"Listen with an open mind, but don't try to remember this stuff. There's no quiz at the end." Jack Kornfield

Friday, April 29, 2011

Gambling anyone?

******************************Where we come from****************************
Love affairs in virtual worlds.
They happen all the time, often they are the virtual equivalent of one night stands and as such could be filed under *no harm, no foul*. Sometimes those one night stands turn into a few weeks or even a few months commitment before the affair fails. There are as many reasons for failure as there are people involved... plus there is the added problem of anonymity inherent in these worlds.
Monday will be my fourth rezz day and in these past four years I have witnessed more than a few of these love affairs that have proved rather tragic. When I say tragic, I mean that in a real sense. There is the tragedy of a broken heart that drives someone from the magic of these worlds,  there is the tragedy of attempted suicide, and pretty much everything in between.
Yes, there are successes, one of my friends has had the same partner since they both came to Secondlife four years ago but I'm not a gambler, and the odds of a lasting romantic relationship are longer than I'm ready to accept.
While everyone wants someone to love, I'm just not sure virtual worlds are the place to find that love.
There is one thing I am certain of.
There is no need for a third party to play Cupid... and absolutely no place for playing Cupid for entertainment, the stakes are too high.

And so it goes
I love you all, brinda

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

So long to Bobby.... And a Thank You to Miso.

******************************Where we come from*************************
OK, here's some totally unrelated disconnected stuff that has rented space in what little bit of brain I have left.
Yesterday I made this statement:  Like most anything, there's what we read and think we know, and what we experience and really know.
I learned today that Bobby is dead.
Now none of you, my Secondlife family, ever met Bobby.... and I never mentioned Secondlife to Bobby.
I know Bobby would have just looked at me funny and mumbled something about, "If it makes ya happy, I guess".
Bobby was my neighbor for these last twenty years, sober for the last thirty plus years, and a retired U S Navy guy. Diagnosed with colon cancer a little over a year ago, as late as a couple months ago he was still in denial about the terminal aspect of his illness, "I'm gonna be OK" he would say.
All the few regular readers of this blog know that I am a Buddhist... and as such, I tend to have quite a different view of life and death than the average westerner.
The cause of death is birth.
While I will miss seeing Bobby, I'm not sad... I will always have had those last twenty years.

I continue to tell anyone that will listen to me that there are so many incredibly truly brilliant people here.
More than a couple times lately I have commented on why there seemed to be total silence on the part of current or former Lindens as to the inside story of what really goes on at Linden Lab.
There wasn't total silence... I just hadn't asked the right person. When I mentioned the apparent lack of information, Miso Susanowa gave me this link. {Thanks Miso!}
Reading what these current and former employees had to say explains a lot about why The Benevolent Monarchy is as screwed up in a lot of areas as it is. What does amaze me is that Secondlife works at all... let's face it, any virtual world is complicated beyond belief.

35873 concurrency Total sign-ups! Almost a year ago, when I joined, there were less than 4000. It's after midnight and there's apparently some login problems so I'll look again tomorrow.

That's all for now I guess
And so it goes
My love to you all, brinda

Monday, April 25, 2011

Learning Who We Are... Wise Choices?...

******************************Where we come from***************************
Just a few things this morning...
I've learned so much about me in these last four years. Up until just a few weeks over those four years ago, what I was certain I knew about computers was what I had read. {IE: zeros & ones...positive & negative}
Like most anything, there's what we read and think we know, and what we experience and really know.
Virtual worlds have opposing factors... because of anonymity people can be very false, and because of that same anonymity people can be freed to express what we are really like.
In my case in this last year or so I've come to understand something about myself that created so much of who I was and why I did so much of my destructive behaviour for so many years. I won't get into details, {twelve step programs suggest not doing a "fifth step from the podium". } =^..^=

I saw an avatar profile last evening that, unfortunately, I understand... I understand a lot.
"Im rude, crude, and witty! I dont usually speak unless spoken to but have a lot to say. I cuss.. A LOT! I shoot people for a living and bleed music. I dont like talking about myself because it would only make you jealous! HA! If you cant take a joke, f*** ya!"
{I added the asterisks}
Virtual worlds allow any of us to be anything we choose, I hope I've chosen wisely.

