Wednesday, May 26, 2010

China Tang Empire in Second Life - Part 2

I went back to China Tang Empire for the official opening this morning.

Builders and Sim owners out there will appreciate this. You work for months, long hours and little sleep with one objective in mind. Finishing before your deadline. The big opening day when you unveil your masterpiece and hope that others will appreciate it. You arrange a concert (or two) and invite everybody you can think of. The day arrives and you tell yourself you just have to hang on a little more and you can get some sleep.

Your creation is done and your entertainer is there along with friends and the curious to see what you've been working on. And then............10 minutes into the first performance, just as people are finding their way from various parts of the new sim to your performance area.............LL decides to restart your island to update some server code.

Who says they don't have a sense of humour? The really good news is that the sim has been added to the Showcase - so it should get the attention it deserves.

MoShang Zhao did the first concert on the island and it was lovely to hear. He handled the restart with charm and made the event feel warm and friendly.

I love taking photos on this sim and I've added more to the slideshow on Koinup. There are some truly fine photographs being added to the site - much better than mine, but I'll keep practicing. :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Towel Day - Don't Panic!

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.

I've been pretty useless for the past two days - this old brain is incapable of recovering from real life adventures very quickly. However, that doesn't mean I can't acknowledge such an important date on the calendar and, thanks to the AW Groupies, I have an SL Towel which allows me to salute the great man.

Monday, May 24, 2010

China Tang Empire in Second Life

A beautiful new sim is now open and will have its official unveiling on Wednesday May 26. If you've ever wanted to visit China during the Tang Empire this is your opportunity! I met Vanilo Renilo when he came looking for a heron and I've been anxiously waiting to see the results of his team's efforts. Vanilo's notecard explains it best:

I would like to extend an invitation to you to visit my new sim - "China Tang Empire".
The sim is currently open for the public. The official opening will be held on May 26, 2010 at 9AM SLT.

There will be two music events on that day by MoShang Zhao (9-10AM SLT), jaynine Scarborough (1030-1130AM SLT) to mark the opening. In addition, on May 29 (Saturday), there will be another two music events (by Moshang Zhao and Young Zeid).

This sim is created to be a doorway to a part of the Asian/Chinese culture. There are many people whom I have met in SL, who have yet to travel out of their towns.. and some cannot even make it out of their own homes. For those who cannot explore the world, who cannot see - aside from books and television, what lies beyond their backyards - SL is the perfect medium for them to embark on their exploratory conquest. It is my fervent wish for this sim to be just that.

The ground level of the sim is Tang dynasty compliant in terms of builds. As you enter the front gate, you will face the Tang palace. On your right lies the zen garden and a stone pagoda. On the left, another pagoda, which also houses a temple. You can find the plaza at the back of the main palace, strewn with taichi and kungfu balls. A love island awaits at the corner of the sim.

In addition, there are 3 levels of underground for one to explore. We have added various nooks and crannies for those willing to look and travel a little further.

I would be more than happy to show you around.

Thanks and regards,
Valor Renilo

Chestnut Rau has a great overview in her blog for those who want more immediate detail. You can see all of my photos of the gorgeous build on Koinup but I had to include one here of that heron. :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Second Life Crime Genius?

Ok he's really new (about 1 week old according to his profile) but eager. :) I was standing on my island working on inventory when this person approached me. I didn't take his pic cause it felt like I'd be kicking a puppy but I did record the conversation for posterity:

[9:49] Dumb Crook: hey want to buy anything
[9:49] Honour McMillan: excuse me?
[9:50] Dumb Crook: want to buy a tree?
[9:50] Honour McMillan: you mean one of these trees?
[9:50] Dumb Crook: yes
[9:50] Honour McMillan: really? You're going to sell me one of these trees?
[9:51] Dumb Crook: or
[9:51] Dumb Crook: like
[9:51] Dumb Crook: anything
[9:51] Dumb Crook: guns
[9:51] Dumb Crook: motorbikes
[9:51] Dumb Crook: cars
[9:51] Dumb Crook: ?
[9:52] Honour McMillan: lol no thanks :)
[9:52] Dumb Crook: come on seriously ask anythin
[9:52] Honour McMillan: and if you want to sell stuff on my island you should probably check with me first :)
[9:52] Dumb Crook: o soz is it ur island lol
[9:53] Honour McMillan: yep :)

And then he left. I'm thinking this may have taught him to do a little bit of research first.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Second Life Proposal for World Wide Conspiracies

Apparently the G20 is coming to visit Toronto next month. Sure that means lots of VIP's roaming around mucking up traffic and costing us Canadians about $120,000,000 for security. However, it also means protesters, media and the inevitable accumulation of litter. We hate litter.

