Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Winter Wonderland

Getting past the trite post title in 3, 2, 1 ...

The thought of decorating the Isle of Lesbos for Christmas left me apprehensive and depressed for some reason. Then events fell in place and before I knew it, I was done. Mostly. My Big Sister Threshin started decorating the landing area at IOL (SLurl; Women Only). Then she asked me to decorate at the ice skating pond, an area I first created when the Isle completed a sim server upgrade. I love this part of the resort despite the little use it has seen and not because I built it. If anyone else had built this same space I would enjoy it just as much for the tranquility, the quality, and the sense of great area in a small space.

The last event and the one that made the decorating a real joy was an Instant Message from another Lucky Kitty Crew (Web) member. A day or so earlier she had offered a free winter carousel to the first person in our group to contact her. I had just missed it at the time but when she got in touch with me she said she had found another and would let me have it. I was happy, expecting a simple affair probably suitable for a fireplace mantle at most. What I got was an extra large, extra grand piece that has become the focal point for the skating pond.

"Mostly," you may be wondering? I'm never done. I'd like to rework the hang glider area near the falls to the jungle. I found better snow angel animations. The pond could be bigger. Like any project I'm not really finished. I tweak and poke and prod at different times in an effort to keep the area (or any of my builds) fresh and interesting.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Art Sale @ PoP

My shop, now named the PoP Department Store, is having a HUGE art sale at the Isle of Lesbos Mall location (SLurl) only from now until Monday. Pieces regularly priced at L$25 are now just L$10 each.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Vint Falken & Parody

The "Free Accounts Pricing & Policy Changes" post (Web) by Vint Falken today created a storm in the group I belong to in-world. The premise of limiting 'free' account in Second Life® caused nearly all the group IMs to bing-bing in with folks screaming all over.

Then I scrolled to the bottom of Vint's post and read the disclaimer and told the world. Didn't seem to matter much. Everyone kept screaming. Gotta love good parody.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Homestead

Word is that my home will :::poof::: in less than a month. Nothing is permanent, but I guess this is as good as it gets. Every time I think of tweaking or remodeling I stop, thinking "this is perfect." At most I'll upgrade a texture or replace one plant with a better one. Some of the best plants are from the basic Linden inventory, especially the grasses. I use them in all my builds. And I like a touch of whimsy. That boulder over the falls is a re-textured Luskwood cat head. I sit on my tire swing for long stretches, watching the fishies in the pond and soaking in the mountain air.

A bit closer in shows my giant frog from Wynx Whiplash and my cuddle raft. Mystical lights appear over the pond at night and the butterflies come out with a glow. Most of my pictures of my land are from this angle. The only structure is a fabulous gazebo filled with pillows and snuggles. I'm not big on houses, but if you were to fly up from here you'd find my airship. It has a living area, bed, and more. There is an empty lot next to mine and a few days after these pictures were taken I added a castle from the same company that made the gazebo. Just for fun. No furniture inside. It just looks right. Maybe I'll post pix of it later.

Go West, young woman. And you'll find the sim edge. Filling the void with water is probably most economical means for Linden Labs to make the Grid but it is very unnatural. Okies, okies ... we live in a virtual world. I love my beach, but on the other two or three sides I'd like to see more land. Don't ask me to change this view, though. This is a great place to swim and dive (I have a coral reef) and just plain relax.

My wife/partner and I are building a sim that will be just as beautiful, but in ways very different from my home. "My home." Sorry, Angela. I know we have a skybox in Dreams that is Home and the new sim is Home, too, but you understand what this place means to me. Remember your land in Novi?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bugged a Blue Streak

As you can see from the pictures, something is amiss on the Grid©®™. Not entirely sure when the sim first went blue. I had started landscaping using the Imprudence viewer (Totally fabulous so check it out; Web) but quickly logged out then back in with the standard viewer for reasons that are not important to the issue. I had been using a sim-sized megaprim textured with the land contours I wanted to help me sculpt the terrain and at one point when I moved the template away and turned off water rendering I noticed that the happy little sand was not so happy.

