Hindsight is 20/20

Posted in Op/Ed with tags , , , , on June 30, 2010 by ♥JellyBean♥

So I was thinking that I’d have some witty & awesome post to put here. I mean I logged in, took a pic and everything… but honestly I just wanted to take a picture of my pixelated ass and blogging about it just seemed a little bit unnecessary because well, look at that ass. I know right!?! Stay tuned though because it looks like I’m going to be researching prim tatas or some crap as directed by plurk because as we all know I’m out of the loop. Bare (*snicker*) with me, I’m forcing my way back in.

-JellyBean-

Freaky Sex vs Ethics?

Posted in Op/Ed, Review with tags , , , , on June 13, 2010 by hawksrock

So one of my little time wasters lately has been playing around with Dragon Age Origins.  It is a basic RPG format, where you are in charge of a party of 4 players who specialize in different types of combat and fight their way through ever increasingly complicated enemy scenarios.  It is a very visually well done game, with enough entertainment value to keep you busy for at least a few weeks of time.  One of the aspects of the game that I enjoy is that it has a built in reputation meter that takes into account what choices you make when responding to the dialog of the NPC characters that advance the plot throughout the game.  It isn’t quite as integral to the experience as some RPG’s I have played, but it still allows you to either kill, mangle, and destroy your way through… or take time to help every sorry excuse who stumbles along your path with a sob story.  The choices you make don’t make a huge difference in the rather linear game-play, but your decisions do impact your reputation with the different characters in your party.   It doesn’t take long to figure out that if you wanna get into Morrigan’s freaky virtual pants (I mean she isn’t nicknamed a Witch of the Wild for nothing) you are going to be rewarded for taking the lowest moral path.

Morrigan’s visual aid:

This relationship got me to thinking about how I have seen this scenario play out before… in many different RPG’s that allow for you to take control over your characters actions (like StarWars Knights of the Old Republic franchise).  If you happen to live under a rock and not understand how the gameplay works in these RPG’s it is very similar to the old choose your own adventure books, that I used to love as a kid.  You are presented with a scenario, you then choose option A, B, C, or sometimes even D in response to the scenario.  Instead of now skipping ahead to the correct page number, the software does all the work for you, and the situation responds to your input.

Let me give you an example scenario:

You come across an old man, whose one and only daughter has been taken by a group of brain eating zombies back into a castle.  He is not aware if she lives or not, but he has the utmost faith that she still is alive, but he is too weak to go in after her.  He requests your aid to go into the castle and either retrieve his daughter or at least bring him back confirmation of her death so he can grieve and put the matter behind him. Do you…

A.  Swear to him you will sacrifice your own life and limb to assist him to find his daughter.

B.  Tell him you do not have time to assist him with this matter because otherwise the entire world will be consumed by the plague.

C.  (Force Persuade) him that he does not have a daughter.

D. Kill him for wasting your valuable time.

If you think you are a male player who always picks option A:  Then you are going to end up with a really “chummy” veteran male soldier willing to swap spit with you, and a loyal dog.  If you are an option B or C kinda player:  You are going to end up working through the plot line without any real close companions, and you will be forced to go it alone.  If you are an option D kinda player… you will have all the hot chicks thinking you are the next Colin Farrell.

So what is it about the psyche of these programmer types that think that only the bad boys are going to get the hot chicks?  Is it the traditional cliche?  Is it true that to really become appealing you are always going to put yourself ahead of any other thing?  That altruism is a turn off every single time?

I like to think that I am smart enough to see through it, but you kinda have to wonder about all the young pre-teens out there who are being taught the stereotypes from their actions.  I am not a big proponent of video game violence causing real violence, and don’t want to get into that here… but it does seem to be a play to modify behavior types to teach kids that you are going to be rewarded with the girl by picking all the least altruistic options.  It is also built from a sexist viewpoint, because a female playing can easily still find male suitors by picking from the high road options.

Art of Leaving SL

Posted in Op/Ed, SecondLife® with tags , , , on May 31, 2010 by hawksrock

So in my attempt to continue to cover every single aspect of Second Life from every single angle of every single position of every single ball… errrr wait, I think I lost my train of thought there.  Well anyways, ahem, the one aspect of Second Life that I have never written about is the art of living life after it.  So here you go…

I left Second Life immediately following my public declaration of my intention to leave it on this very blog which happened on October 18, 2009.  I know that you all suck at math, with the exception of those few builders out there who actually know what X, Y, and Z coordinates hafta do with why your picture won’t line up with the wall on your house.  I mean hey, I lived with Jell long enough, I got kinda use to having a lot of angles to work around.  So anyways, I can relate to the odd time flux continuum stuff that happens within Second Life which distorts such rational concepts as math.

