As a shopper, I love Xstreet SL. However, as a shopper I hate Xstreet SL. On the other hand as a merchant I love Xstreeet SL. But I also hate Xstreet SL for the extra work is causes me.

You can't live with it and you can't live without it. I won't hold my breath for something better to come along.

As a customer:
Xstreet SL is probably the easiest and fastest way to "shop" for anything Second Life. I didn't say it was easy or fast. Rather it is easier and faster than hunt-shopping on the grid in-world. Thus, making it easiest and fastest, but still really sucking the "hind teat" as far as things go.

As a merchant:
The experience of creating and maintaining a listing is the evil incarnate. I must maintain a separate "inventory" box, jump through the most inefficient web design "dashboard" known to man (okay, known to Second Life merchants) and keep all this stuff synchronized. Additionally, the web interface is inefficient and outright a pain-in-the-royal-ass to use with too many damned clicks here and there and page refreshing. Is there any web-tool worse?

As a customer:
Shopping on XSL is hit or miss. Does it cost less in-world than on XSL? Is the XSL "version" up-to-date with the latest script versions? Is this really all this merchant sells or is there a much larger selection in-world?

As a merchant: I have to box everything (extra work if that's not needed in-world); I have to take a lot of pictures of my stuff (extra work if it's not needed in world); I have to wrack my brain to write a creative, convincing sales pitch to put onto XSL (extra work if it's not needed in-world). Effing XSL sucks, but I have to do it because it's not only a sale outlet, it's advertising.

As a customer:
I face a damned double-edge sword with Xstreet SL because I might be paying more for the same thing than if I buy in-world, I might be getting an old version of the same thing in world, I might not be seeing the perfect product I'm looking for because it's not listed on XSL, but it is for sale in-world.

As a merchant:
I will ignore Xstreet SL at my own peril because such a large potential customer-base will shop there or at least conduct their shopping search through there. The extra work is miserable where I must take and edit pictures of every damned product, even though they aren't required in-world (because my products are rezzed for use and perusal); I must write-up something to convince the browser to actually teleport to my showroom or even less: make that purchase right then and there; I have to maintain two inventories of the same stuff.

As a customer:
I love to hate to love that damned Xstreet SL for all the damned garbage I must filter through to even see the stuff I am interested in, then decide if I am paying more than I need, am getting the current version of something and even if a creator has what I really want, but aren't listing it there.

As a merchant:
I love to hate to love that damned Xstreet SL for all the extra hard work I must do explicitly to list my stuff there even through all that work is unnecessary in-world, so it's really easier to list only my older stuff and get to the new stuff when I am bored out of my head and have absolutely nothing better to do.

I love to hate to love you, XSL. You suck hind-teat1 . Damn you.

  1. "Sucking hind teat" refers to being in a tenuous or unsavory position. It is commonly used during poker games or tournaments. The phrase is based on the understanding that the anterior teats on a sow are considered to be more desirable then the posterior. The hind piglet must face the likelihood of being bumped off when a new piglet approaches, usually wedging between the first and second position.

Copybot scenario has run rampant without anything to hold it back since mid 2006. The only thing keeping the activity at bay was the technical geeky knowledge one must have to make it work. Then along came the open-source Second Life viewers where all the computer code that explains how things are put together on the grid were unleashed. So, of course the copybot scenario moved from the uber-geek crown far closer into what one might call "mainstream" abilities. It becomes too easy for anyone and everyone to "copybot" anything on the grid.

So the first salvo in fighting back, almost three-and-a-half years later, that has any real meaning in terms of any kind of effectiveness is the "Client Detection System" ( properly: CDS Ban Relay) by Skills Hak.

The system uses discreet and covert methods to determine which Second Life client software (viewer) you are using, then matches that information against a database of known "illicit" viewers; hence the viewers that can be easily used to break the Linden Lab Terms of Service on the Second Life Grid.

Now there are three chapters to the entire copybot hysteria controversies:

  • The original fear by creators of being "copybotted"
  • The ridiculously shrill and vehement copybot "vigilantes"
  • And now the CDS Banhammer against anyone known to have (or had) copybot abilities via the use of an illicit viewer.

Obviously these are highly-charged emotional issues. Creators work hard to create their creations. Often is it a labor-of-love and at other times it is painful, gruelling work and when that work in either case is stolen it is painful enough. But when others actually make a profit from that theft, especially when it is to the detriment of your remaining business, it can be outright soul-killing (emotionally-speaking, of course.)

Here is where things become laughable...

When copybot first hit the scene in 2006 there was wide-spread outright panic. Sim-owners would actually shut everything down, denying access to anyone. Even parcel owners whose retail stores were salt-and-peppered through the grid put-up the "ban" lines and preferred to take zero business for fear of being ripped-off. Misinformation was rampant and half the grid literally shut-down. Then came the scam that a simple chat command could disable the copybot system and the other half of the grid would spam open chat with stupid statements every 10-seconds.