When I found a convenient stop point I took that first picture then teleported home and all was right as rain. Until something blinked, that is, and my home took on the same sickly hue. So I took another picture and logged out entirely, being sure to clear my Web and Network caches and logged back in to the service. Interestingly, the "Last Location" snap that greeted me was fine. And my home was once again a lush green (my friend/sister/landlord made an awesome grass texture for her sim). I went back to the first sim and all was fine once again. But now I have an interesting bug. I wonder if all my de-rendering/re-rendering of the water was the cause.

FYI, I'm working on that first sim because of what you might have caught in an earlier post (Web) about my new store location (Web). I'll post a new SLurl when I can. Someone's greed has put my schedule at least a week behind and has cost my Partner real world money.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Openspace: Consolidation & Theft?

One of the blogs that I follow (see sidebar) is Massively's coverage of Second Life®. Tateru Nino does a wonderful job of investigating deep issues and reporting on things that that really matter. Her latest (as of this moment) is "Second Life land loss escalates" (Web) where she reports
While a number of users have requested a consolidation of four Openspaces simulators into a single ordinary simulator (which would represent an overall net loss of three simulators per consolidation) there is no data available to suggest that any of the requested consolidations have yet been processed.
The Openspace issue wasn't terribly important to me until recently when my wife rented one for us. Then without knowing, we learned about the consolidation first-hand. Here's my comment on the Massively post:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Turkey Leg Hunt

The Lucky Kitty Crew blog (Web) got the scoop yesterday, but today is the official start of the 2008 Isle of Lesbos Turkey Leg Hunt. Click the Web link above for more information.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bugged Again

Did I mention the fun I had with bugs yesterday? This hole in the sea was only the second of many. Triangles with variable geometry with one point always on my head plagued me, curtains of water shooting up from the sea along a plane parallel to me and measuring the width of the sim, and my neck stretching beyond all proportions were just the more amusing ones.

No, I didn't bother filing a bug report on the JIRA (Web). My experience is that others will do one or more of several things: (1) Close the report so they can file their own and claim to be first; (2) Close the report claiming a bogus and ineffectual solution that the nOOb filing the report should have seen; (3) Comment "Me, too!" loud and proud but without any documentation or details about their computer/software. I've seen these things happen to many reports, not just my own. I wonder who these critters that seem to live in the JIRA really are, but like those that haunt the Official Blog (Web) comments and the forums I doubt many spend much quality time in-world. Rather they make the Web attachments to the Grid their bailiwick. Would this be a Third Life?

I rebooted my computer and all was fine. The Activity Monitor on my iMac shows a steady and unrecoverable memory leak when the Second Life® viewer runs. I've been rebooting twice a day, minimum, since the latest viewer was made available. I haven't had to do this sort of thing since I had a PC. And I had the same bugs. I wonder when the stripes will return.

Friday, November 14, 2008

PoP ~ No Longer Secret

You may have noticed that like many in Second Life®, I sell things that I make. It's pretty modest because I'd rather create than sell. So for a couple years The Poultry Co. has marketed skins, furniture, landscaping items, and more. Partly out of boredom and partly out of a need to accumulate more wealth ... um ... earn a bit more money ... I've started re-branding as PoP, a department store. I'll be focusing more heavily on landscaping and clothes as well as offering a few more conventional goods. What I'm excited about is I'll be offering services, such as making custom teleporters and creating prize hunts.

Another reason for the changes I can thank my loving wife for: Angela has recently rented a sim for her business (Dream Images Skins and Shapes) and we'll be having a grand opening in about two weeks.

But I have a lot of my stuff in place now and I'm proud of the custom store that I built. So drop into Cote Azure (SLurl) soon and take a look. Not everything is in place, but enough for a 'soft opening' today. I'm pretty pleased with the landscaping I did. Angela supplied the textures and otherwise let me run wild. The infrastructure is also custom designed and built by me. Some of it may change by the grand opening, but not by much (I hope).

