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MPF INC. TO GO PUBLIC November 29, 2007

Posted by Steve in humor.
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Today, Alphonsus Peck, President and CEO of Master Peck’s Furniture, Incorporated, announced his intention to take his conglomerate public as of the first of year.

Alphonsus Peck, self-made thousand-aire and speaker for the god Castan, said that his decision to go public was one that he made after much careful consideration. “I can’t allow this company to go the direction of so many other businesses in Second Life. Many people seem to have no integrity, stating their intentions to provide outrageous interest rates or dividends while only intending to line their own pockets.”

In the heavily attended press conference, Mr. Peck revealed that in his corporate mission, truth, honesty, and integrity will be paramount, and all of his financial transactions will open and freely discussed.

“Master Peck’s Incorporated will keep every promise it makes. If we don’t think we can keep a promise, than that promise will never be made. That said, I feel there are a fair number of promises that we can make and keep with total confidence.”

Alphonsus Peck then began a PowerPoint presentation that illustrated direction for corporate growth.

“First of all, let me state up front that our corporation will not use more than 80% of investment income toward salaries. We want assure our investors that we plan to make optimal use of this money to help Alphonsus Peck succeed. I vow that I WILL NOT disappoint any investors who would take pleasure in seeing this goal obtained. We can assure our share holders that this money will be put to the best use possible on enhancing my life.

“That said, we also want to say that we will ensure our stockholders that we can and will guarantee a return on their investment. Other banks and corporations have got into trouble by making these claims, and promising a rate of return that was impossibly high. Nevertheless, we are confident that we can ensure our investors of a return rate of not being any greater than -50%, and very likely much less. Yes, I know that this sounds wildly optimistic, but, after much consideration, I believe that we can realistically meet this expectation. I am willing to commit myself so much to the realization of this goal that I feel safe in making it an iron-clad promise.

“As for how we plan to invest our shareholders money to ensure a maximum rate of return, I can’t make promises. It depends very much on what seems to be most desirable at the time. I think that I can safely say that a percentage of this money will be invested in the purchase of sex pose balls, skins, hair, and in top of the line, anatomical appendages. Gambling, while outlawed in Second Life, still can be found some areas. Gambling has consistently shown to have the highest potential rate of return on investment. All it takes is a little luck, and the persistence to stick with it.”

Mr. Peck then outlined some of his dreams for making improvements with stockholder’s money, including a new car, “dream” vacations, and new home gaming equipment.

After the conference ended, the reporters in the room sat stunned by Mr. Peck’s bold vision. Many were unable to put words together, and left the conference room shaking their heads.

“I must say that I did find Mr. Peck’s frank honesty to be a welcome change from what we usually hear from other publicly traded institutions,” said Artemus Winsky, editor of Second Hopes and Financial Trust magazine, a journal dedicated to finance in Second Life. “With his honest approach, only the truly stupid could possibly lose money through investing in his corporation. The staff at SHAFT magazine looks forward to seeing his investors get exactly what they deserve.”

Master Peck’s R Us November 27, 2007

Posted by Steve in diary.
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Well, the evening started out easily enough.

I had to take care of a small bit of Everwind business. I was in the midst of this when Mykyl contacted me and asked me to stop by when I could. I took care of Everwind tasks and zapped myself over to Faeria. Mykyl was there, standing in her new village, and wondering if I wanted my shop moved there.

I said yes, and I confidently picked which location I wanted. Then my business manager (the Princess) showed up, patted me on the head as if to say, “Hee hee. That’s cute dear. Now get out of my way,” and told Mykyl which location I really wanted.

I decided that I didn’t want to use one of Mykyl’s prefabs and said that I wanted to work on my own build, so we got out measuring tapes and bulldozers and started reforming the land and laying a foundation. Once that was done, we decided to move my Cataporter out of the way a bit. I moved fine, but I didn’t trust that it moved fine, so I tested each setting to ensure that I didn’t bump into any walls while hurling about the sim.

So, I finally got to working on the texture for my foundation (it took quite a bit of time to find just the right one), and I had time to put up a single wall before before a man I had contacted earlier who owned a new Sim responded to my query about putting up a shop there. We IMd a bit, when he decided to TP me over.

