I subscribe to a lot of blogs and news sites, most of which are Second Life-related and one thing I've noted over the last couple years is how people will start a blog and then kind of fade away posting less and less often, allowing that blog to sooner or later fizzle-out. It was started in excitement, for the fun of it and eventually the fun turns into a chore and it eventually withers.

I started this and several other blogs for the same purposes and yes, it has definitely at times turned from fun into a chore. But I've tried to keep at it, especially with this one and my other, not-so-SL-related blog that I ironically call "Blackthorne inSL".

Common Sensible is officially more than two-years-old now. In the beginning I had no idea what I was doing and I tried to emulate others, such as Hamlet Au (by just finding news and reblogging it) - which to me didn't really feel "genuine". I never considered my own experience on the grid that interesting to others so I never approached it from the "personal journal" aspect, but rather from a "big picture" aspect like what New World Notes (even though it is 90% reblogging other stuff) and Massively and Dusan Writer and those guys do. But this is difficult because the "news" comes in wild spurts with a dozen today and none for a week or two and often it is the ridiculous reactions by the vitriolic loud minority that makes it "news" to begin with. It also is hard to "sand-bag" stories of any kind of time-sensitive nature and no one is interested in "old news".

But I stuck with it.

I have a lot of other blogs, too. Most are just kind of sitting in the wings until I decide what to do with them, but I have always had at least two going at once and for the last month or so: three. The third being where I am head to now as I have "plumped it up" for the last month or so.

As I have witnessed so many personal blogs about Second Life just kind of slip away quietly I figured I'd do the same with this one. After all that's a pretty common thing, right? I've been thinking about this over the last three or four months or so and it's crossed my mind even earlier in the year. Primarily because I'm not so sure my own perspective on things is really shared by a lot of others in the "big picture" aspect. But more so because even though it's all a labor of love, it's still labor.

Then "Not Possible In Real Life" (NPRL) Blog did what the television show "M*A*S*H" did in 1982 that was utterly unheard-of at the time: ended the series while they were still "on top" in the ratings, rather than allowing the show to simply "fade away" or continue until practically all interest was lost in it and canceled by the network.

Hence the "series-finale" phenomenon which is pretty common these days with popular televisions shows.

I don't have a lot of readers. Well, I do, but I don't. Either way, I certainly am under no illusion of being "on top" of anything. There are many who subscribe to the RSS feed and many who come to this web site - a lot more than I ever expected. I don't advertise, it's not about raising any money or anything like that. It's about simply voicing and sharing my opinions and perspectives on things and I suppose that's interesting enough for some.

To those of you who have and still follow me here: thank you.

Really, thank you. So rather than just "fading away", I am going to call this the "series finale" of Common Sensible and focus on my other SL-related bog which will be handled with more of a personal perspective of the world closer around me in SL and not the bigger picture as much - more to the "personal journal" style. I also will continue my own bizarre, twisted humor at Blackthorne inSL - more or less mostly non-SL-related. (Ironic, huh?) So if you choose to follow me there, be forewarned; you'll likely discover what a weird one I am in first life!

If you want to follow only my SL-related stuff, please follow me to Socially Mundane. Or if you want to follow everything I aver - SL-related and FL-related, then I dare you to come-on over to my Blackthorne inSL blog at AriBlackthorne.com. When I post to SM (snickers) blog, it will be noted with a link on the inSL blog, so that would be the only one you need to follow.

As for all the posts and comments here at Common Sensible: it's not going anywhere. For a while, at least as I don't know what Blogger does with inactive blogs after a time...if they are allowed to just sit forever (I think so) or are eventually deleted. So, to be safe I also will import all the previous posts and comments (if I am able) from this blog into the SM blog - for posterity and archival sake.

So, to those of you who actually did follow me on a regular basis (whose cats have obviously gotten your tongues as you rarely, if ever, commented on my diatribe)... thank you. I hope you will follow me to AriBlackthorne.com, or if not that, then SociallyMundane.com.

So, here we are at 11:59;59 - the very last second before the brand new decade, I stand, turn about and wave.

And as was said in the book "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Earth's second most intelligent species, the dolphins, to Earth's third most intelligent species, the humans, just before they left the planet due to its inevitable destruction to make way for the galactic super-highway:

"Thanks for all the fish!"

Ari Blackthorne
11:59;59 P.M., December 31, 2009

The Trudeau "Tradewind" tall ship is a lot more bitter than it is sweet. In my last post I mentioned how difficult it can be to shop in Second Life, especially where price has zero credibility with regard to quality of the item you are purchasing. I harped loud about how positively stunned I am at the exquisite high-quality of the Age of Sale Gunboat.


I am a fan of tall ships and have been most of my life. It is ironic then that I only recently in the last few months realized and discovered sail-able tall ships on the grid. I knew they existed, but I didn't want a "drivable car that floats". Meaning like a car in SL the forward and back buttons move you as such and the left and right steer toward their respective directions. Unfortunately, most "drivable" boats on the grid are just that: drivable. They work exactly like a car, which is okay if your boat is a motorboat. But a sailboat?

Trudeau Tradewind tall ship: fail.  
Enormous fail.

I'm sorry if I sound harsh, but I don't like to softball things and prefer telling it that way is - all from my own perspective, of course.

I was extremely fortunate to have found the TSS and SPD lines of sailing vessels as the way they work on the Linden water is ridiculously realistic as far as SL scripting and the physics engine will allow. I spotted a post by Dale Innis where she (he?) was highly impressed with the Trudeau Tradwind. I was intrigued and even though in the comments of that post I learned that Trudeau boats don't take any damage, I had to go see for myself. So I popped over this morning.

Unfortunately these kind of vehicles only work for the owner so there was no way to test-drive the thing. It means you have to rely heavily on the sales-pitch in the vendor notecard. I did just that. Part of the description included "most realistic wind sailing in SL" (paraphrased.)

