Friday, March 27, 2009

Tester Bots are Really Gorgeous

Many moon ago some Lab "grid monkeys" started to regularly visit the Isle of Lesbos. Coming on the heels of a torrent of visits from bots run by a now defunct art community we figured that Performance* Tester (where* is a number; all avies with the last name Tester are Lab-operated) was just another invasion. All were the basic male avie, often wearing a popgun. So we ejected and banned them.

Then I had a conversation with the Linden behind the bots and found out the purpose of the visits. We stopped ejecting and banning the bots and actually use them as a bell-weather for grid performance. And per my suggestion, the avie was changed from a male form to something in a marked box so as to not raise the ire of those not tolerant of noob men. Later when gray "Ruth" avies were replaced with amorphous clouds the Tester series was made to stick to a cloud form.

Or were they? I was in a shop the other day when, despite the region being at capacity 99.99% of the time, a Tester showed up and triggered the Profile Pic Greeter. I looked up and saw this beautiful woman. "Hmmf," I thought. "Performance5 is never this hot when he .. erm .. she .. is on Lesbos!" I'm sure it was really a combination of lag and the lack of a profile pic for any Tester (except Torley Tester). But I think if the Lab would take time to make all their bots look like this woman, I'm sure she'd be welcome anywhere.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Nice Textures

Part of me wants to cry. I just dropped a bundle (okies, L$320 for this trip) at Tatty's Textures (SLurl), buying more than I needed for a couple up-coming projects. The textures are excellent quality and just L$5 each so there is nothing to cry about there. But I need to start charging for these things I build or charging more. But it is soooo much fun to make things!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Am I Cute & Innnocent?

"How cute and innocent am I?" is the question of the day. My Bestest Big Sister in-world thinks I'm cute whether I'm in a bunny avie or demon avie or just my usual self. Just this morning we were having a conversation along these lines when it struck me that I was wearing a really slutty shirt that I love. While I do have the body for it (okies, thicker iRL, but not too different), there is no way I would be caught wearing something like this outside of Second Life®. At least not near other people. I do have some really slutty tank tops much like some in-world ones, but only because they are comfy.

Yah, right. Like most women I sometimes like to feel kinda slutty. We girls are complex beasties and we don't like to be understood all the time, even by ourselves. So I'm not all cute and innocent, but something in SL® is a dis-inhibitor, leading me to frequently dress in a fashion contrary to my RL tendencies even just going nude rather often. Nothing in the debug settings or in preferences.

It must be in the anonymity. A few people know the real life town I live in while more know the area and nearly everyone who has met me knows I live in Maine, USA. But only one person knows my full legal name. I'd say I'm pretty well anonymous, so maybe that gives me licence to behave contrary to my natures. Call it the "Vegas factor" ... what happens in SL stays in SL. I know plenty of girls that would never entertain the notion of Gorean slavery in downtown middle America, but participate with Gusto in-world, going beyond the exploration or living out a casual fantasy that one might give other activities. There has to be some of the "Vegas Factor" in my dress, but tied into that is another factor gives the Gor example weight: Novelty.

My usual dress at home is simply shorts and a tank top or a t-shirt. Plain and butch. My virtual home makes me feel girlier (if that is a word) than I have ever felt iRL. My one RL dress is for funerals. My SL dresses range from the fabled "little black dress" to staidly Victorian ball gowns. My avie often has lipstick and earrings, understated to be sure, but I don't own lipstick iRL and my ears are not pierced. Most often my avie sports some Chuck Taylor knock-offs but I do love the pumps I got from Bare Rose (SLurl). IRL? two pairs of "Crocs" and one pair of trainers, black leather for any occasion. Being a girl in SL is very easy compared to iRL, at least in my experience.

As you can see from the pic I like showing off that I'm a girl. Maybe that is what it is all about: SL lets me be "me" much more easily that so-called Real Life does. Being a girl in "meatspace" has been a source of hardship and even tragedy. It wasn't until my virtual life started that I could finally do things that I've wanted to do but for many reasons could not. The influence goes both ways, too, I've noticed. There was some pretty spiffy looking jewelry on sale at QVC the other day and my birthday wish list was near by ...


