28 February 2007

Talking about Voice

Voice in SL. Seems like everybody's talking about it, blogging about it...

Increased emotiveness in communication - voice gives far more information than written communication.

From a business perspective it'll be conference calls with body language and a sense of space. What kind of effects will it have on business uses and uptake of SL?

Dramas will heat up faster. Writing engages different facilities, and allows most of us a moment to reconsider our words before sharing them.

Will noise-restriction on parcels affect voice?

Performance of spoken or sung art without having access to a media stream will get a lot easier. Poetry night, book readings anyone? I wonder if the sound quality will be good enough for music.

Financial costs to users and landowners has not been stated yet.

New forms of user-designed annoyance. Spoken spam, griefing, a new channel for harassment believed to be unlogged.

I like being able to log presentations and meetings, it lets me scroll back if I miss something.

I really dislike the idea that recieving spoken sound is entirely decided by the configuration of the land. If I want to go somewhere with land on without hearing voice, why should I have to turn my speakers off?

Can I turn the ability to receive voice IMs on and off? By person?

Increased bandwidth demands by SL for those who pay by bandwidth used. How will this affect SL's international growth?

Changes in how people socialize in SL. This happens with every grid or client change. I'm interested in seeing how it plays out. Will there be new forms of stratification? Isolation? How will the experiences of the hearing and speaking impaired fare? What'll happen to multinational groups and relationships - will accents and language comprehension divide or strengthen?

Will translation to print services become common at events?

I can work several IM conversations at once. Most people can't do that with voice.

We'll be able to walk on the grid and talk at the same time.

Attractiveness of spaces with regards to whether or not they have voice enabled... Will it draw in the crowds? Certain crowds? Drive them away?

The idea of public sandboxes with speech enabled isn't pretty.

27 February 2007

How do you get your sales information?

How do you get your sales information? There's a web version accessable from SL's website, and a way to access it from inside the client software. The latter's going away. But the web version of the information has been having update problems since at least last month. LL is claiming that the hardware changes they're making will end the data update problems. Since they're removing the alternate means of checking that information at the same time they're doing this, if it doesn't work there aren't a lot of alternatives left for being informed quickly of sales information.

I expect if this doesn't work quickly and well, there's going to be a lot more vendors using IM and email services in the hopes that something gets thru. I've already had a sale where the data was posted without the name of the item sold - fortunately it was something with a distinctive price and the customer seems content. Tapping an outside server with HTTP might be a better bet; the grid's had reliability issues with IMs and email in the past.

I'm tempted to go with the HTTP method... it'd be really convenient to have all my sales information ready for reports without any effort on my part. Currently I just import from SL or SLExchange, although some of my vendors IM/email me more details than I'd get from SL's reporting.

25 February 2007

LSL in Dr Dobbs!

For those of you who are geek enough to understand... Dr Dobbs has an article on LSL!

Prim torture freebies

Finally got around to packaging up those prim torture freebies.

They're available from SLExchange or in the freebies hat at my main store.

23 February 2007


I've got a lot of thoughts on rituals, what symbols do and don't evoke emotions in us, about differences between the images of a virtual world on a screen versus a scene in a movie... But I'm tired now so I'll save that for another day.

Frustration again.

Wedding. Grid troubles. Sigh.

Last night improved

Got my vendor-business done last night along with a little socializing, then made a sample for the Avatar Toolbox motion section. I'm making a couple attachments along the theme of Tateru's hole-and-heart, but with the heart beating. I did the animated texture version last night, still have to do the version where I change the size of the prim. Planning to make them freebies with open and commented scripts.

Added a very subtle bling script to the necklace my builder-poodle avatar is wearing with the blue dress. I really don't like gaudy bling on avatars, but it seems popular. Done carefully enough it adds a little flash to things that are supposed to be shiny.

Had some fun chatting with Ursa again - a couple months ago we'd hung out in a sandbox working on his new vendor-scripts and my prim torturing. He's building another intensely cute vehicle.

I logged out for the night with my avatar at the wedding location - I don't want to be stuck unable to teleport. I hope in a couple months I won't even be considering those kinds of precautions.

22 February 2007

Knocking at the door

I'm able to get in, but I'm having occasional crashes, and when I crash logging back in isn't going well. Sigh. Just isn't my day.

little grid, little grid, let me in!

