Monday, December 10, 2012

Return of the Time War Daleks!

As previous entries will reveal to readers unaware of last year's fiasco, the last time Dalek avatars came up in association with my name, it didn't go very well.  That was entirely my fault, it was stupid, I got caught, and had to admit it publicly.  That cost me a few friends and trashed my reputation.  Again, my fault entirely.

Since then, many things have happened, but lately work has been underway to correct my previous mistakes.

And so, without further adieu, I am proud to present you with the first of what is hoped to be the resurrection of the (hybrid) Daleks.

https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/SFE-Dalek-Supreme/4261825





The new Dalek Supreme was made under the account of Malcolm Danick, and is priced at 400L$.  Features include HUD control, flashing dome lights when typing, head rotation, laser beam effect, and an opening and closing casing.

The avatars were built under supervision.  Some parts, such as the eye stalk, plunger, and interior parts, were used from my old line with permission.  Everything else was made by Malcolm Danick and scripted to function as you see in the pictures.  Other Dalek avatars in the line will be released as they are finished testing.

The design is a concept one blending the classic series Daleks with the Russell T. Davies-era versions, with some features unique to this line.  The shoulder slats are spaced farther apart, and two handle bars are mounted on each shoulder behind the arm boxes, the for attaching grenade belts and other weapons or tools.  Color schemes include gray, red, blue, and supreme, with rank numbers below the eye stalks.

In-world, you can visit our vendors here:

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Naughty%20Naughty/220/100/23

Stay tuned for further updates!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Little Snitching Bitch

Novatech's Cheshyr Pontchartrain was suspened this weekend for infringing on CBS's copyright on all things Star Trek.  His account was restored at the request of CBS lawyers in response to Cheshyr's agreement to remove all Trek-related builds from Novatech vendors.  If even one more copyright infringement complaint is filed against Cheshyr, Linden Lab has threatened to ban him from SL forever along with all alts.

Now, to be fair, anyone who builds and sells copyrighted material without prior permission from the copyright owner is taking a huge risk.  Linden Lab is not going to risk a lawsuit from a large corporation, which is why its terms of service expressly forbid the selling of copyrighted material.  Sooner or later all copyrighted material in SL is going to have to come down or be made to comply with existing fair use laws.

But really, this didn't have to happen.  Apparently a sniveling little bitch who goes by the name Malic Tolsen decided he didn't like Cheshyr, so he sicced CBS's leeches after the entire Trek community in SL.  "Wonderful" guy who just made enemies out of just about every Trek fan in SL.

Now, granted, I'm no angel.  I've done my share of stupid things in my time and I've owned up to them.  But after taking a look at his profile and having learned of his actions against Cheshyr, I can safely say he's just the sort of conniving little bitch who would gladly screw over as many people as he can just to press a grudge.  Even that lying ass clown Mornington wouldn't go snitching to the BBC and shut down the entire Whovian community just to make trouble for one person, because he'd be screwing himself in the process.

But some people are too selfish to care what they do to others.  Cheshyr wasn't making any profit off of his wares.  Anyone who owns and runs a vendor-based business in SL is either taking a loss or barely breaking even.  Even the land barons are feeling the financial pinch and getting out before they lose their shirts.  So it's not like CBS was losing any money to Novatech.

Well, Malic child, you've gotten yourself banned from a lot of regions this week.  I hope you're happy for what you've pulled, because now everyone you've pissed off is watching you like a hawk and the microsecond you put up something — anything — that looks even remotely like a violation of copyright laws, you will find yourself reported to the copyright owner and Linden Lab.  Karma's a bitch, and so are you.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Crappy End to Great Companions

I have to say that The Angels Take Manhattan could be considered one of the worst send-offs I've ever seen on Doctor Who.  Okay, yes, it was a tear-jerker and I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the episode.  But the ending was incredibly weak, which is what we've come to expect from a bad writer like Stephen Moffat.

The story opens being narrated by a two-bit gumshoe in 1920s New York, Sam Garner, who is hired by wealthy mobster Mr. Grayle to investigate statues that move on heir own.  Garner thinks Grayle is full of it but for the money offered he isn't going to complain.  Going to a hotel called the Winter Quay, he finds a room with his name on it, an elderly version of himself inside, and Weeping Angels stalking him.  He manages to escape to the roof of the hotel when he turns around and sees the Statue of Liberty, which has been transformed into a 'Weeping Lady Liberty'.

Then it's on to the credits followed by a visit to modern day New York where the Doctor, Amy, and Rory are hanging out enjoying themselves.  The Doctor annoys Amy by reading aloud from a book, and he notices that she's wearing glasses, disturbed by the realization that the first face his current face saw is getting older.

The Doctor tears the last page out of the book, a cheap dime store detective novel, saying he hates endings and that by tearing the last pages out of books the stories can go on forever for him.  Remember this for later.  Rory goes to get more hot dogs or something and is hunted by a cherub-like Weeping Angel who zaps him back in time.  We then see Amy reading from the book, and she and the Doctor realize that Rory has somehow made it into the story.  They quickly deduce that somehow Rory got trapped in the past and the very book they're reading must have been written specifically for them so they can go back and find him, having realized that the female detective illustrated on the cover must be River Song, Amy and Rory's daughter and the Doctor's wife.

Unfortunately, the TARDIS bounces off of 1938, the year Rory has apparently been sent to, and they need help to do it.  River creates a temporal beacon for the TARDIS to home in on by having the Doctor go back and alter ancient Chinese vases at their creation so that they can get to Rory in the past.

From there all pretenses of actual plot fade and we end up with a monster-in-the-house story wherein the Doctor, River, Amy, and Rory must survive the Weeping Angels.  Apparently a bunch of them have created the hotel as a sort of pantry by trapping visitors inside and sending them into the past to feed off the time energy generated from this.  How they got there is never explained, as is typical of Moffat's inexcusably poor storytelling, but they're there and they've seemingly inhabited pretty much every humanoid statue in New York.

As a fan of time travel stories, I am constantly irritated by the disrespect so many of today's storytellers give the genre — especially in the area of paradoxes.  Very few have handled such tales well:  Robert Zemeckis' Back To the Future trilogy and Eidos' Legacy of Kain video game series being only two that come to my mind.  Moffat is arguably the worst of the lot of bad storytellers who disrespect the material, which is even more infuriating seeing as how he's head writer for a show that features time travel and its consequences as its central theme.

SPOILER ALERT: Our heroes escape the Weeping Angels by creating a fatal paradox that zaps the Doctor, River, Amy, and Rory back to the present — in a cemetery.  And it is here that the final, tearful goodbyes are said to Amy and Rory.  It's also where the story is at its weakest.  We're supposed to believe that once the future is known a fixed point in time is created and Bad Things Happen when anyone tries to change it.  But just minutes before in the episode we saw a "fixed point" created and prevented from ever existing, and in Series Six the entire story arc revolved around the Doctor getting around a fixed point in time and space to outwit the creatures trying to kill him and escape certain death, so obviously this new "fixed" point should mean absolutely nothing to the Doctor or to Amy.

What's more, there's also the cat, namely, Schrödinger's cat: the paradoxical moment before opening a box with a cat inside it following some random event that either kills the animal or leaves it alive.  Since we can't know whether the cat is alive or dead until the box is opened and we can observe it, this means the animal is in a state of temporal flux; is it both alive and dead, or neither alive or dead, until someone observes it.

