Events in SL?

Viewer SearchI’ve been talking a lot lately with a friend about what there is (and isn’t) to do in SL.  As I mentioned before, I’ve been stuck in a rut.  I used to go exploring on a regular basis.  For the last couple of years, my jaunts around SL have been focused on dance.  So now that I’ve decided to go exploring, I’ve come across a bit of a conundrum.

I tend to hang around with the same group of people, so I tend to be at the same places.  In my quest for new places, I headed to *drumroll* . . . the events listing.

Why?  Sadly, I find myself asking that same question.  What happened to the events listing?  Does no one really use it any more?  Yesterday I searched for ‘dance’ events.  What did I find?

Nada. Zero. Zilch.

Oh, there’s the listings for clubs – the ‘Win $500L in Best of Latex’ type-listings (not really the kind of dance I’m looking for).  Everything else was strip clubs, escorts, hiring escorts, etc.  That’s it.  And the search took me all the way to October 3.  *Sighs*

So, I’m left with three thoughts – 1) People are listing their dance shows as something other than ‘dance,’ 2) the search function in events is equal to/worse than the search on Marketplace, and/or 3) no one bothers to list their events in the event listing anymore.

Which leaves me with a question for venue owners.  Assuming that #2 is a given (told you I was cynical), is #1 true?  Or is it #3?  And if #3 is true, how in the heck are new people supposed to find you?  Luck?  Random tps?  They could use the websearch, but it doesn’t work much better than event search, unless they happen to know the name of your venue.  And if they know that, aren’t they probably already aware of your events?

A friend was looking for a comedy club to visit and was dismayed to find no listings for one.  (Side note – this blog post appeared on my reader this morning – The Joke Jar.  Coincidence?)

So if you’re looking to explore, discover new things, try out something you’ve never done before, is it all just dependent on ‘word-of-mouth’ advertising anymore?

I’m interested in lots of different things.  However, since groups are limited in SL, I can’t join every group I’m interested in to stay up-to-date with events.  Lots of places have subscribos to get around the group limit, but not everyone.  I use my blog to follow lots of other bloggers and find much (most) of my information that way.  Unfortunately, many groups don’t update their blogs on a regular basis either.

How do you get the word out about your venue/events/happenings?  What do you do to get new people in the door?

*EDIT NOTE:  Since writing this, I have discovered that the events listing search from within the viewer seems to be different than the external events listing (Community:Events).

WebSearch

However, this event listing has no search function, other than choosing from the designated categories.

So I have to open an external window to search for events that I want to go to within SL, when I am already in-world?

That seems stupid.

 

 

Sometimes, Mesh Stinks

Don’t get me wrong.  I love mesh.  Usually.

But sometimes, it just stinks.

When you go somewhere that is crowded (like Uber), even if you have a decent computer, stuff takes time to rez.  So when you run into other people, instead of looking ‘put-together,’ they look like this:

It's a jigsaw puzzle, right?
It’s a jigsaw puzzle, right?

Her head is in the right place, but her dismembered legs are floating along behind her, she’s wearing her boobs on her right arm, and she seems to have misplaced one of her hands.  And let’s not forget her feet, which are floating behind her head, not inside her shoes.

And she’s not alone.

Not one single person on the sim (besides myself), appeared correctly to me.  And sadly, I assume I appeared in the same broken way to them.  😦

I kept waiting, not only waiting for items to rezz in, but for the other avatars to as well.  It was an exercise in disappointment.  Items finally rezzed in, but the people never did.  There were mesh feet, mesh clothes, mesh hands, and mesh shoes floating everywhere.

It was like walking around in a Salvador Dali landscape.

Dali-esqueUmm, excuse me, ma’am?  Your butt seems to be attached to your chin.

You, over there.  Floating head guy.  What happened to you?

See what I mean?  This is how mesh makes avatars look better??

And these are only the PG shots.  There were plenty of people who might as well have been walking around naked, because their mesh clothing was floating next to them, not covering anything.  Eeek!

This is why I rarely use mesh when I dance.  Nothing good comes of it.

The pièce de résistance, however, was yet to come.  As I was leaving the sim, this walked by:

WTH

 

WTF???

Apparently her giant head ate the rest of her.

But left her (adorable) shoes.

And that, folks, is why sometimes, mesh stinks.  🙂

An Alternative to Facebook?

Ello's Logo
Ello’s Logo

I’ve written before about my dislike for Facebook.  Looking for alternatives, both for my RL and SL, has been . . . interesting.

