Daily Archives: November 6, 2012

Swap to Direct Delivery, merchants urged

Merchants still using Magic Boxes are in the process of receiving an e-mail from the Commerce Team urging them to swap to Direct Delivery.

The e-mail reads:

Dear Marketplace Merchant,

You are receiving this email because you have at least one listing on the Second Life Marketplace that still uses an outdated delivery process, known as Magic Boxes.

 Why should you update to Direct Delivery?

Linden Lab has already started to phase out support for Magic Boxes. In order to ensure uninterrupted service to you and your customers in the future, we strongly encourage you to migrate as soon as possible. It’s easy to do – and worth it for both you and your customers.

 Uploading to Direct Delivery is easy

We’ve made it easy for you to update your older listings to Direct Delivery. Many of our top merchants have already migrated and found the process relatively painless. For more information, please check out this Knowledge Base Article or watch these tutorial videos covering the Direct Delivery Basics, andMigration to Direct Delivery.

 What are the benefits of Direct Delivery?

    • Deliveries are TWICE AS FAST compared to Magic Boxes
    • Direct Delivery purchases are successfully delivered more often (2.5% greater success rate than Magic Boxes)
    • Direct Delivery supports “test delivery” for safe and commission-free “test run” distribution of your products
    • You can now see everything that is included, at a glance, on the Contents Tab

 Support for a dedicated “Received Items” folder where your customers can quickly and easily find all of their Marketplace purchases.

    • and much more!

NOTE: Limited quantity items (items that a Merchant cannot copy) are not yet supported by Direct Delivery. If you have problems migrating, please contact customer support with questions or issues.

Thanks,

The Second Life Marketplace Team

I assume this is more of the “upping the tempo” Rod Humble recently promised vis-a-vis Commerce Team communications. If so, fair enough. However…

The e-mail does tend to overlook the fact that for many merchants, Direct Delivery is at least as unreliable as Magic Boxes, and prone to more-or-less the same failures. This is something I pointed out in my last post on the matter, wherein I made mention of the fact that the core issues within the Marketplace are occurring regardless of whether someone is using Direct Delivery or Magic Boxes.

WEB-4441 is a case in point which is related to problems Merchants are encountering regardless as to whether they are using Magic Boxes OR Dirrect Delivery (yet it is still at times used by Commerce Team members as evidence that problems they may be experiencing with Magic Boxes are effectively “their own fault” for not having migrated).

Direct Delivery stats: irrelevant for those experiencing the ongoing Marketplace failures – such as not being able to use Direct Delivery, or facing mechanisms within the Marketplace which are broken regardless of whether or not Direct Delivery is used. (Also: spot the missing line in the comparison)

Frankly, until these issue are resolved, it would appear that there is actually little benefit for those merchants who haven’t yet migrated from doing so. Certainly, a “2.5% faster” delivery time is of little benefit if the reasons why delivery fail remain the same regardless of the mechanism used (Magic Boxes or Direct Delivery).

At the end of the day, it’s up to individual merchants as to whether they migrate. Some are remaining adamant that they won’t until issues are resolved or are at least shown to be improving. While I’ve not had any issues (so far as I’m aware) since converting to DD, I nevertheless can’t say I blame them; they have much more at stake than I.

In the meantime, it appears the cut-off date for Magic Box migration remains “on hold”; there has been no update on this since the (now removed comment from the Merchants forum), nor, except in the most generic of feedback, has there been any real update as to resolving the myriad of issued the Commerce Team have been dealing with for the better part of a year (or more).

Which really brings me back to the comment I used to end my last post on this topic:

It’s not just the tempo, Rod, it’s the quality of the information supplied.

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Oskar confirms his departure

Happier times: Oskar’s profile picture (Tangent Eponym)

On Friday November 2nd, comment was passed (not from LL) on the apparent departure of Oskar Linden from the Lab. I commented on the matter in my last SL Projects Update for week 44, but at the time it was unclear as to what had happened and why.

A thread on the SL Universe forum started, some of which doesn’t make the most comfortable of reading given some of the attitudes expressed (not towards Oskar or the Lab, I hasten to add, but rather in comments passed by some SL users regarding other SL users). Yesterday – Monday November 5th – (and missed by me at the time as I was completely distracted with other things), Oskar himself popped-up on the thread to pass word himself on the matter, commenting:

To solidify all rumors, yes my employment was terminated by Linden Lab last Friday [November 2nd]. It was a surprise Skype call with the manager of my department and HR. At the same moment all my accounts were locked and I was told a courier was on the way to my house to take my laptop. This is standard operating procedure at the Lab. The reasons given were quite vague, but at the root of it was complaints from a griefer who I had banned from a private testing sandbox that I managed after he was harassing people and threatening to crash them and the region.

Oskar Linden at SLCC 2009 (image: Teagan Linden / Linden Lab)

I was also told that there were issues with my communications. I don’t understand that because I have operated in the role of public communicator for the lab for three years and have always had stellar reviews. It’s not like the reasons really matter anyway. When the Lab wants you gone it’s over.

To be quite honest this has all come as a surprise and a shock. I have known for a while that this would happen eventually though. All Lindens fear ‘the Skype call’. The old Linden culture is long gone. Many Lindens are disappeared in that way when the Lab no longer has use for them. It has been difficult working through the changes at the Lab the past few years. I could have left, perhaps I should have left on my own. I would have been better off. I did not choose to do so because I was dedicated to the wonderful residents I have met during my 4 years working on SL. I was committed to all of you and committed to making Second Life and Linden Lab a better place. I felt I was fighting the good fight and didn’t want to just run away. I felt that I was making a difference. I hope that I did.