So surely, having not actually seen Amy and Rory die in the episode's final moments, and having not seen the Doctor scan the ground underneath a headstone bearing Amy's and Rory's names, the Doctor can actually go back in time and rescue them, or just send River back to bring them out of the past, and as long as the headstone bearing his friends' names is still there, everything will be fine.  It's so obvious to anyone who has devoted even a casual amount of consideration to paradoxes that Moffat should have thought of it from the start and just filmed those extra few seconds' worth of footage showing an elderly Amy somewhere in the past.  Yet he doesn't seem to have bothered, having completely dismissed the intelligence of us viewers.

In any fictional story there is always a certain amount of disbelief that must be suspended, especially in the genres of science fiction, horror, and fantasy.  But one can only suspend so much disbelief, and then a poorly written story just becomes insulting.  That's what Moffat does: he regularly insults the intelligence of his audience, not caring one bit as long as he gets his paycheck.

Oh, and that last page of the book that sent them to 1938 to face the Angels in the first place?  River tells the Doctor she'll have her mother write an afterword for him, prompting him to rush back to Central Park to fetch and read it.  And Amy asks the Doctor to do something they both know he can never do: go back in time and tell Amy's younger self, the one who sat outside waiting for the Time Lord all night, all about her future adventures with the Doctor.  What.  The.  Hell?  No assurances that she and Rory found each other, no request for the Doctor to tell their families their kids are all right (albeit trapped in the past), but Amy asks the Doctor to violate laws of time to tell her younger self what will happen to her in her future.

BULLSHIT on a stick.

Doctor Who has given some crappy endings to companions' stories before, but this one arguably tops them all.  Not only is it an insult, but it shows just how wasted were the considerable talents of Arthur Darvill and Karen Gillan.  Darvill especially was much stronger in his role as wet blanket Rory than Gillan was as lead companion Amy, and both actors have had to struggle to make their characters' stories work.  Matt Smith has shined as the 11th incarnation of the Doctor, but with so little for the main cast to work with, no thanks to Moffat, the two and a half seasons of Smith's run have fallen far short of what they could have been.


Now, having written all this, there is one thing I did like a lot about this latest story involving the Weeping Angels: the notion that they are not strictly corporeal beings, but can and do inhabit existing statues and from those fashion themselves bodies with which to hunt their prey.  It's a very interesting concept and should be explored a bit further — but not by Moffat, who can only mess it up with some stupid throw-away explanation that he'll just toss out the window later on.

We fans should start a letter-writing campaign to have the BBC remove Moffat as head writer before he completely screws up the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.

For an alternate take on The Angels Take Manhattan, see Jayne Gudkov's review.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Institutional Wishful Thinking: Why Steam Won't Save Second Life

New World Notes has taken to deleting my comments when made from certain terminals, so to bring a long-running debate from there over here I'm including a screen capture along with a copy-paste.

Recently there has been a debate over the issue of Linden Lab's outrageously overpriced land model, which forces users to fork over one thousand U.S. dollars and an additional two hundred ninety-five dollars a month for server maintenance.  Hamlet Au has given his reasons for why he thinks Linden Lab won't be lowering prices any time soon: it would have, in his opinion, a crippling short term effect on the company's bottom line, speculation that has little basis in fact.  The reason for his opinion?  It would hurt the five hundred or so land barons who make their living, most only barely, renting out virtual real estate.

The flaw in Hamlet's reasoning has always been the assumption that an across-the-board price cut wouldn't be compensated for by an influx of new and returning customers.  But Desmond Shang, a small land baron, stated in comments that he agrees that land tier prices have to come down sooner or later, and he was invited to post his own guest entry on New World Notes.  That entry led to some unreasonably hostile responses in-thread, which led to Hamlet expanding on one that piqued his interest.

Unfortunately, Hamlet seems to be clinging to the notion that Second Life can be successfully marketed as a gaming platform even though Linden Lab has not developed and is not developing the tools that will make it attractive to hardcore RPG gamers.

As I said, I don't entirely agree with Masami -- for instance, I don't think this suggestion would preclude land barons like Desmond (who runs an RPG themed area himself). But with SL soon to launch on Steam, a roleplay focus seems to be an ideal solution to a lot of Second Life's problems.

 Well, no it isn't, and my response is posted below with some additions.


The reason is this:  Wishful thinking isn't going to save Second Life, and having a link on Steam isn't going to do it either as long as land tier prices remain unaffordable to most users. This point cannot be stressed enough.  Second Life does not have the tools to become anything like what Steam users are accustomed to, so the chances of an influx of users flocking to an overpriced, buggy grid that is woefully inadequate to 3D gaming are remote.

Currently monthly tier for a private region is nearly three hundred U.S. dollars, and for a brand new region the initial setup fee is one thousand dollars. That's an outrageous price tag fewer and fewer people are willing and able to pay. If the initial setup fee were, say, one hundred dollars and the monthly tier returned to $195.00, then it might become economically feasible. (Note: there are groups that allow members to sell private regions to others at far less than Linden Lab's initial setup fee — I've used one in the past to acquire a full region transfer for only three hundred dollars, although the tier on it was due soon after, something buyers have to take into account.) But with the current pricing model RPGers becoming the Thing That Saves Linden Lab...er, Second Life...just isn't realistic. The most likely scenario is that there will be some kind of exodus of hardcore gamers from SL to Steam, where they can play games that have the tools necessary for the genre. How large or small such an emigration is remains to be seen, and it may not even be significant enough to worry over. But what should be obvious to everyone is that there will be no mass migration from Steam to Second Life — not when Linden Lab hasn't done the work to make it into something RPGers would get into.

And that's the crux of the problem. For all people keep touting Second Life as a gaming platform, the tools for developing it toward that end were never created. With the hideously complicated scripting system that is constantly undermined by Linden Lab's often unstable changes, RPG developers have to create HUDs, floating text attachments, and items such as weapons, and that has the problem of generating higher lag depending on the number of scripts associated with all these items. And because there are so many different RPG systems (i.e. DCS and SGS), players and roleplay developers alike have to compensate for incompatibility issues, leaving less time for actually playing the games.

In the virtual world games Steam carries, tools such as weapons, potions, gadgets, and other necessities have already been created and provided. The only problem is the limited range of customization options inherent to most RPGs, which is the only area SL could potentially be better in offering to users. But the high prices make coming to the grid prohibitively expensive.

With SL losing an estimated 8.3 regions every day to the ridiculously high prices, literally thousands of sims a year, at some point something's got to give, and it's going to have to be land prices.  Baby steps toward making SL more affordable, as Desmond Shang has suggested, simply aren't going to do the trick.  Land prices are going to have to come down to a reasonable level, because if they don't then Linden Lab is looking at financial bankruptcy within one or two years.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Drama-Causing RFL Control Freaks

The title of this entry looks more hostile than this post is meant to be, so before I begin let me just get that out of the way.  It's meant to convey what something actually is, and really, there's no "diplomatic" way to describe it without offending.  In that way it's a lot like describing certain politicians and political movements.  Some people get upset when you call something what it is, and more because the notion that what you're describing really is exactly what you call it is just too disturbing to contemplate.

But I digress.  Recently someone I respect posted a blog entry complaining about another group doing a tribute event in memory of a particular person who passed away from cancer.  Because this person I respect considers the other group as rivals, he thinks it's in poor taste and was a deliberate attempt to use a dead person in order to steal traffic away from another club.

The problem with this is that no evidence is offered to prove that this was the case and not the alleged rival group genuinely wanting to do tribute to someone they knew and respected.  And that brought up memories of an incident from earlier this year involving yours truly, in which this someone leaped to conclusions that had no basis in fact.