I found ASN (Avatar Social Network) and so far, I like it.  I’m not as active as I’d like to be, but that’s my fault, not the platform.  For SL purposes, it’s a good alternative to Facebook.  Then I heard about Ello.  I wanted to try it (both RL and for SL).  But now I’m not sure if I want to or not.  I haven’t gotten an invite yet, so my feelings may change once I do.

Today I stumbled across this post on Google+:    Ello, goodbye by Aral Balkan

I read in another article yesterday that Ello has received funding from venture capitalists.  Why is this important?  Because it means that, at some point, those who provided the capital are going to want a return on their investment.  Where are they going to get it?  From you.  Which means that you are once again in danger of being a ‘commodity’ to a social media platform.

While I was initially excited to hear about Ello, now .  . . not so much.

At this point, I wouldn’t even mind paying a fee to use a network, if it meant I could be sure (as sure as you can be in this day and age) that my personal information isn’t being sold to some ‘corporation.’  Is it too much to ask that my posts be seen by my friends/followers (people who are, presumably, interested in my posts) without me having to pay to ‘promote’ my posts?  Is it too much to ask that I not be deluged with ads for products that some ‘algorithm’ thinks I might be interested in? (Just FYI, Mr. Al Gorithm, I’m NOT interested, tyvm.)

Think how much time you’d save if the stuff you saw on your feed was only the stuff you’d actually SAID you were interested in!

Is that so much to ask?

Social Media Overload

What does this have to do with overload?  Nothing, but chocolate makes everything better, right?! Photo credit: lovethispic.com
What does this have to do with social media? Nothing, but chocolate makes everything better, right?!
Photo credit: lovethispic.com

I’m having another one of those days where there just isn’t enough time to get everything done that I want to.  Oh, sure, I could have gotten up earlier, but sleeping in on a Saturday is mandatory, right?  (If it isn’t, it should be!)

The weekends are usually pretty carefree, but today seemed to fly by.  I blinked, the day is over, and I didn’t even finish my blog post!  I had to 1) read all the other SL blogs I keep up with, 2) check ASN to see what’s going on there (ASN is my replacement for Facebook), 3) check all my emails, 4) check my Google+, 5) check my Twitter (I can’t keep up with Twitter – I check only once or twice a day, or I’d be there all day reading!), and 6) wait impatiently for my invite from Ello (another new social media network).

This is why I don’t have a Tumblr or a Flickr or a Plurk or Pinterest or a ‘insert other social media platform here.’

It’s exhausting to try and stay current in this digital world.  So much data is generated on a daily basis that it is becoming impossible (I feel) to stay informed/updated.  So what to do?

I’ve tried to manage my own workload by picking and choosing what social media platforms I use and how I use them.  I have a Twitter, but I’m better at longer posts.  140 characters just isn’t enough for me.  However, I spend a lot of time laughing over hilarious tweets from others.  So, since Twitter is more for ‘reach’ with the blog, I don’t spend a lot of time on it.

ASN is new (my choice of replacement for Facebook, unless/until I find out if Ello is better), so I’ve been spending some time on it, especially since it is specifically made for avatars in virtual worlds.  Email is essential, of course, so that gets checked, but usually only once daily.  I get so many notices sent from SL to my email that some days it feels like I spend more time deleting than reading.  :/

But someone has to cull through all the data and find the gems, right?

So, today I learned that:

1) Apparently there is a 100 avatar prim counting limit in Second Life (that means if more than 100 people rez something in a region, prim count scripts stop working and just ignore the 101st person and everyone above that).  This is important if you are in charge of prim counts in a region.  I’ll probably never need to know this, but I learned it anyway.  🙂

2) A new library called The Chamber Library opened in SL this weekend.  As a literature buff, it sounds like a cool place to visit.  It’s on my to-do list.  (Although I’m not sure I’m up for reading Shakespeare from a NC – I doubt my eyes could take the strain.)

3) I don’t spend nearly enough time in SL exploring.  There’s all kinds of cool sims that other people post photos of that I would love to visit.  I just don’t.  I’m not sure why.  Hmmm . . .

4) Blender is a free program.  Huh.  Who knew?  (Apparently everyone but me.  -.-)

5) And last but not least, Tuty’s has released a new AO called ‘Woman in Tango.’ (I had to find something dance-related!)

So there you have it – the gems I mined from today’s deluge of information.

You’re welcome.  😀

Frantic Friday

Today has been a crazy busy day.  That’s good, but doesn’t leave me a whole lot of time for blogging!

