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Stuff

I have been suffering a bit of malaise a bit lately as it pertains to SecondLife, as I think many people have, but I do feel mine has been building for a while.  I have never been one to have a large number of friends, partially because of my introverted nature, and because sometimes I tend to get a little laser focused on a project or another and tend to retreat for a while.  I think it’s a hangup or some type of mental problem because it happens both in world and out and it is something that happens without me realizing it.

In Real Life I am lucky because I have some core friends that have stuck with me forever and I’m sure will forever.  While I do have this core, in Real Life I even admitted to someone that the set of friends I have now is most likely the group of friends I will have forever and I think my personality has made it difficult to make new friends.  I am somewhat luckier in Real Life because my friends can see that I am still around, still doing this and that and, I think, more likely to call me up and say ‘hello’ or send me something and that it is not going to bother me or upset me.  They can also see my social awkwardness through my body language a bit and see that I am not the automaton that I sometimes seem to be.

This sort of carries over to Second Life: I have a core of friends that I made years ago and it has not expanded much.  Heck, in Second Life I even have a group of people I watch from afar because I have been afraid to approach for years.   When I first joined Second Life, there was something liberating about being someone else, but I slowly realized (or allowed it to happen, I’m not sure) that although I never told anyone my real name, thus is my mind keeping them separate people,  my avatar was collecting some of my habits and predilections to solitude that I had in real life, and that was never my intention.   I know that I pushed some people away in SL because of my awkwardness.  I did a few things to try and overcome this, from starting this blog to joining Twitter, Flickr and Plurk.  I finally realized that basically none of those tools actually worked and essentially I just did not have that ‘something’ that caused those tools to work the way I wanted, that I was still the loner that I had sort of made myself into.

Recently I tried an experiment: I just stopped.  I stopped blogging for a bit (not that I have ever been a constant blogger), I had stopped posting to Flickr quite some time back, and I stopped posting to Plurk (and I have stopped checking it).  I wanted to see if I was making any sort of impact on the grid.  With two small exceptions, the results were about what I expected (no-IMs, PPs,  etc, etc)*.  I have to admit that I spent about two weeks or so being a little hurt and then a little angry (at myself).

Then I decided I had the power to change such a thing.   I have to admit, it’s tough, but I think all such efforts need to be in order to be successful.  Step one has to be to reconnect with why first got into SL, and it involves Roleplaying (so if you are one of 5 regular readers expect to see some more posts on that in the near future).  Another step involves looking at ways to reconnect and find places to hang out with friends.  I have found that I am just as afraid in SL as I am in RL of walking up to someone and saying ‘hello.’

I might also do something serious with the ‘Introverts’ group I created some time ago.

I think I’ve come to grips with what I am and am now just trying to fix it.  If you are someone I know, I would thank you for your patience.  If you are someone I might have caused some hurt, I apologize.

* I do not blame anyone for this, honest, I have no desire or need for drama.

Some ideas, it seems, are just not meant to be.  One of them was the project I had previously announced the need for a Website Developer for.  Based on the lack of responses either I do not know how to write such things (a distinct possibility as I tend to write technical documentation from day to day) or people are just not interested in doing projects in Second Life.

The latter got me thinking about the scope and size of the project as a whole, comparing the amount of work I had put into it vs the amount of work left to be done and I decided that without help, it would go on hold indefinitely.  My lack of posts is simply me feeling a bit disappointed with myself about the whole thing and feeling a bit like I left myself down, but I just do not wish to get involved with something that may not go anywhere.

Yep, I’m still alive and kicking, just looking for other things to do.

I’m working on a new project that has both an in-world and web-space component.  Before too long I’ll need (OK, more like want) someone to help me do things like layout the web-side components, do some graphic design, and help me keep a unified project feel throughout the entire site.   These are things I can do, but I just don’t feel like I have the time to do them all and do them well.

The person I am envisioning would have no problem working on their own and completing work on their own without much supervision and carry things to a logical conclusion.

Payment-wise I’m willing to negotiate it a few different ways (i.e., either as a one time payment or as percentage of upcoming sales).

I wish I could say more about what the project is, but the few people I’ve shown it to have not said ‘gah what a stupid idea’ or anything like that.

If you are interested or know someone who is, please let me know via IM in world or by e-mail (on the contact page of this blog) or via Plurk.  I’ll be asking for some sort of example of work, a graphic, a screen shot of a website, something.

Thanks for your time.

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Sculpted Clock

A while back my friend Ghanie dropped a set of sculpted numbers and letters on me.  I threw together this, I think, neat little clock that changes the numbers in a digital like little way as time progresses.  I added some smarts so you can easily change the timezone (evidently there are 341 of them).  I decided to give it away for free so drop by the store and pick one up.

