In order to write about how to create stuff for sale on the Kitely Market, I’ve been playing around with baked-on clothing textures. In the process, I’ve learned a few more things about using layers to create textures with GIMP. Say, for example, you want to create a piece ofRead More →

The second annual Silicon Valley Virtual Reality conference is next week, and I’ll be there, representing both Women in Virtual Reality and Hypergrid Business. If any other readers are coming, I’d love to meet up with you. I’m flying in on Saturday night, and have all of Sunday open. InRead More →

Is there a particular kind of virtual content you need, and can’t find — and are seriously considering making yourself? For example, my time in virtual worlds is all spent working — mostly, attending business meetings, hosting shows, interviewing people. I like to wear skirts when I do this, but most skirtsRead More →

One-man — and one-woman — shops are putting content in danger across the metaverse. Documentation, code, virtual content, even entire grids are at risk when it’s just one person running the project. Radegast, METAbolt and LibOpenMetaverse One of the key foundations of OpenSim is LibOpenMetaverse — originally LibSecondLife — whichRead More →

The pages of this site have been loading up in the mobile style rather than the desktop view . It’s happening for everybody, and I appreciate the problem, and thank people for letting me know. So I know it’s not just me, or just one particular browser or computer setup.Read More →

It’s busy week. So busy, that I almost didn’t even notice when post number 2,000 went up — CloudServe shifts to wholesale market. Hypergrid Business first went live in March with the post The future of the Internet is coming on. Since then, we’ve averaged 32 posts per month, or a little bitRead More →

There are many reasons to go into the freebie business on OpenSim: Create brand-name recognition for yourself as a designer in order to sell premium content Create brand-name recognition in order to do custom work To attract people to your grid, community, role playing group, casino, or event venue To helpRead More →

For those interested in learning how to work with mesh objects, there’s a new series of Blender tutorials available online from Ontario-based retired artist Aine Caoimhe — also known as Mata Hari in-world. Blender is a free but powerful 3D modeling and animation program available for download here. It supports theRead More →

As everyone who has ever tried to set up a hyperport well knows, hypergrid destinations change frequently. Regions move, grids close — staying up to date can be a nightmare. Especially if you’re doing it all by hand. To help people out, and to avoid unnecessary duplication of work, I’veRead More →

I don’t usually go around telling people what the best grids are. I run surveys, or I punt the question and just say, “What ever grid works best for you” or “Your own private grid” or something like that. The thing is, everybody is looking for something different. Some peopleRead More →

Monthly pageviews for Hypergrid Business crossed the 100,000 milestone for the first time in its six-year history, according to today’s Google Analytics report. Visitors viewed 101,371 pages in February, up from 97,036 pages in January. Both of these numbers are a significant increase over last year, when monthly pageviews typicallyRead More →

Are you launching a new grid? I bet you’re looking for some combination of “virtual,” “paradise,” “life,” “world,” and “avatar” that haven’t been used yet. Stop! If you use a grid name that reminds people of other OpenSim grids then you will have triple the branding challenge you would have otherwise.Read More →

Someday soon, we will have a virtual reality metaverse. A fantastical place, limited only by our imaginations, where time and space mean nothing and experiences are shared as easily as bit and bytes are today. What technology will form the basis of this metaverse? Will it be created by Facebook?Read More →

I think, looking back, we’ll see 2014 as a pivotal year in the growth of the metaverse. This was the year that early adopters realized that virtual reality was on its way, the hypergrid came into its own, Google Plus became the social platform of choice for metaverse residents, theRead More →

First of all, if you despise Kim Kardashian and all that she stands for and have no appreciation for her business model, I’m telling you right up front you’re not going to appreciate this article. Also, if you don’t like it when people look at you, point their fingers andRead More →

We all know that qualified tech staffers cost money. But how much money, exactly? It’s not like you can look up the going rate for an OpenSim grid administrator … or can you? A grid admin is a lot like the webmasters we used to have back in the earlyRead More →

