Thursday, June 30, 2011

...and He Built a Crooked House in Second Life

The Crooked House (moderate)

I wonder if people still read Robert Heinlein, I hope so.  Even when I was devouring his novels I didn't think I had to agree with him on much but I could still enjoy the books and the science and the adventure.

One of his most popular stories is about a 4 dimensional tesseract.  No, really!  You'd enjoy it.  ... and He Built a Crooked House  is the tale of an architect who "decides to save on real estate costs by building a house in the shape of an unfolded tesseract".  Of course he does this in Los Angeles and an earthquake hits and sends the house into the 4th dimension and weirdness ensues.

The Crooked House (moderate)

Seifert Surface loves math and loves building.  He has created Heinlein's Crooked House inworld and the result is our ability to experience the wonders of the 4th dimension.  You enter the house and start going through doors, in a straight line, and wind up back where you started.  If you observe from the comfortable chair while somebody else goes through the structure you can watch it change shape around them.

The Crooked House (moderate)

If you love math or 4 dimensions or puzzles or Heinlein or just a cool experience go visit the Crooked House.  Me I'm going to sit here and sort my inventory while the house does it's magic on those inside.

I'm also going to check all the settings in my viewer.  I had a terrible time with lag suddenly late last week so I deleted all my viewer files and did a clean install.  I discovered yesterday that the avatar physics slider was at maximum.  Now, even if I was interested in jiggling body parts, nothing in my shape is going to bounce no matter how high you set that thing.  I'll go check and see what other defaults in there don't apply to me.  :)

The Crooked House (moderate)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Experimenting in Second Life's Veil of Shadows

Veil of Shadows (moderate)

I feel like it's been months since I did any exploring and I'm way behind in visiting new sims.  I saw this photo by Torley and decided to head to the Veil of Shadows.  My intention is to start playing with depth of field and the newer shadow settings so it seemed appropriate.

Veil of Shadows (moderate)

Yes, I have a long way to go before I can feel comfortable with these settings but I had to start somewhere.  You'll do a better job than I when you visit this sim and do check the land description for the windlight settings they specify, I didn't have them so I played with a few.  Now if you'll excuse me I'll go see what other wonders I've missed  :)

Veil of Shadows (moderate)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

SL8B, Community & Second Life

The Starting Point

It's probably just as well that I spent so much time at the first week of SL8B typing.  It means my hands need time to recover before I can pound on the keys and vent my feelings about some of the comments I read in the blogosphere about this event.  To go easier on the damaged digits I'm going to speak instead to the volunteers and visitors who made this a fantastic experience.

The word community derives from the old french for "community, commonness, everybody".  One etymological definition I saw said the two words which combined to create this one meant "together" and "gift".  How perfect!  The important component of a community celebration such as this one is "everybody".  Everybody who is in the community is welcome and encouraged to participate in the event.

To those who wondered why Linden Lab didn't just do it "for us".  Well first of all there aren't more than 800 Lindens and that's what would have been required.  More importantly,  the group of willing and dedicated people who did put this event on wouldn't have had the chance to participate, share their joy, have a blast and expand their friend lists the way we did.   

Resident Volunteers Built Almost 300 Exhibits

The first team of volunteers worked with Moles to create the basic infrastructure of SL8B - the canvas for the hundreds of builders who descended and transformed the landscape.  These builders represented all levels of experience and skill.  They worked long hours with passion and joy and a desire to be involved.

To those, like the young woman I know of, who were less experienced builders sharing their excitement about Second Life and enjoying the fact that everybody can build - ignore the ones who criticized you for not being "professional".  Those "award winners" don't get it.  I'm convinced they are the type of people who won't accept handmade birthday cards from children or friends.  They wouldn't be professional either.  The fact that they're made with love and a lot of thought and effort would be unimportant.

To that young woman who wondered why somebody she didn't know and had never heard of would want to hurt her, well that's the kind of people they are.  Not worth your time.

