The Narrow Gallery, in Hughes Rise

The Narrow Gallery

So I used my newest acquisition in the Rise to bring down a little art gallery that I built awhile back from its current obscure location 2000m above the Park proper, down to ground level.

It was a challenge getting it to fit into a 16×32 plot (it was originally sized at 20×30, the idea being to fit into a 32×32 1024), and it got a bit narrow in the process, but I sitll kinda like it.

Currently exhibiting works by Miso Susanowa, Callipygian Christensen, Sabrinaa Nightfire, Phinn Boffin, and other admirable an’ nice SL artists.

Drop by! Maybe I’ll even have an opening party or something there sometime… :)

Update: The Gallery has Moved!

Guy Linden stopped by (land changes in the Rise)

As reported previously, I tiered up and have been looking for more land in Hughes Rise. I also opened a ticket about all the abandoned land in the Rise, including one small parcel with a spinning (and false) FOR SALE sign on it.

Well today (it’s been awhile; I suspect they are ehem sort of shorthanded) I got a note that Guy Linden had added a comment to my ticket, and also had an IM from him inworld, saying that he’d turned on autoreturn on the parcel where the sign was (and lo the sign was gone!), and that he’d gladly swap me a 512 of mine for an abandoned 512 that would make the Park more compact.

So I IM’d him back, and he was still on and he answered me (including very helpfully and clearly telling me how to avoid bumping up my tier and/or having objects returned as we did the swap), and we swapped parcels. I said that my real concern was what would happen in general to all of the abandoned land, and he said that he’d put some of it up for auction, and that in general that’s what they do with abandoned land, but it happens sooner if someone actually says something in a ticket about it.

Then I noticed that there was a 512 actually for sale, and for less than 1L/m2, in the Rise just a little ways from the Park, so I abandoned a bit of the parcel I’d just picked up from Guy, enough that I had 512 space left in my tier, and I bought that cheap 512. So now my tier is full, and I have even more prims to play with in the Rise. Yay! :)

And Guy did indeed put some Big pieces up for auction, so here’s the colormap of the place now:
Hughes Rise, parcel colormap, as of today
Green bits are of course my holdings: the main Park in the center, the annex butting up against Mooter at the bottom left (the blue bits are FAB holdings in Mooter; they are blue because I belong to the FAB patron group), and that little piece to the upper right that I bought for a song today. Then red is normal land belonging to other people (or abandoned, or Linden land), and the purple is the newly-up-for-auction land.


So I may be getting some new neighbors. :) And anyone who knows how these auction things work is encouraged to go bid on these parcels. It’s a great neighborhood!

Thingmaker 3c: Now, in a box!

Version 3c of the Thingmaker is out (and existing customers updated via my brand-new Update distributor, freely available for public edification).

No new videos this time (’cause I am off at the end of a slow connection this week), but here’s a picture of the box! :)

From the brand-new accompanying notecard:

The Thingmaker has had a number of improvements since version 3b.

In particular:

1) It comes in an attractive box!

2) It includes a notecard, with notes and things!

3) Naturally, the double-secret thing-making algorithms have been even further improved, so it makes potentially even more different things.

4) The Easter Egg for “endless” mode (suitable for display as ‘artwork’), previously documented only in an obscure weblog, is now revealed to all (see below).

5) As well as the usual one-shot version of the Thingmaker, a Menu version is now also included. In the box! (See below also.)


To enable Endless Mode in the Thingmaker, in which it will change shape into thing after thing after thing forever (all the while rotating in a mesmerizing fashion), simply rez a Thingmaker as usual (not the Menu version, just the normal one), go into edit mode on it, and add the word “endless” to the object description (the text-box below the one that is the object name). Then exit edit mode, and touch it.


The brand-new Menu-driven version of the Thingmaker allows you to find good things without having to rez quite so many Thingmakers one after the other. When you rez the Menu version, you should get a menu asking if you want a new one, or if you want to save the current one. Every time you press “new”, the Thingmaker will reshape itself into a new Thing. Only when you finally press “save” will it do the usual thing of removing itself, leaving behind the full-perm Thing for your future use. (Once you press “new”, you will still have to rez a new one to create the next; someday I may figure out a way to rez make multiple things from a single rezzing without hitting the Grey Goo Fence…) If you press “ignore” on the menu and then want to get the menu back again, just touch the object.

Those Annoying Prompts

If you find that any of the Thingmakers prompt you with a message about linking and de-linking objects every time you rez one, here is what you do: rez one, answer the linking-and-delinking question, and then take that same one back into inventory. When you later rez a copy of that one, you shouldn’t get the prompt anymore. I hope.

