LL Launch “New Year, New You” L$5000 competition

The Lab has entered into the spirit of New Year with an avatar makeover competition with a L$5000 first prize, plus runners-up prizes.

The announcement reads, in part:

An Image is Worth a thousand words – and sometimes it can be worth L$5000, too! Out with the old and in with the new – show off your dramatic Second Life makeovers with a before-and-after picture that highlights a new look you will be rocking this year in Second Life. There will be one grand prize winner (L$5000) and three runners-up (L$1000 each). Think of all the shopping you can do with that kind of allowance!

And goes on:

How to participate: Take a before and after image of your virtual makeover. It’s as easy as taking your before snapshot and placing it on a prim, then stand in front of it with your new look and taking another snapshot, or stitching together two images – one of you before your Second Life makeover, and one after. Save the image to your computer so you can upload your submission for the contest. Keep an eye out for the contest to go live in the People Forum.

The winners will be on the basis of popular voting by users – with only one vote per avatar. Entries will be available for viewing from today through to the 18th January.

Those wishing to enter need to visit the “New Year, New You!” Picture Contest Wiki page. There’s also a link to the Knowledge Base article on taking good snapshots in SL.

…such a shame I completed my make-over in 2010; ah well, I can still be self-indulgent and publish a “before” and “after” set of pictures!

Me: before and after my 2010 makeover


Several people have IM’d me (and one has commented here) that they’ve been unable to submit entries, as the NEW ENTRY button on the contest pages is greyed-out, and they get a message “Sorry, you do not have permission to post media to this contest”.

If this happens to you, you need to sign-in to the forum pages (user name and password), using the link at the top right of the page (see below).

You’ll need to be logged-in to add your entry

Once you’ve logged-in, the button will be enabled, and you should be able to post your entry.

Happy Rezday, Rodvik!

I covered Rod Humble’s first year at Linden Lab last month – counting his time from the announcement of his appointment as CEO.

However, he didn’t “officially” log-in to Second Life as Rodvik Linden until the 11th January 2011 (although from his comments, he was busy exploring with an alt prior to that date).

To this end, just a quick note to say, “Happy Rezday, Rodvik! May you enjoy many more!”

Rodvik at an early public outing, with Pete Linden (left)
Rodvik at SL8B – and in a cunning disguise (l), with a hanger-on(!)

Direct Delivery beta

Direct Delivery (DD) – the mechanism that will replace Magic Boxes for merchants using the SL Marketplace and which should bring improvements to the overall delivery of items purchased on the Marketplace – is in open beta for people to try on the Beta (Aditi) grid.

Direct Delivery has been subject to many ups and down over the last twelve months, but this beta should bring it a step closer to reality. Given LL’s overall track record on the delivery of new Marketplace services, this is something that has merchants understandably nervous and concerned.

Documentation relating to the new system has also been updated, including the release notes and a set of getting started instructions – both of which are worth a read, although the latter are somewhat irritating (see below), and will be rationalised and clarified prior to DD going live.

For those (merchants especially – although it would seem those curious as to how purchasing goods using the new system can also have a bit of a go) wishing to try-out the system:

  • You’ll need to have the Direct Delivery Project Viewer (version 10th Jan or later), complete with its funky blur-tinted UI elements (new to this Project Viewer, or sign of another change coming to the UI?)
  • You’ll need to have an active account on Aditi and should log into that first if you’ve not done so in a while (indeed, you might want to change your password as per the linked instructions & force an account update if you haven’t)
  • You’ll need to be able to log-in to the Aditi Marketplace (this may throw up a security certificate warning, depending upon your web browser settings).

Testing Purchases

For those simply curious as to how they’ll be affected when purchasing goods, it’s very straightforward:

  1. When logged into the Beta Marketplace, simply purchase any item commencing with “DD”.
  2. Open your Inventory panel and click on the RECEIVED ITEMS tab at the bottom of the Inventory panel to expand it – and your purchased items should be in a folder, ready to be moved into the location of your choice in your Inventory.

