Treasure Hunt Radar v1.5

Time to update my star product! 🙂

This is a HUD gadget for advanced object search, intended mainly to take the pain out of treasure hunting expeditions, but it is otherwise quite useful for finding any small, hard to see objects you have lost. Notable features:

  • Will find objects by name, using both partial and complete name matching.
  • Can position your camera so that the object is easy to see and click.
  • Partial name searches are not case sensitive.
  • Sound alerts when objects are found (audible only to the wearer).
  • Can dump the positions of all treasure hunt items found into your chat log as SLURLs for easy sharing.
  • Can give you URLs that can teleport you to the object in one click when used within Second Life.
  • Will keep working on no-script land.

New in this version:

  • Networks with other copies of itself for collective searching! Agree on a search string, and move in different directions, you’ll find things far faster!
  • Properly handles moving and disappearing objects.
  • No longer stops searching at all upon sim change or teleport.

Over a thousand copies sold, 101 XStreet votes and most of them at 5 stars. 🙂 If you have one, just wear it and you should receive a box with the new version more or less immediately.

If you still don’t for some reason, it’s available from XStreet or my inworld shop in Takalo for L$99. 🙂

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Rezday Device v1.1

Well, duh.

Minor bugfix release — interference with the hippoUPDATE system may result in spurious email notifications when nothing has actually been sent. Argh. Sorry. 🙂

Update procedure:

If you did not deploy it yet, just use the new version.
If you did, you can simply replace the “Mailer” and “zht_TimedUpdateCheck” scripts in your deployed Rezday Device(s) with the ones from the new version.

Everyone who bought it should receive the update automatically.

Rezday Device

New release time! Been ages since I had the time to push anything new out.

I'm using it myself, just so you know. :)

I'm using it myself, just so you know. 🙂

The Rezday Device will allow your shop visitors to send a selection of your products as rez day gifts for free — assuming the person they try sending a gift to really has a rez day today.

While there are arguments against free product distribution, this is good advertising by itself, and most importantly, it results in added exposure by stimulating word of mouth. People are not allowed to send gifts to themselves, even if it is their rez day — gifts can only be sent to someone else, who, presumably, haven’t heard of your shop yet. Even if they did, and drag a friend over to make them push the button for them, chances are the said friend could be interested in your merchandise. At the very least, they will probably remember it next time someone has a rez day.

Only one gift per avatar per rez day can be sent, no matter how many Rezday Devices you have deployed or where, and the limit is enforced by using an offworld database. There’s no chance someone can possibly acquire your entire gift inventory as rezday presents in a single day — they can only get one gift from you this year even if multiple people attempt to send them one. Naturally, multiple people may receive gifts from you on any given day if their rez days are the same. Being zero days old does not count as having a rez day, so this cannot be abused as a cheap way of outfitting a new alt.

The above limitations should make it reasonable to populate the Rezday Device with products you otherwise expect to be paid money for, as potential profit losses will be low. A shop that is the origin of a nice rez day gift is likely to get good publicity, and having such a device in your shop makes you first on the list to check for a good rez day gift. You may want to try distributing gift cards in this manner if you have a suitable gift card system.

The economical single prim design allows you to place up to 64 products into one Rezday Device (you can, in theory, have more, limited by script memory, but texture resolution imposes practical limits on the number of products that can be effectively squeezed onto the selection panel), allowing people to select them by clicking specific points on a texture, which is particularly handy for clothing or furniture which comes in a wide selection of colours. Multiple copies of the Rezday Device will safely coexist in one location. An email notification can be configured to send you a message whenever a gift is sent in this manner, allowing you to keep track of distribution without worrying about possible instant message capping.

You can see the complete manual online in my manuals section. The device itself can be purchased in my main shop and on XStreetSL for L$250.

For a limited time only — that is, the next 48 hours — it’s on sale at a 50% discount in my main shop in Takalo. 🙂

Animation organiser v1.5

I’ve just updated the animation organiser. New in this version:

  • More photography-oriented features, including the ability to let others switch poses.
  • Some obscure bugs only appearing when a large number of units is used at once fixed.
  • Units now detect each other more reliably.
  • You no longer need to rez the box to check for updates.

The unit is still completely compatible with previous releases, to upgrade it, just use the sendall button to send all animations from an old unit into a new one.

