Second Life’s “Sexy Time” advertising – thinking twice about the opposition to it

This is cobbled together from some posts I’ve been leaving on Hamlet Au’s blog.

You might think that as a spiritual person, active about my faith in SL, who often comments about ‘that stuff’… that I’d be on the bandwagon against the new ads.

Especially as those ads are basically “the sexy white people” routine again…

But I’m not so willing to fight this one.

Let me use a bit of over the top silly exaggeration to make a point.

Imagine its 2009 and you’re a corporate user looking to use Second Life for business meetings, showcasing your real life business achievements, selling product, branding, etc…

Problem is… the place is full of so-called furries and XXXers and RPers and educationals and “commie-liberal-hippie-artist-scum”. All those people you don’t want in your store scaring your customers. The weirdos you picked on in 6th grade.

So you call up your mate from school, M. Linden, and ask him to take an accounting of things and correct all this. You’ve got money to dump, and he just needs to clean up the place. Get rid of the geeks and losers.

So he tries.

And we all know the result. SL goes into a tailspin, policies get odd, prices go up, venues close, and then business realizes it doesn’t even want the product anyway. In fact; the whole call M. Linden got seems to have been dreamed up in his head: business was never really on board anyway. They were the customer Linden Lab wanted, the freaks were the customers Linden Lab got.

Even SL’s founder is on record calling his users ‘disabled freaks’. He used more polite language, but basically back then he called us all ‘the crazy cat lady down the block and the old guy telling you to get off of his lawn.’

Now its 2014 and Linden Labs is looking at marketing again so they look at what people ACTUALLY USE SL FOR…

Hamlet Au posts this almost every month.

Top sims?

XXX-this and XXX-that, with a bit of Borat sexy time thrown in for good measure and a few furries and goreans. PLus some dating and dancing places for those ‘so-called online dating freaks’.

The rest of us? We’re a bit like those 2009 business users (OK, I’m a furry half of the time… this is just a silly parable after all).

Now everyone’s all up and trying to call E. Linden and ask him what for… Asking him to clean up the place so your respectable art and live music and charity work doesn’t have to sit next to the gorean-furry-luvulongtime-escort-interracial-child-xxx operation…

But… well…

At the same time we’ve been demanding for years that they recognize who’s using SL, and market to them.

Now they are.

And we don’t like it.

Pick your poison folks.

Because its right there in Hamlet Au’s blog… look at who the top sims are (note how similar this 2011 link is to the 2014 one – this stuff is pretty static in theme).

If anything, LLs needs to get MORE explicit in these ads. It might chase us “regular respectable folks” away… but at least then they’d be appealing to their actual users for a change:
Those ‘noobs’ on the xxx sims…

Now, I don’t mean to imply that the XXX and ‘fantasy self’ crowd drove away the business crowds.

Rather I am trying to show that we’ve already seen what happens when Linden Lab tries to market not to the customers it has, but the ones it wishes it had.

Now… they are marketing to the actual people that show up at the door… and folks don’t like it, because most of the Second Life users are NOT from the same crowd that composes the Second Life commentators.

Commentators, critics, and bloggers want them to market to people who are here for “something greater”… But the very data we love to talk about and promote shows that we are not the viable audience for Second Life…

And that like it or not… maybe they actually are marketing to the right crowd now… at least from a ‘capitalist bottom line’ POV…

I hope my opinion here is not seen as mocking the ‘freaky’ people that end up in Second Life – as that is not my intent. I’m stating it like that above to be over the top, and to hopefully show a little of ‘this is how what gets said gets read’.

Plenty of people seek acceptance online from a world that rejects them offline. I know for a fact this is why many minorities ‘hide as white’ in platforms like Second Life. I’ve always been a fighter so that notion never appealed to me.

I actually am mostly fit and healthy for my age, and still seem to have my looks – despite the scraps I’ve been through.

So given a choice between a kick in the face for speaking up, or having a group hug by playing nice… I’ve always chosen the kick… I’ve got a dentist appointment soon because that is NOT an analogy for me…

I try to remember that about others too. That everyone needs a place to feel accepted and to explore – though I do fail at it sometimes because I tend to fight back and can end up misdirected.

Too often people are scorned merely for what they are, rather than who/how they are – I say that all the time about race, but it also very much applies to gender, physical ability, fitness, attractiveness, social class, and other ways people are unjustly biased against.

Second Life is a fantasy world that lets people find their own ways of skipping past that bias. Its also just a place to have some fun in – and each side of the fence here needs to get over its bias of the other because to the world outside of SL, we’re all 10x freakier than any of us might actually be.

It is a bitter pill to swallow when the fantasy the majority here seek is not the one oneself is seeking – but better to recognize that it is still doing good for people in letting them find their fantasy.

People who do not like that Linden Lab is now advertising to its actual users can consider the alternative… going the way of Blue Mars or Cloud Party – vanishing.

When does it become more costly to sell on Marketplace than inworld?

I’ve a theory, that I suspect most merchants have already run through their heads, but which has only just occurred to me…

Marketplace is actually costly for a successful Second Life merchant.

Consider the math. First I’ll look into how much is ‘lost’ in the fee taken by Linden Lab for each sale. The 5%. Then we will compare that to the cost of owning premium land at various tier breaks. After that I’ll comment a bit about what occurs if you rent land instead, or if you use the various enhanced features of Marketplace.

At a 5% service fee for every sale a merchant makes on Marketplace, how much does it take to be charged $10 US-currency. I’ll use this number for my math as its a nice round figure.

As of right now, $10 buys you… (runs off to check) L$2480. When I became active again in SL, in 2009, that same $10 got you L$2600. The figure fluctuates – but tends to be fairly stable. It has had a downward trend – your money buying you less lindens – but a slow one.