I've business to do
People I need to speak with
Yet all logins fail.

21 February 2007

Vending and other stuff

Gah. That Neko marketplace I've decided to pull out of is moving sims again. If I have time tonight I'll do some cleanup.

In other news, I'm really irritable today.

Have to spend some time talking to Lacy too about Rocket City - they're trying to stabilize their vendor arrangements and it isn't what Samii and I talked about. I think it'll be alright though - she seems pretty reasonable.

I might take a few minutes and make an Invisible Fur version of the invisible man. ;) Just for giggles. Give him cat ears and a tail.


I'm going to rant for a bit about the way the First Land program termination is being handled. If that's not your thing, I suggest you skip this one.

What kind of morons do they have working at LL?!! Hello! Bait-n-switch and false advertising are considered pisspoor business tactics and just happen to be illegal in most of the USA. Do they not even bother to THINK before doing something? What kind of dumb are they putting in the drinking fountain over there? Did it even occur to anyone over there to grandfather the program out?

Promising something and then removing it without compensation is a GREAT way to make your customers look forward to doing more business with you. Especially if you want them to invest in your goals and tell their business partners about how great you are. Integrity attracts partners. Within two years, quite likely less, you're going to have next generation product offerings trying to tempt away your customers - start thinking about why they'll stay with you.

Either you DO want individuals to buy memberships, or you DON'T. Pick a business focus and stick with it. Don't struggle over conflicted ideals or vague dreams - know what you want and make it happen.

If you do want individual accounts, try treating people with small accounts as worthy of your time. Effective customer service, arrange things so that people have some time to adjust to changes that will affect them, support efforts to train your user base so you can spend less on customer service. Keep improving mainland and island controls so people make fewer support calls.

If you don't want to keep handling them, stop selling them. Let attrition work for six months or a year, then sell all your existing small accounts to a third party. Hell, we might get better customer service out of that deal. The L-Word's orientation area seems to generate much better-educated newbies than the main areas. When it takes 5 DAYS to get a crappy email back from some support guy who didn't appear to read the initial request I'm not impressed. Hate dealing with all that Mainland support? Bundle the Mainland and a sim rollback button with the account management.

19 February 2007

Integrating with the web

LL is looking for ways to take tasks done on the grid to the web. Inventory management, chat, etc... When I can, I already manage my sales outside. I'd like to be able to do $L transactions outside (pay someone), be able to change my profile, make a classified ad, or post a parcel of my land for sale.

Integrating with the web can go both ways. It isn't just about bringing the web into SL. Being able to bring parts of SL to the 2D web allows people access without the high computing and bandwidth requirements. It allows SL to become more integral with daily routines and business practices. Walls can protect something new and fragile, but with success comes a point where those walls are restricting growth.

I agree with Mark Wallace that it would make all kinds of good sense for LL to take advantage of the technical skills of its enthusiastic user base and focus on APIs for the web functionality. Build the APIs and a sample, do a beta to get feedback, then see what those creative people come up with. I know building strong APIs isn't usually easy, but between the costs of maintaining the entire suite of services and the lost opportunities they're worth the investment.

The open source client community is already pushing around the idea of creating a plugin interface so that people can add chosen bits of functionality to their SL experience without waiting for LL to decide if will be incorporated into the official client.

Why bother doing it yourself when you know if you open up web APIs that someone will come along and make the cell phone access versions for you? Or deal with GUI and web design issues when you can let your users work them out? Stop staring at WoW's subscription numbers for a moment and look at the development of their user interface - they designed it to be modifiable by their user base, and over time they've incorporated several changes to the official interface that came from this.

You've seen what user content does to the inside of a world. What do you think we'll come up with when we're connecting them?

18 February 2007

Attending a wedding - got a dress

Alright, I feel a little better about shopping. I finally came across a place called Simone! that had several formal gowns in different colors and styles with mermaid skirts.

I suppose I could have attended as the hedgehog avatar wearing a top hat and a bowtie, but since the guy getting married usually saw me as the black poodle, it seems more fitting to go like this. I'm still bemused at seeing her in a gown though. *laugh*

I HATE clothes shopping!

Gah! Shopping sucks! I know what I want - a formal gown with a mermaid skirt, in something close to the blue on the sidebars - and just finding mermaid skirts is incredibly difficult. I may go with black instead.

If any of you know good places for what I'm after, please let me know!

