Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Adventures in RC 1.23

I enjoy exploring the new Release Candidates because you find new and interesting functionality and sometimes cute little bugs. I don't panic about the bugs .... you know there will be hysterical JIRA's etc and most if not all will be fixed before it loses its Candidate status.

I played with the edit menu a bit to see if there were any changes:

  • You'll see a couple of changes to the edit pages in the photo up above - one is that they moved the text about # of prims/objects to the top part - so it doesn't matter what page you're on you can see it. I like this one a lot.
  • One thing that I haven't adapted to yet is a change in the pie menu - I tried to take a photo but couldn't. When I right clicked on my hair and chose edit - I got appearance. That's because edit is moved to the next page - you access it with the more button. This isn't true for everything - seems to be only for my attachments or things I'm wearing.

There was a plurk yesterday linking to a blog post which was all excited about alpha layers in skins etc. Nobody seemed to take it seriously. However, you'll note the alpha channel on my eyelashes seems to be missing. That's going to cause some angst. :)

One of the things I'm still poking at is that purple blob in the photo up top. That's one of those weird angles you can get on an object using your camera - but it's the first time I've seen purple objects inside my head. If that's what I've got I have to wonder what Crap will find. :)

I'm going back to see what else I can find. :)

Update: This is really really creepy!

It's amazing how we get used to things. Look at that photo of the map - notice anything missing? There are no green dots. In fact, there are no green dots anywhere on the map.

I feel like I'm all alone in SecondLife. There's an echo!

The Rezzable King Tut - Preview

If you don't belong to the SL Things To Do group, well you should (and check out the website). I don't know how Jenn has the time/energy to do everything she does in RL and SL but I'm willing to take advantage of her willingness to do it. :)

If you did belong you would have received a notice and landmark to the Rezzable King Tut preview. And you would have seen these sights.

Remember that this is still a preview - it's not finished. But it is fun to look around and I'm impressed by a lot of what I see. I'm not showing you everything here - I think it's only fair that you go check it out yourself. If I see little things I'm not crazy about - well they are few and far between. It is another terrific build by the Rezzable folks and will be deservedly successful.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A "Von"derful Break!

I've been working hard but Von Johin held a fan appreciation concert tonight at his Blue's Note Club. It was amazing! Von's fans are an exuberant bunch so move the sound slider to the left. :)

My favourite robot was there as well. I kept looking around for him when I should have been looking up. Don't know what I was thinking......

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Did you know?

That advanced/character/Slow Motion Animations slows down your animations so you can get a photo of them? I didn't (mind you I'm sure there are thousands of things I don't know).

I learned this little nugget in a workshop on the MURKU Comics HUD at Orange Island today. The HUD is free for now and it's really neat - if you want to play with something cool go try it. There's a Wiki if you want some help with the functionality.

Me? I'm going to play with slow motion a bit first. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

A project at last!

I've been building a new store on Taylor Bay - not to rent out though. I will be using it. It needs landscaping and some kind of product. :)

Crap and Arminasx have both posted recently about finding their reset button. Me? I've been searching for a spark to capture my interest and give me that excitement about creating something. I think I've found it. It's a complete departure for me and will take a while to bring to fruition. But I'm having fun on the trip. Which would be the point, right? :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hello Edloe! Can cats swim?

Well there used to be an island there. Did the battle finally happen? Did the martians win? I hate missing those memos.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Get Top Scripts - urp!

Even if you don't own land you know that lag is a huge problem and something that land owners spend countless hours worrying about and managing (well, they do if they care anyway). One of the problems with Taylor Bay when I first started renting there was the horrendous lag. This was caused primarily by the number of "high cost" active scripts running in some of the stores on the island (the arms dealer for example). When I first bought it I checked, and the total cost of the scripts on the island was about 14 ms. Understand, the recommended level to keep lag low is 3 ms.

Jon and I are the only two left on Taylor Bay and our total script cost runs about .8 ms. Very nice. :)

The latest version of Second Life allows us to see not only the top scripts of the objects on the island but also the avatars. When I went in this morning and checked top scripts, the total cost had more than doubled to almost 1.8 ms. I was the culprit.

