Archive for the Real Life Category

Is Amazon Destined to Replace Marketplace and Buy SL?

Posted in Op/Ed, Real Life, RL, SecondLife®, SL® Business, Virtual Worlds with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2013 by Valiant Westland

For years I’ve been predicting that the next wave of Virtual World development would be driven by the inevitable competition of e-commerce, marketing and gaming heavyweights like Google, Amazon & Microsoft.  All of these players have a huge vested interest in capturing the annuity income produced by the rapidly expanding world of Virtual Products and services.

SL Now On AmazonSo imagine my “surprise” when I saw the Second Life Community announcement, about Linden Lab offering Start-up and Enhancement Kits on Amazon!   I believe this is a first step towards the eventual disbanding of the Standalone SL Marketplace, in favor of an Amazon-powered alternative.  If I’m right, SL itself could be an acquisition target for Amazon in the not too distant future.

The early failure of Google’s Lively Virtual 3D World and the lackluster performance of Sony’s PlayStation Home Virtual World offering, should not be used to throw out this line of speculation.  These earlier efforts have one thing in common that Amazon and even SL doesn’t, a lack of profitability.

In addition to an Alpha-level user interface, no realistic profit potential is the main reason Google pulled the plug on Lively.  Interestingly enough, Sony, in response to Microsoft’s hugely successful xbox.com webstore, has used this years CES show to announce it is bringing its own SEN (Sony Entertainment Network) store to the US and integrate it with the PlayStation Home experience.

Amazon Web ServicesSo why would Linden Lab give up running its own primary revenue source (Marketplace)?  Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and a potential increase in Net Revenues by outsourcing e-commerce to an organization like Amazon.  Amazon has arguably the most cost-effective and efficient e-commerce platform in the world.  They also have something Linden Lab does not, more than “164 Million paying customers!”  This is a huge potential untapped market for Second Life, that would be almost impossible to reach, without this type of partnership.

Many people, not directly involved with Second Life’s back-end development, might be surprised to learn that since 2006 “Linden Lab has used Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to store elements used in the Second Life world and to distribute the Second Life Viewer to end users.”  In fact, Amazon has featured Linden Lab in a Case Study, from which this quote was taken.

Every company reaches a point where one or more things happen.  They either fail, diversify with new products & markets to sustain growth, go public, acquire additional private capital or are acquired.  Linden Lab has thus far failed to expand its market.  Their attempts to diversify their product via their Enterprise product was, as reported by Hypergrid Business, “a costly mistake.”  Their more recent Time to Sell!Patterns and Creatorverse products seem unlikely to generate the type of revenue or market expansion required to have a measurable impact on their overall business.  Going public is an unlikely option and it is doubtful any more private capital would flow into a stagnant business model.  The only remaining choice for the original investors to cash out, sell Second Life!

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has proven he is a fierce competitor who is willing to take risks and sacrifice margin to dominate an industry.  In fact, a Jan 8th, 2013 Bloomberg Businessweek story on Amazon was summarized like this: “As long as consumers are consuming and shareholders are buying what Bezos is selling, Amazon looks fairly unbeatable.”

Hang on to your virtual hats ladies and gentlemen, I think 2013 could shape up to be an interesting year.  My advice.  Buy Amazon (AMZN) stock and look forward to a Virtual e-Commerce SL Marketplace experience powered by Amazon in the near future!

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Second Life ‘s “Cloudy” Future

Posted in Op/Ed, Real Life, RL, SecondLife®, SL® Advertising, SL® Business, SL® Education, SL® Fashion, Virtual Worlds with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2013 by Valiant Westland

2012 – The SL Future That Wasn’t

Before we look forward to what I believe is/should be SL’s “Cloudy” future, we might want to glance back at what 2012 brought us.  As we entered 2012, Linden Lab CEO Rodvik Humble told us we could look forward to:

  • A New Path-finding SystemMesh Avatar
  • Server side performance upgrades and bug fixes
  • More Premium benefits/features and content
  • New tools, like those used to develop Linden Realms
  • Stable tier pricing
  • Additional advanced features (Mesh!?)

Two of the most anticipated upgrades of 2012, Mesh and the new Path-finding System, are still not fully deployed.  I and many others have begun upgrading our inventory with Mesh creations, but the lack of a completed Mesh Deformer as part of the release viewer continues to generate wailing and gnashing of teeth for those with other than model-“perfect” forms.

