Linden Lab Announces Authorized Linden Dollar Reseller Program to End

In the official Second Life blog, Linden Lab announces that they will be ending the Authorized Linden Dollar Reseller program.

In 2013, LL introduced a pilot program for Authorized Linden Dollar (L$) Resellers. This pilot program was designed to give Second Life Residents additional options for purchasing Linden Dollars, particularly for those based outside the US.

Since then, LL has expanded the payment options for Second Life users, and today, you can easily purchase L$ in more countries than ever before, using a credit card, PayPal, or Skrill, which supports a wide range of payment methods. Since these options support the vast majority of Second Life users, they made the business decision to close the Authorized Linden Dollar Reseller pilot program.

As an Authorized Linden Dollar Reseller, ZoHa Islands will be contacted directly by Linden Lab with the details for the next steps, and we will have approximately six weeks to sell off our L$ inventory. As of August 1, 2015, the Authorized L$ Reseller pilot program will be closed, and the LindeX will be the only authorized place to purchase L$.

How to Buy L$
If you’re used to using an Authorized L$ Reseller, such as ZoHa Islands, you will still have many options for purchasing L$ as of August 1, 2015. If you put payment info on file for your Second Life account, you can purchase L$ in the Viewer with the “Buy L$” button. If you’ve never done it before, check out this quick video:

Among the options for payment information you can put on file in your account are:

• Credit Card: Using your credit card, you can purchase L$ on the LindeX using multiple currencies, including EUR, GBP, JPY, and AUD.

• PayPal: PayPal can be connected directly to a bank account in more than 193 countries and regions.

• Skrill: Skrill supports a wide variety of payment methods. To start using Skrill for Second Life, just login at SecondLife.com, click “Billing Information” under “Account,” and then select “Add a Skrill Account.”

If you have been using ZoHa Islands to purchase Lindens, stay tuned to this blog for more information as this program is phased out.

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZI Blogger and Social Media

VR In Project Sansar

Living In a ModemWorld by Inara Pey posted a blog post about the future of virtual reality (VR) in Linden Lab’s newest platform, Project Sansar.

Ebbe Altberg gave a 20-minute talk titled “The future of VR is user-created” at the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality (SVVR) Conference, which opened on May 18th, 2015.

“Those who may have been hoping to gain more of an insight into the Lab’s Next Generation Platform (aka Project SANSAR) will perhaps be disappointed by this presentation. As the title suggests, it isn’t so much focused on the Lab’s NGP, but rather on user generated content (UGC).” says Inara in her post.

Ebbe touched on SANSAR during the third part of his speech, but he really didn’t give much more away about the platform than has already been revealed by the Lab in statements made about it to date: That it is in development, that it will be running in a closed alpha from summer 2015, etc.

Read the full article by clicking here: Ebbe Altberg: “The Future of VR is User-Created” (a look at SL + SANSAR from the VR perspective)

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, Blogger/Social Media

Project Sansar Is Linden Lab’s New Platform

Ever since Linden Lab let it slip that they are working on a new project, dubbed “Second Life 2” by speculators, rumors have abounded regarding this mysterious project. Hoopla ensued; people were in a panic over whether Linden Lab was going to stop supporting Second Life once the new world was up and running; content creators and residents alike were up in arms over the fact that the new world would not be backwards-compatible and user-created content from SL would not be transferable to the new world.

Recent rumblings in the forums and blogs have indicated that the nickname is Project Sansar. Indeed, patents have been applied for that use the name Sansar, and Project Sansar.

Inara Pey, in her blog “Living in the ModemWorld” (that’s a clickable link) speculated that: “Sansara was one of the early names considered for Second life (being derived from Samsāra, which occurs in both Buddhism and Hinduism, and, perhaps more particularly where SL is concerned, was used by Hermann Hesse in his 1922 novel Siddhartha as a reference to the “world of illusion”), and currently lives on as the name of SL ‘s oldest and largest mainland continent. Whether “SANSAR” is a play on this is unclear – it might just as easily be an acronym.”

Apparently both “Sansar” and “Project Sansar” are being bandied about, and threads point to the fact that both names have had patents applied for by the Lab:

US Serial no 86593254 – for “Project SANSAR”
US serial no 86593259 – for “SANSAR”

In addition, in October 2014, Ascio Technologies, Inc., filed a domain name registration for projectsansar.com listing Linden Research as the Domain Administrator.

A few days after this information was beginning to leak out, Linden Lab tweeted:

ProjectSansar

Stay tuned to this blog; we will post more as information becomes available.

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZI Blogger/Social Media

Viewer Managed Marketplace In-world Feedback Session on Fri., May 1st!

