TP2

Launching the TP2.me network from inIW!

Powered by the professional network developed for the new marketplace and other services, TP2.me brings the solution to the eternal problem of outdated landmarks, IZURLs, SLURLs and location links.

You create a simple code for your landing pad and use it in landing pads, teleport sticks, teleport boards and you get a snappy web link that you can use in notecards, blogs, social media, or wherever you need it. Best of all, if you move your landing pad it will update everything in seconds!

Yes, every teleport stick, teleport board and web link will bring people to your new location without you having to do a thing!

Dead easy to set up, really user friendly, and backed by the power and resilience of a top-class network. We are thrilled to bring this service to market.

As a cool extra, your TP2 Codes are quickly selected in the marketplace, places to visit and other services upcoming VERY soon from inIW, saving you time setting up, and always staying right up-to-date.

Don’t you need one less thing to worry about?

Check out the video at : YouTube Video

Visit the store and pick up a set of TP2 Pads to get started : http://tp2.me/tp2-me

It’s been over a week since my last update, so I wanted to let you know I am still here and working hard. The “last” few interface bits are taking longer than I hoped, but that’s the nature of the job. I’m releasing the TP2.me system tomorrow so that merchants can get those set up if they want to. They save a lot of time and have all sorts of benefits but they aren’t required so you don’t have to buy them. The income would be nice of course but I am not forcing people into spending money they don’t have to 😉

The merchant side of the marketplace should be ready sometime later in the week, barring too many hours searching for a missing bracket in thousands of lines of code! To draw a parallel here, it’s like looking for a single punctuation typo in a huge novel, written in three languages. Needle in a haystack doesn’t come close. Fortunately I wrote debug code into all three sides from the start, so I have a magnet of sorts. Enough mixed metaphors though 🙂

I thought I’d drop some pictures in here so you can see some of the stuff that has been added. It’s all mid-debugging, so fixing one thing sometimes breaks something else (like my store names for example!) but it’s coming together and all the new functionality is in place, including multiple store managers, new location lookups, multiple item delivery for a product, and demo items, split pricing, simplified screens, much more help, and the super speedy new delivery and inventory system, tons of tweaks and a few rewrites. I’m exhausted, but hanging in there and doing 8-12 hour days until this thing is live!

Tiny Wolfie hard at work testing the new delivery system

Tiny Wolfie hard at work testing the new delivery system

Split profits

You can now define split profits with a business partner

Other managers

You can add other managers, so they can add items to your store

New inventory system

Deliver multiple items for a product, and demo items too

I like to be as open and honest as possible. As an “Aspie” it’s really the only way I can be. A lot of people are depending on me too, and people deserve the truth. It’s been a long time since my last update, and there are two major reasons for that.

Firstly, the TP2.me stuff was used for the IW7 regions and threw up some major questions that I needed to answer about bandwidth and error handling – 700 emails when the regions were all restarted each day is not workable! – so I have been working hard to implement new strategies for those issues before I let anything out “into the wild”.

Secondly, I have had some health issues that kind of stopped me in my tracks. I’ve not been completely well for a long time, bit things deteriorated over the winter and came to a head in the first part of this year. I am very happy to say that I am well on the road to recovery now and feeling much better in myself. My mind is clearer and sharper again and I am getting a lot of good coding done.

As a result, I am taking a week off from everything else, RL and virtual, to throw myself completely into getting the marketplace finished. It’s really solid at this point, the network is final and incredibly cool (to me anyway – LOL) and all I need to do is get the user interface finished, and that is mostly there too. Please keep your fingers/paws crossed, and we should hopefully be open this month!

I’ll post a few updates as I go, for those that are interested 🙂

Why is it that whenever you set a deadline the universe conspires to make you miss it? I just spent the entire day trying to track down one stupid bug in about 5000 lines of code. Yesterday was equally fruitless. The trouble is that people get impatient. They want to know when something will be ready. Even I want to know when it will be ready!

