Archive for Real Life

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!

Hey Jealousy… Hey Jealousy.

Posted in Love & War with tags , , , , , on January 29, 2009 by ♥JellyBean♥

Jealousy typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety that occur when a person believes a valued relationship is being threatened by a rival. Jealousy often contains a mixture of emotions such as anger, sadness, and disgust. While jealousy and envy are similar, they differ in that jealousy is about something one has and is afraid of losing, while envy is about something one does not have and either wants to acquire or to prevent another from getting.

Jealousy scenario:

You and your partner are at a club, dancing – let’s say on a Bits & Bobs v6. He is looking like his usual sexy self and you smirk at the fact that you’re with the hottest man in the room. This is an intimate moment between you two and you are stroking your keys with the oncoming foreplay via IM. Everything is going great until… in comes one of his ex girlfriends making her way through the crowd and stopping at the two of you. Your man looks up and is smitten to see his former flame. As he introduces you to the ex, you try to maintain a smile while trying to find your words. They continue to exchange friendly words and you sit idly by while your blood boils to levels that may or may not result in her body being flung over to the dj booth. In short, her presence is making you lose it.

This scenario is one of 21324657674654657 that depicts jealousy. Just like with aggression and paranoia, jealousy can take on different levels. The scenario above could result in you either being totally at ease by the ex’s presence, or getting into an all-out brawl with the bitch while accusing your date of being a cockspit for continuing a convo with her on *your* date.

For some, jealousy is a real issue and if left untreated, can create a permanent wedge between you and your partner, I know this, I deal with *my* jealousy issues a lot. Luckily, I’m getting better and I have learned it can be controlled.

Taken literally, jealousy refers to a strong desire for someone else’s importance, value or stuff. But in a social setting, it causes someone to be doubtful of their partner and/or feel threatened by their interaction with certain people, the clothes they wear, places they go, their job, their history, their smarts, etc. Which amounts to some level of trust. How much do you trust your partner? How much do you trust other people around your partner?

Like I mentioned before, I believe there are different types/levels of  jealousy:

Cute jealousy
Jealousy doesn’t always deserve its negative rap, after all, it’s normal for women to be suspicious of their men (and vice versa). Having reservations about him going to a strip bar with friends or not enjoying the sight of her drooling over some guy in a magazine (or even an H&R Block representative which tote reminded her of you) are innocent examples of how some jealousy can be harmless, and a perfectly normal reaction.

Healthy jealousy
A man who speaks up about having his girlfriend go out with a bunch of guys or seeing another woman flirting with your man is also part of a healthy re’ship. Usually, you’re  just looking out for your partner’s well-being and  iunno about men, but women usually respect that. They may even be insulted if *you* don’t say anything.

Obsessive jealousy
The problem arises when aggression and/or violence accompanies the jealousy. Once you’ve reached this stage, you obsessively begin questioning his loyalty to you, and that sends you into a rage, mayhaps even using or contemplating physical force. You have an extremely low tolerance level and, before long, he is unable to even look (plurk, IM, keep on his friends list) another woman or leave your side when you’re both out. You demand to know where he is at all times, what he’s been doing and the mere mention of another girl’s name sends you off the deep end.

You may have learned your jealousy behavior through bad experiences in your previous re’ships. If you’ve already been cheated on, this may cause you to be more possessive and controlling for fear of the past repeating itself. Even if he’s never given you any reason to doubt him, you probably become more desperate to hold on to the re’ship and want to avoid any situations that could lead up to him having a better option or a chance to be unfaithful. OR you may be the one who’s been unfaithful in the past, and, in a shameful attempt to not have the tables turn on you, you want to make sure that you are the only object of their desire.

For the most part, I have learned anyways, that  jealousy is an issue stemming from ones own issues with self-confidence and self-esteem. You may feel that you’re not good enough for him and that you’re together by a fluke. Watching him interact with other women leaves you feeling worried that he may be “stolen” from you. You may even be bothered by the close bond he has with his female friends, which he may or may not have known a lot longer than you.

Jealousy is dangerous for those who can’t control it, it’s bad in a re’ship because it eats away at the one thing that holds it together: Trust. To tell your girlfriend or boyfriend that s/he cannot hang out with their friends of the opposite sex is like saying “I don’t trust you”. If you have to impose such restrictions, should you two even be together? Jealousy also takes away from your quality time together, and trust me, it leads to numerous fights where you only focus on each other’s negative qualities. You could end up spending the bulk of your day stupidly thinking up scenarios in which they may cheat on you or you could lose them. Before you know it, the greater part of your re’ship will be spent on what could be happening rather than what is happening.