Isn’t that exciting? :) The menu version, in particular, is something that various people have asked for, and should be a useful time an’ effort saver for people who actually use the Thingmaker to make things (as opposed to just watching it in Endless mode and going “oooo”, like I do).

As always, a mere 175L on “X-Street-SL”.

Harden the —

Do you dislike Viewer 2.0, or think Search isn’t working very well lately, or think the Lab is spending too little or too much time on Mesh, or have worries about what display names will do to SL culture, or wish tickets would get answered faster, or wish the viewer was or wasn’t optimized for lower or higher end systems, or think the Teen Grid should have been given more of a chance?

If one or more of these describes you, and you post your opinion in your weblog or the forums, talk to your friends, go to office hours, make suggestions on how to improve things, occasionally wax lyrical about the good or the bad old or new days, feel happy or sad and express those emotions, or even throw up your hands and go off and play WoW instead for awhile, that’s terrific; bless you, for you are a part of the culture.

On the other hand, if you are DISGUSTED that Linden Lab is COMPLETELY DEAF to the REAL NEEDS AND DESIRES OF THE RESIDENTS because they’ve done something you didn’t like, or didn’t do something that you wanted, and you GET ALL ANGRY AND STOMP YOUR LITTLE FEET and WHINE ENDLESSLY IN THE FORUMS and unrelated group chats, and become SERIOUSLY UPSET because THE LINDENS ARE TRYING TO DRIVE YOU OUT OF SECOND LIFE and CARE NOTHING FOR THE NEEDS OF creators / landowners / artists / business people / furries / non-furries / whatever and IT’S ABOUT TIME SOMEONE FINALLY SPOKE UP about the BLINDNESS of the SO-CALLED MANAGEMENT, before the CLASS-ACTION SUITS BURY SL, and YOU’RE SICK AND TIRED of lag and broken group-chat and THE SAD THING IS that it could ALL BE FIXED IN A WEEK if only they HAD THE HALF A BRAIN to use some new technology you read about in Wired, or wrote a purely theoretical paper about five years ago, and you’re DECLARING WAR on something or other, with YOUR SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT OOZING OUT OF EVERY PORE, I got just one thing to say:


I went to SLCC!

And it was terrifically wonderful, and I came home with a nasty summer cold and layers of crises at work, that have been keeping me from weblogifying about it (or even thinking about it as much as I’d like to).

Here’s Philip Linden, talking about stuff!

Esbee, Oz, and Philip; SLCC2010

Isn’t my cellphone camera awful? That’s Esbee Linden and Oz Linden, and Philip Linden; I vaguely think that Philip jumped up to the stage to answer a question during Ebsee’s and Oz’s (and Q’s, on the phone from the hospital) talk about Team Snowstorm.

Philip gave a nice Philipish keynote, in which he said lots of Right Things (and didn’t say anything about how we have to change radically to attract millions of new users at the expense of the basic wonderfulness of SL, hurrah!), and left everyone hoping he could actually make them happen.

(He also said some things that made me sad, like the end of the Teen Grid and of the Last Name List, but Τα Πάντα ῥεῖ, y’know…)

I hung out with terrific people, some of whom I’d met before in RL and some not, had some great (if pricey) food, drank more alcohol than I usually drink, and had the most fun that I’ve had in RL in some time (with clothes on, as someone added when I said that, nudge nudge wink wink).

There were some sessions, but y’know (and no offense to the presenters) they were pretty much as useful and informative as a good weblog post with an active comment thread. There was live music, which was ‘way fun and probably the thing that was most like the SL equivalent (someone even put pink and blue paper plates on the floor for poseballs haha), although it had the usual RL problem that it was too loud for me to understand anyone talking, or anyone to understand me talking, except rarely. But just listening to the music and clapping and laughing and smiling at people was great.

Mostly there were people who care about Second Life wandering about and having random hallway conversations, and slightly less random room conversations (until omg like 3 in the morning zzzzzz), and wandering about the streets and eating dinner in restaurants or buying it at the 7-11. And actually being able to touch and hug and hold hands and grin into each other’s eyes, which I don’t really miss not being able to do all that much in SL, but being able to do it now and then in RL has its good points. :)

The schedule changed alot (first because Philip was able to show up live for his keynote after all, which was great, but at a slightly different time than his remote one was at first scheduled for, and thereafter for random who-knows-what reasons), so it was often hard to figure out just what one could go to next. The schedule was organized by track rather than by time, so figuring out what to go to at 10am involved large amounts of page-flipping. There wasn’t enough free coffee. :) I heard rumors about various musicians being told that if they wanted to come and perform they’d have to pay full-price conference admission, which seems like sort of a mistake. But in general the conference folks did a good job, especially considering that they didn’t have all that long to get it all together, and they were all over the place carrying microphones and smiling and things, and that was all good.