Ummm, not no but hell-no.

I believe the creator genuinely believes this statement to be true and that's fine. Either that or she is seriously misleading people by referring to the forward motion only and none of the rest. The fact of the matter is that the Tradewind (and likely all the other Trudeau boats) are only marginally better than those "drives-like-a-car-on-water" boats.

Firstly, allow me to say the primwork is gorgeous. It is a beautiful build and the cabin with furniture and bed is a nice touch. But poseballs? Okay wait a minute... this thing actually uses poseballs? I admit it's a red flag I should have seriously paid attention to. But I digress.

Now, the sweet part is the prim build - gorgeous. Unfortunately all the rest of it is the bitter part: total failure.

I raise the sails and the thing just sits here. It doesn't even appear to turn "physical" - no heeling or bobbing or anything. I set sail angle to capture wind and start moving. The first awkward thing I notice is the pilot's camera angle. But that's okay because if you are a technical sort you can edit the one modifiable script to reset that to something else you prefer.

So I hit the right arrow to swing direction from east to east by southeast. The boat swings around quickly. But wait a second, I'm not even moving yet! Even at a dead stand-still, I am able to spin the boat around in any direction I choose.

Where the eff is the "realism" in that?!?


This "feature/bug" alone already means this thing will likely never be rezzed again from my inventory. But I was determined to like it, so I trudged-on. The crappy handling of the thing (a car on water) was terribly disappointing. Until I found the real bug. Even with the wind at 180 degree - 100% to my back, angling the sales to starboard (right) had be moving backward. And at high-speed. What the eff is this?

Except for the beautiful primwork this thing is a painfully tragic disappointment. There are ten-times more realistic sailing ships available for one-third the price. The Trudeau Tradewind (and likely all the rest) is hardly worth the asking price. Perhaps L$800 to L$1000 for an unscripted version would be okay. L$1500 for the thing the way it is right now... hard to swallow but okay. It is overpriced by L$3000 hands-down firm. The only other sweet part of the BITTERsweet combination is that it is copy/modify, so I will rip the really crappy drives=like-a-car-on-water scripts out of it and rebuild it to use the TSS Brigg scripts in order to salvage my money-down-a-hole spent.

Sorry Ms. Trudeau, but "most realistic sailing" this thing is not. In fact it is barely this side of the opposite end of that statement. Do I feel ripped-off? No. Am I dissatisfied with my purchase? Somewhat. I am more disappointed that I had a gut-feeling this thing would be what it is, and I bit that bullet anyway when I should have known better? Abso-fekking-lutely. But my dismay is with myself, not the creator. And the influence of Dale is not Dale's fault. Dale just doesn't know any better.

If you want a very realistic, truly simulated sailing experience in SL at low cost, buy the Gunboat I spoke of in my previous post. It is on XSL here. L$3500 less that the Trudeau Tradewind and a thousand-times more realistic.

If you really want to save a lot of money and go with a most-realistic sailing experience, get the Sailing Dinghy from the same creator for only L$149.

If you are a fan of tall ships and want a sailing version that truly is the most realistic simulation on the Second Life grid, go with one of these and stay away from anything Trudeau until they get it right:

Anything from TSS (most expensive boat: L$1700 - and all go down in price from there).

Anything from SPD (Though a bit more difficult to sail than TSS; even the most expensive Frigate is L$1000 less than the Tradewind and even edges it out in the beauty-of-primwork department).

If primwork isn't a priority, there is this fishing boat also based on the "Flying Taco" scripts for only L$450. And it takes damage as it should like all other TSS and SPD boats. So don't go running through shoals carelessly. Running aground in shallows will eventually sink you if you do it often enough (true for all these boats).

So, is the Trudeau Tradewind (and other Trudeau creations) crap? NO. Is it way over-priced? Yes - to those who know and want better. The primwork is gorgeous, but the handling physics is cartoonist at best. It feels like playing with a child's toy when I am used to and want the real (as possible) thing.

My whole point is that most in SL who "sail" have no idea of what they are missing and what they think is what sailing in SL really is. I suppose that's the oldbie of SL curse.
I previously ranted on how technology is a replacement for skill. A stupid diatribe over nothing important, but that's what I rant on all the time. Meh.

One of the trickeries of Second Life is in the shopping experience. Unlike first life, price is certainly not an indicating factor with regard to quality or usability or any of the other important decision-making benchmarks. It is painfully frequent when we purchase something and it turns-out to be over-priced garbage, never to see the outside of our inventory folder again as long as we live.

On the flip-side, the Japanese and other Asian natives tend to give much better quality for much less in the way of Linden Dollars (as a rule, there are price-wacked and stunning items in all sectors of the grid) on a consistent basis. My point is that I am often very pleasantly surprised with my purchases from those creators who hail form the Far-East part of the world.

However, once in a while a creator will literally stun you.

Burnman Bedlam has done that. On more than one occasion actually. Burnman has been around the grid even longer than I have. However, a couple years ago he left. Put-up his networked vendor system he was working on as a full-perms purchase and whatever else he had or was working on either still sits in his inventory or chucked off into the asset black-hole of the grid. I don't know.

Imagine my surprise when I was introduced to a new friend (and I allowed this person as one of the very few in my friends list) only to discover much later that this is the same Burnman whom I, as a newbie, felt was a celebrity to me! He showed me his latest project. A small gunboat that sails on the SL wind like the SPD, TSS and other incarnations that are becoming better known on the grid these days.

I took a look via camming around and I thought the primwork was very well done. I told him to let me know when he releases it so I can look into buying one. He offered me the opportunity to help beta-test one, but I ended-up a bit busy outside the grid so I thanked him but declined.


A rather realistic water wake adds a nice touch, but the realistic bow-splash is something I have not seen until now. Note that these pictures are of my customize re-textured version.

