Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013: The Year We Find Magellan Linden

It's the end of the year and so many Second Life residents, prominent or not, are making predictions about what will happen next year. No one, however, has said that 2013 will be "The Year We Find Magellan Linden" but me.

Let's stick with so-called reality for a moment ... Magellan is a fictional character that Linden Lab used to a few years ago to promote the release of new sims.

Image hijacked from HeadBurro's Website here.
For those that believe (i.e., those that can suspend disbelief or who spend too much time with a bottle of Old Warthog), Magellan is probably one of the great explorers of our time. This is the man sent "where no man has gone before" or at least where no Linden has gone before, through rugged landscapes, untamed forests, hazardous seas, and many (many) a filthy pub. Contact suddenly broke off at one point and sightings have been intermittent at best – often limited to the odd beer can or empty bottles with his fingerprints – since then. The best of us – HeadBurro Antfarm, Valdora Grayson, Marianne McCann, Kennylex Luckless (among others), and even the least of us (me) – have searched long and hard, bearing up under many hazards and still more filthy pubs. One has even paid the ultimate price of the explorer ... Salazar Jack is now missing, too.

Over the years I've taken a casual interest. I mean, you know me. My attention span is about ... ooh, string! erm ... But I've taken up the cause in ernest now, especially since I've been involved with the search for Salazar. Today I buckled down and did quite a bit of research ... at least a half-pound of Jelly Belly® jelly beans-worth, actually ... making landmarks for places that I knew were related to his explorations and subsequent investigations. Here are a few:

Several sites in the (premium access) Wilderness regions show that Magellan was there, like this raft moored at a bar (naturally) in Piranah (SLurl). Note the LDPW logo. The moles know things and aren't talking. Michael Linden? You reading this?

  • Magellan left a tunnel boring machine in Mysehi (SLurl).
  • Many vehicles were crashed in his travels. In Squall (SLurl) he setup a camp site after falling out of the sky.
  • The broken portal in Elderglen (SLurl) may have something to do with Salazar's disappearance, too.
  • The Pouloco gas Station in Bay City (SLurl) has a milk carton with search info inside it.

Then I Binged my butt off and Googled my goggles around compiling a list of Websites dedicated to the search:

  • Start here, on Blog de la Burro with "The Magellan Files"
  • The Second Life Wikia is handy, too.
  • HeadBurro's Flicker page is useful.
  • Follow key searchers MySL pages, like Kennylex and this entry, or Marianne's pages (like this one).
  • And don't forget about Magellan's own blog here.
Contact me in-world or by posting a comment here with your SL Resident name and I can drop my landmark collection on your profile.

So, the upshot ... Magellan Linden will turn up in 2013. The Grid needs a kick in the pants and he's just the man to do it. Think of the marketing opportuniites! Think of the morale boost amongst old-timers and really old-timers! Think of what Residents will think of when they see that The Lab plays in Our World, too, like in the old days. Oh! The Community of it all!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Christmas!

Whether you say Merry or Happy or Christmas or Holidays, Angela and I wish you the best for this time of year and all of next. Come by CC's Pouloco Station in Bay City - Dennis (SLurl) to take a copy of the Christmas card near the gas pumps. Inside you'll find some special seasonal bunny slippers. And look for CC Columbo, the station manager. He's a festive polar bear cub.

CC says "Free Popcorn and Hot Dogs through the holidays at Pouloco!"

Friday, December 21, 2012

Zyx Checks In

Fresh from her well-recieved piece about the Sandy Beach Trail on this blog (here), Zyx Flux has been exploring more of the mainland and submitting her ideas for future posts. She's found some very snow regions and sent a few pictures with brief commentary just this morning (they can also be seen on her snapshot feed here).

Investigating an un-named road in Hyland for a future blog post on The Poultry Report, but snow drifts are blocking my progress (SLurl). Thank goodness Michael Linden loaned this plow to me.
Looks like I have my work cut out for me and some anxious people waiting.
I'm also working on a story about the Alpine Byway (SLurl).
Last on my list is a Rez Zone in Voss. Get some free hot food here and check out the views (SLurl). Can't beat free spuds, right? Gotta love Second Life.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Compare & Contrast

My school teacher brother had a favorite comprehension question: "Compare and contrast ..." Whether it was the tactics used by the North and the South in the US Civil War, the aims of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists in the formation of the early American government, or any other topic, he loved to ask that kind of question. Since he was one of my teachers from sixth grade onward, the frequency of that task makes me automatically think that way about many things.