By converse… Losing L$2480 today is losing 10 dollars. It took losing L$2600 back in 2009 to lose 10 dollars. For people outside the USA, this figure will math differently. Run my math below using your own conversion rates and VAT (if applicable) locally. The more of your local real life money it takes to buy linden dollars… the more Marketplace will hurt your profits, unless it balances equally on the other side with a similar cost for paying for a premium account (is VAT charged on that fee as well).

A 512m premium account costs $9.95. Lets just round that up to $10. That actually favors marketplace to round that up… (By contrast if you pay your premium quarterly or annually – Marketplace becomes much more expensive in comparison).

For marketplace to cost you L$2480, or $10 – in a month you have to do L$49,600 in sales.

Now for me that would be insanely high. I have a sort of non-shop and I make maybe L$100 a month out of it. :) My “Shop” is mostly there because I like building places and having places… I guess that’s a fixation from having grown up rather harsh and even for a time homeless. You folks do not even want to know how much I spend on land in SL. I purposefully avoid looking and split it across 5 accounts so I will be less likely to know… :)

On the other hand if you consider your SL business a viable one, L$49,600 linden had better be small… That’s only $200 dollars. Or… one cup of coffee at Starbucks (OK maybe not… but prices sure seem to be headed that way sometimes…)

I think my mobile phone bill every month is higher than that… San Francisco is not a cheap place to live…

But how much volume is that in SL terms? Lets assume your average product sells for 350L. For most places I shop that’s cheaper than what it really is… For a few high volume places its high. I’ll call it normal because I hope it is and not the 500-600 I’ve been seeing more often of late. :)

At that average price, you need to sell 141.7 items a month.

Pipe dream territory for me. But when I go to some popular shops, I suspect they make that many sales in a matter of days.

If I look instead to some brand name mesh places… where I think the average price is L$500… They need 99.2 sales in a month – which is really about 3 and a third a day…

If you are not making sales like this – you are not a successful merchant. You’re just a hobbyist like me. Frankly if you’re the kind of merchant who can “pay real life bills” with Second Life, and I know a few of them, you’re making about $2000-$3000 real life dollars a month in SL. Or… L$496,000 – L$744,000.

Ok… so lets say you have just made exactly L$49,600L in sales on Marketplace. Just now, some fool bought your ‘prim in a box’ and got you to that number. Linden Lab has taken away 5% of that this month – for $2480. If you had sold those items inworld, they would not have taken away ANY of your profits, but you would have paid them $2480 in tier for your little 512m shop.

EVERY SINGLE SALE YOU MAKE ON MARKETPLACE AFTER THAT POINT LOSES YOU MONEY.

Every further time they charge the 5% fee – that is money Marketplace it taking from you that having an inworld shop would not have taken.

Now some very successful merchants get by on a 512m shop because they have zen-like design skills and know about product display. Others cannot as they lack these talents, and so need more land. And some are just land junkies (waves paw).

So here is a list of tier costs, and how much in sales on Marketplace would have instead paid for that land, always rounding up to nearest dollar:

Base Land
Premium + Tier
Total Land
With Group Bonus
Premium + Tier
Cost
Marketplace Monthly Sales
with same cost
512m 563m $10 L$49,600
1,024m 1,126m $15 L$74,400
1,536m 1,689m $18 L$89,280
2,560m 2,816m $25 L$124,000
4,608m 5,068m $35 L$173,600
8,704m 9,574m $50 L$248,000
16,896m 18,585m $85 L$421,600
33,280m 36,608m $135 L$669,600
66,048m 72,652m $205 L$1,016,800

So the way to look at this chart is if you are making more than the linden dollars of any entry up there – consider if you think a shop on a plot of land of the size listed in the group land column could make the same amount of sales. If so – you belong inworld and not on Marketplace.

I strongly urge people here to consider that they don’t need a mega-sized shop to do well. Very effective shops exist in SL on rather small plots of land. Often they are more successful than the giant shops because they are built by people who know about shop display, product placement, and designing for an appealing ‘shopping-mood’ experience.

You can’t control the environment on Marketplace – how appealing your products look in that grid, what the user is experiencing when browsing there, what other products they see next to it, and so on. You can’t set the mood.

Effective inworld shops know that inworld they can control all of this – and motivate people to buy.

Counter examples of badly laid out shops that create a negative shopper experience litter the grid. I won’t call out malls here because some great shops are found in malls – and some horrid shops are found stand alone. But if you DO know how to design a shopping experience – consider very strongly who is adjacent to you in that mall – are they making your customers feel alienated by having ugly displays that people encounter when camming around or walking through?

That is why I began my focus on premium people – they have the ability to control for that.

But mall renters, and shops on estates – are often MORE valuable for keeping SL alive – they support land tier of the places we enjoy. Rent your mall shop only at a place you want to see stay alive in SL… and one that cares about the quality of merchant shop builds…

Renting at malls and on estates is often dramatically CHEAPER than going premium. This is because of discounts as one holds more tier – which get partly passed on to renters to encourage them to rent.

So if you put your shop there… then Marketplace is even LESS attractive… If you could rent a shop for say… 1,500L a month… that’s only going to be $6.05 US dollars (plus the 30 cent fee to buy lindens). If you can make L$30,000 a month, that rental shop inworld is a better deal than Marketplace. And what I see here is that often merchants will pad this with some small mall vendors they rent for even less in places with known good volume (this seems the trend in the furry community) or the landing spots of roleplay venues that attract people looking for the kinds of designs that merchant sells (if you sell genre wear or make genre furnishing).

But this requires keeping track of whether or not your inworld sales are enough to meet the breakpoints.