I hadn't realized he released his new gunboat and launched his new company "Age of Sale". I spotted the armed dinghy on XSL by accident (see? That "featured listing" thing really does work) - and I wasn't sure if I should be disappointed that he hadn't told me or overly excited that it's here and now ready for purchase. So I didn't bother locating it in-world and went for the XSL sale.

Being familiar with Burnman's previous scripting work I expected a well-satisfied purchase and I already was aware of the primwork on this thing. Then I rezzed it in the water and took a good look.


The "Black Dream" can't be white! So I repainted the primary woodwork to a nice shade of... well, black.

Fleet_011The supplies hold and bell are a truly nice touch, especially for role playing purposes.

In short: I am floored. This is a work of art, hands-down. Not a seam in sight, the texturing is meticulously crafted and though there are a couple of areas where I might have used fewer prims, there aren't many at all. It sails wonderfully and feels like a stallion itching to get out of the gate. It just wants to "go". This makes it a little difficult in tight areas as it can be tricky to actually slow-down, but overall the maneuverability gives me fortitude enough to go against a 16-gun Frigate with it's single cannon (this, like other boats and ships from SPD and TSS and others will take damage and with enough, actually sink.)

You can't actually see it while sailing, but the working compass is one of those little details that scream "build-quality".

And the thoughtfulness in the details is where the quality really shines. A mariner bell the dings that authentic ding when clicked-on, a working anchor, and the bow-storage area with opening doors to reveal period supplies. Even the box of cannon shot next to the gun itself and the ability to carry an additional (to the pilot and gunner) six passengers.

Fleet_012The working lamp flickers on upon click, or when the SL world goes to night.

This is one of those rare purchases I make where I am so impressed that I tell everyone else about it. I genuinely await in eager anticipation to what new vessels "Age of Sale" and Burnman intends to create. No doubt my fleet of period boats will grow just as fast as he can release them.

If you have never actually sailed in SL via the SL wind system (no, not pressing the up-arrow and steering like driving an SL car) - then you simply must try it. And you can, for free. Open my profile in-world, click to the classified tab and teleport to my throne store.

You will land at the dock. There is a teleporter to take you up to the store proper. But also is a sign there that, when clicked, will rezz a sail-able Jangers (centuries-old historic fishing raft) - it holds two people. Jump-on and give SL-wind sailing a try.


Or if you already are familiar or feeling bold enough to just jump-in, you can get this Age of Sale Gunboat at XStreet SL at a price far fairer than lesser-quality boats available for sale in SL. And even if you just let it sit at some dock in front of your SL home, it'll be a head-turner by just lookin' damned good.
Everyone in Second Life is cheating on First Life (SL) and each other. No, I am not speaking on pixelsexxx. But rather the way SL allows us all to actually cheat life itself - at least the "pleasures" and trials of life anyway. Think on this: we don't have to walk to get anywhere. We can fly and if really impatient: teleport and poof - you're there. Anywhere you want to be. Look about everywhere you go: Gigantic castles and mansions, five-hundred-foot yachts, royal palaces, private helicopters and jets, massive household "estates" and all that.

Nothing wrong with this at all of course. SL empowers us to have and do what we simply cannot have and do in first life and that is the draw to the platform. It's a wonderful thing!

I spent the first-half of my life on Maui, and my family were not all that well-off financially. So I grew-up with a practical mind-set. Perhaps this is why I don't keep a house in SL at all or go for the "dream"...whatever: house, car, any of it. I just don't see the use in it and view it as a waste of money. Growing-up in Hawai'i (quick lesson: pronounced Hah-vai. Eee LOL) exposed me to the ocean all the time. For swimming, not sailing. That kind of thing just wasn't in the budget.

In Lahaina there always was as long as I could remember a tall ship berthed there called the Carthaginian. It was an original restored 18th century tall ship, not a replica. I was nine-years-old the day it ended-up sinking and shrugged it off. They then made a replica and brought it in, calling it Carthaginian II, but nothing was ever the same, even for me, a nine-year-old kid who couldn't really appreciate what had really happened.

Now that I am older and wiser (some may disagree to the latter) I find it kind of saddening that such priceless history was lost. Perhaps it was growing-up around the original Carthaginian without giving it much thought has now, later in life influenced my "fandom" of tall ships.

And SL allows me to own a fleet of them. Though SL sailing (not driving like a car or plane or other vehicle, but real simulated sailing using the SL wind system) has been around and I have known of it a long time, I never really participated. All I ever saw were the modern-looking "yuppy richman toys" that are all technologically advanced to gain the fastest speed and easiest control (replicas of first life sailboats) - which to me are rather ugly and ungainly-looking with 200-foot tall sails over a 30-foot hull (intentional exaggeration). In SL or FL, to me they are rather unsightly and silly-looking.

SB01Allow me to be clear here and now: in this article I am referring my "distaste" specifically to those "modern-day technological marvels" such as those style of boats used to race for the America's Cup (mostly in first life, but Second Life as well,) not the average sail boat you can go out and buy today. But even those to some degree with regard to the technological-ease of sailing these days is kind of a "technology cheat". And yes, it is only my own personal taste.

Technology to allow them to slip through water as though sliding on a greased flat of teflon at the slightest whisper of breeze. Of course the SL replicas do the same.

SB04Technology itself is a cheat. We use technology to replace skill. In first life anyone can quickly learn to sail a modern sail boat. But take the best mariners of today (Americas Cup class) and put them onto a tall ship? Now that would be a sight to see because a tall ship can barely get under way with ten or less people whereas a modern sail boat slides along with as little as 5 people, depending on the boat of course. To set a tall ship to sail, even a small one like a brig or sloop like the Lady Washington (which I've had the extreme pleasure of sailing with for a day)... now that takes skill.