Redgrave, one of Second Life’s most respected and innovative brands has refused to wait and introduced their own “Liquid Mesh (TM)” solution, that automatically adjusts their Liquid Mesh clothing designs to most avatar shapes.  It remains to be seen whether this bold move will result in a net gain in market share or cause confusion and ultimately frustration, when the lab finally releases built-in deformer technology.

Path-finding is another “almost here,” enhancement that can’t seem to make it to prime time.  The promise of enhanced path-finding is vehicles, BOTs and other objects being able to move more smoothly, including over sim boundaries, with less lag.  The reality for most users, who know nothing of these enhancements, is a strange new symbol and accompanying message appearing in their viewer.

Second Life URL Bar with Pending Changes Icon

Navmesh has pending changes The region has pending changes that have not yet been baked into the navmesh.

My primary SL property is a mainland region that is bisected by a Linden Road.  I have yet to see any path-finding benefits.  The same vintage automated 2005 vehicles continue to bounce and bumble up and down the road, in the same herky jerky manner, typically stalling, sinking sideways or even sling-shotting violently over the SIM border crossing near my home.

Why “Clouds” Matter

Disclaimer:  For those who are not aware, I make my RL living as a Consultant, helping companies develop and implement Technology and Online-media Marketing Plans that align with their strategic business goals.  I always urge my clients to be unabashedly “market-driven” and “surf” the technology waves whenever possible, rather than trying to fight them or create their own.  In 2013, I’ll be publishing a book on “Technology Planning In/For The Cloud.”

Cloud PartyWhile Linden Lab was busy trying to roll out in-world enhancements like Mesh, obviously designed to boost its revenues, through upgrade and new item sales revenues, the greater (Real) and virtual worlds continued their headlong flight to cloud-based computing.  In the Virtual World space, two cloud computing-based offerings, Kitely and Cloud Party saw significant user growth.  Many SL developers are eagerly porting content, in the hopes of establishing themselves as brand/solution leaders on these new cloud-based platforms.

Meanwhile the Google Apps cloud-based office productivity suite and Google Drive continue to steal market share from Microsoft’s venerable Office solution offerings, despite Microsoft offering their own cloud-based Office 365 solution.  There has been an explosion of Smart Phone and Tablet use.  In fact, tablets are now out-seLumiya Viewerlling laptops!  Unfortunately, with the exception of a couple of txt-only clients and one limited graphical viewer for Android devices called Lumiya, there is no way to access Second Life or even my.secondlife.com, from a Linden Lab official Smart Phone or Tablet client.

Although Linden Lab dabbled with a browser-based client over a year ago, there is no official timeline for the release of a full-featured cloud-based offering that I’m aware of.  Worse still, the primary user experiences in SL are still tied to antiquated 1960’s-era plain text NoteCards and graphics formats that 99% of the world doesn’t use!

Now Is NOT Time To Listen To Your Mother!
(Translation:  Get Your Head In The Clouds!)

If Second Life is going to survive, I believe they must aggressively move towards cloud-based offerings.  The longer the Lab waits to make their move to the cloud, the more regions, developers and regular users they will see opting for other platforms.

A 2013 Wish List For LL/SL

What follows is my personal 2013 wish list of SL enhancements, that I believe would go a long way towards slowing or even reversing SL’s slow downward spiral into irrelevance and make a majority of SL users happier and more productive! (Listed in no particular order)

  1. Deploy SL in a current-content-compatible cloud-based platform, similar to Kitely’s, with a pay-as-you-go option.
  2. Give us TRUE, persistent, Universal Status Indicator, that appears next to each persons name.  Allow status to be set prior to login!
  3. Consolidate login, account maintenance and inventory among “Alt”ernate accounts.
  4. Bring back user selectable Last Names!
  5. Provide automatic synchronization & watermarking of Pictures/Textures with users choice of Picasa, Flickr, etc.
  6. Replace the antiquated NoteCard system with integrated Google Docs / Drive functionality
  7. Upgrade My my.secondlife.com so that it’s mobile friendly and supports bi-directional web<>in-world messaging!
    Better yet, how about replacing the messaging engine with Google Chat!
  8. Deploy a C# application development/scripting environment and enhanced APIs for bi-directional object/data manipulation

Last but not least…   Please consider creating a true Reseller/Partner Network for the next generation of Second Life.  I continue to believe there are thousands of small businesses, franchises and vertical markets that could benefit from Virtual World solutions.  This market can ONLY be effectively tapped, if resellers have a S.M.A.R.T. annuity revenue incentive, support structure and marketing that originates with Linden Lab!