Linden Lab is hosting an in-world feedback session tomorrow (Friday, May 1, 2015) at 11:00 a.m. SLT! Read more here:

From the desk of Jessica Lyon, Project Manager for Firestorm Viewer:

“If you create and sell content in Second Life and you haven’t heard of the upcoming “Viewer Managed Marketplace” changes; listen up because this impacts you! We’ve all ranted at some point or another that Linden Lab doesn’t listen to our feedback enough. Well things have changed and LL HAS been listening and asking, but getting very little return from it. Now is your chance to have a voice, be heard and be part of the development process! While this is not a vote, the expression still fits “If you don’t vote you can’t complain”.

“This Friday LL is hosting an inworld feedback session in hopes to hear from merchants and viewer developers about the upcoming marketplace changes. If you aren’t familiar with Viewer Managed marketplace there is plenty of information available. LL Links below! Please try out their beta and provide feedback on Friday!

“LL Invitation to their feedback session. Click here to request invitation

“LL Info about the beta launch including a Torley Video! — Click here for info and video

“Members of the Firestorm team will be there and we hope to see some merchants too!”

Jessica Lyon
Project Manager
The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc.

The post on Firestorm’s Website can be found here: SL Marketplace Merchants Listen Up!

If you’re an in-world merchant, consider going to the link provided and requesting an invitation to Friday’s feedback session!

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZI Blogger/Social Media

The Bots, The Whole Bots, and Nothing But The Bots . . .

ZoHa Islands's Greeter Bot

ZoHa Islands’s Greeter Bot

There is a lot of controversy and questions around the use of robots (“bots”) in Second Life. Obviously, bots used to steal content are not only illegal and against SL’s Terms of Service (TOS), but they are unethical and undermine the very thing that makes Second Life so amazing — user content creators. For the most part, Bots can be very useful to shop owners, roleplaying, and the fashion industry, to name a few.

What is a bot?
A bot is an avatar which is controlled by a machine, rather than by a human. This can have various uses, such as to perform group invitations (which isn’t possible via LSL), perform as a non-player character (NPC) in a roleplaying game, as mannequin in a shop etc.

An SL bot account can be created in the same way as a human-controlled avatar. The only requirement is to mark the bot’s account as a scripted agent. Bots are controlled by a program, and the owner has to choose the program from available alternatives. The program can run on user’s computer, or be hosted at Second Life bot hosting. With a hosted bot, it’s not necessary to have your computer running 24 hours per day.

Allowed Usage
The purpose of Linden Lab’s policy on bots is to increase fairness and reliability of the search and communications services. The Second Life bot account can be used in various ways, including user interaction, role playing and adding automation to a Second Life project or location. The most common usage of SL bots includes (but is not limited to):

• Direct group inviters – to effectively invite other residents to Second Life group (included closed and paid groups)
• Automatic group management – group chat translator, automatic antispam monitor, remote (web based) group chat access tool
• Mannequin (model bot), catwalk models
• Roleplaying NPC (non-player characters) for gaming and interactive areas
• In-world office greeter and/or autoresponder
• Security bot – as automatic sim manager to detect and ban greefers, spammers and abusers

Forbidden Usage
According to Linden Lab Terms of Service usage of scripted agents is forbidden for:
• Increasing the parcel traffic by camping (“gaming” traffic);
• Stealing an in-world content; violate the copyright
• Performing any other activity prohibited by TOS.

For more information on Linden Lab’s policy on bots, click here: Linden Lab Official:Inworld policy on bots.

Traffic and bots
Traffic is a numerical metric calculated for every parcel of land inworld. This score can be summarized as the cumulative minutes spent on the parcel by all visitors to the parcel within the previous day (PT). Bots, or scripted agents, are avatars controlled by computer programs rather than people. In calculating traffic scores, the number of visitors include bots, which has led to their use to increase traffic scores and boost search rankings.

Suzanne blogging_001

Here I am, sitting at ZoHa Island’s office, writing my blog. This could be considered “camping,” if I stayed here very long, which, as opposed to bots, is a way some shop owners use real avatars rather than bots to increase traffic on their sims. Sometimes, shop owners pay people a nominal amount (usually noobs) to camp on their sim a certain number of hours per week in order to drive up their traffic numbers, and thus boosting their position in the search function.

Communications and bots
Some bots are used to automate communications with parcel visitors, and to provide interactive services for human users. These types of bots can enhance the Second Life experience.

Every chat message, IM, inventory offer, group notice, group IM, and group invitation creates load on the Second Life communications services. There is an upper limit where bots consume excessive resources and threaten to decrease the quality of service for others.

Policy
Bots, per se, are allowed and have legitimate uses, but inappropriate uses are violations of LL’s policy. As stated above, using bots to “game” traffic is not allowed. Business owners or club owners or anyone else may not attempt to gain an unfair advantage in search results through the use of bots to inflate the traffic for a parcel. This policy applies to both mainland and private estates since both are represented in search.

