January Wrap-Up

The month of January seemed to fly right by. Feels like my last blog entry was only a day ago, not a month ago. I don’t really have any major announcements or revelations, so instead I’ll share with you a bit of a progress report.

At the shoppe, January started off with a bang. We had decided to participate in our first ever grid-hunt, and the Just For The Guys Hunt got started on the 3rd with a flood of people coming to visit. People seemed to enjoy themselves, and we both got plenty of compliments about our hunt item, so I consider the effort to be a success. While it’s not something I’d want to do too frequently, it is something I’d consider doing again at some point.

Shortly after the start of the hunt, it was time for Menswear Fashion Week. We had been getting excited about this event for the last couple months, and all the planning and preparation really paid off. The exhibition booth at the event sim looked great, people enjoyed themselves, and our feature runway show was a hit. Click here to see pictures taken by event photographer Tillie Ariantho.

I did a lot of back-end work on the shoppe as well. A few locations were remodeled, one was moved, and (sadly) a couple small satellite locations were closed. I’ve also updated some things on the back end, including some server improvements and new redelivery terminals, and continue to work on refining and updating vendors. We received countless notecards with a range of business offers and invitations to open locations all over the grid, as well as a number of requests for a diverse range of fundraisers. I’m not sure how ‘pay my tier’ has managed to become a legitimate fundraising category, compared with real charities and humanitarian efforts out there, they just seem selfish and greedy. After looking at different charitable options in SL, we decided to make our donations directly in RL in 2010. This way the money we give goes directly to that organization without overhead, without SL cashout fees, and without question. We’ve already made donations to Doctors Without Borders, and will continue to make contributions to them and other organizations throughout the year.

In the world of software testing, January was a very busy month. I installed and tested 9 different builds of things, learning a lot and having more fun than frustration, with the net result hopefully being that whatever gets released will be a better experience for everyone.

January also began with us starting to work on content for Blue Mars. It was an exciting step, since we’re already familiar with and use the professional 3D tools to create content. However, Avatar Reality’s developer program just didn’t make sense for us and by mid-month we halted development. I’m sure they’re swell guys and have no doubts they’ve invested plenty of time and effort into creating the virtual world, but with no compelling content of their own, an unfinished developer’s toolset, and no large installed user base, I can’t justify handing over 25% of our gross sales (plus land use and other fees). I’ll revisit the situation in the months to come, and hopefully either they’ll revise their program or the tools and user base will mature and expand significantly.

The planning phase continues for our second region, though I decided to slow things down a bit and not rush into anything. While other estate managers may make the job look easy, running a region and fostering a community (however small) takes considerable effort, and I want to try and take my time and make as few mistakes as possible. We’re probably looking at the second region happening sometime in Q2.

Our studio space continues to evolve and improve. BlakOpal’s new sewing machine is just waiting for her to dive in, and we’ve finally sorted out the mechanics of a vertical light table so she’ll be able to properly light and shoot fabrics. Next up is a new machine for her to have at home, which was ordered today and should arrive by the end of next month. Her workspace is shaping up really nicely, and now I find myself looking forward to upgrading a few things in my space as well.

While we missed this month’s spectacular Black & White Ball at Piermont Landing, we enjoyed the Eddie Izzard show tremendously. Both BlakOpal and I have been fans for years and seen most of his videos, this was the first time we’d seen his show live and he had us laughing so hard our sides hurt.

Musically, January was filled with elation as a few different friends released albums and singles and had some great achievements. While a small part of me wishes I were at all the shows and producing events or even performing, a much greater part is happy to be laying low and staying in. As I finish up a few other projects, I’m looking forward to spending some quality time in the studio, rewiring and reprogramming some racks, and making a little noise.

It’s been a great 2010 so far, I hope yours has too.