How to Make Money in The Virtual World

Who doesn’t dream about having their own business?  Although mowing lawns and shoveling snow were not glorious ways to make money, at a young age I learned that I’d rather have my own business than earning my allowance taking out the garbage.  Unfortunately, school is a major distraction for most of us but fortunately, many of my best friends in college had fathers that were entrepreneurs and I studied and played in an environment where entrepreneurship was considered the natural conclusion to a career in engineering.

The study of engineering for me, meant the world would be my oyster but practicing engineering in the world of work led me to realize that I had little room to realize my true potential.  In essence, I had become a follower and had little means to discover who I really was and I was experiencing little success at being what employers wanted me to be.  The key to becoming profitable as an entrepreneur is to create a product or service that is market driven and to do that you need to find a niche where you can express your specialty.  Having little idea of my true identity, determining where I could be an authority proved challenging but the drive to have a social life subsequent to the loss of social opportunities that college presented drove my interest in telephone party lines and then Internet chat rooms.

My love affair with Second Life began around 2007 when yahoo chat rooms had finally degenerated into dodging bots, even in the Books and Literature room and, I decided to take a leap of faith.  In addition to augmenting my real-life social-life I also entertained notions of modeling a new life that included a return to an engineering career as well as entrepreneurship.  I visualized myself starting an automotive engineering company: design and build of high performance race cars.  With that effort, not only could I model a lifestyle that included a return to engineering after a lengthy hiatus, but also finally teach myself how to program a computer.

It was a particularly exciting time in Second Life because mesh was still in a nascent state and the promise of a complete overhaul of nearly every industry creating material goods was at hand.  Based on how-to books on Second Life entrepreneurship, Internet research and, tutorials on youtube, I began to prepare myself for entry into this opportunity laden new environment.  I learned Photoshop to create textures, 3ds Max to do solid modeling, Poser to do animations and scripting to bring life to otherwise static creations.

I had a variety of different ideas for products but I wanted to start with something relatively simple and I found a series of videos on youtube teaching solid modeling of furniture.  Learning how to use 3ds Max was challenging but having had experience with learning Solidworks, it seemed a lot of the concepts were very similar.  With the completion of my first chair, I got certified to be a Second Life creator of mesh by taking an intellectual property quiz, uploaded my first model to Linden Lab’s experimental grid and began attending meetings facilitated by Linden Lab employees informing creators of new developments.

I’d learned about group facilitation skills by attending support groups for people suffering with depression around 1997 but it wasn’t until starting a support group for entrepreneurs that I learned how to apply that skill powerful manner that enabled the potential for profit.  Starting a business in Second Life had proven to be more challenging than I had expected and assuming that others were having the same issues I started a to learn more about how to start a business and help others with their own startup initiatives.

I surveyed around 15 different kinds of businesses during the course of running the entrepreneur’s support group, took an adult education course about entrepreneurship and, pursued self-study from text books and youtube tutorials.  Daytrading had initially captured my imagination around 2000 when I stumbled across the Bloomberg channel while home sick.  Lucky for me, I had a cousin who taught finance and investment courses at a local university.  Having done some preliminary Internet research on daytrading I became aware of the controversy that surrounded the legitimacy of the field and I was excited to be able to seek his advice in this regard.  In addition, he invited me to audit several courses in finance and investment to form a rock solid base upon which to begin my new business.

Performing research to become a successful trader was challenging but having studied engineering in graduate school, I had experienced the excitement that the quest for knowledge had imbued and learning about day trading was just as exciting.  A friend of mine showed me how you can start with a trading simulation that did not involve the use of real money so you could test your ideas without having to suffer any losses.  I found numerous books, youtube videos and other Internet resources upon which to draw and developed methods for analyzing the markets that were unique.  In order to validate my research I created a meetup group for traders and began teaching others about techniques I had developed.

Making money in The Virtual World in some ways requires unique skills but in other regards, real world entrepreneurship involves many skills that are transferable.  Performing a skills inventory from a job search book like What Color is My Parachute can help you learn about your favorite skills.  In order to establish credibility you need to find the niche that is not only market driven but also reflects your specialty.  Facilitating support groups enabled me to bring together others who shared my interests and there was a mutual exchange of knowledge.  Authorship is another great way to establish your authority if attaining the leadership skills to run groups seems beyond your grasp right now.  With the initiation of each business venture that I began, I always created a support group in the real world but I could not have been successful without the 24/7 feedback that I was able to obtain in The Virtual World.

