed. So, of course the copybot scenario moved from the uber-geek crown far closer into what one might call "mainstream" abilities. It becomes too easy for anyone and everyone to "copybot" anything on the grid.

So the first salvo in fighting back, almost three-and-a-half years later, that has any real meaning in terms of any kind of effectiveness is the "Client Detection System" ( properly: CDS Ban Relay) by Skills Hak.

The system uses discreet and covert methods to determine which Second Life client software (viewer) you are using, then matches that information against a database of known "illicit" viewers; hence the viewers that can be easily used to break the Linden Lab Terms of Service on the Second Life Grid.

Now there are three chapters to the entire copybot hysteria controversies:

  • The original fear by creators of being "copybotted"
  • The ridiculously shrill and vehement copybot "vigilantes"
  • And now the CDS Banhammer against anyone known to have (or had) copybot abilities via the use of an illicit viewer.

Obviously these are highly-charged emotional issues. Creators work hard to create their creations. Often is it a labor-of-love and at other times it is painful, gruelling work and when that work in either case is stolen it is painful enough. But when others actually make a profit from that theft, especially when it is to the detriment of your remaining business, it can be outright soul-killing (emotionally-speaking, of course.)

Here is where things become laughable...

PostHeaderIcon It's not about the money

Since Ari *cough* ranted *cough* about people who complain about LL's services... I thought I would put my two cents in :p



As someone who doesn't own a business in SL, I don't complain about losing money when the grid is down and transactions are borked. But it does irk me sometimes because it means I can't do the things I wanted or planned to do. It's like you planned to have a picnic outside under the trees, but suddenly the skies open and rain begins pouring down, so you have to change plans. Or you wanted to drive out, but you get in the car and discover the car won't start.



car won't start



I don't see why residents shouldn't feel unhappy when Linden Lab sneezes and the grid goes wonky. I feel unhappy when it rains and I can't go on my picnic, even though that dude up there who controls the weather doesn't owe me anything. I know LL doesn't owe me anything, but they are providing a service, and since they choose to provide this service, I expect them to provide a reliable one.



It's their prerogative if they decide not to worry about reliability, of course. But if they want people to use their service, then reliability has to be emphasised. Because if people find the service unreliable, they become frustrated. When they are frustrated, they will leave.



You see, for most of us, SL is like a hobby, something we do in our spare time... something we do for fun. Ari has said he doesn't rely on SL to provide him an income, and of course I don't either, since I don't have an inworld business. In my case, SL actually bleeds me of money because I don't have a way to get other people's cash to pay off my obligations to Linden Lab, as Ari so nicely put it :p



So why am I still here?



money money money



Ari suggested that I'm still here because I believe I'm getting my money's worth: "Based on the real money you spend with Linden Lab, are you getting what you pay for? Obviously you do, else you wouldn't still be in-world," he said rather wickedly. Nice way of boiling things down, but the problem is, that's the wrong argument to use. Hobbies can't be measured in monetary terms. They can't. Because cost is not the issue; the issue is enjoyment.



So if the grid were unstable to the point where residents were unable to get anything done, the frustrations would likely make everyone give up on SL. The thing is, although people complain about downtime and hiccups, it actually isn't a terribly regular occurrence. It occurs frequently enough for people to groan, "The grid is borked again," but it doesn't occur so often that SL residents find it impossible to have any semblance of a normal, enjoyable Second Life. Otherwise, people would have thrown in the towel in frustration long before this. They wouldn't find their hobby worth so much stress and annoyance. Hobbies are supposed to be enjoyable!



Of course, people still complain despite the fact that the grid is much more stable than we generally make it out to be. There doesn't exist a single person on this earth who hasn't complained when things aren't going their way. That's human nature. If the grid had zero downtime, residents would still find something to complain about. Life is like that. *shrugs*

PostHeaderIcon Linden Lab SNAFUs: Where Are the Clowns?

You know that every time Linden Lab sneezes, the naysayers and crybaby whiners come out of the woodwork, especially the begrudged who like to proclaim they pay Linden Lab umpteen hundreds or thousands of "real life" dollars each month (they don't). The sad thing is they all are clowns, but aren't pretending to be.

Anshe Chung, the Azure Islands, name your big-business-money-maker-here people and anyone who sends Linden Lab hundreds or thousands of so-called "real life" dollars in tier and other fees each month are all full of crock.

