The Inventory Saga Continues……

I suppose I should be flattered, because someone at Linden Labs must read my bijou blogette because I’ve JUST received a response after days of waiting.

But I’m not flattered, instead I’m FUMING.

First up, let me just say that I’ve had years of experience in customer support, and I would expect in a circumstance such as this one that initially the rep follows the established in-house steps for dealing with this kind of problem. Then if it gets hairy you delegate to second line and so on and so forth; basically what I’m trying to say is I understand the reasoning behind the response, and I don’t hold the analyst responsible for the fact that it’s piss poor.

But it is maddening. For starters, my ticket has been CLOSED!

The response I’ve received doesn’t  progress me any further either; instead it offers me solutions which I have already tried, which  I’ve already told them in one of my previous contacts!

Here’s the mail in all its glory…it is, I believe, a ‘standard’ reply ( The clue is the first line.  It looks to me that in the original it’s blank after ‘Hello’ and they just insert the relevent avatar name)

****

Hello, Kitty:

I’m sorry to learn of your inventory loss! The good news is that your item(s) are probably not lost–they just may not be appearing as you would expect in your Inventory folders. I apologize for the delay in responding to your ticket as we’re slightly backed up due to the increase volume of tickets over the holiday period.

I suspect that the problem may be solved by simply clearing your cache from inside Second Life and outside Second Life. Please take try the steps for clearing your cache from our Complete Inventory Recovery article from the Knowledge Base to see if you can find your your items. (Our Missing Inventory article might help as well.)

Once you have cleared your cache, log directly into a quiet region like Cyclops, and give your inventory 10 minutes or so to fully load. At that time, try searching for your missing objects again.

If you have further questions regarding this topic after following these steps and reading the articles for other troubleshooting techniques, please feel free to reopen this ticket. For all other questions, please submit a new support ticket.

****

Is it too much to expect that the sheer volume involved in my loss would trigger alarm bells? Plus the fact that I’ve sent countless follow-up messages stating what I’ve tried and how nothing seems to work?

 It’s astonishing that they’ve elected to send a standard mail out ( they should have used a spell-checker on it as well) My guess is that because of the volume of tickets they’ve received over the holiday period they’re filtering accordingly and sending out standard replies to deal with the backlog. Boy do I feel special at the moment:(

So yes, I’m raising a new ticket..let’s see what happens next shall we? I’ll keep you posted…

The Inventory Issue..

So, here’s an update on the saga of my lost inventory…

……………………………………………………………………………

That’s right- NOTHING

I’ve heard NOTHING from Linden Lab, despite raising my support ticket on 4/1/2010 2:55 PM PDT ( For clarity that’s January 4th 2010)

A recap…My inventory was around the 40k mark. It’s just under 14k now.  The figures speak for themselves.

People across the grid have tried to help me with various solutions to the problem, and it would seem that there are loads of potential solutions and for some people they work, but alas, not for me.  I’ve cleared cache in more ways than I care to mention, and I’ve gone so far as to uninstall and reinstall SL from my PC. But no change..

NOTHING has restored my inventory to its original glory. All those items that have been lovingly collected since I joined up on 30th December 2006..the majority have vanished into the ether.

I’ve updated my support ticket 3 times asking LL for help. It’s still in NEW status, can you believe it? For the record, I’m a premium customer and I have NEVER asked for help before so I expect better.  In fact, it shouldn’t matter if I’m premium or not, as a citizen of Second Life I should be treated with respect by Linden Labs. If it wasn’t for the citizens, they wouldn’t have such healthy profits lining their pockets. I honestly feel betrayed.  I feel like I’ve been smacked around the face with a wet kipper by M Linden. In all my time as a resident of Second Life I have done nothing but extol its virtues to all who would listen, and as regular readers will know that has meant appearances on local AND national radio extolling the virtues of this wonderful virtual world in which I choose to live.

I feel betrayed and very, very let down.

