Archive for the ‘Business’ Tag

Ivalde Vintage Fashion Has Closed — KymSara Rayna

Sad news indeed on this part. I truly had not heard anything about the closing, as my SL involvement gets more marginal during the summer and I was not one of Ivalde’s “regulars.” Hopefully things will improve for Neferia, to where she can reopen under this or another label.

Notions of Style

ivalde add 2011-3

Second Life lost one of its true fashion icons the last day of May, which sadly went relatively unnoticed. Ivalde Vintage Fashion, the shop which sustained the finest in Vintage Women’s clothes, from carefully researched inspirations, is now closed.

Neferia sept 2011Neferia Abel

Neferia Abel is a legend in SL Fashion, building an incredible collection of what one customer described as,“a very valuable living fashion history”. Angie Mornington of Fabulous Fashion on Treet TV said of her experience attending an Ivalde Fashion Show, “was like taking a visual walk through time”.

Fabulous Fashion - Angie & NefFabulous Fashion – Angie & Nef

Neferia’s designs were indeed derived from historical patterns, illustrations, films, and photographs and her textures were based often on actual fabrics and laces from the era she was designing. What most people were unaware of was that these fabulous clothes were all textured with paintings or drawings from the artist’s hand.

Ivalde-Live TV BroadcastLive Broadcast of Ivalde…

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Strawberry Singh On the Marketplace Controversy

Strawberry Singh has weighed in on the debate over whether or not the Second Life Marketplace is a good thing for in-world commerce.  As of my last check, she’s up to 11 comments and pingbacks, including my own submission.  I’d urge you to go read this and giveconsidered opinion to the matter, then offer up your own thoughts.  Remember, shooting from the hip usually results in the shooter blowing her foot off.  Don’t just leap in with a screed, on the subject or personally directed.

Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum to Close Saturday

Me posing in front of Fallingwater at the Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum, September 2010.

Bad news comes in from New World Notes:  the Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum, one of the showcases of Second Life intersecting with Real Life, will be closing after Saturday, December 4. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which was created by Wright before his death to protect his intellectual property, has allowed the license they granted to Virtual Museums, Inc. (owners of the Usonia sim and the Virtual Museum) to lapse, and then issued a cease-and-desist order. Particulars above at Ham’s article, but it appears from my reading that FLLWF is holding VMI responsible for unauthorized use of Wright’s creations.

The irony here: the FLLWF’s actions are not going to stop, or even slow down, theft of Wright’s intellectual property. As I said in much briefer form in my comment on Ham’s article, the age of the computer and the Internet broke all the de facto limitations on transmission of visual or auditory material that made copyright law easy to enforce.  Everyone who has perhaps, at most, $1,000 — perhaps as little as $500 — can buy a computer and a printer/scanner/copier, scan photographs of previously published material from books, and republish it online in seconds.  This is one of the foundations of the World Wide Web as we know it today; not as Tim Berners-Lee intended it, but what the Web has evolved into.  Once something is available today, in almost any form, the genie is out of the bottle, the bottle is smashed, and the cork is burned to ashes.  The defenders of the copyrights — who I don’t deny have a perfect right to protect their work — seem unable to come to grips with this fact.  In the case of FLLW v. VMI, an innocent group who was attempting to play by the rules laid down has been punished in the process, and the over-zealous Foundation has tarnished itself.  The Foundation would have been better served by tracking down the scofflaws who are using Wright material without permission.

I’d like this question answered:  is the Foundation expecting VMI to do the policing of Second Life for them, issuing C&D orders in the name of the Foundation to other vendors using non-licensed works?  Was this part of the license issued to them?  Is that the cause for them to drop the ax on the Virtual Museum?  If so, I’d really like to know how they think a small, non-profit group can accomplish something better than their own foundation, who can more easily afford to hire lawyers to issue C&D orders?  I’ve been sorely tempted to call the Foundation myself and ask this question, but I’m afraid I’d open a can of worms in the process.

Microsoft Purchase Rumors Potentially Debunked

Instead, it appears that the eminent Mr. Ballmer in Redmond has purchased Vivaty, another virtual world.  Hamlet Au speculates that this might be the source of the rumors which shot through the Plitterverse (that’s both Twitter and Plurk) a few days ago that Microsoft was bidding for the purchase of Linden Lab.

So, it appears that Philip Rosedale’s hair and codpiece are safe from getting emblazoned with a Windows logo, I guess.  Who knows, though?  Steve Ballmer might have made him get a haircut and a suit, finally (grin).