In addition, using bots to send an excessive number of messages is not allowed. Bots cannot send more than 5,000 messages in a calendar day. Group messages are counted as one message for every recipient in the group. All bots operated by a single user share a common limit.

Violations of this policy include:
• Bots causing unreasonable load on search or the regions in which they operate.
• Bots causing a nuisance by regularly getting stuck at welcome areas or infohubs. This includes the use of large numbers of land bots to get around the throttling of search requests.
• Bots joining groups and sending group IMs or notices such that more than 5,000 individual messages will be received.
• Bots sending more than 5,000 individual messages in a calendar day.
• Using multiple bots to send an aggregate of more than 5,000 individual messages in a calendar day.

Using bots to purchase Mainland parcels is not allowed. The use of bots, autonomous software, scripting (manual or automated), scripted agents, or any systems or software internal or external to the Second Life service that circumvent, automate and/or remove the human interaction required to purchase a Land parcel within Second Life on the Linden Lab owned Mainland is prohibited.

Set scripted agent status
If you own a Second Life account that is primarily operated by a Scripted Agent (a “bot”), identify it as a bot on the Scripted Agent Status page. By identifying bots, you can help Linden Lab give you more accurate account statistics and in world search results.

Enforcement
Linden Lab routinely looks at search results, and will treat use of bots to gain an unfair search advantage as an abuse issue. You do not need to file an abuse report for violations; Linden Lab monitors the search results. Initially, Linden Lab will send a warning message to the land owner. If the issue persists, then account suspension or removal from search may result. If you feel there has been an unfair decision in this regard, use the abuse appeals process. Linden Lab routinely looks at message volume, and will treat use of bots to send excessive messages as an abuse issue. You do not need to file an abuse report for violations; Linden Lab monitors aggregate communication volume.

Bottom line — don’t use bots to cheat or abuse. Use bots responsibly. And remember boys and girls — don’t drive and use bots! 🙂

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZI Blogger and social media

Around The Grid April 2015

There are lots of things happening around the grid in Second Life. Here’s a brief overview:

SL12B Logo

SL12B Is Coming!

It’s coming up on that time again, folks. It’s Second Life’s birthday in June! Applications are open to be part of the SL12B 12th Birthday Bash. Being held June 21st-28th, 2015, the theme this year is “What Dreams May Come.” Participants can attend performances at the 4 stage venues, and stop by the auditorium for talks, interviews, fashion shows and performance art. Additionally, exhibits and stages across 15 sims will be available for viewing from June 29 to July 4.

Linden Lab states: “Unlike our physical world, everything we see in Second Life© was born out of the stuff of dreams. For some, these dreams are what they aspire to, while others seek to recreate that which is unattainable in their lives.

“Some may craft elaborate worlds of gleaming gold, while others may descend into the netherworld, portraying realms of flame and darkness.

“Still others may have dreams of a simpler variety: a nice house, a picket fence, and a perfectly green lawn. All dreams, big and small, are valid and welcome.

“We want to see your dreams. what do you imagine for the future, what are your aspirations, or what is your own personal flight of fancy?”

Applications to participate in the celebration as an exhibitor are now open. Please check out the website here: SL12B Community Celebration

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Viewer Managed Marketplace Beta

The Viewer-Managed Marketplace (VMM) officially started an open beta test on the main grid, which is scheduled to last for about a month.

VMM allows merchants to easily manage their inventory on the Second Life Marketplace using the Second Life Viewer. Items no longer need to be loaded into the Merchant Outbox or a Magic Box, and are instead sold directly from inventory.

VMM will allow all merchants to stop using Magic Boxes while also enabling them to modify listing inventories directly from the viewer. Merchants will still need to go to the Marketplace web site in order to edit listings, but with VMM, they will be able to create new listings, publish them to the Marketplace, and/or unlist them, all from within the Viewer.

Firestorm has not yet come out with a viewer that features VMM, but Firestorm folks have asked for beta testers for their upcoming project viewer. Perhaps this functionality will be in the next FS release.

LL’s official blog states that they expect the Beta period to last abouit a month, with the next steps after Beta being a full release of VMM to all merchants.

“A month after the release, automated migration of Direct Delivery listings will begin. Magic Box listings will need to be manually migrated. After migration has completed, Xstreet and Magic Boxes will be shut down. Merchants may choose to manually migrate Direct Delivery listings before the automated migration occurs. The automated migration will take place during lower traffic times on the Marketplace, and more details will be provided closer to the migration period.” states Linden Lab.

Here’s a video narrated by Torley Linden:

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MadPea’s Unia Opens April 27th

As you know, I am a huge MadPea fan, and I am excited if not a bit trepidacious about this newest event coming April 27h. MadPea released a preview video and it is very scary!

Naturally, I will have to check it out, but meanwhile here’s the trailer:

/me shivers. Looks scary! Join me… if you dare!!

~~~~ • ~~~~

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Blogger/Social Media