Thursday, March 27, 2008

I am in Au & almost famous

When I logged in tonight a friend told me I had been quoted in Wagner James Au's recent "New World Notes" post about the trademark-in-a-teapot tempest that is blowing like a lazy hooker through the slogosphere.

Full schoolgirl-lovin' here:

An SL bloggers group has an extended conversation here, and offhand, I tend to agree with Kanomi™ Pikajuna [emphasis & ™ mine!], who says, "A company as dependent as Linden is on the goodwill and contributions of their community cannot possibly be stupid enough as to harass their fans for failing to put a TM after their company name. My guess is these guidelines are there to give them protection and cause to go after bogus currency exchange web sites and other profiteers."

I agree with Wagner James Au! (Even if he did not follow our new branding guidelines regarding the Kanomi™ brand!). Now some of you are probably like, "Great you were quoted by another sloser like yourself on yet another sloser slog." But this is not just any sloser slog! This is Wagner James Au's slog! He is like, almost famous! He writes for like Salon, and shiz. Check this action out:

"I think it was on the "Crusher" level of Doom II that the joy of killing really kicked in for me ... Crack the barrel, chamber two more shells -- backpedaling and dodging all the while, as the survivors converge -- and fire again. Timed just right, it becomes a perfectly choreographed danse macabre (fire, reload, dodge, fire) on a stage you quickly turn into an abattoir."

A danse macabre in the abattoir of Doom! Can you hear the double-barrel of buckshot crackling through that prose like bran flakes in milk?

Now remind yourself that this was not written for the 532 people who read articles about Second Life The Place That Shall Not Be Named.

No. This was not written about Philip "Phil Linden" Rosedale's apologetic retreat -- like a bashful neko-slave boi caught giggling on Mistress' throne -- from the one job at Linden Labs that pays actual money instead of that Camel Cash they give everyone else.

No, faithful followers of fashion. This was written for the old skool the Bill Gates-funded, Michael Kinsley-edited powerhouse the Hambrecht and Quist-backed, San Francisco-based ex-hippy, post-Gen X freakshow of publishing that authoritatively explains to baby boomers who stopped subscribing to magazines in favor of subscribing to websites what they should say to impress some Starbucks barista with a hangover and metal shit jammed in her nose.

The Au-some article quoted above was launched in the wake of Columbine, when the ability of suicidal high school students to acquire automatic weapons after making numerous death threats videotapes and suicide notes was discovered by some politicians you probably voted for to be entirely the fault of videogames.

Au's piece would not go unanswered, however. It would achieve near immortality by being quoted on that mausoleum of adventure game reviews, Old Man Murray, who characterize Au's effort as:

"...(A) pretty standard spasm of crackpot theorizing punctuated by one tragic instance where citizen of the world Au finds he's reached the expressive limits of the English language and must resort to French. It is not until the the second page that things turn weird and, finally, interesting:

'Play a first person shooter long enough and its morbid reality seems to descend over your awareness like a grid, accompanied by a kind of adrenalized hyper-awareness and euphoric rage. Grid, adrenaline and rage stay with you, far past the point when you exit to the desktop...'

"He seems to think that this 'grid' is a concept familiar to his readers, a common feature of the human experience for which further explanation is unnecessary. He mentions the 'grid' again in the very next paragraph:

'For the overwhelming majority of us, with well-adjusted social lives and a diverse range of interests, the grid recedes. But it's not at all hard to conceive, absent those factors, that the grid would remain in place.'

"I don't know what the grid is. Perhaps one can't be told what the grid is. I do know that Mr. Au feels we gamers are trapped in it. I also know that it's only a matter of time before he reaches the inevitable conclusion that death is the only surefire escape from the Grid and that he, Wagner James Au, can become the "savior of the Grid" by shooting at us from atop the hood of the car he calls home."

What Old Man Murray could not foresee, even with their time-traveling antics, was that Wagner Au's overwhelming vision of the Grid was a prescient reference to his enduring presence in Second Life.

For by continuing to blog about Second Life -- lovingly known as "the Grid" by those who dream of prims and lindens -- Wagner James Au has become one of us. He is no longer in the"overwhelming majority ... with well-adjusted social lives and a diverse range of interests," for whom the grid recedes. He is shooting at reality from atop a rezzed Benz outside of Bad Girls, waiting for his neko-catgirl's Gorean master to log in.