I could go on, but ranting and raving won’t help, and it is slowly dawning on me that I’ve lost a good deal of my favourite items,some personal items in Second Life forever. I know we’re talking pixels on a screen, but some of these prims and pixels meant the world to me…all my Last Call items, all my Truth hair..all my Gala Phoenix skins (some of which I’d only recently bought) and they’re just a mere fraction of the major names from my collection.  I’ve lost Magika hair, Redgrave and LAQ skins, Aoharu, Armidi…all the stuff I’ve ever blogged and then some..I’ve lost reams of poses and to be honest I’m not going to carry on explaining what I’ve lost because it’s just so bloody annoying. But there’s a sad part; little bits and pieces that Deedee got for me, they’ve all gone now too.

On  this blog I occasionally review and publicise items for but what you probably don’t realise is that I buy the majority of items myself. I’m always appreciative of review copies, but it’s not very often that I get items dropped upon me from on high.  But hey-that’s OK, I don’t expect handouts and I am more than happy to pay for quality products, in fact I enjoy supporting the designers very much. But this loss is just too costly for me to replace. I’m looking in my inventory every day and realising what else is missing and it’s a rather sad process.  The irony is that I have these 13k+ items, some of which are of course of incredible value to me, but the majority so far appear to be freebies and hunt items, not the actual ‘heart’ of my inventory.

Apologies if I get emotional here, but Linden Labs, I have just lost three years worth of memories and you don’t even have the common decency to respond to my pleas for help?! Your service stinks, and you have really let me down, just when I needed you to step up to the mark and help me out. It’s changed my perception of you forever, but the harsh fact is that if you can’t even get customer service right, how can we, as residents, expect you to resolve any of our other issues properly? If you haven’t heard my voice, then how can I be assured that you have heard the voices of others?

Simple answer..I can’t.

The one positive that’s come out of this is that many people, complete strangers in fact, have offered consolation and for that I thank them from the bottom of my prim-heart. Second Life after all is about the inhabitants and the community therein..and I feel reassured by the kindness volunteered towards me.  It seems that there is a thriving culture of caring avatars in-world, despite any thoughts I may have had otherwise. But the same kindness isn’t forthcoming from the overlords, at least not in my case.

I’m sure if my surname was Linden my problem would be treated with the attention that it fully deserves, but with each day that passes I become resigned to the fact that my losses will never be recovered. I’m not in a position to be able to rush out and re-purchase all the items that meant so much to me, I just can’t do it ( I daren’t even calculate how much has been spent and lost in real-life currency). It would be nice to be compensated for the loss, but come on..let’s be realistic, if LL can’t even respond to a request for assistance then they aren’t going to be rushing to reimburse me either. Mental I may be, but I’m not completely stupid…

So, if anyone from Linden Labs cares, my ticket reference is 4051-7209950..thanks for your support, it’s certainly given me food for thought.

Kitty Katch-Up….

I sat and wrote a HUMUNGOUS blog post last night to share with you all, and I’ve switched my PC on this morning to primp and preen it, and guess what. No bloody document.

Cue much head flushing down the toilet.

I’ll start again then. First thing; apologies from me for not updating much over the past week. My RL shifts play havoc with my SL time, and this week has been no exception. Plus, there is so much going on in-world right now that I’m starting to feel a tad overwhelmed by it all! It’s more intense than RL in that regard, so I’ve been doing my retreating thing, that I always do when I feel I can’t cope. There is light at the end of the tunnel however, and normal service will be resumed very shortly. I tried to start the POE hunt but gave up very quickly. There are just too many hunts this year I fear. Who would ever have thought I would have complained about such a thing? It’s not really a complaint actually, I’m very grateful for the generosity of the designers and creators involved who are kind enough to bestow such corking gifts upon us at this time of year. There are some absolutely amazing items to be found too, but it just takes so much time and energy that I’ve concluded that the BEST way to do any of the hunts this year is on either Xmas Day or Boxing Day, when all the relatives are fast asleep and snoring off their turkey roasts. I reckon that the grid should be a bit quieter as well ( famous last words) so that’s my tip for the day. Let the hunts wait until Christmas or Boxing Day, and take them at your own pace. I always find a glass of wine by my keyboard helps, but seeing as it’s the festive season how about some eggnog and a mince pie? (Note to self: Take picture of desk with egg nog and mince pie and publish on blog for all to see)