My business manager came with me, and we found a good store front. He then started taking us on a tour of the city / ocean / forest. It really is an incredible sim. I just wish I could remember the name of it. Not to worry. I’ll have another Master Peck franchise there before the end of the week, and I’m sure I’ll mention it in another post.

The only problem is that I agreed to hang around there and to be a role-player. Which sounds like fun in principle, but in practice will take up more of my time, of which I am already short some 26 hours for each day that goes by. I made a commitment, and I’ll stick with it. If the sim takes off, it’ll be magnificent, and I’ll have a good location from which to sell my goods. If it doesn’t, well, we’ll worry about that should that eventually come to pass.

So I’ve expanded to basically six locations. Faeria, by far my biggest and best store, 4 vending devices in two sims for the Period Stop, my Enchanted Frog Gadgets store in Ballyboo, my generic Master Pecks / Enchanted frog cross breed store with Oaktree shops and Skye Qi in Zebranky, and the new shop I’m setting up in the sim whose name I can’t remember but that I’ve just investigated this night. I have one person who wants me to set up a Cataporter to sell in his sim, and a woman called Celina who wants me to build some specific new products and also wants me to set up shop in her sim. That’s eight locations. Count my SLExchange and SLBoutique accounts that goes up to 10 locations.

None of this is quite adding up to instant wealth. This is a perfect get-rich-very-slowly scheme. It’s not quite like Ginko as far as instant profits are concerned, but I’m quite happy with my return.

Hey. It’s a living.

Family Ties November 26, 2007

Posted by Steve in diary.
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Well, this evening I learned that I’ve somehow gained three sisters-in-law and a mother-in-law. Princess never told me that she was Mykyl’s and Minerva’s and Hestia’s sister, and that Dulcinea was her mom. Kind of big details to omit. Not that I have a problem with it, but one does like to know who one’s family is, doesn’t one?

Well, it’s kinda nice to have family. I wonder if Alpha and Aianna and FD are cousins? I don’t know that I have a mother or father, or any brothers or sisters of my own. Second Life is like that. You don’t know who your family is until you meet them for the first time, sometimes.

I spent the day attending to details, mostly. I worked on a three colored spotlight for our holiday island. I reduced the price of the ship’s wheel from L$95 to L$60, as I haven’t sold a single copy as of yet. On the other hand, my L$20 towel dispenser has already sold one copy, and I just put it on the market yesterday.

I haven’t been Everwind-ing very much lately, which is a bad thing. I get great personal satisfaction out of being the Speaker for Castan. It is something that allows me to come into touch with myself, and to help others, and to get my own values centered. Plus I get to walk around in cool cloaks and stuff. There is much that comes along that makes me think about things. That’s the secret behind role-play. It is not the fact that you are talking to a dragon that is important. It is the fact that you are talking to a different conscious entity, learning his or her ways, adjusting to his or her values, learning to duck from his or her flames when he or she belches. It’s about learning and cooperation and problem solving. Sometimes, its about failing, and learning to move on.

Well, I don’t want to stay up too lat tonight. The Princess’s animator got mad at me ’cause I fell asleep with the laptop screen shining in her face, and I wouldn’t wake up to turn it off. Don’t want to repeat that.

So, goodnight, my family and friends. I’ll see many of you in the ‘morrow.

Sleepy Blog Entry November 25, 2007

Posted by Steve in diary.
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So what do I write about tonight?

I’ve stopped procrastinating and loaded some long overdue products onto SLExchange. But I honestly don’t think any of you really care about that.

My real life self stayed up this late simply so he could run the dishwasher and get our toothbrush cups back in the new cupboard that I installed today, but I honestly don’t think any of you really care about that.

My Real Life self also cleaned the living room. It still needs a good vacuum, but beyond that it looks pretty good. But, well, yada yada.

I had a great time at PHC tonight. I usually do. I got their late due to my RL teenager’s boyfriend being very talkative after he raked the front lawn for us. He says he will do the back lawn tomorrow. He’s a great kid, but not really Mr. Reliable. So we’ll see. But he’s making an effort again to be sociable. He’s trapped in the video game vortex. We’re all kind of hoping that he’ll grow out of it. Fat chance. I never did.