So let me explain to you how long ago that was in terms that you can actually understand:  it was right about the time Jiggly boobs came out.  Okay, well at least the guys have some perspective now.

For the rest of you, let me try to find a few more ways to explain just how long ago that was:

  • It was prior to SL gaining a number… we were still back in version 1.18something or other.  You know… back before you could check out your shadow as you lag through walls.
  • For the average SL’er it was about 6.7 relationships ago.  And only 4 of those were with the same people… just not in the same order.
  • It was back when copybotting was bad, before people’s ideas about fighting copybotting were worse, and way before people were like wtf is copybotting?
  • It was way before plurk developed trending topics which showed that 14% of the discussion was about fashion designers, 25% of the discussion was about fashion bloggers, and 61% of the discussion was around bloggers who criticize fashion designers.
  • It was back when Prad only had like 12 blogs he was writing on, instead of 145.  My personal favorite of which is the daily crackberry photo of his bellybutton lint in 365 day time lapse format.
  • Truth, Troof, or Troofa deleted his plurk account only to add it back because he missed it only to delete it again because he can’t stand it to miss it and add it back again to delete it again to add it back again.
  • SCD hired 37 writers for their outstanding propensity to generate a veritable shitstorm to then end up firing 36.5 writers for their outstanding propensity to generate a veritable shitstorm.
  • It was back when new viewers were the cool rage, and not some sort of identity theft hijacking personal information destroyers of the universe.
  • It was a little over 100,000 views on the Rev, which just goes to show that you don’t need me (or anybody for that matter) writing on the Rev to keep that traffic coming.

In other words it was back in the salad days of SL.  Well honestly, I said that just so I can now check “salad days” off the list of my “top 1,589 cool words that I have no idea what they mean, but I gotta work em into a blog post” list.  But anyways… I seem to be in a digressing kinda mood atm.  If only I had a site with a cool little emoticon I could flag this entire post with as “in a digressing mood” then I would make millions I am sure.  But seriously back to the story…

I don’t think it is possible for anybody who has made SL such a huge part of their lives as Jellybean and I had, to quit SL cold turkey on your own, unless you just went through some sort of major SL or RL drama which is at the root of your departure.  So my personal first step to leaving SL was to turn my entire friends list off so they couldn’t see if I was online.  Because, by god if I said I was leaving… the last thing I need is people catching me when I am sneaking back in!!  But surprisingly to myself, I really didn’t find that I was sneaking back in all that often.  Literally I was in maybe once or twice that first week, and then maybe once a month if that since then.

I even went so far as to cut my bloglines down to only 3 SL blogs… one of which was this one.  Next up, I went and cut down my plurk list from right around 400 friends to only 24, so I could focus on just the ones I felt like I had a connection beyond SL.  I didn’t mean it as an affront to anyone else on my list, I just needed to get back in charge of my time.  Then all of a sudden I had all kinds of time, and I found that I was still needing something in my life to keep me busy.  I think that certain people in our generation are just wired to hafta be in some sort of online community or activity.  For me, I started playing WoW again.  In fact, I started putting a lot of time into WoW, and made a switch over to the Horde that I was really enjoying for a while.  But then I found that I was putting too much time into it, so again I pulled the plug (well at least until Cataclysm comes out.)  So now, here I sit pretty much gameless, although I will admit I am messing around with Dragon Age Origins a bit – although I don’t see it holding my interest for long.

I actually found myself logging into SL a few times over the last couple of weeks.  Partly because Jell was feeling the itch to do some machinima, and partly to try to figure out how to turn off those last few subscribomatics that keep hitting my email.  In the end though, I ask myself if I miss it.  The answer is that yes, I do miss certain parts of it.  I specifically miss the high times of Tringo back when it was booming, I miss hanging out/DJ’ing at Clockworks with Alex/Myg/Wrath and the gang, I miss writing on the Rev and still hate that there isn’t really a decent replacement out there for our niche for our readers, I miss the dramz…because sometimes it is just fun to get in the middle of the craziness if you are opinionated like myself.  But unfortunately, most of those don’t exist anymore.  At least not for me when I am logging in.

