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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Second Life Customer Service

Chat Started: 11-24-2010 00:45:52
Chat Log:
NikiaM: Thank you for contacting Second Life Support, my name is Nikia how may I assist you today?
You: Hi.  I wanted to ask about performance here in Pavane, where I own about half the Region.
You: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Pavane/194/170/241
You: It's periodically getting -very- bad here, probably over the last week or two mostly. 
You: Pretty much has to be me, vast majority of the Stuff here is mine.
You: But it's Mainland, so it's not something I can check for myself.
You: Iknow restarts are hard to get, and may well not help.  Any way I can get help finding what's mainly causing the performance hit?
NikiaM: please bear with me
You: Me, too, I have a big Skating Party going here. :)
NikiaM: thank you for your patience
NikiaM: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/How_many_avatars_can_I_have_on_my_region_at_once_without_causing_serious_problems_with_lag%3F
You: There are only 12 here now, an not all mine.
You: Mainland allegedly can handle up to 40.
You: And it's still bad with only two of us here.
You: The requested page title was invalid, empty, or an incorrectly linked inter-language or inter-wiki title. It may contain one or more characters which cannot be used in titles.
You: Your Wiki's response to that link.
NikiaM: please copy and paste in search
NikiaM: rather than clicking on the link
You: Ah, had already read this article a while back.
You: Already knew about that stuff. Everything was running fine till about a week ago -then- went kerflooie.  I need to know what change caused the problem.
You: Generally this article is about has helpful as a doctor telling me, "might be brain tumor.  Or indigestion."
You: And it's focused on how many Avatars I can get away with having in the Region.  Doesn't tell me what the problem is with -two- in the whole region.
You: Got any better answers why I'm paying full-sim prices for about 1/10 the performance, or can you refer me to someone who has one?

(Pop up indicating I've been disconnected, and the system is trying to reconnect...)

BethA: Thank you for contacting Linden Lab Support, My name is BethA.
Please bear with me, I may be helping other residents.

(several minute wait on hold)

I will be with you as soon as possible.You: You there yet?
You: Or are you the person the other agents give the customers they don't want to bother with?

(click)

NOTES:  Was I snappish?  Yep, old guy with 6 years of CSR experience, laid off when my employers closed and left town.

Was the article she linked to good?  Excellent, I recommend it, it provides a good and informative answer to a question I wasn't asking.

What would have been a Good Answer?  "I know that article is general, and I know someone at Linden Labs has access to tools to answer your specific question.  But I don't have those tools, and I don't have a way to refer you to the person who does have those tools.  Sorry."  Honest and accurate.  So, why didn't I get -that- answer?

Griz




Friday, November 12, 2010

Welcome to Minnesota... here's your shovel...

Issued by The National Weather Service
Duluth, MN
3:29 pm CST, Fri., Nov. 12, 2010

... WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM SATURDAY TO NOON CST SUNDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DULUTH HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW... WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM SATURDAY TO NOON CST SUNDAY.

* TIMING AND LOCATION: SNOW WILL LIFT NORTH OVER THE SAINT CROIX RIVER VALLEY AND INTERSTATE 35 CORRIDOR SATURDAY MORNING... RAPIDLY ACCUMULATING FOR INLAND LOCATIONS... THROUGH THE AFTERNOON.

* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS: WIDESPREAD SNOWFALL TOTALS OF 8 INCHES OR MORE CAN BE EXPECTED INLAND FROM LAKE SUPERIOR. THIS INCLUDES THE LOCATIONS OF AITKIN... HINCKLEY... MOOSE LAKE... CLOQUET... HERMANTOWN... OVER THE HILL IN DULUTH AND ISLAND LAKE IN NORTHEAST MINNESOTA... AS WELL AS SIREN... SPOONER... AND SOLON SPRINGS IN NORTHWEST WISCONSIN.

LOCATIONS ALONG THE IMMEDIATE SHORE OF LAKE SUPERIOR... INCLUDING DOWNTOWN AND LAKESIDE DULUTH... AND SUPERIOR... CAN EXPECT RAIN SATURDAY WITH NO SNOW ACCUMULATION.

* MAIN IMPACT: THE WEIGHT OF THE SNOW... COMBINED WITH STRONG WINDS MAY BRING DOWN TREE LIMBS AND POWER LINES. IN ADDITION... TRAVEL WILL BECOME DIFFICULT DUE TO SNOW COVERED ROADS AND PERIODS OF WHITE OUT CONDITIONS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS WINTER STORM WARNING IS FOR HEAVY WET SNOW THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DIFFICULT. KEEP A WINTER SURVIVAL KIT IN YOUR VEHICLE... INCLUDING A FLASHLIGHT... FOOD... AND WATER.