To all my Virtual Friends, Business Associates and Clients, whether still in SL or not, I wish you a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Passing of a Dream

Posted in Real Life, SecondLife® with tags on October 27, 2011 by hawksrock

Jell called me today with some sad news: she had just learned that one of our nearest and dearest friends in SecondLife passed away, Dreamer Demontrond. Dreamer was one of those shining star type personalities which were larger than life. Her wit, intelligence, sarcasm, love, and competitive spirit were all things that drew me to her. She will forever be the hostess with the mostess. She used to love to egg me on in private to always best Jell’s many suitors at Tringo who loved to drive the pot up higher than I could afford. She was the first person to know that Jell and I were becoming a couple in SecondLife and she had the honor of being my best “man” at my wedding. I spent many a late night/early morning due to the Australian time zone difference having a brisk discussion and “huggles” on a beach of her choosing. Her ability to cut through the crap and to the point with razor sharp clarity was amazing to say the least.

She is a living testament to the power of technology to bring about change and the fact that SecondLife can actually deliver some good with all the dramz. In real life her body was never capable of delivering on all the promise she held in her heart and mind. She fought a debilitative lifelong disease that at the age of 42 finally won the battle. It was her secret that was to be spoken of only in “hushed tones” to those she truly trusted. In SecondLife she was able to find her true love, Sal, and to experience running down the beach, climbing trees (which were craftily scripted by her love), surfing, and much much more. In fact, her RL mother created an account and logged in for the first time to be part of her wedding to Sal as she wept with tears to see her daughter so happy.

At this point I am filled with sadness and regret that as I moved away from SecondLife I did not do more to stay in contact with her. Although she was often in my thoughts, I didn’t make the time to let her know how much she meant to me. I think that knowing her as I do, she understood my thoughts and feelings about SecondLife and was happy that I found love through SL that I could carry over into RL. She was not the self pitying type, even though she justifiably would have had a lot more reason than most.

Dreamer was loved by many… but in the end no one can speak more eloquently than herself when I quote her poem that she wrote knowing her end was soon:

When I come to the end
of the road,
and the sun has set for me.
I want no rites in a gloom
filled room,
why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little –
but not too long
and not with a head
bowed low,
remember the love
that we once shared,
miss me – but let me go.

RIP Dreamer… I look forward to huggles on the beach one day in the future.

Telstra Thumbs Nose @ SL Community

Posted in Real Life, RL, SecondLife®, Virtual Worlds with tags , , , , , on November 17, 2009 by Valiant Westland

BigPond LogoI was sitting in my home office this evening, enjoying the luxury of listening to my favorite Pandora streaming radio station and chatting with friends in SL and on Plurk when the news alert popped up;  “Big Pond pulls plug on Second Life.”  I believe Telstra‘s decision to pull the plug on BigPond has everything to do with bandwidth costs and little or nothing to do with the success of Second Life as a business platform.  This, despite the implication of a PhD student at the Queensland University named Ms. MacKenzie, who despite her prior defense of Second Life stated  “…companies such as BigPond were deserting the platform…”.

Telco MafiaThe “Bandwidth Wars” are definitely starting to heat up.  I’ve predicted access to bandwidth and fresh water will be the next decade’s most important determiners of individual, community and national prosperity.  In the case of bandwidth, tech writer Dana Blankenhorn said:

“Like freeway lanes, like sea and airports, the quality and price of your Internet bandwidth determines how much it costs to do intellectual business with you.”
Dana Blankenhorn – ZDNet

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation has done a good job Explaining International Broadband Leadership.  Countries that help make ubiquitous, cost-effective,  high-speed broadband available to the greatest number of their citizens, will enjoy significant competitive economic advantages.  Those that favor the selfish interests of Telecom giants and allow them to throttle Internet access to services they don’t control, like Second Life, are doomed to fall further behind in an increasingly wired and “always-on” world economy.

Cracked Desert PondSo, the “Pond” is being drained for about 2,000 regular Australian users of Second Life.  My guess is that as many of these users as can find an alternative unlimited bandwidth option, will dump Telstra in return.  For those who are disabled, running home-based businesses or pursing educational endeavors in SL and don’t have other ISP options, it’s a black day indeed.

I encourage those interested in “Saving The Internet” and “Net Neutrality” to check out the following links for more information:

Suggested Links

3Di Web Plug-in Heralds Tsunami of Virtual World Adoption

Posted in Op/Ed, Real Life, SL® Business, Virtual Worlds on August 31, 2009 by Valiant Westland
The Coming 3D Tsunami

The Coming 3D Tsunami

I predict the 3Di Virtual World Web Plug-in is going to usher in a Tsunami of Virtual World adoption!  I believe it also represents the single greatest competitive threat to Linden Lab’s Nebraska offering.