At the beginning of this year I decided to get actively involved in a Relay For Life team.  Since I didn't have the desire or the time to be a team leader, I thought it would be better to join an existing team.  So I joined a group that was owned by this certain someone.

Here's where things went wrong: I had an off-season donation kiosk rezzed from last year in New London.  It had been in the sim, literally, for months.  I wanted to set the kiosk so it would register donations for the RFL team I'd just joined but didn't know how to do it.  And as it turns out, it couldn't be done anyway, but at the time I didn't know that.  So I asked in the RFL team's group chat how to set the kiosk.  Seems reasonable, right?

The reaction was anything but reasonable.  The group owner accused me of causing drama and ejected me from the group.  He also proceeded to eject a friend of mine whom I'd convinced to get involved and accused him of being an alt.  All this was without any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of either of us — my only "crime" was in asking how to set a kiosk that had already been rezzed for a year.  This group owner now claims I was trying to hack the kiosk, which is ridiculous.  The whole time I got the impression that the real reason for this extreme behavior had to do with control, that is, the group owner went apes*it at any action — no matter how small — taken without his foreknowledge and consent.

It's understandable to enforce discipline as leader of a group.  That's how successful groups operate.  But it's another thing entirely to micromanage things to the point where even asking an innocent question relating to the group's purpose is considered grounds for ejection and false accusations.

That's when I formed my own RFL team.  We weren't able to raise much, but we raised enough that our efforts were recognized by RFL.  I hope that next year we can raise more in the fight against cancer.

The saddest part of all this is that none of it needed to happen.  The team leader I'm writing about never had to do anything except simply answer the question I asked by pointing out that off-season kiosks can't be set to record information for a team.  If he'd just done that I'd have accepted it and none of what took place after would have occurred.  I'd have happily kept working within his group to help raise money for RFL.

But what I've come to realize about this person is that while he claims to dislike drama, he is very often the initiator of it.  There's a "holier-than-thou" attitude at work combined with an extreme need to control everything down to the smallest matter, the latter of which I've seen present in enough members of my own family not to tolerate it.  Again, I actually respect this person because for all the drama he likes to create and blame others for, he seems like someone who genuinely believes in doing what's right and for the right reasons.  But his ego drives him to make everything revolve around himself and he can't go without finding fault in what other people do, no matter how innocent or well intended.

Relay For Life shouldn't be about feeding egos or claiming bragging rights.  It also shouldn't be used to press grudges against others.  RFL is a charity organization for raising money toward cancer research in hopes of finding a cure.  That is how it should be treated.  It shouldn't be misused, whether by assholes with malicious intent or by misguided but otherwise good folk.  I hope the person I'm writing about understands and accepts this, and accepts that not everything revolves around him.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ya know what? Sometimes I can be really stupid: My Apology to Hamlet Au

In my last post I wrote about how Hamlet Au compared SL and EVE Online users to Libyan extremists in one of his posts from last week.  Well, as it turns out, he didn't.  I failed to click the link he provided and completely misinterpreted what he'd written.  What he actually meant to convey was that, just as with EVE Online residents who put on a virtual-environment memorial in honor of a slain fellow player, SL users are just as quick to do likewise within their own sub-communities as well as the larger grid.

But no, I had to go off and leap to conclusions, having failed to click the damn link.  So you know what?  Hamlet, if you're reading this (not sure why you would, but on the off chance that you do...), please accept my apologies.  I'm sorry for what I wrote earlier, both on this blog and in comments on yours.

Forgive, please?

Hamlet Au Goes Off the Deep End

Maybe he was having a hissy fit because no one was buying his bullshit argument that lowering land tier prices in SL wouldn't attract new and returning users.  Maybe he forgot to take his medication.  Or maybe he's just an asshole, and a truly evil one at that.  But Hamlet Au of New World Notes posted a blog entry comparing SLers and users of Eve Online to the Libyans who stormed the U.S. embassy last week and killed several Americans.  Below are two screen captures, the first showing the post itself, and the second showing a comment I made (an earlier one was deleted without explanation).



Clearly, Hamlet has gone off the deep end.  I get that he wants Second Life to become a gamers' haven like Steam and run stuff similar to World of Warcraft and War of the Immortals.  That's his desire as a gamer who enjoys Second Life and sees its potential as a 3D gaming platform.  Whether one agrees or disagrees with Hamlet on Second Life and what direction it should go in, he has a legitimate opinion and every right to express it as he sees fit.  One can also point out that Linden Lab's prices are too high and that it has not developed and is not developing the tools necessary to transform Second Life into a gaming platform.  These, too, are legitimate opinions, albeit ones based on the realities of Second Life and a good understanding of basic economics.

What is not legitimate is the comparison of SLers and Eve Online users to those who have committed acts of violence and murder — no matter how those acts may or may not be justified by the illegal, brutal invasions, bombing campaigns, occupations of, and the propping up of savage dictatorships in, Middle Eastern and African nations carried out by the United States.  That is far beyond the boundaries of taste.  And what is not mere opinion, but demonstrable fact, is that Hamlet Au is deeply disturbed individual, for one really has to be in order to make such a comparison and see nothing wrong with it.

Hamlet, you just lost any and all remaining shreds of credibility with this post of yours.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Slow, Crashtastic Firestorm Now "#1" Viewer On the Grid—Or So Firestorm Liars SAY.

So, Jessica Lyin' is boasting that Firestorm is now the #1 viewer on the SL grid.  According to her, it's the most stable one out there.  So I guess now Jessica Lyin', her lap dog Tonya Souther, and the other viewer elitists can finally stop offering updates to Phoenix, right?  Let's read some reviews from commentors on just how splenderrific Firestorm is.


Well from this latest release of Firestorm I have gone BACK to Phoenix as Firestorm is now 25% fps slower than Phoenix.
 
The reason why I use Firestorm and not Phoenix is not because I like it. In my view, Firestorm is an unfortunate step back from Phoenix towards ugly LL Viewer. The reason I have to use Firestorm is because the latest version of Phoenix with mesh support crashes on my Mac Book Pro.

So I do not see much of a reason to be so cheerful about Firestorm.
 
I would love to use Firestorm... But unfortunately I can't because the FPS is so low on my system even when setting all the graphics options to their lowest. On Phoenix viewer I can easily get 30 FPS and higher with graphics on Ultra. I can even throw in a little AA (up to 8x) and enable shadows and still get decent performance (at least 20 FPS). On Firestorm I can barely manage 10 FPS even with all the graphics setting set to their lowest =( (Yes I checked that AA is off and anisotropic filtering is off)
 
I have done nothing but get logged off time and time and time again, any time I am not on my own land. This update for me has been an utter disaster.
 
Firestorm beat Phoenix ?
Normal, you don't do any support for Phoenix, and Phoenix crash all times.
It's not a nice way to force the user to switch like that.
Now I use singularity, it's like Phoenix, with less crash.
 
Singularity ? I will check it out. Thanks for the lead !
 
I'm having the worst crash rate ever with the new Firestorm. But I am not sure if it's the viewer or Second Life issues. Is anyone else having problems editing/building? SL is constantly freezing up with I am in edit mode, often crashing, but sometimes fixing itself.
 
I at first thought this was a great release.. and for uh, performance.. i suppose it still is however, there has been issues with taking photos.

HUGE black lines in the photos..

not like the bug that adds tiny 1 or 2 pixel lines to photos that have shadow enabled.. i mean big fugly lines in low and high res without the shadows enabled.

i "upgraded" to the previous viewer then all those issues disappeared..