ANYTIME 5% OF YOUR SALES INWORLD IS MORE THAN THE COST OF THE LAND YOU COULD HAVE BEEN ON, SELLING ON MARKETPLACE WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE EXPENSIVE FOR YOU IN FEES.

But what about all those enhanced listing features on Marketplace? Lets put aside whether or not they work…

Well lets not. I will say it right here and now: they do work.

If they don’t work for you, its because your listings are bad. You need to improve your listing images and maybe even your actual products.

So how do I know they work?

Well… lets be brutal here – where do you think I get ideas for what I end up buying half the time I buy from marketplace… Yep: as a consumer, who is not your competition, I’ll be brutal and say I bought from the person who’s enhanced listing caught my eye. The other half of the time was from a search. Granted much of the time I quickly favorite enhanced listings and return to them later – sometimes months later. Once a year later…

Most of my shopping is inworld though – but that is just preference. Often I look in one and buy in the other. I almost never buy from a merchant I can’t find inworld. I can clearly think of two examples – and they were fairly cheap allowing me to overcome my concerns.

So… enhanced listings… they work.

But they also cost you a LOT, and you could easily pay for a larger shop inworld where you could have a lot more control over the experience – which frankly works even better. A vast portion of my inventory is things I bought that were in an inworld shop nearby whatever had brought me there originally.

I will see things rezzed around in a theme – and that theme will make me realize something like “oh, I like how that chair goes with this bed over here, and I have a similar bed… I think I’ll buy the chair. And what’s this picture frame by the chair, and oh look at that coat that matches the pants I got last night…”

$$$ – how it happens. Good display.

On Marketplace – your enhance listing is often sitting there next to some ‘forced XXX HUD for Vampire Furry Breedables’ that is listed in ‘General’ for who knows what reason… and I have been known to click to the next page just to get that thing off my screen, just as I notice you, click back, but you’re gone. Now instead I have assorted child AV and Gatcha machines and am like… well… none of that’s for me though the gatcha machine looks nice enough, wonder if I can descript it and rez it by my SL Home’s fishtank?

- Yeah… Marketplace is too random.

And, as the point of this blog noted: actually more expensive for a merchant than it might seem at first. Just because you can list it all for free – doesn’t mean its free to sell it.

If you’re a new merchant or a struggling merchant; Marketplace is good. But if you have a brand name that attracts people – you are paying fees you shouldn’t be paying, and you could control that better by creating an inworld experience instead…

Why moving a shop to Marketplace ‘hurts’ the SL economy.

In response to:
I don’t contribute to the economy?!

I wrote a comment, that I think is better served as my own blog entry:

She notes, heavily paraphrasing, giving up an inworld store, shifting to marketplace, and now buying lots of new toys to go and take pictures and make inworld art.

This is pretty normal for today’s Second Life merchant. Shifting to Marketplace and then using the saved rental bill or tier fee to buy more goods in world – thereby feeling they are contributing to the SL economy.

And they are. But not where it is needed to keep SL around.

What such a merchant is no longer doing is helping to support the existence of the venues they visit and enjoy the use of

Venues we enjoy are largely paid for by renting out portions of the land. Tipping in clubs or shops – is trivial by comparison. Look at the ‘how much has been paid’ meters on venues. Even in high traffic spots it is usually a paltry sum when compared to the tier for that location.

If one neither owns land nor rents land – then one is not significantly helping to support the continued existence of places to see and enjoy. That is the problem of Marketplace; it breaks the fundamental link that holds the ‘Second Life Economy’ together.

Formerly there was a cycle of goods bought from merchants who paid landowners or their own tier – thereby keeping in existence places for people to go to in order to enjoy using or showing off the goods they bought from those or other merchants.

Linden Labs stayed in float by collecting the rent bill.

A ‘circle of life’ if you will.

  1. Buy goods at shop B to use at place one loves A
  2. Shop B pays for land at A.

The second part of that is gone when a merchant moves to Marketplace.

Now it is:

  1. Buy goods at Marketplace store B to use at place one loves A
  2. A has no major source of income to pay insane tier bill, and closes.

People do not tip enough to cover the difference.
Venue A won’t succeed by selling advertising – that works for websites though often by the slimmest of margins, but for SL it would create an unpleasant A, and not be as effective as merchant B merely adjusting their settings on MP…

Some things do advertise in world at places you visit – but it is usually groups related to the place itself.

Or the venue’s mall. And of course… that mall is shrinking as its merchant’s go to Marketplace…

With every merchant that leaves their inworld shop, the ability to support inworld venues to visit and enjoy decreases.

Soon people will start having real trouble finding places to use and enjoy the things they bought from those merchants…

Therein lies the danger for Second Life.

Linden Labs though? They are now still collecting rent on what is left, plus also skimming off the top of your sales on Marketplace…

- It might be that if you have an inworld brand that does enough volume, it could even be cheaper to keep that inworld shop…

In addition to helping the larger Second Life economy…

MeshMaxConcurrentRequests, TextureFetchConcurrency, HTTP Textures, Texture Thrashing, and Why isn’t my stuff rezzing yet?

Its been a very long time since I posted to my blog. I’m still out there, though I’m not as active in SL as I was, I haven’t moved away from it at all.

(I even have more land now than I did when I was more active, but that’s another side topic about land obsession… I rebought my original plot of land in SL, in Fietzo sim, just… because…)

Back in April I wrote about a problem with meshes often failing to download. Looking in the settings and reading some comments of a rather techie worded nature I came to the conclusion that it was driven by a setting in debug known as:

    MeshMaxConcurrentRequests

Now lets look at the Debug Settings wiki, which is a little more detailed now than it used to be, though it is also possible I just missed this bit before.

