Thursday, 10 January 2008

Spending Those Book Tokens

Christmas is now a receding memory, with the decorations safely stowed away for another year, the last remnants of the cakes, puds and assorted confections consigned to the bin (maybe?) and the pile of empty bottles reduced to a manageable and less embarrassing scale following late-night trips to the public tip. You've burnt a hole in that new sweater (that you loathed anyway), broken your plastic Guitar Hero III axe and put on eBay the bizarre assortment of spice racks, wine racks, pan racks and racks for holding other racks. All is now back how it was.

Or is it?

If you rummage around down the back of the sofa, or behind the TV, you just might find that book token from Auntie Daisy and Uncle Dan. You know the one, it fell out of the envelope when you opened their Christmas card, but somehow you forgot to pick it up and put it "in a safe place." So there it is, a prize wrested from the dark, unknown places and looking forward to a trip into town for a bibliophilic binge. Ah... but what to binge on? Perhaps I could help you there.

Since this blog is geared towards Second Life, I've been having a good ol' peruse of "How to Get a Second Life" by madddyyy schnook ("with" Andrew Sullivan). "madddyyy"? Unless you are the child of musicians, movie actors and/or possibly Californians, you should have recognised immediately that this is not a regular Real Life name. Mr Schnook is Mr Sullivan's Second Life avatar, and over the last couple of years has built an enviable reputation as the creator of the highly successful SL Guides. Indeed, they have proved so successful that Mr Sullivan has been able to give up his RL job, and Mr Schnook has become a full-time entrepreneur in SL. Presumably some bright spark, seeing the flurry of SL books that emerged in 2007, persuaded madddyyy to pull all his knowledge together and write this tome.

And a fine tome it is. It contains all the information you need to get you from total newbie to budding entrepreneur, with chapters covering all of the important stuff:

  • Appearance
  • Socialising
  • Making money
  • Owning land
  • Making stuff - from basic shapes to scripted objects
Then pulling all of these together to get you started on the road to virtual fortune, with chapters on:
  • Making stuff for sale
  • Creating a shop
  • Marketing and promoting your wares
It is a tome very much geared to the new resident, but it is well sprinkled with some great hints and tips that might even surprise the more seasoned veteran. Having read the book, I can understand the success of the guides that preceded it. The book is well-written, with clear, concise descriptions and information. It is effortless to read, and you may be surprised at how much ground you can cover in relatively short order. Of course, it is not The Definitive Guide to All-Things Second Life, and there is a great deal that is of limited depth here; for example, the process of object building and scripting is enough to get you started, but stops far short of the skilled artisan level (though to be fair, this topic does receive 6 chapters!). However, it is a great start, a great read and I would recommend it highly, though I think the green and purple cover is a bit naff, but there you go.

Oh... and I notice that Amazon is knocking a third off, which is nice.

Incidentally, I really should apologise. I had meant to provide this review before Christmas, but with one thing and another, I failed to get around to it.

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