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NaBloPoMo Days 2 & 3

Day 2 Tuesday.  I voted.  I'm in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District.  Waited to see the results on Wednesday.

Day 3, Wednesday.  As far as the Election results are concerned.... Wordless Wednesday.
And it is a damn good thing I don't discuss politics, because these days, nobody listens to anyone unless they already agree with them.  Anyone else they just scream at and insult.

My take away?  To paraphrase Gary Larson: Welcome to Minnesota.  Here's your accordion.

I am hugely pleased by the response to the Collective Feed.  It's lovely to see so many participating this year.  I am even more pleased because I just maintain a simple list of blogs on my website, Yahoo Pipes and Feedburner do all the heavy lifting.... and I get to look important.  ;-)

Griz




Monday, November 1, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 1

Okay, so here is my first entry for NaBloPoMo 2010. Am I liable to make it this time? Doubt it, gonna be a busy month, but I'll make a start. I did manage to complete National Blog Post Month -and- National Podcast Post Month (NaPodPoMo) both in 2008, but that was a fluke -- after the 30 podcasts, blogging seemed like cheating. :)

I got the NaBloPoMo Collective Feed all updated with the new folks that wanted to participate. I didn't even count em, lessee... 28? Wow. Utterly amazing, that. A few technical stumbles there, but I think they're all sorted. even remembered how to sort the list by name. http://traffic.libsyn.com/grizzly/nablopomo.html

Went downtown this morning for a Temp assignment, my first work in about two years (school was in there, but even so). Got to the place I was supposed to work, assignment canceled, everyone go home... ah, well. Next time.

Meanwhile, "Eugenics and Other Evils" is perking along on my Stories from the Hiber-Nation podcast, and just dropped on Podiobooks.com, so I have Something In Podcast Form up through December. Not even going to think about NaPodPoMo this year. Should be busy doing that work thing. I DJed a big Halloween party at Phat Cats on Second Life. Pretty good turn-out. Now I have a lot of paid-for music I won't be able to use for another year. And here comes the Christmas Party season. Such is life.

If y'all on NaBloPoMo have any glitches in the feed, give me a holler over on the Ning group, I'll do my best to get them fixed promptly. Wonder if this sort of thing is a good job skill?

Griz

Friday, October 29, 2010

November 2010 Collective Feed






It's that time once again! (reply at http://www.nablopomo.com/group/collectivefeed/forum/topics/november-2010-collective-feed)

If you'd like to be on the NaBloPoMo Collective Feed (http://feeds.feedburner.com/Nablopomo), first check the expiration date for your blog at http://traffic.libsyn.com/grizzly/nablopomo.html ,
the current Feedlist (at any given time). If your blog is already there
and doesn't expire till after the end of the month, no worries. If it's
there and expired or expiring soon, let me know you want your entry
updated.

To be added, reply to this discussion with:

The name of your blog,

A shorter name (to fit in those brackets at the beginning of your title),

The URL of your RSS feed,

The URL of your blog itself.

By default your blog will be ignored 45 days after you last told me to
update it last. Only your last post shows up in the Feed at any given
time. And posts over 31 days old are ignored in any case. This is
intended to keep the feed both timely and compact.

Thanks for your interest.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Back when I dreamed

I just got on Hulu and added every episode of a very old TV show called "Lou Grant."  It was a spinoff from the Mary Tyler Moore show, the main character played by Edward Asner, her former boss at the TV station in Minneapolis who ends up being City editor for the fictional LA Tribune.

One thing I note about the show, that used to be true about a lot of the shows from my era, including a number I watched earlier on Hulu, like "Adam 12," "Dragnet" and "Emergency," all Jack Webb shows.  The folks on Adam 12 and Dragnet were cops, and on Emergency were firefighters.  On Lou Grant they're reporters, and Lou's the City Editor as I said.  And they have their quirks and foibles, their enthusiasms and dislikes.  But bottom line, they're real people, really rather ordinary, like most of us.  They're people who have jobs, and they care deeply about doing their jobs well.  They have the usual personal concerns, food shelter health and family in whatever order, and the job is intended to provide those things.  But when they're on the job, they're on the job, and when you're on the job, you do it right, because that's what you do.

Might be a bit about The Greatest Generation (as they call my folks' generation these days). Maybe.  Think about it, a whole country of people leading their ordinary lives, doing their ordinary jobs.  And they certainly had their wild moments and got up to mischief now and again.  But when it came right down to it, when it was really important stuff -- maybe when it was For the War -- they just didn't screw around.  Young guys like my dad, in their twenties, sowed their wild oats, drank and smoked and got up to all kinds of trouble.  And then they went off and saved the world, and did it right, because that's what you do when your job is to save the world.  And then you come home, and all you've got is that regular-guy sort of job.  And you still do it right, because that's what you do when it's your job.  Even if you're not saving the world.