It says this:

“Number of threads to use for loading meshes.”
Defaults to 32.

Yeah um… OK. Like, whatever. What’s this mean and why do we care?

What that comes down to is that it is not a setting for the total number of meshes you can see at a time, but a setting for how many you can download at the same time.

So lets think of a bridge, like the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland. That bridge has I think, 5 lanes… that’s like your internet speed – how much room you have. In your preferences there is a bandwidth setting. That setting is basically: How many cars can I put on the bridge at the same time?

So this debug setting is basically… How many of those cars can be Priuses? This being San Francisco… everybody wants to pack a Prius on that bridge, and the more of them we put on there, the less room we have for SUVs and Civics…

Or… the more mesh you can download at a time, the less other stuff you can download at the same time…

So what you’re setting here is priority… do I want my Mesh, or my Prims, or my animations, to come in first and most…?

Or… well… do I want my textures… and this one is the real issue:

    TextureFetchConcurrency

- The secret killer for people on newer settings. This one says on the wiki:

“Maximum number of HTTP connections used for texture fetches”
Defaults to 0.

Wait, what? 0? Um… Oops? Does that matter?

When does it get used?

Well, current viewers default to turning on HTTP textures. And it seems this setting comes into play when you turn on… HTTP Textures… This is your setting for ‘how many yellow cars can be on the bridge at once?’

And apparently the cops here really like stopping yellow cars, cause they’ve set it at 0.

Now I could be just as wrong this time as I was last time… but in my own testing I’ve found a major impact from tweaking this.

First, up until recently I always avoided using HTTP Textures. I had noticed that if I ever turned it on, nothing would EVER rez fully… textures would just freeze to how they were before I’d flipped it on, or worse, blur out…

It looks like when it is at 0, textures START to download, then the setting kicks in on the next ‘pass’ to see what we should be downloading and says “oh hey, not those,” and so stops (my non-techy guess at least). Before I changed this off of 0, whenever I had HTTP Texture on, SL looked like a webpage used to back in 1996 and dialup – lots of half loaded blurry images reminding me to call my ISP and ask for the 56k option… :)

After finding “TextureFetchConcurrency” and trying out a modest setting of ’8′… Its was like a Emeril moment: Bam! Everything suddenly started rendering. I just sort of watched in my viewer as it felt like I’d finally found the ‘unpause’ button on the VCR, and the world becamse crystal clear. It looked even better than it had before using HTTP Textures.

Now I’m an HTTP Texture junkie…

BUT…

Remember that all these settings work in tandem (together, unlike Congress, or perhaps…)

If you dial up TextureFetchConcurrency to 5 million, all you get is yellow cars on that freeway…

Somebody tell me where I can buy a yellow Prius? Oh wait, you can’t…
(I used red cars at first in my bit above, but yeah: apparently they DO sell Prius in red. :) Who Knew?)
EDIT: Oh… they make them yellow too. and every other color I tried for this analogy… Oh well. A ‘color of unspecified variety’ prius. :P

In other words, the higher you go with TextureFetchConcurrency, the more it fights with MeshMaxConcurrentRequests. You can’t max them both.

Max TextureFetchConcurrency and you will get all your Yellow, but not the car. Max MeshMaxConcurrentRequests, and you’ll get a bunch of unpainted cars.

Except you can actually set it higher than even the total cars: you can tell it to make 125 out of every 100 of the cars Prius, thereby not only losing all other cars, but also losing 1/5th of your Priuses… (setting it too high can be very bad), and leaving the rest unpainted…

Like Congress… they fight over who gets to get their way, and if you given any one set of them too much sway, you end up with a shutdown of your SL…

And remember that bandwidth setting? If you let too many cars in the bridge at once, you get a traffic jam. Bandwidth doesn’t give you more lanes on the bridge… to do that you need to call your internet company and hand them more money… (little secret: we ALL get super ultra fast Cable or DSL, but then the company throttles it on that modem they rent to us, and charges us to dial back the throttle in steps – if a speed is available at all in your area, you’re actually already getting it, but software on your account is holding you back until you pay to have it unblocked).

This mess is not LLs fault. Well… the wording of those debug settings is… and setting the texture one to 0 is…

But giving us the ability to pick priorities is not so bad…

The smart money is likely on leaving the mesh one at its default of 32, and setting the texture one, TextureFetchConcurrency, to 32 as well. Then see how each performs and adjust them in small steps up or down. It might not even be bad to lower BOTH to 8 to 16… if not on super fast internet.

If you just up them all, and let your internet sort it out, some of those “cars” will drive right off the side of your bridge…

As in, items will get lost, and never download at all, when the clutter overtakes the speed of your internet.

So having it lower means you let just a few cars at a time race across the bridge on near empty lanes – everybody gets over, and after a moment of blur or pause, your SL renders beautifully.

Wonderful right?

Maybe… it gets worse…

In your graphics, hardware settings, there is a slider for how much of your graphics card memory to use… if this setting is too low, items that were downloaded will ‘undownload’ and start downloading again…

Just to make sure people would be aware of this, for Mac users LLs set a flag to make sure it could only use half your graphics memory…

(facepalm).

They had a reason for that, but the issue is a rare one. However the issue of seeing the entire world of SL constantly flicker as everything re-downloads constantly, clogs up graphics memory with multiple copies in various states of download, and so starts again, clogging up even more…
- That is a very common issue caused by this flag.

Basically, to avoid a giant monster attack on the bridge, they decided to only build half a parking lot on the side we’re driving too… and failed to realize that meant that a lot of cars would have nowhere to park and so would just drive right into the water, taking your view of SL with them… or just as bad, any time a new arrived, the attendants would just toss one of the parked cars into the bay to make room… again taking your view of SL with it.

