Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Well: Sollicitus

Genius builder/creator/storyteller Loki Eliot follows up on his wildly successful interactive exploration build The Well (2012) with an expanded and enhanced Halloween experience – The Well: Sollicitus. In the original, one followed a story about a little boy lost down a water well by attaching a HUD which told the story and gave clues. I won't give away the story but one had to dodge "shadows" that scared the willies out of everyone and visit horror-based vignettes that furthered the story.

This year, there are longer tunnels to explore, scarier [redacted], sometimes fatal choices, and the heart-stopping "shadows" are more demonic than ever. The Well: Sollicitus (SLurl) is a must-see event even, if like me, you don't care for the horror genre.

Start here. The experience is worth far more than the L$100 entrance fee but I'll let the cat out of the bag: If you live, there are gifts at the end. Note the two signs "Projectors Enabled!" and "Materials Enabled!" If you can see those, you are all set to jump into the fray. If not, you can still go, but you'll miss some of the great effects. For Materials – which make the tunnel walls slimy and the [redacted] more lifelike – you'll need the official Second Life viewer.
A screen-filling HUD provides the story (which you can follow at your pace) and interactive elements – those "fatal choices" I mentioned. Above is one of the vignettes from the life of the boy you are seeking.
This is the least scary place so bring clean underwear.
Depending on your fortune, the visit can take just a few minutes or it can take several tens of minutes, but in either case you'll probably want to take the challenge a few times so you can either best your own time or so you can see all the possible options. When you are done, visit this MySL page (there's a sign for it at The Well: Sollicitus to leave feedback. Loki did this last year and the comments led to several of this year's enhancements.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy HallowMEME!

Strawberry Singh's weekly blog meme challenge is about Halloween. Talk about timing! According her instructions, those taking up the challenge can either post a Second Life Halloween costume, answer some questions, or both. So here's the picture:

I shot this as part of a series in hopes to be included as part of the Halloween issue of a well-known in-world magazine. No word if that has happened yet, but I feel safe in using it here as the submitted copy is cropped for the magazine's format and this one has some additional tweaking for color, &c.

About those questions ...

Except for Second Life I really don't get into Halloween. I'm not supposed to have the candy and personal history makes me really not care for horror anything so I had trouble with the questions (see them here). Typically, I did trick-or-treat but only until I was nine so I don't remember much. Silly costume parades at school. Sure, you can celebrate Halloween in public school but not Christmas. My last costume was a werewolf. Once many years ago I caught part of a movie with some character named Pinhead and that one scene gives me nightmares to this day, but only because it is so reminiscent of the parts of my personal history that I mentioned. I haven't created a haunted attraction in Second Life this year ... the first I've skipped in several years, but I have visited a few other attractions that were much better than anything I could have created anyway and I have a few more to see. Real Life? I'm hoping get at least some candy and I'll probably watch TV or sit in Second Life.

Sorry to be so dull. But I hope you have a great holiday!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Meme: Being ToSsed Out

Stop. Before going any further, go read Strawberry Singh's blog challenge for the week (here) and then come back or my ramblings might make far less sense then they usually do, i.e., not bloody much. I'll wait here.

Waiting ...
Back already? That was quick. And you understand everything? Bah, I don't either, but that has never stopped me so onward and upward!!

Do you usually read the TOS thoroughly before you hit accept?
Yes and No. For the most part, I initially accept an application's or service's ToS with little interest other than its privacy elements but afterward I invest some time in following the changes made in each iteration. Again, I mostly focus on privacy rights, but if I read that something allegedly onerous has happened, then I try to learn more. When Facebook bought Instagram I stopped using the latter, all due to the glaring issues privacy issues that riddle the former's service (and to think that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg just bought up the houses surrounding his because he wanted more privacy). When the blogosphere went ape over the new Second Life ToS, I read everything I could find.