I've also seen plenty of TV from just after that era.  And from my memory, TV went through a phase where all the characters were over the top.  Certainly seems to be the case these days, too.  The message seems to be (and seems to have been for the last few decades) that people will do the right thing.  But they'll do whatever the most extreme version of The Right Thing will be.  The bad guys will do the wrong thing, but they'll only do the most extreme version of The Wrong Thing.  And in their lives outside of doing the right/wrong thing, they'll lead their ordinary lives in the most extreme fashion.  and I think that's the wrong message.

Bottom line, we still need to be that way about work.  We're all just regular people, except maybe Tom Cruise and John Travolta.  Whether or not you have what you think is an important job, you do it right, because it's your job, and that's what you do.  It isn't about whether your job all by itself is important.  It isn't at all about what other people think about you.  Another example from TV, Hulu again, watching "House."  Wilson has a situation where a guy who's life he'd saved earlier needs a kidney or something.  House gets on Wilson for agreeing to donate one.  Why do you want to give this guy a kidney, save his life, he's a jerk!

But it wasn't about what House thought about the guy, or even what Wilson thought about the guy.  It was about how Wilson saw himself.  He saw himself as a guy who saves people's lives, even asshole's lives.  He did it because that's what he does, that's who he is.

So, back at Lou Grant.  Seeing the very first episode of the show reminded me of being back in High School, working  on the school paper -- and frankly kinda sucking at it.  But I still miss those days when I dreamed of being a reporter, and doing it right, and doing it well.  Cause that's what you do.

Thoughts?



Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Image making


Just Googled "Grizzly Smith." Very fashionable to Google one's self, isn't it?

Found something amusing/ironic/funny/something like that. The pro wrestler Grizzly Smith just passed in June, and much of what Google gives you is about him. But in "Images for Grizzly Smith," The first three are him, the 4th is me, and the 5th and 6th are him again. I suppose there is something of a resemblance.

Google. Gotta love it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Talking at cross purposes...

Fell asleep with SL on again today.  I end up DJing till very late, then working all night trying to get the whole tour balloon thing working.  Hard to do on the Mainland, since the land is all owned by dozens or hundreds of different people.  While I was asleep, I got an IM from the guy who did the visual design of the tour balloons I'm using, or at least I -think- that's who it was.  He seems upset, and he was Offline by the time I woke up.  

Tried to type him a notecard, but I'm a bit lagged, so typing in SL is hard.  Also, my eyes are getting worse, and it's hard to read the type in SL.  Took a while to get it typed.  Anyway, thought I might be saying something important to more people in SL, so I copied it here.  Easier to type here, so I'm revising and expanding a bit in this version.

I XX'ed out his name, since he might take offense, but I left his brand in.  He does -very- nice designs, and his work is worth plugging.  :-)

[13:54:52]  Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxx: AR'd for Unwanted Advert spam. You know, if enough people find it as annoying as me, you will know about it.
[13:56:38]  Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxx: It also appears you're using my brand to sell land.. now I realize youre nothing but a leach and my annoyance has turned to pitty. GL kid.
[15:37:05]  Grizzly Silversmith: I don't have any land to sell, really.  Got time to hear some details?

Remarkable how much of a pain in the butt SL is for trying to actualy communicate...  Anyway, sorry you caught me falling asleep with SL running, again.

So, first of all, what unwanted advert spam?  Not sure what you're referring to.  I've been working my self to sleep getting these tour balloons working right.  If there's something I need to fix, it'd help if you'd tell me what it is.

Using your brand to sell land?  First of all, even looking at your profile, I'm not sure what your brand is.  Secondly, I'm a DJ who's also trying to promote my little dance club out in the middle of the mainland, or that's where I started, anyway.  I'm trying to-dump- land in mass quantities.  I wanted to buy some -little- lots on the road to put the balloons, and I ended up buying -big- pieces, filling up my tier.  One patch of PG land I bought for 2 lindens per meter, and had to sell to a speculator for .55 lindens per meter.   Yes, -point-five-five.  Can't afford more tier.  And I want more land here in "my" sim of Pavane, so I can turn it into Something.  (And as the vast amounts of abandoned land in Pavane finally are available, I want -those-.

I deeded the land in the largest remaining roadside patch to one of my groups, so some young friends of mine could open a club called Hat Trick.  There's three of us working on it, and Hat Trick is a sports term for hockey in the US as well as Cricket in their country, as it turns out.  Still considering moving Ours out to the road and getting rid of all this profoundly ugly land in Pavane.  The whole middle of this continent is bare rock.  What the hell were the Lindens thinking there?