Except for the sheer unnecessary outright panic, this was a genuine concern.

Then came the idiot vigilantes who, by inspection, don't know what it is they are actually looking at. More often than not they see what they think is copybotted items and start Abuse-Reporting people left and right. Spewing vitriol in vigilante groups and raising the mob with torches and pitchforks to overwhelm someone's place, spreading rumors and lies as fact, sometimes ruining someone's business and reputation over false information.

Now it is the flip-side of the coin: The CDS comes along. The first ever tool for creators to even attempt to fight-back against "copybotting" and the vitriol continues. Whenever the CDS system is spoken of in the SLogosphere, the comments section always contains the requisite idiotic replies:

  • "I use the (name of copybottable viewer) and I don't steal anything. This is stupid and unfair!"
  • "Just because I use (name of copybottable viewer) doesn't mean I'm a thief!"
  • "This is stupid. I am boycotting every store that uses the CDS!"
  • "The CDS is illegal! It illegally scans your hard disk!"
  • "The CDS steals your personal information! I have a right to PRIVACY! It should be BANNED!!!11!ONE11!!"
  • "What if I become banned? Where is the list of viewers it won't ban? ZOMG! I'll be banned on the official viewer!!!!!"

Here is why all the above statements are utterly ludicrous:

"I use the (name of copybottable viewer) and I don't steal anything. This is stupid and unfair!" Having the ability to copybot anything also is unfair. The fact of the matter is you can't be trusted. Why? The answer is simple: you actively went through the research and motion to seek-out a copybot-capable viewer, downloaded and installed it and actively choose to use it even though there are many other very good viewers out there. Since you actively chose to go out of your way to obtain that software, the use of its capabilities was your intent, regardless of whether you actually exercised that intent. And if you have chosen not to, you would discontinue using that viewer as the non-illicit viewers are better and more stable. Hence your argument is moot or an outright lie. You simply cannot be trusted.

"Just because I use (name of copybottable viewer) doesn't mean I'm a thief!" Perhaps. However, in that case my use of the CDS system is not meant as a strike against you. I must go with the lowest common denominator and that is the illicit viewer itself. Not because you are using it. But because the unscrupulous thieves are using it. Thus, it automatically becomes "guilt-by-association". If you choose to continue that association then I have no answer for you. You are foolish enough to continue using that viewer so if you get your ass handed to you by that system, by all means do file an appeal to be removed from the grid-wide ban list. Certainly your upstanding citizenship will be taken into consideration and mercy will be poured all-over you in this case.

"This is stupid. I am boycotting every store that uses the CDS!" Wow. This is actually a good thing because you are likely not the kind of "customer" I want. First, based on the previous two arguments and also because unless I advertise that I use CDS (why on earth would I do that?) the only way to know its presence is by getting yourself banned (hence you fall into the groups above) or you're an alt of someone banned or you accidentally bumped into the actual prim (which is hidden). Thus, the only way to know which sims to "boycot" you must either be an illicit viewer user or you run with those who do: guilt by association.

"The CDS is illiegal! It illegally scans your hard disk!" No. It's not illegal. No. It doesn't scan your hard disk drive. If not outright "blessed" by Linden Lab, it is approved by them. The system is totally vetted. As for the whole "scanning" your hard disk drive idea? Pah-leeze. It would mean that something on the grid would have to be scripted to tell your viewer to do that exact thing. Are you really ignorant enough to think Linden Lab would dare put that kind of ability and power into their scripting language? In truth, the only Second Life anything that will (and likely does) scan your hard disk is that illicit viewer you are using that the CDS is designed to detect.

"The CDS steals your personal information! I have a right to PRIVACY! It should be BANNED!!!11!ONE11!!" This is probably the most laughable argument of the bunch. Even if the CDS does track your I. P. (Internet Protocol) address, that is not "private" information in the least. Go to to see just how "anonymous" you truly are anywhere on the internet, including Second Life. The only possible way your "privacy" can be protected is to not connect to the internet at all. Good luck trying to connect to the grid with that.

"What if I become banned? Where is the list of viewers it won't ban? ZOMG! I'll be banned on the official viewer!!!!!" The CDS system is vetted and approved by Linden Lab. I know this is hard to believe for a lot of you, but Linden Lab is not out to "get you". They also will not knowingly allow anything that could be out to "get you". There are protections and fail-safes built-into the CDS system. This is why it is "only" 80% effective (as reported) because it will err on the safe-side, creating an environment of zero false-positives. In other words, when it catches an illicit viewer it doesn't make a mistake. If it is unsure, it will go with the safe-side and not ban that user.

In short:

  • CDS is vetted and approved by Linden Lab, meaning it not only meets ToS requirements, but also is friendly to the Grid system.