Some have called this “texture trashing” – I’m not sure if that’s a common term or just how I’ve seen it referred to.

The solution is ANOTHER debug setting:

    RenderTextureMemoryMultiple

Defaults to 0.5

Set it to 1, and then you can dial your graphics setting up as high as you want.

For me, on my Mac, with a Cable internet connection of 30mbps down, 12mbps up, I’ve current got these setting like this:

HTTP Textures on
RenderTextureMemoryMultiple 1.0
TextureFetchConcurrency 16
MeshMaxConcurrentRequests 8

Memory slider on my Graphics -> Hardware dial up to max, which for some reason is around 380-something and not 512mb…

But with these settings I get clean fast renders, with no thrashing.

Sometimes I tweak the TextureFetch and MeshMax around a bit. I’m still playing with them to find out what’s ideal for how I use SL – which is to exist in a heavy mesh build with all mesh clothing but a lot more detailed textures than I should have… :)

    EDIT:

The numbers I originally had here were actually WAY TOO HIGH. I’ve edited above to my new ’8′ for Mesh. Kept textures at ’16′ and might still lower it. See down in the comments. A ’1′ does not mean 1 object, but one pipeline of objects. So… imagine you have a big plastic pipe going from ‘the box outside’ to ‘your computer’, and the ‘internet guy’ puts 1 wire in it. That’s a sort of kinda of way like a ’1′ on this. But hear this in that Dr. Who voice where he will often say “yeah, time travel paradox, its kinda like a mouse with cheese, only not at all.” In that… I am no techie and I’m assuming my readers aren’t either – so this is the analogy I’ve got… :)
- So you dial that number up to 2, and now there are 2 wires in that pipe… Not two objects moving on it, but 2 wires. How many wires will fit in the pipe until the thing bursts and you’ve got electricity sparking out the side and frying random passing pigeons… but not giving you your ‘interwebz’?

I don’t know… but obviously the pipe isn’t getting bigger, so don’t put too many wires in it.

I’m going to be playing with putting both my numbers at 8 and seeing what happens, then comparing it to 4, and 16… Why? Cause those are easy to remember. I’m like a Congressperson balancing a budget here: I go for the dumb numbers that just sound good on TV. :)

MeshMaxConcurrentRequests – The new RenderVolumeLOD that’s killing what SL looks like for some

(No this is not an April Fool’s Post. :) Didn’t realize it was April 1st today).

EDIT October 17, 2013: Further research has changed my perception of the cause of the issue I was seeing. It is I believe related to the meshmaxconcurrent setting and another debug setting, but the solution is more nuanced than either maxing or mining them. Working on a new blog, leaving this one here for a reason:

Bad documentation… Techies: If you don’t write docs, or write bad docs, people will look at things and use common language to define them.

Mesh max concurrent: maximum mesh concurrently existing. Makes language sense. BUT that is not what it actually means in SL… it actually means ‘number that will go into the download pipe at the same time’ as in: how many lanes wide is the freeway bridge – that is your pipe. How many cars on the bridge at the same time – that is this setting.

- But that is not the plain English way to read it…

Corrected blog:
https://catnapkitty.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/meshmaxconcurrentrequests-texturefetchconcurrency-http-textures-texture-thrashing-and-why-isnt-my-stuff-rezzing-yet/

ALMOST EVERYTHING written below is wrong about how this thing works. Why leave it here? Because

  1. I wrote it and I find people drama-freak when I delete mistakes claiming I’m trying to hide things… and
  2. What is below is a common misconception of the issue. I’m leaving this here as a warning to techies: use terminology that makes plain language sense, or risk non-techies reading your words using a dictionary and not a computer-science degree…
    - I deal with that myself all the time as a political scientist with terms like ‘minority’ or ‘redistribution of wealth’ that have meanings which are very different from what a dictionary will tell you. The situation below: is what happens when techies use their inside terminology to outsiders.

EDITED to take into account what was stated in the third comment. Looked a little further into it after that.

Ever see people who look like this:

That’s not your graphics card failing, its not SL failing, its not your viewer failing, its not you failing, its not them failing.

Its on Linden Lab this time.

Its most likely about MeshMaxConcurrentRequests, an obscure setting that determines how many mesh items can be downloaded and rendered at the same time. Maybe not a total, but rather like bandwidth: number of items it will grab at once… and its chocked from not enough feeds in and one getting stalled.

Why?

Because mesh these days is super common. Like fleas on a dog, its rampant and out of control.

Because its good. People love it. It looks super sharp. You might hate it, but most are using it. Over 97% of people can see it now, but I suspect most of them have never even heard of this.

Linden Lab, when they put out mesh, decided nobody would ever really care for it. We know from their mouth they never expected [much or any] mesh clothing… (/facepalm)… and that’s what its mostly for now…

So they set the default for how many mesh items to stream in at once to a really low number.

32

Yeah…

The problem is that the method often stalls, and when it stalls on something it will often never bother to make a second check. Why? Not sure. My guess is you run out of ‘lines’ before you run out of items – and so nothing ever ‘goes looking for something to do’. So in a room of 300 mesh items (not unusual if you think about it), your 31st line stalls out, line 32 doesn’t go look at it, but moves to item 32. Line 1 comes back after done with the first item and moves to the 33rd item…

Do prims or sculpties or textures do this? Work on an easily choked stream? I don’t know…

I suspect that if you could only get 32 prims at a time. Or 32 sculpties even. Or 32 textures… they might often fail to ever appear as well… Or maybe they just have a method that isn’t stall/choke prone…

FAIL
FAIL

Most people have heard of renderVolumeLOD. Its that setting that says you can’t see sculpties unless they’re glued to your avatar’s eyes. The default for that has been 1.25 or something since Sculpties first came out, and if anyone actually leaves it there, SL looks horrible.

