Monday, April 30, 2007

Open letter to Linden Lab:

In the past eighteen months, Second Life has expanded, growing from a small community of early adopters to a platform supporting millions of users. Linden Lab has created a world that inspires a deep level of passion in its users and provides unprecedented opportunities to share creatively, socially, and financially.

With explosive levels of growth often come unexpected problems. In keeping with your company's policy and rich history of resident involvement, we the undersigned would like to take this opportunity to address some concerns that we feel have gone unanswered for too long.

There are some consistent, ongoing problems that are getting worse under heavy load, not better, and are not simply irritants but problems that are causing financial loss in some cases, which is unacceptable. Here is a brief list of the main concerns:

* Inventory loss - this is a devastating problem that is worsening. We have no ability to protect our own inventories through backups, and are trusting you to protect that data. This is the highest priority. Sensible inventory limits (on non-verified accounts only), combined with better management tools and ways to protect our inventory ourselves would help to mitigate the problem as well. Regardless, this cannot continue - we will not accept financial loss as a feature of Second Life. It is your responsibility as service provider to ensure our data is not lost, and you are failing us.

* Problems with Find and Friends List - we continue to see search outages on a far too regular basis. It is bad enough trying to get anywhere without being able to use search, but many users are also paying money for classified ads. Our friends lists just do not work reliably any longer, after years without an issue with them. If America Online/MSN/Yahoo can provide presence information for hundreds of millions of users, surely there is a way to make our friends lists work again.

* Grid stability and performance - teleports fail quite regularly, especially under heavy load. Attachments end up in places they did not start out in, and sim performance varies wildly. None of this makes for a very pleasant experience for users. Long promised improvement to physics and scripting would help dramatically to reduce these problems, but there are a lot of other scalability issues as well. It often feels like the grid is coming apart at the seams. The promised use of limiting logins of non-verified accounts during peak load has been severely lacking. This would be an effective interim solution to load issues, but Linden Lab seems unwilling to use it.

* Build tool problems - the importance of build tools that actually work as promised cannot be overstated enough - we rely on them to create content. Prim drift, disappearing prims, imprecise placement, problems with linking and other issues with the tools need to be addressed. Too much time is being spent trying to work around the problems.

* Transaction problems - inventory deliveries are failing with an alarming (and annoying) frequency, leaving merchants with the burden of replacing missing content and having to try to confim the transaction in the first place. We trust that our L$ balances are accurate, but given recent problems, that is a cause for concern as well, and one we place our full trust in you to ensure its accuracy.

We remain fully supportive of Second Life and are more than willing to continue doing our part to help, but our confidence is steadily being eroded due to a general lack of communication and the apparent failure to successfully address the many issues detailed above. What we are asking for is that these problems are addressed immediately, ahead of new features, and that we are able to see tangible improvements. We accept that this will not happen overnight but it also cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely either.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.


The Undersigned

Jewelry Exposition is happening!

Here's the most current info:


Jewelry Exposition will be, like Hair Fair, a week-long showcase of designers. Each merchant will have their own stall to sell a small number of their products. Throughout the week, there will also be designer-run events, an ongoing treasure hunt, and a charity auction benefiting the American Red Cross. This year, the expo will have a celestial theme.


Jewelry Exposition will take place from Sunday, September 15 through Sunday, September 22.


We’re not quite sure yet. Someone has offered to donate a sim to us, but this is contingent on Linden Lab being willing to do a wipe and restore on the sim, and we’re still waiting to hear back from them. If that falls through, we’ll rent the sim of Osmium, which is one of Linden Lab’s dedicated rental sims.


So you make jewelry and you want to participate? Great! It’s entirely free and as long as you sell jewelry, you can get a booth. Contact Miriel Enfield and ask to be assigned into the merchant role in the Jewelry Exposition 2007 group. Sign ups will close on Friday, August 17th.

All participating vendors will be invited to donate an item to the charity auction and the treasure hunt. This is entirely voluntary, and you can donate to one, both, or neither. Donated items should have a celestial theme, and it’s best if the auction items are limited edition or one-of-a-kind. Treasure hunt items should be finished by September 1st.

All merchants will also have the opportunity to host jewelry-related events in the event sky box we’ll be setting up. (Events are subject to organizer approval.)

Vendors will be given prim and pixel limits, though we’re waiting to get a rough estimate of how many vendors we’ll have before setting down numbers. Prim limits will restrict not only the number of prims but the type (nothing but cylinders and boxes; no flexible prims; no sculpted prims; no lights; nothing that spins or moves around), and pixel limits will cover the total number of pixels used by all textures. Vendors are also asked to avoid particles, scripts with timers, and scripts with open listens.