Napping at the Cool Beans Coffee Shop in Effington Wood (SLurl).
Like Second Life and Real Life.

Not long ago I was stuck in a Real Life (RL) wheelchair for several weeks. I could walk, but the doctor preferred I didn't (long story). It would strike me as I arrived at several different stores in Second Life (SL) that I'd pause before entering. After a while, it occurred to me that I was subliminally thinking "I can't get up those steps in a wheel chair ... there's no ramp." Conversely, I often think "How many prims would that be?" when I look at a nice building in RL.

Probably the biggest comparison and contrast I can make is about speaking. Just last night I was spending quality time at a nice beach with my wife and in the course of our conversation I "whispered" something to her – an emote as much as a decrease in the chat distance – and I had to stop. As you may know, I'm a mute in RL. The sounds I can make are far from whispers let alone any form of regular speech. I was struck by the dynamics. A romantic moment of holding hands in RL would leave me almost completely incommunicado as I'd have to rely on head movements or (if someone was in a position to see them) facial expressions instead of Sign Language.

Imagine if you had to remove a ping pong ball from your mouth every time you wanted to speak and had to put it back when were finished. Sign Language and hand-holding are about the same. Or mittens. Earlier in the evening my avatar was wearing mittens and I removed them to "talk" in main chat without thinking just like I did so often today when I was out with Mom for some appointments.

From cartoonist and advocate for the deaf Matt Daigle (Web).
And there I am napping at Cool Beans in the picture at top. In SL I'll drink coffee and visit coffee shops. Not in Real Life. In Second Life I'll tromp about in the snow and even dance. Not in RL. There are so many ways to compare and contrast Real Life and Second Life. What counts, though, is that one can express the full range of self in both worlds, just in different ways. And that brings up "Similarities Within Differences," another favorite of my brother's educational techniques, but that's another blog post.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hyper Mole's Garden

Just a quick post while I fight with my ISP about an inconsistently available connection to the modern world ...

Hyper Mole's memorial garden is now open in Rookwood (SLurl). Please drop by and spend some time celebrating the life of this extraordinary individual, a friend to all Second Life residents in or out of her role as a Linden Department of Public Works contributor. I'll take better pictures when I can get back in-world (fighting a slow public WiFi connection on my iPad at the moment). Also, check out this picture from Shigeko Tachikawa and check out her other snaps from the park here (you may need to scroll through the history to see them).

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sandy Beach Trail

Yesterday I discovered a relatively new road in Second Life, the Sandy Beach Trail, and a wonderful little port in Lastness as one of the trail's terminuses so I sent Zyx Flux, my pixy friend and mainland explorer, for a visit. Here is the her report. – Uccello

The Sandy Trail covers a number of regions from Lastness to Kamalakara and true to its name, it is rather sandy. To begin my road trip, I visited the Lastness Marina (SLurl). This is a quiet, small port that boat owners and non-boat owners alike can use because it offers rezzing rights and a Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW) sailboat that anyone can borrow. There is also a full lighthouse building – the light and living quarters for the keeper.

Leaving Lastness to hit the trail head (SLurl), I met up with Dapples, my UniPwny, and set out to the northeast along a narrow isthmus past a very attractive set of very empty shops with a cafe. Being empty, we didn't stop but since I'm sure that I'll be back to the marina often I'll check on the developer's progress.

Upon hitting the mainland, we noticed that most Residents keep very tidy properties and stick to the area's tropical theme. The big building pictured below sells photo studio equipment and digital photo accessories. We also found the first of several little little parks with benches. Many of them were official Rezz Zones from the LDPW.

The road is narrow – really too narrow for cars despite all the Rezz Zones – but that doesn't stop all the automated killer cars that roam the trail and try to kill pedestrians. And it is fun to watch them navigate all the decorative, intricate twists and turns the Moles have built into the trail.