Okay, moving on. There are a few issues that I want to talk about. There are always issues in SL, have you noticed? I’ve come to realise that there is more drama in the virtual than the real world ..it’s only taken me three years but now I think I finally get it. Wake up and smell the coffee eh Kitty?

First up is the sheer furore that was caused by an ill-advised and rather poorly executed piece that was published on the BBC News website. When it appeared I was incandescent with rage and fired off a response, which actually got published for all to see. I received a LOT of feedback from fellow avatars, and for that I thank you. Everyone was in agreement with what I had written it seems. So, what exactly caused the problem? Well, for starters the article was called “What Happened To Second Life?”, which would automatically make the reader presume that SL had failed and no longer existed. Stupid, stupid, STUPID. It was written by an intern, which worries me immensely. I myself was a journalism student, and the BBC was ALWAYS seen as the benchmark for aspiring writers, because the BBC was the place where you honed your craft and where you aspired to be employed. I worry that the BBC is recruiting the wrong kind of Journalists and sending out very poor, mixed messages that you’d expect from less competent media outlets. (Add to the mix that as a license fee payer I contribute towards paying the wages of these tabloid standard writers and you have a really cross Kitty….)

The article can be read HERE and  it‘s clear from the outset that this is a piece formulated with the intention to condemn, rather than congratulate . Read it – It stinks of someone being given a brief and getting fed up half-way through and then writing some really poor copy as the deadline fast approaches. Okay, perhaps I am being a bit harsh, and somewhat vociferous in my complaining, but seriously Second Life is a huge success and the mainstream media just does not want to recognise that fact, period. I think initially News organisations got swept away bu the hype that they themselves were creating, quickly embedding themselves in a world that they actually didn’t fully understand which has lead to a lot of resentment from organisations like Reuters. If you remember Reuters actually had an embedded Journalist in world, but apparently they don’t like to recognise that. Oh boo-hoo Reuters. The issue there of course was it was all a stunt, Reuters got swept up in the zeitgeist but when it came down to it, actually they didn’t know what to do with Second Life.
And therein lies the problem…contrary to popular belief, SL is NOT RL 2.0 Once embedded in our world the reason that Reuters failed was because they were trying to report upon it as though it was real life, which simply doesn’t apply. Everyone has different motives for being in-world, and that’s why conventional reportage simply does NOT work. What does work, is the approach taken by Wagner James Au, on his New World Notes blog. You know, if there’s nothing worthy in SL to write about, how come he’s been so successful in doing just that?

Read the article, and then read the published comments, you’ll see mine is the very last one at the bottom. The BBC got a lot of feedback , and you would have thought this issue would have died down pretty swiftly. Not so, it reared it’s very ugly head again just yesterday, after Lauren was interviewed upon New Hampshire Public radio. I’m not going to write much more about this debacle, because I’m pretty pissed and will ramble on forever about it and besides, Wagner has the salient points pretty much covered…but again she made obvious mistakes during her discourse which you can listen to via a link on his site. Incidentally, it’s not just me who got annoyed by this; check out M Linden’s comments too..

Ok, on to my next topic of conversation, which is causing much consternation across the grid. Within the next couple of months, SLX ( XstreetSL) is going to change the way that freebies are retailed across their site. First up, they’re going to charge content creators for flogging freebies, because these are now viewed as promo items. Now, there are THOUSANDS of us who have used Xstreet to peruse and select freebies, as well as paid for items. I have found some amazing stuff on that site, some of which I have blogged, that has cost me next to nothing, but has led me on to buy items from the creator…all this is now going to end.