I’ve been following the drama surrounding AviWorlds much, much closer than I would have liked — because I keep getting emails from the folks involved, and also because it’s my job. And I can honestly say that I don’t know who owns AviWorlds anymore, who runs it, and why peopleRead More →

You may have seen the recent flood of announcements from companies jumping on the virtual reality bandwagon. Movie studios, hotel chains, car companies are releasing virtual experiences at a furious pace. Most people are either excited or confused by all the attention, but a few have been upset at theRead More →

Seems that there’s a mania for mergers going on. Next Reality and SkyLife Grid merged with AviWorlds. 3D Grid merged with Metropolis. And now Lost World grid is merging with AviWorlds, too. Is there a merger in your grid’s future? Take this quiz to find out!

I just noticed that KZero has an excellent new design. Perfect timing, too — as interest in virtual reality is exploding, so is the need for virtual worlds consultants of all kind. Arch Virtual also has an excellent new site, as does Designing Digitally. Of course, lots of vendors in ourRead More →

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s article about the rules of grid competition. So you’ve decided to avoid self-sabotaging, unproductive, negative types of marketing and competition. What’s left? Lots of stuff! 1. Market your cool new features Don’t expect people to notice it when you add a major improvement toRead More →

As OpenSim grows bigger and bigger, some grids might think that an easy way to gain customers would be to bash other grids. For example, AviWorlds grid owner Alexsandro Pomposelli said in a recent comment, “For me a competitor is my mortal enemy.” Now, I’m all in favor of competitionRead More →

Now that the Hyperica hyperport is starting to get into shape, I’ve set out some free hypergates for people. Just teleport over to hg.hyperica.com:8022 and pick them up. I’ve got some all-in-one gates, like the one from The Hypergates, and a Blamgate from Pathfinder, and Diva Canto’s teleporter. The gate fromRead More →

The Hyperica hyperport gets a decent amount of traffic, and has a few scripts running on it. Plus, I recently rearranged the grid, and my hosting company updated our software. Let’s just say that region restarts are common place. And my gate scripts kept breaking. It’s turns out, this wasn’tRead More →

The hypergrid turns six years old on October 26. On that day in 2008, Crista Lopes, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, sent an email to the OpenSim developers mailing list. “I started working on an extension to OpenSim that makes it work in peer-to-peer mode… I’mRead More →

I just spent an hour Googling around for this because half the tutorials out there are for older versions of GIMP, so they no longer work! But I needed some quick gold and silver textures — and this technique works for silks, as well. Here’s how to do it. CreateRead More →

We all love OpenSim. That’s why we’re here. But some of us aren’t as good at communicating it as others. One reason could be that a large part of the human population, especially the technically savvy and the creative folks, hate the idea of marketing. They’ve been the victims ofRead More →

For my hypergate portals, I’ve been using a texture I made a few years back, before I really knew my way around GIMP. So it’s a little jerky. Tonight, I made a new texture and it’s much simpler and easier than the first time I did it. First, you makeRead More →

The Fifth Annual OpenSim Grid Survey is closing tonight and many of the smaller but still worthwhile grids still haven’t received enough votes. So later on this year, I’m doing another survey — one of favorite hypergrid destinations. What is the best place to go shopping? To hang out withRead More →

One annoying problem I’ve had with hypergate teleport scripts is that some regions have the right threat level settings to run walk-through scripts, while others don’t, and require a different command to activate the teleport. Users had to know what their threat levels were — and who knows that? AndRead More →

Avatar Social Network has recently passed SL Universe in Alexa traffic rank, making it the leading dedicated platform for avatars to discuss virtual world topics. “Now of course at the moment it may not mean much,” Avatar Social Network founder Arkad Baxton told Hypergrid Business. “But if it’s maintained or getRead More →

I have served on my share of non-profit boards. Still do, as a matter of fact. And most of these nonprofits have one thing in common: they spend money. Sorry, they have two things in common: they also raise money. In fact, raising money is usually a core function of theRead More →

