Saturday, March 31, 2012

Little Time for SL Today

Some new meds are sapping my energy and yet I still have a ton of stuff keeping me busy in Real Life so I don't have much time for Second Life today, but Angela and I did manage to spend a few moments buzzing about Armada Breakaway (SLurl), a wonderful place recommended by Honour McMillan on her blog.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Real Life on Paper

As someone who relies on her iPad (and iPod Touch) to communicate in Real Life, I check out each and every "notebook" app available so when the free app Paper came out yesterday, I was on it like a diacritical on an î (that's the little mark above the letter ... this is humor; pay attention, please).

Wow, this is a nice bit of software. When I can't use Proloquo2Go to speak – like when it is too noisy – I need to write out my thoughts. Or sometimes a sketch is better at getting things across. I can also keep complete thoughts ready to show in a hurry – "Combo #2 Medium No Onion No Tomato Dr Pepper Thanks."

Actual Screen Cap from Paper and I can't wait to use it at Wendy's.

Now I'm debating on spending $8.00 on the extra tools, but since I've deleted the Moleskine app and I'm re-evaluating the others for contented use, I think I might have to spend the money.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Route 7 in Putnam

My inbox this morning was filled with emails from Zyx Flux, Pixy Gardner and Amateur Explorer, each with different ideas for road trips she wants me to sponsor. One email had a complete report ... "Here's a freebie," she wrote, "to remind you about my writing and I hope you see your way to financing further expeditions." So without further ado, here is her report on construction Route 7 in Putnam (SLurl).

The Linden Moles are as busy as beavers in Putnam, rebuilding the intersection of Route 7 and Route 7B. No one was around to ask, but I'm guessing that they are going to add amenities to the Rez Zone and improve safety features.

With all the empty land I'm sure the Moles don't have to worry about property damage if cars go off the road, but it is heartening to see that they followed proper procedures for setting up the construction zone with one exception: No Flag Mole to regulate the suddenly one lane traffic.

At least the Hover Barrels are clean and in good condition.

The Moles face a few challenges, though as the pavement is a bit soft even without being set to Phantom.
No doubt that Zyx loves exploring and finds interesting places, so I guess I should review some of her suggestions and toss a few assignments her way. That should, at least, let me have some material on hand so I can avoid days like yesterday when I had no blog posts at all. If you have any exploration ideas for Zyx, leave them in Comments and I'll forward them along.

Monday, March 26, 2012

First Prim in History & Deja Visit

I've been zipping around Second Life, casually, just looking at things on the Damaged/Non Working Linden Content Locations list for the fun of it (yah ... I need a Third Life, really) and today I came across a unique museum in Shermerville and the First Prim in History (SLurl). Really.

Not really the first prim in Second Life, but you should go listen to it. Yes, listen.
Right. I was a bit disappointed yet still amused. I thought it might really have been Second Life's first prim considering that the region is pretty much all Linden property. Shermerville (and it's related sims) is a very "ideal" suburban Amercian-style community quite evocative of the 50s-60s, though you will find some shops and a few interesting things such as the museum and some very fun bouncy mushrooms (SLurl). A few of SL's more famous Residents have homes in this rather peaceful place. I won't drop names, but I'm fortunate enough to have one on my Friend list. You'll also find the Church of the Mac (SLurl), another museum that  has lots of funny pictures that even non-Apple computer users might enjoy.

What? Only one picture?? Even with all the things you saw???

Well, I wasn't very energetic today having spent a grueling day out of the house pushing a wheelchair and lugging things only to face two loads of laundry when I got home ... and no nap. Maybe I'm a bit punch-drunk from lack of sleep, though, because Shermerville reminds me of something I keep experiencing in Second Life ... deja visit.

How many times have you visited a place (usually on Mainland) and looked around only to realize "I've been at a another location very near by!"? Like the first time I visited the Church of Mac I realized that my friend's house was just around the corner. Or even today when I visited the Shermerville Park because of the Linden content list it took a wee bit of flying around to notice the church and my friend's house ... and recognize the park from a visit in or about my earliest days in-world. Deja Visit! I find it interesting how often we think of the world as big yet we keep coming across the same places.