Like the better bits of Mainland, some residents stretch their imaginations with creative homes and businesses. I have no idea what this person was thinking with two boats in a swimming pool and stacked shipping containers for a home, but I like it. Nice repurposing of materials and sense of design (SLurl).

The trail breaks in Elten (SLurl) and becomes a canal until you reach Tressnetor (SLurl). At this point you can use an LDPW tooby and paddle across or rez a small boat (if you have one) but be careful navigating the waters. Many Residents have set up Ban Lines so you can easily become stuck and have to bail out. Dapples being very light, I simply flew her the short distance and then we rested for a bit before continuing.

After a while, Dapples and I stopped in Cheetoh (SLurl) to mail some letters. It's nice to see that despite Instant Messaging and other modern communications being popular people can still use the UPS in-world. Mostly, my friends and I rely on dragonfly couriers for letters and dragons for packages, but "biggies" generally don't use those services so they count on UPS and GridEx.

From Cheetoh until the end of the trail in Kamalakara (Slurl), we just traveled along enjoying the road and looking at typical Mainlaind sights – privacy screens, gambling machines, skyboxes, empty land. No roadside builds were remarkable so pardon me if I don't remark upon them. But Dapples found plenty of grazing at the frequent roadside rests and it was a pleasant experience overall.

Dapples wandered off into the brambles and a near by deciduous forest to romp so I visited the LDPW's beachside recreation area to relax after the trip. In the picture above you can see some of the amenities such as a BBQ grill outside a basic hut, plenty of towels and beach chairs, and the Gilpatric Pier with a Rezz Zone at the end. You can borrow the sail boat or a kayak or drop your own watercraft to explore the Coastal Waterway (learn more here). Another form of recreation is to watch the "demon cars" leave the trail, circle around the pier, and head back onto the trail, much like they do at the marina in Lastness.

The cars weren't too annoying on this trip and the road is so nice that I can recommend a journey on it to anyone. It is short enough you can walk but a bicycle would be great, or a UniPwny if you can find one.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Route 14 Road Trip

Zyx Flux, intrepid gardener and explorer, has filed another report from the field, a road trip along Route 14 on the Mainland. It is a relatively short trip, but it has some interesting elements. Here are her pictures and her commentary.

Shelly (my pack snail) and I were dropped off at one end of Route 14 in Mirandirge (SLurl) by a friend's cargo dragon and we immediately acquainted ourselves with a handy map and read the informational sign. Not many roads in Second Life have such a spot and we were so so excited that Shelly and I had to take a quick nap to calm down before proceeding.

The beach right across the way from the information spot. Meh. I wasn't impressed and Shelly can't do salt water anyway, but I suppose it was a little pretty. The airplane was the first indication of an airport that a friend told us was in the area.

Right away Shelly and I climbed the stairs of an elegant ladies handbags shop so we could get some elevation for this view of the area around our start point. Mainland is such a diverse place with sections that mimic real life and others that defy all sense.

Tsurinton Airport in Slapdoogie (SLurl) is Rez-enabled so anyone can use the facilities. I was told that the airport was not on the ground, but here it is ... on the ground. My sources are sometimes questionable, but at least there was an airport. And the view from the control tower is spectacular! Looking back toward the northwest you'll see an enormous cube with some sort of small in-land sea inside it and what looks like a very low-altitude space station above it. Shelly and I wanted to get on with the road trip but we made note of the location for later exploration.

Just over the Borgbeef line, one can see some wonderful architecture on the rolling landscape contrasted with half- and fully-finished skyboxes and the enormous cube again. Mainland is so incredibly diverse, but skyboxes sometimes bother me. At least one or two of these make some attempt (though likely not intentionally) to make the exteriors of the boxes attractive to those with very high draw distances (512m in this instance).

I left Shelly on the berm in a Rez zone (SLurl) to snack and nap so I could fly over the complex with the nice greenhouse-like building we saw. It is an area called Lost Angels Office (SLurl) and appears to be mostly empty buildings and a very hi-tech disco with lasers and other gadgetry. Some of it has ban lines and some doesn't, but if you like modern architecture, this is a nice place to visit.