Although it is unlikely serious Virtual World users / “publishers” will adopt embedded technology as a replacement for a dedicated client anytime soon, it’s going to be a different story with corporate and casual users alike.  Corporate clients who have been deterred by the onerous implementation and support challenges associated with dedicated VW client software will see a slip-streamed plug-in as a solution for Intraworld (Intranet + Virtual World) as well as customer-facing deployments.

3Di Open Viewer Demo

3Di Open Viewer Demo

Since most people are already comfortable downloading plug-ins like Flash for browsers, the barrier (“cost of entry”) to Virtual Worlds will be significantly reduced.

The biggest challenge facing plug-in adoption will be server capacity.  Any web site hosting a virtual world destination, risks crashing the target sim with a flood of web-directed plug-in-enabled visitors.  The “perfect storm” for the adoption of browser-based (plug-in) 3D/Virtual World clients will happen when the plug-ins are simple to install and point to servers that can host multiple hundreds or even thousands of simultaneous connections.

Despite the 3Di announcement, the dream of having a ubiquitous, industry standard web interface for virtual worlds remains just that, a dream.  My hope is that this announcement puts the competitive spurs to Linden Lab, Mozilla, Microsoft, OpenSim and the rest of the Virtual World industry, to develop and support this technology.

SLCC ’09

Posted in Op/Ed, Real Life, SecondLife® on August 16, 2009 by luth brodie

It’s that time of year again. Autumn is about to hit. School is about to start. SL sales summer slump is about to (hopefully) end. And there is a large gathering of sex crazed nerds violating a city somewhere in the US. While the months leading up to it had far less buzz than any year I can recall, as it’s happening the buzz certainly has gone up.

The following rant can be summed up by: Future United, please pay attention to what the community wants/needs and not what the money wants.

I’ve been to two – Chicago and Tampa. If you go with the sole intention of getting smashed, meting interesting people, talking about SL in RL to people who don’t stare at you funny, and having a laugh it’s a good time. However any other reason will probably leave you frustrated and annoyed then grumbly at the price tag. Unless of course you are there with a corporate expense account.

Yeah, complaining about SL issues face to face with a Linden is fun, but rather disappointing when you realize it’s just a waste of time. And watching everyone drool over Philip is amusing for a while, then makes you gag.

Most of the people I enjoyed being around in years past aren’t there. Most of the people who made SLCC what it is aren’t there. I mean how can you have a SLCC without the Leather and Lace Ball? SL is what it is and if you sanitize it, it sort of well… makes it a lie.

Over the weekend, I’ve gotten loads of txts from people complaining. Lack of people – I hear it’s under 300 this year. Lack of anything remotely interesting. And a serious lack of organization. For instance, they had to postpone registration because the person with all the files wasn’t even supposed to be there until much later in the day.

There are rumours abound about a cluster fuck of power and that just a single person is allowed to make all the decisions. However, whatever decisions that are being made are taking the entire event from what it started out as into something so far from what SL is and forced into a shiny corporate package in order to be viable for expense reporting.

Second Life Community Corporate Convention

They really need to change the name so it’s not misleading. It is not for the community. It is for the big sponsors so much that the only tracks that future united organize is for business and education. But don’t let the name “business” fool you. It’s for big corporate business and how they can utilize SL for X, Y, Z.

There is not a single thing for us small time solely SL based content creators. There are a few panels that sound like it, but not really. Where are the classes on making content? I would have loved to take a class on say, scripting. Content creation is such a large part of SL, whether you sell it or not, but it doesn’t exist at SLCC. Yeah taking fashion from SL -> RL is interesting, but how many people really want to or will do that? There are scores more people who want to just learn the SL part, or increase their skills by watching a seasoned creator do it. Or at least I would assume so.

Why is it that every con that exists has a vendor area and SLCC doesn’t? Yes they may have a hallway for the big ticket sponsors, but wouldn’t it be great if smaller merchants could have a small booth where you could as least see pictures of what they are doing and stop and have a chat with them. Hell, I would have paid money for something like that and perhaps tried to be sober for it. This isn’t a new concept and I know it’s been brought up to the organizers, but it’s been rejected for a reason I just can’t understand.