For the most updates on the expo, join the group Jewelry Exposition 2007. Though you have to be assigned to the merchant role, anyone can join the everyone role, and anyone can send out invitations for other people to join the everyone role.

You can also look for updates at our website, (Empty for now, but it’ll have content soon.)

We encourage you to talk about Jewelry Exposition to people — designers and shoppers — who might be interested, to post about it on any blog you have, and to otherwise spread the word. The expo won’t get very far without word of mouth.

If you have land and want to put up a sign about Jewelry Exposition, several full perm notecard vending scripts and sign textures have been put together. Just ask Miriel Enfield, or check the notices history in the Jewelry Exposition 2007 group.


Sponsors are welcome! We’d like sponsors in order to cover our advertising budget and — if we have to rent a sim — the sim rental fees. (Any funds we can’t raise will be covered by me, Miriel Enfield, so don’t worry that things will fall apart due to lack of money.)

Sponsors that aren’t participating merchants will have a number of banners (which can dispense items when touched) placed up around the expo. Sponsors that _are_ expo vendors will get their prim and pixel limits increased. There will also be a set number of special sponsor booths, which will have larger prim and pixel limits and more prominent locations. The actual amounts of L$ required for these things will be announced after we determine whether or not we’ll have to rent a sim.


The bidding boxes for the charity auction will be out all week, for people to bid on when it’s convenient for them. The auction will end on the evening of Sunday the 22nd.

The treasure hunt will also last all week, and it won’t be a competition: everyone will be able to get all the prizes, if they can find them. People will be given an initial clue, which will lead them to a prize and another clue, which will lead them to a prize and another clue, and so on.

A special sky box will be made to host designer-run events, such as meet and greets and classes. Expo vendors will be able to sign up for a time slot to host their event(s). We’re looking at having contingency events in place in case no merchants sign up.


Contact me.

Friday, April 27, 2007

I think I've actually managed to handle the avatar age scripting issue. I did wind up swiping a lot of ideas from example scripts, though. And of course, the script has now found plenty of other things to complain about.

I've got a bevy of unfinished projects going. I'm actually pretty excited about all of them. Things I'm doing include:

1. Hair with built in hair ornaments. I've got one wig partly done -- the hair prims are done, but I've only got one texture made, and the hair ornament isn't really started -- and it's actually looking pretty good! Even the current texture looks nice.

2. A fantasy dress. I'm spending forever on this thing to try to keep it from being an embarrassment. I'm not that good at this kind of thing so it won't be perfect, but so far, it's as good as I could have expected.

3. A fantasy jewelry set with a huge number of pieces: tiara, necklace, earrings, armband, anklet, ring (oh, how I hate rings), and freebie belly piercing. This is turning out really well so far.

4. Next week's release, a really delicate heart necklace.

5. And, of course, the vendor system.

And I should have some more freebies for you all in the next few weeks.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Why oh why did I decide to add a "do not sell to avatars over X days old" feature to my vendor? This is a nightmare! Stupid calendar...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hooray! llStringTrim() comes tomorrow!

In other script related news, I'm making a version of my vendors for sale. I've been doing this for a few weeks, but I'm slow. It's still not done yet, actually, but it's getting there. It has about a zillion bells and whistles (including the ability to ban certain avatars from using it or restrict its use to a whitelist), and I'm considering adding a couple more (namely, the option to have it IM you upon a purchase, and the option to disallow purchase by anyone over X days old). I worry about how bloated it's getting, though.

You like big earrings, right? No? What about cheap big earrings?

This weeks release from Miriel is Bubble, a pair of earrings with color change glass beads. It comes in three metals (gold, black, and silver) and the hand drawn beads can be changed between thirteen colors.

Priced at a newbie-friendly L$20 for a single pair, L$50 for a collection of all three metals. Available in both copy/modify/no transfer and no copy/modify/transfer versions. Demos are available for all colors.

(Skin: Lovey Darling; hair: ETD; top: Pixel Dolls)

(My pricing experiment from last week continues. I'm considering dramatically slashing the prices on my Miriel Everyday line, to something really friendly for newbies. You know, get them hooked early. ;) )

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I posted about this over at Second Citizen first, and now I'm posting it here.

Jewelry Expo

I'd like to do a jewelry expo -- Hair Fair for jewelry, basically. I've held off on doing this because I'm kind of a nobody and don't have sufficient land, but hey, if I don't try it's definitely not going to happen.

How it Would Work

An open invitation would be posted on various forums, as well as IMs/notecards sent to people that are known to be jewelers. Designers who want to participate would be asked to join a group, and would then be able to put up a stall at the expo, which would last about a week. Signups would be closed at some point before the expo opened.