The Range of Skill Levels, Designs & Builds Reflected the Population of Second Life

The builders had about two weeks before the rest of the grid could attend.  They not only spent it working on their own exhibits, they supported each other by providing assistance with problems and transferring skills.  They also had spontaneous parties and there was a lot of laughter and music and dancing.

Some of you builders were accused of being too commercial.  It might be true I suppose.  For most of you though I suspect it was more a case of sharing what you love and any county fair includes organizations giving out information about themselves.  So pffft to those "award winning experts".  The sheer volume of gifts and music and creativity and sharing was fabulous and I thank you.

When the "doors opened" the stages and venues came to life.  More than 300 performances of singing, dancing, comedy and educational presentations took place on the four stages and in the auditorium.  Musicians and DJ's representing every musical genre you can imagine gave audiences a glimpse into their favourite parts of Second Life. To all of you who had the courage and willingness to share with the rest of us, thank you!  Music and performance critics are just noise.  You gave us joy!

To the volunteers who led, coordinated and managed those stages, bravo!  It's OK, you can sleep now. :)

To the exhibitors who added to the performance count with parties and events - what a blast!  Thank you for adding to the sense of celebration!

The Diversity of Builds was Amazing

I'll end this post with a word to two more groups.  First the team of volunteers I worked with known as the Greeters. I am so proud of each and every one of you!  You helped newbies who had just signed up in Second Life and appeared knowing nothing.  You made everybody feel welcome.  You supported each other and the larger SL8B team whenever and however you could.  You demonstrated community every day and it's one of the highlights of all of my lives that I had the opportunity to share the madness with you.  Thank you!

And a final note to the residents who attended.  Thank you for "getting it".  Thank you for being interested in more than your narrow corner of the grid, for experiencing music you hadn't before or finding new favourite performers.  Thank you for checking out as many exhibits as you could.  And thank you for expressing your appreciation to the volunteers who worked so hard on this celebration of our world.  Your comments were very welcome!

The insular, elitist, judgmental "award winners" can have their own community.  If it was a contest we won. :)

The Stages are Dark Now, But Oh It was Fun!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

SL8B is one Giant Party in Second Life

Our Portrait of Second Life (general)
I'm a teensy bit sleep deprived but having a wonderful time. :) SL8B has opened and there are so many things to see and do, you really need to get down here and join the fun.

My own build is certainly not the most impressive but I'm thrilled that some terrific people participated in the project and that some of the magic in a variety of Second Lives is on display.  I moved some categories around and juggled a bit so that everyone who submitted a photograph is represented.  You'll have to check out all 26 screens to see them all but you can sit in a tree and be comfortable while you do.

Jump on a Pod and take a tour.  Have a look at what happens when more than 800 community volunteers get together to create something in celebration.  Oh and there are lots and lots of birthday presents.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I do not have to Apologize for Using Viewer 2 in Second Life

Karazhan (general)

Let me start by saying I'm having fun.  So, while I feel a teensy bit guilty about not posting here as often as I'd like as the projects I'm working on are all-consuming at the moment, I am enjoying myself even when I sometimes look at the screen and wonder happened to my comparatively quiet Second Life.

I did take some time out this morning to finally visit Karazhan and pause to think for a while.  Unfortunately for you, Dear Reader, the thinking resulted in the following little rant.  I will understand if you choose just to look at the pictures and ignore the blathering.  :)

Karazhan (general)

Those of you who follow my aimless wandering through this blog will know I finally bit the proverbial bullet and decided to build an exhibit at SL8B.  My project is a version of something I've been thinking about for a long time. 

I could have decided to display slideshows of hundreds of photographs using a script which advanced the images on a prim or multiple surfaces.  Each script call to the server would have a cost and my contribution to lag would have been generous.  Then, of course, all of the images would be textures and have to rez and wouldn't that be fun!  I didn't have to do that though because of the Shared Media capabilities in Viewer2.