Philip Rosedale to Become a Microserf? Rumors of Microsoft Bidding for Linden Lab

So far, it’s just unconfirmed rumors.  But Daniel Voyager plurked today that Microsoft has made a bid for purchase of Linden Lab, with the rumor apparently being spread by Lab employees.  Tateru Nino is also writing this up as a rumor.

If this becomes truth, how will this work out, becoming another component in Everyone’s Favorite Computer Monopoly?  (It might be a logical thing; after all, we’re already spending Monopoly™ money in world, in a sense.)  Microsoft has done some things right on occasion, mainly in the area of software for businesses (i.e. Office et al.), but it’s done a hell of a lot more wrong — Internet Explorer, at least most of the previous versions to current, many aspects of Windows, and the ever-memorable Bob interface of loathsome history.  They can bring a lot of resources to bear on a problem, which would help pay for much of the development work that Second Life still desperately needs to improve lag and other areas of the experience.  Their management style, however, can be, shall we say, strong?  I doubt that Steve Ballmer is a believer in the concept of a “wholly-owned, independent subsidiary.”

Keep your ears to the ground.

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In a related piece of rumor, Conceivably Tech speculates on indications in the luminiferous æther that Microsoft may also be bidding to acquire…WordPress, the foundation software and host for this blog.

Philip Rosedale Returns to Linden Lab CEO Position

Philip Rosedale. (Photo by James Duncan Davidson/O'Reilly Media, Inc., CC Generic 2.0 license)

We’ve had about a day to mull over the news that Mark Kingdon has been given the axe as CEO of Linden Lab, and that Philip Rosedale has resumed the direct control of his brainchild, at least for the interim.  (New World Notes article; Rosedale statement)  As of publishing time, a New World Notes open poll suggests strongly that Residents are in favor of this move — even if we will have to put up with Philip’s spiky hair, Rocky Horror T-shirt and codpiece again:

Poll results as of 6:15 SLT, June 25, 2010. Poll courtesy of New World Notes

I’m one of the more optimistic, for the record.  I’m uncertain how much acceptance Mark has had from the Resident community over his tenure; and many of the Lab’s moves during that time have been controversial, to say the least.  Of course, for all we know, things could have smoothed out at the Lab with his continued presence.  Only the future knows this, and the future has just been rewritten.

The thing that Rosedale has going for him, besides a (presumably) intimate nuts-and-bolts knowledge of how Second Life works, is that his is the vision that created this real incarnation of a concept only in books for the most part, until his company was formed.  Anyone who was brought in from outside to take over would not be part of the Linden Lab culture — an admittedly kooky one at times, but they would not have the same “heart” for it that Philip has.  Many of us felt that way when Kingdon was named CEO in May 2008.  Philip was the creator; Mark was a businessman first and foremost, and I wonder if he tended to see Second Life mainly in that model, as a place for facilitating business.  There were speculations, of course, that Kingdon was brought in to help pave the way for an initial public offering of stock in Linden Lab; a more business-0riented CEO would be considered essential for such a move, and Mark’s tenure as CEO of Organic, a digital-advertising agency.

But a virtual-world business is a hairier operation to run.  You not only have the business aspect to manage; you must also deal with the client base that is the raison d’être for the business’s existence.  Second Life had business presences before, though more of an attempt to advertise their Real Life products in world.  Many of these left during the Great Hype Meltdown of 2008-09, and Kingdon attempted to bring in more business for meeting-type situations with his Second Life Enterprise initiative over the past six months.  Many feel that focus was given to this move, at the expense of Grid stability and Resident satisfaction, as well as other decisions that, according to Gwyneth Llewelyn, intended to pave the way for increased business activity.  (Read her thorough analysis of the situation from June 10.)  The failure of many of these business moves are what led to Kingdon’s dismissal.

The thing is that Mark was right in his broad vision, if not necessarily in his execution.  Second Life — and Linden Lab — cannot survive forever on Residential accounts alone, and definitely not on free accounts.  While some may disagree with the Linden Homes move (Gwyneth believes that this put the Guvnah in direct competition with existing landowners), Linden Lab should encourage conversion of free to Premium accounts.  Additionally, business needs wooing, focusing on the core advantages that Second Life has already offered to huge corporations such as IBM — the hosting and abetment of meetings without the expense and waste of travel for substantial numbers of people.  As much as many of us may not like it, Big Business must be courted in, and must become part of the Grid.

The key will be to find a new CEO that can balance both sides, and deliver continued and improved performance of the virtual platforms.  Rosedale possesses the vision, but he doesn’t seem to possess the business chops, which is why he handed off to Kingdon two years ago.  Philip’s return (dare we call it a resurrection? [grin]) will help restore the balance.  Now we need someone to push the dream forward — on all fronts.  Second Life cannot survive, let alone thrive, without both the yin and yang of the equation.

