Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cerridwen's Cauldron

The news about Grendels (see previous post) has shaken me more than I thought it would. Perhaps I put too much into my Second Life that when a fundamental change occurs in the virtual world ... no, I'm not going there.

I've given myself a good shaking and pushed myself back into motion. As magnificent as Grendels was, is, and will continue to be, I have to admit that the desert themes the ground level has taken over the last few remodels is not quite my style. I like forests and green and water and swamps and flowers and life blooming everywhere. After spending a good half-hour flying about the caverns of Grendels today I found myself drawn to the swamps of Cerridwen's Cauldron (SLurl; proceed to ground level via dragon, teleporter, or simply leaping off the edge of the building). Elico Ember's botanical artistry speaks for itself so here are some of today's pictures with little comment. Just enjoy.

Along the South is a quaint swamp-side lounge on a dock with a great view of an sea-based temple rising from the ocean. You can take a dragon gondola from here or simply fly about.
Some of the plants know you where you are and will follow you with their blooms, but the swamp is a safe, welcoming space.
These first three pictures were taken with the Zest Windlight preset and the Glassy water preset.
A modified Windlight preset was used for this picture to enhance one of the most peaceful views in the region. Be sure to look up if you find yourself in this spot for you are in a magnificent cavern.
The swamp is but part of the region's beauty. Upon arriving you'll be in the shopping area where you can purchase the items you see decorating the region as well as explore the singular architecture that is more organic than man-made. From there you can explore via a flying dragon or use the teleporters to access the swamp or the mountain that rises in the middle of it and its fantastical dragon temple.

Cerridwen's Cauldron, as much as Grendels, is a true Second Life treasure that always has something new to see and offers great role-play opportunities. I think you'll also find that simply reveling in it's beauty also cleanses one's virtual soul and freshens perspectives.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The End of the World is Nigh

Actually, I think that the End of the World is right here (SLurl):

Avaria and Avaria Tor, the End of the World. Normally, you'd see two more regions here.
I was contacted late this evening with the sad news that Avaria Sav and Avaria Kro -- 50% of the land area for the Grendels sims -- were closed by Grendels management because they feel that The Lab has been treating them shabbily despite the considerable rent they pay. I've contacted Flea Bussy for comment (like I'm a real reporter!), but likely others have already written tons about the closures. In fact, check out these sites:
  • Tatero Nino "So Goes the Grid" (Web)
  • MetCam Oh "Linden Lab Once Again With Egg On Its Face" (Web)
  • PrimPerfect "As goes Grendel’s, so goes the Grid: two out of four sims closing, citing lack of Lab support" (Web)
I spoke with Cacia Escape, Grendels' Staffer, and she told me that unresolved performance issues were the ultimate end of the sims. Management felt that the expenses were too high, sim performance too low, and customer service nonexistent. "I've had times where it took relogging 4-5 times over 3 hours to rez a single cube," she said in IM. "I only use LL made clients, no 3rd party viewers." She added that this was typical three or more days a week despite having very few people in the region at the time. One of the last tickets that were filed was resolved only after faxing Rod Humble's office. From my experience, her description of sim performance was pretty dead on. I'd usually take my purchases home to open, when I could be patient (who hasn't wanted to play with their Grendels purchases right away?) or be faced with long delays and boxes that wouldn't delete -- only to be Auto Returned later, of course.

As often as I'd shop there, though, I'd just as often (or more) flop down to ground level and just fly about in one of my wonderful Psyra Extraodinaire bird avies or tromp around in one of the many, many dinosaur avies I bought at the shop upstairs. I'm sure the regions were great for role play, but I simply enjoyed the terrific scenery. A great way to unwind after a hard RL has always been a visit to the Avarias. Visiting Grendels has always been an experience in the spirit of Second Life: Extraordinary imaginations at play and you can join in. Which rather sums up the comment I got from Flea. Figuring "real" reporters would cover the story from end to end, I asked "Where do you go from here?" to which Flea answered "Keep makin avs, keep making stuff."

