Dealing with problems

Why You Shouldn’t Stress Over Kaneva Layoff’s

Posted on March 26, 2009. Filed under: Business, Controversy, Dealing with problems, Kaneva Inc. | Tags: , , , , |

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Ok, so I know the layoffs from Kaneva are sooooo two weeks ago, but I really hadn’t had time to sit down and think what I was going to write about.

Going through the forums, reading comments on this blog, and just generally talking to other members – I’ve noticed that a lot of people are stressing about the fate of Kaneva because of the layoff’s.  My thoughts – we are in tough economic times for everyone… and if Fortune 500 companies are laying off employees what would my make anyone think that a startup like Kaneva would be free from layoffs?

It’s a sad fact of life – Everyone’s gotta work…. they just don’t have to work here.  Will I miss those that got laid off?  Of course, but I still plan on keeping in touch with the ones that I enjoyed talking to.  I do feel bad for those that lost their jobs, but unfortunately that is one of the risks you take when working for a startup like Kaneva.  All of those that were good at there job will more then likely find a new one working for another company.

Why you shouldn’t stress – Too many people in Kaneva like to jump to conclusions or read to far into things (hence all the drama people seem to complain about).  Don’t get up in arms over the company changing…. companies have to be dynamic in order to survive…. “I DON’T WANT KANEVA TO GO CORPORATE” – Well, what the hell do you expect them to do.  You don’t honestly think that credit sales can keep the company afloat do you?  Kaneva has to look at all possible ways to bring in new income and get rid of as much expense as possible or else they will ultimately fail.  Why should this bother you?

If your stressing because you were friends with some of the GM’s – check out my post on staying in touch with people outside of Kaneva.

If your still stressed, think I’m wrong, or think this is some sort of conspiracy and that Kaneva paid me to write all of this then feel free to leave a comment and get it all out.  Love it or hate it – Kaneva, just like any business has to make changes to survive.

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The First Kaneva Update To Ever Make Me Mad

Posted on February 11, 2009. Filed under: Dealing with problems, Uncategorized, World Updates | Tags: , , , |

angry_baby

In the past I’ve been annoyed by some of the issues that have cropped up with updates, but I was never really angered by it.  In this update they changed something that most users wouldn’t consider too important – your 2D profile page.

I spent several hours creating a complete custom profile page including custom graphics and css, dealing with Kaneva’s back-end systems that make it a pain in the ass to experiment with backgrounds and trying to make everything just the way I would like it.  Now I am left with this complete custom page being pushed to “Page 2” of my 2d profile!  What I’m left with is a landing page that shows  a bunch of useless info that I can’t get rid of like World Fame and Dance Fame… Who gives a shit what my world fame is, that says nothing about me as a person.  My original profile gives people insight into who I really am – not some status bar.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that they improved some things on the 3d side and added in a bunch of new assets – but c’mon….I want the option of what is displayed and how it is displayed on my profile.

I know I’m not the only one who is upset about this – I’ve seen other users complain about this on twitter and I’m sure if I spent a little bit of time on  the forums today I would see many more complaining.

So Kaneva – thumbs up for the improvements, but this is almost over-shadowed by the disregard for the work that some of put into their 2d profile page… I’m not talking about grabbing some blingtard myspace layout and tossing in the code – I spent many hours experimenting, designing, and coding for a one off page.

If you would like to review the notes on the new update check out THIS THREAD on the Kaneva Forums.

Let me know how you feel about the new updates in the comments below.

******UPDATES********

– PLEASE GO HERE AND GIVE THE THUMBS UP TO THIS IDEA TO GET OUR OLD PROFILES BACK

– THANK YOU TO ZANYGAL FOR A FLASH WORKAROUND WHICH CAN BE FOUND HERE

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Thy Kingdom Has No Clothes

Posted on October 24, 2008. Filed under: Communication, Controversy, Dealing with problems | Tags: , , , , , , |

The forums are a tricky, odd little realm of Kaneva’s product offering that is largely overlooked. Chances are, most of you here on this blog have spent at least some amount of time there. Many of you, tired of the moaning and groaning that is frequently the method (or topic), have avoided the forums. Myself, I couldn’t resist them, and have replied to many items, too many times. I’ve angered the autocrat in charge one too many times as well. Mostly because one subject in particular really gets my blood boiling; Nanny-ism.

I know that Kaneva reads the forums pretty carefully. When they hear a particular concern voiced repeatedly, they begin to assume this is how a majority of users feel about a subject. The mistake there is, the ones who post the most on the forums are the Flanders, nose-in-other-peoples-business, i-know-better, pushy, self-righteous, hear-my-demands-on-what-you-do type of people that the world (K and RL) would be better off not having to listen to.