I don't know what is causing it but, i have asked for advice from others and they said to add a qn here.

also.. happy anniversary..
this is the viewer i recommend to friends.
 
This is a final user's opinion and absolutely not meant as trolling but, I really do not see a reason to congratulate that much since this very last update has really ruined my SL experience. Ever since I updated it, Changing outfits is a real pain since it just won't do it properly, it will overlap clothing objects and won't save it as I see it. rezzing objects is also another issue among others. I have tried other viewers and they seem to work just fine. I really think it's a shame this is happening and I reallly hope you do something about it because I love Firestorm and want to go back to using it and really believe what this post claims.
 
Phoenix_Firestorm-Release_i686_4.1.1.28744 was the most stable version on my system. I use Fedora 17.
The crash rate has gone up for me. I crash at least once per session.
I have submitted crash dumps. I hope it helps.
I am aware that you have added new code, and that's great. I am very happy with Firestorm overall and I'm grateful to everyone involved in making Firestorm. Now that the new code has been added, please if you would, please work on making FS more stable and please ask LL to tackle the crash on snapshot bug. Thank you.
 
Wrong, Firestorm is the biggest crash rate it crashes my computer so much its rediculous.. causes graphical glitches too.
 
If the point of their latest liefest was to increase support for Firestorm, they failed.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Health Care Woes (Not Mine — YET)

I was reading a blog from someone in Great Britain who wrote about his appeal to continue receiving medical care courtesy of the government-run health care system.  Seems Britain's politicians are, like those in the U.S., hellbent on destroying what's left of the social welfare system in favor of private, for-profit interests.

The fact is that Britain's previously nationalized health care system, while I'm sure it had its flaws, was among the best in the world.  The depraved move toward privatized health care like what we're saddled with in the U.S. is a digusting act by cowardly politicians who obviously need never worry about how they're going to pay for their care; they're wealthy enough to be able to afford it, and since they're not human enough to feel such sentimental emotions as empathy, why should they care if the rest of us are left to scrape up some sort of existence on our own?  As far as these savages are concerned, the Ayn Rand philosophy of "survival of the fittest" is the only rule worth following.

Now, bear in mind I'm asking this next bit out of ignorance because I don't know a lot about British politics, but what does Queen Elizabeth think of all this?  Does anyone know?  Granted, as I understand it the British monarch is little more than a figurehead, but even figureheads have the power of the bully pulpit and the ability to invoke rhetoric to rouse the people.  Surely if she gave a speech denouncing austerity and calling the people to action on tossing out their conservative rulers in favor of a return to the strong social welfare days, people would follow her lead?  What's going on over there?

Meanwhile, here in the U.S., a good friend of mine may or may not have cancer.  Among her host of other health problems including fibromyalgia, this would really put her in an economic fix and since her health problems prevent her from working, she's already close to starvation as it is.  Yet she, I, and millions of other Americans who cannot afford health care are effectively being told to die if we can't afford to get treatment.  What remaining social welfare still exists in this country is being whittled away even further and Obama's far right health insurance bailout simply institutionalizes the health care crisis.  So BINGO! it went from aberration to part of the system, and since it can't be a crisis in the system if it's a design function, no more crisis, right?  Except tens of millions still won't be able to visit a doctor because health care is prohibitively expensive.  *Facepalms.*

You can only deprive people of so much for so long before they reach the breaking point.  We're about there now.  The subhuman savages who are crushing us all underfoot must know this, which is why they're busily finalizing their respective police states — gotta be prepared to use as much force as possible to put down any and all uprisings, even if the likelihood of them is low.

Monday, August 20, 2012

More Regions Disappearing from SL

Over at New World Notes Hamlet Au is disappointed to learn that one of the Next Big Things to save Second Life isn't doing what he hoped it would, namely, turn SL into the gamers' paradise he apparently wants it to be.  This latest revelation comes on the heels of his blog entry last week that hyped the "publish[ing]" of SL "on Valve's Steam distribution network", which is apparently the latest Next Big Thing that will save SL from the slow disintegration of the grid.
Some people are joining Hamlet in hyping this Steam thing as the feature that will bring swarms of 25-40-year-olds to the grid, injecting new life into it and making up for the loss of regions that has been taking place over the last couple of years.  Others are downplaying these developments as not having any significant impact on the number of new users to SL, and I happen to be among that crowd.  And there's a reason why we don't expect this to take off: the high price of land in SL and the inescapable fact that Second Life is simply not a gaming platform.  It never was and never will be.
A popular region called Hosoi just announced that, because of financial difficulties, the sim owner is forced to close it down and leave the grid.  And it's not just one but four full regions shutting down.
Now, this should not be surprising to anyone who has kept up with news of SL on NWN.  In May and September last year, and in June of this year forecasts predict a ten percent loss of privately-"owned" regions.  The single biggest reason for these region losses is the ridiculously high price of land in SL, with Linden Lab charging people up to $1,000.00 USD to buy a new region and $295.00 USD a month for maintenance fees on the server that houses it.  And since servers are shared by several regions, this means that each server brings in many hundreds if not thousands of dollars a month.  It's a pricing model that only barely worked back in 2006, when there was still the illsuion maintained that the U.S. and world economies were somewhat strong.  But that illusion ended in 2008 — four years ago — and it is just plain stupid to expect people to sustain what has become an outrageously expensive luxury when most of us are not even able to earn a living wage and the ones who are able are finding their savings being gobbled up by everything from higher food prices to economically-crippling medical bills.
Now, the simplest solution to bring in more revenue is to cut region prices by one half to two thirds, making SL land pricing competitive with grids such as OpenSim and InWorldz, both of which charge less than $100.00 USD for private islands — both the initial buying price and the monthly server maintenance fee are around $75.00) — and provide far more resources for those regions.  Linden Lab currently allows only 15,000 primitives (the basic building blocks that are used to generate the amazing constructs users have made over the years).  InWorldz allows up to 45,000.  If you had a choice between paying $75 a month for 45,000 prims and shelling out $295 a month for 15,000 prims, the choice really doesn't even exist.  You'd opt for a grid that charges far less and gives you far more for what you're paying.

That's exactly what SL region owners are doing.  OpenSim was reported this past February as having experienced a small explosion of new users flocking over from the ridiculously expensive Second Life, a healthy increase following a December 2011 report that OpenSim gained 915 regions with InWorldz being the busiest of the independent virtual grids.

It is simply foolish to market something that isn't a gaming platform as a gaming platform, especially when none of the tools are present for turning it into one and the interest from users isn't there. But that's exactly what Linden Lab insists on doing, and with its primary revenue base drying up without a replacement to make up for the losses, the company really can't expect to fund all the non-SL projects it wants to. The latest deal with Steam may be an attempt to secure a new revenue source, but I can think of plenty of more efficient, more viable ways to increase it than by trying to attract gamers from one virtual environment to one that is not set up for gaming.

That's why the Bloodlines clan I belong to is trying to raise funds for a full year for the Nocturne Project. Until or unless Linden Lab wises up and dramatically lowers land tier prices, it's just prohibitively expensive to try and maintain a full region unless you have the business acumen to rent it out at a price that bring in a healthy profit. You can have mesh and pathfinding and all the deals with Cloud and Steam and whatever going on, but at the end of the day it's still the economy stupid. And if Linden Lab refuses to wake up to that reality, it's going to price itself out of business within a few more years.

