Wednesday, May 9, 2018

We Don't Want Your Money, Kanomi. Now go away!

Most businesses want customers to give them money. That is how they stay alive after all, their raison d'ĂȘtre if you will. The first commandment of capitalism is, “Thou Shalt Earn Money.”

But if you’re Linden Labs, you’re a special snowflake in the virtual world and nothing, nothing, nothing you do ever works right or properly or even at all. Yet somehow, the whole mess staggers on.

I’d like to get back into the mess, but not sure how.

My PayPal doesn’t work. My credit card doesn’t work. It took three tries to somehow get a Premium membership to go through, which will dole out a lousy 300L a week. Add that generous allotment to my current balance of 1700 and I might be able to afford a mesh body and some decent clothes in about... three months? Meanwhile, I must cower in my pre-fab home, too poor and shabby of an avatar to face the virtual world!

In all seriousness, why is a US company billing US customers through a UK firm? If the idea is to trigger every fraud tripwire and alarm bell on both sides of the Atlantic and test my bank’s steely resolve in defending my good credit, then mission accomplished.

How hard is it to complete an online transaction in the year 2018? How does a repeated inability to buy Lindens on a completely non-functional exchange inspire any confidence whatsoever?

At least she got a bed set up. Priorities.

This is ridiculous. I can afford a mesh body, head, new skins, clothes and the rest of it. I want to give them money so I can enjoy a chic, sleek, new virtual self.

But I can’t.

C'est la vie virtuelle!

P.S. Kanomi is back--sort of !

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Tiny Dancing Archive

TINY DANCING is an archive of satirical blog posts about Second Life and beyond, which I originally wrote from early 2008 to late 2009. Unfortunately I lost all comments except for those on the final, farewell post (which has been transformed into this post) when I imported and exported to this new URL. Not all the posts are here and not all the internal links are fixed (yet) but hey, no worries.


- Kanomi Pikajuna

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kanomi Plays: Blue Mars

Mars iz 4 boiz!The Login Screen Review

Dear Blue Martians,

A while back I signed up for the Blue Mars beta.

I admit, initially had some misgivings. I mean Blue Mars is a strange choice for a name. First, you have Mars, who is the God of War, and who is so damned masculine that his symbol is literally also the symbol for Male-ness. Thoughtfully, you have incorporated that symbol right into your logo.

In case the point wasn't clear enough, you painted your masculinity Blue, 'cuz you know, blue is for boys, and pink is for girls and those who like Elton John's song, "Tiny Dancer."

Blue Mars, you might as well call yourself Blue Penis and tack up a hilariously-misspelled "No Girls Alowed!" sign on your virtual treehouse while you're at it.

Sure, calling yourself Blue Venus or Pink Mars might be too ambiguous. Pink Venus isn't even up for consideration, I know. I mean, it sounds like a porn site (and is actually is a cell phone marketed at teenage girls, natch).

But you know what Blue Mars? I think there are some girls on the Internets now. It's not just DOOM ][ levels and porn anymore. I can prove it. Listen: According to Wikipedia, the song "Tiny Dancer" was "initially a non-starter as a single -- reaching only #41 on the U.S. pop chart and not even released in the UK... [Now] a fixture on adult contemporary and rock radio stations, the song grew in popularity."

Please take notice of that. Over time, it grew in its popularity. Like my blog, Blue Mars, and unlike you, who will never be popular if you do not send out passwords to those of us who signed up for your beta. And I assure you, you will never be popular if you only allow males and male avatars -- no doubt having their maleness verified in voice chat by male podcasters -- into your all-male, masculine world.

So maybe a name like Purple Hermes, would've been more, I don't know, inclusive? Or just go for the full on Rainbow Jesus. I mean, you allow open expression of religious faith in your world, right? I guess I'll never know, since you won't send me my password.

Mars iz 4 boiz!Despite all this, I am still willing to give your game world a shot. After all, you promise a new virtual world, a bigger, better, bolder Second Life:

"Our high end graphics, massive concurrent user support, system wide participation based rewards program, support for industry standard content creation tools, next generation NPC intelligence, simple LUA scripting support, and breathtakingly realistic Avatars."

When I read that, I signed up immediately. I don't even know what LUA scripting is, Blue Mars, but I want it supported. Oh, do I want it supported.