The wonder of SL allows me to not only own a fleet of tall ships, but to be able to sail them all by my little lonesome at the push of a few buttons on my keyboard. Is that a cheat? Well, not really as I am simulating via a computer and the primary interface of a computer is the keyboard. The SL grid is the great equalizer in this regard.

However, in real life: the technology of modern sail boats we use to replace the skill required to make-way in a tall ship... yeah, that's a cheat. It's not a bad cheat. But it's still a cheat. Like bow hunters who use those fancy carbonate teflon composite bows with 30 pulleys on them and titanium arrows to down a deer. Grab a switch from a tree and whittle your own arrows and see what it's really like. The technology is a cheat and it replaces the skill required. It's not necessarily a bad thing. Life moves-on, that's all.

SB02Besides, modern sailboats (and to be clear: I am more referring to the racing boats and those ugly-assed high-tech boats where the sails are twice or three-times as tall as the hull is long) are funny-looking. Though tall ships were built and designed for functionality with the latest technology of the day, today to me they are a work of art. Of course it's more appreciation for the complexity and functionality of those things.

For me, "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies featured Johnny Depp, but the real star was the Black Pearl itself. Though "Master and Commander" wasn't all that great of a movie in it's own right, I ate it up because it was all about the tall ships themselves. I am now reading Michael Crichton's last novel "Pirate Latitudes" which is in preproduction and I am anticipating that movie for it's real star (to me) the sloop called "Cassandra".

Do I wish I lived in the 17th or 18th centuries for such purpose as to be a true sailor? Hell no. I might be stupid but I'm not dumb. Oh, and to me a "sailor" is one of a number of crew as those on such a tall ship or other large navy vessel that can't function in full-form without at least a dozen or more. All you mariners on your cute, yuppy-looking computer-design sail-racers (in the real world I mean) - you are not sailors. You are all wanna-bes. I know it's still hard work and all that. But the skills required are where the differences lay.

So yeah: thanks for SL as it allows me to "cheat" first life by allowing me the enjoyment of sailing (and captaining) a whole fleet of tall ships. Something I couldn't do in first life no matter how financially well-off I were.

Note: these are Second Life pictures above, but they are examples of what I am talking about, so understand I am referring to real counterparts in first life when I say these are techno-yuppy-butt-fugly cheats that require no skill whatsoever compared to a real "sailing" boat, which my SL counterparts follow below (and I hope it is obvious I am referring to the real life counterparts of these.)

Nyuk nyuk.


My new unnamed Schooner. Awaiting a customized refit and naming.


The Calypso's Rage, a Xebec in Corsair configuration.


The Poseidon's Lust, my current favorite: a speedy 10-gun Dhow.


The Calypso's Curse, a reliable and worthy Brig.


The uncreatively-named "Black Swan", who heels wildly in the wind.

And my 16-gun battle fortress the Hades' Strumpet.


And my newest acquisition, a one-gun "gunboat" I have christened the "Black Dream" (which is 17th century vernacular for "death" for those of you who don't contemplate such things.)

This is a ridiculously maneuverable little boat that is actually a bit difficult to control in tight spaces as she just wants to go and go very fast.

The SL model is stunning, loaded with astounding detail and authentic nuance such as a working anchor (animated and all, doesn't really hold the boat in place) a signal (fog) bell and wonderful role-play accouterments such as the supplies loaded-up in the forecastle and such. Okay, not really a forecastle as that cupboard isn't below deck and though you could stuff a human body in there, it's really for storage of supplies. Meh.

I plan to show it off in detail on my next post. (Hey, it's MY blog and so I will show-off whatever I want!)
There are many who fear the Second Life (SL) economy is booming, growing, steady, slowing down or in the tank depending on who you speak to. For those who feel it is in some kind of steady to slowing decline, I beseech you to please stop for a moment and think "outside" the box. Retail rules in SL are vastly different from First Life (FL).


For example, in FL as far as foot traffic is concerned, you want as much of it as possible. But this is not really the case in SL. Traffic just does not carry as much weight because it is far too easy to literally bounce from retail point of sales to the next to the next to the next.
There are a couple things that are important to a successful retail business in SL and FL: the customer must want what you are selling. What you are selling must be compelling enough for the customer to want to purchase it. And you must make it easy and convenient as possible to make the actual purchase.

No one can help you with the first requirement. Only you can help yourself with the second. But with the third, I am trying to help you do better than you likely already are. I have written a 240-page book on the subject, all geared toward training you to think in SL terms, looking-out for what the Second Life Resident culture is all about and how it influences your product sales and many of these ideas are counter-intuitive, but they work.

I have presented 15 selling tips in a truncated, abridged format (plus an impromptu bonus tip regarding XStreet SL) that I describe in detail with step-by-step instruction in my book "Successful Business in Second Life" (SBSL) available at Amazon and XSL and Meta-Life.