The answer to that question, when it comes to coding at least, is the proverbial “how long is a piece of string?”. It will be done when it is done. All being well that could be two days. If there are lots of stupid bugs that take forever to find, it could be three months. There is literally no way to predict these things. I have 30+ years of commercial software development experience but all that gives me is a sense of how much work is required to write the code, and even then it’s a guess. I cannot tell anyone, including myself, how long it will take to test and debug. Nobody can.

The major issue with this project is the sheer scale of the thing. This is not some quick fix to store a couple of teleport locations, it is the first real use of a big networked solution that has been in development for months and will power a marketplace, rentals, places to visit, and much more. To avoid overloading the database with thousands of different devices pinging it every minute, all of the remote devices like warehouses, rentboxes, TP2.me pads and sticks, teleport boards, networked posters, radio controllers, etc., use a complex system of “subscriptions” to get updates, but also need semi-regular pings in case they are offline and miss an update. That’s the bit I have been trying to find a bug in today. It’s big, complicated, and like looking for one needle in a needle factory.

So the long and short of it is that I am still working really hard, I have fixed some bugs, and it will be ready as soon as it can be. That might be first thing next week or at the end of month. Keep your paws crossed for easy short bits of string so I am some hair left at the end of it!

Real life getting in the way again, but the extra time let me find a better trick for keeping the teleport “sticks” right up to date. I want to get the TP2 HUD and the teleport boards done for the launch too, so I am delaying the TP2.me launch until the weekend. Apologies for the extra week but those who know me will know I want to get things right before I release stuff.

Forgive the pun but it was irresistible!

We are into March and I am feeling the frustration at further delays, but this month is all about releases. There’s still some work to be done on the delivery side of the marketplace – it’s a lot more complex than you might think! – but I don’t want to hold things up any further, so I am taking a staged approach to releases.

The TP2.me system will be released this week, which will allow merchants to define self-updating locations for their store (and departments if appropriate), as well as hopefully raising some much needed funds! You aren’t obliged to use that system, the marketplace allows you to enter locations manually, but it is a cool way to keep your locations up-to-date.

Then next week will see the marketplace launch in “catalog” mode, which is to say that all merchants will be able to list their products and direct people to their stores/departments to buy those products in-world.

I have a good solution to the remaining delivery issues, so the rest of the marketplace functionality will be released later this month, but this way you folks get to set up your products and get using the rest of the system in the meantime.

Keep an eye out for release notices later this week.

Have you ever wondered which areas of your region(s) get the most traffic?

Heatmaps are the answer!

If you have read our Technology page then you will know that inIW.net uses two databases. In addition to the big main Mongo database, we use a lightning-fast database called Redis that actually runs in memory. It’s a powerful tool but it turns data storage on its head and thus has a big learning curve. Rather than delay the marketplace by making mistakes with this database, I’ve used it to develop a neat little heatmap service that I have had in mind for a while.

So what is this heatmap service? Simply put, it shows traffic on your region as a pattern of color over a picture of your region . Blue areas are less busy and red is most busy. It’s a very intuitive way of seeing what areas on your regions get the most visits. Have a look at the image below as an example from testing Teal’s and my regions for the last few days.

heatmap

I’ve added options for different time periods and support for different altitudes so that we can tell ground traffic from stores on platforms, and a unique visitor count after the region names, as well as a way to compare traffic across all regions, or map each region individually. It’s dead easy to add security and region performance monitoring, then sometime soon I will offer it as a service, but for now it has achieved the task of getting me very familiar with the Redis database technology.

So now I know how to implement parts of the marketplace (and other services) on there. It will make deliveries much faster, for example, as well as forming much of the basis for other services like the networked teleport service and poster system. This all has the added benefit of removing much of the ongoing load from the large database, speeding up the heavy-duty work (like marketplace searches and admin) that those main servers are designed for!