PS: got the shirt at WWI (SLurl), a store that seems to like certain girl features as much as I do.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Frossen Tjern & Making Ice

Yet another build under my belt, this one done in just a few hours. Still secret so I can't show all of it to you, but some day soon you might be ice skating at Frossen Tjern. :::giggle::: I have a tendency to name some of my builds in Norsk. Long story.

Making ice is fun and not all that hard. So why do I find so much bad ice in-world? Here's the secret. Make the whole prim invisible (use the *Default Transparent Texture from the basic Inventory), then texture only the surface with the "ice" texture of your choice (I like Waterfall - dense layer 1 in the basic Inventory). If you use more than one prim to make a larger size body of water, adjust the repeats and offsets so that the joins are seamless ... not doing this is the biggest mistake I see for in-world water, frozen or not). Then make a bed for the water. Most any rock or dirt texture works well. This prim will be immediately under the ice so folks looking through have something to see. If you use a more opaque ice texture you can skip this step.

Yep. All that in the preceding paragraph is a bit vague, but the idea is to get you in the ballpark and playing with ideas. Stop by my store (SLurl) and grab the free Creating Ice in SL® Tutorial box to learn more ("buy" it for L$0).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Botanical Products Copybotted?

Like many folks, I really enjoy Botanical trees by Kriss Lehmann, so I was perturbed by what appears to be copybotted versions decorating the grounds of a shop (SLurl). Several versions of tress from the Botanical Dark Forest collection set out with full perms and "Take a Copy" set as well as two "Botanical - (u)Japanese Red Maple Large" trees. The other ones also have the same name as their Botanical equivalents. By using Inspect I found that the trees are owned by kurie Erde and show suzytwo Nishi or rudys Aya as the creators, depending on the tree. I own legally purchased Botanical trees and all show Kriss Lehmann as the creator.

Several members of the Lucky Kitty Crew and I filed abuse reports and almost immediately after I sent my second, Colton Linden contacted me to say that nothing could be done without filing a DCMA (What's this? See here.) Not being the creator I felt it best to contact Botanical staff for further action and did so.

If you haven't noticed, I care passionately about resident and creator rights, but I have to admit I was at a loss for knowing what was within my role as a resident when I suspected a creator's rights had been violated. What would you have done? What could I have done differently?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cramer v. Stewart

This is frakin' brilliant.

And from a previous episode:

Jon Stewart has always been brilliant at skewering hypocrisy and these segments show he is still the King of observational humor in late night television.

SLWorld & DowntownSL

In the long-standing tradition of the Disney Resorts, it seems that Linden Labs® is separating the Wonder Magic and the Wink-Wink-Nudge-Nudge Magic because "it has become clear that some Residents are interested in pursuing certain 'Adult' activities in Second Life that others would rather not casually encounter" (Web). At Disney World you can enjoy entertainment that seldom touches mature themes (unless you know the back stories, look very carefully at details, or just have "that" kinda mind) but you need to go to a geographically segregated Downtown Disney (Web) area for the mature fare. Of course, this is Disney, so don't expect Las Vegas or Amsterdam. Just more drunks and lower necklines (no, the buxom Princesses in the main parks are wholesome virgins).

Just when did the Lab notice this? My first day in-world was tame compared to many residents I've talked to, but I turned down sex several times. When I used a male avie to avoid all the sex offers, a gay man offered to bed me (well, more like ... well, it wasn't a bed). At no time were any of the parties involved naked, showing various bits despite clothing, or even using adult language.

So if the adult content is moved to a segregated region where you need to be age-verified to enter, how is this going to stop public nudity in Welcome Areas, trashy talk in malls, and folks with "sex wallet" attachments from getting it on anywhere they want? And what about purveyors of body parts?

"Then there's relocation costs for those who have content that needs to be moved, the status of skins (a skin is essentially a nude image -- will the highest-quality and most-detailed skins be available to the unverified?), ..." (Tateru Nino, Web).