For an alternative take on this subject, go here.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Kickstarter Project! (And NWN Fail)

Okay, part of the title is called 'NWN Fail'.  Gonna get that right out of the way now before launching into the bigger and better news.  That part of this entry's title isn't really meant to come off looking like it does, because the discussion was actually a lively one.  New World Notes had a thread going that posited three ways to salvage SL, only two of which the author thinks are even worth trying to get Linden Lab to change its collective mind about.  That third way, lowering tier prices, is actually about the only way Linden Lab will be able to save not only Second Life but also any future prospects for its own, non-SL projects.

Okay, to sum up, the SL land barons that provide LL with the majority of its revenue are steadily closing up and leaving the grid for greener, more affordable pastures.  With the economy still in the toilet and no sign of emerging any time this decade, Linden Lab's outrageously high tier prices have got people deciding that they just can't afford SL anymore.  Builders and scripters can't peddle their wares on the grid itself, where most SLers congregate (the marketplace revamps haven't allowed sellers to make up the losses enough to justify using that as their primary business home base), and gamers can't afford to create vibrant, sustainable roleplaying experiences because land is prohibitively expensive.  The blog author thinks that by converting SL into a spiffy gaming platform, people with money to spend will come.  And he can't seem to understand that what's preventing people from coming is the very finite financial resources that are less and less at their disposal every day that passes.  Sinply put, SL is degrading into a haven only for the monied elite who can afford to toss away $295.00 USD a month on region tier, and even they're waking up and starting to realize that there's no more profit to be had renting virtual land since fewer and fewer people can afford to rent it.  So they're leaving while they still have a chance to get out and not lose a ton of money.

You can have all the ideas for gaming engines and pathfinding and mesh and every other Next Big Thing you want, but at the end of the day, if people find it too expensive to use they're not going to buy it.  That's just plain common business sense.  It's all about the money, and when demand is low you need to price low to increase demand.  Otherwise you'll price yourself out of business.

So, having gotten that out of the way, I'm going to tell you about a project some friends of mine are trying to pull off using Kickstarter.  Back in March I read about a tinies group in SL that wanted to build a roleplaying region in SL with plans for expanding it to other media as well as doing charity work.  So they created a project on Kickstarter with the fund-raising goal of $8,500.00 USD.  They exceeded it to raise a total of over $11,000.00.

That gave us the idea to try it ourselves.  Hell, if a bunch of people who enjoy roleplaying tiny forest creatures can raise that kind of money, maybe we can do it for what we want to do.  Now, it's no secret that Bloodlines doesn't exactly have a pristine reputation in SL.  The idea started out with merit: create a vampire RP system that lets players be vampires, and later werewolves (or lycans, as the game calls them) were added.  Only the system quickly earned a bad rep, and I suspect it has mostly to do with the failure to properly account for the casual noobs who get the system, go around annoying people with bite requests, and then leave once they get bored (or banned enough times that they give up).  Worse is that with blood barrels and lumen prisms (the werewolf equivalent of blood barrels) being transferrable (albeit no-copy), people realized they could buy at rock-bottom prices from departing or desperate players and sell at a profit with prices that are less than what the Bloodlines official stores sell.  Similarly, players trade the "souls" they collect within the system for profit and to stack their stats.

In other words, Bloodlines quickly devolved into a money-making scheme that saw the intended gameplay dry up except for the dedicated RPers who have money enough to own their own regions but for various reasons haven't tried expanding those sims the way the tinies group is doing.

That's where the Nocturne Project comes in.

The backstory is a post-apocalyptic tale that sees the human race conquered by vampires, werewolves, demons, fallen gods, and other creatures of myth and legend, following a global environmental disaster.  Society quickly returns to a feudal system under the rule of their supernatural overlords, with modern technology gradually giving way to medieval-style tech and methods.  This roleplay region is designed to cater to dedicated Bloodlines players, complete with a war arena (based on the capture-the-flag model), a social area for hunting and partying, and a shopping area for vendors to sell themed wares.

But beyond the Bloodlines aspect, the Nocturne project will also cater to general roleplaying needs, with an involving backstory lending itself to the atmosphere to create an experience that will keep people coming back.  If this works out we'll be able to expand to other media as well.

We've already got $251.00 pledged so far, but our goal is $10,000.00 with a deadline of September 16th.  That's now just over a month away.  Can we do it?  I'm confident we can, but we need your help — and your donations.  Please visit the Kickstarter page and pledge as much as you can afford.  The fund-raising goal was set to allow us to keep the sim running for its first year.  If we can raise the money necessary we'll have the sim up and running within a month.  Check us out and come back for updates!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

SL Tutorial: How to Copy Text from Notecard to Notecard

I've noticed that some people in SL, whether they're new or long time users, have had trouble figuring out how to copy and paste text from one notecard to another.  SO here's a simple tutorial for how to do it.  NOTE: This was done using the most recent version of Phoenix, which uses the Viewer 1 graphic user interface (GUI).  Even if the notecard you are trying to copy text from is no-transfer, as long as you can read the contents you should be able to hightlight, right-click, and copy the text.

In your inventory, right-click a notecard and select 'Open'.

Select all of the text by clicking inside the notecard and then using ctrl-a on a PC or command-a on a Mac.

Right-click and select 'Copy'.

Go back to your inventory and create a new Note.

Like so.  Open it up like you did with the previous one and...

...click inside the new note, right-click, and select 'Paste'

Save your new note and you're done.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

SLSFC5!

Yes, we're at Second Life Sci-Fi Convention 5!  Among this year's guests are Star Trek's Johnathan Frakes and Gerrat Wang, Battlestar Galactica's Richard Hatch, and more!  Here's the booth location.


http://slurl.com/secondlife/SLSFC5%20SOUTHWEST/177/207/30

My girlfriend and me inside the other day during the setup period.  She's wearing Green Lantern underoos underneath her outer garment.  I love her.
Someone sent me a snapshot of my avatar inside the GL booth.  Thanks!


On a sadder note, one of the booths across from SFE's was forced to leave for not placing RFL vendors on her parcel.  Sucks, but unfortunately the rules required one or two this year.  I can kind of see why the other booth owner felt the rule was stupid, but at the same time there was plenty of notice for them this year and there was more than enough time to pull out before setup.  It's still a pretty big loss though, and the convention won't be the same without that group's presence.

The Richard Hatch interview was broadcast over Trek Radio, which you can listen to here.  It's really interesting hearing his views on the original Battlestar Galactica, the new version, and much more.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sapphire and Sinestro Central Batteries

The next pair of Central Batteries are the Sapphire and Sinestro Corps.  Each is low-prim, large, and a wonderful decorative piece for your sci-fi and roleplaying needs.



Come check them out at Sci-Fi Enterprises in New London Village!

http://slurl.com/secondlife/TARDIS/26/39/25

Monday, June 18, 2012

New Central Batteries!

I redid the Green Central Battery and added funnels to make it look more lantern-like.  Because of the time and energy that went into making it, the size of the build, and the suggestion of those who offered input, the price has doubled to 200L$.  But it's still a great buy for land-owners and renters, and still very low-prim at a count of 34.


And I didn't stop with the green version, either!  No, I made all nine Lantern Corps central batteries, along with a concept tenth one combining blue and green.  Soon all central batteries will be in the vendors, but here's the Red Central Battery:


This one is actually thirty prims — four fewer than the green one!  Still, this took a lot of work to get the look just right.  Here are the links for the marketplace:

https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/RL-Central-Battery/3644298

https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/GL-Central-Battery/3608100

To visit Sci-Fi Enterprises in-world, go here:

http://slurl.com/secondlife/TARDIS/26/39/25

Next up for release is the Star Sapphire Central Battery.  Here's a sneak preview.