I think the AP clothing conversation was laughably pathetic. I cant believe that anyone, save the one or two real conservative wackos in any room, would care one twit about what our Barbie and Ken dolls are wearing.

If YOU don’t like it, leave the mall, the party, the plaza, whatever. You don’t ever have to look at anything you do not want to.

If you think you need to protect MY kid from it, mind your own GD business. It’s my kid, I’ll take care of it. And all parents I know feel the same way.

Seriously, if you don’t have anything better to do than to complain about how much tan jumpsuit a barbie doll is wearing, you need to buy a tv, or a macramé set, or something.

AP is a strange animal. We have to prove we are over 18 by supplying a credit card, to get a “pass” that allows us to see…. swimsuits? underwear? knee-length boxers? (edit by SFNdust – but it is a great way to keep the trolls out of your home/hangout)

Those are all things anyone can see at the beach, on a mannequin at the mall.

Time for a logical argument:

Lets be realistic about this, and stand on the shoulders of giants. OK, in a movie, what does a G rating mean? It means it is appropriate for everyone. PG means that a parent may need to explain some more complex issues around subjects, violence, or sexuality, but that anyone can attend. PG-13 means that no one under 13 is admitted without a parent,(but anyone 13 or over can attend without parents) due to violence, sexual situations, alluded-to nudity without actually showing the nipple or genital, and or language of a sexual nature, including the “second tier” of cuss words, such as word for the behind, flatulence, and upstairs female genitalia. Also, drug references, logos, and items can be shown, but not used. Then, rated R means that no one under 18 can see the movie unless accompanied by parent or guardian, due to partial nudity including nipples, fleeting glances at genitalia, and sexual talk, as well as full on violence, and full drug use can be pictured. NC-17 shows insertion, graphic violence, etc.

So, as I understand it, AP pass should be, and marketed (at the very least) as, allowing R-rated functions and displays, (R at the very least. It could be argued even up to an NC-17. You prove you are an adult, you get AP. Means you can get into an NC-17 movie, right?)

Simply through the registration process, the world does not allow members to be in world who are not over the age of 13. So, the world itself is PG-13 without a pass… and (lets just say) R with the Access Pass.

So, with AP, I should be able to see avatars with full tan tights, with nipples, and tiny lingerie bottoms. I should be able to see people injecting drugs and smoking pot.

Without AP, simply in world, I should be able to see scantily clad people, as long as their genitals are covered, and they are not engaged in sex. I should be able to see someone with a Pot shirt, talking about pot, as long as i don’t see him toking it. (Edit by SFNdust – this post is making me hungry)

See where I am going with this? The rules are already established in a well regulated industry, also in the Entertainment category.

Under 13 is excluded, so abide by PG-13 rules.

That’s it. It is that simple.

And if you don’t like PG-13 movies or virtual worlds, don’t watch them, or visit them. Club Penguin is accepting new members. Toon Disney has some fun little games for your small little minds.

As it turns out, shortly after writing this article, my good friend FrayedKnot posted on the forums on this exact topic. I replied, voicing my support for him, and my disdain for those who try to tell us that they know better on how we should live our lives than we ourselves can decide.

little known fact – that tricky, odd little section of Kaneva’s product offering is a kingdom with quite the monarchy. Different from the World, or the 2D site, the forums are overseen by one person, who is in full charge of who has access and who doesn’t.  As it turns out, my opinion was not appreciated, accepted, nor tolerated.

I have been permanently banned from the forums for telling people to mind their own business. Strange twist of irony, I think.

I tell people that their opinions alone shouldn’t decide the game, shouldn’t ruin the experience for the rest of us, that their opinions of who is wearing what are the minority, and that they have no right to decide on their own what is appropriate, rude, or unacceptable.

Then, I get told my opinions are the ones that are not welcome, by being banned. Permanently.

Interesting. So, my fellow reader, be sure that you tell people they are harassing you with their clothing, tell them they are a disgust to the community, tell them they are inappropriate and should know better. Tell them that if you saw them at the mall that you would call the cops and have them arrested.

But don’t tell someone that they are being silly and should leave other people alone. That sort of thing will get you banned.

The king will ban you from his castle. And so goes the monarchy. Random and capricious.

-Paynomind

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So close, So tantalizingly close.

Posted on October 10, 2008. Filed under: Dealing with problems, World Updates | Tags: , , |

Kaneva is fun. Or, rather, it can be. The drama that circulates within it is annoying and reduces the fun levels more than a clown with his pants off, but the thing that really annoys me about my time in Kaneva is… Kaneva.