Doesn't look like a script heavy avatar does it? I hid behind a hill and stripped down and then added components so I could find the problem areas. My ao accounts for .04 ms even when it's turned off. But that doesn't seem like a big deal.

The real problem is my hair. One of the reasons I chose my hair is that it kept my ARC under 450. So I thought this would mean I was a low impact avatar.

The script cost for my hair is .93 ms. More than both of our stores combined. ugh!

So I checked the script cost for one of the hairstyles I had rejected because of its ARC.

I never even got around to sizing this hair before I realized its ARC was 2200. Way higher than I'm willing to accept. However, when I tested it under the "Get Top Scripts" function it didn't register.

I went back to my regular hair and checked, and sure enough there was a retexturing script in it. I deleted the script and checked again and there really wasn't much difference. Of course that was because I deleted the script in the linked object. The problem is that there are two copies of an apparently unnecessary script in every strand of my hair. Every single strand.

I'm deleting the little buggers one at a time. I like my hair. I'm just not willing to live with all this ^*(&#%)*^$ script.

The moral of this tale is that those fashionistas creating all the wonderful clothes, hair etc. for the rest of us have got to be more responsible and more careful. Also, we land owners have to be a little understanding if we decide to blast somebody for having a high script cost. They might very well have no idea that anything they're wearing has 510 copies of a useless script in it.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Portrait of a Hellebore

Yes I'm still playing with photo techniques. I like this one - apparently one of my flowers wandered into the Chakryn Forest!

Monday, April 13, 2009

You have to love this!

If you haven't watched this yet you must. If you have watched it - watch it again. :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Aintree in the French Quarter

Even if you've only read my blog occasionally, you know how much I enjoy Von Johin! He added some more shops to his sim French Quarter - so I grabbed one. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Experimental Photography

I went to another photography workshop today on Orange Island. Much more technical than the previous ones and I felt really stupid. But I have been practicing - the photo above was taken without any special windlight settings of two shiny brass statues. All the changes were made in post production ..... which is quite something cause I've never played with those buttons before. And it's not supposed to just look darker - there's supposed to be an impression of depth. :)

Eggsactly - Seasonal Whimsy!

I may not be inclined towards the whimsical when I build - but that doesn't mean I can' t appreciate it. :) Mia Linden's build on Eggsactly is very well done and should be experienced even if you don't enter the egg decorating contest.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Virtual Legacies

I mentioned that I was giving a presentation at Jaymin Carthage's relaxed Beyond Blogging Conference yesterday. I did and everybody survived. However there were problems with my mic - although many came up to me afterwards and said there weren't. Sigh ... at least some people managed to miss some of my pearls of wisdom. For those who care, this is a brief synopsis of my portion of the agenda. :)

Why? As a content creator it is intriguing to think that my creations will live after me.

Context? I will touch on a variety of sites/virtual worlds but my comfort level is in Second Life. I also need to emphasize that I’m not a lawyer and nothing included in this presentation could be considered a legal opinion. It is simply my understanding of the language published on various sites.

I have blurred out the name of this store because I don’t want to contravene the SL T of S and reveal real life information about a resident. However, please understand that much of what I’m going to discuss is well known within this resident’s circle.

This woman’s profile discusses the values she applies to her creations and their sale. It also has a link in her picks to her store – this store. I took this photo a day ago. Her real life talents have been brought into Second Life and she shares them with the rest of us in these fabulous creations. Her store of course sells them and gives you the opportunity to add one of these clocks to your inventory.

What you will not find in her profile, what is not mentioned in her store, is that this resident’s real life persona died in July of 2008. So, although she no longer exists in the physical realm, her account and creations live on in Second Life.

Whenever I encounter this in Second Life it makes me, as a content creator, consider once again the possibilities of my own ongoing legacy in this virtual world. In addition though I start to think about all the other ways we touch the greater virtual space and the additional legacies I might leave.

To encourage you to start thinking about this I want you first to start creating a mind map of your virtual footprint.