Here’s the rub..if you’re a designer who retails freebies upon SLX ( and they define freebies as anything that costs less than 3L) then you’re going to get charged 99L per month per freebie for the privilege.
It doesn’t just stop there either; the minimum commission rates have now increased too.

This is utterly unacceptable.

Freebies play a very valuable part in raising a designer’s profile and generating traffic to their full-price items and stores in world. This action will mean that smaller vendors are going to suffer the consequences. If you make a good income from your SL wares then you could probably suffer the cost increases, but if you’re just starting out? This is a crushing blow to the more modest retailer for sure, who may find it a struggle to make customers aware of their brands without this outlet. Not only that, but the more established brands are now in line for huge monthly charges too. This is without a doubt one of the daftest notions that Linden Labs have come up with recently, and by ’eck, as they have proved so many times in the past, they are more than capable of coming up with ridiculous ideas. Let’s not forget that Linden Lab is turning over a VERY healthy profit, so why they feel the need to come down so heavily on the more modest retailer is beyond me. In fact, reading between the lines this really feels like an elitist gesture, an attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff as it were. Instead of letting the customer decide who is deserving of our patronage, Linden Lab has now decided it is going to make that decision for us, and push the smaller businesses out of the loop entirely. I was going to list my shapes on SLX but I’ve now decided I’m going to do no such thing, and I’m not the only one either. From various discussions I’ve had upon the grid I’ve discovered that a lot of retailers are very intent on leaving SLX and the exodus has already begun in some quarters. This decision is certainly going to shape my virtual purchasing too…..Way to go LL!

Finally, some sad news. I didn’t know until this week that Tim Guest, who wrote the book ‘Second Lives-A Journey Through Virtual Worlds’ had died. He actually passed away in July..I have been so far out of the loop that I had no idea until I discovered the news via a random web search that I was conducting. Tim was an exemplary author; when I first got into Second Life I went out and purchased every tome I could about this wonderful virtual world that I’d discovered, and his book was the first that I read. I found it interesting, informative and although I didn’t necessarily relate to his SL experience ( it is different for each of us after all) I appreciated what he was trying to document. I met Tim when I was interviewed on Radio 4. He was down the other end of a phone line into the studio but I got to say ‘Hi’ to him and that pleased me no end! I mean, I’d read this guys book and here I was on the radio with him! I felt blessed to be recorded in such esteemed company.

30000 hits? You’re having a laugh!

..oh my goodness, blimming heck, lawks-a-lawdy and any other relevant exclamations you can think of! Thirty thousand hits on this site!?! MADNESS, but an amazing number and as you can imagine I’ve been transfixed watching my stats increase towards this benchmark figure over the past few days. 

I thought that I’d perhaps hit the mark around Yule, and thought what a wonderful achievement that would be, but to hit it in November has seriously delighted me! The blog is certainly achieving more than I ever expected. I’d have been happy to have just a few hits, so to achieve 30k is just utterly astounding to me.  I’m very humbled, but also chuffed to pieces, because there are some absolutely stunning blogs related to all things metaversal out there, so to think I have a regular readershipwhen there is such superior competition out there is a real mind-boggler!

As regular readers know, this blog exists purely for me to witter on about the wonderfulness that is our happy little metaverse, and I do so like to witter..you’ve probably noticed! Despite all the pixels and prattle the blog has developed in a strangely organic way as time has progressed…Kitty has developed too. For a start I’ve developed a skin fetish that I never thought possible when I first started ( “What’s the point of different skins? Why make yourself look different? Shouldn’t you just stay as one character?) and don’t even get me started on hair!  Who’d have thought that the words ‘prim’ and ‘flexi’ would have become permanent fixtures in my vocabulary? It’s utter gibberish! Would I have even considered that one day I would be staring wild and goggle-eyed at my screen as a virtual fashion show takes place, or dancing like a loon down at the pub, in a virtual world but with MY REAL-LIFE DAD! ( Which is let’s face it, completely crackers…)