One day I was at another friend's shop and I took a look on the map out of curiosity to see how far away my home was from there ... a 5 minute flight. We were practically neighbors. And I recognized several spots on the flight home. Deja Visit!

So maybe I shouldn't post pictures at all any more. You should go see all the places I write about and have your own Deja Vista experiences. And you can have them at my place if I can raise L$ 45848 (some $185USD) I can buy a 512m2 lot I found in the community.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Heads Up Items!

Heads Up #1
If you haven't been following Honour McMillian's blog then you've missed some extraordinary sights in Second Life, particularly those in her last several posts. If I don't write anything else for my blog today it is because I'm catching up on visiting her recommendations.

Heads Up #2
I've started a group for anyone who loves the Linden Moles: LDPW Mole Fan Club (click here). As a long-time resident of the Mainland and explorer through all of Second Life, I've come to appreciate the talents and hard work of the Moles, that dedicated workforce behind SL's infrastructure and some interesting special attractions. The Premium Wilderness regions are something to see, really and I'd like to see its detractors do better than the Moles have. Feel free to join the group and make suggestions. If I can get anyone other than alts and family to join maybe we can organize trips or at least use it to share information about SL's most beloved builder-critters and the fine works they do. Hit me up in-world for a membership if you don't like following links.

Heads Up #3
Michael Linden is the Head Mole, of course, and I'm going to "out" his personal home, exclusively to you right here right now:

Facing North from the sea. Michael has a lot of airplanes and boats.
All shots taken with the "Magic Hour" Windlight setting with Default water.

The house itself is pretty empty, but there are quite a few seats outside all over the property.

Well-manicured picnic area, but would you expect less from the hand who commands Moles?

The small pool is more for show but the 19 prim cooler does offer beer, Coca Mola, and Lindeade.

The Southern end of the property is also very pretty despite the lack of a view.

To the North is the Zebrasil Infohub (SLurl) and a volcano on Ichelus (SLurl). Be careful as the eruptions may kill you should you stand in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Watching the volcano at sunset from the Zebrasil Infohub. Eruptions are hourly, or thereabouts.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Private Messages

Apologies to all the folks who have written to me over the past few months, but I have to admit that I totally missed this until today. I like think that I pay attention, but this belies the impression.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Infohub Bots

As often as not, if you land in one of the many, many Infohubs found around Second Life you'll be greeted with a landmark offer from an official-sounding "greeter" called *Newbie Greeter 2012 SD*. In my recent experience 7/11ths of them are for London City, perhaps explaining why that is the most visited region in Second Life. Once in a while someone managed to rez a box on site, but usually there is a BOT near by, often standing submerged in water if it is available.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Received Items Folder is Live!

Zip over to the Second Life Marketplace to get the free Linden bear pictured above and test out the new Received Items folder in your Inventory. Yes, they warned us it was coming. And until all the merchants get on board, some boxes will still show up in the Objects folder. Here are my screen grabs while using the Exodus viewer, but testing with the Official Viewer yielded the same results:

From the Inventory view, if you click the large Received Items "button" (shown in the last picture below), you'll see the area expand as shown. Things cannot be dragged from other folders into Received Items. Instead of an object showing up, a folder representing my purchase appeared, saving me the trouble of unpacking a box. Note that things purchased in-world will not appear here. Also, if you like to have a boxed copy of purchases for back-up storage, you will now have to box them  yourselves, unless a merchant chooses to send a boxed purchase in a folder.

Note the "New" indicator and that a Received Items folder is not visible in the main Inventory tree structure.  Also, you cannot drag things from one folder to another within the Received Items pane but you can drag things from Received Items to other folders. Until now, I would put all the incoming goodies in my Objects: Sort folder if I didn't open and sort them right away. This could save me a step or two, but to reiterate: It only works with Marketplace purchases.

A Received Items folder only shows when the Recent tab is selected.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yclept's Last Day

Since I don't really need another alt, I decided to let Yclept Resident, an alt I created to visit the new Destination Islands (Web) off into the sunset and cancel the account, but I let her loose to play for about an hour first. Here is her "last day" in pictures.

