Tuesday, December 2, 2008

S.L.O.B. Opens in Karmarkar

VM's very own Saunders Baxton and Lionel Oliva have opened a shop featuring the best of Oliva Labs. Now renamed S.L.O.B. (Saunders/Lionel Oliva/Baxton), the product line features tried-and-true classics like Pogo Sticks and Land Mines, the Apocalyptic Combat Vehicle by Oliva and Fluid Creations, and the Universal Destruction Kit. Shoring up these products are NovaTech, Carducci and SL Exotic Pets, and there's a Christmas vendor with 44 great gift boxes, Xmas accessories, and unique items!

Come down today, and check it out at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Karmarkar/104/89/72.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

SL Car Combat Returns in Karmarkar!

Lionel Oliva Labs is proud to once again offer vehicle combat, this time in the Karmarkar sim. Any arena combat vehicle is welcome to participate, but the 100% Mono Apocalyptic Combat Vehicle is also ready for action!


The newest Lionel Oliva Labs products are also available at ground level, including the Universal Destruction Kit with 2 free Mono vehicles and more.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Starship Jeffersons Quality Textures

It's one thing to be a quality texture maker, and another to be a quality texture seller. Starship Jeffersons Quality Textures is a rare pairing of these traits.

Located in Sanguine, SJQT has a very eye-friendly layout that shows what you want without having you have to paw (or if you're a furry, hand, I guess) through 1-texture surfaces. Everything is laid out by collection or theme so you can get right to it.

And what themes SJ has!

From futuristic to classic Celtic, Japanese to steampunk, and lots in between, Starship has an impressive number of texture sets and more are being added weekly. His most recent addition, a set of bunker textures, is sure to please the battle-hardened builder.

Look at how the clouds move over the tiles...

One of the more fun parts of any store is the freebies. SJ's collection is right up there, offering such goodies as Daleks, Arcadia freebies, and lots of SJ sample textures.

Many stores are unfortunate to have ad farms right around the corner when you step out the door. Not so here... a trip outside leads to a serene winter scene, seemingly above the clouds. It's a perfect place to demonstrate the effectiveness of his semi-transparent cloud textures, perfect for arranging smooth transitions into one's sky builds.

Here's looking at you, kid. Brr!

A small personal alcove is set next to his textures, featuring works by Kia Greyskin.

Starship Jeffersons Quality Textures is active in the Second Life cultural scene as a sponsor of Primtionary, still one of the most unique (and fun!) events to be found anywhere in Second Life.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Clip 'N' Save SL: The MetaSaver Arrives

I haven't seen many gift certificates besides CCTV Giant's which have really stuck, but Second Life coupons... now that's an innovation!

The MetaSaver Coupon book is now in its third edition and triple its original size! Not only is it available here in Second Life, but they've figured how to present it outside of SL in a great hassle-free viewer. Whether you're an advertiser or buyer you can check it out here...

The coupon book is delivered automatically to subscribers on the 1st of the month... no messy group messages to swat away and notices to dig for.

MetaSaver showed me my first demonstration, and an effective one, of the Subscribe-O-Matic, a groupless subscription service. I've heard a lot of buzz about it, but it's nice to finally be in a 26th group without having to jump to an alt or dump group #25.

Visiting their HQ was a smooth, easy process and everything is well laid out whether you are a shopper looking to save money or a Second Life business owner looking to advertise. At 478 meters high, the high-tech look merges perfectly with low lag.

Welcome MetaSaver and best wishes for a successful future!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

SL's Flower Lady of Copenhagen

Ida Coage's Garden Center is a nice trip off the beaten path if you want to stock your SL garden, or add a fountain, landscaping, or outdoor romantic furniture to your parcel or sim. Most of her flowers fall into the L$10-L$20 range, and her outdoor items range from L$75 to L$249, very affordable if you want to load up your event center, home or business on the cheap. Best of all, her flowers are modifiable, so you can set them to the size you want and fit them into the looks of your other flowers and plants.