I'm guessing you have something to do with the balloons, maybe that Antiuque Artistry thing?  Then I'm sorry I left your brand on; I wanted to make sure folks know I didn't build the things, just modded them.  They're pretty cool balloons.  I would have done better with those eight-passenger ones, but my girlfriend wanted the cuddly one.  :-)

I started out trying to have balloons from patches on the roadside in to my club, Ours.  You'll note that's the main "brand" on the balloon, the name of my club.  The express-to-the-club balloon idea doesn't work; too many parcels to cross in between, with too many permissions set.  A couple -almost- work.  Not well suited to mainland. 

Ended up building the circle tour, first because it seems kinda fun, and second because I think the Mainland is the Last Best Hope for SL overall.  Everyone's isolated out on their islands, and all the people who checked "explore" in their profile can't explore.  Search sucks for exploration.  You can explore mainland, you can stumble across stuff, there's actual Serendipity here.  And there can be community, too.  Biggest weakness in SL, nobody really talks to anyone else.  Not with too many people scattered across too many islands.

You can really -explore- on the mainland.  You can stumble across stuff.  The imaginations of hundreds of people are on display here.  And no one sees them -- because Nobody Goes to the Mainland.  Nobody Goes to the Mainland, because it's supposed to be laggy, but it -isn't- laggy -- because Nobody Goes to the Mainland.

I've been talking about this in my Blog, and I've been talking about this on my podcasts.  You should listen sometime, if you're not too busy jumping to conclusions.

I did mention to the one passenger I've had that the balloons are a great way to find land to buy, and there's a lot for sale -- mainly because it's true.  I used the balloons, in fact, to help find the land that I've used for Waystations for the balloons.  I'm trying to promote the use of the balloons, too, but I don't really know where to start with that.  And I'm trying to get people behind the idea over all, including the folks who are trying to sell land here, because it benefits everybody for more folks to see the mainland, including them -- maybe especially them.

I was hoping at first to just have -one- balloon on a long route clear around the continent.  Way too hard.  If I wander off the track a little bit, I hit someone's no-object-entry setting on their roadside land and the balloon is deleted.  So I ended up with a lot of land I didn't much want to buy, and broke the route into six 100-waypoint-or-so stretches.  Probably better that way.  Would take a -very- long time to go clear around the mainland, and probably no one would want to take the whole ride.

A side dream, if you will.  I've kept the balloons announcing waypoint numbers, so that people who like the Circle Tour idea could even advertise their builds as "near waypoint X on the Circuit La Corse Balloon Tour!"  Probably won't happen, but A Boy Can Dream.

So, that's my Evil Plan for World Domination and getting rich on SL land speculation.  I'm mostly trying to not get more poor, play with some fun technology, and give folks something neat to play with themselves.  If that's Evil, they've changed the definition since I was a kid.

As for trying to sell off the overpriced roadside land I got stuck with in mass quantities trying to build this thing, without dumping it and losing all the money I had to put in, yeah, I'm trying to do that.  Better than abandoning it.  I hate abandoning land.  Got a bunch of land I want to buy in Pavane that I can't cause someone got in a hurry and abandoned vast swaths of it.  You should look elsewhere in the blog for the story of the adult land I got screwed while trying to sell off.  I recently abandoned the sizeable remainder -- it cost me 6.5 lindens per meter to buy Back When -- because I was tired of the bad memories, and because I needed to buy all that land for the balloon project.

Next time you want to know what I'm doing, try asking me.  And next time you think I'm doing something wrong, try asking me to fix it.  I learn how to do things that way.  And I like to learn.

Good luck in your future endeavors in SL,

== Griz

http://grizzlysgrowls.com
http://blog.grizzlysgrowls.com

FURTHER NOTE!  It struck me much later that the guy just might have been IMing the wrong person, and got me by mistake.  I note that when I tried a search for -him-, I got an error back from Search.




Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A sad story in The Emerald City

Recently, some of the coders on the Open Source third-party viewer for Second Life, called Emerald, put in code to allow it to be used for a Distributed Denial of Service.  Initially Linden Labs took Emerald off the approved list, then gave the Emerald Dev Team a list of demands for changes in Emerald.  One of the demands was that the Dev Team not disclose the contents of the list of demands.

http://blog.modularsystems.sl/2010/08/25/ll-requirements-for-emerald/

Emerald's trust-credibility was shot by the folks who put in the malicious code.  Linden Labs' was shot by... oh, make your own list.  I don't see that the Emerald team has a choice on this, there is essentially only one market for what they make.  Emerald -has- been transparent, it just happens they can only be transparent on why they can't be transparent on this.

I think the people to demand transparency from are the Labs.  They won't do it, but they're the people to tell.

Blame the idiots who put in the malicious code for the start of all this.  I wonder what happened to that whole "Open Source means so many people see the code so nothing bad can happen" expectation that's supposed to make Open Source work?

