2007/08/29

Why Second Life is NOT boring Part Two

In this episode:

- Audrey Hepburns nose
- Horns
- Why Linden Lab provides the best entertainment - ever!

Part one of two:


Part two of two:


Links:
Va Va Voom Shapes by Hedwig Martynov

Blog Post on LL Blog about Identify Verification

2007/08/27

Second Life is boring

I made a video (planning to make a whole series) to show that Second Life is NOT boring. I plan to walk around and show places that I like and things that are interesting. This is the first installment of this series. Included are:

- boobies
- people shooting
- a punk bunny
- lesbian designers
- pretty darn good advertisement


Part one of two:



Part two of two:


Links to check out the places I've been to in SL:

EtchD Tattoos

InkD Tattoos

2007/08/26

Skypad Video Tutorial

Since it's one of the most complicated but also most versatile of my products, I've decided to make a video tutorial for the Bitter Thorns Skypad No.1 .

In it you'll see how it's set up and what you can do with it. I've made two parts, the first one is about setting it up and the second one is about modifying and making copies of it.

Part 1 of 2:


Part 2 of 2:

2nd Video Tutorial: Editing my stuff...

This is a video tutorial that shows you how to change the color of stuff you bought at my place (or other items that allow you to modify them). If you already know how to build in Second Life it's probably not very useful to you but if you have no prior experience with modifying prim attachments this maybe is a nice way to start.

Corrections:
- at 0:15m I'm saying that "I'm so fucken cool", that's not completely true. I just didn't know what to say. :/

2007/08/25

Audio Streaming with just the SL Voice Feature

I've made my first video tutorial because I wanted to share how to stream music from iTunes or Winamp or any application to Second Life with nothing more than SL and the push of a button in your Windows volume settings.

Please be gentle with the comments, it's my first one and you may notice that... I'M A GUY! OMG!

Audio Streaming With The Second Life Voice Feature - Click here for more amazing videos

2007/08/24

I've lost the war...

This is a screenshot of my desktop at the moment.


I think I can honestly admit now that I've lost the war against it. I still know where I can find everything, I've got neatly organised subfolders for my stuff but working on several different comupters, 5 different networks, 2 different OS' and travelling while taking my work with me I can honestly say: ENOUGH ALREADY. I hate this chaos by now but it seems whenever I set up a new computer and start working on it, things get to look like this after at least a month.

I hate it. I really do.

I need a maid to clean up my computers for me. That'd be a nice web 2.0 thingy...

2007/08/23

Everything's broken

:D

State of the Grid:
- Seach down
- Teleports working
- Lindex not working inworld
- Map not working (that's a new one...)
- Friends list not really working

So... pretty much business as usual after an update of that magnitude.
The good news is, after this update, stuff like this will appear FAR less, because LL will be able to test new versions of the simulator software directly on the live grid.
That means the beta grid will become the alpha grid, parts of the main grid will become the beta grid and the rest might actually behave a little less betaish over time (is that even a word?!).

In other news SLI reports about Reuters reporting about people reporting that gambling might not be as dead as people would have thought after the ban. Can't say I'm surprised. :)

2007/08/22

Lindex down inworld...




Either you can't buy Lindens or you don't even get to see how much you have right now. Other than that things seem kinda ok after the update to Het-Grid. Linden Lab knows about this issues already (at least their support), so we can expect it to be fixed within a few days I hope.

So far it's business as usual after an update...

It's happening again...



It seems this only happens on computers running Mac OS...

A workaround can be found here.

You can't log in right now anyway because the grid is down.

Digital Rights Management

Apples Digital Rights Management (DRM) is seriously annoying. I used to shop in the iTunes Music store quite alot but since since I'm a nerd, I'm using a lot of computers. The problem is: you can only listen to your music which you bought in the iTunes Music store on five (5!) different comupters. So lets count:

  1. my MacBook Pro (Mac OS)
  2. my MacBook Pro (Windows partition)
  3. my old iBook
  4. my Desktop PC
  5. my girlfriends laptop via iTunes streaming)
  6. my parents' MacBook (via iTunes streaming)
  7. my parents' iBook (via iTunes streaming)
  8. my best friends Macbook (via iTunes streaming)


...ok that's 8 computers which I want to listen to my music on but obviously 3 of them will have to go. No problem, you can reset your 5 computers and you have to authorize them again once you want to listen to your stuff on it.