Some of my v wonderful friends made me a blue RL shoulder-butterfly to reference the blue SL shoulder-butterfly that Boy Dale always wears, and that was too sweet for words. I wore it to the Avatar Ball, but didn’t enter the Best and Worst Costume lineup, ’cause I didn’t really want to win either one. :)

I ran away from the knot of people with Philip in the center that moved here and there around all major events (until he left), knowing that others would be taking notes for me.

I drank a mojito! This involves alcohol. Also lime and some salad, I mean, some mint-leaves down in the bottom of the cup. I also drank wine. Both of these are comparatively novel for me :) but I did not suffer unduly.

I danced around on the dancefloor at the Avatar Ball, and played with the inflatable guitars and microphones and things, and talked-shouted to some nearby folks. My car pool :) left before the closing ceremonies and the movie; I will have to arrange to see it somewhere else sometime.

Lots of people that I would have liked to meet weren’t there! I hope to meet them (you!) someday in RL, conditions permitting. I’m not sure I’ll go to the next one if it’s in California or Guam or Venus or something. We’ll see. But I’m very glad that I went to this one; both because it was a total hoot, and because it strengthened my belief that, despite how fashionable it is to say that SL is in deep trouble and doom is nigh, things are actually most likely to muddle along just as they always have. And that I’ll continue to totally love the place…

New Thingmaker version (and an Easter Egg!)

Version 3b of the Thingmaker is now out; huzzah!

(Buyers of version 3a should already have received their automatic free-type updates.)

And here is a secret weblog-only Easter Egg: if you rez a copy of 3b, go into Edit mode on it, and put the word “endless” anywhere in the description field (the one right under the name there), and then touch it, you’ll get the endless version, that constantly shapes itself into new shapes (like in the video), and also spins mesmerically around an’ around.

(You’ll have to supply your own black background tho :) .)

Why virtual worlds are important for business

(“Ooh, an important-sounding weblog entry! Can we put in pictures of kittens?”

“No, no, this is important grown-up stuff! No kittens!”

“Maybe just at the end?”)

There is a ton of debate and discussion and information Out There about why virtual worlds are, or aren’t, or might someday be, important for business. Important, that is, to people who are wearing their money-making hats to know about, or to use, or to invest time or effort or money in.

There are a lot of smallish reasons that virtual worlds are important, today, for various businesses in various senses. They can fit cost-effectively somewhere between teleconferences and face-to-face meetings for some purposes; they can be at least potentially effective education and training platforms in some use-cases, and so on.

But I don’t want to talk about any of those reasons right now. I want to talk about a much bigger, if somewhat speculative, reason.

Virtual worlds are important for business, right now, because they are going to be extremely important, for just about everyone, eventually.

I believe, in a way that I can’t prove but through intuitions that I’ve come to trust over the millennia, that in the medium term virtual worlds are going to transform the way that we think of and use computers, computing, and information, and the ways that we interact with the world and with each other, in significant ways. At least as significantly as, for instance, the internet, or mobile phones, have done recently.

Even if I’m only halfway, only one-quarter, right about that, there are going to be some huge revenue streams associated with virtual worlds, and there are going to be moments at which pretty much any business that’s out there doing stuff is going to be in a position to capture, or to fail to capture, some part of one or more of those huge revenue streams.

In order to have a good chance of making that capture, a business organization is going to need to have enough people who, when an opportunity related to virtual worlds appears, will be more likely to think “hey yeah, that could work”, rather than “isn’t that that porn thing I saw on CNN last year?”.

So this doesn’t necessarily mean that a business should, today, be moving their weekly manager’s meetings into Second Life, or that your average high school drama class should have their own OpenSim region to meet in. (Those things might be true, or false, but this particular thought isn’t about that.)

What it does mean is that a business should have people who use virtual worlds. Who aren’t afraid to reveal the fact to their management. Who maybe even try using the technology for a business-related thing now and then. Maybe an IT guy who runs a little clump of four OpenSim regions on a spare server in the corner, and gives accounts to whoever happens to ask. Without getting in trouble for it.

And IT businesses, in particular, especially in software and especially in services, should have some pilots going, some studies. Maybe they’re on the shortlist to be cut when revenue is down, but they should be there. In the corner of someone’s eye. Being worked on in what’s left of the skunkworks. Being brought up in the last five minutes of executive briefings, under “ad-tech activities”.