Another romantic day at the Garden Center in the Denmark Cop
One of my favorite items is the windmill she offers. Solidly built, she has now added a building size (L$300) in addition to the decorative version she sells for L$75.

Fountains, benches, and waterfalls all decorate the land.

For people who like less frilly things, yet still want to share some downtime together with that special avatar, there is also a wood pavilion as shown for L$200.

Ida's Garden Center can be found at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Denmark%20Copenhagen/204/208/24

Sunday, October 5, 2008

VM Fun Places

For places with pure eye and "WOW!" appeal, we've got this list. More coming as we blog on!

If any of these businesses has moved, please contact us at sumosalesman at/@ aol.com. We'll give you any copy/mod Lionel Oliva Labs product you like for your trouble and if you find the new address please let us know! Thanks!

A Cool Planetarium

Puppy Poppets

Wales Springs


Bootie's Bay

MMD Designs

LINC Island

Goth Magick

Lavanya's Prefabs

"Shopping Amidst the Ruins"

Renegade Warehouse

VM's Up and Coming Businesses

It's been a while since we featured any businesses we felt were moving up in the virtual world -- they've all grown up or moved away since -- but we'll have more shortly and if you know of one please contact us at sumosalesman at aol dawt com. Thanks!

Famous SL Businesses Directory

Below is a list of famous SL businesses we've reviewed so far. If you visit one and they've moved, please let us know and we'll update it. Thanks!


Fluid Creations

KittyCat's Kreations

Oblonski Furniture


KaDeWe Mall

Insky Jedburgh

Old Glory Sutlery

Something Fishy

Caskets R Us


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

We're tying in with Avatars United!

Hello everyone,

Virtual Merchants will be integrating with Avatars United's Second Life Group. This means that we'll be focusing on business owners who join the group, so if you'd like to have your business covered, we'll be accepting requests from the group only.

Membership is open to everyone, from newcomers to established professionals, fun seekers, builders, scripters, buyers, sellers, bloggers, singers, artists, musicians, playwrights, machinima makers, writers, and more. Just click on the link above, sign up and you're in!

Thank you,

Lionel Oliva

Monday, September 22, 2008

Plan A Trip To This SL Planetarium!

While meeting up with my friend Kaffe I came across a pretty trippy planetarium. Located at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Ginsberg/139/230/38, it not only features the planets but an always-changing array of cosmic particle objects. Astronomers who can sketch out the visible stars of the cosmos from memory may not be impressed with this artistic interpretation of the heavens, but it's still an enjoyable SL tribute to the wonders of the solar system and universe.

Monday, September 15, 2008

From New Year's To Nativity, TP in... and Buy Some Divivity!

Our intrepid reporter Saunders Baxton made a trip to Divivity, one of SL's most enduring food, flower and seasonal item stores. Owner Vivianne OFlynn was glad to take time from her store duties and grant Saunders and interview.

Vivianne OFlynn: Hiya Saunders :) Welcome to Divivity :)

Saunders Baxton: Ah, hello. thank you for the warm welcome. How have you been?

Vivianne OFlynn: Busy making Danishes and Halloween treats these days. Divivity is a business that follows the seasons!

Saunders Baxton: Your Halloween items look really fun. How did Divivity get to a point where you could sell seasonally?

Vivianne OFlynn: It started out in 2003 as a small greenhouse on a very small plot of land in this same sim; Divivity takes up about 3/4 of the sim now.

Saunders Baxton: I saw the bought-on date for this land... impressive.

Vivianne OFlynn: Well, we occupied it earlier than that. In the very early days, the land was not bought or sold. In fact, the original pieces we got for free from the Governor :) We began with a brand identity and took it from there. Branding a business name is vital. There are too many that are not memorable enough.

Saunders Baxton: I know what you mean. There was... oh, I forget the name.

Vivianne OFlynn (laughs): there is only one Divivity in SL, and we create items using our brand.
For example, many people make liquor drinks using real life brands, which IS against the TOS but no one does anything about it. But we do make our own brand, and we establish it through our products. Every single thing we make has Divivity in front of the description. And we don't offer mods on most things, so the name has to stay. I have even sold businesses in a box to people, but the brand name stays put (laughs). It spreads out as the SL world does; like SL we are not just selling product but the name too.