As usual, it’s available in my inworld shop or on XStreetSL. Updates will be sent to you upon rezzing the box of your old version, but just in case, I’ll check my customer lists and send an update directly…

DSN: Service outage

Can’t rely on ANYTHING. Particularly, not on anything hosted in the US, apparently, because it’s the second time this year, but with a different hosting company.

Server keeled over with unusual symptoms (I’m pretty sure it was nothing I did — filesystems don’t normally just go and become read only). Trouble ticket with the hosting company filed.

If there’s no data corruption when it’s back up, everything will resume exactly as if nothing happened. If there is, service will be restored as soon as possible.

I wish my connection to overseas wasn’t so flaky, so that I could run it myself under my own table. 😦

Update: Back up. Their only response was ‘Fixed’. Grrr…

Designer Showcase Network: It’s Live!

I said it would be done by the weekend.

Well, here it is. Please go to the official project site for all information, including how to subscribe, how to join as a designer, how it works, etc, etc, etc. This here is just a very brief summary.

The Designer Showcase Network connects content creators of Second Life with potential customers. Subscribers of the network receive a randomly selected promotional sample each day. This takes the pressure out of visiting shops and grabbing freebies, and potential customers can check out the sample at their leisure in the comfort of their own place. The aim is to bring targeted potential customers to a store, thus generating more sales. The focus, therefore, is on sales instead of traffic.

Traffic versus clients

For the longest time, traffic was the mantra of many Second Life businesses. The higher the traffic on a parcel, the better the business was supposed to be. This was fostered by the fact that places with high traffic appear higher in various search listings. As a result, the goal of high traffic numbers led to questionable actions like bot farms, ridiculously high priced classifieds, reward systems for profile picks and an abundance of gridwide hunts.

While at first each of those measures seemed to have the desired effect, lately residents grow weary. Places with high traffic scores are more and more often seen synonymous with “bot farms”, and the number of those reached so high that anti-bot policies have been instituted by Linden Labs. And with almost weekly new gridwide hunts, the patience of the shoppers gets challenged.

On the other hand, business owners realize that traffic does not equal revenue. In fact, too much traffic makes a sim laggy and a shop less attractive to regular shoppers. So instead of having 200 people coming into a shop because of a hunt or a FashCon announcement — but leaving with empty hands except the advertised freebie — it is much better to have 2 people come into the shop who actually buy something.

Our solution

Despite some prominent voices claiming otherwise, we are convinced that a free item is the best way to show a potential customer the level of craftsmanship a content creator can offer. Our vision is to connect the brilliant and gifted creators of Second Life with potential new clients, to remove the stress and drama from SL marketing, and ultimately, add value to both the consumer and the designer.

The “Designer Showcase Network” is a new and unique approach to bring customers and creators together. The network automates the way in which content creators deliver their showcase samples to targeted potential shoppers. The subscribers of the network only receive items from areas they are interested in, and the content creators only connect to people looking for their kind of products. (A description of how it works behind the scenes can be found in the FAQ section)

Taking the stress out, taking the sense of entitlement out, bringing a surprise and fun factor back in, giving small creators a huge audience, and allowing subscribers to discover new and exciting shops is the idea behind the Designer Showcase Network.

Sign up today as a content creator. Subscribe today as a resident. There is an amazing world of creativity to discover.

Designer Showcase Network

I started describing this in Plurk, and the response has, so far, been overwhelmingly positive, so I actually started coding. But for those who do not plurk, I’m going to clean it all up, and turn it into a more coherent text.

Gridwide hunts are legion. Gridwide hunts are popular. And the problems with the currently popular variety of gridwide hunts are numerous, so numerous, in fact, that they put the whole idea in question.

  1. Order of the hunt is strict, largely immutable, and prevents designers at the far end of the chain from getting any return from the hunt at all, regardless of how much work have they put in, because getting stuck somewhere on the way will be an insurmountable obstacle for the majority of the hunters. Handling those obstacles creates extra tension between the designers and the hunters.
  2. The tendency of the designers to hide the items, brought on by the word ‘hunt’, creates undue hardship for the shoppers with the current scale of gridwide hunts (Find 30 tiny items, ok, 300? 500?!) and turns them off from the whole idea.
  3. Limited time during which prizes can be collected creates a requirement for the shoppers who wish to have complete coverage of the hunt offerings (It’s obsessive-compulsive but everyone’s entitled to that.) to spend many hours — and days! — looking for prizes nonstop, which annoys them further.
  4. Pressure on the designer to participate in a hunt like right now causes them to offer prizes which do not represent their full ability and are often simply a poor excuse to participate, which further decreases the chance of positive return from the hunt.
  5. The designers are severely affected by the quality of work of other designers participating in the hunt through no fault of their own. One piece of trash spoils it for everyone else, lots of trash and even the really good stuff gets ignored.
  6. Large numbers of hunt prizes collected in a short period of time create mountains of unsorted inventory which frequently get deleted wholesale with no consideration of their merits or possible merits of the designer’s other offerings.