-Anastasios Aurotharius



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7 Criteria Defining Virtual Worlds

My first exposure to a virtual world was through reading about Second Life from the official guide that I found in the Harvard Coop bookstore.  The guide was packed with technical detail, but had a glossy cover and an “easy-breezy” feel like a magazine so I flipped through.  Having arrived at a plateau in my life, I was looking for a new challenge, something creative, where I’d make some new friends.  I bought the book.

There are many different kinds of virtual worlds and I’ve experienced more than a few. Having gotten to know a fair number of participants, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that people relate to their avatars and experience virtual environments in very different ways. This subjectivity doesn’t facilitate description or classification let alone definition.  None-the-less, the general consensus among professionals is that in order to qualify as a virtual world, a social network must be:

  1. Immersive
  2. Three Dimensional
  3. Avatar Interfaced
  4. Internet-based
  5. Persistent
  6. Interactive
  7. Synchronous

Following is a more detailed consideration of each:


For me immersion is experienced in two different ways.  The first involves a connection with my senses and the second involves psychology.  With the understanding that we perceive reality through our senses one would naturally conclude that we would perceive virtual reality the same way.  This could entail hard wiring your senses into electrical signal generators ala “The Matrix”, however an external retrofit like gloves, goggles etc is far less invasive, more practical and less expensive.

With virtual worlds, the connection is made with your computer via the Internet and most commonly only two senses are engaged: sight and sound.  Your sense of sight is engaged through the graphical user interface provided by your computer display.  The audio output from your speakers enables you to hear sound effects with remarkable clarity.  There have been times when I couldn’t readily differentiate between birdsong a in simulated garden and melodies outside my real world window without lowering the volume.

The effect immersion has on my senses is one thing but the effect that it has on my mind is something entirely different.  Although losing awareness of physical surroundings when immersed is more subtle, loosing track of time is not.  I think we’re all familiar with that strange sensation of looking at the clock and wondering where the time went.  For me, immersion is when I’m completely engaged and usually when I’m at my best.  I might be doing something that utilizes favorite skills and operating at peak performance or seemingly doing nothing at all but somehow feeling centered and at peace.  Whichever the case may be, I’m in my element.  I’m immersed in an powerful experience, it feels good, and nothing else seems to matter.

Immersion enables a plethora of experiences in a virtual world.  The deeper the immersion, the more powerful the experience.  Standing on the ocean floor while whales are breaching overhead is not something you readily forget.  If you find automotive racing more interesting than whales, you can drift at the track against others or the clock.  For some the virtual lifestyle involves getting married and having kids while for others it means leading a playboy lifestyle and enjoying the nightclub scene.  For a more varied experience you can express yourself as a dragon, a Clydesdale or a transformer robot. There really aren’t a lot of limitations and if you find something’s missing, you can create it.  Furthermore, if you’ve created something that meets the needs of others, then you can sell it at a profit or give it away as a gift.

Sometimes I enjoy activities that are very social like pool parties.  At other times I’d rather go to a hockey game.  There is an official league and you can either play or be a spectator watching from the stands.  If you prefer, you can watch it on TV via the web or an in-world display.  There are times that I’d rather be alone and go surfing- the waves have an equivalent height of 80 ft.  I’ve been to numerous professional conferences in-world and I’ve also enjoyed watching political debates in a university amphitheatre.  Base jumping can be fun, with or without a parachute- avatars are more resilient than there human counterparts- they collect themselves with charming alacrity even after falling thousands of feet.  Some activities are very real and others are more fantasy based- your choice.

Three Dimensional 

When inside a virtual world I feel like I’m really there.  It’s that simple.  The world is all around me and I’m viewing it through the 13” laptop computer display.  That being said it’s important to point out that the technology is still evolving and you have to be prepared to suspend your disbelief to some extent.  Virtual worlds don’t entirely replace reality so much as flirt with it.  They present an alternative reality that raises doubts about your perceptions.  Even if it were practical to create a more realistic synthetic experience there are physiological limits and if virtual reality were too real your body wouldn’t tolerate it. As exciting as it is to consider extreme levels of realism, it’s critical that your mind and body maintain some level of awareness of the real world otherwise the experience becomes unmanageable.  None-the-less, the level of detail in-world is astounding and it thrills me to share my experiences with friends in the real world as well as the virtual.