This is not an exhaustive display of the possibilities for those of us dancing around in the online jungle. I hope, however, that you can look at it and start to realize how widely most of us are making our presence felt – if only in a small way.

Once I had started thinking about my virtual footprint, I then started to wonder how likely it was that what I did in those venues might exist long after my active participation ended.

My first question concerned how easy it would be to ensure that my virtual identity continued long after I was no longer around. I read a lot of Terms of Service (almost went blind) and this is my understanding of the contents (remember I’m not a lawyer).

There are 3 basic approaches as exemplified by these sites:

1. Second Life - explicitly allows for an account to be willed to another person – however, be prepared to do a lot of proving that the original holder is in fact dead and wanted the new owner to have it.

2. Blogspot - implicitly allows blogs to be handed down through generations – they do this by allowing more than one person to operate a blog. So if you wanted to ensure its continuation you would add another blogger (one you’ve chosen specifically to carry on if something happens to you) and use the blog as a baton in a relay race.

3. World of Warcraft – explicitly denies you the ability to transfer, share, leave your account to another.

My next question was related to the probability that my creations would live after me. I felt I should expand the definition of “creation” from just an SL product to include this blog, my photos on Flickr or Koinup, etc. The answer was a bit surprising and I think the same lawyer wrote most of the clauses in the various Terms of Service.

In most cases you grant content rights for material you submit to the site in some paraphrase of “a royalty-free, worldwide, fully paid-up, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to reproduce and distribute your content”. In some cases they include the provision that the content may be used by/on technology not yet conceived of or invented.

My conclusion is that it is probable, not just possible, that Honour and her creations, photos, blogposts and even comments on other blogs, will exist in the virtual realm long after her real life persona has died.

I would like to extrapolate now and suggest how this ongoing existence might look. Jessica Qin discussed the future of virtual worlds this morning and my vision would seem only different in architecture (and of course depth, but I’m not a technical person). To paraphrase from the 80’s, I see the management of our virtual data developing along a relational track.:)

There’s a lot of discussion in blogs and panels about a Universal Identity. In my mind this would mean that Honour would have one profile, one set of friends, one inventory etc. and would bring that with her to the various virtual worlds. Her need for Facebook or MySpace, Plurk or Twitter would be non-existent because all of that profiling/journaling would take place in her profile.

Her ability to communicate on an individual level, with the world at large, through voice/chat/photos/videos would be facilitated by a real world HUD which expedited publication in a central forum.

However, and I recognize that many adherents will disagree, I think that games like WoW will find themselves marginalized if they don’t allow for your primary virtual identity to participate in the same way the rest of the virtual world does. They may become what board games are to real life today – an occasional diversion. But they won’t have the appeal that they do now simply because they won’t “play nice” with the rest of the metaverse.

To illustrate the many ways our legacies could be realized I’d like you to consider my virtual descendant.

  • This incarnation of Honour McMillan is into vintage and antiques, so she operates her business out of a SteamPunk Castle built by Alex Bader in 2008.
  • She oversees the marketing and distribution of all creations by the various Honour McMillan’s to all of the virtual worlds. She also responds to queries from people who own antique Honour McMillan creations that have been handed down in successive inventories.
  • This Honour is the 17th generation voice on the blog – originally entitled Honour’s Post Menopausal View of SL, the title as well as the scope has changed over the years to reflect the wider metaverse. The original posts on this, as well as all other contemporary blogs, provide valuable information to future researchers.
  • Honour’s plurks/tweets/ and other daily journaling venues were merged and musings are currently made by voice which is transcribed by the rl HUD and added to her profile. This HUD also allows her to publish visual recordings in real time. Material from the original Flickr and Koinup are still available and provide many people with full times jobs curating exhibitions. Many very wealthy individuals collect visual art works by their favourite virtual artists.

I won’t continue this flight of virtual fantasy but I hope you get some idea of the ways in which our current contributions to the virtual world might still be a part of the future metaverse.

I do like the idea that my creations and even my virtual identity will live long after me. My concern would be that the movement towards that future would appear accidental/disorganized.