16 February 2007

Attending a wedding

Next Friday at 3pm SL time I've got an inworld wedding to attend. I'm rather excited. :D Now to decide which avatar I want to be...

15 February 2007

AvTx, Vending, and torturing prims

Did more work on Avatar Toolbox. Got to get inworld and take more pictures for it. I decided to start with attachments because most of the questions people have asked me (beside the classic newby ones) were about them. I think I'm going to give Movement its own section.

I'm going to pull out of the Neko vendor place - I'm getting more sales of that stuff from my home shop than there, and that shop is barely making its own rent. Rocket City's great - I'm really glad I saw that post and decided to check them out.

Looks like I'm done with my experimental prim torture phase, so it is time to box up my results and make them freely available.

14 February 2007



Avatar Toolbox

10 February 2007

Avatar research - Invisible Man

I was experimenting tonight with making a cartoonish invisible avatar... and I'm pretty satisfied with it. I'll probably have him up for sale sometime Saturday. I also spent some time today working on avatar creation tutorials, especially the section on invisiprims. I'm frustrated that the lsl wiki is still not back up - none of the copies I've seen are complete.

EDIT: He's available now, at my main shop and SLExchange.

09 February 2007

Land prices, Vending, and stuff.

Mainland prices will continue to drop from their heady heights. I'm looking forward to this since I want more land.

Last night someone bought a copy of each of my poodle avatars. *bemused*

I've started the writing, scoping, and research for my avatar-making tutorial project.

Gratuitous Invisiprim post

I was in SL last night messing around with invisiprims. They're chock full of interesting possibilities. ;)

05 February 2007

Building avatars

While playing around with a new avatar build, I realized that I want to do a tutorial series on making avatars. I like making avatars, and there's a lot of questions about how to make them. They're one of the most complicated thing to create in SL. Designing them takes a lot of forethought. Manifesting them can require building, texturing, animating, and scripting skills.

I want to experiment with mixing my inworld and RL sources... Notecards are such a poor way of sharing 2D information. And you can't easily run translation tools over notecards. I also want to explore video in SL; blame Twiddler's how-to videos. *grin*

There's stuff related to the basic avatar. Applying textures, changing shape, how to use a clear texture to create a bald avatar, making skin and eye textures, how to wear attachments... Prim hair, shoes, different colored eyes?

Invisiprims. Gah, I could write chapters on using invisiprims. Start with shoes and limb removal, moving into furry, mechanical, and skeletal complexity.

Then there's furries and the like (standard sized prim avatars). And cartoon (fullbright) avatars with blacklining. Organic shapes from prims. Understanding how attachment points behave.

Using AOs to change the avatar - Tinies, Giants, alternate poses, digigrade, things with more than four limbs...

Basic scripts to make wings flap, ears twitch, etc. Common animation tricks: moving and rotating vs alternating alphas vs slick texture tricks. Uses of flexi. HUDs for avatars.

Freebies of different styles of avatars, invisiprims, tiny and giant AOs, script samples, posing stands...

Not even scoping this out yet it looks like a lot of work. One of the things I've been thinking a lot about lately is goals. Lindens are nice, but for me they're just a resource for getting things I want, and maybe a way to keep count. Building up a virtual business has been interesting but not something that drives me. I thought about making a new avatar every month for sale, and while I may do that the goal doesn't excite me enough. It's the making and the sharing that gets me going. This, I could spend ages on it and never be done, I'd be learning tons and enjoying the heck out of it.

I'm nuts to be considering this.


I've started preliminary land shopping. Peri and I are on the lookout for a 4092 hunk of sim somewhere where the neighbors don't mind oddball builds. Since First Land is still just a fantasy :( I think I'll ask P about using both our freebie 512s on my Seomna plot when I go shopping for the large plot. That'll keep the tithe under control until we get the rest of the group stuff set up. I pay my tithe on the 12th, so now is a good time to get moving.

tier points, with two members in the group.
2048 as paid, 1024 as free, 307 as group bonus = 3379 total == USD 15/mth
4096 as paid, 1024 as free, 512 as group bonus = 5632 total == USD 25/mth

Gotta look into picking up a small plot somewhere on the opposite end of grid rolling restarts to keep secondary SLExchange boxes and the like. The order of grid reboots is the same as reading english. L->R, then T->B as mentioned by Torley here.