But there's a catch. You can only reset them ONCE A YEAR.

So what happened? Of course, my MacBook Pro broke and I bought a new Desktop PC and I authorized another 2 PCs of friends. That means: I couldn't activate/authorize my new Desktop because I had more than 10 computers that were already authorized. And when my MacBook Pro came back, I had to authorize it again, but couldn't because of the same reason.
My MacBook Pro had it's mainboard changed so iTunes recognized it as a completely new computer.
Duh!

So that's the reason why I couldn't access ANY of my purchased music for the last months. I had to wait for August 16th to reset the list of authorized computers in the iTunes Music store and all my DRMed music resided on a computer that wasn't already authorized. Mind you, had I purchased that stuff on CD in a store and ripped it, I would have been able to listen to it. And since I was too lazy to burn the stuff I bought in the iTunes Music store to audio CDs and reimport it without DRM ... well yeah, that option didn't work for me either (some of the stuff I bought was more than 74 minutes long so I couldn't have burned it anyway).

So today I finally reset the list of computers that are allowed to play my stuff and shelled out another 20 Euros in the iTunes Music store to turn some of my music (77 Tracks) into non-DRMed stuff with better quality (they call it iTunes plus).

There are a few questions that spring to mind...

Do I feel cheated on for being shut out of the music that I payed for?
Sure.

Does it annoy me that I now have just a few of the files in a ridiculously high bitrate (11MB for a song...) that I won't be able to differentiate from lower bitrate but DRMed songs?
Yessir.

Does it bother me that I had to shell out 1.30 Euros for a song that I could have downloaded for free on the internet and from which prolly at least 1.25 Euros goes to record labels which are sueing people like me and you who have shared music in p2p nets?
You bet!

I've been one of the first users of the ITMS (iTunes Music Store) in germany and I loved that I was able to just buy stuff whenever I wanted it but honestly... I feel like it's enough already now.
I've been looking for other places to buy music, as easily as the ITMS but they partly failed for me because they're not that integrated... I can't just buy a song on Magnatune and have it on my iPod 2 seconds later, also they don't have the stuff I want. Beatport.com didn't want my credit cards - none of them. Allofmp3 still feels kinda illegal and prolly still is.

So the conclusion to this is: it's still hard to be a nice customer and buy music without feeling stupid for it.

So what am I to do? Download pirated stuff from the pirate bay? Doesn't make me feel any better because I'm actually hurting artists with it. Buy stuff from ITMS? Doesn't make me feel good because I know I'm supporting the record industry which is changing north american and german/european laws right now to strip me of my freedoms.

I'm pissed off.

You bet I wanna delete that crap!


What has this to do with Second Life and Bitter Thorns?
Easy, I'm using DRM as well by setting my products to "non transfer". I'm preventing my customers from being able to take my creations to other accounts and to modify and sell them after that.
Expect more thoughts on this later, meanwhile I'm going to continue writing on my thesis about the german copyright reform...


Please feel free to comment on this post.

PS: I gave Beatport another try... here are the results:

2007/08/19

"WTF-moments" #1

You know those moments when you just mumble to yourself "what the FUCK?!". You've been introduced to someone or something that blows your mind in a positive or negative way and you have to sit back a second to actually compute that input.

Since Second Life offers us some of that stuff on a daily basis I thought I'd share some of it with you.

So I'm advertising in Second Life. I think I'm spending about 10.000 per week on classifieds and I'm somewhat happy with how they work (they _do_ work, which says something about a service ultimately coming from Linden Lab).

It all started with woman sending me an instant message.

Woman: Hi, I saw some of your classifieds and I wanted to ask you if you're interested in a unique form of advertising
Me: Hi... define "unique"
Woman: let me send you something...