My RL ears are ringing constantly. The volume of the sound waxes and wanes, but it’s always there. I seem to have a serious mental block about calling the doctor about it.

And I seem to be a bit melancholy. Being melancholy at 2:30am while writing a blog entry is probably a bad thing. The temptation to whine is omnipresent. I shall resist.

[RL] So tired. I think cat is going to be a feline pain tonight. I already had to get the water pistol on him because he was meowing for no readily apparent reason. Well, the readily apparent reason is that he is lonely. But we are tired and need to sleep. Meowing is incompatible with this. So one of us is going to be unhappy. And I have the water pistol, and I’m bigger than he is. He will whine despite this. He will whine because he is more persistent in insisting on love than we are resistant to falling asleep with a water pistol in my hand.

Well, falling asleep won again. I finish and post this in the morning. Good day all. Joy and whatnot.

Winter Comes to Second Life November 22, 2007

Posted by Steve in Uncategorized.
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It has suddenly almost come full circle. I started taking Second Life seriously in January of the beginning of this year. Although, chronologically, I was almost a year old, I was for all other intents and purposes as new as any other newbie. I had first come into existence in March of 2006. My movements upon my birth were too choppy, and my existence was too sporadic to be called “alive.” I first came in world on a faster computer seriously for the first ever Michigan Library Association conference held in a virtual world. This happened in mid January, and the Princess and I have been in-world ever since.

Newbies have poor memories, for there is far too much happening when one first comes in world for it to make logical sense. I suppose there were a lot of winter places around in January, but I can remember little of them now. Most of my memories, therefore, come from spring and summer, and thus SL always seemed to be a warm place. But now, winter clothes are coming into fashion, and I’m beginning to see snow more and more frequently as I look around.

And somehow Second Life SEEMS colder. Maybe it’s just my animator’s RL house temperature, but I know that it felt a bit odd putting on a swimsuit in our tropical home. I was even reluctant to jump into the ocean because I was afraid of the temperature. I still find it amazing how my animator’s body affects my mind. I see palm trees and flowers, and I still feel like I should have a sweater on.

I spent some time tonight with Skye Qi and Kurston Brody as they discussed adding touches of snow to the Oak Tree Shoppes. Oak Tree Shoppes is where I have another Master Peck’s furniture franchise, but this store is more than just furniture. It’s a little mixture of Master Peck’s and Enchanted Frog Gadgets. My sales are only moderate here, and she charges a 30 percent commission. But it’s a nice area, and I had fun alternately meteoring and blizzarding Skye and her friends. Good conversation, and good fun.

I left there and basically did nothing at all for the rest of the evening. I explored the ocean a bit and had the Princess put out a couple of Tai Chi pose balls. I spent the rest of the evening meditating and shooting at turkeys with my watermelon gun. (Don’t get the ASPCA on me, the turkeys barely noticed the attacks. Tough birds, they are.)

Well, I once again am in serious danger of falling asleep with the keyboard on my lap, so see ya’ll later.

Marketing in Second Life November 21, 2007

Posted by Steve in guides.
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Properly putting an item for sale in SL is a pain in the butt.

Last night I put my new ship’s wheel for sale. It is a simple, unscripted object. It took me over an hour before it was completely ready.

Each product to be added to the marketplace must go through a number of tedious steps. Most of them are not truly necessary. But my products are not typically big sellers, so they need every advantage they can get.

The first thing I do is decide on pricing. I look at all the similar products for sale on the market. In many cases, because my items are unique, there are no real similar products to make a fare comparison too. Still, I get an idea. In the case of the ship’s wheel, there aren’t a lot of other one’s out there. I thought my wheel weighed in heavily with 23 prims. One of the ones for sale had 85(!) prims. I think mine is much better looking, but that could just be a matter of taste. This puppy sold for L$175. The other one I could find in SLExchange sold for L$25 and was a single prim—just an alpha photo. The only other one was the sold in the Astoria ship yard, which was $125 and, again, not quite as nice as mine. I chose to list mine at L$95, undercutting my two main competitors but still not breaking that L$100 barrier.

Next there was the photography. I have a full bright, white room in Ballyboo. I rezzed my wheel there and snapped a pic. I like having a pure white background because the resulting photos look great in SLX. Then I went up to my SLX box, added the wheel to the contents, and reset it. Then, as I usually forget to set the permissions properly, I had to go back, fix the perms, and reset it again.