As for Old Man Murray, he has gone on to work for Valve Software, a software sweatshop renowned for its highly-sophisticated, extremely-polished, story-driven murder simulators and military indoctrination & training games.

I agree with Wagner James Au!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Announcing the Tiny Dancing® Brand Center

Your Connection to Kanomi™

As Tiny Dancing® grows in page views, so does the demand for more schoolgirls in miniskirt pictures. We think that's great! And since we at Tiny Dancing® are so passionate about allowing you creative access up our skirt but also deeply committed to protecting the reputation of our panties, we are pleased to announce the...

Guidelines for Using Kanomi™ Trademarks

No Logo or Tagline Use. Please do not use our catchphrases, memes, art doodles, or charming quirks, including but not limited to our "Hand-on-Panties" logo and our tagline "Your Money. My Penor," or smile in the same sunny manner we do when we say, "Hello!"

Notice Symbol. Always use a trademark notice symbol (™) for each and every reference to Kanomi™. Each subsequent reference to Kanomi™ should refer to one of her copyrighted charming qualities, such as friendliness®, cuteness©, or niceness®!

Generic Nouns. Always follow a mention of Kanomi™ with an appropriately descriptive noun or sentence, and always talk to, with, and about Kanomi™ in a positive, enthusiastic manner! Try to use exclamations points! But not too many! Because that's a charming quirk®!

For example:

This is OK:
Kanomi™ the good girl©
Kanomi™ the special girl©
Kanomi™ "The Friend to All"®

This is NOT OK:
Kanomi™ the bad girl
Konami makes videogames.
"Kanomi is not my friend!"
"Tiny Dancing is an Elton John song."

Failure to comply may result in a visit with a Dalek!

Creative Commons License
This Tiny Dancing Brand Center is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Naked Shorts

Linden Labs needs money and I am teleporting naked. Surprisingly, the two are related.

A recent Financial Times bit about Linden doing an IPO because of CEO Philip "Philip Linden" Rosedale stepping down seems to have prompted much happy speculation, which this Tateru Nino piece shoots down.

Wake up! Here's the part about the nudity!

The first thing I was told tonight (after once again logging out naked) was: "The region you have requested is not currently available. You will be teleported to a nearby region." Next thing I know, I'm flashing the newbs on Orientation Island. Meanwhile group notices and item drops are burying my inventories, leaving me buck naked and stranded. Help! It's a slemergency!

Or was it? Perhaps it is all a sinister scheme by Philip Linden to entice new avatars to prolong their visits by "accidentally" dropping nudies on them. You know, run some server code that scans new logins, screens for a lack of clothing, screens for prim attachments, and then parachutes tasty fruits and vegetables right onto the fresh meat.

Philip: "Good news guys, new users are becoming incredibly more sticky!"
Mitch: "Philip, are you talking web metrics or catgirls?"
Philip: "Let's not go there today, Mitch."

But if that doesn't save the company, the next step is obvious:


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ten Reasons Philip Rosedale Stepped Down as CEO of Linden Labs

Recently Philip Rosedale announced his intention to step down as CEO of Linden Labs, the company he founded to create the virtual world Second Life. No specific cause was given, but Tiny Dancing has unearthed a short list of possible reasons...

#10: Realized his avatar sucked.

#9: Board of Directors rejected his idea to list Linden Lab on "World Stock Exchange."

#8: Needed more time for downloading, installing clients.

#7: Pursuing exciting new opportunity filling out HippiePay quizzes.

#6: Learned difference between "revenue" and "income."

#5: Shedding meat-envelope to become one with the emergent, quantum overmind.

#4: Wanted more time to respond to Prokofy Neva posts.

#3: Tired of being introduced at trade shows as "Philip Linden, creator of the primcock."

#2: Partnered avatar Bunnypet Wingtips hasn't logged in for six weeks. ;(

#1: This.*



Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Last Ride

Congrats to my friend and Steampunkette extraordinaire Joni Vargas who won the Metaversal Arts Photo Contest!

Here is her winning entry, "Last Ride," taken at the excellent in-world gothic theme park, the Carnival of Doom. This is not the full-sized original, but you get the idea: the eerie calm, the ostensibly happy place, the roiling, brooding atmosphere as the sun begins to set.