(Note: I have never seen any complaint from Anshe Chung company or the Azure Islands people, they are just well-known "big business" names I am throwing out as examples of "big money-makers". This post is about the vocal whiners who comment on blogs and the rest.)

In fact, they (the so-called "money-makers") pay nothing of their own money to Linden Lab. And here's why...

PostHeaderIcon Let The Sun...er, Shade Shine

Linden Lab really wants you to use the Second Life "Viewer 2" - a beta version so you will report all that you find wrong with it, also it affords you the opportunity to get used to it. There are many comments and SLogoshpere articles on the merits (good and bad) of Viewer 2 and my own experience is that I like it much more than I dislike it.

As for bugs, the only real bug that bothers me thus-far is that my preferred inventory sorting method (by name, not date, and "system folder" not always at the top) is not "sticky" between sessions. Each logging requires these settings to be reapplied. This was in the original beta version released some time ago. So, in fairness, Linden Lab has just released an updated version. However, the blog post announcing it included a "detailed" list of bug fixes and this bug was not mentioned, so I'll pass on this round.

As for "features" - there are two that really irk me:

  • Setting properties (including permissions) on multiple items in my inventory. Previously a tabbed widget would appear, each tab representing one of the items. In the new viewer, properties appear in the slide-bar - and only one. So how do I change properties on multiple items in my inventory at the same time without dropping them into a prim and using the "batch" permissions change?
  • The other thing that irks be is that there is no way to see your grid/region coordinates unless you click the "location" bar at the top of the screen. Region coordinates are those number that tell you where you are: 128, 200, 21 - being on the map: east, north, altitude. The problem is you must click your location bar to see the coordinates. However, as soon as you begin moving again, they disappear. I use those coordinates constantly - most often the altitude, but also the east and north numbers.

I'll wait for the next beta (I often skip a version on most of the software I own anyway). So how do I know Linden Lab really, really wants you to use V2?

PostHeaderIcon Home, Sweet Home: Shameless Plug

It's been a couple weeks since Linden Lab started issuing Linden Homes to premium account holders and that first weekend was a nightmare for many as they "sold-out" rather quickly.

My first first difficulty was in deciding which theme to get. The last time I had actually visited the Linden Homes was way back when first announced and previewed - so I was going off memory with regard to some things. That and all the negative hype by naysayers on the Official blogs:

  • The lag is horrendous!
  • They are too close together, like sardines in a can!
  • There is no privacy!
  • All the window views are into the homes of others!
  • Even if the house doesn't count, you can't do anything with only 117 prims!

I thought the "Meadowbrook" ("California-style") homes to be the least visually creative and interesting, but I found they sold-out the fastest and I see why: they are the largest. I decided on this style and it took a lot of clicking and refreshing of the "order" page until I finally got one.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived is all of the above objections, save the prim limits, are total bunk. The house (and build) is quite nice. The window views are considerably better than I expected and no different from a real life view in a similar kind of neighborhood. Not only respectable, but actually pleasant.

PostHeaderIcon First "Blessed" Viewers Listed

I love Kirsten's viewer. It's blazing fast (easily on the same class as Snowglobe) and offers awesome features, especially "shadow-casting". And that function is easy to switch-on, switch-off at will.

The "Kirsten Viewer" is among the first to be officially blessed by Linden Lab.

Congratulations, Kirsten!


PostHeaderIcon Land Ownership and Tiers 201

How do you move or transfer virtual land without throwing real money away by tiering-up?

I recently jump through some serious hoops wanting to tier-up and discovered that even after four-years on the Second Life (SL) grid I still have much to learn. Among all the things you can do and create in SL, among the most nerve-wracking and apprehension-inducing is land-management. This primarily has to do with the fear of accidentally owing Linden Lab more real life legal tender than you are willing or desire to pay.

The first article in this little series I am presenting is on how to read and use your land-management control panel on your Second Life account page - which you can review here.

In my last post here, I covered the "Land management" area of your SL account page in detail. So now it's time to show you how to save some real money when flipping, transferring, trading or otherwise moving your land holdings around.

PostHeaderIcon Down With Poseballs!

I am rather afraid that I'm a furniture snob. I refuse to buy furniture with poseballs.