Then I have to write up my little advertising blurb. I include a description of the item, the item’s purpose using every conceivable key word I can think of to make it findable. I also include a link to the main store that blurb so that people can see the actual item in-world. At this time I usually remember that I forgot to include the store landmark in the actual item, so I have to rez the item, put in the landmark, and make yet another trip to the SLX box to put in the new version and reset it again.

Then I convert my bmp photos to jpgs, upload them to SLX, fix a few typos and call it done. The my wife thinks of some more keywords, so I reload the SLX page, put in the new keywords, fix a few more typos, and call it done again.

Then I have to actually put the item IN the store. I create a display model of the item, which includes a landmark, the actual item, and some floating text indicating what it is and the price. If the item is too large or has too many prims to display, I will also have to pay to upload the pic so I can place it on a vendor board. If this is the case I will usually either paint shop it or have the Princess use Power Point to add item info to the picture. Depending on the item, I will also include a notecard distribution script and a descriptive notecard. Also depending on the nature of the item, I will also include an instruction manual. I set the permissions, rename the display model so that it shows the tag of the location I’m selling it from, set the price, make sure that it is set to sell the contents, and move it to the optimal position in my store. Then I take a copy of the display model into my inventory so that I have one ready should I choose to make it available at another location. If I’m running a classified ad on the store, I would go into my classifieds and add the item to the listing there.

THEN I would go to the SL forums under new product listings, make a copy of my SLX ad, add a link to my SLX ad, find the correct forum, paste in the text, upload the photos again, post it, and call it done.

With a hot seller, I will sell maybe three or four copies during a month. More typically I will sell a single copy every couple of months. I did, however, sell 10 turkey legs yesterday, and another glass of water.

So, consider this a how-to manual for how to put things on sale. If I’m doing many items at once, I can get on a roll and reduce my time per item to a half-hour to 45 minutes or so per item. I’m sure that there are still many marketing tricks I am missing, but I’m happy with what I have for the most part. The Cataporter is my biggest money earner, and the Sauna comes in a close second, but I currently have 26 items for sale on SLX, and somewhat more than that in-world. The sheer quantity of my product line is what gives me a steady-ish income. The more that’s out there, the more opportunities there is for sales. You can’t sell what people can’t buy.

I know that many of my friends are not really entrepreneurial-like, money-grubbing capitalists like I am, but just in case any of you decide to try the route of trying to earn a few extra lindens from some of the work you’ve done that you’re proud of, well, this would be a start.

Captain’s Wheel November 20, 2007

Posted by Steve in Uncategorized.
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Captain’s Wheel
Originally uploaded by Alphonsus Peck

I made a steering wheel for my boat. (OK, a Captain’s wheel). The one’s at the Astoria shop were outrageously overpriced. This one is a better design, anyway. It’s nevertheless a hefty bugger, weighing in at 23 prims. It seems quite elegant, and will of course eventually be added for sale from Enchanted Frog Gadgets. What is it about the steering wheel of a boat that evokes such feelings of elegance?

Oops. Taking laptop naps again. Goodnight, and good news!

A Day Fortunately Not Crushed November 19, 2007

Posted by Steve in diary.
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Lately I’ve been doing all of my blog posting at night with a little laptop computer while my animator lay (lie?) in bed. As he is usually 9/10ths asleep when I make the entry, I always look forward to reading the post the next day to see what we actually wrote.

He didn’t quite make it last night. I wrote about 3 paragraphs full of random drivel about the Cataporter before sleep finally took him. He woke up at 5 am (because the cat was hungry) to find the Princess’s animator sleeping on top of the laptop. The laptop survived because the Princess’s animator is fortunately light of frame. In retrospect, it’s probably fortunate that he didn’t stay awake enough to press the send button, because the entry would have been deathly dull. So he’s sneaking some valuable and illegal work hours so that I can write up this entry.