And I wonder how the hell the Labs can expect credibility when they won't speak openly about their demands on this.  Or, at least, explain why they won't allow disclosure.  It's bad business all around.  It doesn't need to be made worse.

Emerald is part of why I stay in SL.  If that's gone, I'll be stuck with the second-rate viewer the Labs provide.  Will I quit SL over this?  Doubtful, but I'm already tending that direction anyway.  So we'll see.



Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The end of "a Minor Local Celebrity"

Went across the bay to Superior to stop in my favorite bar for a beer in my usual large mug. Looked around -- no ashtrays. I remembered some mention of the laws in Wisconsin eventually following Minnesota in banning smoking in most public places. And after a Google search I find that's what happened on July 5. Anyplace where people might work, any public place, smoking is banned. So as a smoker, I'm a 3rd class citizen.

I originally took on the "Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity" subtitle because I'd been singing so much karaoke people actually -recognized- me, people who were otherwise strangers to me. But karaoke happens in bars, and I"m not welcome in bars anymore. I actually continued to go to bars in Wisconsin, even though I live in Minnesota, because I was allowed to be myself there. Now I'm no longer worthy, apparently. Now I'm an evil sinner to be shunned.

I've read a disproportionate fraction of smokers are older people, lower income people, and people of color. I qualify as the first two. Ironically, if the government passed any law attacking those groups as such, they'd get burned at the stake. "But they're smokers! Everybody hates smokers!"

So I guess that's okay then. Enjoy your beer. I'll be going now. Glad drinking your beer without a cigarette makes you happy. It makes me unhappy. Too bad, huh?

No, please keep the preaching to yourself. I'm old, I earned this. You don't want me there, then I"m not there.

New subtitle: "Life and Times of a New Media Celebrity." New Media I can do from my own home, where I can be myself. Never was a very public guy, anyway.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Welcome to Second Life -- here's your Accordion.

PISO'S JUSTICE: The story goes that Piso was a Tribune in ancient Rome. (I gather they don't have Tribunes in modern Rome.) One day he tried and convicted a man for murder, and sent him off with a Centurion to be executed.

On the way to the execution, the Centurion spotted the supposed murder victim walking by. So he grabbed the guy, and went back to Piso with both.

Piso sentenced all three to death:

The convict because he'd already been convicted;

The Centurion, for violating the lawful order of a Tribune;

And the supposed victim -- for causing an innocent man to be executed.




I owned a 9008 sq m here in Fuson, one big parcel. marked it for sale 54096 lindens, then decided to subdivide it. Divided out a bunch of 512-meter parcels, then had one 256 meter parcel. Marked it for sale 6 lindens per meter. The server decided this parcel was connected to the remaining, not yet subdivided parcel (it isn't), and marked -all- of it for sale for the price of the 256 meter parcel. Somebody's land-buying bot bought it immediately, of course. So I got screwed for over 50K lindens.

Me

Total size of the original parcel before I started subdividing it was 8190 sq m. I still own the 6 512-meter parcels I'd finished subdividing out. The new "owner" showed up, and wanted to sell me the land back. (sigh) Attached image shows my remaining land in green, that stupid 256-meter parcel in the green patch, and that big-ass unsubdivided parcel in brown (I think it's brown, I'm part colorblind).

2010-08-03 18:49:49
Me

I'm told that what -probably- happened, I subdivided out all the -surrounding- parcels, but didn't -separately- subdivide out the 256 meter parcel. The Server didn't recognize that it was now physically separate, treated it as part of the larger parcel. (sigh) And of course, somebody's land bot jumped right on that...

2010-08-03 18:51:59
Me

Further note. The original 8190 meter parcel was owned by my group, Hiber-Nation Residences. I had the Group sell it back to me for L$0, at which point the system decided I now owned too much land, and my Tier went from half-tier to full-tier. So over all, I ended up losing about $200 US in maybe a half-hour. Not my best day.


2. CORRECTION AGAIN: Actually, I had 8190 allocated to the group, but there's that, what, 10 % discount when you own land through a group?

8190 X 1.10 = 9009 sq m.

The patch that Linden Labs sold in error was 5680 sq m.

Linden Labs contention is that they don't interfere in person-to-person land deals. That is exactly what they did here.

My Offer was 256 sq m for 256 X 6 lindens = 1536 Lindens. Linden Labs modified my Offer to 256 + 5680 sq m = 5936 sq m for 1536 lindens, and then sold the land for that, directly contravening their policy of not interfering in land deals.

With out Linden Labs modification of the deal, what do we have? Offer: sell 256 sq m for 1536 lindens. Counteroffer: buy 5936 sq m for 1536 lindens. No Mutual Meeting of the Minds. No contract, under real world contract law.