Regions come and regions go, sometimes to the detriment of us all. But folks like Flea Bussy and the entire crew at Grendels Children have the Imagination to keep Second Life alive. It's a shame they feel the need to withdraw, if only a little bit. Maybe the End of the World isn't here, but we've lost a very important part of it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Storm News! [UPDATE]

Good news, everybody! Hurricane Irene will likely downgrade to a Tropical Storm by the time it gets to me in southern Maine.

Bad news, everybody! The town I'm in is expected to be in the center of the storm.

Good news, everybody! As you can see in this picture, I'm ready to ride out the storm!

Really, only Zyx is ready, with her duck rain coat and rubber ducky ride from Intrigue Co. (SLurl).
So, if we lose power or have to evacuate, you might not hear much from me from sometime late Saturday night onward. Tomorrow we get the Go Box updated with supplies, back the Subaru into the garage, get the wheelchair and cat cages ready, and generally batten down the hatches. One last run to the grocery store for food on Saturday and we'll be set. iPads and stuff will be all charged up and we all love to play cribbage, so we'll be fine.

erm ... I don't have a real life raincoat.

[UPDATE] It has started to rain here. And I really, really love my iPad :D

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A bit confused

Usually, I'm pretty bright, even if I do have to say so myself. Affects of a few strokes aside, sugar highs or sugar lows, or just plain sleepiness, I seem to get a long and actually understand most things. But the other day I was exploring pre-fabs with my sweetie and we found something in a bathroom that ... well, I'm not sure I've ever seen it in Second Life before. Or if I have, it was long enough ago that I don't recognize it.

Screencap and enhancements via Skitch, a free program for Apple computers.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mesh Clothing

Xandah wearing the Free Hoodie from Damian Fate's Random Crap store.
As soon as I could, I rushed right out to Damian Fate's store to check on the prices of his mesh clothing templates and met someone I knew. She pointed out the free demo hoodie she was wearing. While I'm not one to wear brand names on my chest ... it gets enough attention as it is ... I had to grab one of these, too. Pretty sweet, if you have a supporting viewer, either the official one or Kirstens. If you don't have one, or people looking at you don't, here is what they see:

An in-world snap by JoyJoyJenny Bimbogami.
From a note card included with the hoodie:
- The arms are different colours, with our custom UV layouts, we can have different textured arms!
- The UV (the grid effect shown on this texture) is nice and smooth, no crazy bumps.
- The logos on the front of the chest and the back have no distortion, even over breasts. Now you can put lovely artwork (or store logos in this case) on the chest with no worries of wrinkles or distortion.
- The 'hood up' version is a fantastic example of how we can now join different body parts together with cloth that stretches and bends in a much more realistic way than sculpts could ever offer.
- The zipper is shiny, with mesh we can apply normal prim effects and asign several different faces so we can apply those effects to specific areas.
- Obviously, we can now also rely on physically modelled details alongside texturally suggested details which will provide us with a much more realistic and outlandish range of fashion options.
Also of note, with the hoodie on, whatever body shape you had before is gone. You DDD-cup women are down to a training bra again. No bust slider in the world will bring your girls back, but at least you won't have logos and text crushing into your cleavage. Part of what changes  your figure is an alpha layer below it that erases your body and part is the prim you are wearing wearing is whatever shape the creator wanted. One more item of note ... trying to right-click on it directly like you would any other attachment doesn't work so well. I had to "edit" my hair before clicking the hoodie.

In my excitement, I didn't look too closely at the prices, though the couple templates I looked at were L$2000 - L$3000 (see more here) with megapacks of everything for one gender about L$46,000 ... spendy, I guess, but not out of line with other clothing templates I've seen.

So, that's mesh. Look for a lot of it near you soon, either in odd, blocky form, or as a minor graphic miracle like in the first picture.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mesh Tease [Updated]

I finally got to the Beta Grid after numerous tries and I was immediately griefed with objects that took my name, spammed chat with racist hate speech and offers to open Web sites to learn about avoiding griefing, but were, in fact, advertising pages. Later, I got to see some mesh objects.