So, a few random notes/thoughts for the day:

  • A&M Mocap has released a new dance called DLOW Shuffle
  • I’m glad there are some new dances hitting the grid – but, please, dance-makers – we need more!!!
  • oOo Poses has released two new sets of poses for Fifty Linden Friday
  • The DQ Dance Classes start this weekend, so if you haven’t signed up yet, contact Babypea von Phoenix asap!
  • It’s the weekend – lots of dance shows to see, so make sure to catch one (or two, or three, or four . . . )  🙂

 

Goodbye, Facebook

Clockwork Orange
Ok, Facebook probably isn’t this bad, but who knows?

Shakespeare said, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” (Romeo & Juliet, in case you’re interested.)  But not for me.  I made the decision to part ways with Facebook.

I’ve never really cared for Facebook – their vague privacy settings, their data mining, their sale of my information to anyone they chose.  But a few things lately have finally ‘gotten my goat,’ so to speak, and I made the decision to deactivate my Facebook account.  (I say ‘deactivate’ because I’ve yet to find a way to actually ‘delete’ my information on Facebook.)

Now, everyone knows that it is against Facebook’s TOS to set up a profile using an ‘avatar’ name or some other pseudonym.  But millions of people have done it, and Facebook seems to be very lackadaisical about policing that particular aspect of their TOS.

Until recently.

About a month ago, many of my friends on Facebook starting changing the names on their SL/avatar profiles to match their ‘real life’ names because there was another ongoing round of account deletions and they were afraid that their account would be targeted next.  Which is fine, that’s their choice.  However, I don’t know some of these people outside of SL.  So if I know you as Meegan Foxhound and suddenly you show up as Jane Foster, I’m confused as hell.  😛

And then Facebook had the gall to delete the accounts of some drag queens.  *Cue dramatic music*  The drag queens have taken Facebook on, demanding that they be allowed to use their ‘chosen’ name.  Facebook has stood firm, telling the divas that they can either use their ‘legal’ name or they can change their profile to a ‘page.’  What’s the difference between a page and a profile?

Money.

If you are a ‘profile,’ people you know see your posts.  (Only about 16% of them see your post, but that’s a different story.)  If you are a ‘page,’ you can pay Facebook to ‘promote’ whatever you are posting, thereby guaranteeing that more than 16% of your friends see what you’ve posted.

The divas have threatened to keep on fighting.  Me, I don’t see the point.  Sometimes the smartest thing to do is walk away.

Facebook is NOT the only player in the social media game.  Google+ allows avatar/character names.  Move over there – that’s what many SLers have already done.  As more people move to Google+, the more robust and useful it will be.  And as more and more people abandon Facebook, it will be forced to change its TOS, or go the way of MySpace.  Or, you can sign up for ASN (Avatar Social Network) – a social network specifically designed for those who have a virtual/online identity and want to keep it separate (or not) from their ‘real life.’

The proverbial ‘last straw’ for me was reading a story about how Facebook was experimenting on its users without their knowledge.  You can read about it here.  The article quotes Kate Crawford, visiting professor at MIT’s Center for Civic Media and principal researcher at Microsoft Research, and her response sums up my feelings:  “It’s completely unacceptable for the terms of service to force everybody on Facebook to participate in experiments.” Ms. Crawford said it points to broader problem in the data science industry. Ethics are not “a major part of the education of data scientists and it clearly needs to be,” she said.

Toodles, Facebook.

Sincerely,

No longer your data whore

Overwhelmed with stuff?

Big Inventory  How big is your inventory?  Mine seems like it is always overflowing.  It’s nowhere near 100K+ items, but crowded for my tastes nonetheless.

I recently came across some blog posts about decreasing your inventory – tips and tricks on getting rid of unwanted/unused items.  I know that there are groups for getting rid of duplicate gacha items (you know, you got 75 copies of the common blue, before getting that hot rare gold!).  But what about stuff that is just no longer wanted?

I have a ton of items sitting in my inventory right now that I will never use.  As a performer, I use either full perm or copy/mod items to use when I’m building sets so that I can put them in a set rezzer.  Oh, sure, I could just use ‘restore to last position’ with no-copy items, but I don’t want to chance it.  I’ve lost a couple of really nice items into the ether doing that.

Some items are just things I’ve picked up here and there (hunt items, group gifts, etc.).  Many of them are really great items – again, I just won’t ever use them.

The blog posts I read talked about selling your unwanted/unused items at a yard sale, or putting them up for sale on Marketplace.  It sounds like a great idea – get rid of stuff and make a few $L in the process.  My only concern is the ‘etiquette’ in reselling unwanted/unused items that were hunt items or group gifts.  If the item is ‘transfer’ is it fair game for resell?  (Mind you, I’m not talking about FP/freebie items where it clearly states resell is not allowed.)