The short-term benefits of virtual worlds have, I think, sometimes been oversold, and that’s led to us riding the usual hype curve more than once.

But if the long-term effects are anything like what I think they are going to be, businesses are well-advised to have, as well as any short-term stuff they’ve got going on with the technology, a culture in which the thought leaders have an eye on virtual worlds, are playing with them, and working with them. And management knows about it and is cool with it.

’cause, ya know, we won’t be selling buggy-whips over the counter forever…

(And in closing:


Into the Hollow

I don’t usually plug mere stores, but I love this one. :) Into The Hollow has a small but marvelous collection of stuff. Sort of I don’t know Charles Adams meets Peter Pan or something.

into the Hollow

Here is me, in Homemade Wings (including harness), and the Birdsong Ladies’ Underbust:

into the Hollow

With odd and intriguing things for sale on the wall behind me.

This lovely Entomologist’s Collection here is only 10L!

into the Hollow

(There’s a Haunted version for I think the same price.) Come and buy things before the owner realizes how much more she could get for them! :)

Here is more of the stuff; note the extremely educational Young Practitioner’s Series!

into the Hollow

(I got to feel useful by helping out the proprietrix (the new and clearly talented an’ also nice Dame Hollow) , when I bought something that she’d accidentally set to For Sale Original, and I ended up owning it…)

Bygone Picks III: The Great Avatar Temple

The third of my Picks that I’m replacing (because it isn’t there anymore) is a place I don’t think I visited more than once or twice, but it was kinda neat. The Pick caption is “Great Avatar Temple (The Temple Without Walls) Avatarian HQ”, the location “No Parcel, Rieul (197, 107, 88)” and the text:

“Avatarian Oracle, drum circle and conference area. Svargan sky dome. Built in the ruins of LogicArtist’s futurist temple.”

Although the land is currently abandoned, I’ll bet it’s one of the prettier abandoned areas in the grid! :)

Abandoned Land, Rieul

I don’t find anything significant relating to the Avatarian Church / Movement in Search at present, so I don’t have anything to point you at instead along those lines. And I’m not sure what I’ll put in to replace it, either! Possibly Nemo, but it’s already had so much publicity…

The value of dirt in Tokyo

Tokyo Skyline, seen from Tokyo TowerI keep running across people trying to make the case that land in Second Life is overpriced, because it costs more than the corresponding proportion of the cost of setting up a disconnected OpenSim instance on an Amazon EC2 virtual server and paying someone to answer the phone, or whatever.

And that’s just silly.

You can’t compute the “natural” cost of a piece of land in Tokyo, or Manhattan, or London or Paris, by working out how much it would cost to buy the corresponding number of truckloads of dirt on the open market.

If the economics were really as these simplistic analyses want to claim they are, then we would actually be seeing a large migration of people off of Second Life and onto the “cheaper but just as good” alternate grids that were profitably springing up everywhere.

And we aren’t.

Yeah, there’s lots of interest in other grids, hundreds of people are checking out InWorldz and Reaction Grid and so on, and setting up their own OpenSim instances on Amazon EC2 servers, but these are actually alternatives or competitors to SL in only a tiny number of cases. Mostly they are things that people do in addition to SL, or they are things that people do who wouldn’t be in SL anyway.

Like a piece of land in Tokyo or Manhattan, Second Life isn’t about the dirt, it’s about the location (and the location, and the location, to bow to the legally required truism). Linden Lab does not host generic servers, or generic regions, or even generic customer support. It hosts Second Life, and Second Life is something that lots of people are willing to pay (in time, in eyeballs, and even in US$ or equivalents) to take part in. And that, presumably, is because it has people and events and builds and experience and wonders and riches and connotations and associations that aren’t to be found in those cheaper generic places.

You could actually do a relatively simple calculation of the location-value of SL, by taking the cost of an SL region, and subtracting that “generic OpenSim region running on Amazon EC2 plus 1% of one generic offshore support person” number that people love to drag out.

But instead of framing that number as “see look SL is overpriced by $X!”, you’d have to say “wow, people value SL over the alternatives by $X!”. And somehow that’s not the conclusion that the people usually doing this math seem to want to reach. ;)

ThingMaker — endless

Yes, I have been having far too much fun. :) A pre-release version of the upcoming 3b version of the ThingMaker, a little hack to the code to make it produce things endlessly, a spinning camera-platform, brand-new copies of FRAPS and Windows Media Player, a brand-new YouTube account, good old Soma FM on the land-stream, and there we are!

And you weblog readers get a special behind-the-scenes picture:

The Making of my first Youtube video!

(Your cameraperson there is wearing the wunnerful OrKa outfit from alpha.tribe.)