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Saturday, April 8, 2017

New Avatar Limits for Regions

This week, LL posted some upcoming changes to how Second Life regions will manage avatars.

Since the dawn of time, SL regions have had a maximum number of avatars that they will support.  For full regions, this is 100.  It's less in Homestead or Openspace regions.

Access has always been first come, first served.  Anyone can get into the region, but if it reaches its capacity, no one else can get in until someone who is there leaves, making room.

But Linden Lab is making some changes to that.  First of all, region owners and managers will always be able to get in, even if the region is at its maximum capacity.

Second, and perhaps more significantly, the maximum capacity of regions is being increased.  Instead of 100 avatars, now full regions will allow up to 110.  Homestead regions go up from 20 to 25, and Openspace regions from 10 to 12.

But there's a catch.  The new higher capacities are only available to Premium members.  If you are a Basic member, and a region you want to get into already has 100 people, you will still get the "Region Full" message.  But your friend who's a Premium member will be able to get in.

Probably a fairly minor Premium benefit, but they do add up.

Read more about this change in the official Linden Lab blog post:  https://community.secondlife.com/blogs/entry/2145-improved-region-capacity-and-access/

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Place Pages - A New Way to Advertise Your Land

Last week, Linden Lab mainstreamed a feature that they'd been experimenting with, called Place Pages.

If you own land in Second Life, you can go to a URL for this.  Clicking My Places will display all the parcels you own.  If you have elected the "Show in Search" feature for a parcel (this costs $L30 per week, per parcel), you can display a "Place Page".  On it, you can include a description of the parcel, an ultrawide "Hero Image", and up to three additional images.  If you want, you can use a Project Viewer that incorporates the new spherical panoramic photo function to create the Hero Image.  If you choose this option, the image can be panned by the visitor to show a complete all-around view.

The Place Page includes a SLURL link so a visitor can teleport directly to your Place.

I have found what appears to be a minor bug in the system.  Although my land is Moderate, in the window where I view my Places, the parcels are listed as "Adult: Yes."  However, in the actual, viewable Place Page, the Moderate rating of the area is shown correctly.

This is a great way to give a little bit more advertising exposure for your store, club, or scenic spot in Second Life!

See the official blog post about Place Pages here: https://community.secondlife.com/blogs/entry/2138-personalizing-your-place-page-is-now-available-to-all-landowners/

Here is a Knowledge Base article about Place Pages:  https://community.secondlife.com/knowledgebase/english/place-pages-r1420/Section_.1.1

Visit your own Place Page page here: https://places.secondlife.com/

Here's the Place Page I created for Masocado:  https://places.secondlife.com/parcels/59945/masocado-resort

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Return of the Neverending Thread

Hello, gentle readers!

As you probably know, I spend a lot of time on the Second Life forums.  A long time ago, when the forums used a very different software engine, one of them was called "Resident Answers".  It was unmoderated, and besides providing a lot of very helpful answers, the "regulars" on this forum engaged in quite a lot of frivolous, but fun, badinage.

Somewhere around 2008, one of the regulars, Lexxi Gynoid, posted a question.  She found her own answer almost immediately, and edited her post title to "Just Ignore and Let This One Die," figuring that it would quickly fade into obscurity.

Well, the other regulars were just contrary enough to NOT ignore it and let it die.  Instead, it became what was to be called the Neverending Thread, or sometimes just "The Thread."  People would post in it to say hello, to tell jokes, or to riff off of other people's comments.  It ran on and on and on for YEARS.  With occasional exceptions when people would get involved in arguments (some of them deliberately provoked and maintained by a few troublemakers) it was a source of fun and community, and considerable amusement.

When LL changed the forum software, the unmoderated "Resident Answers" forum became history.  The new forums were moderated to an extent that did not permit the continuation of the Neverending Thread, although a few abortive attempts were made.

Now, LL has changed the forum software again...and the Neverending Thread has risen from the ashes, as a thread in the General Discussion forum.  Many of the old regulars have already rediscovered it and have gathered to say hello.

The forum regulars don't limit their community to the forums, either.  There is an in-world group, open to everyone, called The Forum Cartel, and the group maintains a clubhouse in world.  You can visit it here: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Allana/217/34/27

Won't you join us?  https://community.secondlife.com/forums/topic/402851-just-ignore-and-let-this-one-die/

LL Changes Rules for Cashing Out of Second Life

Warning!  This is a bit of a rant.

This week, Linden Lab imposed a new financial limit.  There have always been limits on how many Linden Dollars you could buy or sell within a 24 hour or a 30 day period.  These limits are generous, and I have never even come close to hitting them.  The only time they bother most people is during the first week or so that someone wants to begin buying or selling $L.  During those early days, the limits are quite low, as a fraud prevention measure.