If you haven't been following along, here is the fill index:
  • Tip #01: Traffic is against you. Why you want as little traffic as possible at your point-of-sales (POS) location, especially if you have your own showroom. 
  • Tip #02: Optimize Product Art for Fast Download. The problem in markets and malls is that everyone else is uploading huge, high-resolution images to put into their vendors. This not only works against them, it works against you. So use it to your advantage.
  • Tip #03: Good Product Art. The art itself must be good and really show-off your product. Learn to take good SL "photography" to make the best use of that three-seconds you have to convince the shopper to look at your notecard.
  • Tip #04: Informational Notecards. Never try to sell your product through the product art or advertising. Those are for getting the shopper's interest. it is in the informational notecard where you actually make your sales pitch.
  • Tip #05: XStreet SL is important. You absolutely must list your products on XStreet SL and other off-world shopping directories. Do not be put-off or fear the new XSL rules regarding listings. You can use those to your advantage also.
  • Tip #06: Permissions Paradigms. Give your customers what they really want and use the permissions system smartly to maximize sales.
  • Bonus #1: The new XSL listing rules and costs are a good thing. Here is why.
  • Bonus #2: How to use the new XSL listing rules in your favor and cut costs while doing it.
  • Tip #07: Vendor paradigms and why the simple box (system prim set to sell) "vendor" is the best and works better for the shopper over those "scripted page-flipping" vendors.
  • Tip #08: Reverse panhandling. The proper way to distribute "freebies" that will maximize sales and word-of-mouth for you.
  • Tip #09: Network selling. Get other people to sell your stuff for you without having to beg them to take and place and use "affiliate" vendors or your own.
  • Tip #10: Ten locations for the cost of one. Get your name out into ten different markets across the grid for the average cost of a single market booth.
  • Tip #11: Product art clutter. Back to your product art here. Go with clean, easy-to-see art. Don't muck it up by trying to make it too pretty.
  • Tip #12: For attachment creators...pay attention to the sizing ability of your prim attachments. And don't use "modify" scripts in no-modify prims - you do your customer a massive disservice.
  • Tip #13: Hammock pricing. Every Linden Dollar counts...to the shopper. But for you, it is better to remember that half a sale is better than no sale at all.
  • Tip #14: Showroom optimization. If you have a showroom, keep it neat and easy to navigate. Make it easy as possible for me to get to the product I want to buy.
  • Tip #15: Customer care. Even if you do not apply any of the previous tips, this one here is by far the most important of them all. Though you certainly don't have to follow my model, it still is something you should take great consideration of.

These tips are my own Christmas gift to you. Of course they all are only advice until you decide to act on them, then they become your decision. But what hurt will it bring to try any of them? And when they do work for you, please go get my book and learn the how and why of it all, along with a lot more tips that will help you become even more successful in Second Life than you already are.

And with that, this is the second-to-last post here at Common Sensible. If you want to follow me on all my other Second Life-related diatribe, please head over to Socially Mundane. Or, if you can handle a very raw sense of humor, my "totally off-the-wall" blog is at AriBlackthorne.com. And if you only follow that one, posts to Socially Mundane are highlighted there also so you won't miss a thing.

XMAS-Night Tree Halo.jpg

Melé Kalikimaka, Ha'olé Maka Hiki-Hau.

Who and what the hell is "Kiva"? Who cares? Linden Lab is using their captive audience to push their irrelevant agenda. And I'm not so sure I agree with it. Well, in fact I know I don't agree with it. From what I can tell, Kiva appears to be a match-making service that allows you to subsidize some entrepreneur or something. 3 I'm an entrepreneur, so I beseech all readers to subsidize me. Contact me directly for the address to send your money to.

Audience: by way of having every (legitimate) SL user's email address. Captive: because we must keep a genuine email address on-file as important communications come through there (notices that actually affect your account standing, etcetera.)

However, when Linden Lab (LL) started sending advertisements for XStreet SL - it irked me. But hey, they own it and I can see the point of the effort. However, when they start spamming me with bullshit about some charity they support that I'm not familiar with and don't remember ever having heard-of it's time to draw the line. Kiva is not affiliated in any way whatsoever with Linden Lab or vice-versa. I know this because there was no announcement of such and the SL knowledge-base (wiki) has no mention of Kiva other than to buy stuff to support them.1

No other announcement regarding partnership or anything else "official". At. All.

For all I know it's a shill for LL. No, I am not accusing Linden Lab of any wrong-doing. But, c'mon! I am accusing Linden Lab of the seriously uncouth and tacky. If they had made a plea for something a little more reputable and meaningful like Make-A-Wish foundation (my own personal favorite), Muscular Distrophy, hell, even the March of Dimes foundation I believe a lot more people would have not only been receptive to it, but even applauded LL for doing it! These are large, world-wide, well-known and vetted charities.

But who the hell is Kiva? Perhaps they also are a large world-wide organization also. The name barely rings a bell - and that may be because of the uncouth email Linden lab sent a few weeks ago.

However, Crap Mariner says it best: 2
"...the Labbies embracing one charity with limited history and investment (a booth in Non Profit Commons), no long-term resident presence, no in-world media impact (Metanomics, etc.) and no extended community in SL whatsoever (Kiva.org) while demanding money from one with a long history and investment (virtual africa [sic]), a beloved active in-world avatar presence, multiple appearances in in-world media, and many volunteers for their kiosks and tier donations." [Source]
I've been to Virtual Africa many times, though it's been a very long time (at least a year). In first life I have been fortunate that I've had the opportunity to literally travel and live in other parts of the world through my Army days including throughout Europe, Korea, Japan and so on. Never been to Kuala Lumpur (Quaintly I'm coming for you and we'll both go kidnap London one of these days) and I've never been to Africa, either, so I've really enjoyed Virtual Africa.

After reading Crap's crap (snickers) I decided to fire-up the Kirsten's Shadow-caster viewer and head-on over for another look-see since it's been so long...
Virtual Africa_001

Virtual Africa_002

Virtual Africa_003

Virtual Africa_004

Virtual Africa_006

Virtual Africa_007

Virtual Africa_009

Virtual Africa_010

Virtual Africa_008

Yes, a wonderful, quiet place to explore alone or with a friend. And low-lag as well. Go visit and throw some money at it if you can. Every L$100 donation helps keep the place alive.  


Virtual Africa_005


1. Crap Mariner. Some charities are more equal than others.... December 18, 2009. Blog: What Is This Crap?. December 19, 2009. 

2. Mutiple. Wiki Search. Multiple. Second Life Wiki. December 23, 2009.

3. Unknown. How Kiva Works. Undated (2005-2009). Website. December 16, 2009.
Did it. Done it. Loved it. LAG: minimal at worst.

How HUDS Hobble:

So, how can you achieve the same result of minimal LAG consistently? Well, that's an industry secret. Muahahaha! Okay, okay, I'll tell. But you have to shush-up about it. Too many people figure this out and we won't have a corner on the market of LAG-free SL experience any more.