Avatar Interfaced

Outside of virtual worlds, the formal definition of an avatar is something like, “an incarnation, embodiment, or manifestation of a person or idea”.  But inside a virtual world, an avatar can be thought of as you or a representative of your self in a three dimensional form.  An avatar can have a variety of different shapes but more peculiarly it can also wear a multiplicity of different skins.  Accidently stumbling into a skin store early in my avatar life was a little unnerving but since then I’ve learned to adjust to this sort of anomaly as well as many others.  Your form, shape and skin can be created to accurately resemble your real life self but many people use the default form or some variant.  Your avatar can walk, run, talk, etc and perform most of the same functions you’re accustomed to in real life with the added bonus of flight capability.

All of your movements are effected using a standard keyboard and mouse.  Walking for example is achieved by using the keyboard arrow keys while flying first involves a press of the, “page up” button.  By default your point of view is via camera that’s located above and behind your avatar.  You also have the option to see the world as if you were looking through your avatar’s eyes but it’s nice to be able to be yourself and see yourself from a distance at the same time.  Communication in the immediate surroundings is achieved by typing or you can converse via private message if you’d like to speak with just one other person located anywhere.  60% of Second Life inhabitants use voice audio communication as an alternative to typing.  The many-to-many form of real-time simultaneous interactions makes this form of communication comparable to a cocktail party or conference.


Just as a website is hosted on a remote server and accessed on your computer with a browser, a virtual world is also hosted on a server and accessed with a browser more commonly called a viewer.  Participation in virtual worlds is getting easier and easier but the opportunity still exists to leverage some unbelievably sophisticated technological features.  If you need help, you don’t need to go too far.  I’ve found that most residents are happy to share their knowledge or can refer me to any one of numerous sources of assistance be it technical or otherwise.  Personally, I enjoy problem solving as well as the opportunity to help others and virtual worlds are well suited for a variety of different forms of collaboration.


Often times when people discover a virtual world and log on for the first time, they are so enthralled that they don’t want to log off- ever.  However, they can take solace in knowing that the virtual world community is persistent- it continues to pulse with activity 24/7. Your friends will miss you when you’re not logged in but life goes on even when you’re not there.

In Second Life the day cycle in different regions varies and is often shorter than 24 hour intervals.  Alternatively you can manually change the time of day you personally are experiencing.  If for example you’d like to create a romantic ambience, you can set the time of day to sunset and sit on a beach watching as the light slowly fades.  Sunrises at the beach can also be spectacular as golden rays sparkle across iridescent blue waves.  Some places such as Inspire Space Park, which offers a magnificent simulation of an asteroid belt illuminated by the stars, are best viewed with the time set to midnight.


In a virtual world you are never alone unless if by choice.  In Second Life, at any given time you are experiencing virtual reality with approximately 60,000 other inhabitants scattered across the metaverse.  Compared to other social networks either on the Internet or in real life, I’ve found that people are generally more approachable and friendly, and conversations offer greater depth.  The avatar representation of the self seems to have certain advantages not found in other social networks.  You can retain your privacy as you’re building trust in the process of getting to know someone.  Identity is expressed through the avatar’s physical appearance, gestures, body language as well as by a profile that describes in-world activities and preferences without including a photograph of the person it represents.  Instead of presenting a personal data list, you can tell people about your real world self through conversation that evolves naturally, just like in the real world. As you build trust, you can reveal more, but there is no policy, status quo or social pressure pushing you to reveal personal details that might compromise your safety.


According to the constructs of physics, we exist in four dimensions: three in space and one in time.  The dimension of time is more abstract but none-the-less integral to our understanding of reality.  Synchrony in a virtual world means activities and events of every size and scale happen in real time and in a rhythm that feels natural.  A powerful sense of presence, shared space and connection are achieved as a result of this rhythm.


There are 27 million inhabitants in Second Life occupying approximately 750 square miles which is ¾ the size of Rhode Island.  In the first quarter of 2010, 160 million US dollars were transacted between users.  In the virtual good industry, a renaissance is underway as support for more realistic, higher quality artifacts and clothing began in August.  In the virtual service industry, support for games is being instituted as the game model for virtual worlds has been shown to be increasingly profitable.  There are 1.4 billion registered users of virtual worlds world-wide that form communities spanning countries, cultures, economies and generations.