Saunders Baxton: How else have you maintained and improved your SL presence?

Vivianne OFlynn: Another cornerstone is selling quality product. Many people are in a great rush to create something to sell and do not perfect it. In the old days, that was okay. We had all kinds of sloppy stuff. But now, there is too much competition. My competition here has a larger volume of items, but a lot of it can't take the zoooom in test (laughs).

Saunders Baxton: ah... I've always marveled at the level of quality for food items.

Vivianne OFlynn: Precision in creation, despite a smaller product range, is the way to build a clientele. I would also emphasize customer service to anyone starting out. I stay at my shop and greet and assist people. I read on the SLX forums that people don't do that because they fear scaring people away. But I have found that if someone doesn't want to speak to me, they don't. I welcome them, offer assistance and then scoot. But more often than not, people DO want help, in particular if the shop is big and people can't find things.

Saunders Baxton: Going by that, what is your take on shop owners who use a teleport landing point and force people to look at everything you have before finding what they came for?

Vivianne OFlynn: We used to have a teleport to different locations, but the script was borky and well, we just left it out (laughs). I get peeps to stay longer other ways ;) One thing I do, that they do in real life all the time: I offer weekly specials. Would you care to see the main food shop? I can show you what I mean.

Saunders Baxton: So it is within walking distance then... certainly.

Vivianne OFlynn: Oh yes, we can walk over and you can see more of what Divivity offers. This is our original shop. Actually, if you look at my profile picks you can see our history in Doggerel. Because we have limited space, we do three modes of presenting the product: in boxes, actually rezzed, and in temp-rez vendors. In this food shop I offer items for free and for one Linden. People come here every week to see how I have changed it up... and it takes them a bit of time to find the cheapies. So I don't need them to go teleporting all over, they know exactly where to go to find the permanent treasure hunt.

It cracks me up though sometimes. One guy bought 50 bowls of peas and carrots!

Saunders Baxton: Sounds like a "regular" customer.

Vivianne OFlynn: For sure. And yard sale peeps swoop in for the cheapies. Back in the day, I rented a bit, now I only set up on request for people if at all. So if peeps don't come here, they don't get the goodies. That's what helps bring people here.

Saunders Baxton: How do you write your ad copy and sell your items?

Vivianne OFlynn: The writeups are whimsical , but that is the tenor of Divivity. And to be honest, I think I sell a fair number of things just by the way I name them or describe them. Also, I limit my SLExchange listings. I could have thousands of things on there; what you see is only a small fraction of my stock. Since I am in the seasonal niche, I don't have to have it out all at once anyway. But I think anyone could learn from that.

Saunders Baxton: It all lines up quite pleasingly.

Vivianne OFlynn: Peeps have to change it up a bit. Actually this is a result of later land acquisitions, plus a need to keep it open for people not to feel space-oppressed. So it is a circular walkabout. If you follow me, I can show you one more important location. The greater portion of Divivity, land wise, is over this big bridge. It is the way we started actually, selling flowers and plants. It is a presentation of those items that no one else has done in SL. There are many greenhouses and nurseries now, but they try to replicate those in real life.

Divivity Landscaping is arranged by color, not like any real life nursery I have ever seen.

Saunders Baxton: I see... a greater pattern is at work here. :) It's unique, a very striking effect.

Vivianne OFlynn: Well I actually landscape with the items I am selling, so peeps get some idea how it might look for them. Oh, and across that bridge, some interesting lore I try to promote as often as I can.

There is a very small chunk of land I surround, owned by Governor Linden. On it is a piano keyboard made by Philip Linden in 2002, that the Governor currently sells for 1 Linden (laughs).

Saunders Baxton: I'll make a note of that...

Vivianne OFlynn: I built a piano bar restaurant around it. Come get one! It is a collector's item.