For anyone who cares (and I already know, you don't) I've been bouncing around all over the Second Life grid looking for any parcel of land next to a decent body of water where I can rez my tall ship so I can go sight-seeing from the water.


Hades' Strumpet spanks an unsuspecting Privateer.

If you've driven around in a car, plane, or just flying around the grid (dragon avatar or not, heheheh) - you know very well the chances of crossing sim borders is incredibly high. If you think crossing sim borders can become frustrating while walking, you should try it while sailing (not "driving" like an SL car, but "real" sailing where you are at the mercy of the SL wind.)

Since I actually understand that 80% of all LAG in SL is actually at my end and not Linden Lab's end, I work to do whatever I can to minimize as much LAG as possible, LAG of course being the umbrella term we all use to describe moving through mud anywhere on the grid. LAG is massively frustrating, disorienting and downright annoying when we try to cross sim borders and it takes forever, sometimes (often for some people) even disconnecting us from the world... a forced relog if you will.

The answer to your woes is simple: de-script yourself.

And for all you attachment creators who sell your crap as no-modify and include "modify scripts" - damned you to SL hell, I hope you die. You are a major part of the LAG problem a lot of people suffer through.

De-scripting yourself cuts-down on LAG enormously. No, I am not saying you de-scripting yourself will make it better for everyone else around you all the time. But it will make it better for you. And everyone else around who can see you when you cross sim borders.

Part of de-scripting yourself is removing unnecessary HUDs. Yes, really! That Mystitool, Wishmaster, Vista AO, Bonehead's Free Radar, OOC Textiness Garbage, and whatever else you are wearing for HUDs is actually killing your SL experience.

Try this:

Go to Exchange Island [SLURL] as it is public access and has three other sims attached. Wait for the place to rez completely (don't move around). Wear everything you "usually" wear, especially your HUDs. Press CTRL-R to go into "running" mode. Now, start from at least 20-meters from one of the sim borders and run across that border to go into the other sim. Do not let-go of the forward button - keep it pressed, keep running until you finally "pop-in" to the other side.

Take note of how long it takes before you finally "pop-in," and where you have ended-up. Now, repeat: run back to the same place you started from. Did it take longer? Shorter?

Now do this: Remove all scripted items from your avatar, especially all HUDs - absolutely nothing is attached. Count to 30 slowly - give the sim a few seconds to catch-up to you - to be sure it knows you are not wearing any scripts. Now, repeat the exact same process, running over the same border in the same direction.

Now run back to where you started.

How did that border crossing go?

An animation overrider should be fine. But that Magic HUD, Radar HUD, Mystitool (and other likewise) HUD should really only be worn when you need them. Keeping yourself as 'clean' as possible (where scripts are concerned) will limit any LAG you experience to the natural hiccups caused by your computer trying to draw bazillions of facets in those "prim-heavy" locations, or all those other avatars in crowded spaces, or the massive texture downloads in those malls because most merchants couldn't make a proper vendor texture to save their lives and so on.


The map above shows the non-stop, no-crash journey of the Hades' Strumpet from the Victorian-themed sims (St Barts) all the way through to the location of my store in Neobelow. More than 100 sims. The only scripts I wore were the "sails" script on my boat, the scripts in the boat itself and my AO. Each and every single sim-crossing took about 0.5 seconds. The laggier ones took about 1 full second (I know: ZOMG-shock!). Even in the middle of the prim-heavy mainland area I traveled through on my way home.

So, LAG got you down? Take-off those HUDs and kill any creators who sold you "modify-scripted no-modify" attachments. They are biachtards2 one and all!

1. Gwyneth Llewelyn. Anatamy of Lag. June 22. 2009. Web Blog: Ana Lutetia. December 23, 2009.
More information about LAG and what causes it: http://analutetia.com/2009/06/22/anatomy-of-lag/ 
2. Biachtard [bee-ah-ch-tard], (noun): neutral gender insult; A "slam" on anyone you without reference to sex.
There are too many creators who are paranoid about being "ripped-off" in SL. However, your customer care is far more important. Remove all incentives to steal your product! It is a proven fact that if you give your customer what they truly want at a fair price, except for a very few - they will purchase your product because it's the right thing to (and less hassle and risk.)

There is practically no reason (very, very rare cases at least) to sell your stuff as no-copy. It is selfish on your part. There are even rarer reasons to sell as no-modify (excluding scripts, of course.) People in SL want modify/copy items. In truth, if I wanted to "steal" your product - it is far too easy to do. No-copy, no modify items are moot. I genuinely believe a significant number of "copybotters" are doing so to convert their purchased no-modify items into modifiable items.

When you give the customer what they truly want, the only hard part is to get them to buy. So make it easy as possible for them to give you their money.

My own simple selling policy is:

I will give a refund within 72-hours of purchase on all no-copy items. You must return the the fully functional item to me. I'll give a full refund, no questions asked and without hesitation. I'll even give you a quality consolation gift as a thank-you for at least trying-out my product - not some useless trinket, but a quality product I sell or not available in any other way.

I have yet to have a single refund request in three years of selling products in Second Life.
Also, I have since converted all my products to "copy/no-transfer" (this article was written a couple months ago) and I still offer the same refund under the same conditions- I am that confident in my product (and I also have the ability to disable that product if a refund is given- and this is made known up-front.)

Let's continue...
Furthermore, you may exchange your product for another style at any time, even if you purchased it a hundred years ago, even if the exchanged-for product didn't exist back then. The same rule as for refunds apply. I also will replace, without hesitation or question any product you claim has been lost, broken, destroyed or otherwise become unusable by you, immediately whether I am in-world or not - via dropping it directly to you or via remote delivery if I am off-line and unable to come in-world - all you need do is to show me in a reasonable way that you had owned the product to begin with. I am flexible.