-Anastasios Aurotharius

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Eve Online: Virtual World Game Uncloaked

In the strictest sense, and with an understanding of psychology, a game can be said to exist whenever there is an interaction between individuals, regardless of overtly stated rules, goals and challenges.  According to this definition, virtual worlds can be thought of as games because of the interaction between “players” despite the fact that gaming may exist on a subtle level just as it does in the real world.  I know that this is a somewhat controversial stance but bear with me as I use a comparison of the virtual world of Second Life to reveal intriguing aspects and game mechanics of the virtual world game of EVE Online.  I believe that the single most defining characteristic of EVE is engagement whereas the single most defining characteristic of SL is immersion.  What is “engagement” and “immersion” and what does this mean for you?

Once you have logged on to EVE and created your character, you immediately become engaged with the game through the execution of missions for commanding officers.  By contrast, the first experience in Second Life is immersion in a physical environment where the focus is on learning to independently navigate.  Personally, in Second Life I was able to quickly bond, first with a partner, based on skills I had acquired in chat rooms and then with a larger sub culture where I found a physical activity –dancing, that I could enjoy alone or with the group.  However, everyone’s experience is different and I think if I had not become immediately engaged, I would have felt immersed in an environment that seemed devoid of life.  In EVE, you won’t feel directionless or isolated.

In EVE Online there is a strong sense of connection fostered by commanders who issue assignments while you are inducted in training to become a corporate/military employee.  You will execute tasks enabling you to achieve specific goals that are initially easy to acquire and later become more challenging.  Within a larger context, having initially created your avatar with a specific cultural background, and a uniquely defined and proud heritage, you belong to one of four empires, Amarr, Caldari, Minmatar or Gallente.  There is a complex storyline about the history of EVE and how the various different sub cultures came into existence.  All of this provides a frame of reference within a structured environment where sophisticated technology in the form of armed spacecraft provide the means for ascension.

The graphics of EVE Online resolve the vastness of space as a dark expanse of pitch black interspersed with brilliantly illuminated stars, gaseous clouds, asteroid belts, planets and other phenomena that appear to erupt from the surroundings with blinding intensity.  Ambient music conveys an eerie, haunting and mystical quality provoking a twinge of anxiety and expectation as you enter the altered reality.  During my trial subscription I experienced very few processing issues or problems with graphical resolution that effected how I experienced movement and navigation.  In Second Life, I have recently gotten involved with racing automobiles and motorcycles and the experience is quite different.

At a time when tiered revenue or freemium models are generally more popular among ecommerce businesses, EVE Online bucks the trend with the implementation of a subscription based revenue model.  Since many virtual worlds have struggled with profitability using the tiered model, they have transitioned to subscription/game models or a hybrid model such as IMVU’s that allows for an extended trial period.  Expectations of a higher quality gaming experience as the result of subscription purchase are fulfilled with the training and guidance given to new players of EVE Online.

I find EVE’s edgy, dark and mysterious aura compelling.  The game’s engagement makes demands of the player that are very different from the challenges presented by classically defined virtual worlds and I find it refreshing and intriguing.  Navigation in virtual worlds can slow to a crawl and it’s nice to experience the smooth execution of relative motion that make space maneuvering so pleasurable in EVE.  Seasoned players enjoy the emergent game as different cultures, corporations, alliances vie for power and control on a massive scale.  The strategic game of warring factions provides a plethora of opportunities for teamwork and leadership in a struggle for dominance.

-Anastasios Aurotharius


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The Relevancy of the Real World

When I thought about creating a virtual world meetup inBoston, I asked myself whether the real world any longer had any relevancy. After all, if we can meet in the virtual world, why bother with the real world?  I’m an avid participant of Second Life but I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy the Second Life Community Conference last August. As it turned out, I had a great time socializing with numerous other highly intelligent, friendly and creative individuals who had found in Second Life a place where they could connect with others, work and play.

As I reflect on the origins of my experience with virtual worlds I remember certain friends and family members saying, “Welcome to the real world” whenever I complained about my first job after college. I never thought about college as a virtual world but it did have some of the qualifying characteristics especially if you never had the opportunity to attend. In graduate school when insomnia was a major issue I found comfort by calling telephone party lines in the middle of the night like The Velvet Underground and the Pilgrim Network. As a form of virtual world they were exciting and mysterious and in the back of many people’s minds was the hope of meeting in person and many of us did.

