The DuroStore Has Burned To The Ground!

I am very sad to report that The DuroStore in The Second Life was The Scene of a major explosion yesterday. Apparently our deuterium tritium charging station overheated and blew up. Naturally there was a BIG fire. The Building was totally engulfed in The Flames and is a complete and total loss.

I cannot tell you how unhappy this development makes me. That building was my home away from home and I loved it like a brother. A real brother, not a step brother.

I am sure you will have many questions about The Incident. First of all, I must tell you that The Explosion of our deuterium tritium charging station was what we call “an isolated occurrence”. In The First Life our charging stations rarely explode, and when they do the fire is usually MUCH smaller.

Also, some of you may be wondering where you can purchase a virtual Prism DuroSport. Sadly, The Answer is nowhere. They are no longer for sale. If you were lucky enough to buy one you now own A Collectible.

In my last post I mentioned that we were planning to close The DuroStore as a cost cutting measure. Next week we were set to announce our big Going Out Of Business in The Second Life Sale. In fact, I have already ordered The Signs.

I want to assure all of you that this fire was in no way related to The Insurance. Of course, we will be filing a claim for the loss of The Building. We have paid our premiums, why not use the policy now that we need it?

While you are crying about the DuroStore I might as well break even more bad news to you. Otto the Durosport Security Robot was also killed by the fire. All of us here at the DuroSport headquarters send our regards to Otto’s family.

The video below was reconstructed from various surveillance cameras that were watching the store 24 and 7. Please say goodbye to our fine store while it burns down.

Vladimir Concescu is Back at The Game!

Hello Again DuroSports Fans,

I am me, Vladimir Concescu, Chief Product Engineer of the DuroSport Electronics Company.

I am back from my staying in Moldovan Prison #34,982. Did you missing me? Am very saddened that I wasn’t allowing to blogging from inside Moldovan Prison #34,982 and not sharing my thinkings on the bittorrenting of Heroes finale. Couldn’t Chiseljaw Flyingman just drop Spongeboy Squarehair over the ocean and flying away before explosioning instead of explosioning over New York? The Atlantic Ocean is very big. Big!

But I am not in the posting for that reason; I am recording the straight record on what Nero is writing about my prisonerness. I am explaining how it is all Nero’s fault. Nero’s!

Continue reading Vladimir Concescu is Back at The Game!

Why I Hate The Geek Squad: Reason Number 476

In my day I have had more than my share of problems with an organization known as The Geek Squad. These are the kids who hang around in The Best Buy supposedly answering technical questions and helping customers make important decisions — like whether to buy a Windows PC or stick with The Tandy (I say stick with The Tandy). They call them “geeks” because they are supposed to be experts on the sort of things that only geeks really care about. In reality I think that The Best Buy would be better off hiring a group of randomly selected 15 year-olds.

Over the years The Geek Squad has frustrated me to no end. Usually I just need to get the price on some unmarked box. Instead, The Geeks insist on giving me a lecture on the history of the modem. I just want the price. I don’t need a lecture on something no one cares about.

Then there was the time they refused to help me with my clock radio! I purchased the radio at The Best Buy, so why wouldn’t The Geek Squad help me? “Not our department” they insisted. I think the truth was that they did not know how the clock radio worked and they were just too embarrassed to admit it. I finally got help from the nice lady in the appliance department. She was no “geek”, but thanks to her I am now finally on The Daylight Savings Time like everyone else.

Recently I read the news that The Geek Squad was moving into The Second Life. I found this to be quite interesting for obvious reasons. So many things are better in the “virtual” reality world of The Second Life that it is possible that The Geek Squad might be better too. So I decided to give The Geeks another chance.

Continue reading Why I Hate The Geek Squad: Reason Number 476

The Making Of The Virtual Prism DuroSport – Part II

Last week Madmann Legend was kind enough to provide us with some insight into the making of the virtual Prism DuroSport media player. Today we will hear from another member of The LogSpark team. Mr. Ebi Ebi was instrumental in bringing DuroSport into the “virtual” reality world of The Second Life.

Unfortunately, since the launch of our store Mr. Ebi Ebi has been persecuted by individuals who are obviously jealous of the DuroStore’s success in The Second Life (have I mentioned that we have outsold both the iPod and the Zune COMBINED – in The Second Life?). As a result of this persecution, Mr. Ebi Ebi has gone “underground” (that is a popular phrase that means “he is in hiding”). The following post was forwarded to us through a secret communications channel that I will not reveal — so do not ask.

It is obvious that Mr. Ebi Ebi is under quite a bit of stress, so I will not take any of his comments personally (except for the nice ones, of course). I am reprinting this article to demonstrate the commitment The LogSparkers had to bringing the best portable media player ever into The Second Life.

Mr. Ebi Ebi, wherever you are, I hope that you will be able to resume a normal life soon. I only wish that our Chief Product Engineer was as dedicated to our cause as you are.

– Nero

Note: Having disappeared three days after the release of the Prism Durosport, we were previously unable to obtain any information regarding the status or whereabouts of Ebi Ebi. This message surfaced through unofficial channels, originating somewhere in abandoned Western Arang, and may begin to explain his mysterious absence.

Launch + 7 days

I don’t even know where to begin. I really thought I knew what I was getting into. Contract engineer, project mercenary, whatever you want to call it. I’ve done this type of work before. Small stuff, like improving canine accessibility by installing ramps over stairs. A few larger projects, like designing and building a few upscale rental homes on Turing.

