SL Bloggers at the Particle Lounge

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 Wednesday, September 30, 2009

As promised, the semi-regular SL blogger's get-together went down at my lounge this past weekend. It was terrific fun, thanks to organizer extraordinary Tymmerie Thorne, Haley Salomon and DJ Alicia Chenaux. There were a great many bloggers present, some I had not met and others who were old pals. I did manage to snap a few pictures during the busy event. Well, actually over a hundred, to be honest. Here's just a few.

Space Alien Tymmerie Thorne presided over the event by go-go dancing on one of the floating platforms far above everyone else. She handed out prizes and issued various quote-worthy statements, but I am sworn not to publish them. 

Builder/Blogger Prad Prathivi found it most comfortable under the floor, here seen chatting with Guenevere DeCuir. The elusive Prad chatted with party-goers who kept looking for him, but could not find him.

DJ Alicia took part in the spacey theme by wearing a rather unusual hat. Or is it a hat at all? 

Bone Mosten was completely weaponized, wearing almost nothing but guns!

Veyron Supercharge made an extremely rare SL appearance and thrilled everyone with her usual amazing attire. She wasn't the only rare visitor, as Night Morrisey and a few others also made appearances.

Codebastard Redgrave and Lillie Yifu chat amidst the blue fog. Watch out for those tentacles, Codie!

As the party progressed, things got a little crazy. 

Everyone wore spacey outfits, but my favorite had to be Rosie Barthelmess, whose polar bear avatar wore a space helmet and jet-pack. I can't tell you how amusing it was to dance with a space-helmeted polar bear, bobbing her head up and down in tune with the music. It's not reality, it's SL.

Second Life Blogger’s Party - Fall 2009!

Thursday, September 24, 2009 Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yep, that’s right, it’s time for another blogger’s party. They are supposed to be monthly, but somehow that never actually happens. Much like consistent blogging, it’s hard to do. This time I’m hosting, for the first time ever! But please don’t think it’s due to my efforts - the real magician behind this event is master organizer Tymmerie Thorne, who makes things happen for SL bloggers.

The event takes place in my store, Electric Pixels at the secretly located Particle Lounge. It’s a rather strange place, as you will see. When? It all goes down on this Sunday, Sept 27th from 12-2PM SLT, and you can get there via this SLURL.

There will be conversation, dancing, music (courtesy of DJ Alicia Chenaux), controversy (perhaps, it IS the bloggers, after all) and a lot of fun. The theme for this event is “Spacey”, so you might want to wear a spacesuit, helmet, jet pack or a 22d century outfit.

Who’s invited? Certainly any member of the Second Life Bloggers in-world group or the corresponding Ning group. These groups and this event are open to anyone who blogs about Second Life or even posts Second Life pictures on Flickr. Or anyone else, for that matter - if you want to meet up with your favorite blogger, please drop by!

Oh! One more thing: when you arrive at Electric Pixels, just follow the signs and take the dangerous step...

Hide Your Products!

Saturday, September 19, 2009 Saturday, September 19, 2009

I performed an interesting experiment this week at my store, Electric Pixels. Like most SL business owners, I’ve experienced a downturn over the past year, and it’s still not great. However, by keeping my expenses low I’ve managed to survive. But there’s still a concern over how to grow sales. I’ve tried various strategies, including completely rebuilding my shop in a new way to be more inviting to visitors.

The original philosophy of the shop was to make it easy for visitors to shop. I had experienced visiting many stores where products were scattered across several rooms, resulting in awkward situations:

  • Having to find out how to move from room to room (might require opening doors, navigating difficult stairways, or even - argh - teleports!)
  • Fighting with camera controls to scan the area
  • Not realizing there was yet another room around the corner

I felt that the segmented shop design might be a detriment to sales because impatient shoppers would not put up with the troubles of locating items within the store and quickly move on to other places. After all, the next location is merely a click away.

My approach was to make an open store, where all “departments” were visible; no surprises, everything clearly marked. However, sales never were quite as good as the previous store design.

Friend Peter Stindberg suggested (more than once) that one issue with the new design might be texture rezzing. Because all my departments are visible, the SL viewer must load all textures within view - and this takes time. I didn’t really notice this effect since my computer and network are pretty good. However, those with less than adequate equipment could have been presented with a scene full of anonymous grey boxes. I wasn’t so sure, but thought this was worth an experiment.

My approach was rather trivial: I simply placed a obscuring wall in front of each separate department, closing off the view of the product boxes. This would eliminate a ton of texture rezzing for any visitor. Of course, once the visitor entered a department by passing through the obscuring wall, they’d have to rez the textures for the relevant product boxes. But there would be far fewer to rez at one time.