I expect the counter-argument that the -apparent- error was caused by misinformation provided by the visual interface, since the visuals clearly indicate the 256 meter parcel was entirely separate. I will provide the response; Linden Labs' -product- is the 3D visual interface that you're now claiming is not Linden Labs' responsibility?

This sale was created by Linden Labs themselves, and Linden Labs intervened in the sale and sold my land for a price they set themselves. Linden Labs response, I expect will be, "That's not a bug, that's a Feature."

NOTE: If you're wondering about the title of the post, here's a link that might help: http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~kaminsmj/welcome.jpg

UPDATE: Linden Labs' response has been --- no response at all. "If we ignore him long enough, he's sure to go away." Uh huh. Right. This is really surprising.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Well, Duh!

Dunno why I didn't think of this before.  Not the sharpest knife in the drawer...

I've had a nice yellow "Listen" button at the top of my Podcast page for a year or two now.  It points to my main Grizzly's Growls RSS feed, which has practically everything I do.  I've also known that the Default Feed for each of my books from Podiobooks.com has all the chapters for that book, from first to last (that's the important part).  But just now it finally struck me, I could put a Listen button next to each book on the Grizzly's Growls website, linked to that books feed... and a casual browser to the website can go ahead and listen to the book.  From beginning to end.  With one click.

Only took me three years to figure that out.

Duh.



Where am I at now?

I just noticed that there are now 185 people following my blog.  That is a bit embarrassing, because I haven't actually done much with the blog in a very long time.  Sorry about that.

A lot of my time lately has been taken up with DJing on Second Life.  I am actually a pretty popular DJ there, which is nice.  But it's an ephemeral accomplishment.  It's not about having done a nice job as a DJ ten, a hundred or a thousand times.  Am I being a good DJ right now, or will I be tonight?  When it's done, it stops mattering.  "What have you done for us lately?"

I have three major podcasts, Grizzly's Growls, Stories from the Hiber-Nation, and The IDSL.  It seems The IDSL is done with.  I was doing that five days a week before I started school, and I stopped doing it when school began.  Never started again when school finished.  Yet it seems to have the most ongoing popularity, and the most potential to do something to help me with my hoped-for career in broadcasting.  It has a built-in structure to it; There's a specific list of songs in a particular order, and the next song on the list is already determined till I run out.  And being unemployed, it sure seems like one I ought to crank up again.  But it's time-consuming to do, and the primary resource, the list itself, is derived from a search I did on Garageband -- and Garageband.com is closing down.  So the basic plan is kinda screwed.

Grizzly's Growls doesn't really have a topic, a format, a schedule, or much of anything else to define it.  It's just me -- as Evo Terra terms this style of podcast, "Some dork with a microphone."  Not a bad description.  Unlike The IDSL, it really doesn't have a structure, and there's no way to know inherently what comes next.  So it's easier to do in some ways.  All I need to do is Record Something and post it and I have done Grizzly's Growls -- not well, but it's done.  But it's harder, too, because every time I have to Decide what to talk about. 

Stories from the Hiber-Nation has is like both.  It doesn't have a structure till I find a book I want to record.  Then, when I pick a book, the show is structured till I finish the book.  Then I have to Decide again.  Right now that one is "hanging fire," because I know several I really ought to record, but once I start I have a whole stack of chapters I have committed to do for that book, of course.  That can feel daunting, looking at that whole pile of chapters to record. 

And of course I end up taking those books and posting them to Podiobooks.  That is and isn't a separate project.  The book content is already there by the time I get to the point of producing the Podiobook.  In fact, these days, I usually process each chapter for Podiobooks chapter by chapter while producing it for Hiber-Nation.  I put together standardized intros and outros, take off the HN intro and put on the Podiobook intro and so on, save all the prepared Podiobooks chapters in a separate directory, all -while- doing chapter-by-chapter for HN.

I have a remarkably small amount of spare time for a guy without a Day Job, though.  Again, the DJing stuff.  Second Life adds an extra motivator, in that I get tips from the audience.  Sure, it's just a few Lindens, the SL equivalent of money.  But it's something -- and at the moment, no one in RL (Real Life) is paying me to do much of anything.  The places I DJ for expect me to show up on schedule.  There isn't an RL employer who even cares I"m out here, far as I can tell. 

Ditto for the podcasting, really.  In the three years I've been podcasting, I've gotten one donation.  And that was a couple years back.  It's flattering to have people listen, an honor, really.  It's still remarkable to me that a couple hundred people actually care to listen to what I have to say.  That doesn't happen for me in Real Life.  But if there were a "tipping" system for podcasting, I suspect I'd feel more motivated.  An average tip in SL might be L$100, one hundred Lindens, the equivalent of maybe 40 cents.  In a huge evening, I might get a couple thousand Lindens -- maybe eight bucks US equivalent, for five or six hours of work.  But it's something from there, as compared to nothing from anywhere else.  It's a motivator. 