Although it’s nice to log in to Second Life without having to get out of my pajamas, in many ways connecting with people in the real world can be simpler and just as rewarding, in its own way. I was in a bricks and mortar convenience store the other day and the senior store owner came inside after shoveling snow, looked at me, shivered a bit and rubbing his hands together he smiled and said, “It’s cold out there”. It’s New England, in the middle of winter, and after having had four major snow storms in as many weeks the statement was indisputable.

At that point I smiled and said, “It is cold out there” and we both laughed. It was a classic example of small talk but upon closer examination it was also a great example of how much leverage can be brought to an interaction in the real world. Claiming that we bonded while commonly facing the foe of weather might be an exaggeration but the simple fact was that we connected and enjoyed each other’s company if only for a brief moment, after having just met. I’m sure a conversation like that could happen in a virtual world but the sophistication of the communication with all it’s attendant body language, voice tone and immediacy is much harder to manage. is an interesting phenomena and I have to admit that I didn’t really get it at first. I’m an avid member of a variety of different professional organizations and clubs and when I first discovered it seemed too commercial and unappealingly amateurish. None-the-less, with experience, I have found that the magic of is the connection found with people who have a very specific niche interest in common. In addition, anyone can start a group based on a personal interest and share that interest with others. I started a virtual world meetup because of my interest in the explosive growth predicted for virtual worlds. I enjoy meeting new people and practicing the art of conversation regardless of the situation but, when this group meets for the first time I know we’ll have topics of substance to explore.

So if you think the real world is no longer relevant, join the virtual world meetup and we’ll prove you wrong. Likewise if you’re an avid participant in virtual worlds, please join us. A friend of mine who is a relative neophyte to the Internet once asked me which I enjoyed more, the real world or the virtual world. To his dismay I replied that the question really wasn’t very relevant because there really isn’t that much difference. I tried to keep a straight face and went on to say that, “In both worlds you can connect, work and play with others and that’s all that really matters”.

-Anastasios Aurotharius


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The Games People Play: Where is Second Life headed next?

You may love them or you may hate them but chances are you have an emotional response when the subject of games is brought up at a cocktail party. The paradox is that work, art, sports, play and gambling are all related to games but games are often defined as having no serious impact on our lives. Is Second Life a game or is it a virtual world?

When people ask me to define Second Life and I respond that it’s a virtual world they often get a sort of puzzled look on their face but if I say it’s a game- they know exactly what I mean. I explain that it’s like a game but it has no rules and no one wins or loses so that sets it apart. I hate to describe it as a game because the experience of being in-world is so much more meaningful than the word “game” connotes.

I think the best definition of Second Life that I’ve heard so far is that it’s different things to different people. For some people it’s a game and for some people it’s a place to start a business and for others it’s a learning environment etc. I’ve always believed that it can be whatever you want it to be, within limits of course, because after all….it is only virtual.

Watching Second Life downsize has not been easy as it has had such a profound effect on my life. I wondered if so many were leaving Second Life, where were they were going? When I discovered Google Insights, a keyword research tool, I found that although fewer were searching for Second Life, more were searching for virtual worlds and a light bulb lit in my head.

Upon further research I discovered that most often people associated virtual worlds with games and once more the gears in my head started turning. Having heard that IMVU had changed it’s business model from virtual world to social game it occurred to me that Second Life might also need to make that transition in order to remain solvent.

Perhaps like yourself, I too have mixed feelings about games and I wondered what Second Life would look like if it were turned into a game. It’s fun to try to predict the future and then when Rod Humble assumed the position of CEO at Linden Labs, I assumed at first that with his gaming background he would be the one to convert Second Life to a game. Having done a little research into the Sims it seems to me that in many ways it diverges significantly from the definition of a game and that perhaps there is another path for Second Life and Linden Lab to pursue.

-Anastasios Aurotharius


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Supercharge Your Computer with Compressed Air

I had just about given up on trying to participate in Second Life because my laptop kept crashing.  I enjoy a good challenge and I enjoy fixing computers.  I had modified the operating system in a number of different ways but the machine still could not handle the load.  The graphics card did not meet the specifications of Second Life and I felt compelled to consider alternatives like building a high performance desktop.

