Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New "Linden" Avatars

This tiger from Damian Fate is a lot like his Loco Pocos creations, but bigger!
What? Did I stretch out my Loco Pocos tiger avie onto a "regular" avatar shape? Nope. It's an avie from Inventory > Clothing > Intial Outfits > Animal Avatar Tiger. Along with a snot-load more avies, many furries, made by Pocos creator Damian Fate. Theres a bunny, a cat, a dog, a dragon, .... The list goes on, including several robots. Other creators are listed on some of the other avies, but Damian seems to have lots there. As does Renn Yiffu.

A poster of Renn's avies at his store.

Detail from "Linden Robot No11 LadyBot Pilot" by Renn Yifu, also among the new avies.

SL8B Apologies

Un-named parcel by Dixit Writer @SL8B
I'm sorry. There is just so much to see and do at Second Life's birthday expo this year that I just can't see and report on it all. Scan through my previous posts and you'll see that I certainly took a stab at it. But with about 300 or so exhibits and the need for sleep ...

Well, you get the idea. Right now I'm wandering around playing Greeter, still. For most of my days at SL8B I was a Greeter at the Main Stage, home to some fabulous live performances. That's an aspect of Our World that I neglect, really. Sure, I regularly go to events with DJs, but there is something special about having someone mention you in their lyrics or mounting an epic stage show.

With the shows over I can again wander the regions and catch up on items that I had landmarked to blog about and missed or ones that I had flown by with a glance and a promise to spend more time enjoying. Still, I'm not going to see it all. Mores the pitty as so many people put in such hard work. Labors of love, really, celebrating their place in our community. Honour McMillan put it nicely in her blog today: "The important component of a community celebration such as this one is 'everybody'." It seemed like "everybody" was, indeed, here. I met tons of new people, added to my Friends list (something I seldom do), found folks who had muted me over the years suddenly needing my help, and even helped boot some griefers.

No event like this can be an unqualified success, but as a volunteer-only endeavor, I think it went off rather well. Not everyone kept their cool. Mistakes were made. Protests launched. Walkouts happened. A true cross-section of Our World if I have ever seen one. Importantly, though, lessons were learned. Second Life's Ninth Birthday next year will be even better and I promise right now to jump in there and do my part. I hope to see you all there. Until then, I'm going to wander the exhibits up until closing on July 2nd. If you see me, ask for the Greeter Gifts that I have.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

SL8B & ChangHigh Trinity Sisters Fireshow

The ChangHigh Trinity Sisters Fireshow was on the SL8B Main Stage today. Here's some eye candy from the show:

Very, very nice light show through out and some fabulous Electronica kept everyone moving.

SL8B & “Imaginals"

The "Imaginals" stage show started with this ...

... then the girls spread out ...

... and the costume changes started, feathers started flying, and a great time was had by all!
An amazing show by Junivers Stockholm on guitar with thedove Rhode, Medora Chevalier, Southern Riptide, and Sunshine Vayandar as dancers. The SL8B Main Stage was shakin' with some great rock music.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

SL8B Main Stage

I've had the good fortune to be a Greeter/helper at the SL8B Main Stage (SLurl) because I've been able to see some really great acts. But check out what Alazarin Mondrian brought to the stage today:

A massive stage that blew people away!

Alazarin Mondrian himself!
Alien Sun on keyboards with WallaSan  Grommet on guitar. Cute name there :)

DeForest Shatner on percussion. What a great name!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

SL8B: Clever Fun Beauty

Before beginning work Monday at Second Life 8th Birthday's Main Stage (SLurl and Web) where I got to see some wonderful live music, I explored more of the various exhibits. I'm still so impressed with our world's clever builders, bringing fun and beauty to our world.

Honor McMillan has cleverly used the "shared media" of Viewer 2 technology in her "Our Portrait of Second Life" exhibit to show life in our world and the people in it. Sit in a comfy tree and click any frame to start the show!

One of the most beautiful builds in all Second Life, "Farstar New Earth" (SLurl), has made it to the party in the form of Clausida222 Jewell's "SL8B Honey Swamp." Incredibly detailed textures and a riot of motion transport you to an other-worldly place. This one exhibit you can find yourself lost in for some time.

"Remember Your Magic" by the Virtual Railway Consortium is a surprising bit of fun! Sit on the toy choo-choo outside and suddenly you are aboard a ... well, I won't spoil it for you. This is magic, just what the birthday celebration is all about.

More magic comes from the mind of Kirstens Viewer, a popular way to access Second Life (read more here). Us non-programmers finally get to see what happens inside the viewer to bring us our world. Just don't step in the memory leak!

Yes, yes, yes, I meant to to put this in my Must See post from yesterday ... hey, I'm dopey sometimes. But you must see the dolphins at "Tropical Creations Interactive Dolphin Trick Show." You can ride them, make them do tricks, and even feed them! Whenever I needed a break building or exploring, I'd come here to rewind and often folks would join me when I announced in builder chat what I was doing. Bring you swim suit and a box lunch, you'll be here a while.