So how do you fix it? Easy peasy! Okay no, it’s not really easy… have you met me? I have issues. What I have learned that seems to be working for me thus far (I’m a work in progress) is…

♥ Learn from past experiences. You know where you fucked up being all jealous & whatnot? Yah, don’t do that anymore and if you do catch yourself, stop it!

♥ Don’t let your imagination dictate the kind of person your partner really is, you can trust em. Right? If you couldn’t, well then why the heck are either of you wasting your time?

♥ You need to realize that s/he chose you for a reason and there is no need for her/him to be so easily tempted somewhere else. Remind yourself that you’re every bit as deserving as those ‘others’ you feel threatened by.

♥ Ask a friend for advice. It may help you to fully understand the extent of your actions (as well as his) by getting a neutral party’s perspective. Well, if your friends are neutral that is.

♥ This one is a biggy and I think most of ours (Hawks & I) were outlined in the beginning during our hammock talk. Try establishing some general guidelines as to what is and isn’t acceptable for you. This way, you’ll both have justification (loves me some justification) for outbursts when either of you is behaving badly.

Honestly even without all the fancy smancy 1261 words *snort*, controlling jealousy comes down to a few simple things: communication, trust, self esteem, and self-confidence. If you can self help yourself with those things, jealousy won’t ever be an issue.

♥ Long-Distance Valentine ♥

Posted in Real Life, SLove & Romance with tags , , on January 14, 2009 by ♥JellyBean♥

If you can remmy last year and how much of a pessimist I was in regards to the dreaded Valentine’s Day, then this post may actually surprise you. It’s more common today to say that you’ve met the love of your life online than it was, oh, say 5-10 years ago. Secondlife isn’t too much different in some ways from match.com or the plethora of other dating sites if you really think about it.

This post is for the many that have found love online but have yet to make the physical move. For example one of my close friends lives in New York and the love of her life is in North Carolina. Her job, his job, where shall they go to meet in the middle and when? Well, that’s not really for any of us to decide. However if you & your loved one are miles away this coming Valentine’s Day and you’re completely clueless on trying to tailor something for your love, and want it to be as meaningful and personal as possible this post may help ya.

I’m not talking about a gift in Secondlife. No, this is real life and you have finally found real love outside of your virual safe haven, but now Valentine’s Day is 30 days away and the clock is a’tickin. Here is a list of things I’ve compiled for ya so you can hopefully have enough time to light that match under your ass & let lose your creative side.

  • Old-Fashion Valentine – make a home-made valentine with dollies to him/her written in cursive and then spray some of their favorite perfume/cologne on it.
  • Tech Savvy? – create a power point telling the story of your relationship in the past oh so long… Have a romantic song playing softly in the background as they play a slide show.
  • Daily Messages of Lurve – create a jar full of messages (it can be enough for a month to a year) with little quotes or reasons why you love them, then tell them to pick one each day. That way your gift lasts a while. There is a website that does this called KindNotes but doing it yourself is cheaper and more meaningful.
  • Movie Night – watching a movie together is great, even if you two are miles apart. For this I would actually use either Netflix and get him/her an account also (it’s not uberly expensive) or just buy them the movie you want to watch. You can send it prior in a gift package and include popcorn, licorice, etc. Once you both have the movie in hand, fire up Skype or make sure your cell is fully charge and hit play at the same time.
  • Love note – plan to write and read to him/her, a “what I would be doing if I were with you right now” note. You can read this over the phone or mail it to him/her. As an added bonus, you can include cute adorable Conversation Hearts (chalky, I know but a long-time V-Day tradition).
  • Lovin from the Oven – bake a huge cookie and decorate it with red hots. Then place the cookie in a very large box and get two helium balloons. Write “Open Carefully” “DO NOT Puncture” “This Side Up” all over the box. When it gets to him/her  the opened box will release the two balloons into the air and then they get to enjoy the cookie.

These are just a few ideas, even cheesy ones but hey, I’m a girl & I like cheese. Hopefully this list will inspire you, get you thinking, or give you the exact idea you were hoping for. Also, another helpful tip for any Valentine’s occasion… Make sure your loved one knows just how special they are to you (year round!), and that you love them very much.

JellyBean