Look for expansion of the MicroSTUFF brand, too, my line of goods for tinies. These will also be available at Hug✩Mart(SLurl). And my line of Erotic Art will still be available in the Isle of Lesbos Mall (SLurl), probably under the old company name.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Mix'n Match Post

After some unintentional delay, my post for the Mix'n Match is now up at Torley's own blog (Web).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Can SL and RL truly be seperate from each other?

Here is the Mix'n Match blog swap (Web) post from Stuart Warf of The Insane Life of Stuart Warf (Web).

When I was assigned this topic of "Can SL and RL be truly kept separate?" My instant reaction was to say that they can't be separate. In the current state of technology it is hard to keep something like SL and RL separate. But then it dawned on me that my situation isn't entirely the same as others in Second Life.

Now there are many reasons why somebody would want to keep their Second Life separate from their Real Life. A simple example of this could be that the person just wants their right to privacy. There are multiple reasons why an avatar would want privacy though. Someone could have a high profile job in some area and want Second Life as an escape without anyone finding out who they are. Some companies do have policies that require them to say who they work for in their contract which can cause all sorts of issues and see it fitting to just not mention who they are in order to maintain a simple life and escape.

In todays digital climate it's hard for someone to keep their real life identity a secret once they have revealed it, thanks to things like Google. So people who are aware of this decide to just keep their real life information separate from their virtual life.

Another way in which SL and RL can be separate is via roleplaying sims where you can act out a different life as a character and interact with a world. Examples of this could be the fantasy world of Avillion or the Star Wars world of Little Mos Eisley.

However there are many beinifits to not keeping SL and RL separate. Depending on what you do outside of the virtual world, you can be more open about who you are as a person in reality. A great example of where this typically happens in social networks like Facebook. Social networks like these can help you get to know your SL friends more and maybe even make new friends.

Other ways to interact with other avatars are microblogging websites such as Twitter and Plurk. Not only can these services give you another communication window into peoples lives.

When I look at who are probably the most open of avatars in Second Life I think these people are the podcasters, bloggers and active community members. Podcasters love to talk openly about things which says to me that they are also open in Real Life about their Second Lives.

Personally I think that SL and RL can be separate if you really try it but you limit yourself to what you can do in the virtual world. What I mean by being limited is that you miss out on a lot of the things you could enjoy in the world. If your trying to cut your real life off and be someone totally different in Second Life then ultimately it won't last forever. You can easily not tell people your in Second Life in real life but that can cause problems and that's why I figured that when I entered the world, I'd talk about it to friends and family.

Another thing that I've found while being in the virtual worlds is that aspects of it changed me in real life. I have become increasingly confident towards people (and I know that this has also happened to friends on mine in Second Life as well) and I truly believe that because of things like this that SL and RL cannot be separate.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How To: #73589 in a Series - Measuring

How do you find a building's footprint when the signs don't include that information? Measure it! This could be tricky in a No Build area so here is what I did:
I attached a 20x20x0.50 Megaprim to my stomach and walked inside the building. This was good enough but I could have added a grid texture to be fancy. Be careful doing this, though. Megaprims attached to avies can be considered griefing (Web; Web).

I rather liked this small castle from Lapin Feu Prefab Castles & Fish (SLurl). One of this company's gazebos is a centerpiece at my home. Texturing is awesome and there are some clever tricks in the builds.

Monday, November 10, 2008

PoP (Still Secret)

:::runs around giggling madly while she shifts a whole world through the aether::: La La La a tree here a tree there trees trees everywhere :::prances off looking for more Mountain Dew::::

Sunday, November 9, 2008

PoP (Secret)

Shhh ... secret project. Busy, busy, busy. :::giggles like a woman who has had too little sleep and too much Mountain Dew:::

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Creamshop Pictures

After reading about a new retail space called Creamshop (SLurl; sources Web & Web) I was intrigued enough to visit. Normally I don't hang out in malls or shops, but with the continuing trend to make shopping an an environmental experience means that there are some really good builds out there. Most seem to favor a grungy, post-apocalyptic them (like Little Heaven, SLurl) and Creamshop is no exception.