I stand behind my product, I work hard to ensure your complete and uncompromising satisfaction so you are comforted in knowing that I will ensure you are happy - always, now and into the future with anything you buy from me.

Snapshot_012I make this policy clear up-front through all my informational notecards and gigantic, easy-to-read posters plastered all over my showroom, before you give me a single Linden Dollar.

Are you swindling me by giving that no-copy throne to a friend and then proclaiming it became lost so I give another for free? I don't care. It'll be a one-off situation and your satisfaction is far more important than my paranoia. Because when you are happy, I know you, in your heart will be honest and will tell everyone you know how I am reputable, hard-working and care about my customers far more than the fear of a few possible swindlers. I know you will do my marketing for me. I know you will make reference testimonials that are far more powerful than anything I could possibly buy.

I know without a doubt that to anyone who sees my product on you or your land and asks that you will give a strong, powerful and convincing testimonial about me and my product. I know that by actually guaranteeing your absolute and complete satisfaction after the sale is making it easiest as humanly possible for you to give your money to me, no matter how much my stuff costs.

Now, go out and buy my book: Successful Business in Second Life (SBSL - Second Edition for 2009/10; 270-pages) is available at XStreet SL and also in-world. The book includes both, an in-world and eReader version. There also is an  Amazon Kindle version, (you receive both: ereader and in-world versions no matter where you purchase it.)

I could wish you "good luck" in business. But by following the steps I give you, I prefer to say: "There is no doubt you will be successful, may all your SL dreams come tue."
"You and yours can take your "merry Christmas" to hell before you stick it where the sun don't shine."

I would rather someone throw the above (oxymoronic) statement at me than to use the ridiculously politically correct statement of the times. Heads-up: this is my annual rant about the disingenuous tidings people will throw at you because they are scared to death you might twitch the wrong way. I say to those people: get a clue. Better that they just keep their mouths shut and not say anything at all.

If I wish you a "merry Christmas" and you don't like it - so what? If you are one of the politically correct spineless weasels who are offended at everything, GTFU and reevaluate your principals and priorities in life.

Warning: this is a passionate pet-peeve of mine and I tend to get rather vitriolic in it. I'll try real hard to keep it toned-down and presentable for you.

The most condescending thing you can say to me (or anyone, really) during this time of year is the ridiculously phrased "season's greetings!". I mean, think about that for a minute, will you?

Season's greetings.

What exactly does that mean, anyway? Greetings I get. It simply means "hello" in a more jovial way. But the "season" part I don't get. I mean, the season is winter. So is this supposed to be a "winter's greetings"? Then why don't you give me a likewise greeting the rest of the year: "summer's greetings!" or, "autumn's greetings!"

This time of year where three major holidays occur within the span of a few weeks is not a "season". Winter, spring, summer and autumn are "seasons." And "Fall" is a lazy way to say autumn for goodness sakes, it's not a season!

So, to "wish" me a "joyous season" or "season's greetings" is a slap-down against my intellect and rather condescending. It's you trying to sound all nice and considerate when in reality you're just trying to placate me in the most insincere way possible, because I'm not worth it to you.

Then there's "Happy Holidays!"

M Linden (Mark Kingdon,) CEO of Linden Lab posted a short, simple blog entry to wish everyone on the Second Life grid a "happy holidays."(1)

If you wish me, personally, a "happy holidays" then you are obviously an atheist who is scared-to-death at the very mention of anything more specific. "Holiday" is a contraction of "Holy Day"(2) ("holi" being the original spelling way back when - besides: proper grammar dictate a single vowel followed by a single consonant creates a long-sound in the vowel.)

So, if you wish me a personal "happy holidays" I will respond with a "happy Holy days to you also!"

Notice how I mention "if you wish me a personal..." Because in the case of M Linden's blog post, and other instances where you are sending good tidings to a large group of people, I believe "happy holidays" is exactly the appropriate wish. But I don;t think that phrase works very well on a personal one-to-one greeting.

The best greetings for this time of year in my opinion is the tried and true "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Hanukkah." (Sorry you Kwanza folks - we all know that's a fake synthetic holiday that isn't really a holi day - but good for you who observe it, I have no problem with that.)

However, most people get the whole "merry Christmas" and "happy Hanukkah" thing backward. I do not wish Jewish people a "happy Hanukkah" - because I don't feel sincere enough when I do that. By wishing such it feels more disconnected, like I'm saying "Hey, happy whatever the hell you practice and observe, makes no difference to me, but so long as it thrills you, go for it."

No, I wish Jewish people a "merry Christmas". Why? Because it is what I practice. It is a joyous time for me. And it seems to me and feels more sincere to wish upon you, that which is joyous and wonderful for me. And since I am wishing for a merry Christmas for myself, I want to share that joy I feel with you.

If someone who observes Hanukkah were to wish for me a "happy Hanukkah" - I am honored and most thankful as I know they are wishing for me the same joy they hope for themselves.

And to me, that is a sincere greeting.



1. Mark Kingdon (a.k.a. "M" Linden). Happy Holidays All. 2009. Linden Lab Blog. December 21, 2009.

2. Multiple. Etymology of Holiday. Unknown. Web Site (Wikipedia). December 21, 2009.

Eternus Soulstar commented on the Linden Lab blog topic of "Copy/No-Trans, Ethics &TOS" - a reply to another user in a very long thread. After reading her comment and thinking on it, the more I actually like the idea.

Cool Builds

A quick reprise summary: regarding the ethics and how it fits with Second Life Terms of Service: what does it mean if someone where to buy a copyable item, then create a business of advertising these items "for rent" or, rezzing these items all over the grid for friends?