The Isle of Lesbos Mall (SLurl) is a privately owned region so it's vendors are protected, but looking at some who I know have locations on the mainland, I wonder how their content will be judged. One is a swimwear maker and the sheer suit line she has leaves some things to the imagination, but not by much. Will they be mature under the new system? I see the same thing every year in the local Real Life shopping malls when beachwear hits the racks (pun intended).

Can't say I have much of an opinion, though. As I've said before, SL is Their World, Their Content. The Lab can do much as they wish. And the best adult content isn't on the mainland anyway. What I do find interesting is that this initiative is typical of policy changes: presentation and implementation comes in fits and starts with very little clear communication. How long ago was Age Verification started? It seems like something that has fallen so far off the radar even NASA couldn't track it. But it looks like we are finally on our way to having SLWorld & DowntownSL.

Recommended Reads:
  • You Need a Real ID to Look at Fake Tits (Web)
  • Amsterdammed: Linden Lab to Segregate "Adult" Content in Second Life to Red Light Continent (Real Life ID Required (Web)
  • Linden Lab changes course for Second Life's mature content (Web)
  • Second Life Bloggers React To Lindens' New "Amsterdam" Policy Announcement: Who Do You Agree With? (Web)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Photo Contest!

The Isle of Lesbos is sponsoring a photo contest in the mall (a region open to men and women) and I liked the idea of winning up to L$15,000 so I entered. You can vote for me at this SLurl. Yes, I hate asking for your vote, but I could use the money. You can vote for me up to three times a day.

Or join the contest yourself ... only L$25 to join.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My New Collar

My "Steam Punk Collar" from LPP (SLurl) has long been a favorite but as it was No Mod I couldn't add sub collar scripts. I'd have to "hide" the sub collar attached on one point and wear the LPP collar on another, wasting an attachment point. Thanks to my sister Shilo, though, I was given a Copy/Mod edition and wasted little time installing OpenCollar standard (Web) scripts. Now I can be way stylish and unique. Many thanks to LPP owner Aoimizuno Meili.

Riding the Rails!

Found a cute Thomas the Tank Engine at the Russian Welcome Area on the TechInvestLab sim (SLurl). The region appears to be a giant sandbox and building tutorial for Russian speakers. In one area is a box that gives out Particle Lab (SLurl) notes in Russian. A public shooting range is available and all areas seem to be accessible, if not understandable to non-Russian speakers.

Can't Hide the Pride

A new build (semi-secret) for the Isle of Lesbos. Can't give all the details, but hopefully it will see use fairly soon. Some bugs plagued it's construction, though. As mentioned in other posts on this blog, bits would change perms when taken into Inventory or rezzed from inventory. For example, if a No Mod prim is linked to a set and the set is then changed to Mod then taken into Inventory it becomes No Mod upon being rezzed. Upon unlinking all prims and changing the perms of each the problem sometimes reoccurs.

Scripts seem to be the issue, particularly ones that are No Mod despite other aspects of the prim or it's contents are full perms. I've got to create my own pose scripts. Script Me! (Web) won't work for that, nor will Scratch for SL (Web). I'm just going to have to hit the LSL Wiki (Web) and learn something, I guess.

Another possible bug is visible if you look at the extreme left of the image. It looks like an astigmatism. This pic and another with a similar issue were taken with the Release Candidate Viewer's internal snapshot tool. Only object with Glow are affected, but not all of them. In fact, only the big rainbow shows that it has Glow. Other similarly enhanced elements appear to be lifeless. Looks like I'll be searching the JIRA (Web) for like issues. I rather like it, though, and hope that eventually there will be a way to replicate it in-world.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Children in SL

Honestly, I think most so-called drama in Second Life® is brought on by children who have snuck into the adults-only side of the service. Not just children in the chronological sense, but also children in the I-behave-like-I'm-4-years-old sense.

Here is the scenario: Some 100 meters from where I was standing, minding my own business, a resident was being a nuisance and was ejected from the region. Said individual then began to harass the ejector and thus was banned. So here is where I come in ...

