Friday, April 18, 2014

Side-by-Side Boobs

Today as I was trying on a tasty latex outfit that my wife bought for me, boobs were on my mind. When aren't they, really? In Real Life I wake up every morning with the weight of my two cats on my chest and twice that if they are actually on me at the time.  Then in Second Life, each and every shirt/dress decision has to involve which of my breast choices looks best. Take the latex in question as an example:

From Left-to-Right: System breasts (slider at 58); bigger System breasts (slider at 80); Lola's Tangos Mirage breasts; and Lola's Tangos breasts. Outfit: Liquid Mind ZG-0256
As often as not, Primplants (as I call them) are a trade-off with some clothes – quality of shape and size at the cost of the top's texture being oddly distorted. In some instances such as this one from Liquid Mind, the fit has to be near perfect for the edges to line up (this is greatly affected by your avatar's pose at any given moment) and the lighting has to be just right, ideally with Advanced Lighting in effect. The latter caveat is frustrating because even if you can use it, others might not be able to so they see the odd differences between the texture on the prims and the System layer clothes. Of course, you see yourself from behind anyway so it is rather pointless for you in most cases.

Then there's the translucent bits. Look very close at the image on the far right and you'll see where the prims meet the body inside the translucent latex area. It's the spotty area. Even in perfect lighting this can be obvious when an alpha layer is involved.

On the whole, I like the bigger System breasts, second from the left, with this outfit. The cleavage enhancer of the UnBra skin helps with the illusion that the clothes are pushing my girls together and compressing them to the confined space. This option also avoids much of the unpleasantness of the translucent portion fighting with the skin underneath (See that line under the breasts? Hint to makers: Provide an implants option top where the texture from the system shirt is erased from that area.)

So I saved the version I like but I kept copies of the Primplants in case the need arises. I wear so little latex (despite owning so much) that I don't know when that might be, but "With great cleavage comes great responsibility," (Jamie "The Rack" McJack quote) so I like to be prepared.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Flat Ebbe Linden Meme

Last July, Strawberry Singh proposed a "Flat Rod Visits ..." meme where in bloggers would take a "cardboard cutout" of then Linden Lab CEO Rodvik Linden around to see the sights in Second Life. I rather enjoyed my time with Rod (see here). And I've gotten over the fact that Rod still owes me a bear because I gave I'm my bear and he wore it in public. With a new CEO, Ebbe Linden, comes a new chance at showing Our World to him and getting his bear (I've met him and offered my services in teaching him how to make a classic Linden Bear). Now Strawberry has given bloggers a chance to take take Flat Ebbe out for a spin with a new challenge.

Meme instructions: Pick up a copy of Flat Ebbe Linden from my marketplace store for free and take him to one of your favorite places on the grid. Also, share at least three things that you’d like to tell Ebbe. Please remember to leave a link to your post in the comments and share your Flat Ebbe picture in the Blog memes flickr group.

There are more places in Second Life that I'd like to recommend that the Real Ebbe Linden visit than I can fit on this blog, but I took the 2D "Monoculous Rift" version to the Garden Mole's greenhouse in Dokkaebi (SLurl). Readers may remember that this blog's pixy correspondent Zyx Flux visits there often and most recently posted about it last February (see here). I thought of this location first because one item I'd have to bring up with Ebbe is the quality work, dedication, and sense of whimsey that the Linden Department of Public Works brings to Our World. Numerous roadside builds like this greenhouse bring some extra joy to Second Life. The LDPW keeps giving these little gifts to the Residents yet how often do most of us really notice?

Many other items I'd mention (and have talked to him about) are already being addressed, particularly the new Resident experience and the selection of default avatars. Having Ebbe visit Bay City, Linden support for the arts, and the return of Lindens to The Grid socially have all been brought up and mostly implemented. Looks like there isn't much else to cover.

I would like to throw my support behind the numerous calls to improve community communications. The official blog is a joke. Public office hours for important staffers are nonexistent. The JIRA is open again but I firmly believe that they will still be ignored like in days gone by. We've seen some improvements in this area but let's keep up the changes.

Perhaps the biggest item that I would like to point out is Second Life's reputation. Outside a core community, SL is often seen as a porn-filled, low-quality joke. Advertising SL as just beaches and nightclubs is appealing to the lowest common denominator. Look at the pictures on MySL and Flickr to find a vibrant community of serious users – artists, creators, social crusaders, and more – use Our World as important parts of their Real Life. Promote that and you'll see Second Life flourish.