It wasn't long before we slid up to the Seven Chickens Bridge in Gormthoog (SLurl). There is a tragic and touching story of some apparently very depressed poultry behind the bridge's name and the info sign tells it in grisley detail (really, I think the author enjoyed the bloodshed). Just as I finished reading the sign, though, one of those autonomous and laggy AnnMarie Otoole vehicles that roam the highways unfettered attacked Shelly and drove us off the platform and back down the road whence we came. It took all my strength to fly the both of us out of harm's way and onto a grassy hill where we collapsed and fell asleep.

About an hour later, Shelly slimed my face to wake me and slid into her pack, waiting for me to secure it. She smelled a near by orchard and I smelled it, too, so we hurried down the road to load up on natural sugars and some fresh nature surroundings. Next door is a very vintage clothing store (SLurl) in a very Victorian building.

Dead Mole Curve. It a sharp 90-degree curve on a steep hill. It would be hard to negotiate in a high speed vehicle, especially with those Anne Otoole vehicles aiming straight at the route map and info sign in an attempt to kill anyone who has stopped to use the adjacent rez zone or to read the signs. After taking this picture I hid behind the sign and magicked up a view so I could read it safely. Prim slides, speeding motorists, and other mishaps led to the death of 118 moles, according to the sign, in the construction of this portion of Route 14 in Gonkbrunk (SLurl).

Hunkering down in an effort to handle the steep grades from the Curve onward, Shelly and I did little sightseeing. Don't get me wrong, though. The next stretch had some pleasant views but it wasn't very remarkable other than being fairly well-developed for Mainland. Actually, along the whole route we saw almost no abandoned or underdeveloped land. There were many empty buildings for rent either singly or in small shopping centers, but all-in-all, the regions are well populated (even if we didn't see very many people. What surpised us, though, was the lack of of large, purple crystals on the roadside. These are common on other roads across the mainland, sometimes even spotting two or more per region.

Eventually, though, we reached the official end of Route 14 in Wunb (SLurl) and another map/info sign structure at the End of Line Inn. Past this, the road continues but on private land. Perhaps Shelly and I can travel that stretch for another blog post. For now, we are going to hop one of the frequent Yavapod tour cars and let it guide us around tourist-style.

My appreciation to Zyx for another fine post about Mainland sights. Several people have indicated that they'd like to see more of Zyx's writings here and so I've given her a company credit card so she can expense her trips for future reports. Search this blog for Road Trip or use the tag link below to find her earlier work. She has a list of places to visit and should be filing another report soon. -- Uccello

Friday, November 30, 2012

Resistance to Change

After completing an SL viewer upgrade so minor that The Lab didn't even mention it, I found that part of my workflow suddenly changed. After typing in my password I usually just tapped the Enter key on my keyboard and the log-in process started. Not since the upgrade. More than a few times now I've hit Enter and switched to another window to do something while logging in only to look a few moments later to see the static viewer screen as if I had done nothing. Once, I totally forgot I had even tried to log in at all. Almost immediately I thought about creating a JIRA for the issue but after remembering that I have NEVER had a successful JIRA and being distracted by some string, I thought "Well, it is a little change. I can get used to it. It's not like when they took away the slide out  panels that I really loved and had to take a long time to re-learn."

Yes, even I have a resistance to change, however I'm extremely happy to know that I can adopt, adapt, and improve, unlike so many that use computer technology. Take, for example, the recent upgrade from Apple iTunes 10 to version 11. Within minutes the Twittersphere was awash with tips to bring back "missing features" and not long after reviews were published with more tips and then even whole articles like "5 Tips to Make iTunes 11 Look Normal Again" from OSXDaily here.

Normal? What they should have titled the article is "5 Tips to Make iTunes 11 Look Like What You Got Used To Since the Last Change You Complained About." At least two of the tips (possibly three, but I don't have v10.x to check any more) were available options in past renditions of the popular software. Yet fanboys – fancy newspeak for curmudgeons – totally ignored the facts. This, too, happens with the Second Life viewers, official and otherwise.