Participation in a virtual world demands a computer that can handle the heavy number crunching concomitant with displaying graphical output.  Since the graphics card did not meet Second Life’s specifications I knew that I was pushing it to it’s absolute limits and beyond.  Since high performance desktops can have some fairly exotic cooling systems to overclock the CPU, it occurred to me that if I could keep the internal components of my machine just a little cooler, perhaps I could squeeze out more performance.

I had dusted the internals of computers in the past but had never noticed a change in performance. I had also never demanded as much from a machine as I did with Second Life.  Was it possible that simply by removing the dust from the chips I would enable them to run just a little cooler and meet the demand?  I decided to do an experiment and blew out the internals of the computer with some compressed air. Much to my surprise the computer no longer crashed.  Unfortunately, two months later the it started crashing again.  So I repeated the experiment and sure enough it went for another two months before crashing.  Now I repeat that ritual every two months with consistently good results.

Since my computer is no longer crashing, I can spend less time fixing it and more time exploring in and writing about virtual worlds.  I can more or less run the machine with the default settings that it shipped with although there are some embellishments that I enjoy.  I may still build a high performance desktop to replace the laptop when it becomes obsolete or the inherently poor ergonomic design becomes intolerable, but for now I’ll have to find another challenge.

-Anastasios Aurotharius


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Micro-Transaction Your Blog with Paypal

Get paid with PayPal’s new microtransactions feature.

On October 26, PayPal announced that it would begin offering micropayment rates to merchants at the PayPal X Innovate Conference 2010.  The concept of microtransactions isn’t new but because of PayPal’s position in the industry, their announcement presents a new opportunity for virtual goods merchants.  Paypal defines micro-purchases as those less than or equal to $12.  For example, in the past, merchants paid $.33 for a $1.00 transaction and now they only have to pay $.10.  In the virtual world of Second Life, an entire economy functions with micropayments and on the World Wide Web, e-commerce will flourish far more effectively when a microtransaction based economy is properly insituted.

Enabling micropayments on your blog in 6 easy steps

Getting started with accepting micropayments through your blog can be accomplished by executing the 6 steps below and I will go over each of them in more detail in subsequent paragraphs.

  1. Get a new paypal account or convert your pre-existing account to one that supports micropayments
  2. Log on to your blog
  3. Search google for a video tutorial (often found at your blog issuer’s site or youtube)
  4. Generate html code at paypal
  5. Create a customized button with wikipedia photos and photoshop (and/or use the standard button)
  6. Paste the button code into your blog

Paypal account

Establishing an account is simply a matter of providing PayPal with some basic information and if you already have an account, it takes two business days to have it converted to the micropayment system.  There are two types of accounts, Premium and Business that accept micropayments and both are merchants accounts.  A Premium account is free and a Business account has a $30/mo subscription rate.  Since I will have a fairly low sales volume and intend to manage the account myself, I went with the premium account.  You can read about both accounts on website and make your own choice.  They do a nice job of comparing the two and have lots of informative videos but in addition, I googled “premium versus business account” to see what other information I could find.  It’s nice to get two different perspectives.

Log on to your blog

My blog is written with a WordPress content management system because it’s easy to use, SEO friendly and free.  Since I want to own my domain, I installed the wordpress software independently on my own host.  I’m careful to differentiate information that pertains to WordPress blogs that are independently hosted.

Video Tutorial

WordPress is well supported by it’s community which means that I can find information and tutorials from WordPress sources and/or by simply searching on the Web.  Although I often find tutorials on youtube, in this case I was able to find one on the wordpress website via google.  If your blog is not independently installed, there is a separate tutorial video.  Tutorials for most major blog issuers can be found on youtube.

Generate the HTML Button Code at PayPal

Go to the Merchant Services section of the Paypal website and then Create Buttons.  For the Donate button there are 3 steps to follow.

Create a customized button with wikipedia photos and photoshop

You have the option of creating a button from a photo, icon or some other image.  You can also create a standard orange button that is universally recognized as a paypal button and includes the logos of various accepted credit cards.  I chose to do both.  I like to give people options so they will find the one that is easiest and most comfortable.

The custom button I created is designed with a familiar image that helps the reader make a connection between the donation and it’s impact.  I chose a loaf of bread and the caption, “feed the writer” because it conveys my message simply and in a concrete way that is serious and humorous at the same time.  I found the image at and reduced it’s size using Photoshop.  I made several different sizes of the photo and uploaded them to the blog so I had a few options to work with.