How do you feel about the new LL TOS changes, specially from August 15th and section 2.3.
It smells a bit desperate. The on-going talk about lost revenues, declining membership, decreasing number of private estates, &c., makes this clause look like an attempt at increasing revenue. Perhaps its the legal-speak, but it really does sound like those corporations that claim anything you invent while employed by them belongs to them because you might have used something you learned at the company or may have thought about the idea during working hours.

After lots of reading and long periods of reflection, however, I've come to the conclusion that The Lab is merely inept, not evil. Once again The Lab has whipped up something quickly and without much thought about long-term maintenance or planning. Likely someone pointed out that another area of the company had an issue or someone noticed that two different factions (and I intend the connotation there) conflicted over company-wide content and the ToS change is a band-aid to distract some from the obvious need for a clear and lasting solution.

Ahhh ... this is the life. Can't do this iRL, huh?
Do the changes affect you directly?
As I'm not a serious content creator at this time, I was tempted to say "No, this does not affect me directly." As a content consumer I have to say "Yes, this may have consequences for me." Here's my thinking: Jo Baghadonutz (not her real name) makes the most beautiful elbow piercings on the market, painstakingly crafted with love and original mesh/textures. Jo, however, read the ToS and thinks that The Lab can thus appropriate her designs, textures, and compiled talent despite her wisely having claimed copyright and trademark before upload to The Lab's servers so she stops creating the elbow piercings which so fulfill my Second Life. I'm devastated. And if you've looked, you know there are no comparable elbow piercings available (until the illegal CopyBots find out, of course).

The ToS change threatens all the creators I've come to enjoy and rely upon in my possibly interminable sabbatical from creating things myself. And as I see more creators cease creating, the less likely I am to finally buckle down and learn the tools required for making quality things in Our World.

What do you think people should do about this new change?
Read. Read lots. Read lots and often. Talk to others. Talk to others that can make a difference. But for deus's sake, don't whine and moan and generally go troll on this issue. If you don't have something substantive to contribute, don't cloud the debate with vitriol. Let the The Lab and others know your reasoned opinion, but skip the rhetoric. Ultimately, the ToS question won't be solved by Jane Q. Resident, but by creators with the resources to pursue legal challenges and by a Lab that is willing to listen and work with its subscribers.

Pretty sure there's nothing outside Second Life that interests me. Not.
Are you or have you ever thought about leaving Second Life?
I sometimes think about leaving Second Life but I would greatly miss many of the people I know in Our World. The Inventory I hoard for no particular reason does not keep me living a Second Life but rather it is the idea that I have an actual interactive social experience that I can enhance with the things in my Inventory. I know some that enjoy Cloud Party and OpenSim and even WoW but none are quite like what I have in Second Life.

What would you do with your time/blogs/career if you ever did?
There's this wooden structure attached to the back of our dwelling and it faces some lovely, tall plant-like growths that appear to have various forms of animal life in them. Likely I could rig some sort of comfortable sitting device and investigate while a mysterious, warm light from above shines down upon me. I suspect this sort of activity could lead to a Third Life, perhaps, but I'm not done with my second one yet.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lasers at Minna

Minna could be the center of Second Life universe for it is from this place that all creativity seems to flow. I visit often and there is always something going on, not just because of the near by sandboxes and the Ivory Tower of Primitives, but in large part of the whirlwind of activity comes from Ansi Soderstrom, Kennylex Luckless, and Hexapoda Resident. Today I mucked about taking pictures but I'm going to give just one SLurl because I want you to land once and wander much. Then go check the Profile feeds for each of these creators to see more of the madness and some of the best photos in all of Second Life.

Ansi's latest project is a set of lasers for dance clubs. Oddly, they weren't up when I visited today, but yesterday she gave me a prototype before releasing the final today (Marketplace). But you can drop by and (for now) see a huge build "where it all started."

Tons of stuff that this crew makes is free, however, like these "materials test" items inside the building. The real effect is seen if you enable Advanced Lighting in your Graphics Preferences.

Turn around from the Materials area and there are a ton more freebies, but please leave a donation so Ansi, Kenny, and Hexa can cover tier costs. The donation gets you another freebie that changes regularly, so give often.