Why such a big deal about the G20? As a conspiracy it's pretty lame - I mean they actually tell people when they're meeting and pretend to publish the results of their discussions. However, as a diversion from the real work going on, the G20/G6/G8/Gwhatevers are useful institutions. As an admitted member of the largest real conspiracy in the world (HIPPO) I can reveal that we probably would have invented the G's if simple-minded yet earnest politicians hadn't done it for us.

But enough is enough. All that messy yelling and violent clashing just gives me a headache. And yes, the litter is really really annoying. So I have a proposal for all those world wide conspiracies that want to get together - use Second Life.

There are a wide variety of benefits to using the grid for your meetings. Just consider a few:

  • You can claim that your conspiracy is going green. A reduced carbon footprint for not only your official attendees and their staff but also the press and all those protesters. (Want to claim that's elitist? That you'd have to have a computer to be there to protest? pffffft How many protesters from Malawi can afford a plane ticket to London or Toronto?)

  • The cost savings. Host countries will find their budgets for hosting (including security) dramatically reduced. You can use the savings for really cool mouse pads (and retirement accounts).

  • The ability to custom tailor the venue. Your Conspiracy Your Imagination will be the motto. Each host country will be able to develop a venue which reflects the best of their culture and commitment to whatever the hot button topics are for that meeting. You can even dictate the weather! (I use dictate in a purely benign sense here.)

  • Continue to conduct your meetings in "public". I had considered offering you the services of SLE but you do want to appear to make your meetings open and sort of accessible. We'll continue to use SLE for the really important work that requires complete secrecy.

  • Protesters can acquire new skills. No longer restricted to looting and burning they can graduate to fully fledged griefing status!

  • Security will be much simpler. We can offer some slightly used cornfields as holding areas for the protesters. In addition, the press will be given beta versions of new viewers which will limit their activities and give us some test results at the same time.

  • Second Life and some of its residents will make money! Selling new private estates to world wide conspiracies will prove lucrative to LL. In addition they'll need experts to help with terraforming, landscaping, building etc. A whole new market for creators/services.

So to you, the public World Wide Conspiracies, I say...... why continue to court negative publicity? Why continue to undertake huge expenditures totally out of proportion to short, relatively unproductive meetings? Why stay in cookie cutter luxury hotels in various parts of the world when you can explore the far reaches of the universe? Why tempt fate eating who knows what from who knows where when you can have your staff serve you your favourites while sitting at your computer? Why litter my streets when you have a perfectly good garbage can under your desk?

I think using Second Life is a win/win/win/win/win proposition.

just saying .............

Monday, May 10, 2010

Another Feel Good Moment from Britain's Got Talent

Remember the good feeling you had watching Susan Boyle's audition last year? You'll love this one too. It can't be embedded but it's worth clicking on this link to watch.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

On the 3rd Rez Day of a Second Life Avatar

One advantage to signing up for Second Life on an annual basis (premium membership) is that every year on the day before your Rez Day you have the opportunity/obligation to make a decision. Do you (or in this case I) wish to renew that commitment?

I make a conscious effort to think about my involvement in Second Life and hold an internal debate before I make the decision. I do this because it is a commitment on my part, in terms of both time and money, and I take my inworld residency seriously.

There are some things that don't weigh heavily in my decision making. They include:

  • The number of times Second Life's immediate and impending "doom" has been declared in blogs, on plurk and twitter or any other "social network".

    The fact that some people leave or that others stay does not impact my decision. I guess I'm just not enough of a follower. Or maybe it's just that either their arguments don't resonate with me (i.e., I don't agree with them) or their arguments are buried under so much whining/pontification/sanctimony that I just don't care what they do. Whatever the reason, I have to make the decision about myself for myself.

  • The obsession people seem to have with my butt.

    Sounds silly doesn't it? You would not believe how many residents have made pointed (read negative) comments about my body shape. If I was entering a beauty pageant this might be something I would take seriously. As it is......pfffft.

  • The fact that the world changes.

    Most people don't seem to expect Second Life to be perfect. They do however expect the imperfections to affect others, not themselves. Learning to adapt to change would seem to be a skill I should try and embrace. SL isn't a democracy and I can't think of any reason why it should be. If I don't like all the changes - well then I guess I have to learn how to work around them if I commit to being there.

