Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday miscellany

I dropped in on G and U yesterday to see how they were getting on with their eight-day-old son Ralph. All seem tired but happy, and Ralph is as cute as babies that age usually are. He has a full head of black hair and his father's long fingers.

Afterwards, with G to that bastion of deutsche Leitkultur IKEA for shelving and glassware (me) and picture frames for sending to new grandparents (him). I shall put up the newly-bought sixth Billy bookshelf this afternoon, it should be enough to handle the overflow which currently lies in piles in front of the existing units.

After that, I spent more hours than I'd like to admit in Second Life working on scripts, chatting with M2 and—you'll never guess—buying a new avatar. This marks a transition in my Second Lifery, the first big-money purchase I've made there. (I can tell you, by the way, that purchasing virtual goods with virtual money is accompanied by just as much angst and doubtful hesitation as in the real world.) My alternate self is a close-to-lifesize, realistically four-legged black and white alleycat (not a furry).

The experience of buying this avatar strengthens my incomprehension (if that's the right expression) of the economics of SL. The avatar-maker, Nimbus Rau, spent nearly an hour talking to M2 and I (and another woman who wandered by) and demonstrating the various different avatars she'd built; at today's exchange rate, the avatar cost under US$3. That might just make sense in SL terms, she need only sell two avatars a month to pay her land-use fees; but an economist would call that a very poor use of her real-life time. Even McDonalds pays five times as much as that!

From a recent conversation
Sis: I'm sorry that I wasn't better prepared and you had to spend a day helping me clean the house.

Udge: No problem. To tell the truth I enjoyed it, I was having a Marie-Antoinette moment: "Hey, look at me pretending to be a peasant! Isn't it fun?"

Two ways of looking at Apple with apologies to Wallace Stevens.

1. Apple has only 6.3% of the US computer market (or is it 8.1%? who knows).

"How can they survive?"

2. Apple is the third-best-selling computer brand in the US, only Dell and HP sell more computers. Dell and HP sell across the price spectrum, from WalM*rt cheap-and-nasty to top-of-the-range. Apple sells only middle-to-top systems, with commensurate prices and profit margins. Apple has 29% of the market for top-of-the-range laptops, and laptops make up 64% of the computers they sold this year. And let's not forget the iPod (73% of the US market) and the iPhone (fourth-best-selling phone in the US) and the iTunes store (third-largest music retailer in the US, by golly, and about to sell its 4 billionth song).

My guess is that they can survive just fine.

In other news winter has arrived: the forecast is for frost overnight. I shall bring in the plants from the balcony summer office.

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Blogger JoeinVegas said...

I love their laptops and computers, really very pretty and solid. But I program, and need to have what my customers have. If it was personal I would go Apple too.
Yes, two Ipods in this house, maybe an Iphone soon too.

October 21, 2007 at 8:42:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Anonymous ann marie said...

Hi :) un-believer in Apple disappearance too here. Hmm, who would have guessed such a low market share, MS did the number-crunching? Of course Apple is in a great deal of businesses too. We used a lot in qualitative *and* miraculously even in quantitative studies (no it was not design or ad business!) I remember our assistants busy burning CDs and DVDs for our clients and some of us reminding time and again "Please remember to make it hybrid, they're all on the dark side".

So you went and spent lindens and found the cat before I ever found my "mini house cat" although it is not a full prim. That's how it goes. Next time you know and you'll be "rezzing" somewhere too playing house or renting out and climbing up on the SL social scale and getting avatar haircuts (oh, I think I have not seen that one yet:) You can hit me with a huge script for such a long comment. /me waves and smiles.

October 21, 2007 at 10:56:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Udge said...

Well, if you'd log in once in while, I'd show you my new avatar! ;-) And the housebuilding may come sooner than you think too.

October 22, 2007 at 1:07:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Anonymous ann marie said...

You know why I could not log in, Udge - recovery took several days - will be online this afternoon eastern, your evening, naturally! My usual online hours during the week + some of the evening ... see later :)

October 22, 2007 at 3:47:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Pacian said...

"Even McDonalds pays five times as much as that!"

But I don't imagine the customers there provide much stimulating conversation.

October 23, 2007 at 1:49:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Udge said...

Ann Marie: yes, I know now why you weren't online, but didn't know then else I wouldn't have been so flippant.

Pacian: indeed, the hour of pleasant chat is what keeps SL going. Think how expensive McDonalds would have to be if the staff were allowed to talk to customers in more than numbers and brandnames.

October 23, 2007 at 2:17:00 p.m. GMT+2  

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