So at least for now, I am still going to be staying away.  I don’t have any big pull drawing me back in.  In fact, I even have an entire machinima scripted out, but for now it is shelved on my bookcase until the urge builds up a little more.

I really miss every one of you Rev readers, and I wish you all the best.

Hawks

Speak Now, or Forever Hold Your..

Posted in Op/Ed, SecondLife®, Virtual Worlds with tags , , , on January 30, 2010 by Prad

I was once criticised by irrelevant individuals for “sitting” on the story of VirtualGet which appeared to be a phishing scam, in that it asked for credit card details in return for a subscription to unlimited goods from SL merchants.

However, on first appearance, the website appeared to be an elaborate marketplace for copybotted content. Upon asking the merchants whom’s products I recognised, it became clear that they hadn’t consented to this, so emails were dispatched to the website owners as well as informing Linden Lab themselves.

The irrelevant critics felt I should have come out publicly with the story and let everyone know about the huge marketplace of copybotted content.

The reason I didn’t was pretty simple – if a website like that is getting no coverage whatsoever, then it can be dealt with quietly and cleanly by the relevant parties. In broadcasting to everyone who reads an SL blog, you are basically holding up a big sign saying “STOLEN STUFF HERE!”. And that big sign is visible to both the concerned and the unethical.

Certain Second Life blogs cover copybot on a regular basis, and will often mention the names of these copybots. I am unable to fathom how this is helping anyone’s cause, as a simple Google search for the said copybot client will allow any person to download it and use it to rip SL content.

There have been a few occasions where the name of a website distributing copybotted builds in XML files have been passed to me (presumably to blog) which instead I’ve passed onto the relevant parties (including the ripped creators) for it to be quietly removed. Observing the traffic, these sites disappear swiftly and quietly, and the content creator’s work doesn’t get mass-distributed, which in my opinion works out better for them.

So I can’t understand the logic in causing a mass-hysteria when stolen content is found in isolated incidences – surely it’d be better to deal with it quietly, rather than letting the would-be thieves know that it’s out there for them to find?

I Never…

Posted in Op/Ed on January 1, 2010 by Daila Holder

Many use New Year’s Day as a time to reflect on the past and to plan for the future.   Some of you may even reflect on your virtual past and make Second Life plans for 2010.  As I reflected on my time in SL, I thought about some of the common and perhaps not so common things that I had never accomplished and/or experienced. 

 Here’s my list:

 1. I have never built anything more complicated than a simple platform in SL.

 2. I have never created a pose in SL.

 3. I have never scripted in SL.

 4.  I have never owned a business in SL.

 5.  I have never had an occupation in SL.

 6.  I have never modeled in SL.

 7.  I have never had a fashion blog in SL.

 8.  I have never been partnered in SL.

 9.  I have never owned a MystiTool in SL.

 10.  I have never DJ’d in SL.

 11.  I have never owned a sim in SL.

 12.  I have never actively played an alt in SL, i.e. actually talked to people and friended people on an alt account.

 13. I have never been an escort in SL.

 14. I have never sent someone RL nude pictures of me in SL.

 15.  I have never been a stripper in SL.

 16.  I have never attended an inventory organizing party in SL.

 17.  I have never gone on a date in SL.

 18.  I have never been a vampire in SL.

 19.  I have never lied about my age or gender in SL.

 20.  I have never met someone in RL that I met in SL.

 Well there’s my list of Twenty Things I’ve never done in Second Life.

 Feel free to share your list if you’d like. 

Buh Rumpa Bum Bum

Posted in SL® Fashion with tags , , on December 14, 2009 by Rosie Shark

Yes, it’s like Christmas barfed all over the feeds. You can’t avoid it. And look! Soooooo cute, why would you want to? I’ve been toying with this Tattered Christmas Dollie set w/ao all weekend. Ask people! I’ve annoyed them with the jingling of the happy puppet cross bells above my head.

This adorable creation is new for the holidays from The Dollhouse by Lvs & Co. and comes in 6 festive colors! The flouncy petticoats make me happy and the vibrant red is just the thing I need to get me singing more christmas songs 😛 I just needed to put on my Dutch Touch Jolie Pip skin to make the whole thing come together!

The most fun for me about this Dollie was the AO supplied. The puppet AO gave me the most hilarious stiff-legged walk, and cutest wave, stands and sits! All photos taken were using poses in the AO. What’s important to note is that The Tattered Christmas Dollie, complete with AO and puppet strings cross is only L$100! All the time. All dolls at The Dollhouse are L$100! Add with that the always-fabulous customer service provided by Ravenlynn Templar, and it’s a steal!

