Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The wheels seem to be coming off...

For 3 years I have taken the sky is falling rhetoric with a grain of salt. Not anymore. Not now.

The marketplace deliveries have always been bad, often very bad -- but now it is day after day of failed and non deliveries. I monitor these and contact customers to give them a slurl to the item inworld, and offer to deliver it directly from my inventory. The orders that say "delivered" but were not, I have no way of knowing until the customer contacts me (or I happen to notice a one star review).

I  put warnings on my kitchen listings long ago; today I will put warnings on my dining and bedroom listings: It is safer to buy inworld.

I think they may have just rolled out the server update that fixed the broken GiveInventory LSL function that made my house vendors take money from ppl and give them nothing (I went around and put a sign out by all the rezzer-vendors to buy the box, not the vendor.)

JIRAs and support tickets mostly just get ignored -- I have begged and begged and begged to know why ppl buy boxes and box contents inworld and do not receive them. It is treated like it is none of my business. The response I get to most support tickets is an email two months later saying "Hope your problem got fixed, we are closing this."  What kind of company just ignores support? Isn't good support the sine qua non of successful business?

And the person who copied my kitchen and put it up for sale full perm on the marketplace -- I filed a dmca and many ARs -- remains unbanned. I am not clear on what number of ppl one must steal from in order to get banned. Stealing and putting something up for sale on the Marketplace -- with your store brand on the box  -- is not unpremeditated. It's not an oopsie.

If LL is doing anything to indicate it is not circling the drain, I'd really like to know what it is.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

No, it's not the technology.

IMVU, which is growing by leaps and bounds while SL is flatlined, is proof that no, it is not SL's less than cutting edge graphics that keeps it from growing. It's just not. No one cares about Farmville's graphics. What people want, they get from IMVU and Farmville: community and interaction, esp if there is a game element to boot -- the quality of the graphics is almost beside the point. And pretty much all computers can handle those awful graphics.

Over the years I have heard a lot of good suggestions about how to handle the first hour, and had hope that the browser "guest" viewer and this new "basic" viewer would help, but it doesn't seem to --  yet. Because no matter how easy something is, if there is no intriguing CONTENT -- and by that I mean something to do, people to talk to -- why bother?  People like IMVU because they want to talk to other ppl and they can do that easily, with no learning curve (and no new computer). In SL new people are dropped down in some spot where they are likely to be harrassed by idiots. The chance is small that their computer will be able to rez anything worth seeing anyway.

The Linden Homes have worked as hoped -- I get a lot of pretty new people looking at my houses, and I know from talking to them that a lot realized the limitations of their Linden homes pretty quickly. So, LL did something right, yay!

It's really not about the technology, it's about the content -- the interaction. The easiest viewer possible will not fix that. And the hardest viewer -- and lag, and inventory loss --  is just something people learn to work around if the content is compelling enough.

So by all means, add the shiny stuff. Fix the lag and inventory problems. But don't expect that to result in population growth.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Please Don't Make Me Decorate

My store is three sims -- one is furnished house models, one mainly dining and kitchen, one mainly living and bedroom (with assorted other departments).

And it all has to be decorated.

And I dread and avoid doing it.

I didn't start out avoiding it -- no, I was like many of my customers. I was completely obsessed with decorating my first little house. I shopped the low prim stores and just loved putting it all together. 

Skip forward three years and here I am with three sims that need to be decorated. And frankly, it never quite gets done. There are room settings that have an unfinished look because that's what they are. It is always hanging over my head -- but somehow there are always more pressing things to do. Or that's what I tell myself.  Because at this point "decorating" is just about dragging things out of inventory, rotating them, and positioning them -- over and over and over.  

(I'm just glad I have never gotten sick and tired of making things, or I would be in real trouble. I still get excited about the process of making a sculpt or a texture and taking it inworld to see how it looks.)

Anyway, sometimes people ask if I will decorate their houses for them -- come out and drag things out of inventory, rotate them, and position them, over and over.  There are no words to express the horror this inspires in me -- I can't even come close to getting my own store decorated, and someone wants me to spend my precious little time decorating their house instead of making things and doing customer support???  They offer to pay me, of course. Or promise to buy a whole house full of furniture.