This is one of them and I'm not floating above it. Apparently mesh objects have collision planes much like sculpted objects do ... physical bounding boxes that control how close an avatar can get to it. If the object is phantom, that's not an issue. If it is solid, you can stand on it and be seen as standing above it as you are really on the bounding box. This little beauty is by Drongle McMahon and I call it Mesh 60 Prims in 1 because the Edit pane indicated it was but one prim working as if it was 60 prims.

I won't bore you with tons of pix, but I will tease you by saying I saw marvelous applications of 3D cartography, clothes, fantasy avatars, landscape elements, and an detailed "Model-A"-style truck that should have been 41 prims but was really just one. I'm looking forward to mesh. You?

Alright. Just one more.

The Not-42-Prims truck by Alzahra Ames

UPDATE: 23 August 2011; 7:57pm SLT - The Lab has an official announcement on their blog, "Mesh goes gridwide: Create, sell, buy & enjoy all-new things in SL" ... with a nice picture. You can download the required viewer here.

Mesh is Here

Today's rolling restarts, by all reports, enabled all regions to use the widely-anticipated mesh object code in preparation for v3-based viewers. Wondering what mesh will do for you? Check out Damian Fate's blog for a couple fascinating videos and read more on the official mesh wiki.

Monday, August 22, 2011


One of my SL friends bought a really spendy and detailed "Transformers" avatar. She can be a robot or a Chevrolet Corvette. So, being mildly bored and in a building mood, I grabbed the Stacey Vehitar from the free "vehicle" avies The Lab gives us and did some mods.

I had to run over this Meeroo after it tried to use me as a ... never mind.
Basically, I edited the linked parts to make it all pixy blue and added custom license plates from the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Not shown here are the tail light prims I added. Pink tail lights bothered me so I made red ones. I wish I could do something about the pink wall tires and I sooooo wanted to add my Epic pixy antennae, but they were No Mod. I might have to draw my own. I also made the paint glossy and made the glass very slightly transparent.

Blue? Pixy? Yes, this is my wee pixy alt, Zyx Flux. But I think I'll have to make a custom Vehitar for each of my alts now.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

BURN 2 selects art and theme camps from submissions.

The following is a press release I have received:

Burning Man- Deep Hole, August 20, 2011 - As BURN2 starts up, one of the most looked forward to pre-BURN announcements of the selections for juried theme camps and art plots. BURN2 follows the BURNING MAN 10 principles and gifts plots on the virtual ePlaya to groups who have submitted proposals to the BURN2 Art Team. These groups will be amazing us, engaging us, and energizing the ePlaya with their work Oct 1 - 9 when BURN2 opens Gate Road!

So with a textual drum roll we would like to announce the selectees for the 2011 BURN2 Burn!

*Cosmic Circusality* by The ChangHigh Sisters Fireshow of Light, Life and Love, Yman Juran


*Skelly-Mer*, Maya Paris

*Verisimo*, Cienega Soon

We are very excited to see what these camps and art installations look like! We aren’t giving out exactly what these camps will be..just that we think they will be amazing!

We want to thank EVERYONE who submitted an application for one of the plots. Your ideas ARE AMAZING. You made it incredibly difficult! We want to encourage you to grab your own plot now and build that camp! If you need sponsors to get that plot please reach out to us and we will give you a few suggestions!

There is a BIG announcement still to come..who are the Invited Artists of the BURN???!! What ART has the ART team found in SL, new discoveries, new expressions, things that make you laugh, cry, weep, or put on your dust mask? Stay tuned..that announcement is coming shortly!

About BURN2: BURN2 follows BURNING MAN’s 10 Principles to spread Burning Culture through volunteerism and the celebration of Community, Art, and Fire on the virtual ePlaya. A place for SL residents and Burners alike to radically participate in one of the most loved events in Second Life.


