Google+ Adventures of a Southern Gentleman: January 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

First Kerfuffle of 2009 – XStreet SL and OnRez

Anyone that’s been in Second Life for at least a year and who follows the numerous SL related blogs and social media outlets will have noticed a recurring phenomenon that goes something like this.

Linden Labs announces something.

Everyone gets worked up and upset over it, then doom and gloom is predicted and the end of SL as we know it.

Thinks settle down and within a few weeks, the furor is pretty well past and everything is back to normal.

In 3-6 months, lather, rinse, repeat.

Linden Labs started early this year, just 20 days into January with the first kerfuffle of 2009, the acquisition of XStreet SL and OnRez, the two main online stores for buying/selling Second Life related merchandise, basically two Amazon.coms for Second Life.

Now, I’m not going to get into a deep analysis of this, I couldn’t claim to be qualified to do so. But I’ve spent 25 years of my life working for decent sized corporations and I’ve picked up a bit about how businesses operate so I’ll give my personal opinion from that viewpoint.

This acquisition by Linden Labs is a logical and correct thing for them to do from a business sense. From the first moment I signed on to XStreet SL back when it was known as SLExchange, I thought to myself that Linden Labs ought to buy this and integrate it into their website. It just makes so much sense, especially if, as some have surmised, Linden Labs is positioning itself as the supplier of a cross world infrastructure containing login information, inventory and a monetary structure. I just wonder why it took them so long.

Ok, great, but why buy OnRez as well? Most seem to assume that it’s an attempt to corner the market, to be come a monopoly, and I disagree with that. One, I don’t think Linden Labs is that sophisticated on the business front to pull something like that. Two, in my experience, businesses acquire other businesses for assets and proprietary knowledge/technology. I think that the OnRez acquisition was for both. The merchants/users of OnRez that don’t use XStreet SL represent an asset, one that Linden Labs is hoping to roll into XStreet SL. Also, I believe that there is some technology behind how OnRez works that Linden Labs wants and that they will use in its integration of XStreet SL.

Nothing nefarious, just sound business. No monopoly either, in my opinion, there is nothing stopping someone else from building a bigger and better XStreet SL or OnRez. And this certainly shouldn’t kill in-world shopping, any more than XStreet SL and OnRez killed it as separate entities. It could in fact create more in-world business once integrated so small shops can get a fair shake on showing up in the in-world search, assuming they opt to put their items into the XStreet SL.

So, what do I see down the road from this acquisition? Hopefully, an integration with the Second Life viewer so that not only can you shop in a web browser, but you can shop from a tab in the current search feature in the viewer. Vendors that can sell to people in-world and also act as the current servers for the XStreet SL do now (should Linden Labs consider buying a vendor system to integrate with this?). No need for XStreet SL terminals and money transfers, just direct debits/credits to your in-world L$ balance.

I believe this is a good move for Linden Labs, a move that fits in well with their future plans of being a supplier of the unifying infrastructure for virtual worlds that include Second Life and Open Sims. I also believe that this is ultimately a good thing for the residents of Second Life as well.

Time will tell.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Funny Blog - Absolutely amazing SecondLife discoveries

Catching up on my Google Reader backlog and happened to look at the recommended feeds links to discover a Second Life blog I’ve not come across before. 


From their About…

“This is your crazy ride through the depths of SL´s shopping malls. See things you have never dreamt of and of course never want to to dream of.

Weird and crazy shit compiled into a blog commented with a sharp tongue.

Welcome to SL´s most untypical shopping guide.”


And after looking through the posts there, I’d say they’ve succeeded.    Certainly got me to add them to my reading list.

Check them out at




Thursday, January 1, 2009

Goodbye 2008, Hello 2009

The ending of one year and the starting of the next is usually a time for reflection on the past year and making resolutions on what one plans to do differently in the next.   

The year 2008 started out a bit subdued for me because I was struggling to find the interest in SL that I’d previously had and lost for various reasons that I won’t get in to.   I passed my 1st Rezz Day in Second Life in April 2008, which was uneventful.   I reconnected with a special someone for a few months before she lost access to SL for the time being, something I hope changes in 2009.    For the latter half of the year, I’ve struggled to find the desire to go into Second Life.    Not for want of ideas of things to do, there have been many things I’ve thought to do, several times I thought I’d found that “spark” again, but ever so quickly to lose it and to find it replaced with a “what’s the point” feeling.    The big kerfuffle about Open Space Sims and the negativity that followed didn’t help, I wondered why I should bother with something like SL when even it’s most ardent supporters are so terribly negative about it much of the time.

So, here on the 1st day of the new year, I reflect on why I became involved in Second Life in the first place, and why I should stay involved because if it’s not fun then there isn’t much point, is there?

Resolutions then, for 2009?   

Get back to what I enjoy about SL, exploring and finding new places.   Lately, Second Life has been more like one gigantic mall to me, stores everywhere you look.    Seems like there are more people trying to make money in SL than there are people just building neat stuff, so one of my goals is to try to find more interesting stuff, getting pictures and blog posts out there on them.

Speaking of blog posts, I managed to do 20 in 2008, which is an average of slightly less than 2 per month so my goal is to double that for 2009 but hopefully keeping them interesting and useful.

I’m also going to try to get back into building, one of my projects for 2008 was to build a very primmy banjo.  Rather than do something with just a few prims and mainly texture based appear to be, I created a fairly detailed prim based banjo that to my non-expert eyes, looks pretty good.   It looked good enough that pictures of it on my Flickr stream were used in two separate non Second Life related blog posts.   I enjoyed building that, and would like to come up with a few projects for 2009 that involve building something challenging like that.

Another thing I want to do is more machinima of places and things I come across in Second Life.   I liked filming and editing the stuff I’ve done for Drama Libre but would like to do a little more stuff of more general interest to the community at large.

Well, I think that’s enough resolutin’ fer now.   Though these are more than just resolutions, I think they are necessities for me if I’m to remain involved in Second Life.