If the place royally sucked, like, I dunno, IMVU, or Bud Light Lime, I would be ok with it. It’s the fact that they are so tantalizingly close! Argh! If they would quit the work they have wasted on time-sucks like DanceBoring3D and Kerflop, and actually fix the bugs and improve the usability of many features, this place would be rock and roll awesome.

What’s wrong with those games? You have fun with them? OK, sure, let’s pretend that they are fun and the activities in them weren’t better on Sega Genesis or even a key chain I got in the bottom of my Kellogg’s Smacks. Let’s just pretend, ok. Seriously, I know it’s hard, but follow me here, ok? Alright. So, what is Kaneva? Easy, before you answer, I will for you; it’s a 3D social network. I don’t know what all the marketing campaigns say, or what the board meetings pitch it as. But Kaneva is MySpace where you run around and say hi and meet people or keep up with the friends you have. Kaneva is all about the conversations, the interactions, the building your personalized space and having 100 people come see it, telling stories, learning about people, even in some really odd cases, falling in love.

So, naturally, the big featured game activities embrace that, feature it, improve it, right? Oh, but of course not. When you play the dance game, you have to pay strict attention to the arrows, not your fellow dancers. And you have no idea how well they are doing, or how well they did. You can’t challenge someone, you can’t play jointly, and you can’t talk in more than 6 word blasts between levels. And the shooting game? Yeah, no chatting in there at all. Run around, shoot people. You remember Duke Nukem? Yeah, the cool part of that WAS the gore and blood, so naturally that’s all been taken out. And where do these shooting fests take place? By secret ambush while in a club you built with your friends? In the mall? NO! In a completely separate location, away from everyone and everything.

Both of the featured games completely abandon what Kaneva IS, and just throw a simple game structure at you. Why didn’t anyone think of this? Why hasn’t anyone asked for a social game, like automated trivia, card games, even just a simple random number generator to allow people to make up their own games while in world? Oh, that’s right… people ask for that on a weekly basis on the forums. Huh. Well, I’m sure the next big thing to come out of Kaneva’s game minds will surely be one of those, or maybe something even better, like a memory game where you have to guess items people were wearing, or spell their convoluted 9 number usernames correctly, right? Nope. Its gonna be a driving game. Imagine there will be any chatting while you drive?

There are staunch defenders who will tell you, “Oh, the fifty-leven bugs you just mentioned are ok, because it’s Beta.” In all the copy in all the pages in the entire Kaneva website, in exactly zero places does it tell me that the software is beta. Now wait, you are thinking, I know I’ve seen the word beta somewhere. Well, you have, but not only on GMail for 3 years. “Beta” appears just to the right of the logo at the very top right on the 2d pages and launcher. Never anywhere in the actual game. And in text smaller than 8 point font. That really drives home the Beta point, huh? Or, how about the fact that you have to give Kaneva REAL currency, real money, for certain features of the game? That you spend real cash on building supplies, AP passes, costumes, clothing, deeds? Know of anything else in the history of software that took money while in beta? They give Google a hard time for being in beta so long, but at least they have the courtesy of making their stuff free.

This is simply the introduction of a many part series on the “area of opportunity” in the Kaneva software. I’m sure they are aware of most of them. I just think they are of the mindset that people want new and exciting instead of stable and functioning. Or new for the sake of new instead of able to be used easily.

As a usability guy, I believe the complete opposite way, so you can expect more posts on this subject.

Comment for me, and tell me what little annoyances or bugs or usability flaws you see in the same every day. I’d like to eventually have a comprehensive list of not just the flaws, but recommended solutions. I’ll go so far as to make mockups, because when it comes right down to it, I DO care. I DO want Kaneva to be the most awesome online experience ever.

It’s so close right now.

– Paynomind

NOTE: Comments on this post count for the Kanevian Blog Halloween Contest

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Importance is where you find it

Posted on October 2, 2008. Filed under: Controversy, Dealing with problems, Events, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , |

Howdy reader,

I have been given the great honor of posting my own thoughts and stories here, alongside the supremely talented Mr. SFNdust. Try to keep the two of us straight, because while I know the rumor was floated out there that we are one in the same, you will soon be able to tell which is which just based on the fact that he writes well, and I hack away like everything i write was for an IM or Txt. Which explains why I like IM and Txts so much, I suppose.

Kaneva is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. There are thousands of stories. Some use it as an escape from their own boring or abusive reality into a world where people are friendly and accepting. Others are forced to use it from their beds, and their only reach into any form of socialization. Unfortunately, some use it as a place to push their agenda. Others use the world and its people as their drama sandbox, to see who they can push around who they can fish-hook with niceness, then gut with drama, rumors and lies. Others quickly pop in and out to say hello and go on with their lives.