I also hear complaints about the lack of social tracks, or at least the removal of one after ’07 in Chicago. Since most people socialize in SL. But I hide under a prim rock so I am unable to give any constructive criticism of that point.

Then you have the other mini tracks. These are organized by the first person who can write up a proposal that the string puller likes and can come up with the cash. For SLCC 2008, that number was $2,500 and granted it was the first year of this. Yes they get to organize the entire section, hand pick speakers, spend loads of time doing all of this, and pay a nice chunk of change. It’s no wonder the brand/company/website is overly hyped as being the best thing since sliced bread. If I paid that much money, the only thing that would come out my mouth would be my store name and my website. But listening to it is another matter all together.

How the speakers are chosen is completely by who you know. The talks really are hit or miss and generally over self promoting of the speaker’s work whether they pay the $ for the track or not.

Location, Location, Location.

This is probably the largest downfall for this years con. You may or may not know that every year Future United asks for the communities help in choosing a location. The community chose Vegas and the con is in SF. A lot of people were considerably upset by this.

Now I love SF. It’s my favourite city in the world, and I’ve been to many. However, it is one of the most expensive. In a world wide recession and during a grid wide sales decline, this was a lame move. The hotel chosen at first was the Marriott with a nightly cost of around $249 and 4 night’s stay of $996. But because of choosing a hotel chain that supported prop 8 and the large amount of LGBT people in SL, they switched to The Westin St Francis. With a nightly cost of $173.92 – $495.84 and a 4 night stay of $695.68 – $1983.36. And both have an extra price for the ability to use broadband in your room. (Prices were searched for 1 person in a room. The Westin just had more choices).

Food is expensive unless you know where to go. Booze is expensive. I hear the hotel bar is $8 a beer. Everything in the downtown area is just well… expensive.

You don’t have to stay at the hotel the con is at, but it’s much easier to stumble back to your room at 7am if it’s in the same building. Besides, the last time I checked there aren’t many hotels much cheaper in SF, let alone downtown.

It’s really no wonder that attendance is down this year to under 300.

The People:

Let’s face it. We are nerds who spend much, if not most, of our spare time in a virtual world. We are not cool. We are a bit crazy. Every year I hear the scoffing at the physical appearance from the picture feed. Not only is it rather cruel, it’s absurd. We are nerds. Trendy and pretty nerds exist, but we aren’t generally the subset that is drop dead amazing to look at.

There are some awesome people who have gone to SLCC that have been an absolute riot to be around. There are interesting conversations. And there is that absolute awesomeness of being around someone in person where you can bitch about SL to. The people are what make SLCC bearable. However, there are some to watch for…

The ego circle jerk. Many times it gets so nauseating that you have to walk away.

Then you have those people that instead of having a chat, it’s a rehearsed promotional speech about their in world biz. Thing is, I have yet to hear of any sort of collaboration come out of SLCC that hasn’t fallen through.

Add to that the uncomfortable moments of certain people so full of themselves they down right ignore the existence of others they consider below them. Even direct questions. And even if they are your customer.

The Sex:

I very much doubt that anyone has not heard “and then we hooked up” or “so and so hooked up” at least once when hearing about SLCC. Or at the very least about some snogging. Anyone there has to be blind not to see it. Or far too drunk in some people’s case 😛

Where ever there is a lot of drinking there is a lot of sex. Add in some easy access to a room, ya know being in a hotel and all. Add in the general social awkwardness of nerds and the sexual nature of SL and I’m shocked it’s not just one giant orgy. Or maybe it is and I didn’t go to that party.

It is more sex crazed than a frat party. It’s thick in the air and lingers. If people aren’t talking about SL, they are talking about sex. People bring out their sexy strategically placed articles of clothing. If you are prepared for it, it’s amusing. If not, it hits you like a truck.

In the end…
Now I didn’t go this year. Partly because of the mentioned issues I have. Partly because the people I most wanted to see again had no intention of going. Partly because I’m knee deep in a documentary I’m editing. Partly because I’m quitting smoking and that much booze won’t help. I could have crashed on a number of friend’s couches if I wanted to, but I just really didn’t see the point.

Oh and blame hawksrock for this post, cause he asked for it.

This year might have been different, but I haven’t heard anything good coming out it. If not, there is always next year – if they have one.

Prim Penis + Poseballs = Partnership?

Posted in Op/Ed, Real Life, SecondLife®, SLove & Romance on July 13, 2009 by Daila Holder

I have a partner.  Granted his name is not listed in that little partner box in my profile, and his picture is not listed under my picks.  I have never hopped on a pose ball with him, or admired his prim penis.  But he is my partner nonetheless.  My partner in both worlds has only logged onto Second Life once. 