Thursday, June 7, 2012

GL Central Battery!

After a long hiatus Sci-Fi Enterprises is back with an awesome new build from yours truly.  After joining a Green Lantern Corps group in SL, I was inspired by some of the region builds and decided to make my own central battery.  Here's the ad:


You can find it on the Marketplace here:

https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/GL-Central-Battery/3608100

Or visit the in-world store:

http://slurl.com/secondlife/TARDIS/26/39/25

The build is tall, about twenty-four meters, and has a footprint of about 18x18.  At thirty-two prims it won't max out your land's prim allowance.  This of course means you will need land to keep it on, but if you do then it'll be a great attraction.

Just to give you an idea of scale:


Note the guy at the bottom who's away from his keyboard.  Anyway, feel free to visit the Marketplace page or the store in New London in TARDIS region.  The Central Battery is only 100L$, so it's a real deal.  An SFX handheld battery is built and awaiting scripting.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Conversations with a Coward

Ex-Friend: I'm mad at you and I refuse to tell you the reason why.  You're bitter, jaded, and have no aspirations.

Me: Okay, care to back up and tell me what's going on?

Ex-Friend: No, because then we'd get into an argument about it.

Me: So you won't tell me why you're mad at me and you won't explain the "bitter and jaded and no aspirations" remark.  Why won't you?

Ex-Friend: ...

Me: Logs off to get some sleep.

Okay, the above isn't the convo I had early this morning around three o'clock.  But it's as close to an accurate summary as I feel comfortable sharing with you.

I met my ex-friend a few years ago, back when I owned my own region in SL.  She's never been the most stable person, but she's been a good friend even though I've made some really big mistakes — hell, she and her husband even got me the computer I'm using right this very moment as a gift.  They did this knowing I was unemployed and couldn't return the favor.  That's how close we were as friends, and how generous they both are.

But like I said, the ex-friend isn't the most stable person.  She's continually de-friending me, making accusations she won't back up, only to return later on.  (This is the DJ I wrote about in my previous entry.)  This has become a pattern with her.  And you know what?  I can't keep doing this.

I am done being someone else's emotional punching bag.  This is the last time she pulls this crap with me.  She and her husband are the closest thing I've got to a family (my own blood relations made it clear a long time ago that they only ever considered me their punching bag), but I shouldn't have to keep putting up with this childish behavior.  One day things are going fine, the next I gotta log on to find out that oops! friend is now ex-friend again, and for no reason whatsoever that she'll bother explaining.

Some people are cowards.  They can't face their own demons so they project them onto others and then use that as an excuse to heap bullshit on said others.  And it's sad, because I really don't like losing friends, even bad ones.

Wanna know how "bitter" I am?  I've met an incredible young woman through SL with whom I've fallen in love.  We exchange e-mails off of SL, we hang out together, and we even help manage my other friend's nightclub together.  For the first time in a long time there's a ray of light in my life, and I'm even happy.

No aspirations?  I'm helping to manage my friend's club with the intention of making it into something worthwhile.  I'm expanding my DJ gigs to other places.  I'm looking for a reliable, trustworthy scripter willing to script my TARDIS consoles so I can start selling my own builds again.  I have a goal in SL, and it's to eventually make just enough money to afford my own private region again, so I can keep building and sharing my work with others.  I want to get first-life jobs teaching and making movies, get a house, have the means to live a comfortable life, and raise a family.  No aspirations?  Funny; those seem like aspirations to me.

Jaded?  Maybe.  Lord knows I've seen enough assholery to recognize that the human race probably hasn't got a lot of time left before it wipes itself out.  And yeah, I've seen enough politicians making and breaking promises and more than my share of petty, small-minded losers who think the only way they can enjoy life is to make other people who never had any fight with them completely miserable for the rest of theirs.  But you know what?  I don't let it affect my outlook on life.  I don't because I've seen more beauty in this world than I have ugliness, and I'm still idealistic enough to be outraged at the ass clowns making this world the ugly place it is.  If I were really jaded I wouldn't give a damn.  But I'm not, and I do.

So you know what?  This is me cutting out a part of my life I don't need.  I turned thirty-eight last month and one of the things I realized is that my remaining time on this planet doesn't have any room in it to be wasted by idiots, evil bastards, psychopaths, and morons.  I'm gonna focus on just being me and finding happiness where I can get it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Unbelievable.

Been a nasty few days, tech-wise.  My computer is crashtastic and no one seems to be able to figure out the problem, or a solution.  Driver errors galore, so I uninstalled, reinstalled, still crashes of my comp.  Finally did a system error check that literally took all night.  I also broke down and bought a couple of RAM chips for my motherboard.  Right now I have only four gigs of RAM, but once the chips arrive and I put 'em in I'll have eight.  I hope that solves at least some of the problem.  I may have to take the comp in to a specialist to get it looked at.

I help manage a club for my friend in SL, who's a vampire lord.  I also DJ when I can, but because of my computer troubles and an unreliable connection I really can't do that as I would like.  Last night the DJ decided to screw the club and my friend over by quitting without telling anyone, de-friending me for no reason, de-friending the club owner for no reason, and leaving me to DJ at the last minute.  The scheduled hostess was also a no-show, though she says her comp (which is really old) was experiencing difficulties and couldn't be on.  So I DJed and hosted, and my comp crashed something like five or six times during the event.  Only two people showed up, but fortunately they were generous tippers and so I and the one staff member on duty didn't waste our time.

So yeah, needless to say I wasn't trilled, but the club owner was pissed.  He banned the DJ from the land and this morning he ejected her from the group.  On top of that a serial griefer tried to visit the club but apparently found himself pre-emptively banned.  No, this isn't the person I wrote about in my previous entry.  It was someone else, someone who is known and isn't liked by the club owner.  Seems I'm not the only one who dislikes him.  Then again, I've never met anyone who does like him.  He's more annoying and a drama queen than anything else.  I just put him on mute and washed my hands of him, especially after I found out he tried to break up my friends' marriage.

Speaking of mute lists, I wiped all but one avatar from it.  I realized I've got way too many people on it and really, there's no point in my keeping them there.  I don't socialize with any of them and they don't socialize with me.

So yeah, that's the week so far.  The high point is that my SL girlfriend and I have been able to spend more quality time together.  I love you, Rose!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Steelhead City Dance Event and Yogic Flying

Last night I was invited to a 70s-themed RFL dance event at Steelhead City.  Things went well until a certain serial griefer who's on my mute list showed up and stuck around a few minutes.  Knowing his penchant for calling for my banning from the grid altogether, as well as spreading drama, I was worried that he'd start something.  Fortunately, I was assured by the event host that Steelhead City is a neutral sim and that Griefer wouldn't start shit.

Someone spammed the TLoG group chat in SL a few minutes ago.  We set him straight, but Kat Kassner posted a funny link about yogic flying that I just have to share.


Ha ha, epic win!

Anyway, my SL girlfriend and I had a pretty good time at Steelhead.  Knowing now that I'm not banned from all of the steampunk regions, I feel a bit freer to travel to some of them.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Heroes and Villains RFL Event!