Folks who’ve tried to add destinations to the Hyperica directory in the past often complained about the length of time it takes to add their regions and grids. The old form used to go to a Google Spreadsheet, was difficult to use, and often did not notify us when aRead More →

After I created yesterday’s Hillary Clinton Avatar and uploaded it to the Kitely Marketplace, Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner reminded me that, with an adult skin, it needs to go into the “Adult” category — I would need to create a new skin for a “General” listing. He pointed me to aRead More →

Last week, I wrote about how I updated my avatar look and copied my shape across grids. I updated my skin, as well, to more closely resemble my actual face without being too creepy. Here is how I did it. Step One: Start with a good freebie skin If youRead More →

I’ve read on Ener Hax’s blog that you can use Imprudence to copy shapes from Second Life. This month, I redid my skin — using my much-improved GIMP skills to combine an actual picture of myself with a Linda Kellie skin template. And then used that same photograph to tryRead More →

Everybody talks about the fact that we need better search functionality in OpenSim, but there are few solutions out there. Why today’s automated searches don’t work Keyword search is what Metaverse Ink does, created by hypergrid inventor Crista Lopes, also known as Diva Canto in-world. Searching for “shoes,” for exampleRead More →

Justin Clark-Casey’s monthly OpenSim development update reminded me that OpenSim now has a new command for grid owners — “show grid size.” The command counts up all the land area on a grid, including the land of variable-sized regions, and gives the answer in terms of square kilometers. And afterRead More →

A grid’s welcome region is like the home page of a website. It’s where new users arrive for the first time, and where hypergrid travelers land if all they know is the grid’s loginURI. For example, OSgrid’s welcome region is LBSA Plaza. Its full hypergrid address is hg.osgrid.org:80:lbsa plaza  but hg.osgrid.org:80 worksRead More →

So you’ve decided to start a commercial grids, hosting company, or consulting firm. Congratulations! But customers aren’t breaking down the doors like you expected. You could blame the customers for not being smart enough to appreciate what you’re offering. Or you could check and see if you’re making any ofRead More →

In a recent comment thread, some readers have asked questions about OpenSim’s long-term goals and road map. I’m going to offer some suggestions now, and ask you, my readers, to contribute others in the comments. Then I will do a survey of our readership to find out which long-term featuresRead More →

There’s a number of things to be said about the publicity Linden Lab recently attracted for moving developers towards a next-generation version of Second Life. It’s bad for OpenSim. OpenSim still draws the majority of its users from Second Life due to the fact that it uses the same interface.Read More →

I’ve recently switched my advertising management platform from AdSpeed to Google’s DoubleClick for Publishers Small Business. It was a big change — I’d been using AdSpeed almost since Hypergrid Business was first launched five years ago. Since grids — especially commercial grids — can offer advertising to their customers onRead More →

I’m a big believer in OpenSim. One reason is that I get to hear about large projects and deployments that use OpenSim that I’m not allowed to talk about. There are organizations out there paying sizeable sums for OpenSim builds and custom development work. Meanwhile, I also talk to vendorsRead More →

There are some great companies working in the OpenSim ecosystem. Unfortunately, many of the customers who would benefit from their services never get to know about them because of a lack of outreach and marketing. Everybody suffers. The customer’s needs don’t get met because they settle for a product orRead More →

There are only four days left to get your proposal in for this fall’s OpenSimulator Community Conference. Last year, around 350 people attended the conference, and more than 3,000 watched the 40-plus videos posted online. The conference was also a great opportunity to network with potential business partners and technology experts.Read More →

In celebration of the fact that Hypergrid Business has had more than 20,000 readers this month — a record high — I’ve been looking at the design of our advertising sales page. I’d been leaving this for last because for me, like for many people, this is the least fun part.Read More →