I don't mean menu-driven furniture that rezzes poseballs. I mean furniture with poseballs linked to it. Yes, I'm appalled that in 2010, there are still furniture creators selling sofas dotted with poseballs. Witness this:




This couch and the accompanying loveseat and single seat, ladies and gentleman, is currently retailing on Xstreet for $600L. Do people buy this stuff? I guess I have to conclude that they do, since sellers are still offering this stuff. *shakes head sadly*

When I see something like this, it immediately tells me that this creator is living in his or her own little world and isn't in sync with SL. Poseballs were necessary -- and common -- in the earlier days, but these days most furniture makes use of sit target scripts to embed poses directly into furniture prims without having to resort to poseballs. I do not know how anyone can have been in SL for any length of time and not have noticed this development.

Further, a product like this tells me that this creator is not willing to innovate, or doesn't care about innovation. They don't care about improving themselves, honing their skills, upgrading their products. They are happy to do things the way they always have, because that's what they know and that's what they're familiar with. They don't want to try new things, to experiment, to learn.

And so I find this a truly unforgivable crime, because poseballs on furniture are so ugly. They completely ruin the aesthetics of the piece. You would think a creator, having crafted his product so lovingly and carefully, would want it to look the best that it possibly can. He ought to want to present it in the most flattering light. No, instead he blights the look with ugly poseballs.

blue couch with poseballs


But, even if the poseballs are textured invisible and therefore unseen, they take up unnecessary prims. Now, I've been accused of being a "prim Nazi" because I count every single prim. You can't deny, however, that the prims do tend to add up, and if you are on a small parcel, every prim counts. Witness the bench in the ad above: 4 prims (including 2 poseballs), it says. If the creator had taken the trouble to use a sit target script, that bench would only be 2 prims.

All in all, I truly see no reason for furniture to ever require linked poseballs. The minute I set eyes on something like this, I have a negative perception of the creator. Sometimes, as with the bench above, I rue the fact that the creator is so behind the times, because if not for the not-so-minor detail of the poseballs, the product would be lovely and well worth buying. It is such a pity, such a waste.


PostHeaderIcon LLV2 Is Bad News For Open Sim

Maria Korolov wrote at Hypergrid Business some interesting ideas about the Linden Lab Viewer version 2 (LLV2) and how LL is at the same opportunistic crossroad America Online was with the idea behind owning Netscape. Maria's argument is for Linden Lab allowing multi-grid support in their official viewer.

Linden Lab now has the opportunity to own the relationship with the world’s metaverse travelers by releasing a viewer that can handle multiple grids.

However, I frankly disagree. In fact, LLV2 actually creates more difficulty for all these "open grids" with regard to gaining any real popularity and it's a set-back for them in the relevancy department.

I see a lot of blog posts about all the other grids out there, including on Hypergrid Business blog. A noble effort on all their parts to champion and attempt drumming-up interest in those other grids, even though from where I stand, it appears to be a frivolous effort - but someone has to do it I suppose.

In truth, though Maria's comparison of AOL/Netscape paradigm to LindenLab/V2 is a good one to help the uninitiated understand what she is trying to say and a good summary, it also is an entirely different paradigm.

And here is why Maria and all others thinking like her are wrong...

PostHeaderIcon Linden Lab Disses Macintosh: Fair-well, So-long, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye.

Linden Lab leaves Macintosh behind, At least, that's how it appears and only partly so.

Granted, the Official SL Viewer 2 is beta, and there is a lot of work needed on it still (okay, a lot of work) - one thing that is not made clear before downloading is that it is an Intel-only application. Perhaps it states this in the "system requirements" area, but it is not made clear beyond that.

There is a lot of talk about Viewer 2 (which I'll just call V2 hence) and a lot of it is about the exciting new features. I have several Macs in my home and one Windows PC. The PC is pretty much for SL and a couple other "entertainment" things because the Mac is such a pleasure to use in comparison, I reserve it mostly for actual "productive" venture.

So I want to write about a few things in V2 that I haven't seen written on yet (such as how there are a couple "features" that will allow extreme shamming and deceit across the grid and real ripping-off of Linden Dollars). So, I download the V2 beta on the current Mac I am using so I can do a quickie log-in to do a screen-grab of that and other preferences and the first thing I notice is the odd icon:

At first I (foolishly as it is a 'duh' moment for Mac users) assumed it was a Linden Lab creation to indicate this is a beta, even though I have seen Snow Leopard show this before. The circle-slash indicates the application will not run on this machine - which in this case is a PowerPC G5 model (all my others are Intel-based).

