30 November 2006

PG - Mature Rating Detector, and Xcite!

I made a freebie HUD that helps you remember whether you're in a PG or mature area. Grab one.

Turns out that becoming an Xcite! partner may be free. Chantal and I were talking about it. I'm dropping them a note.

29 November 2006

PG or Mature?

llRequestSimulatorData() is how to get the sim's rating.

I've been wondering how to get that.

Patch Day, and more updatable content musings.

I'm excited by the new list of features for today's patch. If this is a stable build, I'll be full o' happy! Here.

The fact that LL's been adding new features to LSL is both heartening and a downer; I like new capabilities but it reinforces the idea that something like the oft-promised mono is very far away.

Musing over the possibilities with llLoadURL() and updatable content. Along with the new webpage profile feature. In-chat URLs too - I want to see if object chat can create them. I'm not sure how valuable that would be since objects can make http calls themselves, but there might be a time and place for them.

27 November 2006


If you use Google Gadgets, here's your invitation to have a SLURL generator. You'll have to add this one by URL.


Blogger is quirky about GGadgets, but you can see a sample at the very bottom of this page.

25 November 2006

Vending babble

Finally got around to making a bamboo cage. Now I've got another 1 prim vendor like the one for gift boxes that sells cages. Spent a bunch of time today tending to my vendor sites and SLX.

I suspect that tightly themed "next" style vendors will be a lot more effective than ones with a mishmash of items, but only time will tell.

Vinyl love in an artificial world

I'm now selling an animated blow up doll, made to look like the vinyl ones you always see in jokes. You can check it out on SLExchange if you've got mature search enabled, or drop by Chantal's home shop and play with a demo.

There's a lot of things I could say about virtual sex, blow up dolls, sex in SL... but I think I'll pass for now.

22 November 2006

Dog AVs

I had a duh moment. The poodles didn't have the words "dog" or "canine" in their SLX listings. I need to alter my classifieds listing the same way next time I'm inworld.

I'll have to look up whoever did the aussie shepard AV, I've been thinking it would be a good idea to join up with someone who makes canines. We both have just a handful of models for sale, have a similar overall style, and leave the base eyes visible. Hopefully they'll be in the classifieds; the only place I saw one of their vendors was Taco and they aren't listed in SLX. I miss Taco.

I'm a lot better with textures now. Maybe I'll go back and make a proper skin for the unfinished scottie avatar. I think with a properly wire-haired looking skin he'd be releasable. Might add ear-flicking and tail wagging scripts, maybe a nostril flare. I could make a couple gestures to go with them to lay the ears back or wag the tail on command. I'm not sure what to do about a female version, maybe make it white?

20 November 2006

Gift Wrap Boxes

After messing around with giftwrapping something for a friend's birthday, I decided SL needed an easy way to take care of such things. A transferrable textured prim (sometimes two if there's a bow.) A script that on the owner's touch pops up a personalized notecard and any sound you choose. Automatically places the contents into inventory. Simple idea, simple interface, and a whim purchase at 10L.

I've set them up in a one-prim vendor with a slightly more effective set of textures than you usually see. I don't expect to have more than one item in a prim vendor, so a little graphical manipulation was a must. No more excuses - the GIMP is free.

The vendor is a 50-50 deal, so other people can place them wherever they want and get a little money. If you sell transferrable items, buy one of my giftwrap vendors. Make money from my labor! ;)

html-on-a-prim : not a tech problem?

Maybe the reasons we don't have html-on-a-prim aren't technological. I'm more than a little surprised to find that upload charges were 23% of the total economy drain in October. Even if we could only link to text and textures, it'd leave a huge mark on the linden economy. If they gave us that functionality today, the linden would devalue hard.

There'd be a lot of texture linking bringing calls about bandwidth and image theft, the legal staff and some inworld Lindens would be sobbing, but we've seen that even bad PR brings waves of newcomers. I'm not sure how that'd affect LL's bandwidth bills; newcomers cost, but as builders began using it SL wouldn't be pumping out as many texture files. There'd be a lot less content upload, a blessing for the overwhelmed asset servers. Over time there'd be a growing pile of broken content as webservers go down and files move.

I don't see the same kind of economical damage from having functional html links in a notecard or a new inventory type that would fire up your webbrowser and direct it when clicked from your inventory. It'd be useful as updateable instructions, tutorials with video, as advertisements, as an updatable landmark using slurls, as a link to the latest edition of your favorite inworld newsrags...