More beauty besides the wonderful exhibits can be found in the celebration's infrastructure. Linden Lab's "moles" and other staff have created some fabulous structures all over, like this great park land for the "Park Stage" complex (Web). You can see my pixy alt was instantly attracted.

I'll admit it ... my favorite neighbor at SL8B is the "Raglan Shire Circus" on the parcel adjacent to my build (Lesbos@SL8B; SLurl). Its not just for Tinies, either. Biggies can have fun on the Mustache Ride Carousel and play like our little friends! Look for the fun gifts in the red & white striped tent.

The Empyreal Dreams group presents "The Owl and the Pussy Cat," a fantastically rendered telling of a classic tale. As you can see, the sumptuous colors grab your attention right away, but look closer and you'll find light playing, animated prims, and more. This exhibit is a real joy to visit.

The Transgender Lounge always has a creative build and this year is no exception. The use of color and form is stunning in a visual theme that beautifully represents the group's identity. And "lounge" they do ... lots of room to sit, relax, and get to know people. To the left of this picture is the sculpture at Solkide Auer's "A Walk in A Dream," also well worth a visit for it's beauty and then some.  And way in the background there is St Stephen's Tower, home to the famous Big Ben. Teleporters at that exhibit whisk you to special rooms with spectacular views of SL8B.

There are many shows in SL8B, but nothing like "The Automaton Circus," an adorable 7-minute show that launches every hour. Someone put a ton of time into the build, texture, and animation of this exhibit and deserves every bit of attention they can get. Bring friends! Take a "date" to the show!

Big, artsy builds are everywhere, like this tribute to 8-bit digital life and be bumpy ball behind it. I have to go back because I have to admit I was way to tired to investigate more, but I learned from a friend later in the day that the pink tower has some nice gifts if you look close enough. Can you guess why this is in a region called "Dazzle" ... huh?

Whew! That's a lot of places and there is still more to see. Even with all the time I spent exploring before the party opened to the public I still haven't seen everything. With any luck I can sneak away from my "work" and run amok like a tourist soon.

Monday, June 20, 2011

SL8B: Map & SLurls

Welcome Center! http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SL8B%20Magnificent/39/60/22

Main Stage! http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SL8B%20Beguile/189/64/22

YavaPod Tours! http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SL8B%20Magnificent/1/124/21

Volunteer Center! http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SL8B%20Astound/253/32/22

SL8B Bear Island! http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SL8B%20Bear%20Island/132/162/22

More great places to visit are in the official Destination Guide (Web).


What the heck? I love finding things like this scene in Second Life ... just random stuff that makes sense to someone, but darned few others ... but I found this in the birthday sims, outside the Volunteer Center (SLurl), near the Main Stage (SLurl). All I know is that is the flag of Portugal and Michael Linden is involved.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

SL8B: Must See Sites

If you haven't seen the notices everywhere, Second Life's 8th Birthday (SL8B) celebration opens tomorrow, June 20th, at 10:30 AM. More schedule information can be found here, but I'd like to give a taste of a few "must see sites" that I found.

"From A Single Prim" certainly demonstrates the birthday theme of Magic in Second Life. From a single prim, a massive 130-prim animated statue grows ... and grows .. and grows. Chuckmatrix Clip of CMC Designs very skillfully uses the XD Fusion Puppeteer scripts and some great prim work to really dazzle the viewer.

"Soaring With Magic" is one of the most imaginative builds I've seen ever in Second Life. Windyy Lane's monochromatic art piece beautifully illustrates how our world can be used by artists to step beyond the "4th wall" that usually separates the viewer from the art.

Shadows are in Second Life to stay with the latest official viewer and the "Magic Soul of Prims" lets users of that viewer play with the new feature in fun and creative ways. There are many interactive exhibits throughout the birthday sims, but be sure to see this one. It is beautiful, poetic, and fun, both inside and out. Look carefully or you might miss something!

When you boil it all down, people are the most magical part of Second Life, as Aeon Perian's "Portraits - The White Gallery" strikingly reminds us. Each avatar you see is a walking, living work of art created by unique individuals. In this gallery you'll see some very well crafted examples from people who really care about their art.

What? Only four "must see sites"? Frankly, I became overwhelmed at how many gorgeous builds there were this year and have lots of recommendations. These are the ones that I kept going back to again and again as I traveled the sims over the past few weeks. Each is striking in its own way and very evocative of the "magic" theme to this year's birthday.

Of course, there are other exhibits that are "must see" for various reasons, so here are a few more:

Yavanna Llanfair has donated her time to create tours of the birthday sims with her famous Pod cars. You've probably seen them or used them to visit the Mainland. She has an exhibit specifically about her creation, but these take you on guided tours that shouldn't be missed.