Myself, I originally started Kaneva as a past-time. Like having baseball on the tv in the background while you write checks for your bills, or like the Nascar race playing while you do the dishes, vacuum the carpets, and mate socks. As a past-time. Something to do when there simply is nothing else going on.

As you can tell by me, since I am writing a blog about Kaneva, and I can tell about you, since you are reading a blog some guy wrote about Kaneva, this game’s roll in your life changes as you go, and one finds themselves much more ingrained that they expected.

I started out hitting up the world for hellos, dances, and to build and see interesting buildings with my lady by my side. Since that time almost 2 years ago, now I have 10 communities with ambitious building projects in all sorts of levels of completeness, I am one of the chief officers of an in-game clan, I am an in world DJ of some renown, and I have almost 1800 raves, 300 friends and 300 more pending friend requests.

What happened?

Well, I guess I ended up with more spare time then I thought. Or more specifically, I created more spare time. Its amazing how 2am on a work day doesn’t seem late when you’ve got about 12 more floor panels to lay and texture, to get a new building complete. Or how it easily buys another hour of your time when someone in the club you are DJing shouts that they love your music, or that the song you just played as their jam.

However, I think that type of system has its disadvantages. I haven’t gotten all the sleep that I’d like. I have new building ideas all the time, so of my 10 communities, somewhere between zero and none are complete. There are RL friends whose IMs i have ignored because i was looking up a song someone requested. My freelance graphic design work has almost completely dried up.

But the big disadvantage for me, was that recently the cruel roulette wheel of misfortune dislodged from its moorings, rolled through the city, with fleeing Kaneva citizens screaming and running, and ran smack into my head, knocking my vision blurry, my head dizzy, and the arms full of people in the game I loved, scattered all across the road like the gummy snack wrappers and fast food cartons from someone’s minivan’s trash bag tossed aside.

Drama hit, and it hit hard. It hit long. An issue that should have been over in a weekend went off for over a week. Feelings were hurt, long term friendships were severed, events were canceled, members quit, cell phone records were subpoenaed, real physical relationships were tested and strained.
All in all, it was a really bad week.

Which is why I encourage people to do one simple thing. Chill.
Remember and remind yourself that its a game. Its an option. Its a past-time.

Recently, a guy who was a big part of the Mafia, who was responsible for a large part if its success, a guy whom i spent countless hours next to, building, talking, or simply dancing in a club, announced that the reason he hadn’t been in game for a while, was that he was battling cancer.
At 24.

It really put the game in perspective for me. Here we are, moaning and bitching and hastily pounding out IMs to people about what she said about her statement about him… and an in-game friend is laying in a  hospital bed waiting for the doctor to tell him his chance of survival.

Made me very self-aware at how silly we had all been, how seriously we had all begun to take it, and it humiliated me. I felt guilty. It was that creeping heat up the back of your neck like when you were 8 years old, and you could hear your mother’s (or worse, father’s) footsteps behind you as you were up on the counter, reaching your hand deep into the Oreo bag, less than an hour before dinner. You knew you were wrong, and the prickly heat of guilt told you so.

In order to make myself feel better, selfishly, and in order to help make a difference in this world, selflessly, I conceived of the lasted large effort in Kaneva: The Kaneva Mafia Cancer Benefit group and event. You can visit the community page here: http://www.kaneva.com/channel/TheKanevaMafiaCancerBenefitPage.channel I also encourage you to join and rave the community.
Here is the simple version of the plan; We will spread the word, collect credits, world items, world clothing, as well as cash. We will create one bundle, and post it on ebay for sale. On October 12th we will have a big event in world, to raise awareness. We will announce the total donations to that point, and direct as many people to the ebay acution as possible.

At the event, we will accept additional donations, to assemble a second bundle to sell on ebay. The proceeds from both of these auctions will be donated, in our Mafia brother’s name, to the American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org

I’m hoping people in world will be generous. I’m also calling for everyone in world to politely ask their local GM to donate to the cause as well. I’d love for this to be a featured event in admin blasts, for the GMs to donate large ticket items, exclusive items, etc. I’d really like this to become bigger than me and my Mafia friends expressing our love for our brother. I’d like for it to become a large rally, with Kaneva as a company involved.

Please donate as much as you can. If you would prefer, I am also accepting donations through PayPal, so as to shortcut the credit-buying process, if you prefer. Just contact me here or through the KMail feature.
All in all, I think this now gives us reason to take Kaneva so seriously. Something serious and important and urgent. Much more so than the Nascar race on the tv while you vacuum.

– Paynomind

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