Updatable content musings

I'm thinking about adding a "So you want to build?" notecard to my Noob Pack. Landmarks to Ivory Tower, the Particle Lab, that gazebo with the textures lessons, and now Design City. It was mostly a texturing tutorial with a blurb on micro-prims. A bit arrogant with the statements of how it is the graduate school for the Ivory Tower, but there were some good demos and a couple of nice freebies. There really isn't anywhere inworld I know of to get a tutorial on scripting; the lslwiki is the best for that. Maybe a couple of the large sandbox sims... The biggest annoyance with maintaining something like that is time. The SL landscape changes so fast that things fall out of date easily. I've gotten several landmark packs where at least half of them are dead.

...You know... what we need is a way to set a landmark to a person instead of a physical location. The closest thing we have now are profile picks. I wonder if I can do something with Slurl.com or the mapping api... and that'd be an interesting new project. If we already had "html on a prim" and the like, it'd be a snap. Just run a db call in the background to match up the current slurl to the abstract one.

I could do a clumsy version. Have a server prim, client prims, and a web server. The current landmarks get stored in the server prim, and you rez the client prim to "generate" the current landmarks and such. Give it a "New here? Touch me." texture and make it C+/T+. I wonder if SLX's interface is open enough that I could do something like that... Hrm... Maybe? There's an inworld "vendor" service and a vendor affiliate kit... I'll have to look into it.

16 November 2006

!quit with the lame "art" already!

I was on a little last night. Content providers vs CopyBot. All the "!quit" broadcasts made me want to go take a nap. Ran into some strong rezzing lag on several sims too.

I saw this on someone's blog so I roamed by ArsVirtua . Totally got blown away by the lameness. A mostly empty building, a bunch of people (mostly non-SLers) talking about Chicago, and a couple white walls with boring portrait headshots of your same dull "ain't they hot?" MTV-esque avatars. Yawn. I was hoping for something that would make me think, I got Barbie and Ken blingtards. I must have missed something.

Confuse me, delight me, anger me, but please don't bore me.

How about portraits of old, child, fat, cartoony avatars? Furs and mechanical avatars? Tinies of all sorts? People who make their avatars from scratch? The evolution of (not alt) avatars (1st day, 30 days, 3 months, etc) inworld? I think it would be interesting to see how they change as people spend time in SL. Hyperrealistic SL backgrounds with RL people superimposed, and RL backgrounds with hyperrealistic SL avatars?

15 November 2006

Birthdays and CopyBot

Gave one of my friends a birthday gift last night. I took apart the freebie "birthday cake" and used the top cake layer sans candles as the base for a gift box. Turned out cute.

I've been watching the explosion over CopyBot and content ownership. With SL being sold as a money-generating platform, content issues have been getting more attention. The Prokofy-esque part of me wonders if making CopyBot public was a deliberate attempt to make LL put more effort -now- into protecting content. I adore reading Prokofy - often thought-provoking and inflammatory, always entertaining.

13 November 2006

Exploring DotSoul

SL was having problems (sim crashes, inventory losses, etc) the last several days, so I decided to explore DotSoul a bit. Based on the ActiveWorlds 4.1 code, it is a free pg environment focused on being an artistic playground. I wandered in, learned how to handle the basic controls, goofed around with a couple people, got made a citizen and gifted with a very pretty chunk of land, and generally had a good time. Lots of bad jokes, cheezy puns, and a little showing off. If you're on when people are there, it is a social crowd. I've never messed with an ActiveWorlds environment, so this'll be new for me.

10 November 2006

"Views" or "Residents"

Are newcomers now being percieved as "views" instead of residents?

If SL is viewed as a "free use" platform like TV and radio in the US, or many internet sites, then it makes an odd sort of sense. LL would then be selling islands as advertising space to companies. Marketing entities would then be the main source of income for LL. The CEO says here that he insists on making free accounts available, which would be in line with such a model.

It would make the mainland into a sort of "resident showcase" which fits with all the new talk about "mainland culture" coming out of LL lately. The raise in island fees will have a strong effect on the current "flee the ghetto" fashion of people leaving the mainland to live in structured rental communities.

LL has just gotten rid of teaching stipends. That suggests to me that LL no longer considers long-term resident retention important. I'm guessing that the revenue streams they're getting from day-trippers converting $US to $L, Governor Linden land sales to newcomers, and conversion of new accounts to paying ones are now insignificant compared to other streams.

There's suggestions that this isn't the case; the search system and classifieds inworld, the lack of LL run advertising in the client or inworld, the poor accessability of web content.

I'm wondering if this is a recent vision change, and not part of the original plan... that would explain a lot. If it had been planned for, the technical features should already be in place. They aren't.


Huge spike seen in Second Life transactions. Mea culpa. I was testing a new vending script last night. *blush*

07 November 2006

Churning out content, Vending, Compassion for Kelly Linden

My preferred sim kept going down last night. Not sure why, there were never more than ten AVs in it. I probably need to get a landmark for somewhere like Pi or Theta to go to when I'm scripting and my sim is being a pain. Less likely to get caged or pushed there. And I might meet more people who like to talk geek. Hmmm... you know how setting yourself AFK can make the words "busy" appear above you? I think I need one that says "scripting."