What does weigh heavily in my decision making is the amount of "value" I get from being a resident of Second Life. "Value" will vary for each of us, but in my case it includes enjoyment, learning and creating. I was hooked on SL as soon as I realized I (me, little old me) could build things and have them be part of this world. That hasn't changed. The fact that I have to stretch myself and develop new seemingly impossible skills in order to stay on the learning curve means it's becoming more and more difficult. Do I really need to force myself to endure increasing levels of frustration at my own inability to realize my ambitions?

I did make the decision to stay and it came more easily than I expected. I went to visit Alpha Point and that did it for me. The photos in this post are from that amazing build. I want to be able to do this when I grow up so I guess I have to stick around and grow some more.

Deciding to stick around means one other thing on this Rez Day and for this you can blame Dale and Gany (although I don't know where it started). Once I read their posts earlier this year an insidious little voice in the back of my head said I really should do the Rez Day Naked Leap. So I did.

You should go visit Alpha Point . It's a fantastic build and there are very rarely dorky naked people falling from the sky. :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Second Life Phishing Scam = Me Stupid

My excuse is that I was half asleep. Really! I got a "private message" through the SL Blogs and went to see what it was. The subject (of course) was "Did u remember me" and I didn't recognize the name. I did want to see the body of the message because it might be a customer or something but I was asked to login again. This gave me pause but apparently not enough pause because I did it. My reasoning at the time (the synapses were not synapting) was that it was Second Life. Of course if I'd been awake I would have noticed I was already logged in. Anyway I did it. My bad.

I then went into SL and saw a message in a group chat that there was a phishing scam. I went back to the private message and finally realized that the login form was embedded in the message itself. sigh

I've heard horror stories about changing your SL password and, since I obviously couldn't trust my own judgement at that point, I called the Concierge Help Line. She was very understanding (apparently this happens "all the time") and stayed with me while I changed my password and flagged my file just in case.

The good news is that I got to the password changed very shortly after I'd given them (the bastards) my information. However, I still made myself sit in the corner with the Dunce Cap as punishment.

I did try to ban the name on the private message but the account was already gone. I'm sure they have lots more. growl

Update: It was too easy. The engineers reset the accounts of those of us who were phished. Suddenly neither of the passwords worked (old or new). I had to phone again and reveal all my personal details and get a new one. Now there's some guy somewhere in Concierge Support who knows the shape and location of my tattoo.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cypress Rosewood Benefit Concert - May 7, 2010

I received this poster and the following notecard this evening:

Over the past weekend Cypress Rosewood lost his home and shop to the devastating floods in Nashville Tenn. Friends of Cypress have responded and are calling for a benefit held this Fri Please note times we hope you can stop by and give some support to one of SLs' beloved musicians.

Just look at the line up of great SL Musicians appearing at the benefit:

  • Von Johin
  • Arman Finesmith
  • Skye Galaxy
  • Senjata Witt
  • Frets Nirvana
  • Gina Stella
  • Anek Fuchs
  • Bluemonk Rau
  • Joaquin Gustav
  • Kolor Fall
  • Zachh Cale
  • Moondoggirl Moomintoog

This has been a tough year in terms of disasters and a tough one economically. It's been tougher on some than others. We can't fix all the problems of the world or make all the bad stuff go away but we can help one of our own. The fact that we can also enjoy an amazing lineup of musicians is the gravy. :)

If you can make it to Mardi Gras Park on Friday, May 7 and help out Cypress then I hope you do so. Please share this with your friends!

Update: Delinda Dyrssen is apparently organizing a Benefit for Cypress on Saturday night. If you can't make it on Friday (or even if you can) then this will be another opportunity to help Cypress. Check her blog which will (I'm sure) have more information as it becomes available.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Serenity, Cadenza, Pickleflower, Ishi and a Black Canary

I decided to avoid work this morning and do some exploring. I picked randomly from the Showcase Destinations in search and found some places you ought to see.

The Isle of Serenity is Vlad Soleil's home but he lets us visit. :)

Vlad has built a great castle and I love his sculptures and textures.

Cadenza has some terrific scenery.....

and a piano situated in the trunk of a giant hollow tree.

Pickleflower is an elven sim (I think)......

but these elves are definitely of a philosophical bent.

Ishi is fascinating but it's impossible to give you a real flavour for the build from photos. Everything is moving and needs to be experienced to be appreciated.

You may have noticed that I'm not wearing my usual jeans in these photos - I'm not abandoning them but I do have a new favourite store. I think they created the Black Canary just to get me to use the outfit function in v2. :)