Well that’s happening all over again now, with MeshMaxConcurrentRequests.

The fix is easy:

Go into debug settings:

Change that 32:
MeshMaxConcurrentRequests Default of 32
To something really high:
MeshMaxConcurrentRequests Set To 145
Note that even this high, 145. I -STILL- find myself regularly in places where the 146th mesh item fails to show up… because yeah, mesh really IS that common now…

But I keep upping this number, and it hasn’t hurt my speed yet. No idea yet how high we can go… but we all need to go a little higher.


Mesh is here now, and its everywhere, and we all want our SL to look nice. Changing this setting will let you see SL as it exists today. Leaving it at 32 means you’re going to miss a lot of content when those stalls and chokes happen. There in my SL home, most of the furniture is now mesh. Every day more and more people are replacing older content with mesh. You’re looking at at least 19 mesh items in this highly cropped photo. The full render was a LOT more, plus a ton of them all around above, below, and in front of me.

The 32 value just will not do as a default. But given how Linden Lab still has yet to fix RenderVolumeLOD, don’t expect them to fix this one either, even if it means already most newbies are seeing an SL that is half invisible…

The counter might be that going too high means you over burden your bandwidth by telling it to focus way too much on mesh. But it appears that if you have a whole lot of lines open, and say… number 31 does choke on its item, then when you’ve grabbed up the last mesh item, the next line in the list gets back and gets item 31… I’ve read that this choke / stall issue was fixed a year ago. But mesh is still often failing to show up. And adjusting this -does- fix that…

About Rastafari – a notecard now available in SL

I put together a notecard in Second Life on Rastafari, and have placed it into all of the many Rasta and Haile Selassie Posters I have there. It is available at this church here:
Rastafari church in second life
Ethiopian Rastafarian Church in Second Life
In the Lion of Judah sign above the entrance, and on a Selassie painting inside the door. Just click on either of them to get it. Or read below:


ORIGINS:

The Rastafari movement, or Rasta, is a spiritual movement that arose in the 1930s in Jamaica, out of the teachings and prophesy of Marcus Garvey.

Rastafari adherents revere Haile Selassie I, 225th in the line of King Solomon, King of Kings and Lion of Judah, Emperor of Ethiopia (ruled 1930–1974), as Yeshua incarnate, the Second Advent, or the reincarnation of Yeshua Christ.

Members of the Rastafari movement are known as Rastas, or Rastafari. The movement is sometimes referred to as “Rastafarianism”, but this term is considered derogatory and offensive by some Rastas, who, being highly critical of “isms” (which they see as a typical part of “Babylon culture”), dislike being labelled as an “ism” themselves.

The name Rastafari is taken from Ras Tafari, the pre-regnal title of Haile Selassie I, composed of Amharic Ras (literally “Head”, an Ethiopian title equivalent to Duke), and Haile Selassie’s pre-regnal given name, Tafari. Rastafari are generally distinguished for asserting the doctrine that Haile Selassie I, the former and final Emperor of Ethiopia, is another incarnation of the Christian God, called Jah. Most see Haile Selassie I as Jah or Jah Rastafari, who is the second coming of Yeshua Christ onto the earth, but to others he is simply Jah’s chosen king on earth.

Many elements of Rastafari reflect its origins in Jamaica, a country with a predominantly Christian culture where 98% of the people were the black African descendants of slaves.

TENETS:

In line with the teachings of the Kebra Negast, telling the story of the removal of the Ark of the covenant from Jerusalem to Ethiopia (where it still resides today) by the Ethiopian King Menelik I, son of King Solomon and Makeda (The Queen of Sheba); Rastas sometimes refer to themselves and Ethiopians as the true Israelites.

Rastafari rejects western society, called Babylon (from the metaphorical Babylon of the Christian New Testament), for its false prophets and materialistic deception, preferring to look back to the Bible to find the true teachings of Yeshua Christ.

Rastafari proclaims Africa (also “Zion”) as the original birthplace of mankind, and from the beginning of the movement the call to repatriation to Africa for the descendants of those slaves forced into exile in the West by the Atlantic slave trade has been a central theme. Rasta also embraces various Afrocentric and Pan-African social and political aspirations, such as the sociopolitical views and teachings of Jamaican publicist, organizer, and black nationalist Marcus Garvey (also often regarded as a prophet).

However Per Haile Selassie’s consistent lifelong message, Rastas are firm adherents to the proposition that in the eyes of Jah, all men and women deserve equal and just rights, treatment and respect. With both King Alpha and his Queen Omega as shining examples, Rasta bredren and sistren (collectively idren) seek to emulate kings and queens according mutual respect and dignity. It is this belief in equality among Rastas that allows race to be overlooked. Simply because one is white does not mean it can not be a Rasta. All people are equal, regardless of race, because all people are children of Jah. In upholding this, Rastas often refer to themselves as African royalty, using honorifics such as Prince or King, Princess or Empress, in order to give royalty to their names.

Rastafari is not a highly organized religion; it is a movement and an ideology. Many Rastas say that it is not a “religion” at all, but a “Way of Life”. Many Rastas do not claim any sect or denomination, and thus encourage one another to find faith and inspiration within themselves.

This view is more in line with first century Christianity and the Apostolic teachings – which strove against central leadership, had no priesthood nor pastors, and found the church as a body of equal people, all of whom had equal status to speak in gatherings, rather than a building or temple. In this way, Rastafari comes closer to original Christianity.