  • CDS will not falsely ban anyone using a legitimate viewer - unless that person is already banned previously on the same or another sim on the grid while actually using an illicit viewer. The system will remember you and if you are banned at one sim that uses CDS, you are now banned from all sims where the CDS is installed. Thus, if you were banned for using an illicit viewer yesterday and login with a "safe" legitimate viewer today: you are still banned unless and until you file an appeal and are removed from the grid-wide ban list.

  • Privacy and "scanning" is a misnomer with regard to the CDS system. If any of that happens to you it's not the CDS system, it's the viewer you are using. The CDS system is a scripted object. Linden Lab certainly would not allow such abilities in their scripting language as that would open them up to some serious legal action.

  • CDS is practically invisible. The only way to know one exists on the grid is by divulgement (the parcel owner actually advertises that they use it); by actually seeing the CDS prim object and knowing what it is; or by having your virtual ass handed to you when you encounter a sim using it. The only other way is by word of mouth which doesn't do much for your credibility with regard to your associations. Thus, by proclaiming your "boycot" of sims that use CDS only tell me that you are full of crap and your bark is a magnitude worse than your bite or you are a flat-out lier and thief trying to convince me otherwise. Your boycotting me is probably doing me the favor.

In a nutshell: the CDS system is a good thing for creators and builders. It's the only real defense in almost four years against the scourge of thieves and ne'er-do-wells running rampant across the grid.

Since Ari *cough* ranted *cough* about people who complain about LL's services... I thought I would put my two cents in :p

As someone who doesn't own a business in SL, I don't complain about losing money when the grid is down and transactions are borked. But it does irk me sometimes because it means I can't do the things I wanted or planned to do. It's like you planned to have a picnic outside under the trees, but suddenly the skies open and rain begins pouring down, so you have to change plans. Or you wanted to drive out, but you get in the car and discover the car won't start.

car won't start

I don't see why residents shouldn't feel unhappy when Linden Lab sneezes and the grid goes wonky. I feel unhappy when it rains and I can't go on my picnic, even though that dude up there who controls the weather doesn't owe me anything. I know LL doesn't owe me anything, but they are providing a service, and since they choose to provide this service, I expect them to provide a reliable one.

It's their prerogative if they decide not to worry about reliability, of course. But if they want people to use their service, then reliability has to be emphasised. Because if people find the service unreliable, they become frustrated. When they are frustrated, they will leave.

You see, for most of us, SL is like a hobby, something we do in our spare time... something we do for fun. Ari has said he doesn't rely on SL to provide him an income, and of course I don't either, since I don't have an inworld business. In my case, SL actually bleeds me of money because I don't have a way to get other people's cash to pay off my obligations to Linden Lab, as Ari so nicely put it :p

So why am I still here?

money money money

Ari suggested that I'm still here because I believe I'm getting my money's worth: "Based on the real money you spend with Linden Lab, are you getting what you pay for? Obviously you do, else you wouldn't still be in-world," he said rather wickedly. Nice way of boiling things down, but the problem is, that's the wrong argument to use. Hobbies can't be measured in monetary terms. They can't. Because cost is not the issue; the issue is enjoyment.

So if the grid were unstable to the point where residents were unable to get anything done, the frustrations would likely make everyone give up on SL. The thing is, although people complain about downtime and hiccups, it actually isn't a terribly regular occurrence. It occurs frequently enough for people to groan, "The grid is borked again," but it doesn't occur so often that SL residents find it impossible to have any semblance of a normal, enjoyable Second Life. Otherwise, people would have thrown in the towel in frustration long before this. They wouldn't find their hobby worth so much stress and annoyance. Hobbies are supposed to be enjoyable!

Of course, people still complain despite the fact that the grid is much more stable than we generally make it out to be. There doesn't exist a single person on this earth who hasn't complained when things aren't going their way. That's human nature. If the grid had zero downtime, residents would still find something to complain about. Life is like that. *shrugs*

You know that every time Linden Lab sneezes, the naysayers and crybaby whiners come out of the woodwork, especially the begrudged who like to proclaim they pay Linden Lab umpteen hundreds or thousands of "real life" dollars each month (they don't). The sad thing is they all are clowns, but aren't pretending to be.

Anshe Chung, the Azure Islands, name your big-business-money-maker-here people and anyone who sends Linden Lab hundreds or thousands of so-called "real life" dollars in tier and other fees each month are all full of crock.

(Note: I have never seen any complaint from Anshe Chung company or the Azure Islands people, they are just well-known "big business" names I am throwing out as examples of "big money-makers". This post is about the vocal whiners who comment on blogs and the rest.)

In fact, they (the so-called "money-makers") pay nothing of their own money to Linden Lab. And here's why...

They are getting such a free ride. Their complaints of "losing money" every time the grid hiccups or Linden Lab conjures a new policy or idea might be true - sales could be down - but proclamations that they are "owed" anything for spending so much "real life money" is outright laughable.