Since the beta is widely expected to go "golden" in the next few weeks and a possible upgrade in the next few months, and with that: the discontinuation of V1 versions... what will happen to all the Mac users still on PowerPC CPUs?

No, not going to bother contacting Linden Lab directly (except a tweet to M) about it because one thing is clear: Apple doesn't sit still. They move forward at the speed of light and quickly as is possible and feasible will drop "old technologies". Most new software available on the Mac is all now Intel-based and doesn't support PowerPC at all. And in the next few years, Apple (ARM) -based so it's only a matter of time before they drop Intel as well. So why not Linden Lab? If Apple is pushing forward so hard, Linden Lab might as well also, right?

Is this an oversight on Linden Lab's part? Or, is it a "branch" (or whatever they call it) that simply has not been implemented yet (the PowerPC-supporting code)?

Is SL and Intel-based CPU-only platform hence forth?

So long PowerPC Macintosh: it was fun while it lasted, sorry can't wait for you, have a good life, whatever is left of it as you die a slow, agonizing death.

©2007-Present, Andr'Deco & Pixietale Studios, DBA Socially Mundane; Common Sensible


PostHeaderIcon Potent Weapon Is Grid Savior?

Arabella's Ramblings unleashes the news (for me, anyway):

An exciting new development has been released in the seemingly never ending battle that so many creators endure – theft, ripping, texture stealing, content theft – it has many names.

I agree, it is exciting news. And the copybotgrieferidiots are running around soiling their pants over it all, especially over at SL Universe forums (so I'm told - which makes sense as that is a drama-cesspool of the most high.)

The blow being dealt: in-short the "CDS" or "Client Detection System" - which is a scripted object planted on your parcel, that through a complex system of detection, scrutinizing, analyzing and otherwise complete vetting of the viewer client all visitors are using when entering your privately-owned parcel will eject and outright ban them if it turns-out that client viewer is among those known to be used for illicit purposes.

Of course everywhere this CDS system is spoken about, such as SL Universe Forums, Alphaville Herald and likely the other paranoid, rumor-control cesspools and decent blogs alike... the feedback comments are rarely indifferent. Most are rather panicky and "offended".

PostHeaderIcon Linden Home: Business Opportunity For Smart Creators

As is typical with all blog posts by Linden Lab, the hysterical doom-and-gloom whiners come out of the woodwork. People who profess about how much real money they pay to Linden Lab each month, how much virtual land they own and how Linden Lab's new project will "kill" their business.

I say "and you call yourself a business person?"

Any good business person will look at what's going-on and adapt to any market changes. Especially when there is a lot of lead time. As for the Linden Home project, we've had a heads-up for a couple months already. Unlike all the doom-and-gloomers, there are creators and other real "business" people who are moving quickly to adapt and turn the "doom-and-gloom" into real opportunity.

And we have done this at Zodiac House:

Ever move into a new house or apartment and before any of the furniture is moved-in and arranged you notice that strange echo? However, once you throw down a few rugs and plop the sofa and bed into place and all the rest, that cozy feeling settles-in.

One of the "complaints" about Linden Homes is that you...

"...can't do anything with only 117 prims! It's ridiculous!"

Umm, yeah. Then you are lazy-minded with a simple education and zero creativity.

This evening, Zodiac House releases the "Linden Home Edition Full House" furniture sets. The above picture shows one of the A-Frame Linden Homes with four rooms worth of furniture: Living room, Bed room, Bath room and Kitchen. All with appropriate poses and the bed is even menu-driven.

PostHeaderIcon Land Ownership and Tiers 101

Linden Lab finally released their "Linden Homes" to public consumption yesterday. A Linden Home is being provided to all premium account holders as an option, where the existing tier-free allotment of land ownership can be applied here - and receive a themed house to go along with it.

It comes with 117 prims. And this is the important part to pay attention to, as when you pay tiers, this is what you are really paying for: the number of prims you may use.

Many will complain that 117 prims is useless because one cannot properly furnish these homes. I beg to differ as we (Zodiac House) have been working the last few weeks to prepare complete home furnishings for these Linden Homes allowing you to furnish every room: Livving, Bed, Kitchen and Bath in about 100 prims - leaving some for whatever else you want to add. These will be released for sale this weekend.

But I digress...