It took me a couple weeks to become proficient with using the v2 interface when it was introduced but I swear it look less than 15 minutes after it was introduced for me to find someone vehemently against it in-world. The viewer had been out less than half a day. I deny that even software designers and professional reviewers could give  an application a thorough workout in such a short time.

And now that Third Party Viewer (TPV) developers have been incorporating v2 designs into their efforts (by force, admittedly) the hue and cry over the change is much quieter. Fanboys of the TPV products can still hurl invectives and demonstrate massive intolerance toward other products, but fortunately their numbers seem to be smaller now. As I listen in the Macintosh Users group chat, the sense of co-operation seems to have increased with fewer users being rude over viewer choices. I also encounter fewer people in Infohubs and help places spreading the vitriol once common. Maybe we are becoming less resistant to change?

I think it would best that when change occurs, we remember the words of Mahatma Gandhi: "Everybody is right from their own point of view, but it is not impossible that everyone is wrong."

And now for something completely different: A nude girl on a beach ...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hyper Mole [Updates]

Lighting a candle for Hyper Mole at the Bay City Community Center (SLurl).
Hyper Mole, a beloved and highly talented member of the Linden Department of Public Works, passed away today after losing a well-fought battle with cancer. The news has shaken a large part of our community, particularly those of us fortunate enough to enjoy her work in Bay City.

  • Hyper's MySL profile is here.
  • Hyper at Snapzilla here courtesy Marianne McCann
  • Marianne has a touching snapshot here along with many comments from the community.

According to Marianne in a post to the Bay City Alliance group, "Hyper was involved in several inworld build projects, and is known locally for work on the Bay City Community Center, the signage for the Bay City Fairgrounds, many of our prefabs, assistance on the Falmouth Hotel & Hairy Hippo Fun Land, and work on seasonal additions to Bay City."

I remember well my chat with Hyper back in July 2011 about her work with the infrastructure for the Second Life birthday sims. She was gracious with her time and generous with both advice and encouragement.

My sincere condolences to her family both inside Second Life and outside, as well.


Silent Mole left a touching tribute in Hairy Hippo Fun Land (SLurl) among other spots.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Time for an Inventory Refresh

Over the last couple years, though without any regularity, The Lab has updated our Library inventories – the stuff every Resident gets for free – with some nice clothes and fancy avatars. When sculpted prims were introduced a special folder with demo textures and another with demo objects were added. But if you've looked elsewhere in the Library, you'll find objects that date back to the Second Life equivalent of antiquity.

The 16 LI bed (LI = Land Impact ... I need to get with the 21st Century and stop writing "prim count" ... read more here) in the picture was made by Alberto Linden back in October 2002. Don't look him up, He is long gone. Recently installed in our family apartment is an 18 LI sculpted bed that is far more attractive, but a version with the same animation engine as the new bed was available for as few as 9 LI and it looks a lot like this animation-less one.

The 21 LI Library Chair I'm sitting on in the picture can easily be replaced with a higher quality mesh version with a much, much lower Land Impact count. I'm sitting on the arm of the chair, by the way, because each prim is set to "Sit on Object" so a click anywhere has a 1-in-21 chance of working correctly. Blame Brent Linden because he is no longer with us so he can't respond.

Just a few more examples pictured: Coffee Table, Glass And Steel 9 LI;  Basic Chair 11 LI; Floor Lamp w/blue Shade 8LI; Kart 1.0 27 LI (and recently described as "dangerous" by a Linden in a builder group chat); Cabin 29 LI. The Library is filled with more like this, including the iconic 18 LI Parrot you might have seen at Welcome Island (some Welcome Islands have a newer, sculpted version).

Yes, a bit dizzying. But it gives me an idea ... if the avatars and clothes have been updated to attract new Residents, why not refresh the Library? Dump the older stuff into the retired items box The Lab already has in Stillman (SLurl) and give us new stuff. Goodness knows the LDPW Moles are exceptionally talented (not just the ones that are well-known under private names for their art and retail goods) could create some wonderful stuff, perhaps themed to the Linden Homes (Web). Or create sets for specific communities that might be associated with the type of avatar new users choose from at sign up. Vampires get vampire stuff, robots get .... No. Maybe that one isn't a good idea.