I hold my nose and point.

Especially to the loudest idiots like Stroker Serpentine and all those so-called "land barons" who can only bitch and whine about the good things like the move of "adult" content to the walled garden of Zindra or the new Linden Home project and the rest.

I send Linden Lab hundreds of dollars every month, too.

However, unlike all those other "big players" who bitch and whine about it, I am a realist because I clearly recognize that all the real life money I send to Linden Lab every month isn't and never was my money. It's Linden Lab's money to begin with and any money (real life or pretend token) they don't take which sits in my account as a "credit" is money they allow me to keep.

And in it all, none of it ever was my money and never will be - unless I do a full cash-out and Linden Lab chooses - at their discretion and kindness - to deposit to my PayPal account or send me a check.

That's because all the money I play with in Second Life is someone else's money. None of it whatsoever is my money to begin with, meaning all those bitchers who whine to Linden Lab all the time also proclaim to be spending so much of their own money...aren't really spending a dime of their own money.

None of it. Not a real life single penny and not a pretend life single Linden Dollar. It all belongs to someone else. There are a lot of people who use LindeX - the Linden Lab exchange - to spend real money in buying Linden Dollars. Then they spend those Linden Dollars in-world. I, like all other merchants, hope to win their business so they spend it with me and my in-world "company".

I turn around and convert those Linden Dollars those other people gave me, which they purchased with their own money, into a real U.S. Dollar credit. I never owned any of that money up to now and technically, I still don't.

I leave my real dollar credit sitting their because when my tier and other fees are due to Linden Lab they will take what I owe from that credit first - before taking from my real life bank account. Anything left-over is what we all know as profit.

If I request Linden Lab reimburse me that left-over credit then, and only then does any of this become "my" money - which I will most unlikely send back to Linden Lab to pay any of my tier and fee obligations.

Hence: I am not spending a single dime of real life legal tender currency, a.k.a. "money" with or on Linden Lab.


So the next time you see some whiner on the official blogs lambasting Linden Lab for whatever reason and they proclaim they "spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars of "real life" money on Linden Lab" - debunk them. Call them out for the charlatan they are and tell them to first get a clue and second, learn real world business paradigms with regard to accounts payable versus accounts receivable and stop dishing bullshit.

I wasn't in-world yesterday, but I saw through the RSS feeds from the Grid Status page that the Asset Servers where having real issues all day:

[Resolved] Asset Server Error Messages Posted by Status Desk on March 18th, 2010 at 02:20 pm PDT

[Resolved 2:20pm PDT] We have resolved the issues with the asset server. Residents should feel free to resume in-world purchases.

[UPDATE 1:30pm PDT] We continue to work on the asset server issues.

[UPDATE 11:43am PDT] We continue to work on the asset server issues.

[UPDATE 9:42am PDT] Work on the asset server issue is still in progress.

[8:42am PDT] We are aware of a problem affecting some residents when rezzing or deleting items and getting asset server error messages. We also suggest temporarily refraining from inworld purchases until we give the all-clear. We are currently investigating the problem and will post updates here.


For approximately 6.5 hours the Asset Servers were more or less dysfunctional. This means you cannot rez objects from your inventory, pick-up rezzed items from the world, change your clothes and most important: spend any money.

I can only imagine the vitriolic shrill screaming that would be in the comments on those blog entries had Linden Lab allowed comments on that blog!

Then there was some issue with the support portal. Then, after that was this:

[RESOLVED] Logins currently unavailable Posted by Status Desk on March 18th, 2010 at 05:10 pm PDT

[RESOLVED March 18th 5:50pm] Login problems have now returned to normal.

[UPDATE March 18th 5:10pm] There are still some residual problems with logins, we are investigating the issue and are working to resolve it. Please watch here for any new updates.

[POSTED March 18th 3:45pm] Some residents may be experiencing issues attempting to login. We are aware of the issue and are working to resolve it. Please watch here for any new updates.

I do some International business in the middle of the night (Pacific time) but a large part of my business transactions occur during the SL day. So, imagine my surprise when I logged-into my Second Life account page to download daily transactions and the default list (from mid'night last to current time) was blank. The old "No transaction for this period" message.


I would have expected something to be "down" as business for the entire grid was dead from 8;30-ish through 2:30-ish, but should have started picking-up around 3:00 P.M. or so (they did) - but then there was the double-whammy of login issues from about 4:00 P.M.-ish to 6:00 P.M.-ish; two hours for a total of eight hours of SNAFU. That really can put a damper in sales.

Though there is no report of any SNAFUs over night on the status page, what's to say there weren't any? The status page is often 15 to 30-minutes behind "real time" on the grid. Is it possible something exploded overnight and it just wasn't posted?

I don't know.

However, in the end it is wise that Linden Lab does not allow comments on the Grid Status pages because the whiners, crybabies and outright idiotic "hate-the-world-just-to-hate-it" knuckleheads would have a field day.