Everything in "Ansi-Wood" is unique including the Castle of Wood-A-Lot (AKA The Dictator's Tower) so look everywhere. Watermelons bounce out from nowhere, little bears hide in corners, and you might even find a secret storage locker filled with cotton swabs, the envy of LDPW Moles everywhere.

And here is the real Heart of Minna, mostly as it is dead center in the region, but there be magicks here, too.

The overall complex but one shot doesn't do it justice at all. Explore. Explore. Explore.

And if you see Ansi, Kenny, or Hexa and they take a shining to you, don't be surprised if they give you a gift, all proud of their latest efforts. Kenny is doing a lot of 3D modeling with materials lately and this pirate is his newest piece. I was just standing around writing this blog when he gave me a copy. Thanks, Kenny! You rock!

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Google Meme, Courtesy of Strawberry Singh

Having thought several times about blogging in the past week I've thought more often about avoiding it and thus a lackadaisical and slothful attitude prevailed. That changes today, though, as Strawberry Singh has another of her weekly blog challenge series with a twist by Emily: The Google Meme.

Meme instructions: Google your SL name and answer the following questions. Don’t forget to leave a comment with a link to your post so we can all drop by, read and be nosy. Optional: click over to Emily’s blog and do her Google challenge as well. Don’t forget to leave a comment in her post if you end up doing it, so she can come stalk you guys too!

Google your Second Life name in “quotations” and share your results.
What is the first link that comes up?
Which link were you surprised to see?
In 0.37 seconds, our friends at Google turned up about 99,300 entries for "Uccello Poultry." More show up if one doesn't use the quotation marks. The first link that turns up is my blog, not unexpected as it is likely the one source on the Interwebs that contains my name most often and it is hosted on a Google-owned property, Blogspot. The Slow Poke Post entry was a surprise I can't say I've ever seen that site before, though I guess I did subscribe to this syndication service at one time.

Click on the “Image” tab and tell us where the first 5 pictures listed are from.
Each of the first five pictures (and quite a few thereafter though not all) are from my blog. Some will also be found on my Flickr feed. Google probably favors my blog images as they are the storage site for same.

Click on the “more” tab and then click “news” and share your results
No news is good news because there are no News search results, I suppose, so I thought I'd share my Patent results instead. Similar results for Books, but I do appear under Discussions and if you search for my name without quotation marks I'm mappable!

Not precisely, though. That's not me. Uccello is a reasonably popular name. It means bird in Italian and that's why I chose it to go with Poultry in SL (I tried to get Columbo, my brother's last name iSL, but couldn't).

Searching via that twist mentioned earlier is another matter ... Can I find the real Caitlin?

How did the two digital footprints compare, and did that surprise you? I searched with my full name and just my first/last name with the same results ... I'm Interwebbily Invisible. Normally I show up once, on a NASA page that lists names engraved on a teeny plaque attached to a planetary probe, but with the US government shutdown in effect, that page is not available.

Does anyone interesting share your name? No, however, when I search with my first, middle (my birth mother's maiden name), and surname several pictures of Sarah Palin pop up amongst some seemingly random dross. Since I know my middle name I can understand why, but I'm still creeped out and you are more than welcome to be creeped out, too.

Are you happy with the size of your digital footprint, or do you wish either one was larger/smaller? Being invisible to the world. Pretty darned cool. My name does show up in some pretty specialized and not-really-public databases so you might get to them eventually, but more than likely you'd need some skills to find me. Since I have a gun permit, though, I'm rather shocked that I don't see me on the Interwebs for it. Isn't that stuff public knowledge?

If you woke up/ logged in one morning to discover over night you had suddenly gained rock-star status, and everybody knew who you were and wanted to know what you were doing… what would you do? Panic. Or try to figure out why I'm still broke. Maybe both at the same time. Eventually I'd have to sit down and wonder what I did for said status. The only musical instrument I can play is an iPod, I can't act my way out of a paper bag, and I don't think rock star status is conferred upon people for being expert with a pistol unless they go rouge in a bell tower or something. And I'm pretty sure that the Real Life me doesn't hold any patents, either.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Meme: Your Avatar's Private Life

Yes, I skipped Strawberry Singh's last Monday Meme (original here). It sounded simple but I just don't care all that much for Autumn and there are so many people taking wonderful pictures of beautiful places in Second Life (often the same places, from what I see on Honour McMillan posted one just today on her blog (here). Today's challenge seemed simple, too.