In short, as they are now, gridwide hunts do not increase sales or exposure significantly, and are a waste of time of the organisers and shoppers and designer effort — like someone said to me just today, People are so busy HUNTING for free, they dont have time to SHOP! Free things as such do not kill the economy, since actual demand for virtual objects is almost limitless, but time spent looking for them is a limited resource, it’s the time that could be spent deciding whether to buy something else.

Nevertheless, the gridwide hunts have certain points which are beneficial for both the shoppers and the designers:

  • Shoppers have the opportunity to become aware of new, potentially interesting shops, that they would not have otherwise, or are reminded of places they could have otherwise forgotten.
  • Designers get extra exposure of their brand and actual work through samples distributed to the stream of shoppers that actually gets to them, never mind that they run away immediately.

Well, it is possible to create a system that has all of the good points and none of the bad, and I’m almost done doing it. It achieves that through being neither gridwide, nor a hunt. The working title is Designer Showcase Network.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Designers receive a kit, which contains a few varieties of a billboard to put in their shops, and a copyable dropbox. They put the free sample that they think best represents their design efforts into a box and let it register with the central server.
  2. Shoppers see a billboard, and upon clicking it are given the option to subscribe to the network. They are now subscribers in the network.
  3. Every morning, (05:00 GMT right now, but that’s immaterial) for every subscriber, the server selects exactly one random designer from the list of registered designers, and commands their dropbox to send the free sample contained therein to that subscriber.
    • A different free sample is selected independently for every subscriber.
    • No subscriber will ever receive the same free sample twice, or, for that matter, get it in any other manner.
    • After M days, where M is the number of designers, every subscriber will have received a sample from every designer.
    • Every day, every designer’s dropbox will send it’s contents to N subscribers, where N depends on the total number of subscribers and a random element. I.e. if there’s 100 designers in the system and 1000 subscribers, every day, every sample will be picked for sending to about 10 subscribers.

It’s a bit more complex than that in practice, because the network offers seven independent ‘channels’ subdivided by type of items (Female Fashion, Male Fashion, House and Garden, Vehicles and Gadgets, Skins and Hair, Animations and Poses, Jewelry and Accessories) and designers active in more than one field can set up more than one dropbox, but that’s the gist of it.

What’s in it for the subscribers?

  • You start every morning with news of a new, possibly unknown shop (or several, if you subscribed to more than one channel) to check out, and a sample of what they have to offer, that you can examine before you go there to decide whether it’s worth going there at all.
  • You don’t end up with a mountain of inventory to sort and can make your decisions on the new offerings as they come.
  • No need to go anywhere or hunt for anything and suffer the lag — the samples will find you all on their own.

What’s in it for the designers?

  • Instead of a flock of visitors who come, grab your stuff, lag everything up and don’t buy anything, you will get a small but steady stream of actual clients, (actually, steadily increasing, as more subscribers join) people who have come to your shop on a lead from a free sample that they have already seen, and are far more likely to give your merchandise a fair chance — otherwise they just don’t come. I.e. instead of traffic, this system promotes actual sales, which should have been the point in the first place.
  • Your free sample arrives alone, giving the subscriber ample time to think about it seriously rather than consider it among a mountain of other inventory. It will be evaluated on it’s merits alone, which makes those merits more likely to be seen.
  • The network doesn’t have to stop or start and can continue into infinity, it is never too late to join it as a designer or subscribe to it. No matter when did you join the network, your chance of being exposed to potential clients is exactly the same as everyone else’s.

In short, everyone’s going to be happy and nobody has to get nailed to anything.

The project progresses nicely, with all the core code complete, I just need to finish debugging and testing it, and writing all the documentation and associated materials.

I hope it goes live by the weekend.