I spent a good portion of my morning yesterday on Cataporter advertising stuff, and still have a quite a bit to do. I want to offer the solid gold version before the Christmas shopping season starts in full force. The Princess and I then spent a good amount of time looking at Christmas stuff. We found this wonderful little Christmas market place, with ice skating snowmen and singing penguins and trains and sleds and reindeer and just about everything else cool you could imagine. We ended up escaping from there without spending a linden because we had no place to put any of it. All of our land holdings are either in Ballyboo, where we are short on prims, and in our secret beach front, where we don’t actually have any “land”. It’s all water and all tropical. Snowmen would melt within minutes after they sunk to the bottom of the ocean. ‘Tis a muddle, but we will work out a solution.

I then spent almost an hour looking for the place from which we purchased the Astoria, so I could look at the more expensive versions and use them as inspiration to spiff up my own simple boat. I did buy a captain’s hat and a ship’s bell, but took pictures of the rest and have already made a fair amount of headway into making improvements. I bought a seagull that flies randomly and squawks occasionally. My only problem with him is that he is a bit two dimensional. If you look at him edge on he virtually disappears. We’ll need to stock our water with some fish (or throw some half-eaten junk food about) so that he can fatten up a bit.

Mykyl has taken up the challenge of re-centering herself, to which I can only smile and offer a steady hand. She seems to have been a bit wobbly of late, and I’m hoping she can settle enough to find where her actual center is.

Joy, love, light, seagulls, and french fries, everyone. Peace out.

Cataporter 2.0. At last! November 18, 2007

Posted by Steve in diary.
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I did it!

A new scientific breakthrough comparable almost to the invention of striped toothpaste in terms of its world-wide significance!

Cataporter 2.0 is now released! The major improvement? It can fire at ANY ANGLE! Dodge under low lying trees. Fly over inconvenient ban lines. Drop passengers in the middle of narrow hallways. The new Cataporter can handle it without breaking a sweat.

Now constructed with a higher quality wood and with added bronze parts, the new Cataporter is now an attractive addition to any household.

/me wipes the oil from his hands, his eyes sore from studying and tinkering with the precisely engineered and robust inner mechanical workings of the mechanism.

Exhausted from my labor, I can now sleep triumphantly, so that I may be well rested to properly advertise the item and set SL on fire with this marvelous invention. Goodnight, fair folk. I will gladly provide rides to all tomorrow. In the mean time, my pillow calls to me. Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight.

Woulda Coulda Shoulda November 16, 2007

Posted by Steve in diary.
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I started off going to Huin tonight to add a tag to the name of my Cataporter. Then I decided to move it to a better location. Then I deciding to tweak the destinations. Then I ended up deciding to make a minor correction to the way it rotates.

Three hours later, I managed to get my minor correction to work properly. I had disassembled and reassembled the thing a dozen or so time. It now looks exactly the same as it did. The only change is that you can now sit in the seat without being kicked out while changing destinations. Jeez-o-peetz!

And after all this I forgot to add the stupid tag to the name.

Yes, I do want to make changes to the Cataporter, but this change, while kinda important, is not really advertisible as a significant improvement. I’ve been stymied by the significant improvements I want to make (adding two additional firing angels–30 and 60 degrees–to the original 45). Even cooler would be making it possible to have an infinite number of firing angles, and to have a projectile that reports back its location so that the Cataporter can recalibrate until it gets the shot exactly right.

I get too many damned good ideas, but my follow through seems less than desirable. This challenges my math skills to my outward levels. I’ve long ago left behind my calc and mathematical engineering classes. Librarianship rarely requires this degree of mathematical knowledge.

This again begs the question, “Why the hell am I a librarian?” I have the mind of a scientist…the skills of a computer programmer…the desire to be a writer or an artist… I look back and am always wistful and kick myself over the “what could have beens.” Why didn’t I follow my real dreams when I was younger? The same answer slaps me in the face each time…complacency…lack of follow through…too afraid of my own shadow to look at the light that casts it.

Oh well. I yam what I yam. I suppose I should just learn to be comfortable with it. 40 years of trying to change myself has resulted mainly in disappointment. And whining about it certainly isn’t going to change anything. I will stoically return to my uninspiring job tomorrow to do uninspiring things. There are worse jobs out there, and I can’t say that I hate what I do. But when I look at the “could have beens…”

Sigh. At least I am the inventor of the Cataporter. That means something important to me, although I can’t really be sure what.

Auf wiedersehen, my friends. May you not forget to follow YOUR dreams.