The reason I bring-up the Linden Homes is there was a comment on the LL blog where someone had mentioned they owned some land already, then took a Linden Home and it caused them to "tier-up". Had that person used the Land Manager on their account page, they would have clearly understood this would happen long before their error.

Among all the things you can learn to do and manage in Second Life, by far the most confusing and even tricky is: land ownership and how it affects your tier - the real money you pay to Linden Lab for the privilege. This is a primer on that.

First, what I speak on here has nothing to do with Estate Regions - private islands that sit in the middle of the ocean. Rather, this little lesson is on any virtual land you own where you pay your tier fees directly to Linden Lab - which I personally feel is the best and safest arrangement for any long term land ownership.

Linden Lab will never evict you for any reason other than your account going too far into arrears. Beyond that you are free to do with as you choose on your virtual property within the confines of the Terms of Service and Community Standards. Linden Lab will let you be for as long as you want.

The tricky thing is understanding tier...the monthly fees you pay to Linden Lab for the privilege (you must be a premium account holder or manager of a group authorized to purchase land for the group).

So here is your first lesson with regard to mainland parcel ownership.

The first thing you must understand are the tier levels. And they can be a bit misleading at first. But having a clear understanding will actually save you a lot of money and allow you maximum number of prims for the least cost. Since non-premium account holders can technically buy land for a group, it should be made clear this tutorial does not involve them. Take this information as a personal instruction for personal land-ownership.

You can view the land tier structure from your account page at Second Life.com. Go to SecondLife.com and in the left-hand rail menu, choose "Land Manager"->"Land Use Fees". It is important to understand that though this is called a "land manager" - it is more or less for informational purposes only. You cannot actually "tier-up" or "tier down" solely from here. It works in-conjunction with your activities in-world.

In this "level 101" of my land tutorial, we'll cover what this page is, does and how it helps you understand what is going on with your virtual land ownership responsibilities as it pertains to real costs to you. Upon selecting this page, you will be presented with the "Land Management" page:

Here you can see what you have, what you can buy without adding to your costs and what the costs will be if you add more than your "tier level".

It is highly important to understand: Any changes you make here does not affect the amount of money you owe to Linden Lab each month or the amount of land you own in-world. It is simply an informational calculator for the purpose of giving you an overview of your virtual land holdings and helps you to plan your land-ownership transactions. There are two sections to this manager, let us look at each in-turn.

The first section is the actual tier calculator. The purpose is to show you what you have and owe now, and "what-if" scenarios:

Let us look at this section line-by-line and what each means and can do for you. First, the headers along the top are misleading. "Current Fees" and "Estimated Fees" only apply to the last line of the table. These headers should really only state "Current" and "Estimated" without the word "Fees".

  • Line 1: Square Meters Owned.
    In the "Current" column, this is what you actually own in-world. Looking to the last line in the table you can see clearly what your cost obligation is to Linden Lab. This cost is only for actual, currently-owned land. You must be careful as this is not the actual monthly billing amount.

    This is the amount you will owe on your next billing date, not the billing date coming due. If you enter a number of square meters in the "Estimated" field and click the "Calculate" button at the bottom of the section, you can see what your new cost obligation will be. It is important to understand that your first 512 square meters (M2) is tier-free. It costs you zero because it is included with your premium membership.

    Example: You own 512 and are thinking of purchasing a 1024. Enter this into the Estimated field and click the calculate button. You will see the cost obligation. However, if you plan to purchase a 1024 M2 in addition to your 512, then you should enter 1536 in the estimated field (512+1024).

  • Line 2: Square Meters Donated.
    Rather than owning land outright, you can donate tier to a group. Groups cannot own land or pay tiers, so members of a group must donate the tier "responsibility" so that the land can be deeded to the group. Then all members of the group "share" ownership of that parcel, each obligating themselves to cover the tiers required through their "donation".

    If you have any donations to groups which own land, the Current will show it. If you are thinking of donating M2 to a group - the Estimated will show you any new obligations. If you are thinking to deed land you own to a group, you must donate tier shares to the group at the same time. Enter that amount here.

    Note: groups receive a 10% land bonus. Meaning an additional 10% of the donated shares can be owned (deeded) to the group tier-free. We will cover group-shares and donations in another post.

  • Line 3: Premium Bonus in Square Meters.
    This always will show as 512, unless Linden Lab changes or revokes it (or you are not a premium account holder). It is presented here to help with your calculations.