I have never experienced a strictly Second Life partnership.   I imagine that like real life relationships that each one is very unique, and the hows and whys of a virtual relationship may be even harder to define.   In both worlds, I have encountered couples that spend almost every moment possible together, and those that function quite well from afar.   Some couples would call their partner their best friend, while others insist that having time for other friendships is what makes their relationship so strong. 

I could spend hours telling you the intricate ins and outs of my marriage, but obviously what works for us would most likely never work for any other couple.  Personal dynamics of a marriage or long term partnership are just that personal. 

I’ve heard horror stories of marriages ending through one or both parties complete immersion into SL, but for every tale of despair, there is one of hope.  Connections made through computer screens that end in years of real life bliss.   Of course, sometimes the two stories are related.   Sometimes, real life happiness of a Second Life partnership may only come after the horror of a marriage ending.   Of course, I know that Second Life doesn’t end relationships, people end relationships.   The “injured party” may rebel and claim, “If you weren’t glued to that computer screen all the time, we could have worked through our problems.”   Perhaps the inability to work through the problems is what caused the online immersion and not vice versa….  Who knows? 

I enjoy the social aspect of Second Life.  The social aspect is what drives everything else that I’m into in world.   I shop for and dress Daila with the intention of going some place to be social.  Are there times that I log on and spend hours without even talking to another avatar?  Well of course, but my ultimate goal is to get to know others and make connections.  What better way to waste time then by discovering how others tick?  I also flirt.  I knew the moment that I logged on that being social and flirting while married could lead to sticky situations.  

Love

So how do I juggle my need to flirt and get to know others with the more important goal of ensuring that my marriage is healthy and my partner doesn’t feel neglected?  First, I ensure that time spent in world is not time I could be spending with him.  His work schedule is very busy, so normally when I’m online he’s not home or otherwise occupied.  Second, I try to keep an open and honest dialogue with him about my online activities.  

I involve him as much as he wants to be involved and sometimes even more so.  I ask his opinion on skin, hair, clothes, pictures and blog posts.   Most of the time, I can tell he could care less, but he loves me and in turn tries to be interested in what interests me.  Sometimes, I even spend time talking to him about blog drama, and he gives me an outsider’s perspective.  I know that a lot of times he may see my SL interactions as silly, but he has never demeaned the time I spend here.  Though, I do think he was somewhat relieved after my first year when I lost interest.  Now, he knows that my interest in SL can be fleeting, and I can go weeks without logging in, and he accepts that there are times when I’m online every day. 

As far as my social interactions in SL are concerned, there have been a few times when jealousy arose, or he felt that I crossed some invisible line in regards to the topics I discussed with members of the opposite sex.  His most common response when I’ve talked to the same opposite sex avatar for long periods on multiple occasions is I don’t like that guy.  He says it jokingly, but that’s usually my warning sign that I may be getting too close.   I know there have been a few rare occasions when I’ve ignored the warnings signs and trudged into uncharted territory, but as always my interest waned, and things went back to normal quickly. 

Over the years, I learned that certain things make him feel better regarding my time online.  I encourage him to be in the room while I’m online.  The password to my Second Life is now always typed in.  It wasn’t always that way, but it just makes things easier on all fronts to have it that way.  He’s on my Plurk line, though he’s never really commented on my plurks.  In fact, I don’t think he has even logged on in months.  We have our boundaries that we don’t’ cross.  He doesn’t read my email, and I don’t read his texts.  Though, if either felt the need, I’m sure we could reach some understanding. 

I know that many would say that my pseudo-flirting online may be a time bomb waiting to explode, but after almost three years in SL, I think I learned some bomb defusing skills.  A few people tell me that as open as I am, that they feel I put up invisible barriers that don’t encourage intimacy.  I know that whatever barriers someone may feel that I put up are unintentional.  But perhaps, I only have so much intimacy to give, and it’s all taken up by real life at the moment.

I wanted to do this post as a two-parter in which I told my side and have him tell his, but he seemed reluctant to write a post.  We did do a little question and answer session about my time online and his thoughts, but almost every question was summed up with one basic answer, “Whatever makes you happy baby. “  And that actually sums up my opinion too.  As much as I love SL and my friends here, and as stubborn as I can be, if he asked me to give it up, I’d never log on again.  Though, I really hope he never does!  I would expect that I’d know and be able to give it up on my own, before it ever reached that point.  At least I like to think so.