Emcee Widget

BURN2 Communications

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bay City Aquarium

All my life our family has gone out of its way to visit Aquariums. I think I've seen at least one in every state along the East Coast or darn close to it. So when I saw the Official Linden Blog mention the Bay City Aquarium (Web; SLurl) I had to leap at the chance to visit. After getting a little lost because of not properly reading a sign, I found it and was not disappointed.

I was exploring with a friend who noticed that you could sit inside this dolphin-submarine statue. The building behind her is not well-marked, but be sure to look inside.
The expansive grounds are well-landscaped and encourage visitors to wander the various outside exhibits. Most are clearly tongue-in-cheek, some rather broadly so, but if you don't get the joke, be sure to read the signs.

Emperor Penguins?
A few of the outdoor exhibits require you to be be able to cam under the water's surface, like the Sea Turtle corral, but others can be seen via an underwater tunnel system.

Several Linden builds use this clever underwater tunnel system, including near my home in Nangrim. Upon entering a tunnel you'll probably understand the trick, but it is still kinda cool.
There are two indoor exhibits, one being the building shown in the first picture. Inside you'll find several fantastical creatures, just be careful which ones you click when you feed them.

Poor Xandah. I'll miss her. Anyway, moving on with the tour ...

The other indoor exhibit is classical zoo architecture, a gated structure with windowed, cramped cells. I felt sorry for the animals here (and in the big building) as they don't seem to have enough room. Then I remembered I was in Second Life and they are just prims. In fact, many of the "basic" animals you see are in your Linden Inventory if you wish to use them to populate your land.

Of course the Linden Moles are going to have their fun. Can you blame them?
The Lab could have done a substantially better job of promoting this build. The original blog post was but 13 words and had a tiny picture from the barely more encouraging Destination Guide. Maybe my post here gave up too much information, but I hope you decide to go out of your way to visit. It will be well worth your time.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Planking in SL

Thanks to a tip in the Lucky Kitty Crew chat, I bought a Planking* pose ball (Web)!

Finally, a use for a Meeroo stump if you don't have Meeroos.
*Planking is ... well ... um ... basically you lay face down on something as flat and as rigidly as you can. I don't know why. Read more here.

First Impression: AVINATION

The viewer is "Singularity" in some views, but it all looks familiar.
The Second Life alternative AVINATION (they like ALL CAPS) bills itself on it's viewer home screen as "The Unique Virtual Experience," though having spent a couple hours in-world so far, I don't see much that is different. Sure, I can make a 256m2 prim to cover a whole sim and the types of prims available for construction are rather varied, but really it seems like Second Life of yore ... the clunky v1.x interface and choppy video, plus I could choose a last name upon sign up. You'll find me there as Torii Heron. I could have been Uccello Poultry despite that last name not being a choice if I went through a brief change process, but this was faster.

This could be briefing in Second Life.
The viewer, as I mentioned, uses the Second Life v1.x UI, but it borrows heavily from other Third Party Viewers with features such as the old Phoenix-style breast physics and being able to control the teensiest of preferences. The texture display panes are nicer than any viewer I've seen in terms of detail given, including whether the texture has an alpha (or "clear" to noobs) component. Very nice.

My stock avie, one from a choice of three male or three female, has sculpty boots with invisiprims (no alpha-layer body parts) and flex hair. Unlike other worlds I won't name, the makers didn't steal Eloh Eliott skins for the base avies so I'm rather pasty and plain.

I could have skipped the noobie tutorial course after sign up, but I was curious. It was very much like Second Life, right down to the Chat Parrot.
Fortunately, there is lots of high-level commerce available to make me beautify, for a price. Use PayPal to buy Care Coins (C$) on what they are calling the LindeX Currency Exchange ... yes, there are lots of Second Life terms used all over, including a message that cache will be cleared when Second Life restarts ... and you can shop with folks you may already know, such as Xcite and Vista Animations, popular SL brands (see more here).

A staff member always seems to be present at the New Resident Welcome area (SLurl ... yes, its called SLurl, even inside the URL itself) which is also a shopping mall for things like the AO you'll need and a better skin. Very limited freebies are available outside in the common area and none were found in the mall itself. I don't have PayPal so I couldn't buy credits to upload my own clothes let alone buy new sets.