But some do identify strongly with one of the “mansions of Rastafari” — the three most prominent of these being the Nyahbinghi, the Bobo Ashanti and the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

Today, awareness of the Rastafari movement has spread throughout much of the world, largely through interest generated by reggae music, especially the major international success of Jamaican singer/songwriter Bob Marley (1945–1981). By 1997, there were, according to one estimate, around one million Rastafari faithful worldwide. In the 2001 Jamaican census, 24,020 individuals (less than 1 percent of the population) identified themselves as Rastafarians. Other sources have estimated that in the 2000s they formed “about 5 percent of the population” of Jamaica, or have conjectured that “there are perhaps as many as 100,000 Rastafarians in Jamaica”.

SYMBOLISM:

Rastas assert that their original African languages were stolen from them when they were taken into captivity as part of the slave trade, and that English is an imposed colonial language. Their remedy has been the creation of a modified vocabulary and dialect known as “Iyaric”, reflecting their desire to take language forward and to confront the society they call Babylon. To this effect, Rastas revere Patwas, the indigenous dialect of Jamaica, and have incorporated into it a number of terms of a spiritual and or protest nature.

The wearing of dreadlocks is very closely associated with the movement, though not universal among, nor exclusive to, its adherents. Rastas maintain that locks are supported by Leviticus 21:5 (“They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in the flesh.”) and the Nazirite vow in Numbers 6:5 (“All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.”).

The Rastafarian colors of green, gold and red (sometimes also including black) are very commonly sported on Rastafarian flag, badges, posters etc. The green, gold and red are the colors of the Ethiopian flag and show the loyalty Rastafari feel towards the Ethiopian state in the reign of King Selassie. The red, black and green were the colors used to represent Africa by the Marcus Garvey movement. Red is said to signify the blood of martyrs, green the vegetation and beauty of Ethiopia, and gold the wealth of Africa.

The Lion of Judah is an important symbol to Rastas, for several reasons. The lion appears on the Imperial Ethiopian flag, used in Haile Selassie I’s Ethiopia. In addition, the Ge’ez title Mo’a Anbesa Ze’imnegede Yihuda (“Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah”) has been applied to Ethiopian Emperors since time immemorial, traditionally beginning with Menelik I, said to be the son of king Solomon (c. 980 BC). The Lion of Judah is also mentioned in the Book of Revelation 5:5, in reference to the returned Messiah.

Rastafari make regular use of the colors, the Lion of Judah, and representations of Haile Selassie in their art and identifying imagery. The colors as well as images of hemp have often been appropriated by outside elements for commercial representations of reggae.

DIET:

Many Rastas eat limited types of meat in accordance with the dietary Laws of the Old Testament; they do not eat shellfish or pork. Others abstain from all meat and flesh whatsoever, asserting that to touch meat is to touch death, and is therefore a violation of the Nazirite vow. Many Rastafari maintain a vegan or vegetarian diet all of the time. Food approved for Rastafari is called ital.

Usage of drugs and alcohol is also highly condemned as unhealthy to the Rastafari way of life, partly because it is seen as a tool of Babylon to confuse people, and partly because placing something that is pickled and fermented within oneself is felt to be much like turning the body (the Temple) into a “cemetery”.

The Rastafari movement encompasses the spiritual use of cannabis (Revelation 22:2, Genesis 1:29, Psalms 104:14, Proverbs 15:17), the first plant to grow on King Solomon’s grave.

For Rastas, smoking cannabis, usually known as herb, weed, sinsemilla (Spanish for ‘without seeds’), or ganja (from the Sanskrit word ganjika, used in ancient India), is a spiritual act, often accompanied by Bible study; they consider it a sacrament that cleans the body and mind, heals the soul, exalts the consciousness, facilitates peacefulness, brings pleasure, and brings them closer to Jah. They often burn the herb when in need of insight from Jah.

According to many Rastas, the illegality of cannabis in many nations is evidence that persecution of Rastafari is a reality. They are not surprised that it is illegal, seeing it as a powerful substance that opens people’s minds to the truth — something the Babylon system, they reason, clearly does not want. They contrast it to alcohol and other drugs, which they feel destroy the mind. This said, it is not necessary to smoke the herb to be Rasta, though it is unusual not to. This blog’s author, Pussycat Catnap, does not use the herb for personal familial reasons.

MUSIC:

Music has long played an integral role in Rastafari, and the connection between the movement and various kinds of music has become well known, due to the international fame of reggae musicians such as Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

Nyabinghi chants are played at worship ceremonies called grounations, that include drumming, chanting and dancing, along with prayer and ritual smoking of cannabis. The name Nyabinghi comes from an East African movement from the 1850s to the 1950s that was led by people who militarily opposed European imperialism. This form of Nyabinghi was centered around Muhumusa, a healing woman from Uganda who organized resistance against German colonialists. In Jamaica, the concepts of Nyabinghi were appropriated for similar anti-colonial efforts, and it is often danced to invoke the power of Jah against an oppressor.

African music survived slavery because many slaveowners encouraged it as a method of keeping morale high. Afro-Caribbean music arose with the influx of influences from the native peoples of Jamaica, as well as the European slaveowners.

Another style of Rastafari music is called burru drumming, first played in the Parish of Clarendon, Jamaica, and then in West Kingston. Burru was later introduced to the burgeoning Rasta community in Kingston by a Jamaican musician named Count Ossie. He mentored many influential Jamaican ska, rock steady, and reggae musicians. Through his tutelage, they began combining New Orleans R&B, folk mento, jonkanoo, kumina, and revival zion into a unique sound. The burru style, which centers on three drums — the bass, the alto fundeh, and the repeater — would later be copied by hip hop DJs.

