March 31, 2009

Finally a lot of things make sense

Update March 2009: Lillie's blog was closed for several months, but she has finally reopened it again, so the below-linked posts are finally back to public consumption again.

My friend Lillie Yifu gets the whole spectrum of men presented on a daily basis by self-chosen trade. she made a series of four posts that are not always easy to digest, but which explained to me many things that happened in my adult life. The posts were a consolation, and in their brutal honesty also an eye-opener.

It's a lot to read, but it's worth reading:

March 20, 2009

How to reach a Second Life resident via email and other means

Dublin Post OfficeThere are cases where you want to reach a Second Life resident with means other than offline-IM or notecard. The easiest thing would be to send an email - but what if the resident has the mail address not on their profile? The easiest solution would be asking of course, but if the resident is offline this kind of defeats the case. Here are some suggestions:

  1. From my experience, the majority of residents has email accounts for their avatar on Googlemail/Gmail. Most addresses follow the line of:
    Please note that due to various reasons addresses from certain countries use - however for receiving email, the works as well.
    Hint courtesy of Quaintly Tuqiri: the dot is optional - GMail is smart enough to deliver mails to addresses with dot even when it was omitted.

  2. While Googlemail is the most common webmail service among residents, other services are popular as well. So check out Yahoo and Hotmail as well. Please note that Yahoo uses country specific domains - you might try for German residents for example. For French residents and for Dutch residents are good choices too. For the address part, refer to the Google examples.

  3. In case these bounce, you might want to check if the resident has a Flickr account. In that case, you can send them a Flickr Mail. The system will send them a notification to whatever mail address they have escrowed in their account.

  4. You can also check if the resident has a user account in the Xstreet SL Forums or the SLUniverse Forums. For Xstreet SL it is easiest to check with a Google query along the lines of "Firstname Lastname inurl:xstreetsl inurl:Forums". SL Universe has an easily accessible member list. For both forums you need to sign up, but afterwards you can send the members personal messages - they get pinged by whatever email address they have in their account.

  5. You can also check if the resident has an account on Twitter or Plurk and send a message there - however it will be public and limited to 140 characters, but might be enough for initial contact.
As with all communication means, stating your issue in precise and short sentences is a good recommendation. A "hi, does this email address work" will not be appreciated. Instead, make a short text of why you want to contact them, and send it even in danger that it will bounce back.

The photo is the Dublin Post Office - I thought it would fit this article nicely.

March 18, 2009

Beauty is skin deep

It got suggested to me a while ago, that the skin I used is not up to speed anymore. I know (female) friends who change their skin all the time, and spend literally L$-fortunes on getting the latest skins. And while I admire the quality, it is rather confusing to me nonetheless. My SL sister Trinity is just like me - she used her skin for ages until recently she changed it for a new version. Since I was honored to give my feedback I know that she shopped around for a long time, until she found a skin she was comfortable in.

I tried a few demos of male skins, but they all changed me. I spent a good deal of time tweaking my avatar. I don't like the majority of male avatars - many look like caricatures, using Conan the Barbarian and the Incredible Hulk as role models. Grossly oversized chests on ridiculously small hips - muscles exaggerated as well. The market for male skins seems to cater for that - hairless chests and shiny "sixpacks" dominate. However my shape is rather small, with realistic proportions. Peter Stindberg is a fragile avatar with a subtle maleness - not a bodybuilder.

What made me most reluctant however was how a skin changes your face. I like my face, I like the expression of softness, affection, empathy and curiosity with a subtle smile. All the demos I tried ruined this.

My favorite elf and wonderful friend Elusyve pointed me towards Hart Larssons PXL Creations and urged me to get some demos of the new "Jude" skin. I tried the demo and my mouth fell open. What I saw was me, but in a new, enhanced version! The face stayed the same, the body features stayed the same, but all of it had a subtle enhancement, a fresh polish.

Well, enough words, let the images speak:

The chest hair (which I like despite any fashion trends) is much finer than on my old skin. The pubic hair is a bit strong, but usually invisible anyways.

Extremely important for me is the face. I remained the same unshaven look. They eyebrows are more defined and my eyes come out more prominent.

The butt on my old skin was a bit more contrasted, but then again the shadow in the butt crack was a bit too strong. With the new skin the shadow might be a tad too subtle though. The arms and back of the hands are more defined.

The skin came at a whopping 2000 L$, including a set of 15 different body-hair options, but only one face. Since I only ever wear the same body hair, I would have preferred a pack which would include all 10 different face options. I might spend another 2000 L$ and get the clean shaved pack.

Despite this minor issue, I am extremely happy with the skin. It is still me, does not change me, subtly enhances my characteristics and features. Thank you everybody who encouraged me, who gave feedback - and thank you Hart for such a beautiful skin!