So she sends me a notecard about sandwich board advertising. I've never seen it before but that's how it looks:



She was obviously working for a company that hires newbs to wear sandwich boards wherever they go and get paid for that. So the conversation continues:

Me: no thanks
Woman: Oh, may I ask why?
Me: I think it's degrading
Woman: Hehe, isn't every advertisement in a way? All is fair in love and advertising...
Me: I obviously seem to have a different opinion about advertising
Me: but thanks for messaging me
Woman: OK

There's a twist: she has a picture of herself in a bikini at an automobile exhibition with "her friends" as her real life picture in her profile. She obviously works as a hostess/model IRL.
So it dawned on me that she obviously likes to be degraded since she's working the advertising business IRL and even in Second Life. Moreso, I think there's actually a big market for people who love to be degraded with SLs huge BDSM scene.

Me - I mayored in marketing and I honestly believe that advertisement shouldn't be degrading at all. I believe that ads are to inform people about products. Not to get them to buy them but to remind them of them and help them choose whenever they need to actually buy stuff because they need it. There's a guy who nailed it pretty well, go read about it here.

I'd like to end this post with my favourite ad. Decide for yourself if advertisement has to be degrading.

Do you speak Lindenese?

I took the freedom to translate some of Linden Labs Blog post into plain English (or at least somewhat, since I'm german...).

1.

[RESOLVED] Search temporarily down
[10:09 AM PDT]

Operations is investigating a disruption to in-world Search, related services and teleports.


Translation:
After two to three hours of screaming and running around with our hands in the air we finally figured out that no one is able to buy stuff. At all. WE'RE ALL DOOMED!


2.

Wonderful wiki resources you should know about
Friendly greetings! It’s me again, here with s’more knowledge to make your Second Life easier. My recent posts have all been inspired by questions I get asked a lot by Residents in our community, and the same is true today.


Translation:
Hey ya, fellow dorks. I'm the monkey LL usually shoves onto the stage whenever something is horribly wrong and they want to distract you. Brace yourself for you're going to be exposed to huge amounts of pink and greenish flowcharts and annoying happy-happy-talk. I'm running out of cool stuff to talk about (...can't write about Windlight again *sob*) so todays lesson is gonna be about...err... let's grab something out of the box... damn. Ok... Wikis. *sigh*


3.

Voice Chat “Live” Maintenance Scheduled for Four Hours Tonight
The Voice Chat system is scheduled for maintenance work this evening from 8 pm until midnight PDT.

The voice system will remain enabled during the maintenance work; however, each region may experience one or more brief interruptions to the voice service until the work is completed.

Thanks!


Translation:
Yes we fucked up again. So what?!
As everyone already knows, voice doesn't work, no one really cares for it but we still had to force it down your throats because ... HAVE TO ADD NEW SHINY TO DISTRACT!! CAN'T FIX BUGS CAUSE WE DUNNO HOW!!!

Of course it's broken and it still will be after we're done but let's pretend it works and lets pretend you'll use it while we're fixing it, mmmhhhkay?

Fuck you!



If you want me to translate any other message from LL, just post a link to it in the comments, I'll do my best to help.

2007/08/12

Aaaand another one...

Added the shape I was wearin in the shots to the Neko AO because people asked me for it.

Here it is:

2007/08/11

New Shape

Woot! New Shape!

Female Neko AO

Here it is, the first Bitter Thorns Animation Override. Go check it out at my main store, 'cause you can only get it there yet. :)


2007/08/06

Kaneva

I gave Kaneva a try today. I have to say I'm kinda disappointed.
I'm not looking for yet another social network tool thingy. And its's kinda funny that their slogan is

"Create a free profile
Discover new friends
Explore the virtual world"

because as a creative person I don't just want to create a free profile. I want to create things, objects, clothing, vehicles, art...

And as any builder or designer will have to agree with - if you're creative you don't have to "discover" new friends. You just find them all over the place. Creative people have a tendency stick together and form networks by themselves.
And last but not least I don't just want to "explore" the virtual world. I want to create it, be a part of it and help to shape it.

So sadly I won't be seen in Kaneva.