Sound off in the comments and let me know what you think!

 

 

 

Mesh Bodies?

Like everyone else, I’ve been looking (and drooling) over the new mesh bodies available.  In a quick search, I found mesh bodies by *KL*, SLink, Belleza, Vika, TheShops, Sking – the list seems endless.  Add to that the endless options – feet, hands, heads, and the whole idea of a mesh body makes my head spin.

New users to SL have the option to get a mesh avatar when they sign up.  But the difficulty in dressing a mesh avatar has caused a lot of stress and confusion and many have questioned whether it’s too confusing for newbies.  So is a mesh body the way to go?

I’ve tried a couple of demos, and I liked them.  But I’m not sure it is worth it.  I tried the SLink Visage heads and loved both of them – lots of options that you don’t get with a regular avatar, like facial expressions.  I liked the way the body looked and LOVED the HUD and the multitude of options it provided.  Plus, it works perfectly with SLink hands and feet, something I’ve already invested in.  I haven’t tried any other demos yet, but from what I’ve seen/read, most of them offer the same sort of options as the SLink body (a HUD with lots of options for adjustments, working with the SLink hands/feet, etc.).

As a dancer/performer, I love the way the mesh bodies look and move – no flat butt when you bend over, no weird shoulder joints when your arms move above your head, etc.

Butt Flat Reg Av
Ack! What happened to my butt?!! (Standard Avatar)

VS.

No Flat Butt Mesh Av
Whew! There it is! (Mesh Body)

What I don’t love is how difficult it has been to dress a mesh body.  Previously, finding clothes that worked with each mesh body was no easy task.  In the months since I first tried a mesh body, creators have been working hard at making it easier to use and dress a mesh body.  The SLink body has HUD options for a tattoo layer, underwear layer, and a clothing layer.  Skin creators are making appliers for the new mesh bodies, and with new mesh clothing hitting the grid daily, some of the headaches are going away.

However, there are still some things about mesh bodies that concern me.  I have shied away from using mesh clothing when performing because of the alpha layers that are required.  So a dress looks great if I’m standing still, but when I start dancing, my legs only appear from my feet to my thighs – my hip/groin region is invisible, which always looks odd.  Mesh ‘breaks’ when you move in certain ways – so the skirt appears to ‘rip’ into two pieces when I walk.  Not the look I’m going for.  I’ve seen dancers who use mesh and when they change costumes or remove pieces, pieces/parts of them are briefly invisible because of the alpha layer.  It’s odd to watch someone with no torso (only head, arms, legs visible) dancing.

I’m not sure if using a mesh body and mesh clothing with it will address these issues.  Some of the bodies are rather pricey, so how do you decide which one is the right one?

I’d love to hear if you use a mesh body, which one you have, and why you love it!

I’m Baaaaaack!!

After a hiatus (sadly, a much longer one than I had anticipated), I am back in-world on a (somewhat) regular basis.

It’s amazing how many things change so quickly in SL.  Currently I am drooling over the new (to-me) mesh bodies, several Poe-themed items at The Secret Affair (Poe is one of my favorite authors!), and various other tools that are on my wish list.  🙂

A Clockwork Spiral is on my to-visit list (who doesn’t love steampunk?) and I am working hard to get back into the SL-swing of things.

Stay tuned – more posts to follow soon!

Restore to Last Position

This is an issue that I have come across more than once.  Often when I built a set for an act, I would use no copy and/or no mod items.  I know that many dancers use a rez box to rez sets, but with no copy and/or no mod items, you cannot use a rez box.  Hence, the restore to last position.  Occasionally, however, I would run into issues – the items would not rez, I would get an error message, and the item would disappear from my inventory (also known as the ‘SL ate my set’ problem).

Inara Pey’s latest blog post highlights this problem and why it occurs (I never could find anyone who could explain to me why I had to relog for things to reappear in my inventory).  Read Inara’s post here.  The ‘Restore to Last Position’ is near the end of the post.  I still use ‘restore’ once in a while (because that chair is EXACTLY what the set needs, even though it’s no copy), so reading that Firestorm (which is the viewer I use) is possibly going to restrict the use of restore with no copy items is disappointing.  It’s not always possible to find copy/mod items for a set that work with your artistic vision and what you’re trying to create.

I am not a content creator and I don’t have the skills (or the time) to create every item used in a set.  So taking away ‘restore to last position’ as an option for me is again, disappointing.  I could switch viewers, I suppose, but since the LL official viewer may remove ‘restore’ entirely (not just for no copy items), that doesn’t seem like an option either.  While I can understand the attempt to limit the loss of no copy items, I wish there was a better fix.