Which is really shameful because Linden Lab owes all of us nothing. And all those big-wig top "money-makers" on the grid who like to bitch about how they "spend thousands of real life dollars" with Linden Lab so therefor Linden Lab owes them something are a complete joke and a farce. Laughable clowns from my perspective.

None of that money was or is theirs to begin with. They are simply passing other people's money up the food chain.

They are conceited, stuck-up, self-centered, entitlement, whiney-assed buffoons.

And I know damned well there are a lot of surname Lindens thinking what I just said, but can't say it because their words would be bastardized into being some kind of an "official" statement or something or other.

As for all the money "lost" yesterday? /me shrugs. It wasn't and still isn't my money to begin with. As long as I am able to earn enough business from other people to use their money to pay my obligations to Linden Lab each month, I'm content.

Simply put: I'm not stupid and foolish enough to consider Second Life as any kind of "income".

link: Second Life Grid Status Reports


©2007-Present, Andr'Deco & Pixietale Studios, DBA Socially Mundane; Common Sensible

Linden Lab really wants you to use the Second Life "Viewer 2" - a beta version so you will report all that you find wrong with it, also it affords you the opportunity to get used to it. There are many comments and SLogoshpere articles on the merits (good and bad) of Viewer 2 and my own experience is that I like it much more than I dislike it.

As for bugs, the only real bug that bothers me thus-far is that my preferred inventory sorting method (by name, not date, and "system folder" not always at the top) is not "sticky" between sessions. Each logging requires these settings to be reapplied. This was in the original beta version released some time ago. So, in fairness, Linden Lab has just released an updated version. However, the blog post announcing it included a "detailed" list of bug fixes and this bug was not mentioned, so I'll pass on this round.

As for "features" - there are two that really irk me:

  • Setting properties (including permissions) on multiple items in my inventory. Previously a tabbed widget would appear, each tab representing one of the items. In the new viewer, properties appear in the slide-bar - and only one. So how do I change properties on multiple items in my inventory at the same time without dropping them into a prim and using the "batch" permissions change?
  • The other thing that irks be is that there is no way to see your grid/region coordinates unless you click the "location" bar at the top of the screen. Region coordinates are those number that tell you where you are: 128, 200, 21 - being on the map: east, north, altitude. The problem is you must click your location bar to see the coordinates. However, as soon as you begin moving again, they disappear. I use those coordinates constantly - most often the altitude, but also the east and north numbers.

I'll wait for the next beta (I often skip a version on most of the software I own anyway). So how do I know Linden Lab really, really wants you to use V2?

Take a simple look at the Linden Lab download page.

If you are logged-in to your Second Life account it's actually more difficult to locate the current release of the official viewer and considerably more difficult to locate the release version of the Snowglobe viewer. However, we are blasted in the face with the "download Viewer 2 beta" adverts on practically every page (even in our dashboards) - everywhere we go. I don't blame Linden Lab for this. Were I in Mr. Kingdon's shoes, I'd decree the same thing.

I rebuilt my computer system with windows XP again, and went to download the current Snowglobe and that is when I really paid attention to the location, navigation and availability changes regarding these downloads.

  • Side-note: when will Linden Lab get a clue? Why does Linden Lab officially maintain two release viewers? It's not only confusing but seems also to me to be a waste of Linden Lab resources.

Attention Linden Lab: Drop the twin-viewer nonsense. Take the performance code from Snowglobe, inject it into Viewer 2 then drop Snowglobe or vice-versa. Stop forcing us to choose. Get a freakin' clue, will you?

So in this fracas of trying to locate Snowglobe (I was in a hurry as I had nothing installed at the time) - and I knew I didn't want the official current release, nor the Viewer 2 Beta 1 and I'm really not interested in Emerald (a bit bloated with unnecessary features for my own tastes) I decided to go back to my old die-hard: Kirstens Viewer.

Until Snowglobe came along, Kirsten's was by-far the best performing viewer to come along. With the advent of Snowglobe, Linden Lab and Kirsten Cinquetti have been leap-frogging each-other with each new respective version. Kirsten's viewer first noted for it's stunning performance then became even better known for its "shadow-cast" ability.

Apparently there is shadow-casting code built-into the official viewer (and by extension third-party viewers) but that code is not only not officially supported and the use of it is even perhaps discouraged by Linden Lab. In fact, you have to be pretty darned technically-minded and jump through a few hoops to be able to turn it on. At first, Kirsten used this code but has since tweaked and tinkered and now her shadow-casting code is more or less a custom thing.

So I installed Kirsten's current S19 viewer (she already is working on S20, "Viewer 2" code-injection) and as always, the performance is stunning. Is it as fast as Snowglobe? I'm not sure. But it is certainly close enough (except for grid map-rendering).