Now, quite a few of these hate decorating as much as I do -- they describe what a chore it is for them* (no one has to tell me!), even as they try to press me into service -- and they just won't take no for an answer.  They are  determined that I am going to decorate their house, whatever it costs**. And I am equally determined that I am not. Because you know what?  I get to decide what my job is, and I have decided that my job is to do only as much dragging furniture around as I absolutely have to, and no more.  Because this is not only my job, it's my Second Life, too.

* Some ask if I can't just put all the furniture in a rezzer so they can push a button and rez it at once. Hmm, that would just mean making all the furniture copyable, putting a script in each item, positioning everything in the house, recording the positions, taking each item into inventory, and putting it into a rez box. And then totaling up the cost of all the copy versions of the furniture, and then putting non-scripted transfer versions of the furniture back in the model home. Would only take a few days. For me, probably a week.

 ** Once someone insisted that I name my price to come decorate his house, after I had already politely declined several times, so I quoted him a price: $200.  Which he thought was entirely reasonable -- until I clarified: USD. (And I was serious! Not that it was a "fair" price but that's how much I did not want to do it.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

When a Bargain is Not a Bargain

Okay so we all have had the experience when we were new: we got a first home and ran out and bought some cool stuff to put in it -- and discovered that we didn't have enough prims for our 33 prim Chrismas tree!

Lesson learned!

Really? Because although all of us who have been around for a while are prim conscious, do we still know when something is a real bargain?  Let's just see.

Since I sell houses, I am using houses as an example.  You are looking at two, about the same size, style, and quality. But one costs 5000L and the other costs 500L. A no brainer, huh? But wait -- the first house is 200 prims and the second is 400.  And those prims have to be paid for, every tier day -- 5L, or 2¢, per prim per month.

The first house costs 5000L plus 1000L per month to cover the cost of the prims -- over a year,  17,000L.

The second house costs 500L plus 2000L per month to cover the cost of the prims -- over a year, 24, 500L.

That's a difference of  7500L -- around $30 USD!  Yes, $30 worth of prims that you could be using for all kinds of other things.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Modders Have More Fun! Featuring Dixie Dabney & Daria Afterthought

Dixie Dabney

When Dixie Dabney mentioned I might want to come see how she modded her Magnolia Cottage she said "I warn you it's bizarre." So I was really curious!  I would not call her creation bizarre, but delightful and cheery -- certainly it is colorful, indoors and out. 

Be sure to click the pictures to see a large version!

She made the inside into one big room and just look at the windows an doors!  All it takes is some basic skills in unlinking and modifying prims, tinting, and texturing -- all of which are covered in my blog tutorials pages. If you would like to take a peek inworld, Dixie says come on by.

Daria Afterthought

Daria Afterthought went well beyond basic modding when she decided to redo her Bluebonnet Cottage (now a Violet Cottage). I was really amazed -- she added a room upstairs, a tiny bathroom off the hallway, dormer windows on the roof, and put a wall and door separating the bedroom into two rooms. And she did it all just by unlinking and copying the prims in the house.

The Powder Room!

Wall and door separating the back room.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Walnut Empire Bedroom Set

Some really exciting new features are included in the new Walnut Empire Bedroom Set.  The wonderfully sculpted Empire bed includes feather brocade retractable linens as well as an optional canopy with a curtain feature that rezzes from a menu.  The bed also has multiple single, cuddle and sleep animations.

Another new feature is the Empire styled armoire includes open-close doors and rezzes folded clothes and decorative bowls inside (or you can put anything else you like inside).

 This set also has all new Empire styled matching bedroom bench with sit animations and matching chaise with sit and cuddle animation.

Touch on and off gold trimmed lamps and matching feather brocade scarf tables bring the set together.

 Also included are pictures, rugs, and brass gold trim planter with fig plant. 

Check out the Marketplace for more Bedroom Sets.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Southern Comfort Family Home Series

The Augusta House is the third in my Southern Comfort line of old, family homes. It has 3/4 bedrooms, a huge attic, and a room for a bathroom or study. The house and terrace alone are 301 prims. Extras include curtains, ceiling fans, a window seat with bookshelves, a pool area and more. Check out the Marketplace Store to learn more.