2007/08/05

On Voice

Eloise Pasteur: well, I turned all my voice off on all my parcels I directly own and use
Eloise Pasteur: tough if they don't like it
Juliet Ceres: me too
Eloise Pasteur: It will be fascinating to see in three months time where it is
Juliet Ceres: there is NO killer app for voice
Juliet Ceres: I mean why would I use it now if I didn'T use skype for it already
Juliet Ceres: and if I used skype, why would I want to use voice?
Eloise Pasteur: true
Juliet Ceres: and face it
Juliet Ceres: you can't talk to more than one person on the phone at the same time
Juliet Ceres: the whole concept is fucked up
Juliet Ceres: voice doesn'T work many to many
Juliet Ceres: it's either one to one
Juliet Ceres: or one to many
Juliet Ceres: simple as that
Eloise Pasteur: Yes
Eloise Pasteur: Turn taking will be fascinating
Eloise Pasteur: with text, not important, with voice... we're lacking cues in SL

Dual Blades

I finally finished them.
Grab a free demo at my main store in virago.









Voice NOT working

Other than stated by LL on their blog, voice is NOT working correctly (whatever that means) after todays maintenance.

Lets see how long it takes LL to admit that.

Content Creation in SL

Another interesting conversation I had with a friend who's an awsome animator.
Cracker Hax: these new animations give me a woody
Cracker Hax: probably more than most noobs will ever notice
Cracker Hax: until they get used to them
Cracker Hax: then try some other animations
Cracker Hax: i dunno, my eye is trained so i really dont know how most people notice animation details
Cracker Hax: i figure its like a good movie, if you even think about it as "i am watching a movie" then its bad
Juliet Ceres: mhhhmmm
Cracker Hax: so you dont notice good animation but you notice it when its bad
Juliet Ceres: right
Juliet Ceres: it's kinda different with building
Juliet Ceres: you notice good stuff
Cracker Hax: then again when its all bad, you cant help but notice the good stuff
Cracker Hax: yeah it is
Cracker Hax: people dont remember if an animation is bad or not
Cracker Hax: they just remember what it gemnerally looked like and their brain fills in the rest
Cracker Hax: they have to see them side by side to tell
Cracker Hax: one thing completely new to me is selling animations
Cracker Hax: its rather strange
Cracker Hax: before SL you just did work for one guy, if he liked it then it was done, you didnt have to think about anything else
Cracker Hax: but here, you can make even shitty ones and see firsthand what people like and what they dont
Cracker Hax: its very cool
Cracker Hax: not only that but there is appreciation for it
Cracker Hax: its more of an art here than anywhere else
Cracker Hax: when people are playing video games, they dont say "wow that is awesome animation" unless its something really wacky like some bizarre fighting style
Cracker Hax: but here, they do
Cracker Hax: even for the simplest stuff
Cracker Hax: like a pose
Cracker Hax: "wow thats a really cool pose"
Cracker Hax: or a generic walk cycle
Juliet Ceres: yeah
Juliet Ceres: because people appreciate content more
Juliet Ceres: because they get a feeling for how difficult it is to actually create stuff
Cracker Hax: yeah when they have shitty content to compare it with they suddenly notice
Juliet Ceres: second life educates people in that aspect
Cracker Hax: hell yes
Cracker Hax: thats right on the money
Cracker Hax: you tell people in the everyday world you animate 3d stuff and they dont think much abou tit
Juliet Ceres: it kinda reduces the brainless consumption
Cracker Hax: but in SL people say "ohh coool"
Juliet Ceres: everything you buy in second life you buy to satisfy a higher need
Juliet Ceres: no need but "want"
Cracker Hax: so there is fame and notariety for something that has never had fame and notatiety associated with it
Juliet Ceres: you don'T consume in a way like in RIL
Juliet Ceres: IRL
Juliet Ceres: where you buy a hot dog
Juliet Ceres: eat it
Juliet Ceres: and after 40 seconds you completely forgot that you bought and eat it
Juliet Ceres: because every transaction in here is made conciously
Cracker Hax: yeah the only real consumption is lindens

2007/08/03

LL finally acknowledges bugs

As Viola said in the conversation of my last post, LL finally announced that you might lose your no copy items if you rez them on land where you don't have building rights.

Also, LL announced that problems with voice have been resolved. Which is untrue.