The regions I explored were pretty typical Second Life ... lots of bleak urban landscape made by people who seem to be overly emo. There is but one sandbox, in a region called Sandbox (works for me). Nightclubs and bars are everywhere. Full Bright is a popular option for those building shopping malls (filled with stuff that looks like Business-in-a-Box items from Second Life) and at the third place I map-hopped to, a casino. Yes, a casino filled with Zyngo machines. Lastly, the noob experience was complete for me when I flew by other folks while minding my own business and I was spammed with friend requests.

Found in Landro (SLurl). I don't know if Melanie Miland is the same person who created these exact same items in Second Life or not. Lots of textures used in AVINATION builds are straight out of SL.
So, other than shopping and gambling and building with megrims, what is there to do? Several pages on the AVINATION web site indicate that combat role play is a popular activity, but I haven't seen it yet. Right away, though, opportunities for Capture Role Play popped up (*sigh*) and places to have sex were advertised. The feeling that this world is like the American Wild West ... a barely tame frontier ... was pervasive. That would make Second Life the Old World, a more genteel and mature place from which we all want to leave to find a better place but secretly long to never leave because it is our home.

I think I'll stay home more.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I still love my train

Having ridden a great SLRAIL train layout the other day (Web) I was inspired to play with my own set for a bit, so popping in a few minutes at a time from my Real Life busy-ness I was able to piece together what I think is an attractive and slightly nauseating high-speed ride more akin to a roller coaster than to a railroad. It is set in the Isle of Lesbos Castle courtyard and is free to ride. Sorry, gentlemen, but the Isle is for women only, but I'll see if I can set a copy in the public sim next door and post its opening here.

Yes, that is sort of a loop you see and at high-speed, its a tummy turner.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Photofly: 3D Rendering Software

Watching the live feed of Macbreak Weekly today I was stunned by a demo of Photofly, an Autodesk software package that creates 3D renders from your digital photos (Web). It's free, but for PCs only at this time (sorry, Apple users who don't have Bootcamp or Parallels).

I don't see information about exporting the models for use in Second Life as you can export Google Sketchup models, but I suspect that someone will figure it out quickly enough. At least I hope so, as the demo videos (Web) are stunning.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I love my train

Some time ago I bought an SLRAIL system (Web or SLurl) from sTwo Acker to use in my annual Haunted House and just for fun. I love it so much that whenever I find other train owner layouts, I take the time to ride around. Some folks make a traditional "railroad"-type layout with some moderate hills but mostly flat tracks while others make nausea-inducing layouts that might be better described as roller coasters. The one I found today in Fukuoka (SLurl) definitely belongs to the latter group. Many, many loops and some upside down stretches .. whoooo. I'll have to wait for my lunch to finish digesting before I ride it again.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Concurrency Issues

Thank you, FAILblog. You always make my life look good.
You think Second Life has concurrency issues of late? Sorry, RuneScape.

Admittedly, there were 210,903 people currently in that game at the moment this post was made while there were 47,088 in Second Life at the same time.
A very juvenile giggle at the Stone Misery store to brighten your day.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

SL Begats Primville?

Linden Lab will soon launch a light, game-like experience that’s separate from Second Life that will emphasize the SL values of creatitvity and alternate identities, but architected to run on the web and tablets.
     - Hamlet Au, on his blog today.
With so little to go on, let me speculate wildly starting with WTF?

So, in other words, this won't be Second Life. It sounds like a non-competitive version of Farmville or some other social network-heavy wannabe-successor. This doesn't sound like this is really for current customers (we are commodities to The Lab, mind you, not Residents) and it doesn't sound like implementation of the technologies to Our World in a capable Web browser as was tested late last year (Web). Rather than cultivate a new customer base or possibly mine the existing one by drawing them away from the current product, why can't The Lab give us a new, convenient way to keep doing what we clearly want to do?