Piano: Detected 1 clips.
Piano Key: Detected 1 clips.
Piano: Detected 1 clips.
Piano Key: Detected 1 clips.
Piano Key: Detected 1 clips.
Piano Key: Detected 1 clips.

Vivianne OFlynn: we serve His Royal High Nuts at the bar, and the place is named Exordium, since that is what he is now.

Piano Key: Detected 1 clips.
Piano Key: Detected 1 clips.
Piano Key: Detected 1 clips.
Piano Key: Detected 1 clips.

Vivianne OFlynn:: Isn't that thing annoying? The roof of this place replicates his keyboard and plays too.

Saunders Baxton: It's charming like my TI-99/4A. In closing, do you have any more advice for beginning shop owners?

Vivianne OFlynn: Location, location, location. New business peeps need to carefully consider that. We are right next to the Ivory Tower of Primitives sandbox. We get a ton of fly-by traffic that way. And do you realize you have actually walked across an entire sim? Flying and teleporting is over-rated.

Saunders Baxton: It is nice to be able to access everything in a first-time visit, instead of having to mash buttons. Thanks for the tour Vivianne!

Vivianne OFlynn: You're welcome!

Divivity can be found at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Minna/54/166/30.

Other On-Site Attractions:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Getting Back To Business!

Hello everyone, and thank you for reading Virtual Merchants.

Lately I've been sidetracked by a career change; I quit my job, and went back to my old workplace for a few hours a week. I've also been studying ProBlogger.net's excellent book and I've condensed about 200 pages of notes into a one-page blog guide. I'll be applying that guide to this and my other blogs.

And with the extra amount of time I have, I can now dedicate 4-5 posts a week to Virtual Merchants. I plan to post once a day during weekdays and provide a few guest commentaries and articles during the weekends. If you have any requests, feedback, story ideas, or actual stories, please contact sumosales man@aol.com. Yes, the space is intentional to keep spambots away.

Also, if you like reading about the fun stuff there is out there, please check out Squad Village's blog at http://squadvillage.blogspot.com. Roxie Logan works very hard to get the word out about fun Second Life happenings and her site is always worth checking out. Thanks again for your support!

And check us out at http://twitter.com/virtualmerchant. Follow us and we'll follow you! We won't even ask questions when we do... unless you really want us to.

Last of all, if you're an enterprising writer, and have a story you'd love to get out, contact us in-world (Lionel Oliva).


Monday, September 8, 2008

Tiny Life: Second Life's Puppy Poppets

I've never dealt with tinies in Second Life because I thought either

A. Tiny makers couldn't put enough detail in textures and prims, or

B. The market was primitive and alien.

I don't even remember how I got there, but seeing the tiny village at Adelebsen Isle was an eye-opener. Such a thriving collection of businesses!

One that stuck out was Puppy Poppets. Believe me when I say I'd rather be scripting or making explosions, skydiving in SL without a parachute, or even sleeping, than in a 100% cute store.

But Puppy Poppets is more than a cutesy-bootsy booth thrown up at random and slathered with charmingly hackneyed textures. It's one of the best-set-up stores I've seen in SL so far, with a very eye-pleasing layout that lets you browse over dozens of designs, yet zoom in on the items you like.

It's a rare store that deals in cute things, yet actually offers something I can use without running for the nearest cutesy first aid station. And for those who enjoy tinies, Etheria Parrott has put a super-sized amount of TLC in each creation, with more creatures and creature comforts than you can shake a tiny stick at! Sandals, tie-dyes, sculpted 4-prim beds, nose flies (for the outdoorsy types), even whips (crack!),
puppy saddles and balance beams jump out in cheerful chaos at the viewer. Avatars include puppies, elephants (from calico to gold), snowmen, ostriches, and... DNA?!? Whatever you expect to find here, you will still find something totally unexpected, and likely intriguing as well. I bet I'd get a laugh out of the beating heart for big people, the tiny tank, or the tiny stink bombs.