Linden Lab is working on a next generation virtual world that would not be backwards compatible with Second Life, said Radegast viewer developer Latif Khalifa in a post at SLUniverse today. According to Khalifa, Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg broke the news today at a meeting with third party viewerRead More →

I love watching YouTube demos of new Oculus Rift titles, and am a fan of PewDiePie and folks like him. Last night, however, I watched an Oculus Rift review video that wasn’t the typical player-scared-by-creepy-shadow or man-scared-by-rollercoaster or grandmother-astounded-by-Tuscan-villa. It was an opera, Senza Peso, reviewed by emart. I’ve been trying toRead More →

Two leading OpenSim hosting vendors — Kitely and Zetamex — both announced major site redesigns this week. But only one can be the winner of our first site vs. site, head-to-head redesign competition. And, before you start yelling, I understand that these two sites have different purposes, and service differentRead More →

The Tropical Paradise Virtual World grid shut down with no warning to either its residents or its staff, one of the employees told Hypergrid Business today. “Today, everything — including the grid, the website, Facebook and Twitter — were taken down without any prior notice or warning to anyone,” saidRead More →

Today, I decided that what my gates were missing were sound and light effects. Other gates had whooshing noises and particle explosions — I wanted them, too. I couldn’t find any that I liked. Maybe I didn’t search hard enough but anyway, I looked up the instructions for llPlaySound andRead More →

Today, I helped an OpenSim entrepreneur, known to the metaverse as Minethere Always, come up with a visual style for her ads and website, using a super slimmed down version of the branding process that an agency would use. She might decide to go into a totally different direction, whichRead More →

If you’re like me, you’ve been downloading OAR files like crazy. For example, I’ve got a full set of Linda Kellie OARs — just in case. And the Hyperica hyperport redesign keeps generating new OARs, since we want to save a copy at every major step in the process. Up untilRead More →

Since I last checked out grid-worthy WordPress themes, many more gorgeous, free, responsive themes have hit the market. Here’s a roundup of a few I’ve collected, thinking, “Wow, this would make a great grid website!” because they have a strong focus on images. These themes illustrate some of the other things IRead More →

I’m always playing around with hypergate scripts, trying to make them easier to use. This particular script works by getting the name of your destination from the object’s name, and its hypergrid or local address from its description. The gate itself is just a flat panel in two pieces, theRead More →

I’ve been asked for some marketing advice recently, and realized that other people might benefit from it as well. I’ve written on this topic before, but it hasn’t made much of an impact! So I’m revisiting it again. I truly believe that OpenSim is a great platform, and what itRead More →

CORRECTION: AviWorlds did, in fact, respond to my request for comment. I was wrong. The 1,000-plus regions that were listed as active on the grid were self-hosted by a grid resident and thus not always up. It is my policy to count regions as active in these cases. In addition, several peopleRead More →

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to begin a four-month public comment period about new rules billed as meant to protect and promote an open Internet. For example, under the new rules, “priority service offered exclusively by a broadband provider to an affiliate should be considered illegal until proven otherwise.” However, accordingRead More →

We all know about the downsides of bubbles — the investment of time and money in hopeless projects, the over-inflated expectations, the fact that hype is all you see everywhere you go. But whether you call a bubble, a boom, or, per the Gartner hype cycle, the “peak of inflatedRead More →

I get invited to a lot of virtual meetings. Every week, I’m on conference calls, video calls, and in in-world meetups. Lately, because of the particular projects I’ve been involved in, the proportion of virtual meetings has gone up. In many cases, the proponents were lobbying for a particular platformRead More →

In a recent discussion, a reader suggested that High Fidelity might become a worthwhile replacement for OpenSim. The same had been said before, about Blue Mars, and about Cloud Party — both of which are now gone. But it made me think. What features would a platform have to haveRead More →

I gave a talk about virtual reality yesterday in Boston at a conference of the Society of Professional Journalists. The main goal of the presentation was to explain what virtual reality was, give a few examples of virtual reality currently being used for business, and discuss some ways in whichRead More →