Meme Instructions: I’m giving you two options to choose from this week. I will be doing both of them but you guys can pick and choose, unless you’d like to do both as well.
1. Meme Suggested by Mr. Jefferson: “What does your avatar get up to after you log out?”
2. Blog about one of your closest friends in Second Life.

Not too long ago I had a long discussion with a few friends and acquaintances on the topic of our avatar's lives when we weren't looking. We all had some fun ideas but I couldn't really nail anything down, though I did have some funny stories about a time long ago when for about a month my brother and I would log in as each other and leave the avatars in odd (sometimes compromising) places. Sometimes when the viewer doesn't show a Last.BMP image of my log out I take those few seconds of blank screenage imagining what my avatar has been up to while I was stuck in Meatspace.

More often than not I hope as I log in to find her snug in some jammies and enjoying her iPad, something I don't get to do as often as I'd like in Real Life. Maybe with a tall, cold Mt Dew and some cookies. And a cat on her lap. *sigh*

Maybe sitting with her big sister.

Yes, Uccie has a sister in Second Life. I met her under the name Threshin about 7 years ago and since then she's changed "main" characters a few times, though the other accounts are not gone. Sometimes change is good. But regardless of her form or name, she's always the same kind, loving, witty, and caring person on the other side of the screen. Like me, she's had some rough times in Real Life that we wouldn't wish on anyone short of the very worst of our enemies, but she's pulled through and uses SL as a way to catch up on some things she's not able to do iRL. There are people I know that unless we meet in SL we don't chat, but my sister is someone I talk to almost every day despite hardly ever seeing each other in the pixels. Everyone needs a sister like mine.

This is a very old picture of me and my big sister at the Isle of Lesbos at one of those little builds that popped up just about every week because she was bored or frustrated or bored and frustrated. Sometimes change is good, but she'd drive me nuts changing things out of boredom and thus creating a lot of frustration. However, I love her such that if I were to win the lottery she'd probably be the first person I'd send a big check to. Really.

So there's the two parts of the meme. Now I'm off to avoid Autumn. If I look across the street from my house I can see Spring-green leaves everywhere, probably the last green trees in Maine. It seems the trees in our yard change before everyone else's just to spite me.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cool Beans Gacha Yard Sale

One of the people I admire a lot in Second Life is Sean Brady, entrepreneur extraordinaire. He's the owner of many properties, including the Cool Beans Cafe that I frequent (SLurl) and the newly rebuilt Cool Beans Gacha Yard Sale (SLurl) included. Sean always seems to have fun with whatever he does, but it is clear that he especially enjoys landscaping and coordinating the best pre-fabs in SL to make his properties some of the best builds I've seen. As an example, check out the new "Yard Sale" ...

That's Sean behind me, pacing. One of the few times in recent memory I've seen him in human form. He loves to play with Furry avatars and the cute ones he gets from Gachas.
Whoa .... this isn't your mother's yard sale! This is a lovely little shopping district with several rentals available so you can unload re-sell your spare Gacha goods. Of course, some great vendors are here already and it is not unusual to find items at less-than-retail price. Sean's place is my first stop for shopping when I need a gift or to find a Gacha item I want but don't feel lucky enough to win.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Happy Furs-Day!

Happy Furs-Day!!
Happy Furs-Day from the New Port Yacht Club (SLurl) where I recently installed a kayak rezzer (not pictured, natch) for public use!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Happy Topless Tuesday!

Happy Topless Tuesday, y'all! This lark of mine has turned out to be no Mickey Mouse thing. Check out the Topless Tuesday in SL group on Flickr (here) and add your own snaps, too!