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Sunday, September 18, 2016

FLASH! Latest Viewer Includes an Outfit Browser

Ever since Linden Lab added the ability to make and save Outfits...and then to change looks with a single mouse click...our inventories of Outfits have been growing like mad.  I have hundreds of Outfits in mine!  The only problem is, it's hard to remember just what a particular Outfit looks like.  I try to give them descriptive names, but even so, I find myself putting on one Outfit after another, just to find the perfect one.

Well, the software team at Linden Lab has come to our rescue!  The newest viewer has an Outfit Browser in it!  This looks a bit like the starter avatar browser, the one you get by clicking the Avatars toolbar button.

Read all about it here: https://community.secondlife.com/t5/Featured-News/Visual-Outfit-Browser-is-Live/ba-p/3066497

And, for more about Outfits, see my blog post here: http://acrossthegridwithlindal.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-ins-and-outs-of-outfits.html

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Calling Out Two Intellectual Property Thieves

I haven't ever done this before, but today I'm going to publicly clobber someone.  Two someones.

While searching the Marketplace for couples animation HUDs for a friend, I came across this listing:
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/HugKissPounceDance-Animator-HUD-Fully-Customizable/4018235  being sold by Epic Trapdoor.

This device is a straight ripoff of the Meike Hug&Kiss Deluxe 2.0, originally created and sold by Meike Heston.  Meike has left Second Life, but she changed the permissions on her HUD to allow it to be freely distributable.

That was a marvelous present to the Second Life community, and I reported it in an earlier blog post.

Epic Trapdoor has taken advantage of Meike's generosity, and is re-selling this freebie for his/her own profit.  For shame!

Further searching turned up another probable ripoff of the Meike HUD, this one at an even more exorbitant price.  It's being sold by Link Zero.  The description and the pictured animations lead me to believe it's the Meike, although this listing does not show a picture of the HUD itself.  https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Valentines-Special-Hug-n-Kiss-Deluxe-HUD-Final/4078067


Anyone who wants this HUD can get it for free.  There's a vendor in the lobby of the Masocado Resort, and another vendor in the College of Avatar Motion at Caledon Oxbridge University.

EDIT:  I have placed the free, full permissions version of the HUD on the Marketplace!  Get it here:
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Meikes-Hug-Kiss-202/9714182

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

FLASH! New Marketplace Search

Linden Lab announced the arrival of a new (and, hopefully, improved) search engine for the Second Life Marketplace.

The new Search still supports Boolean logical operators (NOT, OR, and AND, typed in all capital letters.)  LL did not specifically say so, but this writer hopes that the new search is less sensitive to the case of search terms!

The new Search, according to LL, is "smart", in that it will learn from your searches and get better with continued use.

Read LL's announcement here: https://community.secondlife.com/t5/Featured-News/New-Second-Life-Marketplace-Search-is-Live/ba-p/3057353

(And, for any of you who are new readers, this post, like all "FLASH!" posts, is a very short announcement of an item of late-breaking news!)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I Bought $L But I Never Got Them

We helper types are seeing this question appear more and more on the Second Life forums.  So in today's post, I'll talk about the most common reasons for this.  There are three of them.

If you are buying $L for the first time, you have to first register a "payment method" with Linden Lab.  LL will accept most major credit cards, or a "verified" PayPal or Skrill account.  They will NOT accept prepaid credit cards, debit cards, or gift cards.

"Verified" means that your PayPal or Skrill account has been backed up by linking it to either a major credit card or a Real Life bank account.  The procedures for doing this can be found on the PayPal or Skrill web sites.  The process will take a few business days.

There's one point to keep in mind here.  If you use a bank account, you must be careful to keep enough money actually in the PayPal or Skrill account to pay your Second Life bills.  Linden Lab won't wait several days for money to be transferred from your bank account, to PayPal, to them.  They insist on instant payment, and if they don't get it, the transaction will simply fail.

When you set up a payment method for the first time, LL will make a $1.00 test transaction.  This test transaction will be quickly reversed, but if you are quick to check your balance, you'll see it.  Don't be alarmed, it's not a real charge to your account.

So...the first reason that people claim they bought $L but didn't get them is because they used a payment method that isn't accepted by LL, or there wasn't enough money in the account, or there is some other problem like your credit card being past its expiration date.

The second trap that people fall into is the "limit buy".  You buy and sell Linden Dollars on the Linden Dollar Exchange, or LindeX.  This is a market of buyers and sellers, just like a stock market or a Real Life currency exchange.  The price of the $L fluctuates a little bit over the course of a day, just as the price of a stock goes up and down in response to the market pressures of supply and demand.  Linden Lab, acting through its own account, serves to stabilize the market, preventing large swings in the price.

When you open the "Buy $L" page on the Second Life website, you will see two windows.  On the left is a window where you can place an "instant buy"...a purchase at the current market price.  If you use this window to buy your $L, you'll get them immediately.