Sinnocent Mirabeau Returns

Venus, by CallaLily Munster, back when she was Sinnocent Mirabeau of Sinsation

…but not as Sinnocent Mirabeau.  And thereby hangs a tale, for the creator of the wild, insane, over-the-top-beautiful prim hair I adore so much was having sixteen tons of trouble with Linden Lab, who for some reason did strange things to her stock and permissions.  She couldn’t edit her own creations, as I recall.  I’m not sure whether she left the Grid some time back, or the Grid threw her out at the end; but now she’s returning…under a new name, CallaLily Munster, and with a new business plan.

Gone are the prim creations, according to a comment she dropped today on an old article I wrote about her.  Instead, she’ll be displaying pictures of those hairstyles, as executed in the Real World!! Included will be information on how you can contact her for similar, or for custom work. I’ll keep in touch with Calla (I’ll still think of her as Sinnocent), and give you the word when her store opens. In the meantime, let’s think good thoughts, and maybe we can persuade her to start doing (supposedly) NPIRL hair in Second Life again!

New XStreet L$ Transfers Slicker Than Paddy’s Pig

I finally headed to XStreetSL a few hours ago to do a little shopping.  But the first thing I did, after my fortnightly purchase of lindens, was to transfer some cash over to the XStreet account.  And, wonder of wonders, I didn’t have to hunt down an XStreet terminal…especially at XStreet headquarters (such a pain that was!).

In case you haven’t heard, Linden Lab has set things up now so that you can do a simple transfer between your master linden account in Second Life and your XStreet account.  Just click on Transfer under Inworld L$ Balance in My Marketplace, tell it how much you wish to transfer, and let it do its voodoo.  Then go spend it all.

I didn’t quite do the latter, but I did move L$2,000 with no hassle at all, no rezz time, and no hunting for a terminal in an out-of-the-way corner of the property.  It let me find the elements of my Saint Patrick’s Day morning outfit with no problems at all.  Why not give it a shot and see how it makes your XStreet life so much easier?

SL Over the “Hump” of Corporate Doubt?

Noted in the Wall Street Journal, and linked to in an article by Hamlet Au of New World Notes, Second Life seems to be getting a new (corporate) lease on life.  Companies like Coca-Cola et al. have bugged out at one point or another.  But replacing them are companies that are using the concept of the virtual world in a more practical manner.

The reason — and I can tell you this without resorting to the articles — all those old companies were trying to exploit SL as another advertising platform.  After being bombarded every day by commercials and advertisements on television, radio, newspapers, the mail, walls, billboards, the sidewalks, and even the sky in some places.  WHY, do you think, would we be interested in even more advertising???  Virtual worlds have far more power in facilitating meetings, reducing budgets and energy consumption, serving as a place for demos and training.  Businesses with more flexible mindsets are showing this now, and this is why RL business is coming back in world.

We’ve kept telling the naysayers that SL wasn’t dead yet.  Well, maybe one day, we’ll be believed….

Harper's signature

“Land Cutting” Policy Changing for Second Life Mainland

I’m back from my hiatus, and catching up on some news from the past week or so.  The most interesting thing is Linden Lab’s announcement that they will no longer allow large-scale subdivision of Mainland land parcels into lots of teeny-tiny microparcels (“land cutting”) for commercial reselling at inflated prices, and that they will be talking with the major practicers of such land usage to reach an accommodation.  From the Big Blog:

The aim here is not to stop you using your land in different and creative ways. We agree with your comments that there are plenty of good reasons to own small parcels, and we have no desire to interfere with that. We are also not looking to take action against people who have bought small parcels in an attempt to gain prim allowance or to simply expand their holdings or use their free tier.

We are specifically talking about the small number of Residents who are cutting land into many tiny pieces for profit, and often doing so across hundreds or in some cases thousands of micro parcels.

We expect this change to affect only a very small number of Residents. In fact, although many of you own micro parcels, and usually for perfectly good reasons, the top ten micro parcel owners hold well over 50% of all the 16m parcels on the Mainland between them.

At first glance to me, and probably at a more mature look, this seems like a Good Thing.  I’ve seen some of the places these microlots are salted away in, and for these landowners to be asking the prices some of them are for 16 sq. m. lots, tucked away in hilly spots and other situations, is “considered silly.”  Especially when you have to suspect some of these landowners of practicing another form of profiteering, in the same way that adfarmers were pulling shenanigans to reap some lindens.

More following the break….

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