Go to the media library in your blog (or wherever your photos are stored) and after selecting the photo, press view.  Right click on the image and select properties.  In the properties section select and copy the photo URL.

Assuming your session with PayPal has expired, log back in. Navigate your way back through Merchant Services and Create Buttons.  Paste the URL into the Use Your Own Button dialog box and press save.  The photo is referenced by the HTML code which you can then paste into your blog.

Paste the HTML Code into Your Blog

After selecting and copying the HTML code from PayPal, go to the Settings/Widgets section of the blog control panel.  Since I wanted to locate the button in the blog footer, I pasted the code into a textbox that I had dragged into a footer dialog box.  Direct the reader to take action with a textbox title that is clear and succinct.  Once those steps are complete you can refresh the browser to see your button revealed in the blog.  Congratulations, your blog is now ready to accept micropayments!

-Anastasios Aurotharius


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How to hypergrid teleport in 5 easy steps

Hypergrid teleporting has always seemed so mysterious.  I had heard about experiments being conducted by IBM and Second Life but grid to grid teleporting seemed so esoteric.  However, when Linden Lab layed off 30% of it’s employees I became more curious about alternatives. With further investigation into virtual worlds, my heart took a leap when I realized that hypergrid teleports could connect virtual worlds together in the same manner that hyperlinks connected the World Wide Web!

How to hypergrid                                                  

Following are the 5 easy steps to help you make your first grid-to-grid teleport.  I’ll go over each one in more detail in subsequent paragraphs.

  1. Establish an account at a hypergrid-enabled virtual world.
  2. Visit Hyperica (, a directory for hypergrid addresses.
  3. Set your “home location” on the viewer by selecting World on the main menu bar and Set Home to Here on the drop down menu list, log off and log back in again.
  4. Using the Map, enter a hypergrid address in the search dialog box and press the search button.
  5. Once the search results are displayed in text as well as on the map, press the teleport button and you’re on your way!

Establish an Account

Setting up an account is incredibly easy.  Simply visit the website of one of the public grids like OSgrid, ReactionGrid or JokaydiaGRID and supply them with an avatar name and your email address.

Hypergrid Addresses

Hyperica ( is a frequently cited repository for hypergrid addresses but there are many others you can find through google.  Maria Korolov has some excellent hypergrid resources at her website (  Find the most up-to-date list possible as new grids are becoming accessible every day and the status of pre-existing grids is constantly changing.  Prepare yourself to engage in a trial and error process in your search for valid addresses- it’s all part of the adventure!  Some addresses look more like domain names and others IP addresses.  For example: “”,  “” and “” are all valid addresses.

Set Home Location

This means selecting the World button on the top menu bar of the viewer and then Set Home to Here” on the drop down menu.  Log off and log back on to complete the reset.

Search the Map

Once you have an address, press cntrl-m to open the viewer map window.  About halfway down on the right panel of the map there are three red circular indicators, the third is in front of the search dialog box.  Copy the address from the hyperica web page or whatever other source you’re using and paste it into the search dialog box by selecting it first with the mouse or touchpad and then using cntrl-c to copy.  Since the map opens with the search box selected by default, you can immediately paste with cntrl-v after pressing cntrl-m.  After pasting, press the search button and the destination should be revealed on the map.  If it isn’t, don’t get discouraged, just try another address until you find one that works.


Press the teleport button and you’re off!  Congratulations, you’ve just made your first hypergrid teleport!

Mystery Revealed

I love doing new things and exploring new places both in virtual worlds and in the real world.  One of the most exciting things about the burgeoning universe of new virtual worlds is all the new people you have the opportunity to meet.  I hope this article enables you to hypergrid on your own but if you still need help join the Hypergird Adventurers Club lead by Pathfinder Linden (  Even if you don’t need more help join the club anyway and meet a friendly group of fellow intrepids.  My first successful jump was with the HGAC from Jokaydia to Reaction Grid.  I was excited and the group was buzzing.  Camera shutters could be heard clicking as many rushed to document the event.  A good time was had by all and we even found some freebies at the end of our journey.  I hope you enjoy hypergrid teleporting as much as I do and if you have any questions please IM me in Second Life, OSgrid, Reaction Grid or JokaydiaGRID and I’ll be glad to help.

-Anastasios Aurotharius


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