But to the right is another window, and it says "Best Rate".  This tempts a lot of people, because who doesn't want to get the best rate, after all!  However, if you use this window, you are making a "limit buy."  Here, you specify not only the amount of $L you want, but the exchange rate that you are willing to pay.  If the current price of the $L is $L265 per $1 USD, and you offer to buy at $L270 per $1 USD, your order won't be filled right away, since no one is willing to sell at $L270 when they can get the better price of $L265 (it's a better price because the seller has to give up fewer $L in exchange for a dollar.)  So, your order will just sit there in the queue until the price of the $L gets to $L270:1.  Depending on the market, and how greedy you are, that could take hours, days, weeks...or never.

Besides market movement, another factor that can affect how long it takes is how many other people are ahead of you in line.  Limit orders are filled on a first come, first served basis, so if there are many millions of outstanding $L orders, it can take longer for yours to be filled.  You can use the Market Data provided by LL to see what might be a reasonable asking price to buy or sell.


Using the limit buy option can often get you a better deal, if you are patient and not too greedy.  But people who don't understand about limit buys use this window, and then wonder why they have never gotten the $L they paid for.

NOTE:  When you make a limit buy, the money is taken from your payment method (or your $USD balance, if there's money in there) immediately.  It's held "in escrow" by LL until the order is either filled, or canceled by you.  If you cancel the order, the money does not go back to your credit card or PayPal, it goes into the $USD balance of your Second Life account.

The third reason that people sometimes don't get the $L they tried to buy is, of course, the one that people always think is the cause:  Linden Lab messed up.  Sometimes, the payment system is down for maintenance, either planned or unplanned.  In this case, your purchase might actually fail halfway...you're charged, but don't get your $L.  It's much less common than people think, but it does happen on rare occasions.  If it does, you can call LL Billing.  Here are the phone numbers:

US/Canada: 800-294-1067
France: 0805-101-490
Germany: 0800-664-5510
Japan: 0066-33-132-830
Portugal: 800-814-450
Spain: 800-300-560
UK: 0800-048-4646
Brazil: 0800-762-1132

Long distance ( not free, but you can use Skype to save some cost ) : 703-286-6277
**Note: Support is offered only in English

Monday, August 8, 2016

FLASH! Firestorm Gets Avatar Complexity Settings

A new version of the Firestorm viewer, 4.7.9.50527, is now available, with the new Avatar Complexity functions.  Now you can adjust your viewer to get better performance, at the expense of seeing more complex avatars rendered as monochrome "jelly dolls."

Get it here: http://www.firestormviewer.org/downloads/

To see more about these functions and how to use them, see this: https://community.secondlife.com/t5/Featured-News/Why-are-all-these-people-made-of-colored-jelly/ba-p/3031255

Sunday, June 19, 2016

FLASH! What's She Wearing?

In my Shopping class, I teach people how to right click an avatar's attachments and use Object Profile (or Inspect, in the Firestorm viewer) to find out what that great outfit is that someone else is wearing.

But with Mesh clothing and attachments, there's often a problem with that.  Rigged mesh, especially, can be difficult or sometimes even impossible to select.

Just today, one of my students gave me a link to the estimable Strawberry Singh's blog, where she, Strawberry, reviewed a freebie item, a HUD called "What is She Wearing!?!?"  It easily lets you inspect your own clothing attachments and those of avatars near you...and it's FREE!

Find it here: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/MB-What-is-She-Wearing/9129140?id=9129140&slug=MB-What-is-She-Wearing

Happy outfit snooping, and happy shopping!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Grid Down! Residents Scratch Heads

It's Friday night, time for my weekly Land Basics class.  But, when I sat down to log in, I got the message you usually get when you mis-type your password, "The system was unable to log you in.  Check your caps lock, blah blah blah."

Repeated entries of my password didn't work.  I tried my alt, and got the same message.  Thinking maybe I'd had my password stolen, I went to the SL website.  But I was able to log in there, although I kept getting very slow loading of the pages, and several failures to load.

Maybe it's my PC, or my internet connection?  So I rebooted everything.  I could get to other internet sites, and after a while, the Second Life website started working normally again too.

Checked the Grid Status Blog.  No mention of any problems or outages.  Tried logging in again.  This time, instead of a failed login message, it said "We are performing unscheduled maintenance."

Now, normally when this sort of thing happens, at least SOME of the grid stays on line.  If you try to log in to a part that's off line, you get shunted to a random Infohub and land in a big people pile.  But not this time.

I went back to the website and checked the Answers forum, and checked the Second Life Twitter feed.  Sure enough, there was a steady stream of people in both places, complaining bitterly.

So...SOMEthing bad happened.  But at this time, we don't know what, or how long it will take to fix.  This has got to be the worst outage I've ever experienced in nine years of Second Life.  At least these days, outages are pretty rare.  I remember when they used to be an almost daily occurrence.

I'll update this entry when I know more.  Current time is Friday, May 6, 1720 PDT.

UPDATE:  They got it fixed pretty quickly, but (as usual) there's not much information about the cause.  Here's the Status Blog entry:

[Posted 4:54 PM PDT, 06 May 2016]  We are performing unscheduled maintenance. While the maintenance is in progress, some residents may experience login issues and residents in-world may be logged off or experience degraded performance. Second Life websites also may not be accessible. Please check back here for updates.

[Resolved 5:43 PM PDT, 06 May 2016] Our unscheduled maintenance is now complete.

Um...thanks, guys.