The young visitor poses for an innocent picture, happily holding her balloon. The Ferris wheel serves as a dramatic backdrop, silhouetted in the last light.

But what's this? The aging machinery groans aloud! Rusted iron snaps with a creak and a hiss. Screams erupt through the fairgrounds! The young woman turns her head to behold carnage and horror, just as the picture is snapped.

(Pic by Joni Vargas)

And here is an appropriately recursive picture of Joni standing next to her winning picture. Joni, you should have worn the top hat and the balloon while accepting the prize!

(Pic by Darleez DeCuir)

Joni took me to the carnival a while ago and we bought midget suits, shot target practice, got scared at the freak show, and explored the house of horrors that got us caught in a television that would never end!

It's a fun place to go, I've been taking friends there ever since. Here is the SLURL, which is supposed to take you right there in the game if you have SL up and running.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Twitter is like watching your avatar masturbate to a picture of herself.I think my twitter has tweeted its last. For those of you who don't know, Twitter is this thing where you do an update to quickly let all your friends and stalkers know when you are going potty.

You can even update from your mobile phone with a short text message: "Sitting in traffic, stuck behind another Twitter-related accident."

For me however, it is an experiment that has failed after one day. Even I don't care that I am sitting here editing photos to post, making this post, all while standing in-game looking at kawaii uniforms and gothy dresses.

And even when I am only doing one thing at a time, I can't imagine anybody would even care enough to constantly refresh just to read:

I am going to the kitchen.
I am opening a bottle of wine.
I am being reamed in the ass by a Bigfoot in a garter belt.

So say goodbye to the Twitter widget on this blog! Maybe I'll bring it back if I actually *get to know* some other SL twits, but right now it is about as useful as Second Life sandwich shop.

Stock Market Madness

Massively, along with Reuters, has a good Second Life news desk. Friday they put up an article asking, "Will the World Stock Exchange ever come back to Second Life?"

I've already talked about so-called Second Life "banks" being little more than fronts for pyramid schemes. It looked to me that after "banks" were banned, the Ponzi schemes moved into fake stock markets. This WSE story seems to confirm that. They closed up in early January to "upgrade their software," promised to be back in 4-6 weeks, and nobody's seen them since!

You cannot have a stock market when the operators of the exchange are also the owners of the companies, the market makers, and the regulators! You cannot have a stock market where there is no liquidity, no transparency, and no accountability. You cannot have a stock market if nobody can go in and short these pathetically undercapitalized, nanocap purveyors of nonsense down to the ground. That's what makes a market.

These are not stock markets and it's not "just a game" when the money is very real - otherwise, poker would still be legal in world. That's why I say money scammers are the real sociopaths of the virtual world, no matter what Wired says about silly griefers.

So if anyone out there has taken thousands of dollars off of gullible residents while making ludicrous promises of dividend returns, and then deposited that money in their real world bank accounts, then quite possibly they have committed a crime, and it will be up to a court to decide if it's "just a game", or high yield investment fraud.

Like it or not, somebody is going to have start policing this stuff or "metanomics" will never get off the ground.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Money Scammers, the Real Sociopaths of the Virtual World

A while ago I had a friend who worked at one of those virtual banks recently banned by Linden Labs. I don't remember which one, but I do remember he wanted me to invest, telling me about the amazing interest rates they were offering, something like 20% a month.

I laughed at him. That is almost an 800% return on your money in a year! He insisted it was legitimate. I asked how anyone could pay out that kind of return. He said the money came from mysterious "investments" in land and casinos. (This was back when you could still play poker in Second Life, or should I say, you could sit a table and be fleeced by rings of messaging, card-counting cheats!)

The stock market might return 8% a year, bonds and so on under 5%. But 800% a year in guaranteed interest income? Ludicrous. Only pyramid schemes can pay such high rates of interest, because they take the payments directly out of your deposit! That is not banking, that is fraud.

Given these absurd returns, how can a bank in Second Life be anything but a fake? How did they make any money? To answer this question, we have to understand how a real bank makes money.