And so it goes
My love to you all, brinda

P.S Jake... were you chatting with your people in Hyderabad? Funny we were just chatting about your potential trip there.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Benares Resident. (and Rolling In The Deep with Adele)

*********************************Where we come from************************
As I recently posted, my rl part time job has had me spending more time working than I really wanted.
Hopefully the training of a workmate will be complete by next week and I will return to my 1.5 days a week. (Yes, I'm terribly spoiled!)

Our ongoing saga with Secondlife and it's perceived struggle to retain those that sign up goes on, and until The Benevolent Monarchy chooses to listen to those that are both successful in world and actually work with new people, the reported 10,000 a day that sign up will continue to just leave approx. 1500 to relog again.
Another statistic I seem to remember is around 15% end up owning land. Owning land is certainly making a commitment to more fully engage one with Secondlife... a fact not lost on the Lab. Witness the "free" linden homes available for signing up as a premium account. Hmmm.........I wonder if anyone at the Lab has ever tried to do anything with 117 prims?
I would be so willing to bet that anyone could find a quorum willing to advise the Lab on concrete solutions to improving retention. {Even those of us entirely too recalcitrant to embrace the latest fiasco  =^..^=}

Emma has posted that her regions are seeing 90% occupancy... My friend Limpy has indicated 85%, mine approach that same level so it would appear that if we get people past that very steep learning curve they will remain and add to the Labs coffers via tier.

Benares has a new resident! Just this past week I was approached by Erity Shima about the corner parcel on the main island. {Btw, I spelled her name as she chooses to use it... leaving out that silly ass "resident" part.}
(That's another idiocy I will never understand... 6 billion people on earth and I suspect very few are named resident)
She has already rezzed a wonderful house and I'm anxious to see how well she integrates herself into our community.
If I could... I would love to have our main island surrounded with 8 homestead regions, but with the current pricing, homesteads today are strictly a break even affair, there just isn't any profit if one provides any land/seascaping at all.
For what its worth section.... I saw you there on the main island, AlexHayden.  =^..^=
Just couldn't yell at you before you "pooofed" away.

After the closing I want to embed a music video... just 'cause. Adele has perhaps one of the great voices performing today. {And before you even think about anything else, remember that few of us in RL look like our avatars!} I sure as heck don't
And so it goes
My love to you all, brinda

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Other Peoples stuff.. plus-No Shiny Keys....Change my diaper please.

******************************Where we come from***************************
Reading through a lot of blog posts and comments today... My other life has kinda taken precedence over this past week so I had plenty to look at today.
I find it more than a little odd and amusing that the life where I sleep seems to often "interfere" with my virtual life... although it's been that way since May Second, 2007.

Ok,in no particular order.. {and instead of using HTML links I'll just leave a list of URLs at bottom of page.}

Crap Mariner has called the hamster a ham.....ster. I promised myself I wouldn't pile on, but it's hard not to... trust me I won't leave a hamster URL.

Miso sat right up and called 'em as she saw 'em.

Soror tried to explain that not all "negativity" is unjustified.

Emma did have a good point that all businesses have problems.

Now that last one I can agree with... to a point. {I will paste my comment to her blog below}
When I sit back sometimes and think about exactly what has to happen, let's say as I cross a region boundary, I'm totally amazed. Imagine  getting a new PC and transferring all  your data several times a minute, or even and hour. That's my impression of what goes on in a region crossing, a server hand off.
Btw... I'm guessing at that... based on our inventory isn't stored "with us", it's on LL servers.

Well, I reread this comment below... and I hope it's not seen as too harsh, anyway here it is.

"I call some negativity... but much is constructive criticism.

If The Lab really wants higher concurrency... listen to the tens of thousands of us that have actually spend hundreds of thousands of hours in world. (Thanks soror)
Thousands have complained about Spewer 2.ought oh. Not because much of it's details... but because of the confusing UI.

There's a very old Spanish saying that applies to much of how the Lab acts....
si dos personas te llaman y el culo usted debe tener una silla y el freno  (translated as)
If two people call you and ass you should get yourself a saddle and bridle.