The wonderful thing is how easy Kirsten makes it to turn the shadows feature on an off. It requires three easily-accessible check-boxes available in the main interface. Your computer will take a performance hit with shadows turned-on, but it's gorgeous and in my own case that hit isn't so heavy as it used to be.

So, with shadows turned-off I get blazing performance. However, as a picture-taker I can quickly and easily switch shadows on, snap away, then turn them off again when I need that performance back (such as when I am sailing and moving across the grid rapidly, especially in prim-heavy mainland areas.)

And the one single sole feature Emerald offers that I do miss: double-clicking to teleport is in the current version of the Kirsten viewer! And, no bloat with useless features I personally really don't care about such as bouncing primtits.

Now, if only Kirsten could set that shadow on/off option to a be one-click toggle (instead of three) - we'll really have something. As for updating S20 with Viewer 2 code: Kirsten, please note my two grievances about V2 above. I don't need or want another hud to tell me my region coordinates and I certainly don't want to dump inventory into a prim to batch-change properties.

Example pix... the first being what most see in SL with standard rendering. The second being the same view with Kirsten's "shadow-casting" turned-on. The only issue other than the slight (for me) performance hit is how shiny objects are treated (note the mariner bell, the lamp on the mast and the compass podium at steerage).

Here is the no-shadows, standard look everyone else sees:

And the same view with shadows turned-on. In both cases sunlight was manually set to "Midday". (Click each image to see the high-resolution version at my Flickr page).

Check out Kirsten's blog (and where you can get her viewer) here.

©2007-Present, Andr'Deco & Pixietale Studios, DBA Socially Mundane; Common Sensible

It's been a couple weeks since Linden Lab started issuing Linden Homes to premium account holders and that first weekend was a nightmare for many as they "sold-out" rather quickly.

My first first difficulty was in deciding which theme to get. The last time I had actually visited the Linden Homes was way back when first announced and previewed - so I was going off memory with regard to some things. That and all the negative hype by naysayers on the Official blogs:

  • The lag is horrendous!
  • They are too close together, like sardines in a can!
  • There is no privacy!
  • All the window views are into the homes of others!
  • Even if the house doesn't count, you can't do anything with only 117 prims!

I thought the "Meadowbrook" ("California-style") homes to be the least visually creative and interesting, but I found they sold-out the fastest and I see why: they are the largest. I decided on this style and it took a lot of clicking and refreshing of the "order" page until I finally got one.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived is all of the above objections, save the prim limits, are total bunk. The house (and build) is quite nice. The window views are considerably better than I expected and no different from a real life view in a similar kind of neighborhood. Not only respectable, but actually pleasant.

Even with my draw distance set to 512 meters, once I allow the time for things to rez, there is practically no lag, save for computer lag (my graphic card trying hard to draw and keep track of all those prims in viewing distance) - I am easily maintaining 24-frames-per-second which is completely acceptable.

And thus, a new home-owner's tour:

The last objection all the whining crybabies threw-out a lot was the 117 prim limit. The simple fact is with some creative building and care these entire homes can be decked-out quite stylishly in every room with prims to spare. And so my shameless plug: six "Linden Home Edition" furniture sets designed from the beginning for the Linden Homes and their prim limits.

All four major rooms: a complete living room, bath room, bed room and kitchen. Menu-driven and animated sit-poses throughout in themed sets. Obviously they will work well in non-Linden homes, but to know that the entire house of furniture only uses between 92 and 103 prims (depending on the theme you choose) is a bonus.

See the sets here on XSL and click the "See it in world" link on the XSL page to see the sets side-by-side in the Zodiac House store. Oh, and my home is open to all visitors!

If you want to see our "Carmine" set (the most difficult as the Meadowbrook homes are so large and thus hard to fill-out) - take the SLURL below to tour my home in Linden Land (Clarabella region) and have yourself a personal tour to see a Linden Home (and the Carmine LH Furniture set) for yourself.

Links at the bottom of this post.

Visit my Linden Home in Clarabella.

Visit XSL to see our Linden Home Edition furniture sets. Oh, and if you have one of the "Fantasy" Elderglen homes, that theme will be available by Saturday after noon.

©2007-Present, Andr'Deco & Pixietale Studios, DBA Socially Mundane; Common Sensible

I love Kirsten's viewer. It's blazing fast (easily on the same class as Snowglobe) and offers awesome features, especially "shadow-casting". And that function is easy to switch-on, switch-off at will.

The "Kirsten Viewer" is among the first to be officially blessed by Linden Lab.

Congratulations, Kirsten!

How do you move or transfer virtual land without throwing real money away by tiering-up?

I recently jump through some serious hoops wanting to tier-up and discovered that even after four-years on the Second Life (SL) grid I still have much to learn. Among all the things you can do and create in SL, among the most nerve-wracking and apprehension-inducing is land-management. This primarily has to do with the fear of accidentally owing Linden Lab more real life legal tender than you are willing or desire to pay.