What was the result? Strangely, sales actually doubled for the days following the wall change. This means that Peter’s hypothesis was correct! My thoughts:

  • Visitors with poor equipment saw grey product boxes and impatiently left before purchasing
  • There are likely a great many people with poor equipment. Perhaps the majority? (Hm, what does this imply for Blue Mars??)
  • Visitors are drawn into the now hidden departments to see what’s there because the wall obscures everything

There may be other effects happening here, but in any case it seems to have improved things. Experiments are a Good Thing. 

Is It a Real Mouse?

Sunday, September 13, 2009 Sunday, September 13, 2009

There’s many builds in SL that are a representation of a real-life area or building. Some are very precise, and some not so. But regardless, they are always a lot more fun when you’ve been to the real location first, and then encounter its virtual equivalent.

This week I bumped into a region just like that: Mouse World. It’s intended to be a replica of Walt Disneyworld (or Disneyland, they’re pretty similar). No, it’s not built by Disney at all, as screams the signage as you enter:

Mouse World is not affiliated with, maintained by, or in any way officially connected with the Walt Disney Company or any of it’s business units.

This site has been created for Disney fans, by Disney fans.

Our views and opinions are not endorsed by, nor are they associated with The Walt Disney Company in any way.

All Disney character images and some photographs are Copyright The Walt Disney Company.

It turns out to be a very close replica, nevertheless. Having been to Disneyworld in real life several times, I wondered whether I would be disappointed upon visiting “Mouse World”.

Upon arrival, I found myself on this monorail platform, which is actually one of the main ways to arrive at the Magic Kingdom (it’s one of several actual Disneyworld parks and Mouse World is modeled after it).

I then followed the tortuous sequence of ramps, stairs and hallways to arrive at the main entry area of the Magic Kingdom and gazed out at the shops. At this point the eerie feeling began. I somehow knew this area. I’d been there before, in real life. Yes, somehow the entry path from the monorail “registered” in my head in the same slot as the real area.

As I traveled through the park, I mean region, there were many rides and exhibits, and they were in just the right places, through the right corridor and around the right corner. Among the rides was the Haunted Mansion.  

Hah, I thought - they duplicated everything except the food, which is all over the place in the real life Disneyworld. But no, there it was, the “Lunch Pad” in Tomorrowland, just like it was in real life. You can get burgers and hot dogs there, but unfortunately none of those wonderful mouse-ear-shaped ice cream bars.  

Another very entertaining ride was the Jungle Cruise. As you awkwardly float past kitchy and stereotypical displays, your tour guide explains with jokes so bad they began to be hysterical. Some examples:
Skipper whispers: That's no house cat over there on your left. Bengal Tigers can jump over 20 feet, and we must be at least, well... 15 feet away!  Don't worry, he'll jump right over us.

Skipper whispers: Since we are in an area filled with rare tropical foliage, I'd like to take a moment to point out some of the plants to you. There's one over there, and there's one over there, and one over there...
At that point, I realized how much fun this area truly is. It’s not the greatest build, but somehow the designers managed to capture not only the Disney layout, but a touch of the Disney entertainment magic, too. You can visit Mouse World here.


Friday, September 4, 2009 Friday, September 04, 2009

I read a very interesting post by friend Alicia Chenaux (and linked by New World Notes), in which she inspected her blog stats to discover the hysterically funny keywords readers had used to find her blog. There’s comedy gold hidden in those keywords, which are literally the text people have typed into Google, Bing or other search engines and led them to your page. I decided to take a good look at mine. (Note to self: don’t commit to reading over 4000 keywords ever again.)

Much of the keywords are quite obvious and directly relate to popular posts. But then there are some strange ones. How these led to my blog is a matter of conjecture:
  • "famous french blogs"
  • 2009 email in haskell 81+358 ''''
  • bar graphs on movie ticket sales for 2009
  • effects of ick
  • tooter claxton is the name of the fist's
  • where can you get new effects for cheese

There were a great many “vanity” searches for avatar names. Yes, I saw them all. You Know Who You Are. And then there was this, perhaps an unusual type of advertising?
  • sine wave the biggest store in second life

Some were variations on my more popular posts, such as the avatar naming series:

  • badass avatar names
  • cool ass avatar names
  • need a cool avatar with my name on it

Hm, maybe I need a “cool ass” name?

Some were a bit ominous:
  • second life saiman passwort
  • builderbot download
  • how to copy textures with copybot
  • how to scare renters into leaving
  • linden lab employee bonus

Some revealed deep inner torment:
  • forgot avatar name second life
  • "nobody reads my blog"
  • why can't i find my name on plurk?
  • i am glad you are having fun

Apparently many people see search engines as a close friend who can help or confide in:
  • i see myself as a separate person
  • what are good things to say at confirmation
  • am i engaged?
  • number to call for long distance call
  • ive been busy
  • help! i need a cool avatar name
  • my name can't be that tough to pronounce

One of my good friends is Radar Masukami, but I am now wondering about him:

  • my name is radar
  • second life away from radar

My favorite two keyword searches were kinda personal:
  • armi linden
  • slcc 08 blog armi is cute

Keep ‘em coming!

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