Just listen to us... we really do know how this darn thing works. Don't treat me like a small child and hand me shiny keys to hold when my diaper needs changed."

OK enough out of me I suppose
And so it goes
My love to you all, brinda

Crap Mariner




Friday, April 15, 2011

Four Years & Friends...

******************************Where we come from***************************
My fourth rezz day is fast approaching and no one is more surprised than myself.
I have been here in Secondlife for one half of its existence.
I'm now as old here as those people that so amazed me when I first came... as old as Prissielou was when she took me under her wing and made me feel "a part of".
It's been an amazing journey and I want to thank all of you that have accompanied me on this journey.

There are a couple of people here that hold a special place in my heart.
Two came to Secondlife about the same time I did, and it's such a privilege to still have the early ones with me... I have seen that that's not the case for everyone.

Lala was my first friend, and such a joy to watch this young woman grow up from a senior in high school to someone that's graduated from University.

Twinkle. What can I say... Twinkle took me from someone that came to Secondlife unable to do things as simple as copy/paste to where I am now.
It's one thing to sit beside someone and show them how to do things with a PC... try doing it from nearly 20,000 kms away. Thank you will have to be enough.

Ling who I profiled recently, came along about seven months into this voyage. I know she will always be there... even when my decisions aren't the best.

This past year has seen another woman that's become very dear to me. Raven came to Benares just over a year ago and has finally figured out that becoming a contributory member of Secondlife doesn't always mean that one must build or script or perform. Being a member of a community is contributing... being there to chat with people is contributing.
Raven has also learned that we must constantly refine our vision here if we are to remain so in this next year I do expect to see further growth.

I have no idea how all of this will end. If Secondlife were to shut down next week....  I have a life boat ready to Inworldz, and would ask all of my Benares family to join me.
Yesterday was my 69th birthday in that life where we sleep, I'm still in good health and log in everyday with that same passion of those four years ago.
The journey continues.
And so it goes
I love you all, brinda

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Being Polite...

***************************Where we come from************************
While I have found a few idiots in these past nearly four years there really haven't been many.
Griefers sure, heck that's why I left the mainland over three years ago, and while they did crash sims as well as viewers they didn't speak like idiots or rudely, if at all.
I don't remember of ever finding some one in-world that had been around for years that didn't have a polite, courteous manner, until these evening.
A couple of examples.
I went to visit a friend at a place of business when a woman walks up. Her early words were pleasant enough. Being an inveterate profile reader I saw she had been around since mid to late 2006. Now anytime I see avatars as old as I or certainly older I always engage then in a conversation about how and why did we end up staying this long in Secondlife. I consider myself polite, reasonably well educated, and halfway knowledgeable about Secondlife, it's history and why it's in the position it's in today. First this woman's comments started out a little condescending, speaking to me as though she was the queen and I someone that she merely consented to speak with. Then what I got was a rather snotty comment about I was, "Entitled to my opinion". Really.
You will have to trust me on this, but at nearly 70, and having spent a good number of my final working years dealing with members of both the U.S. government as well as fairly high ranking military officers... I understand I'm, "Entitled to my opinion".

Sadly the second example came from what I read in a blog. When some one makes a comment suggesting a solution for a problem, I see no reason to be snide, snotty, disparaging, or disrespectful, if all else fails, ignore.
I recently had someone make a rather unkind observation about me in an anonymous blog comment.
There were a couple of options left to me...
Don't publish the comment
Publish the comment
Publish the comment and curse out the writer
Or just publish the comment with my polite added comment detailing the original point
The last was my choice. It just seemed to be the right thing to do.
I do understand that along with my cynicism I have to temper my behavior.
I'm not always successful in that... but I do try.
And so it goes
I do love you all, brinda

P.S. In the interest of tempering my behavior I decided to not post a picture of the sim or "The queen" =^..^=

Monday, April 11, 2011

Give Me a Reason to Stay Here..... please.