Karazhan (general)

To present hundreds of photographs I just need to create a widget in Koinup which gathers all the pics from anybody who uses a specific tag, create a wrapper to restrict the display of the web page to just the widget, and then align the result on a prim.  (which sounds so much more technical than I would have ever believed of myself)  The images appear instantly because they don't rez as textures and there is no server side impact because it all happens in the client.  This makes my little project feasible.  It's not a cure for cancer but it works and I'm pleased with both my efforts and the fact that people are participating.

Now why, given all that, should I apologize to anybody for using Viewer 2?  Or taking advantage of its functionality?  Personally I don't care what Viewer people choose.  I assume, perhaps foolishly, that they make that choice based on some decision making process involving trade-offs on function and performance.  They look at their needs and the degree to which each optional Viewer will satisfy their requirements.  If their requirements are at the level of colour or button placement, well we all have our priorities.  Once we've made our decision there will be consequences.

Karazhan (general)

I don't have radar that tells me how many sexual partners the people on my sim have had or what Viewer they're using or even if they're looking down my shirt.  If those things were important to me I'd reconsider my decision.  I do like and take advantage of the sidebar, automatic outfits and yes, Shared Media. If you've claimed the right to do without some of the Viewer2 capabilities as a trade-off for something else then how dare you deny me the same freedom?

I am up to "here" with people standing or hovering in front of me announcing that "Nobody uses Viewer 2".  It's patently untrue and even as a statement of hyperbole it passes the bounds of good sense. It's also extremely rude.  If you can't view the results of all of the effort from me and those submitting their photographs the reason is that you don't want to.  That's a fair decision on your part.  I'm not passing judgement on your choice of Viewer but I demand the same consideration in return.

There is no right or wrong in Viewer choice.  We all have the opportunity to decide for ourselves and it's time those who choose TPV's granted those of us in Viewer2 the same courtesy and respect they demand themselves.  I don't care if your choice of Viewer makes you feel special or superior or a member of the cool kids' group.   In other words, screw off.

Karazhan (general)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Madness that is Avatar Games in Second Life

Avatar Games (moderate)

There is a new blood sport in Second Life.  My 89 year old mother is pushing her walker around this morning muttering about hockey "goons" (if you know me you can figure out who the bad guys are in this scenario).  I, on the other hand, am trying to recover from the inaugural running of the LEA Avatar Games.

I was contracted to provide colour commentary for the event.  This was to be expected as I am the world's foremost authority on the beauty, tradition and history of this wonderful athletic endeavour.  I was thrilled to be involved and looked forward to educating those who had heretofore been ignorant of the subtle nuances and special skills involved in succeeding at this extraordinary physical challenge.  sigh

Avatar Games (moderate)

For those of you poor benighted fools unfamiliar with its genesis, the Avatar Games are a modern recreation of and homage to an actual historical event.  Unlike the whimpy marathon, which was born when some guy went cross country jogging,  these Games honour those who sacrificed their lives to save the planet and civilization from a homicidal extra terrestrial threat.  Those brave souls, who were previously incarcerated in an institution for the mentally deranged, did not falter or hesitate when faced with great peril and are the reason we are able to enjoy the liberty and lag we do today.

I have included all of the details of this under reported conflict in my upcoming book "The True Heroes of the Cesspool Wars". Look for it where all the better books are sold.

Avatar Games (moderate)

As I mentioned earlier, it was my duty to bring this history and an understanding of the serious importance of this momentous occasion to the masses.  Unfortunately my agent didn't inform me that I would be sharing the booth with a play by play announcer named Crap Mariner and a (supposed) expert on sports in the social network called Lauren Weyland.  It proved extremely difficult to convey the necessary gravitas when all my instincts screamed to send them to their rooms without supper. However, I stiffened my spine and took inspiration from my heroes and persevered.

Then there was the audience.  I foolishly expected that those who attended were there to admire the strength, agility and grace of the elite athletes challenging the course.  Who could fail to be inspired by a wooden doll refusing to give up at the "Wall" and fighting on until he had conquered?  Which of them could not be awed by the gritty determination required to escape the hidden cages or thrilled by that triple Salchow performed in mid air above the Refrakembacken?

