Quechup on spam – viral marketing gone wrong

Posted by jerry on September 3rd, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology

Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones who has not yet received a dozen invites from trusted friends about joining the latest social networking site – Quechup. It seems that as part of the signup process Quechup scans your gmail in-box and emails everyone in it. This is not an opt-in option. Fortunately I read the list of ‘benefits’ and found virtually no difference from Facebook – which isn’t (quite) so aggressive – so I didn’t sign up and add to the global spam content.

This is certainly not the way viral marketing is supposed to work – ie it’s not actually meant to be like a virus that self-replicates around the internet – rather it should be about a good meme that others think is a really good idea and feels they want to share it with others – a soort of positive people power.

Instead, the involuntary sharing of Quechup invites seems about a attractive as turning up at a party with the flu and ‘sharing’ it with everyone!

My advice for what it’s worth is to avoid Quechup like the proverbial. I’ll stick to Facebook where I have more control over the process.

And don’t take my word for it – check out the technorati tag cloud on this topic.

Dealing with griefers in SecondLife

Posted by jerry on September 2nd, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media

Wherever there’s a positive creative space, there’s always someone who wants to spoil it for others – and virtual world SecondLife is no exception. Maybe it’s a power trip thing, maybe it’s someone’s idea of a joke, but it can be disconcerting – even upsetting to be the butt of a griefer’s fun.

I attended a really useful class run in-world by Ayla Curry at the GQ teaching site on dealing with griefers.

SL counter-griefing class

Griefing can take many forms – the one common feature is it’s a form of bullying. Some shoot guns that push your avatar around, some surround you in particles until everything slows down under the processing weight, and some try to get control of your avatar and make it do things you don’t want it to. Some are just abusive, incite vilification, or belittle a newbie’s attempts to come to grips with their new surroundings.

Most people respond with anger – and that’s exactly what the griefer wants – a sign that they have had an impact. So it’s important to stay calm – there are several things you can do.

If you are surrounded by fog or particles you can go to the View menu and click on BEACONS – you can edit out particles and then you can see again.

SL counter-griefing class

If an avatar is pointing a gun then sit down. That’s it – just find something to sit on – the ground will do – and sit down. This immobilises your avatar and renders it immune to pushing by others.

If they attach something that follows you around – like a big spider or a sound that hurls abuse – try teleporting out – anything that is attached can’t follow through a teleport.

And if all else fails log out and log in again later.

If you can get a screenshot of the griefer or capture chat history of any abuse then you have the identity of the griefer and proof of abuse – report it to Linden Labs and it is likely that person will be banned from the world.

Above all, stay calm and breath deeply. It’s only a game after all! And remember: WHEN IN DOUBT – LOGOUT!

SL counter-griefing class

For more information, consult the Secondlife knowledge base (login required).

Many thanks to Ayla Curry for her time and generosity 🙂


Blood moon around the world

Posted by jerry on August 29th, 2007 — Posted in Journal

It was the first total lunar eclipse since 2000, and the Australian news reported it this way. There were spectacular photos (one of these days I really should get a digital SLR with a good zoom) from around the world – you can see some of them here


Blood moon run – lunar eclipse

Posted by jerry on August 28th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Motorcycling

Canberra Riders – a loose knit group of motorcycle riders – organised a Blood Moon run from Canberra to Lake George this evening (28 Aug) to observe the total lunar eclipse – only visible from certain parts of the world. The aim was to find a place fairly devoid of light pollution from the city, with a clear unobstructed eastern view. The lookout at Lake George, 32 km out of Canberra is just the spot.

The ride was advertised on several discussion lists and a total of 35 bikes set off from the Mobil Station in Cooyong St Canberra about 7.00pm.

Canberra Motorcycle Riders

We had a smooth run down Federal Highway and regrouped just past the roundabout at Watson. Then a gentle cruise down the highway as the bite out of the moon became larger. We stuck to the speed limit – this run being more about the fun of riding with such a large group, with a leader and tail-end-Charlie to keep it safe.

Suddenly the road was awash in flashing lights as everyone indicated and pulled over to the right lane and slowed to turn at the lookout.

The evening was quite mild and the weather perfect.

Using a canon Powershot A530 camera I managed to get some fairly grainy shots of the moon as the last light disappeared and the face turned rust red. I used a half-second exposure on 100 ISO, with the camera hand-held against the top-case of the motorbike. You can get info on the eclipse and how to photograph it from the ice-in-space site

lunar eclipse August 2007 lunar eclipse 28 Aug 2007

The Riders were friendly and there was a bit of interest in my antique Honda Bol d’Or CB900 – not least of which being that several had noticed my tail light wasn’t working – thanks guys 🙂

Luckily I had a torch and some red gaffa tape which got me home.

It was a great feeling to ride in a big group – and there were enough Ducatis to keep up a nice beat. After about an hour people started to drift off in ones and twos and I look forward to riding with them again – looks like it could be a regular outing for Wednesday nights 🙂

See you there – ride safe!


Sliterary Magazine – Literary stories from SecondLife

Posted by jerry on August 26th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Writing

I was about to log out when I received an announcement of a literary group meeting hosted by Morrhys Graysmark and Ina Centaur of the biennial literary magazine Sliterary Stories of Fiction and Second Life. I arrived not long after the session started and was welcomed and invited to take a seat (with the choice of seat or mushroom to sit on – and I was warned that the mushrooms make one brood). I risked it anyhow. What followed was a spirited discussion on the kinds of literature being produced in SecondLife – ranging from romances to thrillers, poetry to dramatic scripts. There was discussion of the merits of linear and ‘choose your own adventure’-styles.

And like any serious literary group there were offers of collaboration and critique exchanges.


The three-person editorial board – which includes RL journalists – decides on the merits of submissions to be included (or rejected) and, unusually for SL, offers RL rates for SL fiction. The focus is on fiction themed on SecondLife or on the crossover between secondlife and real life. The fiction is then published both in-world and on the web with each edition attracting in the order of 1000 downloads from the website and about the same in SecondLife. So it has a good circulation for a literary magazine.

Many of the participants are published authors in their own right. And the quality of writing is excellent – the fiction of the metaverse!

Who knows? perhaps I’ll send in a piece to test the waters for a more extended piece of fiction – but the deadline is very soon. In any event I’m looking forward to seeing the next issue 🙂