This Tuesday, 22 May, 2012 from 6-8PM SL time, we've got a Heroes & Villains themed RFL event at Club Wamphyri.  500L$ starts us off on the board, with DJ Nonamei Scribe providing the tunes.  The best hero or villain will receive 500L$, and we'll be taking donations to help raise money in the fight against cancer.  There is a Relay For Life donation kiosk near the stage.

http://bit.ly/J78RoB


Again, the party starts at 6PM SL time.  Our goal for this event is to raise 5,000L$.  Can we do it?  HECK yes!  Let's kick butt!  See you Tuesday.  :^)

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Aquatica/221/96/25

Friday, May 18, 2012

ISH MAH BERFDAAAAAY!!!

Today's my birthday.  I'm thirty-eight.  Christ I'm depressed.  So to ward off depression, I'm throwing a party for friends at my friend's club.

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Aquatica/234/96/25

I've got 500L$ to start off the board.  The theme is come-as-you-are, or best birthday, whichever you decide.  Party starts at 4PM SL time (7PM EDT).  Bring your friends, you relatives, some birthday cake (I like carrot cake), and the whor—I mean, groupies.  See you there!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

RFL May Events and Ruminations on Ego

I'm going to try doing a couple more RFL events for this month, at least hosting them.  I still haven't figured out the problems with my streaming program, WinAmp, that are causing the connection to cut in and out.  But I still want to help raise money via events, so keep an eye out for future DJ gigs.

Speaking of RFL events in May, there are a lot of them.  You can look them up here, but posted below is a list of upcoming events.

DJ Nardo at G.R.I.T.S. - Relay for HOPE
Wednesday, 9 May, 2012
6-8PM SL Time
Location

DJ Cluckey at the Purple Sky Dome - Hearts & Souls
Saturday, 12 May, 2012
6:30-8:00AM SL Time
Location

Some events linked to off-site locations, and some have already come and gone.  A couple seem to be continuous, such as the garage sale listed on the upcoming events page.  I'll keep you updated as more events are posted.

Anyway...

Someone's been bitching about other people posting about Relay For Life events they're involved in.  Apparently, if this idiot's rants are to be believed, no one is allowed to post about RFL (or any other event) unless he's online.  I didn't realize the entire grid was obligated to shut down all activities just to accommodate his absence from it.

What a loser.

Okay, off to work, and then I have to print a 90-page screenplay that's due by six this evening.  Later!

Friday, May 4, 2012

May Day RFL Flop and Other Matters

Stream connection issues forced me to end my May Day RFL event early.  When the connection keeps cutting out every few seconds, that's bad.  I'll try to get to the bottom of this, but for right now I'll have to hold off on DJing until the problem is solved.  I can't have this kind of thing happening every time I try to use my stream.

Of course, only a few people actually showed up, three or four at most.  Sometimes you hit the traffic jackpot big, and sometimes you flame out big.

I'm already seeing the beginnings of another blog battle from certain quarters.  During my DJ event Tuesday night, someone from a certain griefer-run group showed up before the actual start of my set, when I was warming up my playlist.  Sure enough, the little liar himself wrote a blog starting shit again, even though in my previous posts I didn't even mention him by name.  But there he was, ranting and raving and mentioning me (and someone else he has a problem with) by name.

I make no excuses for anything I've written here, or anything I've done in SL (and I have indeed done some really stupid shit).  But for you-know-who to keep attacking people like this — especially through a charity organization — is pretty low even for filth like him.

I've begun building TARDIS consoles again in SL (pics will be uploaded later).  I'll probably end up submitting it to Novatech again once it's finished, since other groups are either severely back-logged or won't touch my builds.  I'm also working on making a small space station for RP purposes.  Because land is so limited, I can only work on one project at a time.  But I really only need to place controls on the new console, and as for the station build, that's a longer term project since this is my first time doing something like this (at least with the intention of making something that can actually be sold).

In my real-life, such as it is, the last week of school for the semester is upon me.  I need to find a paying job for the summer — NOW — so I can pay for the storage unit containing eighty percent of what I have left in the world.  Otherwise I'll lose it all.  I could cry.  I really could.  Film-makers do not cry.  And I am a film-maker now.

My short film is in the editing phase.  Depression and illness have kept me from working on it as diligently as I should, but I have to get it, and a screenwriting project for my other class, done by Tuesday.  Gotta love deadlines.  I will make them.  Just you watch.

New World Notes has two more commentaries on Linden Lab's poor business decisions, which you can read here and here.  The following quote sums up what I'm sure pretty much everyone who's been told to get a new computer by some moronic V2-apologist probably feels: "My AlienWare M11x runs next generation AAA games like Skyrim just about perfectly, but somehow, can't run a client that's been around in some form for 10 years. Why should I spend $2000 to make up for Linden Lab's shortcomings?"  Yep, that about sums it up.  Next time, V2-apologists, think before spouting off such a stupid remark.

Also courtesy of New World Notes: a sixty-two-meter-tall avatar.  I kid you not.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Is Linden Lab pricing itself out of business?

New World Notes has an article up regarding the rebirth of the Devokan Trust regions being reborn on OpenSim after high tier cost drove them to close down in Second Life.  This is not an isolated incident.  As the developers of other, competing grids build their online communities and work out more bugs, less expensive alternatives to SL are becoming more attractive.  Small wonder that Linden Lab has chosen not to throw itself a huge birthday bash this year — and I don't think the reason is limited to the drama-fests or the poorly implemented events that resulted in entire regions lagging out and crashing.

The main reason has to do with declining revenues stemming from the ongoing collapse of the U.S. economy.  With more and more people losing jobs and wages declining, spending hundreds of dollars a month on SL just isn't viable anymore for most people.  It doesn't help that Linden Lab maintains its unreasonably higher price for virtual land in-world.

Region tier for private, full-sized estates, which provides up to 15,000 prims over 65,536 square meters, runs as high as $295 USD a month.  Linden Lab charges a full one thousand dollars USD just to buy a new full-prim private estate, with the additional $295 a month rental fee.  That's a shit-ton of money to spend in a depressed economy.  Competing grid InWorldz, on the other hand, offers up to 45,000 prims for building at a monthly cost of only $75 USD a month and an initial setup fee of $75, according to the FAQ section.  In OpenSim, pricing is comparable to that of InWorldz (a good read from a year ago may be found here).

Simply put, ridiculously high prices in a depressed economy are driving many landowners in Second Life to lower-priced grids.  The people who stay in SL struggle to maintain their regions, as New London's recent financial troubles can attest.

If the Lab wants to reverse the decline in users, it will have to take a short term loss for long term gain.  Region prices should be lowered so as to be competitive with up-and-coming grids such as InWorldz and OpenSim, and customer support must be improved.  Once land prices drop, more people will be able to afford to buy, compensating for short term monetary losses, eventually leading to a gradual rise in revenue.

In addition, prim-allowances should be similarly raised to compete with other grids that offer three times what the Lab does for their regions.  45,000 prims and 65,536 square meters, with individual prims that can be sized up to 128 meters in diameter, for $75 a month will always look much more attractive compared to one that offers literally half to two thirds fewer prims for much much more.

If Linden Lab doesn't do this, it will continue to lose members to the competition.

Ass Clownery and Upcoming RFL Events

Remember when I wrote earlier about a clown who got himself banned from a London-based region?  He's up to his usual tricks again, this time going on the offensive against a vendor who sent out a note card warning people about alleged griefing activities by a group to which clown-boy belongs.  He's in a tizzy because someone did to him what he did to another group entirely last year.  The hypocrisy on display is stunning.

Anyway, on to important matters.  With the semester winding down I plan to schedule three RFL events in May.  I'll post more info when I finalize the themes, but I hope to do a May Day fund-raiser as the first one.