If there were such a system in podcasting, I'd likely do more of it.  It's not an expectation; podcasting has traditionally been done for free and the content offered for free.  But if there were a mechanism to simply give a micropayment for appreciation, like tipping in SL, now that might help keep me motivated.  No multiple clicks, no logging into your Paypal account, just click, here's 40 cents, thanks, nice work.

If I can find a practical way to do it, I should record my podcasts -in- SL.  That way tipping in SL would provide a motivator for getting the podcasts recorded.  And if I can get all that lovely technology to work together, it would be possible to record from Voice Chat in SL into the podcast, -and- stream the show into my Shoutcast stream, so that it would be hearable around SL...  Lots of stuff has to work together for that, though.  Another perk, it'd be Something Happening in SL, which is the kind of attraction that one doesn't find often in SL.

I'm not saying it's the only way, complaining it doesn't exist, or demanding that it must.  I'm just saying that if there were such a thing, I suspect I'd get more work done.  Cause I'm really not doing enough podcasting, not anymore.

(sigh)



Sunday, June 6, 2010

Recent Email from Qwest


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Thursday, June 3, 2010

This is kinda sucky...

Okay, today I got a letter from the nice Unemployment folks that my Unemployment benefits just ran out.   The well is dry.  Yikes.  Basically the programs are still there, extension after extension, but my new benefit year is based on after I was laid off "temporarily" by my former employers, so my benefits would be based on essentially no income.

I did graduate from school, and I am theoretically prepared for an entry-level job in broadcasting.  Last word I had from school, there are no entry-level jobs available in broadcasting at the moment.  So I went to school to go back and get that half-baked job I went to school to avoid.  Assuming -that- entry-level job is available, with the 100,000 other people looking for it.

Blah, blah, blah, yeah, right, sucks to be me.

So, if you want to help, send donations to....



Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pointless

I've been unemployed for more than a year; depending on when you start counting, maybe a year and a half to two years.  Prior to that I was already underemployed.  I've been in school for almost six months at the local community college, specifically directed to getting a job in broadcasting.  And it looks like that isn't going to happen.  The jobs just aren't there, it seems.

This is something I've wanted to do for much of my life.  Till my senior year, when I finally learned basic social and speaking skills, it was impossible.  Asperger thing.  But taking a Public Speaking class in that year made a huge change for me.  And I turned out to be good at it.  Depending on who you ask, it is very common and highly unlikely for an Aspie to be a good public speaker.  There are reasons it's a good option for an Aspie.  I think I've explained them before, and if not, I'll explain them later.

And people keep telling me "you have a great voice, you should be on the radio," and so on.  I believe that.  I think so myself, and other people agree, so it's not just me.  When my employers packed up and left the state, I became a Displaced Worker and I figured I had a very special opportunity, a shot at this work I've wanted to do for most of my life.  And I figured by not choosing the jobs that everyone else would be going for, I'd have a better chance. 

What often happens with these programs is that some study decides there will be 100,000 new Registered Nurse jobs.  So they train 300,000 people, and 200,000 are trained but there are no jobs for them.  I figured going for a different job -- which happens also to be my dream job -- would keep me out of that mess.

But...

It doesn't seem like I've learned anything new that'll make me more capable of the work.  Perhaps I came into this with too many capabilities and it just hasn't had the impact it should have had if I didn't.  I did spend more than 3 years podcasting, so I'm comfortable with a lot of audio stuff.  Video isn't a big strength for me, but I don't particularly want to do video.  Aspies simply aren't particularly visual, or at least I'm not. 

Anyway, I'm looking at broadcasting work and wondering if they'd really want to hire me.  I still have the voice and the talent.  Do they want that?  I might have learned new stuff in an Internship, except I didn't get an Internship.  So I'm stuck where I am.

And if they do want me, how do I let them know that they want me?

And what do I do if they want me, but can't afford me?  What if there simply -isn't- a broadcasting job for me?

Then six months in school were unproductive, and over a year of unemployment becomes ... more unemployment?  Don't my benefits run out sometime in here?

I think I will somehow manage to graduate.  And then what?



Monday, April 5, 2010

Stardance

Stardance



Update on Jeanne

Posted: 05 Apr 2010 06:39 PM PDT

From Spider (relayed through Jim.)

Dear friends,

This will be hard to read; it is certainly hard to write.

Jeanne's doctors have ended her chemotherapy. There's nothing more chemistry can do for/to her. Radiation was never an option. She is therefore now in Palliative Care Phase. We asked roughly how long this stage might last—repeatedly—and the only answer we got was, "somewhere between a month and a year—more or less."