Again, that is wild speculation. I could be completely wrong. But with The Lab's track record thus far ...

Cerridwen's Cauldron

An official pic from Elicio's own blog (Web).
Real Life is being a right poot at the moment so I'm not going to put in the work for a full post on the new Cerridwen's Cauldron (SLurl), a truly gorgeous new region from master landscaper Elicio Ember. Rather I'm going to do what I recommend you do: take the time to visit The Cauldron and enjoy everything with your full attention. The shop is magnificent (and everything is discounted for the rest of today), but take the Dragon Tour or just make your way to ground level to explore. Enjoy yourself and maybe I'll see you there!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Zyx Butt

Something I never consciously noticed in the Official Viewer because I seldom ran Ultra settings in Preferences > Graphics is the "Avatar Cloth"option. Since I've been enjoying lag-free use of Ultra with the Kirstens viewer, it's something I've noticed.

With that option active, your clothes "flow" as you move or even just on their own, it seems. I first noticed it when I saw my avatar's shirt flutter in filght then the cuffs her pants "wobbled" when she simply stood in place.

Now I've noticed that this skirt shows my butt cheeks a bit when it drapes low. It also drapes "interestingly" when I sit. Sure, I love this Explorer Lady outfit from Bare Rose (three colors, plus boots and gloves for L$150; Web), but I'm going to have to be careful if I'm going to remain modest. Well, only my wee pixy alt, pictured here, worries about that. But the outfit's front pockets  disappear when the skirt billows despite careful editing for the avatar's size. And like pant cuffs, the skirt moves as if it is breathing.

I thought I might adjust that with the clothing detail slider that ... wait, I must be mis-remembering. Wasn't there a clothing detail slider in the Preferences?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Noobie Builds & Windlight

The picture in question from The Lab's August Update blog post.
Hot on the heels of my "Why Full Bright?" post and my "A new term is needed" post about old-school builds and the inappropriate use of some build features, The Lab publishes a potentially attractive scenic picture in the "August Update" blog post supposedly demonstrating the benefits Windlight for a better experience, but in the picture is a large structure that is set to Full Bright, thus detracting from the overall effect. Honestly, I don't expect anyone at The Lab to read my blog (though I know a few do) so they know about this sort of problem thus increasing the chances of avoiding it, but I do expect a bit of common sense. Hire photographers. Use professionals. Steal something from the many Flickr pools and give attribution if you have to do so!! Or at least take lots of shots and let an informal selection of marketing people vote on which one should be used.

Dear Linden Lab:

You have my email address and my in-world contact information. If you find yourself in need a promotion picture of this variety again but of better quality, please let me know. I'd probably do it for free.

Uccello Poultry

Monday, August 8, 2011

A new term is needed

A new term is needed to describe builds that look like they were made when Second Life was new and haven't been updated nearly a decade later. Not that this is bad, mind you. There are plenty of items at the Isle of Lesbos that are several years old or using build techniques that haven't changed over time. Due to careful texturing and component updates that include sculpties, most items look fresh and realistic (as far as my skills allow). What I'm referring to, however, are builds such as this place I found while map hopping:

The owner/builder has mostly taken care with the layout and it is generally pretty, but the textures are cartoony like most of the ones in our basic Texture Library while pose balls litter the build when "sitter" scripts could have been used (I'm still updating seating on the Isle to use these). I look at this and think "Its  2003 again!" I like this place and will probably visit again, but it is ... "off."

I don't want to say outdated. Heck, Jefferson's home Monticello home hasn't changed in a couple hundred years and Buckingham Palace is even older. But those are real world places, using the finest materials of the time that still look great today. And I'm pretty sure they get fresh coats of paint once in a while. In Our World, new paint comes in the form of better textures from more skilled artists. By itself, this upgrade can improve most any scene. Add in a few sculpties and everything gets even better.