I have no idea what is next for me. I have varied passions that I will follow until I feel the need to pursue further employment.

He goes on to add:

I greatly appreciate all of you who friended me and were so passionate about helping me make Second Life a better place. Your enthusiasm to help find bugs greatly helped the quality of the server code. You are all amazing. You are Second Life, not Linden Lab. Never forget that. I love you all and will miss working with you greatly!

I won’t pretend to have known Oskar well; we’d only spoken a few times, and I’ve only recently been attending his meetings – but I will say that I’ve also found him (and despite my one growl I unfairly gave him in these pages as a result of LL’s own communications policy), to be one of the most open and informative Lindens who faced the user community. His departure is going to take some adjusting to for those who did know him well.

To Oskar himself, I’d just like to pass on my personal thanks for all the effort he has put in over the years. I very much hope that all goes well for him and his family wherever his passions and career may lead. Hopefully, we’ll also see you in-world as well.

 

Romance with a slightly Adult twist

Update: This region no longer appears to be a public venue

I’ve not tended to cover Adult destinations in this blog as I’m aware they are not everyone’s cup of tea. However, over the weekend, I did drop into Volubilis on FearyDreams over the weekend, and was surprised to see it now has an Adult rating, having previously been Mature.

The notecard delivered on arrival warns that the region is a place for “romantic BDSM”. This may sound a strange juxtaposition and have some ready to leap elsewhere, but I’d venture to say that the latter would be a premature reaction while the former, in context, isn’t actually anything like the oxymoron it might sound.

FaeryDreams

If you teleport via the Destination Guide / search, you arrive at ground level. Other than the notecard offered to you on arrival, there is absolutely nothing overt in the surroundings to suggest this is anything other than a romantically inclined region. This isn’t out of any desire on the part of region owner Selene Wideshining, to hide the “dark” side (BDSM) of the region’s nature from people, only to have them unwittingly stumble upon it. Indeed, if anything, I’d say she’s doing herself a disservice in including “BDSM” in the region’s description. This is a region which encourages romance and wooing – be it among D/s oriented couples or those with more vanilla tastes. Certainly. one should not be worried about suddenly being confronted by a St. Andrews Cross when walking around a corner, or anything remotely like it.

FaeryDreams

The ground level area of the region has been simply, but effectively landscaped and laid-out, with some of the buildings appearing to draw inspiration from the ruins of Volubilis, the ruins of an ancient Roman city in Morocco from which the region takes its informal name. There is a small amphitheatre, together with the remains of a somewhat larger building – a temple perhaps? –  complete with a statue of Venus, with other Romanesque statutes also to be found.

FaeryDreams

Across a bridge from the main island lies a tall, fairy-tale like tower complete with gold-coated minarets reflecting the sunlight and drapes hanging from pillars which again fits with the Moroccan feel to the region. Here lie plush pillows to share on the floor of the main room, together with sofas and loungers, or, if you prefer, a candle-lit table for two above in the towers, a romantic setting for a dinner for two set against the setting sun.

FaeryDreams

Also lying just off shore is a tall ship, one of Lia Woodget’s wonderful builds, apparently just getting underway. It’s placement adds to romantic feel of the region; One can almost imagine a brave sailor standing on her stern, one hand on the rails, the other on a rope rising into the rigging, looking back at the isle with longing and regret – and to his lover as she stands on the shore, watching him depart onto a hostile ocean…

FaeryDreams

There is a teleport in the grounds near the arrival point (a little hard to miss, given the sign hanging in the air over it), which leads to a sky island. This carries a very oriental theme to it and the landscaping here demonstrates the same care as shown down on the ground.  Both are fully complemented by the default windlight setting, which sees the sun low on the horizon, dipping towards and long, forever sunset.

FaeryDreams

While there are hints of the adult nature of activities which may occur here, they are very low-key, and certainly not anything which could cause upset or offence. Some of the ground-level seating could be regarded as throne, complete with cushions upon which those of a submissive nature may prefer to sit close to hand of their partners. However, as mentioned above, there is nothing overtly “BDSM-ish” here – and I suspect that were overt displayed to be made by visitors, they would be somewhat discouraged and asked to keep more in the context of using the region for a little romance. As the notecard states:

The purpose of this land is to offer  to any guest, regardless of any condition or personal inclinations, a pleasant environment where entertaining, respecting each other. This is a bdsm land, but bdsm activities are not to be considered mandatory. Anyone who violates the  basic rules of good manners and respect for the others will be warned. If you will be repeatedly found guilty of such behavior, you will be permanently denied access.

FaeryDreams

All-in-all this is place where couples can visit, wander through, sit and enjoy one another’s company, talk together, or simply enjoy the everlasting sunset. For those who wish to be more intimate, the sky island offers some privacy anda  place for gentle cuddles (or more) to be enjoyed. It is also a place which lends itself to photography, as my amateur efforts produced here hopefully indicate.

FaeryDreams

For me, the visit to FaeryDreams was one of unexpected and welcome discovery; the romantic at heart will likely find it to be the same as well. My only real word of warning would be: don’t try to pilot the balloons – they are part of the scenery, and not for flying, and it’s a bit of a way to the ground after finding that out! :).

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