*******************************Where we come from*************************
I so often say that I needn't know how I know things... but when I know them.
Some call that exercise, "Following ones hunches".
While I was out around today in that world where I sleep, I kept hearing the same song.
It is a plaintive sound by Tracy Chapman, "Give Me One Reason".
Then I came home, logged on and started reading a few of the more popular blogs... I saw that the on-going concurrency slide for Secondlife continues.
Suddenly Tracy's song made sense.
I know tomorrow I will feel differently... but this evening I think I will just take a nostalgic tour to as many of the old Secondlife places as I can find. This is one of those days when my fear that The Benevolent Monarchy will screw this up seems a little overwhelming.
And so it goes
I love you all, brinda

Friday, April 8, 2011

Immersion, Imagination, Intimacy...Those don't describe "Social Media"

******************************Where we come from**************************
Some comment exchanges between soror Nishi, myself, and a few of my residents have gotten me to thinking. In these last few months we have seen a dramatic push on the part of The Benevolent Monarchy to drive the Secondlife customers in the direction of social media, specifically FailBook.
Now keep in mind that when I came to Secondlife in  mid 2007 I had no idea what the term social media really meant, and if I had been asked at that time if Secondlife was social media I'm not sure how I would or could have answered that question.

Here's my take on that today.
Secondlife is a social platform, but it's not "social media".
Social media is as intimate as my casual contact with my neighbors, or the clerk at the local grocery store. While I could call those contacts "friends"... they aren't necessarily intimate friends. The very definition of intimate precludes casual.

I suspect most of us have found nooblets whose first questions are commonly those of......
Where is everybody?
Wow, why do people here seem to be so very unfriendly?
What is there to do here?
How do you play this *game*?
It takes some time to develop intimate friendships in Secondlife... my guess is that most new accounts don't last long enough to develop those kinds of intimacies, and experience tells me that in order to remain in Secondlife beyond that initial *Wow!* moment requires imagination, immersion, and intimacy.

I've heard people say that one of the things they like about Failbook is that it's commonly a "quick fix", they can just log on, look at a few pictures, read a few lines... and bail. It requires zero immersion or intimacy.
What FailBook does offer is and audience of 500 million plus.
That's 500 million pairs of eyes, eyes that see ads... eyes that see who "likes" Secondlife.
Will those eyes end up trying Secondlife? Likely. But we don't have a shortage of people trying Secondlife.
We have a shortage of people remaining in Secondlife.
The reported retention rate of those remaining in Secondlife past say those first weeks is under 15%.
I don't have a solution for retention that I think would work for everyone, but I doubt attempting to appeal to the social media crowd is the answer.
You know... just perhaps Secondlife is a little too "geeky" for the mainstream.
If it is... please, don't dumb it down. Remember those golden days, "Your world, your Imagination"?
Not everyone has the imagination I see as necessary to make their Secondlife experience to be the experience those of us that love Secondlife have.

And so it goes
I love you all, brinda

Thursday, April 7, 2011

There is no shame in making a mistake...It's the human condition.

          **************************Where we come from**************************
OK... It's been a couple days since soror Nishi posted this. (I tried to use the link she provided to this site  but the informational link  provided now seems to be dead. I didn't want to just copy her text so go take a peek... and to see maybe why I can't find that original "80/20" information,  look at sorors comments. I'll bet "80/20" got and earful.
Many years ago I was told that statistics can be presented in such a fashion as to "prove" most any point. Witness the impressive "statistic" that, "Over 50% that loaded the viewer never returned a second time".  Well that's likely true... the numbers bandied about for years have said fewer than 15% stay, and while I can't prove what "80/20" claims is B.S. {40% increase in active users} just doesn't ring true.

Here's what I saw this evening as I dropped in at the Moose Beach InfoHub troll zone.
There were the usual suspects on voice, commonly using language that isn't acceptable in social circumstances.
And as is common today a new user standing dead center of all that confusion....  a woman from mainland China.
If you are over a year old you remember when we entered Secondlife at a safe area... a place where there were never more than about 15 avatars. A place where you could look around and see pretty much everyone that looked and acted just like you. Often at these places you found Mentors, both Secondlife Mentors as well as Independent Mentors that could answer your questions and offer advice to make your transition into this magical world seem a little easier.