Right. It costs money. And some folks don't have a problem with older builds. If it sounds like I do, then I'm sorry. Really, I don't. I prefer the newer looks, but there is a certain style to the older items. Just what it should be called, I don't know. What do you think?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Burn2: Volunteers & Land

At first, I dressed as a chocolate cake, but I was told it is Desert Wear,  not Dessert Wear.
Waaaayyyy back in 2008 I was fortunate enough to win a parcel to build on for Burning Life (Web), the Second Life version of the world famous "not-a-festival festival" known as Burning Man (Web). Then I laid low for a few years, trying once more to win a parcel but then finding other things to do. This year, I'm back.

I'll be a Ranger at this year's Burn2 (Web), as Burning Life is know known. Before, during, and after the event I'll be helping make sure things happen harmoniously. Whether it I'll be tracking down lost prims, giving directions, mediating disputes, or helping other staffers, I plan on having fun, fun, fun.
The festival doesn't start until October, but volunteers are important year round! There are many areas you can volunteer and help out within whatever time you have available to commit. Your skills are needed or we will help you learn so that you can contribute. Please think about volunteering and be truly part of the Burn! Check out more info at
Of course, you can also get a parcel to set up your own art installation. Many have been assigned, but there are still some left.
Plots are now on wave3 and will be based on the donated sims.
One way to help the Burn is to gift a Sim for the Burn. For information touch the kiosk to go to the website or go directly to:

Monies from plot sales and donations are used to finance the sims for Burn2 event. This is not a Linden Lab sponsored event anymore, therefore in the spirit of the 10 principles of Burning Man - Radical Inclusion, Radical Self Reliance, Unmediated Interaction - We MAKE the BURN! Please help us Fuel the Burn in any way you can. We invite all sl residents to participate in one way or another. This is your Burn!
Its never too late to get involved but I'd recommend leaping in now so you can get the most out of Burn2

Friday, August 5, 2011

Vintage Internet Joke

During yesterday's Tech News Today (TNT) podcast (Web) I was excited when it was suggested that folks skip the Nintendo Wii hack that allows one to take a virtual tour of various places such as Venice, Italy via Google Maps (Web) and simply go to Second Life to do it.

Then the other shoe dropped.

Natali Morris: "Does anyone use Second Life any more? It is such a vintage Internet Joke."


So I thought I'd zip into SL and take some magnificent pix of Venice's Grand Canal then send them off to Natali and the hosts of TNT to show how wonderful Our World can be for visiting historic and scenic places. After visiting three places, I changed my mind.

There is no water at Venice Grand Canal (SLurl) at all. Just a bleak, gray sky and lots of asphalt and a diner.

Venice Island appears to be Private Access Only as teleport attempts consistently failed. There is water, however.

Venice Isola (SLurl) has a river and tries to capture the romance one might find in Venice, Italy, but falls rather short with blinding Glow and Full Bright on most prims.

Venice Passion (SLurl) looks like Venice, Italy! There's the canal, the fabulous bridges, tons of buildings right on the water, and shopping, but no romance for me. That guy is my brother. I coaxed him to coming with me and in this pic I'm trying to get money out of him so I can buy things ... threatening to push him into the river if he doesn't cough up the $Lira.
The latter place is as close as I was able to find in-world, though if you visit The Particle Laboratory in Teal (SLurl) there is a bit of a Venice feel and you can ride a gondola. Maybe Venice does exist, but using the Map or Search fails to find it. As I've recommended before, La Perla II (SLurl) is probably the best place to experience the feel of old Italy, but you can do a lot worse than Venice Passion.

So I have to say "No, Natali, you can't really visit Venice in Second Life, but there are quite a few other spots that are absolutely fabulous in their own right, so don't think of Our World as an Internet Joke." Then I'd refer her to my "Official Recommendations" posts on this blog or just looking at the Second Life Destination Guide (Web) for great places to visit.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Why Full Bright?

A hard day in real life running about with family to various appointments today meant that whenever I could get near a bed I made sweet love to it ... ZZZZZzzzzzzz. That gave my lazy brother a shot at the computer and, like he's fond of doing lately, he logged into Second Life. Lazy in that we have an older desktop computer sitting around doing nothing so if he really didn't want to wait for me to sleep to use the main computer he could get that connected.