Reggae was born amidst poor blacks in Trenchtown, the main ghetto of Kingston, Jamaica, who listened to radio stations from the United States. Jamaican musicians, many of them Rastas, soon blended traditional Jamaican folk music and drumming with American R&B, and jazz into ska, that later developed into reggae under the influence of soul.

Reggae began to enter international consciousness in the early 1970s, and Rastafari mushroomed in popularity internationally, largely due to the fame of Bob Marley, who actively and devoutly preached Rastafari, incorporating Nyabinghi and Rastafarian chanting into his music, lyrics and album covers. Songs like “Rastaman Chant” led to the movement and reggae music being seen as closely intertwined in the consciousness of audiences across the world. Other famous reggae musicians with strong Rastafarian elements in their music include Peter Tosh, Freddie McGregor, Toots & the Maytals, Burning Spear, Black Uhuru, Prince Lincoln Thompson, Bunny Wailer, Prince Far I, Israel Vibration, The Congos, Adrian Nones, Cornell Campbell, Dennis Brown, Snoop Lion and hundreds more.

In the 21st century, Rastafari sentiments are spread through roots reggae and dancehall, subgroups of reggae music, with many of their most important proponents promoting the Rastafari religion, such as Capleton, Sizzla, Anthony B, Barrington Levy, Jah Mason, Pressure, Midnite, Natural Black, Luciano, Cocoa Tea, Jah Cure and Richie Spice. Several of these acts have gained mainstream success and frequently appear on the popular music charts. Most recently artists such as Damian Marley (son of Bob Marley), Alborosie and Million Stylez have blended hip-hop with reggae to re-energize classic Rastafari issues such as social injustice, revolution and the honor and responsibility of parenthood using contemporary musical style.

More reading:
Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey
Selected Speeches of Haile Selassie
The Rastafarians
The Abridged Kebra Negast, with stories of Jamaica added.
The Kebra Negast in full, translated into English
The Autobiography of Hailie Selassie, volume 1. or online

Rastafarian.net – the questions and answers on the first page are great

Defining Role-play – response to “Could Second Life expand the LEA model to create a Role Play endowment?”

One day, two blog posts. I think I’ve done this only once before. This one is super short.

Reading:

Prim Perfect Jigsaw: A New Year with Reflections
Could Second Life expand the LEA model to create a Role Play endowment?

The question was posed:
“One immediate difficulty, it seems to me, is identifying role-play. To some extent, one could argue that everyone who takes on an avatar that is not as close as possible a representation of their form in the physical world is taking part in a role-play. However, perhaps one could employ a stricter definition . . .”

So here is what I would see as the definition of Role-play:

It shouldn’t be too hard to quantify role-play.

Role-play is when people gather and play out characters within an unscripted group driven storyline to create, tell, or retell some event or plot-line.

  1. Role-play is not (just) a themed community, but the storyline and the actors.
  2. Role-play is unscripted. There may be a preceding event or premise, and there may be a setting. But the actors involved create the story and plot as they proceed, with each acting or reacting based on the nature of their character and the current events thus far.
  3. Role-play involves the actors assuming characters. They could play a fictional character, a real life historic or current persona, or even a ‘fictional version of themselves’. But they are not ‘being themselves’, even when acting a character that is themselves. Example: What happens to the character “John Malkovich” in the movie “Being John Malkovich” happens to that character, and not to the actor John Malkovich himself.
  4. Role-play has a stage and a scene. The stage is ‘where’ the role-play occurs. It is space the actors carve out to engage in their story, either in private or available for public observation. In SL this is usually a parcel or sim dedicated to the role-play, and primarily private with limited observation of ‘visitors’. The scene defines the time for a story block to be explored. In SL the scene is often ongoing – anytime any 2 or more members enter the stage of the role-play, they can go ‘in character’ thus starting/resuming the scene.
  5. Role-play is confined to the stage and scene, and ends or pauses when the actors leave the stage and scene, to resume when they re-enter. This is one way in which role-play is distinguished from ‘life-styling’ (besides just having a character). While it is a very overstated meme these days, it is ideal for role-play to say:

    What happens in the role-play, stays in the role-play.

Oh, and in the comments to the Prim Perfect blog article, I added my idea for how to structure a ‘Linden Endowment for Role-Play’. Repeated below:

I think the idea of doing something to organize role-play sims would be a great boost for SL.

A committee that could pick role-plays to showcase. A few centralized spots to get info and classes for them (there is already a sim that tries to do some of this, you can go there and get LMs and notecards to a vast array of different RPs. If needed, when I’m next online I will look up where it was… :) ).

And I would say… these places need to get a tier discount. They’re filling half the tables in this restaurant we call SL, and getting billed heavily for it, while the majority of ways they traditionally self-funded have been cut off (/marketplaceanyone?)…

Or even whatever deal LEA gets (does it get one?), should be done for the RPs in this also.

I would go for a:

1 – 4 semi-permanent. The top ones by activity that the committee finds of quality to be showcased (because if we just looked at a traffic score, someone would game their way into this list).

5-9 revolving quarterly. Showcasing the new and/or different. Places that “break the mold” or do something the committee finds of great value or which pushes the art form forward.

10 The “sim” that holds the HQ of all this:
1/4 classrooms with volunteers on a schedule like NCI does.
1/4 a place any role-play that can get approved as being legit can put a picture on a signboard that will give a single notecard and a single LM to anyone who clicks it. A prominent portion of this would be for displays for the 1-9 sims)
1/4 shops that cater to RPers. Half of this reserved for freebies.
1/4 Open / management space.

(So sims 1-9 would be an existing sim somewhere that would get the ‘LERP’ treatment/discount/promotion while its RP retained that position.)

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