We’re in the process of redoing the Hyperica hyperport. Part of the process is updating all the gate scripts. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve gone through and got rid of all the non-working scripts, so all the gates on hg.hyperica.com:8022 are usable. It doesn’t necessarily mean that theyRead More →

It’s hard to tell from the Kitely home page, but the $14.95 price plan is not Kitely’s best deal.   It can take a bit of hunting around to find it, but, buried deep on the Kitely services page, there’s another option — a $19.95 “Premium Account” that comes withRead More →

I just realized that I’ve been writing about OpenSim for five years, and never wrote an article addressing the question: What is OpenSim? The closest I got was an article titled “What is OpenSim standard time?” Which, of course, isn’t quite the same thing. So here goes. What is OpenSim?Read More →

A couple of days ago, in Utopias, dystopias, and other traps, I wrote about the pitfalls of imaging a future whether either everything is completely awful, or unimaginably perfect — which often turns out to be secretly awful, anyway. Other than digging a deep, deep hole and cowering in it, there’s reallyRead More →

As a dork, I’m a huge fan of science fiction. But, over time, I’ve switched from reading books to watching movies. That’s because, for me, it’s a little easier to suspend disbelief in a movie theater. With books, there’s too much opportunity for me to have — imaginary — argumentsRead More →

Which ever way things go, with virtual reality, we’ve got to get in gear. For me, this means getting organized and productive. To help the process along, this week I’m reading The Secret to Peak Productivity by Tamara Myles. It’s all about the value of clear, concrete goals, and priorizing. For example, I’veRead More →

Last week, I posted the Easy Sticky-Note Script. This week, I wanted to expand on this idea, of having text automatically created on signs, by creating a hypergrid-enabled teleporter system. The idea is that you’d rez the navigation object, change its description, and it would automatically add itself to yourRead More →

After Sony made their Project Morpheus announcement, and the Oculus Rift won best of show at CES, and rumors began flying around about Microsoft planning a virtual reality product, I knew I had to get my act in gear. Mass adoption of virtual reality is coming, and while it’s takenRead More →

So there I am, making plans to redo the website, and put out some special reports and I realized that what I was really missing was an in-world project planning board. Now, last time I just used a Google document and media-on-a-prim, but this time I wanted something a littleRead More →

Journalists know that the best ways to get the public’s attention are sex, money, violence — and rankings. This is why when there’s an important story to be covered that the public needs to know about, but it doesn’t involve any of the first three topics, rankings come into play.Read More →

Virtual reality is finally starting to hit the prime time, with the Oculus Rift taking Best of Show at the Consumer Electronics Show and Sony unveiling its own headset, Project Morpheus, at the Game Developers Conference this week. This isn’t the same virtual reality that flopped big in the 90s.Read More →

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article titled 8 best grid websites, and followed it up with Nice WordPress themes for a grid a few days later. While I still love the FrancoGrid website and think it looks great, it turns out I was very, very wrong aboutRead More →

Back when I met regularly with my mastermind business support group in Shanghai, we asked each other this question on a regular basis: “Are you working IN your business, or ON your business?” Working in the business means that you’re doing a job. If you run a restaurant, you’re cookingRead More →

I first wrote about wanting a content management system for a virtual environment in 2009, when I was just getting started in OpenSim. I’m revisiting the topic now because I’ve continued to think about it ever since, because nobody has built one yet, and because the imminent arrival of the OculusRead More →

Not too many people saw the 2009 movie Surrogates in which Bruce Willis plays both his old, gnarly self as well as a plastic, youthful-looking robot version of himself. In the still above, Bruce Willis is sitting in a recliner, wearing a comfy bathrobe, about to lie back and put onRead More →

New grid owners who skimp on sales and marketing often rely on word-of-mouth to bring in users. But what many don’t realize is that word-of-mouth usually doesn’t just happen by itself. Here are some ways to help create and growth word-of-mouth buzz for your grid. 1. Have stuff worth talkingRead More →