I also noticed a disturbing glitch; between one logout and the next, sometimes my scripts would disappear from prims I was working on. Not sure what that's about. Saw someone else commenting about it in their blog too. It wasn't too big a deal since I prefer working scripts from inventory. There's noticably more lag when you save a script inside a prim. I assume it has to do with activating the script.

Made a vending "split money" style script. I'm trying to decide if I want to make the Doll Demo also be a vending object. I think that's a good idea, I just have to redo the textures. I think I'm going to stick with that as a demo-vendor... for larger scripted objects people want to play with them before buying, at least until you have a reputation. Bet the grills will sell better in something like that. Having a built in "poster" helps a lot too. Gets people excited about your product.

Moopf has some interesting marketing and middleman talk on his blog. I'm arranging with Chantal to sell the "adult" market toys I make thru her. But I'm thinking that some of the fun stuff I may set up to sell using a middleman scheme. I may not worry about making them updatable vendors... I tend to make things that are very unrelated and wouldn't be likely to share a market.

Had my first cage sale that was -obviously- a repeat customer! They'd gotten one as a gift from someone else (re SLX) and yesterday bought it for someone else. I'm not sure I'd want to be in a relationship where you buy cages for the people in your life *grin* but the idea that I made something people like enough to seek out feels really good.

Pushing around the idea of building an Ubuntu-Apache server in RL. I've had a bunch of ideas about ways to mix SL stuff with the outside, but they all require something like that. I may also talk to some friends and see what they've got setup and whether they'll let me buy some space off of them. To be seriously selling a product I'd want backup servers...

Kelly Linden's been writing some interesting tech talk up on the official LL blog. I've been enjoying it, although I suspect Kelly's probably having a panic attack every time someone suggests writing another. If I understand right, there's a way one can "loan" land to a group without deeding it to them. When loaned, the "no create" checkbox prevents people in that group from building on the land.

03 November 2006

Rent or Buy? Run your own numbers!

I downloaded the November 2006 issue of SL Business magazine. It has several interviews, a tutorial on animations, a comic. Very pretty thing, colorful layouts, even the ads (with one glaring exception) are a pleasure to look at.

I was looking at the article on p32, "Buy or Rent." Spinning numbers is all about good marketing, but wow reading that made me shake my head. Obviously written by someone wanting people to rent. They're ignoring stipends in the calculations, and assuming that everyone pays their membership fee in the most expensive way.

Like the article, I used US dollars, and went with the assumption of L272 = $1. When you include stipends in the calculations, and take into account the monthly cost of the different membership payment methods, you get more interesting results. I ran the numbers for all three current versions of stipends - 300, 400, and 500. What stipend an account gets depends on the date the account was made.

If you pay membership, you pay no tier for the first 512m lot. This has some interesting effects on the numbers. Here. And the spreadsheet for those with a Google account.

Yes, you saw right. If you're paying yearly, own 512m or less, and are on the 500 or 400L/week stipend, you're getting paid a little interest. The examples on the sheet aren't the most effective use of tier; after 1024m2 they aren't optimized to get the most out of your tier.

I can't change your stipend. And only you know what payment plans you're comfortable using. My numbers here don't take into account the purchase cost of land, the risks involved in renting, or of having your credit card number in somebody's database, or investing in virtual property. *wink* Feel free to work those out on your own.

02 November 2006

QAvimator & Vending Babble

I finally installed QAvimator. Turns out it is really easy to make your own animations. The only bug I came across involved fps - changing it in the gui didn't affect the files generated. I had to change it in the bvh files by hand, but that wasn't hard - the files can be manipulated with a text editor and what I needed to change was in one place.

Spent much of the day working on the doll. The sound effects are hilarious. Now I'm trying to decide if I want to add one more pose/animation pair. Probably will. I also need to experiment with how temp objects behave when someone is sitting on them... iirc, a temp object will not de-rez while someone sits. Since it is a 32 prim object, this'd let me make a 1-prim sales tool (the rez base) and let someone rez up a doll to try out before they buy. Maybe an L shaped "base" with good background pics, let the doll appear inside the "box"...

Need an advertising pic to go with the grill vendor. I either got someone who wanted to see one they could interact with, or someone who wasn't bright enough to check out the holo vendor. I'm not sure whether lost sales due to the latter are something to cry over. :/

Need a "To see cannons, click HERE" sit-teleporter.

Trying to decide if I want to work with SLBoutique. They've dropped their fees and are going with an advertising model.

Oh! I also stuck a giant fan on the bottom of the shop so it has an excuse to be flying. The blades are a single prim - very weird.