The first article in this little series I am presenting is on how to read and use your land-management control panel on your Second Life account page - which you can review here.

In my last post here, I covered the "Land management" area of your SL account page in detail. So now it's time to show you how to save some real money when flipping, transferring, trading or otherwise moving your land holdings around.

A little qualifying here: Private estates and private regions are a completely different monster as far as "land tier" goes, so this information applies strictly to "Linden Mainland" parcels and ownership, which has its well-known drawbacks as compared to estates, but also has many serious benefits over and above estates. I personally choose the latter and thus own twice as many full regions on the mainland as I could private regions in an estate.

To help you better understand the concepts I am about to explain, we will use a few simple scenarios. However, to keep things simple, we will assume the following:

  • You are a premium account holder.
  • You own 2048 square meters (M2) of mainland parcel (ignore the tier-free 512 M2 for this exercise - we'll assume you have a Linden Home or something).
  • You have a nice little retail shop on your existing 2048 M2 parcel that makes enough money that helps you with your current tier, but not enough to cover the next tier level.
  • You pay the requisite $15 U.S. for the 2048 parcel you have now and even one more square meter will bump you up to the next tier level ($25) per month.

Now, let us get started, shall we?

As is always the case, you find your nice plot of virtual land and decide it suits wonderfully. Over time, for one reason or another, you decide it's time to move. But this causes a problem. How do you transfer to a new parcel, often in another sim entirely, without tiering-up?

The problem is that Linden Lab charges your account tier based on the peak number of square meters you have owned at any single moment. If my tier payment is due on the first of each month and I own 2048 M2, that payment is $15 on the first of each month. So if I pay my $15 on january 1st and purchase another single square meter (impossible on the grid, so for example only) and I then own 2049 M2 - my February bill will become $25 - as I have just "tiered-up". This also is a major waste of money, which we will cover in the next posting about land management on the grid.

Even if I immediately sell that one square meter in the next 60-seconds. The rules state that for that one minute, I owned 2049 M2 - for which the tier falls into the 4096 category and is $25 per month.

So this puts me into a predicament: I already have 2048 M2, which I will call "parcel A" - and I have looked around and I see a nice 2048 M2 in another region where I would like to move to, which I will call "parcel B".

However, all my retail store, demonstration items, vendors, home are all set-out on parcel A. I can approach this in a couple of ways:

  • I can set parcel A for sale and go ahead an purchase Parcel B if I am willing to tier-up to $25 for one month.
  • I can sell parcel A and not purchase parcel B until after the sale - tiering down to zero (0) dollars per month temporarily until I purchase parcel B.
  • I can abandon parcel A and purchase Parcel B immediately without tiering up.

Let us look at each of these scenarios in turn...

Scenario one: tiering-up temporarily. I can set parcel A for sale, purchase Parcel B, and get started to setting B up with my store and home. Once that is done I will set a "we've moved" sign and landmark giver to my new store location.

The best way to handle this in a way to get the biggest "bang" for your extra buck is to do so as close as possible to your tier-billing day. If you are billed by Linden Lab for your tier on the 1st of each month, do this on the 2nd. This way you maximize the time you have to get that parcel A sold at a higher price and you can take your sweet time in setting-up parcel B. Set parcel A for sale at as high a price as you think you can get. If it doesn't sell in a week, lower the price a couple L$ per M2. Repeat if it doesn't sell in the second week and so on.

If parcel A doesn't sell by the 25th or 26th of the month (since billing day is the 1st of the following month) - drop the price to a ridiculously low level. If it doesn't sell by the afternoon of the last day in the current billing period: hit the abandon button.

In this scenario you are willing to pay the extra $10 for the month in the hope to make a little something back on the land sale and also to have the time to transfer everything in a more leisurely timeline. If you end-up abandoning parcel A, then think of the extra tier money as the cost for having a full month to move things around.

Scenario two: sell before purchase. This method allows me to move without tiering-up and paying extra money to Linden Lab for the month. However, it poses a couple of real problems I will be concerned with:

  • If my existing parcel A does not sell quickly, will the new parcel B I want still be available when A finally does sell?
  • When parcel A sells, all my stuff will be auto-returned to me and end-up in my lost and found folder in coalesced form - I won't know what is what!
  • I cannot start rebuilding my store and home on parcel B until I actually own it - which will be after parcel A sells.
  • My store will be gone as soon as parcel A sells and I will not have a store to sell from until I get it rebuilt on parcel B - which could be a rather stressful time as I rush to get the transfer of my store completed!

I certainly do not recommend this method of land transfer unless of course you are simply moving a home or whatever else you have that people aren't going to actually be looking for and throwing money at you for whatever is there. However, if you have a retail store or club or any other "destination" location, this scenario leaves too much outside your control to really be a wise business decision.