It won’t be technology which dictates the future of the metaverse … it will be policy. And I readily admit that a virtual legacy is not world peace and isn’t something that the entire community needs to shut down and address.

However, it seems to me we all, providers, hosts & residents, are part of the beginning of the metaverse. We are by commission and omission defining the future of the virtual realm.

We all know how badly the virtual world deals with changes to direction or policy. Waiting 20 years and then deciding that history will be deleted is not a strategy designed to ensure success. :)

I think it’s time that we got together and proactively decided some fundamental policy statements. Something that everybody can live with and something that ensures the kind of future we’d like our descendants to have.

One last comment. Since I am talking primarily about legacies. I think it’s worth thinking about what you’d like your legacy to be. Personally, I don’t want to be remembered for say making fun of the way other people look. So if you know how you’d like to be remembered, then it is incumbent upon you to live your virtual life in that manner now.

There, lecture over. :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Conference in SecondLife - Beyond Blogging!

This photo doesn't really have anything to do with the topic of this post. But I had warned Ahuva that I would work a picture of her dancing around a mushroom ring as a fairy into a blog post. She tells me that she was a "blue punk fairy". I'll take her word for it. :)

Back to the real topic of this post. Jaymin Carthage has organized a "relaxed "conference entitled "Beyond Blogging" for April 7 and 8 to take place at IBM 9. Although most of the conference presenters (and much of the audience) will be from IBM it is open to the rest of us. I know this because I am one of the presenters (blush). :)

My own portion of the agenda is scheduled for 4:00 pm SLT on April 7th. But the rest of the agenda looks really interesting. And because it's in SL you know there will be interaction with the audience. :)

April 7th

09:00 PDT 12:00 EST Opening General Session
10:00 PDT 13:00 EST Teaming in World of Warcraft
11:00 PDT 14:00 EST Homesteading in the IBM Grid
12:00 PDT 15:00 EST Roundtable: Achieving a Work/Life/Virtual Life balance
13:00 PDT 16:00 EST Roundtable: What's in a Name?
14:00 PDT 17:00 EST Roundtable: Appearance Matters!
15:00 PDT 18:00 EST The Wonderful World of Colin Fizgig
16:00 PDT 19:00 EST Leaving a Virtual Legacy
17:00 PDT 20:00 EST Field Trip: Social Aspects of Virtual Worlds
April 8th

02:00 PDT 05:00 EST 100 students interviews in a SL theater
05:00 PDT 08:00 EST Language Learning in Second Life
08:00 PDT 11:00 EST Stone Soup Stories
09:00 PDT 12:00 EST Closing General Session

I hope to see you there and I will do my darndest to keep both of you awake during my portion. Note that immediately after me, Dale Innis will be hosting a field trip. You won't want to miss that!

When the vision is wrong!

Sometimes when you're building or landscaping you just can't achieve that vision you have of the final outcome. I've been fussing and fussing with that forest and finally decided it was my "vision" of the forest that was the problem.

So I extended the rock down on the mountain and have left only a few hardy trees clinging to its steep slopes. I've also reduced their size to help with the illusion of distance. I'll do more lush plantings on the land closer to the built up area on the island.

And yes I've got the Tunes in SL "poster" up but since Crap is changing things I may have to get new tp directions for it. :)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Can't find an SL Blog?

Go see what ArminasX Saiman and his team have put together!

New Taylor Bay - 2nd Draft

Aintree Gardens has been rebuilt - now I can focus on the rest of the island. I do have to wonder though why, since my avatar was doing all the work, I'm this exhausted!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New Taylor Bay - 1st Draft

When I first opened Aintree Gardens on Taylor Bay it was absolutely flat and square with straight ashphalt roads bisecting it. Now at least there's a bay. :) I had done it really quickly so I wasn't too surprised that the new map showed all these bumps in the water. I spent some time this morning wandering the sea bed flattening them out as best I could.

I really like Jon's new store so I'm trying to keep the design and textures of the rest of the built up area at least complementary.

That means that, although the design is very similar, the rebuilt Aintree Gardens will look a little different. :)