After hitting the Home button a few times, Yclept wound up in the midst of a Griefer Attack in the Hellfell Infohub (SLurl). This portion was mild but at one point the particles spanned the whole region with images of the Microsoft Blue Screen of Death, FOXnews screen caps, and more. Hellfell is a very empty and dull Infohub, but it is near a road.
Not far from the Infohub is a Linden-owned beach with some sort of camp built by airplane crash survivors. I wonder how long it took the downed flyers to notice all the near by buildings.
Yclept finally found some shade at this Mole-made beach. Darkness is important for vampires but so is excitement. Out of boredom, Yclept left and headed to the road.
The same Linden scuba gear you can grab at the Premium Wilderness regions is at Route 7's southern terminus. No idea why as there is no sea life in the water, just bare sand. Still ... Freebie!
Contrary to climate, someone built a Winter paradise just off Route 7 and then put up ban lines, contrary to the greeting messages one sees when trying to enter.
It appears that Route 7 ends after just 10 minutes (or less) flying time and about five regions. But if you look beyond the barriers, there is a free boat rezzer and a stretch of water to sail.
Someone didn't tell the horrible, laggy cars that Route 7 becomes a waterway at this point. This one smoked it's tires trying to get up onto the dock, blocking Yclept along the way. As she sailed along, waiting for sunset, more vehicles fought with Yclept to control the sea lanes. Eventually the road returns in the Sunspiral sim (SLurl) and that is where Yclept logged out before I cancelled her account. I kinda miss her.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Random SL Thoughts

While watching the new Mupppet movie (Web) I thought I'd grab my iPad and add some random SL thoughts to my blog:

It was nice to see how many people dressed appropriately for the setting while visiting the new Premium Wilderness regions. My outfit was from my collection of tropical BINA Tende cloth sets. Many folks were in khaki with pith helmets, medieval garb, or even military camo.

While zipping about with my temporary alt Yclept, the one I used to visit the new Destination Islands, my avatar was taken to a different Infohub each time each time I hit the Home button, up to about 10 or so total.

There seems to be a fan group for Linden Moles in-world but it looks to be "dead" and I want to start my own anyway. After all, I am a member of the Molly Linden fan club. I should look to see if Michael Linden has a fan club.

Not all the Infohubs were labeled as such, such as Korea1 and Korea3. These two regions made me think that a shrinking world population might be best accompanied by a shrinking land area. Almost all the buildings were hollow, though ready to accept stores or apartment dwellers. With so many empty spaces on Mainland and all the emptiness like I saw in the Koreas, it might be more efficient and more economical to condense spaces and bring people together. The World can always expand later.

The other night my wife and I were exploring an Estate region that appeared to have had no visitors in quite some time despite the startling beauty we found. I'll feature it in a post sometime this week because anyone interested in abstract architecture and amazing — buildscapes, for lack of a better word — and a mystery/quest that I need to explore further. I wonder how folks can afford a region that generates no income. I guess having an RL income helps. It sucks to be poor.

I've been trying for a couple days to get Shared Media on a prim to work without any success. There was a time I could get it to work and even successfully used it at a Second Life Birthday exhibit.

When the heck are they going to announce a theme for the next Birthday anyway? I wanna build! NOW!

Here is a random SL pic from my archives since I can't really make a blog post without a picture (I'm just that way, I guess):

You aren't seeing double. Angela (right) and I are trying the same demo hair. She's much cuter, of course.

Today, my brother found that the Hatton-Jergans Trench (SLurl) is 80m below sea level, possibly making it the deepest submerged point in Second Life. Take that, James Cameron! Well, it is possible to go deeper, actually, but neither of us have see it that we can recall.

CC also found an amazing number (12?) of identical avatars simply standing around on the sea bed in several of the surrounding sims. What do folks us bots for these days?

Sense of Humor

It is so nice to see creators with a sense of humor, such as the side panel on this box of hair from Discord Designs (SLurl).