The Happy Hippo Building School's exhibit is an amusing example of the whimsy you can find all over the birthday sims. Touch the UFO to help destroy a building and aid in the downfall of ... well, I'm guessing humanity. Great fun in any case and be sure to look for other other fun, like the many amusement park rides scattered about in various sims.

Since the celebration is a cross section of the best in Second Life then why not check out how "the best" has evoloved over time? Will Webb returns for another year of his famous Time Capsules, each stuffed with goodies donated by builders at past birthday celebrations. Look for the time capsule I designed last year, the rocky arch, and see what is new this year. In the background of this pic, by the way, is the Welcome Area Tree and giant snakes. Snakes? Saunter over for a look after you visit Will's exhibit.

Landscaping is a big part of my Second Life so I couldn't help but be attracted to "Zun's Forest Magic" with it's skillful use of plants and structures. Created by a landscaper for Anshe Chung, this parcel also attracted me for it's freebies. Many exhibits feature gifts for visitors, in this case landscaping goodies.

Marianne McCann reminds us that Community is also part of Second Life's magic with her spot-on build representing the mainland community of Bay City. She's one of the best builders I know and an all-round good kid so I think you'll enjoy visiting here. When it is night, fireworks go off every 10 minutes and there is a secret dance floor. Drop by to see the schedule and get ready to par-tay! Few people rock like Mari! Many other exhibits look good at Midnight so be sure to play with those sun settings or just let the sims change the daylight as you go.
Whew ... now I'm really tired. But I'm not done. I have more parcels I'd like to showcase so if I can sneak away from the Main Stage and all the great entertainment, I'll feature them as soon as I can.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Linden Lab has NOT Been Hacked

"Japan's Sega Corp joined the rapidly growing club of video game companies whose computer systems have been hacked by cyber criminals, the company said on Friday" (Reuters via Yahoo! News).

Makes me wonder about server security at the companies whose games I play, like Linden Lab. But are they big enough for anyone to care? And how often do you change your passwords? While you may not want to go to the extent that security expert Steve Gibson recommends on his "Perfect Passwords" page (Web), you you might want to avoid the most commonly used passwords (Web), make your choices hard to guess, and change them often.

If possible, mix upper and lower case letters with numbers and symbols to make them hard to guess. This doesn't mean they can't be memorable. Maybe start with a phrase you know well, like the opening line of a book. "Call me Ishmael" starts off Moby Dick by Herman Melville becomes Ca11MeIshmae1 (maybe ... lots of choices). It is also hard to type until you get used to it, but it would be memorable. Or use the first letters of each word in a long phrase: Twas the Night before Christmas becomes t+nb4C. Very, very hard to guess.

This won't help you if an unencrypted list of passwords and e-mail/user names is stolen from The Lab (in our example ... I'm not implying anything specific) so change your passwords often. Weekly is best. Monthly should do. Anytime you hear of a hack ... almost weekly. Maybe even right now, while it is on your mind?


Yes, it is Uccello Poultry's 5th Birthday! Five years ago I abandoned my Teen Grid identity and created Uccello Poultry on the Main Grid, quickly proceeding to trash the reputation of this identity, too. Even the octopi were out to get me as you can see in this 5 year old pic. The timing of the account change is not a coincidence, because unlike many another teen I knew, I waited until my 18th birthday to hit the main grid. So today I'm also 23 years old IRL. No, you may not see my baby pictures.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I am a Subversive (apparently)

According to greatfirewallofchina.org, "No servers were able to reach your site. This means that your site is most likely NOT accessible from within mainland China." Hooray! I'm a Subversive and folks in China should have no contact with me! Does this mean I'm safe from their government-sponsored hackers (Web)?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


My final graphics wish for Second Life is here: Shadows. I've been trying to use them on the excellent Kirstens Viewer (Web) but had poor results and I continually crashed or horribly lagged. With today's release of the Phoenix Beta viewer (Web) my whole computer froze and required a restart after trying to activate shadows. But the recent official Project Viewer (Web) from The Lab worked great and it's features are in the newest official viewer, v2.7.1, along with the new Search (which popped up unexpectedly last night in the previous official viewer, actually). Read more about the new viewer on the official blog (Web) and then download it (bottom of the same page) for results like these:

Without shadows, this scene is lifeless despite realistic textures that are properly applied.

With shadows, the same scene takes on more depth, including (to my surprise) the water. Makes me glad I put that palm tree near the bar in my SL8B build.
Despite the lack of crash, there is still some lag on my 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics card inside my 27" iMac (with all the latest drivers) but at least my avie can move, I can cam around, and take pictures. The feature can easily be turned on and off so I can pose, set the Windlight they way I want it (I have 400+ options that I installed), get the shadows on, and then take pictures or just lounge about. Kudos to the Lab for making shadows work with very little pain.