The puppet cross that comes with the set is sooo cute I wanted to snuggle it… even though it jingled over my head endlessly with it’s magical tinkling bells. It features scripted puppet strings that attach to your ankles and wrists as an on/off option when you click the green present on the underside that the lil gnome/elf is holding. Note: it’s important that you have your Max. Particle Count set to above 0 to see the strings 😛 It was worth it to me to do an extreme close up like seen above to point out the charming details on the puppet cross! It comes in w/snow and w/o snow versions, various santas having a good ol’ time, and has twinkling xmas lights!!! Annnnnd the fabulous musical bells I believe I mentioned 😛

Deets:

All photos except vendor ad taken at Christmas Market by MB

TheDollhouse: Tattered Christmas Dollie in red

Dutch Touch: Jolie PaleApricot PiP2 CL1

Love Soul: Cheek color red (tintable)

Naughty Designs: Impassion in Sea Mist

Silhouette: Lashes Babydoll

SLink: Paloma Point Ballet Slippers in pink (extreme ballet point base)

Torridwear: Long Ribbons Burgandy (gloves layer)

The Obscene: Collection Contacts – 011 – Dark Blue

Yet another boldly stupid idea LL. :high five:

Posted in Op/Ed, SecondLife®, SL® Advertising, SL® Business, SL® Fashion on November 18, 2009 by luth brodie

In the state the SL economy is in, you’d think a good course of action would be to help residents out by figuring out ways to ya know… help them. Not stick us with yet more fees.
Today in an act of absolute stupidity, LL announced the following:

Monthly Listing Fee for Freebies of L$99:
• Listings for free items will now be treated as a marketing/promotional tool and thus will have a price.
• L$99 is the price of our least expensive listing enhancement and so we will start there.
• Depending upon desire for this marketing opportunity and perceived value given such demand, we will adjust the price as necessary to maximize this value and keep the freebie listings from becoming bloated again.
• Expected Delivery: 30 – 60 days

Minimum Commission of L$3 on all items priced L$1 or greater:
• We will enact a minimum commission of L$3 on all sales of non-freebie listings.
• Since Freebie listings are now considered marketing and are charged as such, they will not incur this fee.
• A L$3 commission will raise the commission on all listings under L$50. This was a range suggested by residents, but it turns out that this is the price range where there is a very high transaction volume and low commission income which combine to cover the costs of those transactions.
• We may adjust this minimum commission as we see its effects on the marketplace. L$3 does not cover the full cost of a transaction, but the goal here is first to manage freebie growth first.
• Expected Delivery: 30 – 60 days

Monthly Listing Fee of L$10 for all items L$1 or greater:
• All non-freebie listings will now be charged L$10 per month to remain listed in the Xstreet SL Marketplace
• Currently, less than 20% of Xstreet SL listings make at least one sale per month. This displays just how much clutter of unsold items exists on Xstreet SL.
• Doing this will provide an incentive for merchants to remove listings which are not selling, while keeping this fee low enough to have a minimal effect on listings which are selling and are desired by shoppers.
• By reducing the overall number of listings on Xstreet SL, the shopping experience will drastically improve which will please our shoppers and be a boon to the business of all of our merchants.
• Expected Delivery: 60 – 90 days

Keeping the commission system after buying xstreet was bad enough. Taking down the better webiste of onrez after buying both was annoying, especially given most of the trash was on xstreet.

They get a commission if something sells. That should be enough. If not, the stupid high prices for featured listings (which don’t actually do anything since everything is listed high -> low) still should be enough. Tacking on extra on top of it in this economy is just yet another slap on the face.

Demos:

Hair and skin makers can’t sell anything without offering a demo. So for every colour variant they are charged L$10 and then an additional L$99 for the demo version. On top of the 5% commission. Awesome.

They aren’t marketing material. They aren’t freebies. They are to demo an item for sale. It’s out of necessity to do this because there is no system LL has ever set in place in order to try things out. Yes you see people walking around in demo skins and hair because they are too cheap to buy anything, but we just point and laugh at them.

However, the feedback from our office hours sessions was that many merchants already charge for these demos and that these new controls would not be a major hindrance to merchants with demo listings.