A real bank profits on the interest it makes on loans. The more loans it makes, the more interest it collecdts. The only limitation to how much they can loan out is based on a multiple of the deposits it holds. This is fractional reserve lending, a unique power of banks. The money a bank loans out is created at the moment the loan is made, and retired when the debt is paid.

A bank in Second Life can not do this! It cannot conjure debt money out of thin air! It is therefore not a real bank. It can only lend out the money it has. It has no way to leverage interest income on deposits. So is it no surprise these so-called "banks" never did any significant lending at all.

Linden's public comments about the banks are so naïve, it's shocking. How many tiny little businesses did Ginko help get off the ground with "micro-loans" to brand new avatars? Ha! An unregulated virtual world where real money changes hands is a scammer's paradise. I wouldn't be surprised if the "hackers" that hit some of these banks were insiders. It is a common excuse insiders use to cash out and close up shop when running an online high yield investment scams. It certainly looks like these types of scammers set up shop in Second Life.

A law student made a convincing case that Ginko was just such a Ponzi scheme, and Ginko was perhaps the oldest, largest "bank" in the game. Tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars have disappeared in these "bank failures." Disrupting Gorean sims with flying penises are the immature antics of drunken frat boys in comparison. Wired missed the real story, which is this:

Money-scamming con artists in Second Life are the most dangerous criminals in our virtual world because of the real life damage they do. If some financially unsophisticated person develops a relationship with another avatar and is persuaded to invest thousands of real-world dollars in a pyramid scheme and is swindled, it is no longer just a game and it's not just the Internet and the shame and loss are quite real.

Yeah, but aren't the fake banks gone? Even though Linden belatedly banned the "banks," I believe these Ponzi schemes continue under the guise of "virtual stock markets", with the daily interest rates being replaced by similar, if more irregular, "stock dividend" payouts. And they are intimately connected to the banks. The failed bank Ginko, instead of holding a portfolio of loans like a real bank, claimed to much of its money in virtual stocks. And many of the surviving banks "reincorporated" as other kinds of "companies" which are traded on "stock exchanges."

I'm not saying that every exchange is crooked or every company issuing "stock" is the front for an illegitimate scam, but overall this whole thing reeks of conflict of interest, lack of transparency, and worse. It is very much buyer beware out there.

But I'll continue these thoughts another day.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Oops, They Did It Again

Second Life has been deader than non-prim hairstyles the last two days. Now you might say, 'Well of course dummy, it's the weekend!' but to those of with no Real Lives except to work hard every week during Work Life, the weekends were made for Second Life -- although maybe we should call it Third Life!

Anyway...what I am trying to say is, SL was unusually quiet, ever since they did another unnecessary, useless client update. Why Mr. Linden every single time I get one of your 12 new client updates every month do all my preferences get erased and I have to take the tutorial over and over! Kanomi knows where her inventory is! It's in her pocket, and it's full of boxes and shoes!

Apparently I am not the only one with problems. The new client baffled even many experienced SLifers! Some of them reported they could not find the new client icon. Others said it was in a new path and now they are on the wrong client and told to download the new one over and over! Others had trouble making it work...and those just the ones who even made it on last night that I could talk to!

Please Mr. Linden, make public clients only once per quarter, always put them in the same directory and path the user has already created, and use the same desktop shortcuts for them to easily find the game!

We do not need even more people leaving Second Life because your sloppy software releases confuse and scare the poor nice people who want to visit a Kanomi!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Meet Your Friend, Kanomi!

Hello, I am yoiko Kanomi, which means the good girl Kanomi. I am not a videogame, that's KOnami! Let's not mix it up! Kanomi wa newhalf desu, that means Kanomi is a special girl! I am the friend to ALL. Not just some, but ALL.

I am a fictional character, I live in a place called Second Life. It is inside some computers. When I am inside the computers I do fun and exciting things! Here is a song I made about it. You can sing along if you like!

I was born a poor anime child,
But we couldn't afford any TVs!
We lived in a manga for a while,
Our last name wasn't even Japanese!

Then I came to Second Life,
When I found it, I was thrilled.
But how can Kanomi look oh so nice?
How do I pay my shopping bills?

Now some gals like to tringo,
And some gals like to build;
But all I knew how to do,
Was fill and get filled!

Now some boys like to dance,
And some boys like to play;
But if they want in my pants,
Those boys have got to pay!

Stay tuned for more posts!