Avatar Games (moderate)

Bryn Oh has done a remarkable job of building a course which reflects all that was shining and noble about our historical saviours.  It is a true test for these athletes and they appreciated the opportunity to display their skills and justify all their hard work and training.  She has also provided the audience with a Giant Wallopper to allow them to shoot at the contestants, thus recreating the real threats faced by our warriors.  Unfortunately things got a little out of hand.

Just as in the actual battles, the good guy does not always win and the clock does not lie.  I'm sure that Bryn will be able to rebuild the seating area in time for next week's event but I hope they do a better job of screening for personality disorders first.  If you are a true student of history I hope to see you there on Monday at 4:00 pm slt.  In the meantime I plan to have a serious talk with my agent. 

Avatar Games (moderate)

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Wonderful Paradox That is Omega Point in Second Life

Omega Point (moderate)

I received fabulous news yesterday.  Masoon Ringo has just reopened Omega Point!  The sister sim to Alpha Point is detailed, complex, full of contradictions and amazing images.  You follow pathways and stairs and enter buildings and rooms to find surprising vistas and even toys. 

Climb 100 m through extraordinary structures and you find nature waiting for you.  This is well worth a lot of time exploring!

Omega Point (moderate)

I had one of those weekends where I think I maybe sometimes over commit to things :)  But having kickoff celebrations to call for volunteers and sell plots to Burn2 combined with multiple kickoff sessions for volunteers at SL8B all seemed to happen at the same time.  It was a lot of fun but this old avatar will take things a little more slowly for a while. :)

Going to Omega Point this morning helped me clear my head and regain some sense of calm.  Besides, it's just such a cool place to visit that I found myself forgetting everything else.

Omega Point (moderate)

I realize I haven't posted any new locations for a few days and I do blame my to do list (well it can't be my fault).  But I'm glad I took the time to share this one with you.  Omega Point is fabulous and will justify a place in your landmarks folder!

Next time I'm feeling a little overwhelmed I plan to jump on an alien vedette and float around the two sims.  I can deal with chat lag in a dozen im windows from there. :)

Omega Point (moderate)

I haven't nagged you for ages to help me with my SL8B project.  Consider yourself nudged and nagged and get on it will you?  I even promise to finish building the exhibit if you do! :)

Omega Point (moderate)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Burn2 Town Hall & Party on the Playa Tomorrow in Second Life

Burn2 on SilverSeed

The message from Burn2 is clear - the drought is over and we're having a party!

It’s time to come together to hoot and holler and have some fun and do some sort of serious planning and organizing for BURN2, the BURNING MAN regional in Second Life.

What’s special about it is that WE ALL make the BURN: you, that avatar that looks like a robot sitting next to you, and that hot green Martian gal in the armor over on the next sim…we all make it happen! And it is coming fast, ‘cause October 1 is just around the corner!

Let’s get together, and we will tell you ALL about what we have been working on during the year, how you can help, how you can participate, what the dates are, and the theme.
We will have a question and answer period and take your feedback on how to make the BURN rock! Remember - this is a do-ocracy, so if really want to make the BURN bettah, please do show!

We will do all of this on Saturday, June 4 at 8:00 AM SLT and again at 6:00 PM. In between we have a whole lot of dancing and partying to do!

8a-9a     Town Hall with the BURN2 Core Team
9a-11a   Fancy Dress Costume Party with w/ DJ Llamatron Fetid
11a-12n  Debi Latte live!
12n- 1p Performance Group Stilt Bitches!
1p-6p    Events!
              DMV races
              Burniversity- Building an ART CAR
6p-7p    Town Hall with the BURN2 Core Team
7p-9p    Fancy Dress Costume Party w/ DJ Lady Healerbird

So if you are ready to…
  • get your camp plot ticket (yep, they will go on sale),
  • sign up to volunteer,
  • sign up for the plot lottery,
  • find out how to submit an art project,
  • or even gift the use of your sim for the BURN (wow, can you really loan a sim out?!),
  • or just see people that you haven’t seen in a while,
  • or if you just need some of that plain old BURNER LOVE..
You gotta come. I hope to see you on SilverSeed!