Available at Chindogu Happiness Industrial Concern (Lithe/186/33/51).

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Limbo

I considered naming this post ‘I hate computers’, because anyone who knows me really well knows it’s true. I hate computer hardware with a passion and tolerate it only because it enables me to write software.

Last Thursday I got home and my girlfriend said ‘your computer died, their was a blue screen and it turned off and,’ etc, etc. I know a lot of computer people find out they get to tinker with their computer and think it is great. I find out a part of my computer died and think ‘there goes my evening’. Another aspect of my nature is I just don’t keep up on things like the latest video cards and sound cards, I typically do a ton of research when I need to buy one and then promptly forget it all when I have it installed and running.

Back to the story, I booted up the machine and got a blue screen when an NMI / Parity error and I know enough about computers to know it’s a memory error so I begin pulling RAM chips one at a time. No luck; blue screen same error every time. I then think ‘awesome, now for one of the other things with memory on it in the computer. Luckily I had a spare video card (some nVidia with 256 MB of RAM, a couple of years old out of a torn down computer) so I swapped it out and lo and behold, no issues.

Following my troubleshooting skills honed by years of training and experience as a software developer I put the old video card back in, prayed, and hoped it wasn’t actually the video card or that just booting up once successfully would be enough for the machine to undo whatever was wrong.  Again no luck, but at least I counted myself lucky to have found the problem and after a short sojourn online to make sure I couldn’t just disable parity checking in my bios (I couldn’t) I resigned myself to using a video card 2-3 generations behind what I was used to and with half the video RAM.

While this got me up and running it meant that

  1. Second Life sucked visually
  2. I could not hook my computer into my TV (as I do not have cable this is sort of a big deal)

Because of (a) above I put a building project on hold and some other things that I was working on in Second Life, which I already feel like I’m behind in because of my 2.5 weeks I had to be away from the computer.

The only upside I can find to this whole thing is that I have to buy a new video card and will end up getting something like a Radeon 5770 1GB, my only real questions being things like “is it ok to save a bit by going with ‘Sapphire’?” and “am I missing something? this will work well with SL, right?”  I like that it has the ability to plug into my TV via HDMI and still connect to two monitors and some of the other features.

Any who, until I get my act together and get the card I just feel like I’m in sort of a SL limbo.  I can see my friends on Plurk and some on IM and still do other things on the computer but can’t actually get to them.

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The Fun of Vaction

To go along with my [permalink href=”215″]other post[/permalink] I thought I would talk about some of the fun I had on my vacation in Florida.

First, I scheduled my vacation, sort of, so I could go to Megacon and it was a lot of fun. I met Ricard Hatch (Tom Zarek/Apollo from BSG) and I have to say he was the nicest guy there. He wasn’t charging for autographs and he talked to me for at least 20-30 minutes about everything from where I lived to Farscape to Firefly to BSG and Caprica. It was the highlight of the day. Of course I also walked out with a set of Steampunk goggles and hat, some RL Neko ears, a Death Note, and some other cool stuff.

Also, for those of you who did not know, I’m sort of a Disney nut. There is something about a place that on one hand makes people feel like they are a kid in a fantasy land and makes you feel like you are not getting ripped off. When I was younger this was fascinating because I lived so close to such a place and as a I was older I got a sick fascination from watching things from a system analysis point of view. I went to Disney this time on a Tuesday (I know how to pick my days) and we did not stand in line for more than 45 minutes for anything. The only disappointing part of the day was that Pinocchio’s restaurant no longer served hamburgers. My friends and I had a great time, even if they were hesitant to go to the Magic Kingdom again.

To set the stage for this next thing I need you to imagine for a second that you just landed in Juneau. You look around and notice something disturbing, not one chain restaurant to be seen. Ok, there are 3 Subways and 2 McDonald’s and a Domino’s or two, but they don’t count. Getting a ‘great’ hamburger in town is something you do on Friday night with your own grill and bacon. When I landed in Florida within an hour I had hot and fresh Taco Bell in my hand. It was awesome. It didn’t stop there, I went to Longhorn, Applebee’s, Friday’s, Arby’s, Long John Silver’s, Olive Garden, and others I’m sure I’m forgetting. This is not to mention the number of local places I simply had to go to because my friends wanted to take me there. I purposefully did not check a scale for 2.5 weeks.

I also went to a shooting range, which I seem to do whenever I am in town. I figured out I prefer the .45 revolver over the automatic. It makes me shoot more slowly and the shells don’t eject into my face. Don’t ask me what I was shooting, I don’t know all the models and there were all a friends. I know one was a revolver worn by British pilots and tank drivers in WWII (it was a single action so the hammer would not get caught on things) and I shot a classic Smith and Wesson from Cowboy movies that you had to load one shell at a time. The .45 auto looked like every .45 auto I’ve ever seen.