Over the weekend and the previous week I must have looked at hundreds of grid websites for the February stats and grid news report. And I’m seeing a lot of grids — a whole lot of grids — that haven’t put any effort at all into their websites. This isn’tRead More →

As part of my New Year resolutions — and in response to the growing interest in OpenSim — I’ve been planning a couple of ebooks, to sell through this website, on Amazon, and through other channels. The goal is to make OpenSim more accessible to a wider audience. Please helpRead More →

Nothing gets the juices going like a little friendly competition. In updating our advertising demographics and getting our Google analytics for 2013 — we had over 125,000 unique readers! yay! — I got curious about how Hypergrid Business stacked up against other publications that cover OpenSim and the hypergrid on aRead More →

Chances are, there are few regular readers of Hypergrid Business who aren’t aware that we’re at the dawning of the age of virtual reality. The metaverse is coming. We’ll all soon be regular visitors to the Matrix. Snow Crash will be crashing. Our virtual streets will be paved with goldRead More →

Dear Linden Lab board of directors: I just heard that CEO Rod Humble is stepping down. I guess you guys will be looking for a new chief? I’d like to suggest some questions to ask yourselves as you decide the future direction of the company. Now, you might think thatRead More →

I am my own boss, and probably many of you are, as well. And even if you aren’t doing this virtual world stuff full-time yet, you might be planning to, or running a grid, consulting company, or virtual products store as a side business. And you know how hard itRead More →

Every month, when I do the grid survey report, I mentioned that all I can report on is the stats from those grids that are reporting those numbers. Some public grids don’t report their stats, and many grids aren’t open to the public at all, but are run by companies,Read More →

I love promoting the hypergrid, so if you have an event, store opening, land sale, or anything else of potential interest to hypergrid travelers, I can run a free ad for it on the Hyperica website. Here’s what you have to do. Create a lively image The ad should beRead More →

It’s the start of a fresh year, and some Hypergrid Business readers are finally taking the plunge and starting their virtual world businesses. The first question many of them ask is, “I much should I charge?” The following are some rules of thumb. How much to charge for region rentalsRead More →

Last month, I suggested that one problem with Bitcoin is that anyone can set up an alternative currency similar to it, and there is no practical obstacle to people switching over. By comparison, there are lots of practical obstacles to switching from other currencies. If, say, you decided one dayRead More →

I understand that virtual worlds are a new thing, and that companies need to experiment with business models and pricing structures to see what fits the market best. And I’m totally in favor of lowering prices, simplifying pricing structures, or providing more options for customers. But I don’t understand whereRead More →

Update 4: We’re back on Google! Yeay! The problem turned out to be in the htaccess file, which had mysteriously mutated so that it was blocking search engines. So, overall, I’m happy with my experience with Dreamhost. The first few solutions they offered didn’t work, but each time I came backRead More →

If you’re planning to create a new grid website, or redesign an old one, a great place to start is WordPress themes. WordPress is a popular blogging platform, so it’s easy to update. You can create accounts for all your grid administrators and volunteers so that they can upload newRead More →

OpenSim grid owners are busy people and, sometimes, the website is an afterthought. Many grids simply go with the default website created by the Diva Distro or New World Studio, which is usually the grid stats, an image, and links for creating accounts. In fact, you don’t need to have aRead More →

I just got back to my computer from a big, turkey-filled family dinner, taking a quick break before settling in for a marathon session of Arrow episodes and writing a book chapter about the Chinese economy. And, reflecting on the current status of the hypergrid, there’s quite a bit toRead More →

I heard that Walmart is making its employees work on Thanksgiving this year, because the poverty-level wages they’re paying out, at a time of record corporate profits, aren’t making employees suffer enough. Do companies have to be this way? Callously disregard people’s needs in favor of the all-mighty bottom line?Read More →