Monday, March 19, 2012

Premium News

Often I tell folks that the primary benefit of having a Premium membership to Second Life is that if your account is suspended or frozen, paying Residents are far more likely to have the issue resolved than are non-paying Residents. Live chat generally stinks but Premium members have some pull and other resources, too. Plus there are the in-world benefits, like the really quiet sandboxes, a regular L$ stipend, a really nice Linden home or up to 512m2 of land rent-free (just buy the land) and the occasional gift. Now there is a special game just for those of us that pay: Premium Wilderness! Six different G-rated venues, actually. Check out the video:

The six regions blend seamlessly, though each does have a bit of a unique flavor to them. You can ride a ferry between regions, ride an automated stone-age "segway" vehicle, travel by Capybara, and more. Lots of tropical birds and monkeys (some throw bananas!) as well as quite a few other critters fill the lush grounds. Some regions even have special activities, though you'll find 7-Seas fishing, free scuba gear, floaty toobs, boats, and other things common to all the regions. Look for surprises all over and be sure to try interacting with animals and objects on the trails and the many social camp sites. Here are a few scattered observations for each region with gratuitous landscape porn:

Premium Wilderness: Caiman (SLurl) Of course you'll find caimans here, but you'll also find tribblepigs (teeny capybara) which can be herded into a paddock for prizes.

Premium WildernessCapybera (SLurl) Simply beautiful. Like all the regions, be sure to at least try the regional default Windlight settings. The water is a bit strange, but the ferry ride is still pleasant. Play fetch with a jaguar at the ruins (SLurl). Um. Unless you don't like dead chickens.

Premium WildernessGecko (SLurl) lots of bugs and mice and a 7-Seas aquarium to which you can add your fish (I put in a Grape Jelly Fish) is inside the big building on the shore. But look at the toucans! Of course, you'll find geckos in Gecko.

Premium WildernessPiranha (SLurl) I love the riverside dock huts, all within line-of-sight with Leech. Try the Whac-a-Mole games or play some checkers with a friend. Not that I'd really hurt the Moles. They've done such a beautiful job on these regions.

Premium WildernessLeech (SLurl) Sandy shorelines and a jungle with a dance club on the big hill. You and a buddy/partner can ride a capybara through the jungle and even race them against others on a special course. Here I'm eyeing a large beast before opting for the "Flintstone Segway" instead.

Premium WildernessTapir (SLurl) This was my first stop and the very, very beautiful waterfall was a great introduction to the regions. Here I'm risking my butt with the piranha by sitting in a floaty toob.

I was in the six regions for a couple hours and still didn't see everything. Well, some of that time was spent AFK to write this blog post, but I did a lot of flying around and riding the ferry and walking about the ruins that are all over.

I see a tremendous potential here as Non-Player Characters (NPCs) are introduced and story lines are added (The Lab did buy a story company, you know). Once the wonder of seeing an actual jungle canopy wanes and one has explored as much as possible, Residents can still play the little games and gather socially, but I don't see that happening much.

Now, if we can get the Elderglen Infohub (SLurl) turned into a Premium area ....

Not a premium member? You can have a full-year's subscription for just $9.95USD per month. Paying annually is a good deal for just $72USD, a savings of $47.40USD! Billed quarterly at L$11.25USD leads to an annual cost of $90USD, but there is a special on right now for half-off the first quarter making your annual cost but $78.75USD.

Better Living Through Writing

Yes, the quote famously is "Better Living Through Chemistry" but the only chemistry I know is to layer pudding into my ice cream. Writing, however, is something everyone should know about as it is an exceptionally important means of communication. As someone who can't speak except via American Sign Language in the Real World, I have to say a lot through writing. Since losing my voice I've written enough that many think I've been on Earth a lot longer than I have been because I've practiced the rules of good writing, developed an extensive vocabulary, and learned to correct my mistakes.