The golf range was not as dramatic, though the fact I have not picked up a real club in over a year was readily apparent as I could drive and chip a shot equally about 200 yards and my wicked rightward hook is back, but that trip was more about catching up with people that the golf anyways and the course was a mess (that part of Florida is experiencing a drought so the ‘greens’ are more like ‘sands’).

Lots of other fun stuff happened, thanks for listening to my rambling. I had a great time and will be trying to get back into SL real soon.

So I just got back from 2 weeks in Florida.  I must say that about 10 minutes after landing I realized that I no longer considered Florida home and about 45 minutes later I no longer even ‘liked’ Florida.  Don’t get me wrong it is not the individual people in Florida I dislike or the shopping malls or fast food outlets (those I really like), I think I just dislike the difference in the populations and the mindsets that they bring.

In Juneau, my current home, we have around 30,000 people.  This sounds like a reasonable number and it is, but it seems smaller when you realize that there are literally no roads in or out of the town.  Yes, we are the state capital, we are the center of government and the cruise ship industry for Alaska, but we have no way of getting out of town with out either catching a really long ferry ride and then a really long car ride or taking a plane.  This make 30,000 people seem very quaint.  Throw in the fact that everywhere you look there are mountains hemming in the flat areas of land and it makes it seems smaller.

By comparison the ‘Space Coast’ of Florida where I grew up has a population of 500,000 people.  This of course is several towns and cities all in one county, but the track of towns and other areas I called home still had a population of about 250,000.  This seems huge.  There are no hills in Florida and I swear it seems you can see both sides of the state it’s so flat.  You want to go somewhere else? Another town? Another State? Hop in your car.

What does this difference in population boil down to? Take traffic for an example.  In Juneau if you cut someone off in traffic there is a good chance you will see them again that afternoon or the next morning.  Worse, there is a good chance you see them out and about.  You might even sit down at a meeting with them.  Larger population?  Who cares? Cut them off.  I accidentally turned in front of a motorcycle just before I left (totally my fault, I just misjudged how fast he was going and how much space I had). I floored my car and tried my darnedest not to inconvenience him.  I felt so bad I apologized at the next light and waved it off as no big deal, I felt bad.

Within 20 minutes of landing in Florida and heading to my destination in a rental car I had been cut off 3 times and had to slam on my breaks several times.  I am not a bad driver, I can shift from being a defensive to aggressive driver as necessary having learned to drive among so many people, this was simply people thinking ‘I need to get to my destination as quickly as possible.’

Not everything is roses of course, I mean, getting good service in a restaurant in a town where unemployment is half the national average (and hence the burden would be on the employer to train and hire new help) is a bit tough, but in general the town just seems … calmer and easier going and that is something I severely missed while I was on vacation.  I had some great fun, which I will talk about in another post, but if I had to pick one of the two places to live, I’d still choose the 30,000 people.

I missed them all.

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Beta Testers Needed

I’m in the need of several Beta Testers to test a building tool.  I’ll need testers that are

  • familiar with SL building tools.
  • able to drop objects into the inventory of other objects.
  • willing to give quick, honest,  feedback.
  • able to work with the product with little documentation to begin with.

Ideally I would like around 10 or so testers to give my new tool a work out and all testers will have access to the final product at no cost.

If you think you can help, please let me know via IM in world (Alidar Moxie).  Thanks a million.

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Say Thank You, Please.

I typically sit at a computer for 8 or more hours every weekday.  As a computer consultant my job is to solve other people’s problems, typically with better documentation, suggestions to business processes, and, most often, by writing new software.  I do it for a living because I like to eat and because, on a whole, the job is easy and the company I work for recognizes my hard work and rewards me appropriately with none of the ‘be thankful you have a job’ attitude I hear about from colleagues at other firms.

I generally do not mind helping people with computer problems outside of work, but it is not something I want to do on a regular basis and I have to be motivated to do it.  Motivated by a kind word, or a sense that the person actually appreciates it.  If do not get that sort of appreciation the only other motivation I respond to is the type of motivation my job provides me and that is generally of a monetary sort that no one is going to give me otherwise.

I have had multiple people over the last several weeks ask me for computer support and I have provided it (I’d say ‘happily’ but it was less and less so) and none of them have actually said ‘Thank you’.  These have ranged from simple questions to people needing server support.

I’m sorry if you ask me for help in the future as I am going to be reluctant to provide it, it’s just not worth my time any more.

Chindogu Happiness Industrial Concern happily presents its newest chess set.

This beautifully sculpted box opens to reveal a working chess set.  The box and board with working lid weigh in at 6 prims while the stone carved pieces come in at one prim each (32 for those of you counting).

The set would look perfect on a coffee table or a park table and is sure to bring you and a friend tons of fun.