Some good news: the Palliative Care doctor she's been assigned is considered one of the world's best. His name, I swear, is Dr. Sugar. Dr. Paul Sugar. Jeanne and I both liked him on sight. Her best friend Anya has been a patient of his for many years, and gives him top marks. So do all his patient-reviewers online.

Jeanne has been in Lion's Gate Hospital for the past week with digestive troubles, and may be there for as long as another week. She is extremely weak and tired, but not in pain. She is being well cared for. And today they finally diagnosed her problem, which should be easily fixable. It is hoped she will soon return home, and rally, now that the chemo is no longer battering at her system. We all know her strength and determination. Our pharmacist tells us she has many customers who've been in palliative stage for more than four years and are feeling fine.

Right now Jeanne welcomes prayers, good thoughts, short emails of love and support that don't require an answer, flowers, letters, or cards. (NO FLOWERS, PLEASE!) Address the latter to Jeanne Robinson, Palliative Care Section, 7th floor, Lion's Gate Hospital, 231 15th Street East, North Vancouver, BC V7L 2L7; her email is stardance@shaw.ca..

But please: NO VISITORS. NONE. THIS MEANS YOU. I'm serious: don't even "pop in for a quick second." She has blood family with her every day: me, her sister Laurie, her daughter and son-in-law and little 10-month-old Marisa. Her mom and her sister Dori is on the way. That's all the fun she (or her immune system, or the nursing staff) can stand, at the moment.

And please, DON'T PHONE HER UNLESS/UNTIL YOU HEAR FROM ME THAT SHE'S BACK HOME AGAIN AND READY TO YAK. Right now talking on the phone exhausts her, especially with concerned friends. And no matter when you phone, you're liable to wake her up. She needs to nap. Thanks for understanding; I know it's frustrating.

Paypal donations for Jeanne and Spider are still being gratefully accepted at http://wedreamforjeanne.blogspot.com/ you'll find a hotlink halfway down that page.

I hope I'll have better news to report next time. Meanwhile your loving thoughts are much appreciated.

Spider

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Broadcasting Internship?

I'm scheduled to graduate from Media Studies at LSC this spring semester.  And it might even happen.

I'm doing okay on the various classes.  But one of the requirements of the course is an Internship with a local radio or TV station, probably.  Some other media-related business might well be fine.  Unfortunately, such companies locally are not taking many Interns.  And when an old guy like me is one of the options, and the rest are younger (if less experienced) people, well...

I've already got almost 4 years of podcasting experience, live streaming experience, DJing experience, audiobook production and voice experience.  I am far more comfortable behind a microphone than I have any business to be, and this can all be confirmed from my podcasting website.  Some of this ought to be valuable to someone.

My instructor might have a solution, but that's still a Maybe.   So if you happen to know (or own) a company that could use a Media Studies intern, let me know.

Thanks.

Griz



Thursday, February 25, 2010

Meh. Just, Meh. (was Wow. Just, wow.) UPDATE

UPDATE:

I just now read a post on the Libsyn Support Blog. It begins:

We have been alerted to issues with inflated stats that began 2/24. We are looking into these issue and will post updates here when the fix is in. Please direct concerns to support@libsyn.com."

And so on. As it turns out, not only aren't my stats massively better than last month, they're about half of last month. Still better than any month prior to October 2009, true. It's a Good Thing. But disappointing, because it's not as good as I'd thought. Oh, well.

POSTING WAS:


I was checking the Stats for my podcasts early this morning, and I noticed something.

So far this month, I've had over 9600 downloads of episodes. That's on top of over 6500 last month. So 16000 downloads in two months. And as it turns out, over 20,000 downloads over the past 4 months. Prior to that, my biggest month might have almost been 1000 downloads.

That's as if 100 people heard one recording liked it, and promptly went and downloaded all the past episodes of Grizzly's Growls -and- all the past episodes of Stories from the Hiber-Nation. How many times does an average guy like me have 100 people care that much what I say, or how it sounds when I say it? Sure, if mine were a really big-deal podcast, I'd be getting 10,000 downloads of each episode. But even so...

Awesome. Wow. Just, wow.

Thanks, guys.

Wonder if I'll break 10,000 for this month?



Saturday, February 6, 2010

Education and Second Life

Here's a video I put together for Cosmic Surrounding Technology, for a presentation in another country. The video, the best I could do with the tools at hand and starting with Second Life's 20 FPS cartoon-like visuals, frankly isn't at all good, and I over-edited the audio, trying to get it down to 30 minutes.

The interview, though, with Dr Carolyn Lowe, PhD, of the University of Northern Michigan, actually went very well and is worth a listen. Hope you enjoy it.

Griz