I want to be a breathtakingly realistic Avatar, Blue Mars. Even if I have to use a male avatar in your all-male world, I want people to gasp when I walk into the room. When "Ken-nomi" walks into Blue Mars' "Nude But Totally Not Gay Graeco-Roman Wrestling Arena" -- which I imagine is the primary form of entertainment in your hyper-male world, but I'll never know, since you won't send me a password -- I want your users to drop their computer mice, smack their collective foreheads with the September issue of For Him Magazine, take a deep breath, and say in voice chat:

"Damn Travis, check out that Ken-nomi dude! I reckon that is the most breathtakingly realistic, hyper-masculine avatar in da house!! I am feeling a great attraction to its beauty, in a totally normative, heterosexual way, of course. Hey, how 'bout dem New Yawk football Giants!"

Mars iz 4 boiz!Blue Mars, you told me I would be sent a login and password. It was a promise I believed in, Blue Mars. I tend to believe in promises made by software; I do not read the Terms & Conditions, for I do not speak Softwarese, and software has lied less often to me than have human beings.

And when software has lied to me, it is because it was programmed to lie by the maliciousness of devious creators, who are human beings. And that makes me think, Blue Mars, that the human beings who lied to me were maliciously programmed that way by other, more devious beings -- something like demons. And yet demons are not supposed to be real, except as software processes. Yet Ray Kurzweil says intelligent machines are almost here. It's a conundrum, really.

So here we are. I hear your beta is now available. Yet here I sit, without a password and login, despite your promises. This relationship is not getting off to a good start, Blue Mars. I feel like I'm getting stood up on a blind date.

Blue Mars, is this the first in a long line of bloated, Phillip Linden-esque promises that you will make and fail to deliver on? "We will send logins to everyone!" you said. Will your promises of "breathtakingly realistic avatars" and "next generation NPC intelligence" also go unfulfilled?

Mars iz 4 boiz!I even checked my spam folder. I don't do that for everyone, Blue Mars. I don't like to go there. The spam folder is full of Nigerian princes, V1agr4 pills, lies, machines, and despair. It's a frightful place, Blue Mars, but I went there. For you.

Are you a scary place too? Do your azure-tinted sand dunes ripple and whisper with the ghosts of long-dead civilizations, does starlight trip across the crumbling ruins of the elder race of Mars? I do not know, for I cannot log in.

So instead I must turn to literature about Mars, to help me imagine the world beyond your login screen.

I turned to Philip K. Dick's Martian Time-Slip. You are probably a big fan of his already, since he wrote science fiction and his surname is synonymous with penises, which as we have already established is what you are all about.

But just in case you are not familiar with Dick's work: written in 1964, Martian Time-Slip is a bleakly dystopian novel set on Mars (see?! see?! I knew you'd like it), with discourses on autism, ontology, time, and despair -- familiar themes to those of us denied our Blue Mars passwords:

"He lay there for a hundred and twenty-three years and then his artificial liver gave out and he fainted and died. By that time they had removed both his arms and legs up to the pelvis because those parts of him had decayed."

Questions about Blue Mars I may never have answered, before I too, am dying in an old folks' home waiting for my password:

  • Is the in-world staff all forced to use the surname Martian? Like Philip Linden except you have to be named Philip Martian?
  • Are the female avatars featured so prominently in your promotional material actual females or are they "next generation NPC intelligence"?
  • Have any podcasters verified that they are next generation NPC intelligences?
  • Is there a separate world for them called Pink Venus?
  • Can I have sex with them? The venuses I mean, not the podcasters.

Blue Mars, do you deserve your own directory in G:\files\pix directory? Or shall you forever be an unfulfilled subfolder in my Second Life directory? The answers to these questions may never be known, so let us turn once again to more Dick:

"In the darkness of the Martian night [they] searched... their light flashed here and there, and their voices could be heard, businesslike and competent and patient."

That's me and you, Blue Mars beta. That's me and you: businesslike, competent and patient.

I can keep this up all year. Let's see who finds who first.

Strengths: Website is fast and responsive, particularly to failed Logins; nice use of the all-caps, red font in the LOGIN FAILED message
Weaknesses: Blue Mars is missing a crucial factor necessary for online games: the ability to actually login
Helpful Hints: While waiting for your Blue Mars password to never appear in your inbox, try writing satirical blog posts and see if that helps
Final Score: F