Lag would be controlled in several ways. First, there would be prim limits on the number and type of prims (boxes, cylinders, and spheres only). Secondly, there were be pixel limits for textures. (I'm thinking something between the equivalent of one 1024x1024 texture or two 512x512 ones.) Lastly (and least effectively), there would be signs up asking people to please remove all prim attachments except hair and shoes, and any jewelry demos they pick up at the expo.

I'm considering having a celestial theme to the build, and to the auction and treasure hunt (see the next section). I can see the pros and cons of this, so any input about this would be appreciated.

I'm tentatively aiming at September for a date for this.


The expo would culminate in a charity auction, which expo merchants would be invited to donate limited edition items to. Because of lag and differing time zones, I think it would be best to mimic the Relay for Life auction last year: keep scripted auction boxes set out for days. The boxes can stay out for the entire expo, and the auction can end on the expo's last evening/afternoon.

The expo would also have an on going treasure hunt, with expo merchants again invited to donate prizes.

Lastly, a separate area for designer-run events would be built. Expo merchants would be able to sign up for a timeslot (or many timeslots), and use the event area to run meet and greets, fashion shows, building demonstrations/tutorials, or other events of their choosing (pending organizer approval, of course). If there's a lot of interest in the expo, it might be best to limit these events to the later days of it, since I know how crammed Hair Fair's first couple of days were.

What's Needed

Land! Seriously, I'm willing to do basically everything else, but I don't have the land for this and don't have that many ideas for how to get it. Any and all help on this front would be greatly appreciated.

Want to Help?

I'll be writing up a notecard with this information, so that people can pass it around and drum up interest. If you want a card, just IM me.

I was going to hold off on making a group until I secured some land, but on further reflection, it seems best to make the group now. If you're interested in this, join the group Jewelry Exposition 2007.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

This week's release: May.

May is an elegant, semi-casual crystal necklace. It includes a necklace and stud earrings, and comes in nine different pastel color combinations, and two metals (gold and silver). The crystal textures are entirely hand drawn (or should I say "crystal" textures, since they're just my basic gem textures). I'm trying a pricing experiment this week, so it's really cheap: L$35 for a single color, and L$90 for all nine gold or silver pieces.

Everything is available in both copy/modify/no transfer and no copy/modify/transfer versions, and demos are also available.

(Skin: Au Naturelle in the Rose skintone and Freckles makeup, from Tete a Pied; hair: Tessa in Ash, from ETD; dress: Spirit in green, from Canimal)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

This week's release is this free jewelry set, since I've been too busy working on a script to put together anything else. It's all prim, comes with a necklace and earrings, and comes in four different metals (gold, silver, black, and copper). It's called Bounded Elegance, which sound a bit more kinky than I'd like, but like I said, I'm busy. Besides, I certainly feel like that script has enslaved me and is regularly whipping me...

(In the ad: hair: Maaliyah by ETD in Honey Blonde (discontinued color); lashes: Thick by Lynnix's Lashes; skin: Au Naturelle by Tete a Pied, in the Bronzage skin tone and Freckles makeup; eyes and pose: by me!)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Maybe I'll have to get Photoshop after all. (I currently use Paint Shop Pro.) It's not that I can't afford PS, but it's just seemed like such a waste of money for me, given that PSP is a perfectly adequate image editor.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It's open, it's open! The new build is up. It features less lag, demos of utterly everything, posing stands that don't make you look completely stupid, a live model (sometimes), and thousands of L$s worth of ivy on the exterior.

Oh, yes, and I managed to get together my release for today. It's for Relay for Life! I don't like things with logos or cancer ribbons, so instead I made this: Tree of Life, a prim necklace with a detailed tree pendant. Yes, that's a prim pendant. It comes in three metals (gold, black, and silver) and three gemstones (diamond, emerald, and morganite, a pink stone -- I had to make some concession to the cancer theme. ;) ).

It's a bit more pricey than usual since it's for Relay for Life (it's L$300 a piece, and no discounted fatpacks), and it's only available in one permissions set (copy/modify/no transfer) since I'm stuck using the RFL vendors.

(Skin: Tete a Pied; hair: ETD (discontinued); lashes: Lynnix's Lashes)

The black ones kind of creep me out. Oh, they looked fine when I was making them, but when I saw them at the scale in the above picture... well, "Tree of Life" seems less appropriate than "Tree of Unlife" or "Tree of I'm Going to Eat Your Soul, Miriel."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Ugh. Now I remember, vividly, why I switched to my current vendor system.

(I'm putting together my Relay for Life item. I'm using the official vendors, which are single item only. Haaaaaaaate.)

I have a problem. It's Monday, and I still don't have anything to release tomorrow.

Instead of making something to release, of course, I'm screwing around with making Easter baskets, despite the fact that I don't even know if I'm going to have an Easter egg hunt.