Some of my friends are telling me that the problems continue to exist.
All while teleporting seems to be a matter of luck. And since I'm paying for SL and using it is a game of chance right now... is SL a form of gambling? Should LL ban themselves?

In other news I keep getting more and more IMs from people who have purchased items from my stores and vendors and never received them. I know it's prolly hurting my business to post this here but I think it's better to inform people about that instead of denying it like LL is. Good thing is: since almost all of the items I sell are sold with copy and mod permissions, I don't mind sending them again to you. Even if they're not I'd rather keep my customers happy than insist on making money of them and forcing them to buy stuff over and over again.
Lets see if LL actually manages to understand that path of thinking. I know it's done me only good. I love my customers. Does LL, too?

We are living in interesting times.

Random Conversations: The State of the Grid

Hi ya. I'm going to start posting random conversations I have with friends here that show what actually moves and annoys us these days. Maybe someone at LL actually reads this sometimes. Maybe not.
I just wanna get something out there and document the state of the grid. Hopefully to laugh at it in a few years.

"Enjoy!"
Viola Gemini: Hehe yeah, they need interaction designers, bad...
Juliet Ceres: they need ANYONE with a CLUE
Juliet Ceres: you know I'Ve been to this office hour with daniel linden
Juliet Ceres: and we just asked him why he chose to look like a suicidal artist
Juliet Ceres: when he represents the community of SL
Juliet Ceres: and he just said van Gogh wasn't suicidal
Viola Gemini: Haha
Juliet Ceres: he said it was an illness
Juliet Ceres: quoting some strange articles
Juliet Ceres: I mean the guy is honestly gone
Juliet Ceres: far gone
Juliet Ceres: and you can see that he HATES his office hours
Juliet Ceres: and he NEVER actually works with the community
Juliet Ceres: he's nowhere to be seen
Juliet Ceres: ever
Juliet Ceres: I mean he's really a lunatic
Juliet Ceres: he did't sit down at his office horus
Juliet Ceres: hours
Juliet Ceres: which obviously shows that he's fucken uncomfortable with the whole thing
Juliet Ceres: and he just "crashed" at the end
Juliet Ceres: without saying goodbye
Juliet Ceres: nothing
Viola Gemini: Hehe, well, SL just has grown out of controll of LL, both hardware, software, and the course is long gone. They keep wanting to push ahead without fixing the broken things first
Juliet Ceres: I swear the only reason why I haven#T downgraded my account is that I want to have live support
Juliet Ceres: which actually somewhat works
Juliet Ceres: but that's the only reason
Viola Gemini: Hehe well i am on a free account now. I guess live support is a requirement for you. All in all... SL can be so much more of its run with some more competence. Like shutton down the bloody grid when nothing works :P
Juliet Ceres: you know I wouldn'tmind if they'd just shut down the grid for 3 weeks or so
Viola Gemini: Oh worst of all bug by the way, though this is not new
Juliet Ceres: jsut to work on it
Juliet Ceres: even if it didn't help a lot
Juliet Ceres: just to see them actually try
Juliet Ceres: that'd be worth it
Viola Gemini: of iffor any reason, a non copy item fails to rez (not allowed on land, parcel full) it is destroyed
Viola Gemini: doesnt come back :P
Viola Gemini: must have lost about 3000 L$ that way now
Juliet Ceres: crazy
Juliet Ceres: I mean with _basic_ database transaction logic that shouldn't happen
Juliet Ceres: at all
Viola Gemini: Well its the key system
Juliet Ceres: mhh?
Viola Gemini: Key is removed from your inventory on rez, then placed on the object in the grid. Only when that fails to rez, the part that restores the key in your inventory doesnt work. The item is there, but it wont ever rez again, and next time you log in its gone
Viola Gemini: try rezzing some no copy freebee you have on a palce where you cant build.
Juliet Ceres: umm
Juliet Ceres: yeah but that shouldn't happen
Juliet Ceres: the key in your inventory should only be deleted if the object is rezzed successfully
Juliet Ceres: that easy
Viola Gemini: Don't tell me :P
Juliet Ceres: that's very basic transaction stuff
Juliet Ceres: database 101
Viola Gemini: Yup, and most of these poeple dont replace your items either, so had to buy a new set of poseballs :p
Juliet Ceres: yea of course they don't
Juliet Ceres: since it's no copy
Viola Gemini: Yup - oh well, all in all i am still having a good time, just times that i start wondering about SL that i think 'why cant they get it right, it could be so much more'
Juliet Ceres: well on the one hand
Juliet Ceres: they can'T fuck it up worse
Juliet Ceres: I mean they really can't
Viola Gemini: Well they will try iwth windlight again
Juliet Ceres: one of these days they just have to fix that stuff because it gets too annoying for them
Viola Gemini: supporting even less video cards, giving local controll of color and light settings...
Juliet Ceres: did you know that you had to actually delete or rename the second life sound.exe to avoid losing ressources for voice even if you disabled it?
Viola Gemini: and if you would have said this yesterday i would have said 'they will try with oip' and they have...
Juliet Ceres: I dunno
Viola Gemini: What the hell is this communications panel...
Juliet Ceres: it's bullshit
Viola Gemini: look at groups
Juliet Ceres: everyone knows its bullshit
Juliet Ceres: but they released it anyway
Viola Gemini: right click, and select groups
Juliet Ceres: I know I know
Viola Gemini: If i double click a group now, i start an IM session. No i have to press áctivate' wich is a small button, right NEXT TO leave...
Viola Gemini: i mean...
Viola Gemini: seriously...
Viola Gemini: they cant fuck it up worse... i think they will
Viola Gemini: everytime i see that i think they will
Juliet Ceres: mhh
Juliet Ceres: but how can they be so stupid?
Juliet Ceres: I'd really have to try real hard to be as stupid as them
Juliet Ceres: I think I'd fail
Viola Gemini: Yeah, well issues like that, even though its small... i'd have to agree. You cant possibly make descisions that bad if you sit down and think of how to screw up the software
Viola Gemini: /i know something, lets make a panel with ALL chat windows and groups and options for all things, and 7 different volume var sliders...
Viola Gemini: So that people with low resolutions are screwed for certain, because noone uses the chatwindow the size of the group window, then add even more useless options so the core of your tasks gets even more vague, and call it 'communicate'
Viola Gemini: We wil ldo what apple did, only in reverse!
Juliet Ceres: you know
Juliet Ceres: I'm gonna post this to my blog
Viola Gemini: :p well i hope someone out there reads it in the linden office. I can tell this has been top down development. Where the boss thinks 'lets do it this way' and noone dares to say otherwise. An interface deisgner would not do this...

