Busy week, but still trucking forward!

The past week has been really hectic, however the beginning of the month was oddly calm. Although it’s been busy, it’s nothing I couldn’t handle, and everything’s comin’ up Milhouse! They only sort of odd side effect is that it’s kept me out of Second Life, moreso than usual.  I’ve noticed a trend for the past few months in that the end of the month has a lot for me to do.

Skyrim Butterfly RagecomicThe free time I did have earlier in the month was spent playing Skyrim and working on The Wastelands. I didn’t think I’d like Skyrim because it was a high fantasy first person clobberer. What really got me into it though was the sheer amount of information and questing. I did a half dozen book fetching quests, before I found out about Skyrims dynamic quest generating thing.  If I hadn’t found out about it, I would have fetched ALL the books, simply because I like libraries. From a technical standpoint, Skyrim is really impressive, although the NPCs can be a little DERP at times. One thing I really like to do in these open-world sandbox games is hoard things. Gathering reagents for alchemy was strangely satisfying, the comic on the right is the EXACT set of expressions I made. I neatly organize things into specific containers!  WOOO  OCD! I am proud Skyrim lived up to the hype, as I have a tendency to play games six months to a two years after they’ve been released.

Looking for work? Learn to build and fix machines.

I remember staring at the closet while I was talking to my father through the bathroom door. “If you don’t get a good education, you’ll end up pumping gas at a gas station. What you should think about is fixing robots, that’s where all the jobs are going to be”, he said. This was way back in 1989. As I get older it’s harder to remember the small conversations we had, but certain things really stick in my head. Prophetically he was right — though since we were already very industrialized he had quite a lot of clues. 1989 was still before computers became a household staple, so he couldn’t imagine how exactly right he was.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s industrialization of our planet made taking raw resources and crafting them into a consumer product.  As early as then we’ve been making obtaining the raw materials easier.  Most modern day resource gathering is done on an industrial scale. Now that robots are here to stay, most manufacture operations are done by robots to ensure perfect products. If you think about it, in the last 100 years we’ve obsoleted a lot of manpower for manufacturing and crafting things. Since the year 2000, computers have been taking over what’s left. Nothing is safe anymore, even imaginative jobs are at risk. The fact of the matter is, automation took our jobs through the pursuit of being cost effective.

“Job Creators” as they’ve been coined are usually classified as the people in charge of companies; they have the power to create jobs. But unless the company cares about the welfare of the people they employ, beyond their competition and cost effectiveness — they’re going to be against you. Why would you chose a person over a machine that doesn’t get sick, have disabilities, drama, or need health insurance?

… and I hate phone automation systems.

Video Editors and Cocaine

Like all good children, I went to visit my parents for the holidays last December. When we travel we get to stay at a few hotels or lounge around and watch actual television. And every year I am always taken back because I notice something about television commercials  that I hadn’t noticed before.

I personally don’t remember when the majority of television programming turned to crap, nor do I remember when people in marketing became unable to sustain our interest with their commercials. I do remember when commercials became unbearably loud, and how congress intervened. Morbid curiosity made me at least a little eager to see what had happened to commercials over the past year, since they couldn’t be deafeningly loud anymore.

I am uncertain if anyone else noticed this, but commercials change the ‘scene’ every quarter of a second now in order to assault our brains with imagery. Watching these commercials made me feel a bit ill, not in the sense that I’m going to throw up, but in the sense that I’m brain fatigued by STUPID information. I am not a slow person by any standard, and even on my worst days I can comprehend information spews. “Weonlyhavefifteensecondstotalkaboutourproductsoletsshowyoufourtyimagesandtellyouoneminutesworthofinformationinthistime”, didn’t really sit well with me. Eventually I just closed my eyes during the commercial breaks, and by listening I could hear what they wanted to tell me about, and not feel on the verge of having an epileptic seizure. It’s very apparent that the people in charge of commercial editing, are on ALL of the cocaine ever.

A few shows on television also do this. Whatever happened to the slow leisurely pace of enjoying something?  But then there’s the other swing of the pendulum, where shows spend 5 minutes recapping what happened prior to the commercial break, thus padding their run time. I sort of feel cheated by whatever I’m watching that does that. Perhaps they do it because we’re having our minds blanked by the commercials.  All in all TV is in a very sad state. 1/3rd of any program is dedicated to commercials, and what’s left of the program is dedicated to product placement.

Know what commercials I’ve actively looked online for and enjoyed?  Those Old Spice Ones — because they’re creative and funny.

I accidentally Amazon Prime

Many moons ago I decided to try Amazon Prime for some free shipping on some stuff I bought.  Well… I forgot to quit it before the trial expired, so I decided to give it a go.  Since then I’ve ordered more stuff online, mostly car parts and some DVDs.  I’ve also been watching a lot of their free stuff for amazon prime members.  The selection is pretty lacking, but there’s a few gems in there.  However I went to Amazon today and found this. I’ll gladly throw another $80 to amazon next year for discovery channel content! Now if they could only get NatGeo!

A History of Half-Assed Features

Rainbow Puke
This is how excited I got for llCastRay()

Linden Lab has a lot of new features in the pipeline right now, and I am very excited for them. Reading this post over at  Dwell On It is a very sobering experience. It’s explaining the new Direct Delivery features coming to SL, when suddenly Linden Lab interjects and clarifies how the newest upcoming feature Direct Delivery isn’t being developed as planned. So I started to wonder if this was ‘on par’ because it seems like every new (or old) feature developed was half done when it implemented. Is LL setting us up for another let down?  Lets examine some of the things LL has done in the past…

Continue reading

Why isn’t Second Life investing in Gift Cards?

My brothers birthday is on the seventh, so I went to shop around for a gift for him over the weekend.  I ended up at Target at one point during the adventure, and I walked pasted the pre-paid game cards. I see gift cards for every online service imaginable on that rack, but no SL.  Why doesn’t SL have gift cards? I’ve wondered about this many times.

When I first started wondering “Why not?”, I could justify why a gift card could be a problem if it was a direct conversion to L$.  But now I don’t see why it couldn’t be a direct account credit. From there a user could pay account fees, or buy L$ on the Lindex. The only justifiable reason I can think of to not work out a gift card setup is because the higher ups don’t consider SL mature enough as a platform. Sure there are problems, but they can be fixed. All things considering, there are three immediate HUGE benefits to issuing gift cards.

The first and most obvious thing is getting the Second Life brand out there. LL seems to be struggling to make SL known, and this is one simple step for almost free nation wide marketing. If consumers see an SL-card on the shelf next to another online game it might garner some interest, especially if you list all the features of being a premium account.  You can sell people on the Second Life experience in a box store when people go to pick up a similar or competing service.

The second benefit is ease of use. I hate to say it, but I know some of my residents still have occasional problems paying for Second Life or buying Linden Dollars. No business should have problems accepting money from their customers, it’s inexcusable.

The final obvious benefit is the simple influx of cash. I know a lot of people who would buy them as gifts because they are… gift cards.  Being more available and visible would ensure more people spend money on SL for themselves or users of Second Life.

Sure, there will be a bit of overhead for billing to deal with when various gift card issues  arise — but if you plan as best you can for it, and do it wisely, it’ll be a great success. You don’t even have to limit it to just flat account credit, maybe even something as simple as monthly, quarterly, and annual premium account memberships. I know you’ve been hankering to get more people on premium, so this is a good solution to that.

p.s. In the end I ordered a gift online for my brother because I have Amazon Prime and it’s free shipping.