The best pic that my brother, CC Columbo, snapped today, though we do have to have a talk about things growing out the heads of people in pictures. I don't know what preset he used, but I love the effect on the large wall blocking a tacky nightclub from the view of our house.
But that's an aside because I'm still sleepy. The point is that my brother made a few snaps for our "family scrapbook" and after I woke up we chatted a bit about how it is nice to live on the Mainland again while we looked over the pictures. We agreed that the Linden Homes we had were very attractive and a great value in terms of prim use, but the complete dearth of neighbors was disheartening. With our land in Nangrim, we see more people (at least on the mini-map) and the variety in the land use is entertaining. We have a few castles around us, a giant mushroom, a tacky nightclub, a Linden Highway, and more. The "more," sadly, includes Full Bright objects.

An unfinished skybox set to Full Bright makes the eastern view less attractive. The beverages on the table in our treehouse are also at Full Bright, but they are No Mod so we can't fix them.

One of the two castles near by, this one at ground level, is set to Full Bright for some reason, as are the trees of our next door neighbor. During daylight, you can hardly tell that anything is at Full Bright, but the trees look nicer set that way when the sun is up than if they weren't set so.
I guess that is one of the joys of Mainland, though ... some neighbors just make others look so much better. I'm kidding! I really don't mind. CC does to a point (he set up a wall to block a really tacky nightclub), but he tends to set full Noon all the time when he's in-world anyway so Full Bright doesn't bother him as much.

By experiment long ago with the same trees that our neighbor has planted, I learned that often plants like those look better in daylight with Full Bright on. But why whole buildings? I guess because someone liked the look. Since the castle in the one pic is full Mod, that person would probably be the owner. Other items on his parcel are not set to Full Bright and his profile shows he's a builder, so I'm guessing he could turn off the feature if he wanted to do so.

At this point in the post I'd like to point out that I'm still kinda sleepy so I have no idea where this meander is meandering to other than to ask "Why?" though to anyone specific or about anything specific. But I guess "Why?" when it comes to making certain decisions. Like why did anyone make the castle Full Bright in the first place? Mainland makes you think.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Who was Minding the Store?

An important part of the upcoming introduction of "Mesh" to the Second Life Grid appears to be an increased emphasis on protecting copyright (see Mesh Update: Part Deux). Very interesting as this 2009 official video demonstration of mesh uses the Hulk character copyrighted by Marvel Comics:

Between this and news about copyright from elsewhere in the tech world -- Samsung postponing a product launch pending resolution of a lawsuit with Apple (Web) -- makes me wonder "Who was minding the store when I bought an "Apple" laptop in Second Life and an iPad just yesterday?"

Is that a DC Comics-regsitered superhero logo on my shirt?
The Apple logo on the "laptop" is a violation, I'm sure, as would be the photo-texture rendering of the keyboard and ports. I found it on the SL Marketplace by searching with the term "Apple." Amusingly, the iPad there is the kicker considering the Samsung/Apple news. Sure, it was a freebie in-world, but its a very accurate reproduction, right down to the icons -- a key part of the Apple lawsuit against Samsung. It was positioned near accessories the creator probably hoped I would buy to compliment the gift.

So who at The Lab is in charge of policing copyright violations? If they leave it to the public then I doubt brand-name violations like this will be officially noticed. There's no incentive. One merchant turning in another to trim competition? Probably not as they'd be caught, too. Would real world brands go after individual residents? Gucci was involved with that back in 2007 (Web) yet a current search of the SL Marketplace (Web) turns up over 100 items using the name in some fashion, if not outrightly. The furor of old really hasn't had a huge effect, it seems.

Much like real world "KIRFs," I suppose. After all, someone in China recently cloned a whole Apple store, right down to the t-shirts (Web). The shop I visited when looking for a new Second Life laptop and tablet was a pretty good clone, too, though the owner wore a suit as he leaned against a table that could have been hauled out of the real world Apple store an hour from my house.