Puppy Poppets is a delight to the heart and eye, a gallery of tiny treasures you can purchase and take home with you. It is found at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Adelebsen%20Isle/51/193/24.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

SL Art That Leaps Out At You: Amani Gallery

I like 2D images a lot. I've liked 'em since I was a kid! But since I've stopped in at Amani Gallery in Marketing Island, the L$ is about ready to jump out of my account to buy some of the dynamic art here.

Artist Vroum Short features abstractly deformed 3D and texture-changing pieces here to complement the chromatic Gogh-esque works of Garp Magic, the animated nature/urban photography of Mer Dreier, the Miro-influenced work of Giovanni Ricciardi, and others. Also come view and buy original works inspired by da Vinci, Picasso, Brecht, Rimbaud and Poe!

Again, Amani Gallery can be found at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Marketing%20Island/250/44/27.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wales Springs

Wales Springs, a place in Second Life where Reality does seem to merge with Second Life.

As you teleport onto the sim, you can immediately see that this is a work of passion, a work of art. Vintage cars parked up at the garage waiting to be refueled, fields of hay waiting to be harvested, a house up the road looking out into the countryside, and the lonely light at the middle of the crossroads.

Truly an ispiration to see what Second Life can now bring to us in this age!

You can visit Wales Springs via this link: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Wales+Springs/128/128/0

Photos by Balduin Aabye and Carlotta Ceawlin

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Art To Go Opening!

This just in from Kelly Yap:

Opening for the Art To Go Exhibition I

Sunday August 24th

DJ CHECKERS will be spinning some traveling TUNES!
VOTING for the Art To Go Art Contest will begin!
PARADE at 5pm from the gallery with anyone in a vehicle participating....let's see how many vehicles we can get in a line and how far we can go on this funky Linden road!

GUEST ARTISTS are Nayeli Writer, Eeyore Ogg, MarieAnn Roogus,Sycho Kidd and Holly Loll
RESIDENT ARTISTS are LawnDart Curtiss, Drumstick Ah, Inkspots Voom, Exosius Woolley, Jankasse Broome, Grandaddy Republic, Kato Salyut, Sonia Stardust and Gillylou Messmer

Be there or be oh so square!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

If SL Pottery Is A Lottery, We Hit The Jackpot

Tonight's article consists of three quick stops in at SL's established pottery stores.

I first arrived at Pottery Pavilion at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Bietschhorn/208/232/36. My first action was to await the popping of several dozens sculpted prims, thanks to my low-grade eMachine. I first thought I was in the middle of some sort of pod invasion, but everything shaped up beautifully. Two tiers of color-sorted pottery presented themselves nicely, but the show-stealer here was not the pottery but the stunning water temple, lavishly and perfectly decorated with Egyptian textures. Many times I've seen people come close to realistic texturing in SL, but I can definitely say that this place is a triumph and a marvel.

Pottery Pavilion also sells a neat 39-prim Mushroom/palette-swap Tree House for L$300, a 157-prim giant birdhouse for 450L, and a 92-prim tree stump home for L$350. Unfortunately, it's a case of too little, too late; with an impressive 9088m and a traffic of just 8, and the owner not online since July 31 and a L$100000 price tag hovering over the property, the Pavilion's glory days are coming to an end.

For a Mexican flair, El Refugio (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Kochoomo/137/105/58) is where it's at. Located both in Kochomoo and JC Anvil's Bungalow Zone, El Refugio features vibrant designs with many sun and moon motifs, flowers, birds, fish, and Mexican abstracts. Pinatas, plaques, wall art, fountains, wrought iron lamps, and many kinds of bistro chairs and tables round out the satisfying selection you will find here. And if that is not enough to quench your thirst for fine culture, ladies may still browse the new clothing store and anyone can browse the dedicated furniture store.