March 17, 2009

Linden Lab and the blocked IM-to-Email

So there is big fuzz about the Linden Lab mailservers being blocked by the SPAM protection real-time-blacklist - and of course the usual suspects try to blame it all on Linden Lab. And while it seems some configuration options on the LL mailservers might indeed be set different to avoid such problems, for me the real problem is with

I had the dubious pleasure to deal with in the past, and it cost me lots of time and energy and in the end a whole mailserver had to be moved to a different IP address. Spamhaus is known to be quite trigger happy and in their self-righteousness try to "educate" (read: coerce) mail service providers. Just search Google for "spamhaus blackmail" and you will find many more hits than a credible service should get.

Realtime blacklists are an efficient method to prevent the distribution of spam. But with my past experience, and with the reports from others, I can only discourage people to use the services of There are other services around, for example which relies on manual tagging of spam by other users.

But Linden Lab is NOT to blame for this!

March 14, 2009

Pfhorgl Onomatopoeia

I can't really recall when I met Pfhorgl Onomatopoeia - I think it must have been before Midas Financials went down the drain. We certainly had more contact in the wake of this - Pfhorgl organized a group of victims. I lost about 17k in the crash - she only lost a few hundred but out of principle tried to recover them.

Later I signed her up for Babel Translations, and we were in loose contact because she wanted to start a texture business in SL. Her textures were pretty bizarre, but certainly added a uniqueness to SL.

In December I assigned a rather large job to her, and somehow from the beginning it was problematic. She started rather late with it, and we had some annoying IM exchanges. All other translators were long ready, and I reminded her almost daily that I really need the text. At one point she stopped responding. Eventually I had to reassign the job to another translator, and give the client a discount. Pfhorgl did not log in anymore - I assumed she had switched herself invisible and wrote her off as a translator.

About 10 days ago I received an offline IM "Pfhorgl Onomatopoeia has offered you 'Pfhorgl Onomatopoeia' in Second Life. Log in to accept or decline the offer." Of course I wondered what explanation she had for dumping me on the job, so as soon as I could I logged in to retrieve the notecard. An hour later I was finally able to log in, and read the note:
To all Secondlife friends of Pfhorgl Onomatopoeia. Our sister Fabiola, known as Pfhorgl Onomatopoeia in Secondlife, had a traffic accident on past 7 Dezember 2008, she has been in Koma since that date. If you had open business with her, we ask for your understanding. We will close this account until the end of March.
After the initial shock I noticed that the account was still online, so I opened an IM widnow and talked to her brother. It turned out that from a medical point of view, there is almost no hope she will ever wake up again.

I felt bad for having been angry at her, but I had no way of knowing. I wonder if she dreams, and what she dreams.

Goodbye Pfhorgl

March 08, 2009

Client feedback on translation services

The second anniversary of Babel Translations is only 3 months away, and looking back is exciting and also satisfying. Building this business was challenging fun, and getting the brand recognition Babel has today, was hard work - but work that makes me proud.

In the past two days I got some very nice customer feedback, which I would like to share:
"I just wanted to tell you that, since yesterday when I updated the French translations, sales of 2 of my items have shot up."
I got a lot of comments like that over the years, and each time is as wonderful as the first time.
"You are 5% more expensive than competitor, so I had no choice, I cannot trust my translations to the 'cheaper'"
Almost exactly a year ago, the pricing issue came first to my attention. By then, I was known to lose clients because my services were too expensive. But in that case I had almost lost a client because I was too cheap! In the last year I was often tempted to lower prices or offer large discounts. But I did not. We offer quality work and try to give best customer service - and there is a price to be paid for that. Quotes like the above, and clients who come to me after being disappointed with a competitor, show me that there is something to be said for my approach.

I thank all the clients over those 21 months for their trust and their business!

March 02, 2009

Plus d'images - moins de blahblah (English post)

Many years ago I was driving a car late at night through France, and I urgently needed some upbeat music to keep me awake (that was before every car had a CD player - yes, I'm that old). Unfortunately, all the stations seemed to have talkshows on - whenever I found something with music, as soon as it ended there were people talking without end. Finally I found a station that played a good song. And another good song. And yet another good song. And then came the jingle "Radio something - plus de musique, moins de blahblah" - more music, less chitchat. It brought me safely to the border, from where on my known stations took me home.

I am interested in SL fashion a lot, and I read many fashion blogs and metafeeds. However the output rate of all those blogs is massive - a day without monitoring the feeds leaves you with 100-200 unread posts or more. A few weeks ago I used Yahoo Pipes to rinse, clean, sift and sanitize the fashion feeds so I get a dupechecked and filtered result. That was tremendous help and brought down the daily posts to ~30.

Over the weekend, I refined my process further, and now have a complex pipeset that still rinses, cleans, filters and dupechecks the feeds, but now only shows the images from the posts! Except for the very few designers whose blogs I follow seperately, what interests me from the fashion feeds are the images. If I like something, I click through to the original post to see what the reviewer wrote, and to see what stores are actually featured.

So, here we go - please feel free to use and clone the pipes, or to simply subscribe to the resulting feeds:
  1. 7 sanitized and dupechecked fashion megafeeds, including the text: webpage, RSS feed
  2. The same 7 feeds, but images only: webpage, RSS feed
  3. Freebies and Dollarbies listed on Xstreet SL and SLUniverse/SLShopper: webpage, RSS feed