Here is Eternus' comment (abridged by me):
"...i was addressing the OP concern about someone making a 'service' of, say, buying one of your starships [another comment by a creator who sells copyable starships] and renting/leasing them, in effect competing against you with your own product, and pointing out why i didn't think such a service would be viable, and therefore probably nothing to worry much about, which is pretty much all the same reasons rezzing for friends doesn't really impact sales negatively in my opinion. one of which was mentioned in another post and you touched on here, locking some options to the owner.

to mention briefly the issues raised in a couple of other posts, a landlord rezzing a bunch of houses after having only bought one is a point to discuss i suppose but if a landlord is dishonest to start with the no-copy won't prevent that anyway nor will the fact that the illegal copies don't have scripts, so setting no-copy on a house because of that concern is futile.
I very much concur with Eternus!

And, because I am so proud of my reply there, I wanted to repeat here LOL

Very good point. It would certainly be "uncouth" to set-up a "rental" business based on items you have purchased that are copyable. And I certainly can see how this could and would ruffle a lot of creator feathers.

However - and I speak solely for myself here - I would say go for it with my creations. Granted, I would really, really appreciate your asking permission (personally, I'd say 'yes") or at the very least let me know your intent, but we all know that wouldn't happen because the person who does it already would know it's unethical at best (without asking permission) and outright wrong at worst.

The reason I would agree to it is the same as I have mentioned far earlier in this thread: visibility for me. The grid is way too large and full of warm bodies (even after you subtract the bots and alts, you still have at least 1/3 the count of concurrency and that's still a lot)  LOL

The point is competition is far more difficult in SL than in FL: and it starts with getting "the word out there" that your creations even exist. I would view such a scenario as those items I have created that are used for "rentals" (or even friends rezzing for friends) as complimentary advertising models. The more people who see them and play with them the better - it might spark an interest in my product especially when the very genre of my product wasn't even on their mind. Even if it brings only one new sale a month: it's worth it [as any, even a partial sale is better than none at all]. Especially when it doesn't cost me anything at all the throw my creations around at anyone and everyone.

I don't pay for materials or manufacture costs. So why not? How would it harm me (or anyone else for that matter?) The one doing it has paid for a copyable item. The ones using it who don't own it are getting a first-hand experience with it... "shopping" without shopping. I am confident enough in my own products that I would actually invite this process. In fact, I might even prepare a notecard inviting the idea.

We all have seen something in-world and thought "hey, that's nice" - right-click to learn who created it, make a note to visit their in-world shop or pop-over to XSL to see what they have. The more opportunity for people to do this on my stuff, the better.

And I reiterate: obviously I am speaking for myself only, and I am not trying to convince anyone else to see my way of it. Just explaining why I see this scenario as a good thing rather than a bad thing. And besides, it's a lot less stress to look for and find the good in things that happen rather than the bad, as all scenarios include both.

(Via Second Life Blogs: Copy/No-Trans, Ethics & TOS.)
cooliris.comJust like "hammock pricing", your point-of-sale (POS) optimization is integral to making it easy as possible for anyone to give you their money.

A quick recap: on XStreet SL (XSL) you'll want to provide as much information as possible: highly detailed description - leave nothing out - and include the full instructional (how to use it) notecards. If it involves animations or effects - post YouTube movies and link to them - even if you must hire someone to make the machinima for you.

Rezzing time is a problem as most shoppers are hunters and are impatient. You must optimize your POS as much as possible with low-resolution textures - face your booth to the West so TPers will face your booth when they land (we face east after teleporting) causing your textures to start rezzing first.

Use one-prim sales boxes rather than vendors. It rezzes a bit longer, but it's faster for the potential buyer to browse everything at once. As to showrooms, it's important you layout your floor space to minimize rezzing time and make it easy as possible for me to give you my money.

Vendors or boxes: make them large. Huge, in fact, so I can clearly see them, even read them from 20 or 30 meters away. Place them low to the floor, so I don't have to adjust my camera to see them properly. If I can walk right up to it and see it large in full - it's perfect! It should fill my screen, yet not require me to adjust my camera.

Wherever the landing point is at your showroom - make sure nothing blocks the path to your boxes or vendors - nothing! I don't want to wait for prims on the floor to rez, I'll start walking toward the first vendor I see. If something "invisible" that hasn't rezzed yet is blocking me from getting to it (a door, wall, display box, sign, etc.) - I will become frustrated. You begin losing points in my shopping experience scorecard. Don't do this to me.

Put up simple dividing walls to create open, yet slightly confined sections for each genre of your products. Bed rooms in this space, Living rooms in that and kitchens over there. Arrange it all so I can only see one or two sections at a time. This speeds rezzing for me as only what I need to see will be rezzed first. Then as I peruse your unbelievably awesome wares, the other sections will begin rezzing as I come close to them, ready to be ogled as well when I get there.

It is a simple matter of controlling the rezzing process for me - you have that control by how your showroom is arranged. I, on the other hand have no choice but to drink-in as you force-feed me your rezzing textures in the method you dish it out: either is a nice, smooth trickle or with the download pressure of a fire-hose.

Oh, and I am a hunter.
I am impatient.
I want it now.

I might not wait for that fire-hose to stop force-feeding me.


Want the whole kaboodle? There is far more detail in the 'how' and 'why' in my book: Successful Business in Second Life (SBSL - Second Edition for 2009/10; 270-pages) is available at XStreet SL. The book includes both, an in-world and eReader version. There also is an  Amazon Kindle version, (you receive both: ereader and in-world versions no matter where you purchase it.)

Now... about your customer care - make it genuine, will you?
Winterfest Tour

Note: these images were screen-captured using the Kirsten's Viewer S-18 - with shadow-casting turned on. No post-processing, no touch-ups - in fact, no image-editing software has touched these at all. They are straight from screen to Flickr.

Winterfest Tour


Winterfest Tour


Winterfest Tour


Winterfest Tour


Winterfest Tour


Winterfest Tour

The Linden Home Styles to choose from (Premium Accounts only):

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