For anyone seeking the exotic SL store, Absinthe Minded Pottery and Pation in Skyridge (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Skyridge/179/113/301) offers a largely sign-free, text-free shopping environment that soothes anyone used to rows of laggy overlapping white text. Potted plants, birdbaths, and urns are the order of the day at 300m (kudos for not having the awful X-shaped flowers you see everywhere else in SL!) and at ground level there is a homey tiki shop with plenty of variety (they even have a stove for those chilly nights)! In all it's very well arranged, and a pleasure to see a place that isn't jammed with numbers and letters, for once.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Thanks A Latte: VM Reviews Three SL Coffeeshops

Open Latte Coffee Shop used to be my favorite coffeehouse back when I had time. It has a very professional build through and through and radiates luxury and charm like a serene Charles Baudelaire poem. Featuring a fireplace, outdoor patio, library, and a few hardwood-accented rooms, the views are all very relaxing and uninterrupted by ad farms and other detritus. It was fairly happening for any SL business when I got there, with around 8 people. The music was a bit sugar-watery when I got there but it did little to detract from the ambience and they've had better music before.

Solace Coffee House is built high, with a walkaround height of 216m, right around the cloud level. Surprisingly, the land can be found ascending to this height! The realism is supported by waterfalls and a series of platformed walkways going all the way down to 160m. Solace's textures don't stand out like Mill Pond's do, but they're competently done and the architecture is superior, with a misty Pacific outdoor look modeled on Nepenthe Restaurant at Big Sur, California. Lots of poseballs and doodads like the Conversation Bomb, a comfortably close couch-covered interior and a product selection right out of any RL cafe round out this fine establishment. The music is fun and contemporary, laid-back and nothing I've yet heard.

And Kelly Yap's gotten a lot more down to earth! Formerly the owner of a hip, cozy skybox art gallery/coffeeshop, she's brought it all down to the ground and separated it into a spacious coffeehouse (Fiction & Lattes) and her art shop, Artifice. Upcoming events include Art to Go, a vehicle contest, and a L$1000 Traveling Tales Writing Contest, both accepting entries by August 15th.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Loki Ball's Marrowstone Horror Sim Opens

Fluid Creations owner Loki Ball's sim has already evolved rapidly from a tranquil green square into a sprawling Second Life industrial-apocalyptic-horror complex. Stocked with his tried-and true bestselling grunge-gorged builds, the sim is also taking on an unlife of its own, with a giant white-knuckle, three-floor underground arena and much more on the way.

Marrowstone is the home of the Fluid Creations Crematorium, Grungy Industrial Warehouse, Gothic Cathedral, Control Station, and Personal and Commercial Room Switchers.

Newer builds and items featured include the darkly humorous I Gots Gas Station and the dead-serious Demented Motel, and there are countless other interactive accessories on the property to try and buy. Loki's security cameras and multi-animation beds stand out as new must-sees.

That's Loki in the distance.

If you're a brave soul in need of somewhere new to explore, follow the massive sewer pipe into the groundwork for the upcoming arena, which will soon be complete with drains, obstacles, barricades, and more. Several famed SL creators will be providing their creative talents here to make sure this is a top-level attraction.

Buying and using Loki's products on SLExchange is a perfectly fine thing to do, but if you want to see the sum of the parts, come to Marrowstone tonight, set the lights to sunset or midnight, and let the darkness fall all around you.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Coming Soon: Our Coffee, Pottery and Comedy Series

Second Life business isn't all about walking into a store, waiting for things to rez, buying the best thing, and rushing to test it out. There are some amazing pottery stores in SL where you could visit with friends for hours, coffeeshops where you can soak in some great music, art, and, well, coffee, and comedy clubs where you can come in and take the edge off!

Next week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I'll be featuring a mini-series on some of the more eclectic businesses in SL. Stay tuned!

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

SL's Age-Old Problem Fixed by Loki Ball


If you're tired of having a collection of objects you know will make you money, provided you re-rez them all painstakingly in the right spots, at the right angles, and setting up shop is preventing you from having fun every once in a while, then you owe it to yourself to check out Loki Ball's Room Switch.