You begin your experience in a sewer and wander out to see a partially flooded cityscape, awash in rain and the beginnings of decay. Despite the appearance that there are many shops it is really just one divided up by product type into store fronts, again following the general design trend I mentioned. And holding to this form is the obligatory appearance of blood smears and ominous signs of a horror movie set.

If it sounds as if I don't like the place, well ... I don't. It is a very well designed and executed concept (too many annoying texture flickers from overlapping prims) but I'm not big on dark and dismal. And since there are so many environments like this in-world now I had rather hoped for something more unique. And, as expected, the products fit the shopping center theme. Most of it looked very good, but certainly not my style.

So the post title implies multiple pictures ... that was to suck you in. Go to Creamshop and look around. Poke in all the corners and wander into spots you might not think have any items for sale. Even if your tastes are similar to mine the visit is still worth your time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Favorite Workspace

Often I'll build someplace where my presence will boost traffic figures (so long as I have build rights and the land owner's permission, of course) but I love working on some projects at my home. It is a comfortable, lightly forested environment with plenty of prims to use. The domes that you see at the Isle of Lesbos Mall (SLurl) were created here, for example. And I made Devil Cats here for a Halloween Prize Hunt (Web). I love my home.

Openspace & the Princeton Sims

There are very few landmarks in my Inventory as places often move and I just don't want to waste the space. But the Princeton University sims are in there. Wild, thought-provoking builds are the norm here. And you'll find this sign (SLurl).


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Thoughts on Openspace Sims

After Janeforyou Barbara, owner of the Isle of Lesbos properties, added the Oasis of Lesbos (SLurl; initially known as Monte San Leone) there was an empty spot in the sea just begging to have a fourth sim. It always frustrated me that I could see under the ground mesh of the existing sims and that I'd have to cross over a third sim to go between ones that touched only on corners. But it wasn't my land so what could I do?

Over time, activity on the Oasis evolved and focused more and more on jetskis, swimming, and boating, but the land-to-water ratio was high so there was not a lot of room for these activities. Then it hit me ... if Miss Jane added an Openspace sim she could have her yachts and boat races and the Isle could become a huge resort. One night I sent her a note card and sketch and even suggested the name. She must have liked the idea because about 12 hours later the Bay of Lesbos (SLurl) was delivered by Linden Labs®. Now the Isle had a large expanse of water for sailing and a small island for occasional use. In my note suggesting the sim I stressed the prim limits and the idea of light use:
It is therefore important to understand what these regions are. They are provided for light use only, not for building, living in, renting as homes or use for events. As a stretch of open water for boating or a scenic wooded area they are fine, but we do not advise more serious use than this and will not respond to performance issues reported should you not use them in this way (Web).
I think a good balance of utility and asset conservation was struck in creating the Bay.

But now I feel bad about it. Along came the October 27th announcement (Web) that Openspace pricing will increase. Apparently some folks are not using the sims as intended. I guess being given 3750 prims and then told to not build things is confusing especially when Linden Labs® doesn't follow it's own recommendations (Web). Now due partly to this hipocracy I may have cost a good friend some money.

But it is also the fault of users. A friend of mine rents from Ansche Chung Studios (Web) and was told she could swap her small plot on a "regular" sim for an Openspace sim with the same number of prims but four times the space and for the same cost. What is not to love? When I told her about the published limitations that defined "light use" she was a bit confused that the sim owner never mentioned them. Nor is anything about "light use" limitations mentioned in a covenant for an "Openspace,Class 5,Protected View,FULL RIGHTS INCLUED" that my wife is looking at renting. In fact, the covenent starts with "Make your OWN RULES! DO WHATEVER YOU WANT" before discussing only what is pertinent to the estate owner.