I spent a lot of time on those Help Islands... One of the good things that came about in the last year of the HIs was when Ferd Frederix got together with Google and Linden Lab to provide a free translator. Often you would find one of the forty HIs populated with a majority of new avatars that didn't speak English. They were comfortable there though, because they were surrounded by other new people that looked like them, were just as confused as them, and spoke their language.
Contrast that with my new friend standing dead center of the Moose Beach troll zone.  Baierr used great English... but it is a second language for her. Secondlife is confusing enough with out dropping someone into a place where the idioms make no sense, where the language is crude, where the best one can hope for is to be ignored.
That's what I find so sad.
The best a new user can often hope for is to be ignored?

There is no shame in making a mistake. It's the human condition, it's how we learn.
The Benevolent Monarchy has tried several ways to improve The New User Experience these last two years, so far... IT'S NOT WORKING. There would be no shame in returning to a prior system that did allow some to actually demonstrate to new people that Secondlife is a culture, it's a community, it can be magic.
Yes, I still dream.

And so it goes
My love to you all, brinda

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Honesty, Grace, & Creativity Transcend Location...

**************************Where we come from**************************
              A resident and a friend that would be a credit to any place she lived,
                                                       Marianela Beaumont.
If you look at her Secondlife in-world profile you see some one that is rapidly closing in on four years here,  and I've had the pleasure of knowing her for just about a year.
Yes, Secondlife has been around since 2003 and there are a very few of those from then still around... but not many. Today those of us termed *midbies* are the old ones commonly seen on the grid.
To remain this long means Marianela is one of us that has found a passion... something that has kept her here.
Now normally I'm an avid profile reader... our profiles say a ton about us... even the blank ones. But for what ever reason I didn't dig too deeply into her profile  or it's *picks* for some months.
It turns out she creates some of the most fantastic dresses in Secondlife... actually, they aren't "dresses", they're gowns.
 I was chatting with my friend Lita one day about getting a rather formal gown to attend some quasi political function in-world and Lita gave me the landmark to Marianelas shop where I found the perfect gown.
The very next day I get a note and another copy of the gown from Marianela. She was concerned that there was some manner of glitch with the one I had purchased and she wanted to be certain I was happy.
Btw... I just deleted the copy she sent, I could see nothing wrong with the one I had bought. Service and attention to detail is why she's successful. I believe that the basics of honesty, grace, and creativity transcend ones location and that if you are kind and honest here... you are kind and honest in that life where we sleep as well.
For what it's worth, Marianelas Art In Fashion... Marianela is fluent in English, Spanish, as well as Italian.

And so it goes
I love you all, brinda

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Positive People... {and how to drive them away}

*******************************Where we come from***************************
Lately I've been trying to maintain posts of good news and stories about those people in my Secondlife that contribute in a positive way.  This evenings post will be about one of those positive people... but not necessarily about good news.
DaAngel Roussel was my very first resident at Benares... She and I chatted this evening about one of the first meetings we had when She, Ling, and I stood on the Southwest corner parcel of a brand new Benares Estates with environment set to midnight listening to a freebie jukebox I had found somewhere.... and we dreamed.

"Angel" had several places at Benares, her RL significant other found me more than he wanted around... he just wasn't happy that I counseled Angel to set boundaries for behavior and to speak up for herself.
Eventually she moved on from him, both in Secondlife as well as real life.
She worked several Secondlife jobs in order to repay the money he scammed some people out of, not because it was a legal issue... but because it was the right thing to do.

Angel recently received a letter from The Benevolent Monarchy after she elected to convert her premium account back to a basic account. Keep in mind this woman owns no land. The salient part of the letter is below.

"If we are unable to collect the amount due within seven (7) days, your account will be suspended pending payment for an additional thirty (30) days.
During that time, you will not be able to log in to Second Life.
Alt accounts may be placed into administrative hold and you may be logged out of active sessions during this time as well.
Failure to resolve this billing issue by the end of the probation period may result in the cancellation of your account."

This is a great way to provide zero support to someone that has maintained a premium account for 3 years. Angel has supplied a credit card now, but one can imagine how long it could conceivably take for the TBM to credit her account with money they will effectively extort.
Harsh words?
She has done nothing wrong and they threaten to delete her account {and inventory} if she doesn't provide them with money... money for a service they say they will provide free. {a basic account}
Darned sad.

And so it goes
My love to you all, brinda