Last Monday, LL imposed limits on the amount of money you can take out of SL via a Process Credit transaction.  In this type of transaction, you transfer money from your $USD balance on your Second Life account to your PayPal or Skrill account.

Unfortunately, the limit they set for this is fairly low.  In my case it was set at $999 USD.  (That's LOW?  Come on, Lindal!)  Yes, it is low.  I have considerably more than $1,000 invested in SL, in the form of land and $L accumulated from renting it out to tenants.  If I decide today to sell my land and cash out, it would now take me well over a month to do so.  What's more, I would have to pay fairly hefty transaction fees on several Process Credit transactions.

It's those transaction fees that annoy me.  Only a few months ago, LL increased the amounts they collect on Process Credit transactions.  Now it appears they are trying to increase their revenue in this area, by forcing residents to break up large transactions into smaller ones, and collecting several fees in the process.

For LL's unctuous blog post on this development, see this link: https://community.secondlife.com/blogs/entry/2136-new-adjustments-to-monthly-process-credit-limits/

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

FLASH! SL Community Forums Are BACK!

Yes indeed.  And they are...um, well, according to Linden Lab...new and improved.

New they most certainly are.  The new organization and interface are VERY different from the old forums.  I'm not going to say anything bad about them here, at least not yet.  We're all going to need some time to explore them and get used to the new layout.

No, I take it back.  I will make one complaint now:  The various Search functions seem to be VERY wonky.  However, I'm hoping LL will be able to fine tune this over the coming weeks.  They managed to fix a lot of problems with the recent Search update to the Marketplace, which is encouraging.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Second Life Community Forums Offline

Many of you have probably noticed this, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.  The week before last, Linden Lab announced that they were updating the Forums on the Second Life website for a "new and more user friendly" experience.

That's (maybe) good news...for years, residents have complained about the shortcomings of the current forums (which replaced a set of forums that MOST of us rather liked and were comfortable with.)  Of course, until we actually see and use the new setup, we won't know for sure whether it's really good news or not.

Anyway, the plan was for the forums to be down for just three or four days while the new software was put in place and the old content migrated over to the new platform.  But, as is often the case, that estimate proved to be over-optimistic.  LL posted a notice saying that the switch would be complete by Friday...and that deadline was missed too.

The forums are still down as I write this, with a blog post by LL apologizing for the delay and asking us to be patient...


I wouldn't have believed that I'd miss the opportunity to tell someone, for the umpteenth time, to reboot their router and do a clean install of the viewer.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Are You Buying on the Marketplace with $US Dollars? Don't!



Hello, gentle readers!

Most of us use the Second Life Marketplace from time to time...some of us even do ALL of our shopping there. And no wonder, there are over 2 million items for sale on the Marketplace.

The vast majority of us use Linden Dollars ($L), the currency of Second Life, to make our Marketplace purchases. However, there's an option to use $USD if you prefer, or if you don't have any $L.

But, if you're doing this, you should not be. Things on the Marketplace cost quite a bit more if you buy them with $USD instead of $L. Here is what Linden Lab has to say about it:

Charges and Costs When You Use US Dollar Pricing:

We Set the “US Dollar” or “USD” Price For Each Sale In Our Discretion

SL Marketplace merchants may select the price of their virtual goods in L$, at their own discretion. However, regardless of that L$ price, Linden Lab provides SL Marketplace buyers an additional “US Dollar” or “USD”  option, as a convenience to buyers and sellers. Buyers may select, on a per-transaction basis, whether they wish to pay using the L$ option or the USD option.

It is important to note that the USD price we charge for an item that is also listed in L$ is not based on the US Dollar price that the L$ would cost on the LindeX exchange. Rather, the USD price is generally between ten (10) and fifteen (15) percent percent greater than what a user would pay, were the user to make that same purchase with L$ already purchased on the LindeX -- and at any given time, the USD price may in fact be greater than that. For the exact exchange rate (i.e., how many L$ are provided per US Dollar) at any time, please see the “*Rates” disclosure that appears in your shopping cart.

In addition to this, we charge buyers who use the USD purchase option an additional $.30 “Purchasing Fee” per checkout. We may increase (or decrease) this Purchasing Fee in our sole discretion. If we increase this Purchasing Fee, it will be clearly and conspicuously disclosed in the user interface. Thus, buyers seeking the best value should purchase L$ on the LindeX for use on the SL Marketplace, in order to obtain the best price.   (emphasis added.)

Set up a payment method and buy some $L before you go shopping on the Marketplace!  
If you are looking at a Marketplace page and saying, "What is she talking about?  I don't see a $USD option," here is where to find it.
Go to your cart, click the Check Out button

Click "More Payment Options"

Click the PayPal (or Skrill) Option.  You must first add one of these to your Payment Methods

Notice the Price Difference!  Almost $L100 More!