Out of the blue, I received an IM asking why this other person was banned (don't ask how I knew, but I was aware that the IMer was an alt of the offender), making me wonder why they contacted me. I was not wearing my security group tag, though if someone was really diligent they might have found out that I have the Security Chief title despite someone else really having that job. So, maybe it was a fair cop (pun intended) to contact me.

Mind you, at this point I knew of the incident peripherally at best, but despite that, the offender's alt began to harass me because I would not clear the ban. They did not ask to discuss the issue or to plead their side. And they were in contact with my boss, the real head of security with much the same conversation going on at the same time. From what I found out later, the initial ejection and ban were valid based on the region's rules, but the resident's subsequent actions would have earned a ban anyway and eventually earned official Abuse Reports from several individuals.

What kind of abuse? Apparently the resident makes vendor systems (though thier profiles were very vague as to which ones so I can't imagine they have much business) and promised to program into all the vendor server software the avatar keys of all the region's staffers so that no in-world vendor would sell things to them nor would the vendors work on any region owned or operated by the owner of the region from which the offender was ejected. They also made vague threats about some sort of action on XStreet, but I guess all the contempt was lost in the rabid froth so I didn't understand most of it. Lastly, the resident threatened another region with similar actions, not aware that I have never even visited that region. ::shock:: Could this person be banned there, too?!?

Do you see the childishness? I mean, aside from trying to hurt people not involved in the situation, such as other staffers not even present and the merchants who would lose business from the loss of sales. A more mature person would probably have thought through their actions and realize that their vendor clients will be contact them about why transactions are failing.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

More Mistakes

Not my mistake this time, though. The build was great (well, others said so) and, aside from some pose scripts, all was set with full perms to turn over to the project manager. I grabbed a copy and it showed in my inventory as No Copy. Fine. I fixed it with Properties and handed it over. It was No Mod on the whole build when she rezzed it. Mind you, the pose scripts were the same ones as in another part of the build that, after some work, turned out well.

However, even after removing all the poses, making sure all the textures and each prim had full perms, problems persisted. So I started from scratch, even changing the design of certain elements in case I somehow offended the Game Gods. The new bit is sitting in place ready to go. Now I wait.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Choices, Tweaks, and Mistakes

One of my most recent projects is 99.999% ready to box up and deliver. All I need is an independent eye to look at things because each time I've declared it "done" I've found something that didn't quite work. For example, the area greeter was originally set to recommend that visitors set the "day" to Midnight (the bottom inset pictured at left) for best viewing. Then I tried it. Not good.

So I destroyed the delivery box, changed the recommendation to Sunrise (top inset), reboxed it, and found that I didn't change everything as I should have. Twice. So I sent a message to the project manager "can you take a look" and left the build in place. Then I saw everything looks better during Sunset (middle inset) from another angle.

Everything looks okay when the environment is adjusted to Midday, maybe marginally better than Midnight, but at this point maybe I'm being too picky. I could save two scripts and five prims by ditching the recommendations all together, but then I'd find something else to tweak.

Take my planet ... please!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Déjà Vu in SL

While dancing with my wife last night I kept seeing our movements momentarily freeze and even "rewind" a few seconds then proceed again, much like a bad sim crossing when your avie keeps moving for a while then "jumps back," but more briefly in these incidences. It reminded me of the déjà vu graphics glitch scene in the movie The Matrix (Web).

[Neo sees a black cat walk by them, and then a similar black cat walk by them just like the first one]
Neo: Whoa. Déjà vu.
[Everyone freezes right in their tracks]
Trinity: What did you just say?
Neo: Nothing. Just had a little déjà vu.
Trinity: What did you see?
Cypher: What happened?
Neo: A black cat went past us, and then another that looked just like it.
Trinity: How much like it? Was it the same cat?
Neo: It might have been. I'm not sure.
Morpheus: Switch! Apoc!
Neo: What is it?
Trinity: A déjà vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Big Text

As I'm tracking the imminent release of the new iMacs (Web; like I can afford one!) I'm lovin' the Full Page Zoom feature of Safari 4 βeta (Web). Like many my eyesight is not quite what it could be so being able to make Web pages bigger is a big plus (pun intended). Now if I can only find a way to make one click of the big A permanent ...