BURN2 Core Team

To get you in the mood here's a taste of last year's Burn2.  You'll want to come tomorrow to start planning for this year. :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pandemonium and Getting Involved in Second Life

Pandemonium, Legion (moderate)

"Where are you?" is the message I received in a variety of forms from a good friend of mine.  "You haven't plurked or tweeted or posted!"  The answer at the time was that I was hanging off the end of an iv tube getting a succession of, what the Doctors insisted was, good drugs to combat a 4 day old migraine.  You'd think at my age I'd know better than to cheat and eat one of the many foods my system has decided are forbidden but no, I can be an idiot sometimes.  I'm starting to recover so let me catch up a bit with some random, yet vitally important, notes on stuff inworld.  Honestly, if my to do list was insane before now it just looks like a mess of angry snakes - but I will slowly get on top of it.

First I should tell you that the photographs today are from Pandemonium,  Legion - a really interesting, if dark, homestead that is for "sale" or rent.  Its name seems to match my inbox at the moment.  You can choose to keep this landscaping and the builds or redo it with your own preferences.   Contact P4NDOR4 Quintessa for information if you are curious or just go visit to see what she has done.

Now let's talk about 4 ways you can have a lot of fun, get involved and participate in events on the grid.

Pandemonium, Legion (moderate)

The Second Life Birthday celebrations are, with Burn2, my favourite time of year in Second Life.  It's a truly grid wide event and gives all of us an opportunity to participate in something fun and helps build a sense of the wider community. 

There is still a need for Stage Managers to help with the multiple venues and you are invited to sign up!  If you've never done it before don't worry - they provide training!  If you are interested send a notecard to  Doctor Gascoigne and title it SL8B Stage Manager *your name* and he'll get back to you. I plan to work a couple of shifts to satisfy my lifelong ambition to be backstage at a rock concert. :)

Pandemonium, Legion (moderate)

On Monday June 6 the grid will welcome the inaugural running of the LEA Avatar Games.  Built by Bryn Oh this is a wonderfully wacky obstacle course with multiple twists and traps.  You can participate and/or have fun as a spectator - Crap Mariner will be doing the play by play and I will add colour commentary (as well as protecting any vulnerable squirrels should he get hungry). 

I hope to see  you there Monday at 4:00 pm slt.

Pandemonium, Legion (moderate)

Speaking of Burn2 - there will be two Town Hall meetings this Saturday (June 4) followed by dancing on the playa and more.  Come and find out what's happening this year and how you can get involved.  If you are ready to…
get your camp plot ticket (yep, they will go on sale),
sign up to volunteer,
sign up for the plot lottery,
find out how to submit an art project,
or even gift the use of your sim for the BURN (wow, can you really loan a sim out?!),
or just see people that you haven’t seen in a while,
or if you need some of that plain old BURNER LOVE..
You gotta come. The whole day will be a blast!. See you on SilverSeed!

8a-9a     Town Hall with the BURN2 Core Team
9a-11a   Fancy Dress Costume Party
11a-12n Performance Group (shhh name is secret!)
12n-6p   Events!
              DMV races
              Burniversity- Building an ART CAR
              Live music performers
6p-7p    Town Hall with the BURN2 Core Team
7p-9p    Fancy Dress Costume Party

Pandemonium, Legion (moderate)

As a final note for today - yes, I'm going to nag you again - I need your help with my SL8B project.  I'm very pleased with the photos that are being submitted and I look forward to seeing many more.  It's important to me that we wind up with a good cross section of our world represented in this portrait.  Please take some time to add your picture to the portrait - I'll save you a dance!

Now I'm going to rest up a bit and then tackle that ugly to do list.  If you're waiting on me for something I promise to get to it soon. :)