When LogSpark came to me with the Durosport contract in hand, it really did seem like a simple in-and-out job. A few weeks work, cash under the table, and a target launch date far out enough to ensure the job could be done.

How could I possibly have known? Or, for that matter, how could LogSpark have known? And why, oh why, did we not require a well-defined Scope of Work, signed-off and in-hand from the beginning?

Ronin was competent enough. [Note: Ronin was our nitwit contract project manager. If there were any “problems” during development they were very likely his fault. He may soon be dismissed for insubordination – ed.] A true gentleman, he headed the project from the Durosport end to the best of his ability. But the resources he was given to work with, the working conditions he was provided, and the goals he was assigned were… I struggle to find the right words… incomprehensible.

Under Nero’s direction, Ronin reluctantly and repeatedly came back to us with more and more requests for additional features, modifications, and outlandish changes. Nero skated the commercial issues by defining these as ‘refinements’ and ‘corrections.’

The problem was, despite Nero’s boorish, demanding, and sometimes downright disgusting demeaner, I found the man to be quite endearing. Here is a guy who knows what he wants, and knows how to get it. A bit hard of hearing, he continually shouts to get his point across, but he really is a nice guy. You wouldn’t want to be one of his kids, but he’s not a bad guy to have in your speed dial. He knows people.

So we tried to comply with every request. When we were instructed to add more features, we did our best. When we were asked to do the impossible, we struggled, but performed. But I went ballistic when I found out the eight foot tall monstrosity that I thought was a scaled-up prototype was actually a full-scale replica of the production product. I grieved, going from denial, to anger, skipping ahead to depression, and all the way back to anger again, in the span of about 30 seconds.

Later, it turned out we needed that much space to cram in the features that were added. Even in a virtual world. There’s not a snowball’s chance this thing could be made in RL – it is outside any current manufacturing capability. And don’t look for it anytime in the near future, either. The required technology would not only be unprofitable, but would violate several international treaties.

Despite the circumstances, development progressed. With only a few days to go, we had recovered significantly, due to some incredible accomplishments by Madmann Legend (ask him, quantum mechanics are outside my skill-set). We had actually worked our way back up to meeting the deadline! And then, the test reports came in.

I refuse to go into details until I talk to a lawyer. For now, let me just say that my repeated requests for product safety improvements were summarily ignored. I requested, then demanded, and eventually begged and pleaded for an extension. But the answer was always the same – the release date was frozen. The Prism Durosport would launch as it was.

I told them the timing wasn’t right. There were too many risks. Risks that could be avoided. We just needed a few more days! But 4/1/07, they took the unit public.

I fear for my safety. Again, I cannot go into specifics, but there have been threats. I must go into hiding. My hole-in-the-wall shop will probably be looted in my absence, but for now I must abandon it and my friends. For now, I’ve moved into a hut in a remote part of Turing and taken up the work of a local gardener. Until I can procure the protection of the Moldovan mob, I will always be looking over my shoulder.

The Making Of The Virtual Prism DuroSport

As I have told you all, we are very excited about our new store in The Second Life as well as our new virtual Prism DuroSport. I have asked the legendary Madmann Legend to write about the making of the virtual media player. Here is an exclusive behind the scenes look at how it all came about.
– Nero

Greetings, I am me, Madmann Legend.

Wow… sorry, I’ve been working around these Moldovans too much. You’d be surprised how easy it is to soak that up. They made me change “Loading, Please Wait” to the more Moldovan-correct “Making Load, Please To Waiting…” Just thinking about it, I’m making load right now.

I’ve been asked to write a few words about helping to bring the DuroSport 6001 into Second Life. I suggested “moist”, “juggernaut” & “dyspeptic”, but they wanted a whole bunch strung together into sentences, so here I go.

When I was first approached by my friends Blu & Sandry (aka LogSpark) to assist in this project, I was told we would be making a virtual version of the Prism DuroSport. I thought, “A glass jockstrap, what a marvelous idea!” I hadn’t yet encountered the most unique media player on the market. Or whatever.

Madmann Legend and the virtual Prism DuroSportBeing a number-crunching geek & criminally insane came in very handy on this effort. Although the First Life DuroSport uses incredibly large numbers in its DRM scheme, they seemed not be enough when put into the infinite possibility of Second Life. Our initial attempts were, well, let’s be honest here… disastrous. Music was escaping from the player at an alarming rate. For a company whose motto is “Your Music Will Never Escape”, that wouldn’t really fly. I kept raising the numbers, till they were like huge plus 13…. but still we had random sightings of herds of wild Fall Out Boy mp3s all over the north end of the grid. Pretty sure we got ’em all, but they breed like mad in there. Ebi Ebi put the last one down himself, just like in Old Yeller.

Which brings me to my confession. After the Fall Out Boy incident, I got frustrated and just told the big-ass numbers in the DuroSport 6001 “TIMES INFINITY!” Worked pretty well in grade school, in Second Life, not so much. The resulting load on Linden Lab’s server made the grid shaky for about a weekend. So what, you never screw up where YOU work?

So the introduction went well, despite all the protesters… They haven’t paid me anything for my work, just offered me something called “coup futures”. Supposed to be like pork bellies, I guess. I get paid if an Eastern European nation changes governments. Or whatever.

At this point I’m just glad to have this project completed. Your music is safe, even in Second Life.

Or whatever.