Topless Tuesday Weather

After a day at 80ºF we are back to typical Southern Maine Spring weather – rainy and cold. Really, I didn't like the heat so I'm not complaining, but I did like the sunny skies. So for today's Topless Tuesday picture I had to find a nice beach and dive into an ocean that isn't 45ºF. Here I am diving off the dock at Dreamer's Creations (SLurl) much to the chagrin of the brown pelican trying to rest.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bay City Arboretum of Rather Atypical Vegetation

Bay City Arboretum of Rather Atypical Vegetation in Bay City – Dennis.
Chief Gardner Zyx Flux is pictured at the street-side door.
The Bay City Arboretum of Rather Atypical Vegetation (SLurl) is now open, according to Chief Gardener Zyx Flux. "Some lilies I ordered haven't arrived and I still need to label the exhibits, but frankly I can't lock the door so we might as well open now," she said. "I wouldn't touch the plants too much, though. Nothing very dangerous here right now, but the selection will rotate."

When asked about the frequent appearance of mole holes about the property Miss Flux declined to give details but said "filling them in is almost constant work. If you see one, don't try to climb into it as you don't know where you might wind up. And don't feed any moles you see."

Operating hours for the Arboretum are eleven, three, seven, and nine. All other times are in minutes and seconds. Parking and admission is free. There are no restroom facilities.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Social Conventions in Virtual Worlds

More often than not I turn off the tag over my head in Second Life though doing so leads to issues when I rez something at home without noticing I have the wrong active land group set and the item is returned shortly thereafter. Still, the convenience of being able to see others without my name and other information blocking their face is worth the trouble. Sometimes I turn off the ability to see other people's tags, too, particularly in crowded rooms. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I think that might reduce lag just a bit while making for a better view.

Doing that also lets me pretend I don't know the name of everyone around me unless I recognize them. How often do you stroll along a crowded location in Real Life and know at a glance that the people on the closest bench are names Billy, Susie, Frodo27, and Lickalottapuss? While their clothing might be a clue, there are no tags over their heads informing you that they belong to the First Reformed Church of Atheistic Voles. Second Life is another story. And here it is ...

A beach I frequent rarely has any visitor that I know more than superficially. Usually I swim, lie on the beach, or ride a surfboard. But I can easily recognize those I've met by the name tags so I can tell when someone new arrives. If I say "hello" first I don't use names, though, as I pretend I don't know them despite seeing their tags. I wait until someone else greets them by name before I use their name.

I could go further and just run without any name tags, but in Our World it is so easy to change one's appearance – subtly with different hair or dramatically by changing species – so it could be hard to recognize a friend. This is something I've been considering this while thinking about social conventions. Phillip Rosedale of virtual world developer High Fidelity (and a founder of Second Life) has similar thoughts and discusses them in the following video at about the 1:13:00 mark.

The TL;DR gist is that no one sees tags over your head in Real Life so you probably won't in Rosedale's next virtual world. No People Near Me radar in Real Life, no Friend List to tell you who is awake at any given moment nor any covert mapping of a person's location. Right. I have two words for you.

Google Glass.

Surely "smart eyewear" has or will have a facial recognition app with quick commands for easily gleaning common social media sites for basic information about someone you see near you . Just like right-clicking an avatar reading someone Profile or inspecting their clothing in Second Life

For that matter, there is Find My Friends on your iOS device. At this moment I can see that my brother's iOS device (hopefully with him at the time) is in a grocery store. What about those apps that use Bluetooth or Wifi to alert you when someone with the same app and similar interests is within a certain proximity to you? Need I mention Blendr, Findhrr, and Grindr?

Virtual worlds are no longer just an entertaining repast. Rather, they have the potential to become  the bleeding edge of a social revolution (or at least a social gravity field) and the time is now to define social conventions. I don't use Facebook or Twitter. My Plurk account is all but dead. The blog I keep to focus on Real Life is public but I doubt anyone in Second Life would likely find it (or find it interesting. I use it mostly to just write, kinda like that crazy lady you see buried in blank-page journals and notebooks at a table in your shopping mall's food court every single day.). There is no Second Life-like Profile page for my Real Life.

In the video above, Mr Rosedale talks about this "blankness" applying to virtual worlds where users would blend both lives and release only information that we wish to give. If Facebook and the like are any example, though, I foresee people over-sharing in the new medium. Maybe that is the new social norm?

From the grocery store list app's Web site I see my brother has finished shopping and there is a carrot cake on the way home with him. I'll text him before he gets near Dairy Queen because I'd rather have a Confetti Cake Bizzard Waffle Cone. Ponder all those implications while go open the garage door and make room in the fridge.