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, 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.