But a Library refresh is a good idea. Not only would we get new stuff but it would demonstrate The Lab's commitment to having a thriving Community.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Very Bay City Christmas

Bay City Annual Treelighting, Concert, and Fundraiser

Come to the Bay City Fairgrounds on Saturday, 8th December 2012 from 1-4 pm SLT for a tree lighting, skating party, silent auction, music event featuring GoSpeed Racer, Grace McDunnough, and Bluemonk Rau. All proceeds go to Child's Play Charity ( Child's Play is a 501c3 non profit organization that helps seriously ill children around the globe.

The event will be held at the Bay City Fairgrounds, in North Channel (SLurl).

Special items will be auctioned for charity, including a Special, one of a kind photograph by Whiskey Monday. Auction will start at 10:00 am SLT, 8th December and end at the conclusion of the event at 4 p.m. SLT.

We are still looking for good, unique, auction items. Please contact Marianne McCann or Ever Dreamscape for more information.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

And the next Premium Gift is ....

Since September of 2011, The Lab has been giving gifts to it's Premium account Residents. Intially, the gifts were to be doled out monthly but that quickly went from plan to poo right away. Eventually, several gifts were given out, including what I consider to be a gift, the opening of some Premium-only sims: The Wilderness Area (Web) and very quiet Sandboxes (Web). Here's a quick review of the physical gifts, though (in no particular order).

The most recent Premium gift was a very nice biplane. I wrote about it here. Also introduced at this time was a Premium Resident-access airport in Orville (SLurl)

The second Premium gift was a pretty nice sailboat. I know a few Residents that snoozed and missed out on getting their copy and now they can't have one. I first wrote about this gift here.

The first Premium gift was a very nice furniture set. While folks eagerly awaited to see what the October gift would be many argued about free advertising being given to the non-employee creators of the gifts. Since then all the gifts have been made by the very, very talented LDPW Moles. My first post on this gift is here. Most of the free avatars and clothes you'll find in your default Inventory were made by non-Lab employees, by the way, and are very good.

An extremely popular Premium gift was the Dune Buggy. I very briefly wrote about it here. This gift also came with the introduction of new Premium regions like Salt Gulch (SLurl) so owners could race their new vehicles. Interestingly, the gift kiosks in the themed regions distribute the most current gift, not the one associated with the region. If you want the Dune Buggy now, you are out of luck but you can rez anything here. I see lots of folks riding horses at times.

One of my favorite Premium gifts is the Railroad Handcar. As with some of the other gifts, special Premium access regions were introduced so Residents could play. Visit Saminekim (SLurl) for some fun if you have any train. I wrote about this gift here and here.
I suppose that you could also consider having a Linden Home as a gift. I mean, you can have up to 512m2 of land without paying tier costs or you can have the land with a home on it. That conserves the land's prim count for your furniture and whatnot. And having a cash stipend is something of a gift, too, plus Premium accounts have more support options and have a bit more pull if someone tries to remove you from Second Life.

But this post is about the physical gifts. Four of five have been about transportation. Do you think the next gift will be an automobile for the many Second Life roads? Maybe it will be a special mesh house for small plots of land. What do you think the next gift will be or what do you want to see? Feel free to leave a comment below and if I get enough, I might drop a line to some Moles I know.

Not a Second Life Resident? Click here to join. If anyone asks who referred you, tell 'em Uccello Poultry.

Friday, November 23, 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes

I just finished reading Honour McMillan's fabulous blog post "On Mainland & Fences & Rusty Toilets in Second Life" about her visit to Tatty Soup (SLurl) and a rumination about land in Second Life. After seeing her pictures I thought the location would be perfect for a writing topic that came to me as I was drifting into a turkey coma yesterday. Basically, how important is hyperrealism to the suspension of .... no, wait. Let's save that for another day.