  • Line 4: Paid Tier Level.
    This is the total of M2 that you own and are obligated to pay tier on. The estimated column forecasts the new level upon which you would be obligated should you sell-off or purchase new virtual land. Note that this number is the sum of "Owned" plus "Donated" minus "Bonus".

    Thus, if you own 1024 M2 of land that is deeded to a group and you own a Linden Home, the current column might look like from the top-down: 512, 1024, 512, 1024. meaning that even though you technically own 1536 M2, you are only responsible for paying tier on 1024.

  • Line 5: Available Square Meters.
    Probably the most important line in the entire table, next to the bottom line. If you have M2 donated to groups, you get a "land bonus" - ability to own additional land tier-free. The real purpose of this line is to help you maximize the amount of land you can own based on the money you are paying to Linden Lab.

    If you own 600 square meters, you are paying tier for more land than you own. It is a waste of real money. This field shows you how much more land you can buy without bumping-up to the next tier level, thereby maximizing the amount of land you can own for the same money you already are paying.

    The key here is this line shows how much more land you can own before you are obligated to bump-up to the next higher tier level. You can purchase this much more land and your monthly tier bill will stay the same. Of course, more land give you more prims (if it is in the same region). Had the member I mentioned above who requested a Linden Home and "accidentally" tiered-up looked at this line on his account page, he would have clearly seen that additional land would cost him more money.

    Remember: it is your first 512 M2 that is tier-free. Not the last.

  • Line 6: Monthly Cost.
    This is the actual dollar amount that applies to Line 4. Note that tier levels are fixed levels. Meaning if you own 1024 M2, purchasing 10 square meters will bump you to the next level - as though you owned 2046 M2 - even if you own that last 10 square meters for 10-seconds. We will go into detail on this concept in a future post.

The important thing is to understand why the calculator is here, why you might want to use it and how to use it to more easily manage your tier obligation to Linden Lab as you consider purchasing or selling virtual land in Second Life.

The second section of the Land Manager page is simply a reference:

These are the different tier levels available. Selecting a higher tier level does nothing but more or less show you what you have "budgeted" for yourself. Other than that, it apparently does nothing at all. You cannot select a lesser tier level than what you are responsible for, based on your actual land-holdings and donations in-world. However, if you own 1024 M2 and select 8192 M2 on this chart - nothing will happen.

Linden Lab will only bill you for what you actually own, based on your peak-ownership level for the previous month. It is simply (more or less) a reference. At least, in all my years in SL, I've not found it to affect anything one way or the other - other than to be a simple reference for my own budgeting needs.

Next article: How to buy and sell land in a way to save the most real money with regard to tiering-up or tiering-down and not get nabbed by a mistake that could cost you huge sums of real money.


PostHeaderIcon Teen + Adult Grids = Kumbaya?

Ciaran Leval, God bless him, is at it again. He suspects the potential merging of the Teen grid with the Adult grid (as the Teen grid is really just a segregated corner of Agni - the adult grid anyway.)

I have been proclaiming this is coming for a long time. Ciaran opines:

Do Linden Lab think there's no harm in doing this and that this is a sensible move? I hope not but if they start with the forums I wouldn't be surprised if a grid merger isn't far behind.

The so-called merger will happen. The only real question is when?

[rant/on] Unfortunately, "Your2ndPlace" blog runs on Drupal - which sucks and is slow and is a complete headache to leave comments on (yes, my own experience only, your mileage may vary) - Nobody Fugazi has been AWOL since memory and Sarah Nerd is never around, Ciaran: go somewhere more mainstream with respectable system performance like Blogger or WordPress. LOL [rant/off]

Okay, anyway, I have to reply to his post over there, over here because that system is a heartburn factory. So my reply to Ciaran's post at Y2P (link below) follows here:

Been blogging it since last year:
http://sociallymundane.com/2009/04/adult-rated-continent-epiphany.html

And in truth, I say just get it over-with - I support it:
http://sociallymundane.com/2009/09/flame-me-burn-me-kill-me-just-don-eat.html

MOST IMPORTANT: Every comment from Linden Lab with regard to merging adult and teen grids is always: "We have no plans at this time to do so"

"No plans" does not mean they intend to not do it. It only means it is further down the private roadmap and not ready to be divulged yet. They need more time to get the grid cleaned-up.

Why on earth would they - why would anyone think there could be any other possible, plausible reason to work so hard at segregating the grid with the Zindra continent?
/me shrugs

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