2007/08/02

How to log into SL when it won't let you

This is the second post of my series about how to handle Second Life when it's utterly broken.
This morning I once more encountered the infamous "Nyahhhh - I won't let you log in!" bug, caused by some strange routing accident somewhere on the way between my computer and LL's servers.

it looks like this:
First it displays that "Attempt 1" message.


Then the viewer crashes.


To be able to log into SL anyway, one needs to change ones DNS server. That's the "Domain Name Service" server that translates domain names into IP addresses which are used between computers to find themselves on the internet (or local networks).
By changing it to a DNS server that "knows" the way to LL's login servers, one can actually log in. A DNS server usually gets assigned to to a network connection when connecting to the network (duh!) and the one I seem to have (along with a lot of other europeans) seems not to be working.

So how to change it?

If' you're Mac OS X user, you go to your system preferences, click "Network", double click on your active network connection:


and choose "TCP/IP".


There you fill in "208.67.222.222" into the DNS field. "208.67.222.222" is your new DNS server it's owned by the OpenDNS project and it actually knows the way to LL's login servers.



There you go.

I'm gonna add a few pictures that show how it's done on Windows XP later. Hopefully I'll get someone to send me some pictures of how it's done on Vista as well.

Hugs,

Jules

UPDATE:
One of the nice people in my update group has just directed me to the OpenDNS project. It has its own DNS servers and they aparently do the job as well - AND they are offering instructions of how to change your DNS server in any operation system.
Instructions for Windows can be found here for example.

Their current IP is 208.67.222.222 or 208.67.220.220 (both of them are working) and I've changed this post accordingly.

Thanks to Wie Wunderlich!