Ranking right up there with Cheshyr Pontchartrain's Tardis and Toneless Tomba's Thinc Press in my favorite gadgets, the Room Switch is unbelievably handy. In a way it's like having 9 times the number of small parcels that you currently own! What the Room Switch does is let you save your favorite multi-object configurations for your land. Rezzing and clearing things en masse has never been more fast and convenient. Want a bar on your land? Put it together and save it to notecard! Do the same with a store setup, romantic getaway, cache of destructible RP (role-playing) objects, or anything else that suits your needs or fancy.

Want to mark down all your goods for sale for twenty minutes? Room Switch out your old setup with the discounted setup, then switch it right back with just an extra touch. Need to disappear into a secret hideaway? Rez a previously inaccessible and undetectable escape tunnel. Got a favorite tried and true event stage you'd like to set up? Go for it.

This is not a temp rezzer; the Room Switch rezzes one-rez setups at your convenience and leisure, and once they're set up, your object configurations are there with no extra temp-rez lag.

If you're an established merchant who wants that little extra time-saving edge, or you're just starting out in Second Life, you owe it to yourself to start saving time by purchasing the Room Switch. Try it out today!

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

SL Snowmen Will Never Be The Same: Blurred Nightfire

Blurred Nightfire is one of Second Life's up-and-coming designers. Since his early days as a coffee cup designer, he has branched out into items for home and garden, including two stunning fountains, a unique joke-telling snowman, a charming snowman snow globe, and a top-secret project we'll cover in an update. Summer hangouts will never be the same!

Q -What has been your biggest challenge?
A - My biggest challenge was starting up my business and getting people to recognize my products for their uniqueness. It is never easy to start from nothing.

Q - How have you succeeded in your business?
A - I have succeeded in my business by being praised by other builders on how well my products are put together, as well as creating products that have those extra features other products do not have.

Q- Such as?
A- My fountains allow you to change texture, water color, and light color too! Also, my 33-prim fountain features water cascading in a spiral. It looks nice without a lot of extra parcel space.

Q - Where do you get your ideas from?
A - I actually get my ideas from looking around at objects in real life and seeing what can be added to them, as well as other objects in Second Life. Just more or less thinking, "Wonder what people would think if that feature was on this object?"

Q - How do you keep yourself motivated to keep working?
A - I keep myself motivated by keeping busy. Since I know once I stop on something, it takes a little bit for me to get back in to it again to be working efficiently.

Q - How did you decide on what you were going to make?
A - I actually just fell into making fountains, since one day I made a fountain and people were impressed with how well I paid attention to detail. From there it has improved and I am starting to move on to making other products for outdoor use. That way, I will be able to cover a wider range of people who need items.

Q - How did you start your business?
A - It all started with the help of friends who offered a free spot of land, here and there, because apparently they all enjoy my creations I have made. I've tried my best returning the help for their being so supportive and such good friends!

Q - What advice would you give to others ?
A - Network, network, network! Make as many friends as possible but stay true to them and help them when they need help with things, but remember try not to be taken advantage of! Also if you are going to build or script, stick to a category, so you won't be stuck on the same object and won't get bored, but be sure to enjoy what you are doing.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Bootie's Bay...AHOY THAR!

Hello all, thanks for dropping by to the blog and this is a first time blogger to this amazing blog here! Let's hope I can give you some of what I see as I explore around Second Life here! Do remember that you can visit what I get up to on my own scrapblog ^_^ I always save the best bits here and I think this sim I have visited will rock your socks!

So the first of my voyage will be at the Isla Dela Vida. At first glance, it does look like there would be something very strange going on, like why is it very quiet? Where are the bots? What am I doing here, and as I ventured on, all is not what it seems...

So that is all I can show you of what is in that WONDERFUL sim, heck it would ruin the surprise of what it has in store for you and noone likes spoilt surprises! I for one sure don't! But in all seriousness, this has to be one of the most beautiful, high quality, entertaining, spooky, top craftsmanship in Second Life that I have ever ventured yet!

Another thing is the music, it is very addictive, and does absolutely 100% matches the theme of the sim. It is what gives you that feeling that you are actually starring in your own film as the superhero of the hour. And if you want added spookiness, set the Environment on as Midnight mode, or if you prefer my style, Surreality Delight Mode.