Um. I’ve never seen a demo above L$1. Maybe I need to get out more.

Eventually, we’d like to add better “demo listing” functionality.

All well and good. How about doing this before fucking them in the ass? I’ve been around long enough to know “we’d like to add…” means it may happen eventually (years later) if at all. Usually it’s just something they say and point to when people complain.

Lack of tools for listing multiple colours once:
Someone makes a dress in 10 different colours. They have to list each one separately, which takes a lot of bloody time. Until the change, they were only charged for the colour the person bought. Now they get to be charged L$10 per month per colour. Awesome.

It’s not a lot, but that kind of thing just starts to add up. L$10 for every upload. 5% commission. Land fees. Classifieds. Commission on using lindex.

Things found on xstreet but purchased in world:
Most of my things are in this category. I sell poses and a few animations and not many people buy things without trying them out if the ability is there. But I have no idea how many of my sales comes from this.

I don’t buy anything on xstreet. I search for things, find a few items, then decide in world. I know a lot of people who are like that.

I’ve read a lot of different people say the same thing, that after doing the math the L$10 per month per item charges on anything over L$10 isn’t worth it. If they would give reporting on how many tp to your store based on listings then maybe it’d be worth it. Maybe.

Who decides what listings are stale?
The Shoppers, as indicated by the number of times an item is purchased. If shoppers are purchasing a listing with some frequency, then it is not stale. If shoppers are never or rarely purchasing a listing, then it is stale.

Fuck you very much, LL. I get all sorts of views daily on my items and yet I make in a month on xstreet less than 1/4 of what I make in a day at my main store. It’s always been like that. I have things in my discount section of my main store that you may think as stale, but the people who weren’t around in 2006 when I released it and just now found it may just have a different opinion.


End Rant:

But this is LL we are talking about. They are more than well known for doing half assed changes disguised as helping after pretending to listen. 3 office hours? Really? You’ve got to be kidding me. No one goes to those stupid things. Cause. You. Don’t. Listen. To. Logic.

Perhaps making it easier to find things on xstreet would have been a better solution. Oh wait, there I go with the logic again…

By reducing the overall number of listings on Xstreet SL, the shopping experience will drastically improve which will please our shoppers.

Um say what? I’m all for getting rid of the trash on xstreet, but my trash is another person’s treasure. Improve the shoddy search functions would be a start. Freebies cluttering up the place? Just throw them into their own category. Allow us to filter them out. Overcrowding in general? Add more categories and subcategories. I’d like a couples poses section please. Due to inactivity? Make us log in or auto delist the item(s). How about getting rid of all that ripped content too? That’ll clear out loads of clutter. Oh even *gasp* actually following through on things that violate copyright and trademarks.

There is all sorts more junk and clutter out on the grid. Did you know that? It’s what makes finding very specific things, even through the trash on xstreet, easier. Are you going to do some hamfisted thing with that next?

And as usual there are many better ideas people have thrown out in the 4 hours since the announcement than they seemed to have gotten from the useless office hours.

In addition to the survey they sent out about new (and rather expensive) marketing programs they are thinking about doing, it makes me wonder if LL is taking SL more in the direction of where people fear Blue Mars is going: only people with a lot of cash and/or already established will have a chance.

In case you missed it, here are some highlights:

Second Life-Certified Vending Machines
-Usage of the vending machine will allow the merchant to receive premium support for merchant activities, enable automatic listing on XStreet SL, and ensure that all items are delivered…. guaranteed. Additionally, the vending machines provide rich data reporting and business metrics.
– Linden Lab would assess a 10-15% surcharge on all purchases

Listing and Promotional Program

– By joining this program, any item you list for sale in-world can also be auto-listed on XStreetSL. Cross-posted items will automatically be displayed, in rotation, in a premium position as a sponsored listing in on the Classifieds page.
-To participate in this program, a small surcharge will be assessed a fee 5-10 $USD for each item cross posted.

Merchant Marketing Program
– The program would provide exclusive use of branding systems, customized store systems (such as a custom URL/SLURL and web storefront), and automatic consideration for large scale promotions. Also included is a data dashboard to enable you to track purchases in real-time. Customer service tools such as AvaLine mean that you are always able to talk with your customers.
– Membership in the merchant marketing program would be available at a cost of $10-100 USD monthly, depending on sales volume.

The Mall of Second Life

– In exchange for the free land and promotion of the Mall, Linden Lab will assess a 30% surcharge on all purchases.