The upshot for average residents like me? Ones who can barely afford rent (even the fab sweetheart deal I have) let alone live on an Openspace? There probably won't be a huge effect. Some businesses will move so we will need new landmarks. Others may decide to skip an in-world presence and deal only through XStreet or OnRez. Some folks we know that do live on an Openspace might have to pay more rent or move. All these things happen anyway. On the microeconomic scale this could be a tremor, not an earthquake.

Monday, November 3, 2008

New Cow Avie & Thoughts on Insurance

Willowbay Destiny makes some cute cow avies in association with AnthroXtacy (Web) so I had to get one (SLurl). Purple spots and hair, of course, as My Love likes that color. It is full Copy/Mod and this picture shows some of the mods I've already made like the white horns and streak-free hair. I'll do a few other mods, too, when I have the time. Probaby different hair styles and some jewelry. It comes some nice t-shirts and a good pair of shorts plus a couple funny gestures. Rezzing the box it comes in is fun, too. I did it several times for laughs before unpacking and then taking it back into my inventory for storage.

I especially like that it is full Copy so I can keep the original box in storage for if I accidentally delete a part, change one beyond repair, or (Heaven forbid) I have another massive inventory loss due to the ineptitude of Linden Labs® to maintain database integrity. Holiday decorations, a dozen Wynx dragons, AKK horses, clothes ... I figured about L$20,000 of No Copy goods over the last year, all gone. So backups are good. I have tried commercially available inventory boxes (SLurl to the Thinc store for the box I have) to store items, thus reducing inventory, and the 'stuff a prim' idea promoted by the first edition of Second Life: The Official Guide (Web) only to find that the items no longer show in the database. The same book also recommends creating an alt to store your Transferable items.

That inventory could get borked, too, so once again I dream of Inventory Insurance. After all, you can buy insurance for your belongings in Real Life (iRL) so why not in Second Life®, too? Determining fault for loss would be hard, sure, and documenting the original purchases would likely mean giving up information that some would consider private. Maybe someone out there has pockets deep enough to try this, though.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Second Life Bloggers Mix'n Match

A couple days ago I applied for the Second Life Bloggers Mix'n Match announced on Vint Falken's blog (Web) and on ArminasX Saiman's blog (Web) October 24th. The idea is that participants will write a post on a topic they may not be familiar with at all for someone else's blog. Today I was pleased to learn that I was accepted! Stuart Warf of The Insane Life of Stuart Warf (Web) will be posting on my blog with the topic "Can SL and RL truly be kept separate from each other?" while I'll be writing on "the ways SL experience is affected by avatars connecting outside SL with sites like Plurk and Flickr" for Torley Linden's blog ... er ... it might be on the official SL blog (Web), actually. Not sure, but the assignment list (Web) shows that to be the case.

:::runs in circles all terrorfied:::

Yes, terrorfied! First thing that scared me is the topic, but after a little thought I figured I could handle it. After all I've heard of Plurk and I'm a subscriber to both Flickr and Twitter. Then I saw that I was to write for Torley Linden. Yes TORLEY! Cripes! In terms of SL fame he's way up the ladder. I guess he puts his pants on two legs at a time like the rest of us (What? You can't?) so I'm a bit less freaked, but there is still a bit of arrrrgghhh! happening. I hope he remembers the nice watermelon hammock I sent to him recently and thinks kind thoughts when he sees what I'll write. But then I saw that my writing will likely be on the Offcial Linden Blog.

:::more running around in circles like poultry from a barbecue:::

Okies. Breathing now (stole one of mom's portable oxygen bottles and left a note that I'd get it refilled). I've frequently posted comments so I'm not unknown on the blog. I've even had folks in-world contact me about my comments so maybe it won't be all bad.

:::faints with the question "Where'd I leave my tranqs?" on her mind:::

Look for the posts to appear November 12th, all over the blogosphere.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Giving up Hostessing

Time to move on. I no longer host events at the Isle of Lesbos (SLurl). There will be events, I'm sure, but don't look for me. If you do go, please show your love to the DJs and hostesses by at least saying "thank you" though tips are nice.

You will still find me at the Isle, my second home, either working Security or just hanging out.