There as we can see, it does feel like that you are at the top of the world so to speak. With great rewards awaiting you as you solve the mystery of this strange but yet exciting island, one must be mad not to explore this place!

So if you are still not itching to explore this place, I really urge you to check it out. Soon all the shops there will be filled to the brim, and you can have adventure, explore, roleplay, play, chat, have fun all in the comfort of this sim.

And finally the SpySectometer:

Design: 95%
Fun: 90%
Speed: 65% (Could be due to the Second Life lagginess on the day)

Must See?: Yes
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Isla%20dela%20Vida/19/165/25
Second Life Direct Link: secondlife://Isla%20dela%20Vida/19/165/25

Overall: 84% (Excellent!)

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Two-Minute Teleports: Second Life Shorts

As someone who wears the same suit day in day out (oh, and in SL too), I found myself a little out of place in Camelot Gardens. Luckily the people were still polite and I had an outfit waiting for me on the steps of the great hall.

In the past I've scripted vehicle weapons and RPG/combat effects, so I checked out The Cannon Company in Caledon Kittiwickshire. The Couples Hansom Cab out front was a virtuoso work of Victorian building and texturing, with seat cushion textures that, for once, didn't look like they were ripped out of a game of Pong, Surround, or Secret Collect. The rendered shadow was the crowning glory.

The cannons inside looked as good as authentic, with representatives from many eras of conflict. They fired easily enough, at a touch, and gave off clouds of smoke that rotated and drifted off in what looked to be particle six-packs (not quite my cup of tea, but people have razzed me for what I thought were fine particles, so until smoke looks like smoke, touche). On the walls I found some elaborately illustrated ads for Steam-Powered and Reactor Rayguns, the Sherlock Holmes Edition Hansom Cab, Steam Powered Chair, 2 Cylinder Steam Engine/Pump, and a wildly creative 3-level Shoe House with tracking eyeballs, doors, telescope, and an observatory. For those seeking a simpler good time, there were 29-prim white birch bark and aluminum canoes. Overall things were a bit primmy and pricey, but that's not a bad thing when you want quality, something that won't redraw itself every time you step around it, like sculpted prims. Going by the solid architecture of the shop itself and the professional level of the ads, combined with Caledon's reputation for fine things steampunk and Victorian, it's easy to infer there's some serious quality sitting up on these walls.

Stop by today and let me know what you think!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

You Have Been Warmed! SL Sweaters at MMD Designs

When I came to Mariana (Marianagelina11 Oh) & Mino (Minotaurus Whitfield) Designs, I got a chilly reception. It was freezing!

Since I lost my suit to an SL glitch that turned it into some overalls, all I had on was my poker T-shirt and some jeans and shoes. Standing in the virtual snow, I found myself reaching for a shiver animation.... when a sweater beckoned from across the open-air cabin. MMD must sure save on heating!

MMD mostly features women's winter outfits, dresses, sweaters, scarves, handwarmers, hats and pullovers (I'm guessing they're called Pullis on the vendors) and the like, but they do have wares for men like Chapkas (thick winter hats), five sweaters, and a shirt/sweater combo. Prices I found ranged around L$120 to L$350, about average for Second Life clothing.

The driveable sled (L$500) was a nice touch, but I got a shocking surprise when my friend Blurred tried getting on it too. Suffice it to say that it was made with couples in mind.

I bought a sweater and chapka here. My avatar was short, so the included collar went up through his neck, but all I did was take it off and it was a good fit without it. The sweater texture looked good, with plenty of texture detail and color variation. There is enough variety in the outfits, especially for women. The thick chapka looked fine too, enough to ward off a blizzard.

The environment is a well-designed winter mall setting next to a ski lift. The store is welcoming, with a pot of coffee placed at a small table for visitors. Icicles suggest a lot of cold, and the snow makes you want to bundle up... and buy a sweater.

Mariana & Mino Designs can be found at http://slurl.com/secondlife/MeetingSupport/226/19/21 .

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