Monday, June 13, 2011

SL8B Parcel DONE!

Yes, yes, yes. I've been "done" since the first day building started, but as usual I've tweaked and poked and trimmed. Early this morning I got word that my 10m2 Observation Deck wasn't permitted. Some silly rule that means I can't use one despite having had one the previous several years. Oh, well. That's five more prims I could use for other things so I had 13 prims to burn. Well, 11 because I have to keep two available for dance balls to be added by Threshin Barnett, a build partner. So I added a small "beach" and a palm tree, a few columns with banners at each corner showing the exhibit logo, and decided to call it quits with just enough of a prim allowance left for the dance balls. So here's a birds-eye view:

A nice garden swing in the east (at top) and a lounge in the southwest are just two of several places for folks to kick back and relax. Two of the trees feature cuddles and there are two swimmy toobs plus a beach towel near the bar. The Isle Greeter Bot, Elspeth, is there, too, dispensing gifts and information.
Come see us (SLurl) at when we open. Here are the Dates:

  • June 20—10:00 a.m. SLT: Gates open to the public!
  • June 23—The Birthday! Special ceremonies included!
  • June 26—Last day of entertainment.
  • July 2—Gates close at 11:59 p.m. SLT

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Great Viewer 2 Rant

Stop right now and go read Honour McMillan's "I don't have to Apologize for Using Viewer 2 in Second Life" post on her blog (Web). Then please come back and read any posts of my blog that you haven't read yet. Thank you.

Free Publicity for SL8B Exhibitors!

I'm still collecting Landmarks for the amazing builds that I'm finding under construction at the Second Life 8th Birthday sims and with the public opening on the 20th, I may start pre-writing so I can get as many as possible in before everything closes July 2nd. If you are an Exhibitor or a helper to one or you just saw a great one in progress and you want the build featured on this blog and maybe the official SL8B blog, drop me a note card with landmark in world or leave a comment here with the SLurl. I have over a dozen spots I'd like to feature now and I'm interested in hearing what you'd recommend.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Trails Tree

Zyx Flux, my wee pixy alt, is my landscaper. To help keep my inventory under control I've transfered what I can for landscaping from my inventory to hers and all new purchases go through her. So when she found a wonderfully mossy fallen swamp tree at New Trails (SLurl), I just had to send her the money.

Zyx posing on the tree she bought at New Trails.
Without sit animations, the price is L$195 for Mod/Trans or L$1750 for Mod/Copy. She bought the L$350 Mod/Trans with nine animations (for two people), though the L$2950 Mod/Copy version was tempting. Hard to believe that something this beautiful is only 3 prims if you use the included shadow. Even prettier are the pose-free mushroom-sprouting versions near by. One day. One day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

SL8B Away Games

Three Anonymous Residents play Away Games with SL8B Fearless Leader Doctor Gascoigne.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What's in my Closet: Adorable Cow Avie

Technically, this isn't the adorable cow avie I have in my closet, though I do have a couple almost as cute as this one. While working on portraits for Lesbos@SL8B my friend Xandah showed up in an adorable cow avatar from Derp and since I love the critters I had to investigate. For just L$900 you get both male and female bits in your choice of colors (Holstein brown pictured here) and the ladies have a choice for udders or not at time of purchase. I didn't visit Derp's main store in Jia (SLurl), but I was able to find a vendor at Rocket City (SLurl), my first stop whenever I look into furry avies.

She's a beautiful avie over all with not-quite-hooves for hands and a nicely proportioned starter shape. The sculpted bits rez fast and stay rezzed even at a distance. All the textures are sufficiently crisp with no flaws that I could find. The avatar's skin is purely PG, but I imagine that third-party nipples-n-bits would work fine if you need them.
Touch the included hair to switch between four different colors, but a HUD is required to change the eye color. Imagine your eye as three rings, inner, middle, then outer (shadow) around the pupil and you get an idea of how the HUD works. Each ring can be custom colored and each eye can be set independently. An "Infinity" button makes some smart choices if you don't want to do a lot of work. A separate HUD controls eye blink, eyelids, the mouth and the tongue, as well as various positions for the tail. The ear wiggle can't easily be turned off, but the script can be removed from the mod/copy part. If you are wondering, that spot on her forehead is a Bindi since Xandah is, apparently, a sacred cow.

The feet still use invisiprims, but I see they are mod/copy so I'd be tempted to remove them and use the Invisible Feet mask that The Lab has given us in the basic Inventory folder.

My only disappointment is the same one that bothers me with any furry avie, or any avie that isn't a slender, Amazon-tall human: Most animations look terrible. Xanadah's forehooves often disappeared into her chest or her hips and her hindhooves often became one when her feet moved close together. I suppose thats the price one pays to have such beauty, however.