The answer, believe it or not, is scenario three!

Linden Lab may not like (or may not even care) what I am about to advise you on here, but it really is the best way to go about this from a money-saving business sense. Before you do anything, create the sign you will post - something to the effect of "We've moved! Click here for a landmark." - that landmark of course goes to the new parcel B you are about to purchase.

Next, go into edit-mode (CTRL-3 or Command-3 on Mac) - be sure to stand in the very middle of your store, select everything. Right-click and choose "More" then "Take a copy". You now have all your stuff, ready to rezz in a single drop.

Be sure your store is on the ground as teleporters may not work after abandoning the parcel. Go into land options and set things as desired. I recommend: allowing scripts, object creation, object entry, teleporting anywhere for everyone. In the objects tab, set autoreturn to about 10-minutes. Test your landmark giver and use the LM it gives you to be sure it works as intended.

Abandon the parcel.

Go to your Land Manager web page on your account to verify you are now tiered-down to $0 (it will not save your change to 0$ if you are not actually tiered-down - it might take a couple minutes for the web site to recognize you have actually done so).

Once verified that you are now tiered-down, go to parcel B and purchase it. Unfortunately the shape of parcel B is likely different from parcel A (which you have just abandoned). Go back into Edit mode (CTRL-3/Command-3) so the edit tools widget is showing. Also be sure in the View menu you have "Show property lines" turned on so you can see your parcel borders.

Remember that copy of all your stuff you took into inventory? Rezz it - when dragging from your inventory, put your mouse pointer at the absolute center of your new parcel. If any of your stuff goes outside your borders, they should stay put as long as you have the whole bundle selected.

Holding the SHIFT key, begin selecting those parts of your stuff that are clearly inside your border so they become unselected, leaving the other stuff outside your border selected.

Now, slide the remaining stuff into your border and again, shift-click to deselect. Continue this until all your stuff is now inside your border. At this point it's just a matter of cleaning-up and rearranging things.

Because parcel A was abandoned, your store and other stuff you left there will remain until a surname Linden comes along to return it all to you, which could be as little as an hour but more often a week or two. This allows people still teleporting into there to continue purchasing from you and more importantly: able to get that forwarding landmark to your new location while you get the new location all set-up over the next couple days.

Why abandon? Because it is a stress-free way to make the move without tiering-up. Additionally, it is unlikely parcel A would have sold very quickly unless your asking price is ridiculously low - in which case, the amount you would have made is most probably considerably less than the extra $10 in tier fee you would have to pay in the tiered-up level.

Consider the loss of a potential land sale to simply be the cost of the move. Sure, this scenario is counter intuitive, but as good business-sense goes: brilliant as you are saving a lot of real money.

I am rather afraid that I'm a furniture snob. I refuse to buy furniture with poseballs.

I don't mean menu-driven furniture that rezzes poseballs. I mean furniture with poseballs linked to it. Yes, I'm appalled that in 2010, there are still furniture creators selling sofas dotted with poseballs. Witness this:

This couch and the accompanying loveseat and single seat, ladies and gentleman, is currently retailing on Xstreet for $600L. Do people buy this stuff? I guess I have to conclude that they do, since sellers are still offering this stuff. *shakes head sadly*

When I see something like this, it immediately tells me that this creator is living in his or her own little world and isn't in sync with SL. Poseballs were necessary -- and common -- in the earlier days, but these days most furniture makes use of sit target scripts to embed poses directly into furniture prims without having to resort to poseballs. I do not know how anyone can have been in SL for any length of time and not have noticed this development.

Further, a product like this tells me that this creator is not willing to innovate, or doesn't care about innovation. They don't care about improving themselves, honing their skills, upgrading their products. They are happy to do things the way they always have, because that's what they know and that's what they're familiar with. They don't want to try new things, to experiment, to learn.

And so I find this a truly unforgivable crime, because poseballs on furniture are so ugly. They completely ruin the aesthetics of the piece. You would think a creator, having crafted his product so lovingly and carefully, would want it to look the best that it possibly can. He ought to want to present it in the most flattering light. No, instead he blights the look with ugly poseballs.

blue couch with poseballs

But, even if the poseballs are textured invisible and therefore unseen, they take up unnecessary prims. Now, I've been accused of being a "prim Nazi" because I count every single prim. You can't deny, however, that the prims do tend to add up, and if you are on a small parcel, every prim counts. Witness the bench in the ad above: 4 prims (including 2 poseballs), it says. If the creator had taken the trouble to use a sit target script, that bench would only be 2 prims.

All in all, I truly see no reason for furniture to ever require linked poseballs. The minute I set eyes on something like this, I have a negative perception of the creator. Sometimes, as with the bench above, I rue the fact that the creator is so behind the times, because if not for the not-so-minor detail of the poseballs, the product would be lovely and well worth buying. It is such a pity, such a waste.