Note: Items purchased on the Beta grid will only be available in your Beta grid inventory and purchasing them will not impact your Main grid L$ account balance. If your Beta grid account does not have a L$ balance, you can raise a support ticket. Funds cannot be transferred between the Beta and Main grids.

Direct Delivery: from the Marketplace to you (some Marketplace steps omitted) – click to enlarge

Testing Uploads (Merchants)

Items using Direct Delivery no longer need to be boxed-up – part of the idea being that people receiving goods will no longer need to rez a package in-world and unpack it (although if you wish to box items still (and some of the limitations of the system actually mean you may still need to), you can.). Nor do they require a Magic Box; instead they use a new addition to the Viewer – the Merchant Outbox – to upload goods to the Marketplace.

You can organise your items either in your inventory itself, or within the new Merchant Outbox panel (located in the ME menu on the Project Viewer) prior to uploading. Of the two options, the former is probably the preferred, given that anything organised solely in the Merchant Outbox will vanish as soon as it has been uploaded.

The basic steps are:

  1. Open your Inventory and the Merchant Outbox (ME->MERCHANT OUTBOX).
  2. Drag the items from your Inventory panel to the Merchant Outbox panel.
  3. If required, organise items by folders in the Merchant Outbox (individual items dropped into the Merchant Outbox will automatically be placed in their own folders).
  4. Click the SEND TO MARKETPLACE button.
  5. You should get an on-screen confirmation when all items have been sent.
  6. Log into your Marketplace account on ADITI.
  7. When logged into the Marketplace:
    1. Click on My Marketplace (top right) and select MERCHANT HOME.
    2. On the MERCHANT HOME page, click on MANAGE LISTINGS on the left (or click on INVENTORY at the top and then select MANAGE LISTINGS from the drop-down).
    3. Your listings are displayed, with unassociated items at the top.
    4. Use the ACTIONS option to the right of each item to create a new Marketplace listing in the usual way.

Obviously, multiple items can be uploaded via the Merchant Outbox, I’m using a single item purely for demo purposes.

From you to your Marketplace store & ready to be listed: Direct Delivery (click to enlarge)


The tests themselves are easy to carry out. What is irritating is the lack of attention paid to the “getting started” instructions. Vis:

  • The instructions wibble on about downloading a Magic Box (this is testing Direct Delivery, right?) – a Magic box isn’t required for a basic test of the DD functions – either when purchasing goods or uploading them
  • They direct you to place the Magic box at one of two locations on the Beta grid  – one of which is – or was during my testing – (wait for it) NO REZ (virtuatrade Campus S).

If mention of Magic Boxes is included for those who wish to carry out more involved testing (such as comparing what happens on uploading, how the system handles  / differentiates items uploaded via either mechanism, etc.), then this should really be made clear in the instructions. Also, and as a minor quibble, why isn’t the Magic Box itself set-up as a DD item? That would kill two birds with one stone (get a Magic Box for more involved testing and test the receipt of DD items in a single pass).

There is also an error in the Selling in the Marketplace instructions which might lead some to get a little confused. These direct people to their MERCHANT HOME page, and then to click on MANAGE INVENTORY, when in actual fact the required link is MANAGE LISTINGS, which is located under the INVENTORY heading.


I’m not entirely sure why this level of testing is now required, as it all seems very basic. But then, I wasn’t involved in the closed beta testing and I haven’t been keeping up with discussions on DD via the Merchant’s forum. As it stands – and leaving aside the inevitable amount of work required to shunt stuff from Magic boxes to the DD system, this process seems straightforward and easy to understand for merchants and consumers alike (“getting started” instructions for the Beta notwithstanding).

My tests here are, of course, pretty basic. It’ll be worth keeping an eye on the Merchants’ forum and the Beta thread to see if any major issues come out of the beta process, as well taking a read through the documentation listed below.

Links to Documentation