Friday, August 29, 2014

FLASH! Skill Gaming - LL Drops the Ball Again

Well, we were all holding our breaths as LL moved to implement the new Skill Gaming policy.  And, once again, it seems that LL has managed to stick their foot down their gullet.

A great many people have suddenly found that they can no longer access regions which have had the new Skill Gaming flag added to them.  This could be for a legitimate reason, or it could be due to LL's improper implementation.

Here are some legitimate reasons:
If you think you've satisfied all of the above requirements, and still can't get in, here are some things to try:
  • Find the region on the Map and teleport there directly, instead of using a landmark
  • Try teleporting to a nearby region and walking in
  • Try accessing SL using a different Internet Service Provider (ISP)
  • Try changing to a different DNS server, such as the Free Public Google DNS
  • Change your payment info...use a different credit card, or use your PayPal account instead of a credit card.
If nothing works, then file a Support Case with Linden Lab, and also visit the JIRA bug-reporting page and comment and/or vote for Bug 7097

For discussion on this issue, see this forum thread:

And, if you come to Second Life primarily for, skill gaming...then consider that you might have a gambling addiction.  Go here to get help:  Gamblers' Anonymous

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bargain Hunting

I've been doing more shopping than ever lately, but spending a lot less!  "How do you manage that, Lindal?" I hear you ask in astonishment.  Read on to discover my secret!  (Gosh, that sounds like one of those infomercials for getting rich in real estate with nothing down.)

It's actually FOUR secrets, anyway.

SECRET No. 1 -- Group Gifts and Discounts.
Lots of stores have a monthly group gift.  In addition, many of them put certain items on special for group members at 20, 30, even 50% off the regular price.  Plus, some stores have Lucky Chairs or Midnight Mania contests for their group members.  Most store groups are still free to join, but some of the more expensive, upscale places charge a fee to join their group, often as much as $L500.  The trick is to only join the groups for stores where you shop often.  This way you get maximum use out of your 42 group slots, and make up for any joining fees in savings!

SECRET No. 2 -- Weekly Specials.
There are several programs that sign up stores to participate.  Each participating store puts one (or sometimes two or three) things on sale for a very limited time.  Perhaps the oldest such program is "Sixty Linden Weekends."  Every weekend, subscribers get a two page list of stores that have specials for just $L60.  These things often carry a list price of several hundred $L, so the savings add up fast.
Other similar programs are My 60L Secret, 55L Thursdays, and Steals and Deals.  Many fine stores participate in more than one of these programs.

Sixty Linden Weekends

My 60L Secret

55L Thursdays

Steals and Deals

SECRET No. 3 -- Lucky Chairs and Midnight Mania Boards.
Lucky Chairs have a letter displayed over them.  It changes at random every few minutes.  When the letter matches the first letter of your user name, sit in the chair and you win a prize!  Some stores have long rows of Lucky'll see a cluster of avatars hanging around them, trying to be the first to sit in a Lucky Chair when their letter comes up.

Midnight Mania boards are fun.  You click the board to be added to the contestants.  When the number of contestants reaches the set limit, the contest is closed to further entries.  At midnight, everyone gets a copy of the board's prize.  If the number of entries doesn't reach the set limit, no one wins the prize, and the board is re-set for another round.  Midnight Manias can result in flash mobs, as one person calls up all her friends to come slap the board.

There are groups you can join that send notices about Lucky Chairs or Midnight Mania contests in group chat.  These can lead to tons of bargains, but may prove to be annoying as well.  They are very chatty groups, and sometimes you will not want to be distracted by news of new treasures!

SECRET No. 4 -- Hunts.
I've discussed hunts before.  See this older post to get started with this (very literal!) form of bargain hunting!  On the Hunt

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Soul Seize - Another Griefer Tool Alert

Dear me, it seems that these days I'm posting more and more often to alert you readers to yet another scam or pitfall in Second Life.

Today's subject is the "Soul Seize" HUD.  This is an item that a griefer can use to try to trick you into granting PERMANENT permission to animate your avatar.

It masquerades as a more or less standard "hugger" item.  It will send you the standard animation request, "(object name) owned by Lindal Kidd is requesting permission to animate your avatar.  Accept/Deny/Mute?"  What it does not tell you is that, unlike most such requests, if you grant it permission, it will ALWAYS have permission to animate you, with no way for you to take back that permission.

What this means is that whenever you are in the same region as the person wearing the HUD, they have the ability to impose an animation on you.

There is a JIRA bug report on the LSL code that permits this, but it's been a known bug since 2007 and still has not been fixed.  So, don't count on any help from LL any time soon.

There are several things you can do, although none of them is a perfect solution.
  • Leave.  Go to a different region.
  • Go into Appearance mode.  The stand animation has a higher priority than any animation the HUD is likely to impose on you.
  • If you know who the villain is, file an Abuse Report on them.
  • If you use the Firestorm viewer, try using the Avatar/Avatar Health/Revoke Permissions menu item.  This may only be a temporary fix, because the villain can delete the HUD and wear a fresh copy from his inventory.  The new copy will once again be able to animate you, until you revoke permissions again.
  • Try Muting the villain.  This may block the animation control.
The best thing is not to be caught in the first place.  Don't accept animation offers from people you don't know and trust!

This sort of annoying griefer tool should give LL some serious pause about their new "Experience Keys" feature that is now in open beta test.  Experience Keys would, in effect, provide this same capability to control your avatar repeatedly, after you give a one-time permission.  The idea is to improve the flow and the immersion in certain types of games and quests.  But I certainly hope that LL will build sufficient safeguards into the Experience Key functions to allow us to take back our permission!

No, I am not going to give you a link to where you can buy a Soul Seize for yourself.  But be aware that several purchasers have also had complaints about it...apparently, it isn't as all-powerful (or at least not as versatile) as the extravagant claims made for it by its creator.  That's what I call a thorough job...not only does it annoy its victims, but its users, too.  You Have Been Warned!