I’ve often said that Kitty is me and I am she..but it’s more than that.  I studied Journalism at college and like most good ideas it fell by the wayside when I discovered the mediocrity of real life, so writing the blog has provided me the opportunity to vent all my pent up creative juices.  It’s enabled me to enjoy clothing-something which may sound crazy but it really isn’t. In real life I am a complete slob…I’m not materialistic at all and think it’s utter madness to spend more than a couple of quid on a T-shirt, but Second Life allows me to unleash my inner goddess and wear couture gowns and designer threads that Gok Wan would cream his tight pants over. I’ve always been excited by haute couture, daft as it sounds for a Northern lass I’ve always had an Issey Miyake/Yohji Yamamoto fetish ( I blame the PSB’s for that though..)

In second Life I go to sleep on pretend Egyptian cotton sheets and I live in my house of virtual dreams, with amazing furnishings that have funny coloured balls on them that make you do all sorts of rudeness when you sit upon them.  To an outsider it sounds crazy when I explain that I write a blog about my exploits in a world that only exists on servers and microchips.  It’s not tangible; I can’t reach out and run the fabric from my virtual hemline through my fingers and I can’t smell the coffee brewing on my virtual stove, so why is it so enthralling? So utterly addictive?  For me, the answer is simple-I finally feel like I’ve achieved something, and it makes me happy.  I have never been an achiever, but now I feel like I have at last done something to be proud of, and people may scoff but you know what? I care not a jot.  I write this blog entirely by myself and it’s funded from my own somewhat threadbare pockets, but I’m not complaining because the pleasure it has provided me with is priceless! Here’s a thought to blow your noggin; if I’d had a pound for every hit I’ve had on this blog I’d have been able to quit my real life job (seriously!) or at the very least go part time,  and spend the remainder enjoying real-life and blogging the metaverse.  What a mad bonkers thought! But if Wagner James Au can do it, then why can’t I…?

So, what about the next 30,000 hits? What will Kitty be doing then? I have no idea.  I’d love to be able to earn some sort of living from my writing, that is certain, a pipe dream I know..but something to aspire to nonetheless! In an ideal world I’d host Kittywitchin on my own server which would allow for selective advertising, but there’s more to life than Linden dollars….honest!

My Second Life aspirations are to keep enjoying it, increase my enthusiasm, rather than curb it and avoid all the dramas. I want to keep loving the clothes and discovering talented new designers, as well as worshipping at the altars of the established in-world  superstars.  I want to go to tons of events in world,  I want to see more real-life celebrities here (I hear Stephen Fry is a regular? I bloody love him!!) and using the metaverse as a way to connect with the people who keep their careers afloat by buying their books and records. I want to log in to a world that rezzes relatively swiftly and doesn’t crash that often.  I want to be visually excited by what I see and thrilled to be a part of it. I want to see how M Linden and co fare, especially as the global downturn really kicks in , and I wonder what our metaverse will be like in 6 months time. Will Second Life even exist? (God-can you imagine? what the hell would I do if it didn’t? Perish the thought!) 

I want to make my mark on this metaverse and revel in my 15 minutes of virtual fame, and each time I power down my PC I want to do so with a smile on my face, reflecting upon the wonderful time that I’ve just spent in world with all the friends that I’ve made from all corners of the globe..and most of all dear reader, I want to do this with you tagging along for the ride….I truly hope you’ll stick around and see where Kittywitchin goes from here. 

Thanks for reading, thanks to all the amazingly generous content creators for the wonderful freebies and words of encouragement, but most of all thanks for sharing this amazing experience with me:)

/Me raises her  glass of dirty Vimto in the air and says “Cheers, here’s to the next 30000 hits!