As I was composing the first picture that I needed to illustrate the topic I thought about the Region Default Windlight settings. Normally when I explore I keep the Region Default set so I can enjoy the area as the buildscaper intended. Tatty Soup is set to what appears to be a modification of "Alchemy Immortalis - Fog Lifting" Fixed sky option (I peeked in the Environment tab of the Region/Estate tools .. it comes installed on some Third Party Viewers or can be found with a bit of Googling). The effect of this pre-set is perfect here. Actually, it is perfect most places, but I like fog – just this morning in Real Life I was up early, glued to the window to watch the densest fog we've had in some time. But that's all aside at this point. Here's what the region looks like (maximum draw distance plus everything but Depth-of-Field active in the graphics settings):

At this point, I was ready to break down the tripod, pack up the ol' Tamrac camera bag, and head back to the Lydia Rose Memorial Park (SLurl) to grab the next shots I needed for my original idea. Then another idea hit me ... Moar Shadows!! The picture was a bit flat. Well, snow, fog, overcast, lack of greenery, etc. So I thought "Sunrise!" and started a whole series of pictures, totally shelving my original idea. So let's look at the same shot above but changing its character via some different pre-sets.

Midnight: In the Garden of Frost and Snow. Pretty much as you might imagine it would be, but no fog. No weather at all, actually, so it is rather dull if you ask me.

Sunrise: Here Comes The Sun. As you can see, East is behind me and slightly to the right of me. This is the standard sunrise, though the East Angle and the time of day can be changed in the Environment Editor. I like how the cabin catches some of the first rays of the sun. Looks cozy.

 Midday: Checking out life in the park (thanks, Yusuf). Crisp, clear, and I have my shadows. A careful photographer with time on her hands would watch a complete cloud cycle to pick the best sky/water reflections, but one cycle can take nearly an hour before it repeats.

Sunset: Hopin' to promote a dream somewhere along the way (thank you, Mike). I did watch the clouds for a bit here to catch the faint rainbow that sometimes appears (never noticed that we had those, did you?). Still a little warm, but the over all feeling is still chilly. And far different from the region default, you'd have to agree, but all within the bounds of "normal" weather.

And that's where Day Cycles come into play. Look for them in the Environment Editor. Unlike the usual Windlight pre-sets, Cycles work with the flow of time as Second Life skies regularly do, but have some color and weather effects.

This is the Default cycle, the one that is synchronized with the Mainland. Based on the coloration and the extent to which the sun's rays reach, it looks like the time is a few minutes past the 6:22AM time where default "Sunrise" is fixed. So in effect I was in Tatty Soup at about quarter till 7:00AM, I'd guess (I could have looked at the clock at the time, but I forgot and I'm writing this about an hour later, so close enough). The subsequent pictures were taken with different cycles no more than 10 minutes after this picture, so all are morning images.

The Dynamic cycle differs little from the Default cycle, but if you look closely (and your monitor allows) you can see there is a slight increase in color saturation. As clouds and sky can color the land and water, there may be some change due to wind shifts, as well. After this, things can become strange.

The Colder Tones cycle is dark this time of day and the sun is either in the West or that is a really bright moon. Not one of my more favored settings, I seldom use this cycle for pictures.

The Pirate's Dream cycle is very, very nice for this shot. It looks quite similar to Midday, but the contrast is amped up and the sky has a slightly violet hue and that, of course, colors the water and the shadows. There is also a bit more haze in the atmosphere and that picks up the same hue.

I'm wondering if we can just assume that Torley Linden is responsible for the Psycho Strobe! cycle? I can hear the meeting now ... "What's wrong with pink and green? The Residents love it. They love ME! They'd want a pink and green cycle. What? Oh, well. Orange clouds and deep purple-blue skies. Go Broncos *sheesh*"

The Tropicalia Cycle sometimes works in tropical locations, but not often, and it certainly doesn't work here. The contrast is just too harsh. Notice the azure/topaz water, though. Cycles change how water looks as much as fixed presets do, but and the way the sun's coloring and general coloring is set gives the default water this more tropical look. You can always use different water pre-sets to change any cycle effect.

The Weird-O Cycle is just that ... weird. It always strikes me as some post-apocolyptic, radiation-enhanced thing. That's about all I can say about this one.

I've made some fixed Windlight pre-sets for places I frequent and for various photographs but sometimes I'll slip out the Dynamic Cycle just to be different. So even if you have a hyperrealistic setting like Tatty Soup, you can easily suspend ... oh, that topic again. Maybe in another post. Now go explore!