Relay for Life is managed in Second Life by dedicated people, many of whom are or know people who have cancer.  Some of the RFL captains, volunteers, and other members have already suffered losses this year and my thoughts go out to them.  Cancer is a nasty disease and it takes no prisoners.  Whatever we can raise to help wipe it out, let's raise it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Who News!

Check it out!  Nonamei Scribe provides the voice commentary for this video evaluation of the upcoming first half of Series 7.  Tip of the hat to Jayne Gudkov for linking to the blog on The Doctor Who Zone blog.

Cause Grief, Get Yourself Banned, Then Whine About It On a Blog

I was checking out some of the SL-themed blogs looking up stuff on London-based communities (Google is my friend) when I came across an entry by a certain serial liar and griefer complaining about getting banned from one of the larger regions and urging members of a fan-based chain of groups to boycott the place.

I found this extremely funny, since this loser has a habit of stirring up all manner of trouble for people and never bothers explaining the specific reason for whatever he claims is done to him.  Usually he's spread some lie about the sim- or group-owners and they decided they could do without his tiresome presence on their own virtual land.  Whatever he said or did to get himself banned I really don't know, but knowing him, it was probably similar to what he's done to so many others that they got fed up and booted his sorry behind.

What's funny about this is that the individual in question has deluded himself into thinking he has more influence in his little niche group(s) — and in SL generally, in all likelihood — than he really has.  I'm sure the only reason SL is even still afloat is because of this clown's continued presence.  Hell, the entire grid grinds to a screeching halt if he leaves to attend to his alleged real life for even an hour! (/Sarcasm).

UPDATE (11 April) - Since Stupid likes to post people's full avatar names in his entries, I looked up the sim owner and asked some questions.  Turns out he took advantage of their generosity and when they objected, he took to bitching about it on his blog.  So they returned all his stuff that he had rezzed there and banned his sorry ass.  Lesson to be learned: Don't piss off a sim owner.

Meanwhile, back in reality, life moves on.  I sent the film from my semester film project into the lab for development.  I hope to get it back by this time next week so I can begin editing.  The biggest obstacle to my short being all I dreamed it could be was time and actors' availability, or rather, lack thereof on the latter portion.  A shortage of funds in my bank account from last-minute bills took a bigger tol, forcing me to wait a few weeks before I could send in my exposed film.  It's Kodak color reversal stock, so once exposed the image begins breaking down.  At this point, with scenes still left to be shot, the primary actor I need to film them having dropped off the face of the planet, and the semester winding down (it ends in about a month), my project is looking to take a serious hit that could affect my grade enough to delay my graduation.

Dammit.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Relay for Life at New London, Sunday, April 1st

Time Lords for the Cure is hosting an April Fools event this Sunday at the Travellers Rest Pub in New London Village.

















Be sure to wear something SILLY, because there'll be 500L$ on the board for the most outrageous, silly costume or avatar.

Here's the link to the pub:

http://slurl.com/secondlife/TARDIS/96/185/29

The party starts at 1PM SL time and goes until 3PM. Instead of tips for the DJ, I'm asking visitors to donate to an RFL kiosk that will be placed specially for the event.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Saturday, March 10, 2012

March Madness and Saint Patty's Day RFL Events

Coming up this week are two events.  On 14th March from 12PM-3PM SL time, we have March Madness RFL.  No, I'm not talking about basketball.  I'm talking about "Alice in Wonderland".

Then on 17th March, 2012 we have our Saint Patrick's Day event.



Both events will be held at Club Wamphyri, a new gothic nightclub located in Aquatica region.  We'll have special prizes courtesy of Sci-Fi Enterprises for the Wednesday event, and for Saturday a cash prize.  Rather than have the sploder fun I normally engage people in, I'll be asking visitor to pay the Relay for Life donation kiosk.  Our fund-raising goal for each event is 5,000L$.  Your donations will go to help fund research into finding a cure, treatment for the currently afflicted, and other forms of support.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Time Lords for the Cure: Relay for Life in Second Life

After what turned out to be a false start in participating in this year's Relay for Life fund-raising activities, I went ahead and formed my own team to help in this year's activities, called Time Lords for the Cure.  It's an opportunity for SL Whovians to help in a worthy cause while avoiding the unnecessary and ultimately destructive drama caused by others.

To this end I've invited some of my SL friends and acquaintances to join the team, but we're willing and happy to cooperate with other teams to help raise funds.  If you're interested, send me a notecard with your avatar default name (not the display name you may or may not be using) so I can add your name to the team roster.  If you're already in another team, no worries!  Have your team captain get in touch with me and maybe our teams can help coordinate on mutual or concurrent events.  Be sure to ask RFL team mentors about the rules pertaining to this so no policies are violated.  We don't want to spoil anything by inadvertently breaking any RFL rules.

I'll send out an updated rules notecard tomorrow night, along with another one containing donation kiosks and instructions, but here they are so far.*

1.  You can set out an American Cancer Society (aka ACS) donation kiosk in your shop, club, or private home.

2. If you work for tips, you can have people pay the kiosk instead.

3. You can offer a special item in vendors — but note that 100% of sales proceeds should be set to go to ACS, RFL, or both.  See the rules regarding donations through vendor sales.

4. Events — Good for ratings from (PG) to (Mature).

*: Please bear in mind that if you do plan to host adult-themed events (i.e. sexual or violent), you can hold them, but they can't be added to billboards.

5. Off-Line Donations.  You can donate via the team's RFL web page:

https://secure3.convio.net/tacs/site/Donation2?1009405.donation=form1&idb=1132674998&df_id=1009405&FR_ID=42558&PROXY_ID=42558&PROXY_TYPE=21

6. If you're in the 'Time Lords of Gallifrey' group, you don't need to join another one.  This will be the group used to coordinate events.

Group ID:  7f754248-ab36-db87-b76d-e807f0b8a0ad

Group Link in SL: secondlife:///app/group/7f754248-ab36-db87-b76d-e807f0b8a0ad/about

7. We're more than willing to work with other teams in the spirit of cooperation, be it on events or sharing information as necessary to help raise awareness of ACS-RFL.  We're all working toward the same goal, after all.

Our team mentor is Terran Magic.  Questions we can't answer should be directed to this person.

[[RFL Events]]

There will be some special on-site events (such as the SL Sci-Fi Convention) where our team may have a booth or be represented. Team members will be given the opportunity to provide RFL vendors selling their creations. Products are to be G or PG only; no mature or Adult.  Sales from such vendors MUST have 100% go to ACS-RFL.  See RFL rules pertaining to announcements or ads that you are doing this.

The Relay

The Relay for Life  will be held in July.  All teams will be invited to spend the weekend running in a virtual race to help raise funds.  We'll send further info on the campsite later this year, before the big event.  "Time for a Cure" is the theme this year, so let's show our TLoG pride and help raise funds to fight cancer!

Last year certain clowns decided to cause a bunch of grief for others during the RFL-ACS-sponsored Sci-Fi Convention by posting outright deceptions on an off-world blog.  Let's not turn this noble cause into another excuse to wage war against rival groups.  We're all supposed to be adults.  Let's act the part.  Violators will be ejected from the team and reported to ACS-RFL personnel to be dealt with.

*:  The above-posted team rules are a heavily-edited version of ones posted by Holocluck Henley, so if any wording seems familiar, that's where it came from.  Just letting you know up front.  Any changes or additions will be posted as necessary upon the request of Mr. Henley or RFL personnel.