Omitting a serial comma (sometimes called the Oxford Comma), however, is a mistake committed by all too many professional writers. Simply put, the serial comma separates items in a list. For example: Blue, green, and red are colors of the pixels in a computer display screen. The colors are a set and a list; a concatenation, to use a big word. I mention the computer display because today's rant stems from yet another paid writer for a tech blog who doesn't seem to know about the serial comma.
When the first iPad made its appearance in our house, it quickly became apparent how intuitive it was for the kids to use (for the record, mine are aged 9, 9 and 12 so they are reasonably responsible with fragile gear so long as it's in a protective case) [Moon, Brad. "The Case for Buying iPads for Your Kids." Gizmodo MAR 19, 2012 7:14 AM].
Are his kids aged 9 and 12, written about with a folksy, conversational pause, or are they ages 9, 9, and 12? (I won't get into aged vs. ages.) How many children does Mr Moon have?* Without the proper use of a serial comma we won't know the answer, though we can probably guess it is the latter situation. Most people don't remember back to Elementary school and the serial comma lesson, yet without its proper use the writer's intent can be seriously led astray.

Comical, yes, but I believe it gets the point across. A comma is a pause. Read aloud what you have written to tell if it "sounds right," especially if your message is important. Your tone can remain conversational if that is appropriate for your audience, but don't become so lazy with the punctuation that you lose clarity.

Suggested Reading
"Going, Going, and Gone?: No, The Oxford Comma is Safe ... For Now" by Linda Holmes
"Michael Hogan: Vampire Weekend's 'Oxford Comma,' Explained" by Michael Hogan
"A Snarl of Serial Commas" message board discussion on the A Way With Words Website.

* Lately I've adopted the British style of titles, omitting a period after.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Noobie News

Happy (late) St. Patrick's Day! I didn't spend much time in-world yesterday as I was out of the house far too long, but at least I had a nice Guinness (and then some) at a local pub to celebrate the day. I helped a noobie get acquainted with Second Life and tried the new Resident experience myself afterward and after reading Daniel Voyager's account of the new Destination Islands (click here for the post and my comment thereon). Here's hoping The Lab isn't intentionally screwing the pooch to kill off Second Life because I'm afraid that the new introduction to Our World is just that bad.

My view upon landing, using the Beta viewer.
Yclept Resident is a throw-away account to be deleted soon, btw. I tried well over a dozen names before
grabbing a random one from the dictionary. The lack of surnames forces folks into really strange
names and makes signing up a frustrating process, but that is another issue.
The infrastructure was created primarily by Damian Fate (no mention on his blog that he is involved in this project), Kwoo Oddson (the rock monster maker at Linden Realms, apparently). and Crazy Mole with a sim surround by Sominel Edelman. Of course, everything I could find is owned by Governor Linden.

Damian's build is very attractive. I've long thought of him as a wonderful designer.
Note the "Away" person to the right and the other Resident that figured out how to Edit Appearance, the two most common noobie experiences before asking for money or sex.
Very few people were chatty and no one I met seemed to know what do to at all. The How to pop up (see pic above) should be the first window to appear, I think to welcome new Residents. I understand that an international audience requires grapho-icon signage, but the setting was still too spartan to be noobie-friendly.

Simply walk into a portal and you are god-teleported to a random location from the Destination Guide based on the theme you pick. If you try to fly off the island too many times you are just booted to a random location.

I have to confess this is my second time through the new Destination Island. Yesterday I entirely forgot to take pictures. As part of the informal Resident Greeter group run by Daniel I'm tempted to leave Yclept on Destination Island, sending her new clothes, body parts, and good landmarks for noobs,  but likely she's be shuffled off to a new location upon logging in again.

Crazy Mole makes such pretty flowers that even vampires like them!
Right. Daylight vampires. *sigh* Even some in the fabulous Kim Harrison books are day-walkers, but she has
a pretty plausible explanation. I'll buy that for now, but I need to get Yclept into another avatar as soon as I can.

Like a day-walker Werewolf!!! Off to Adult World!!
Or not. As this account was not Age Verified, only the map opened to show an Adult Sandbox (SLurl) and a warning appeared telling me that I need to prove my age. I really went to the Art portal, landing at the SLACC (SLurl).

Maybe I did get to an adult area, as the following message showed up in Main Chat after I landmarked the SLACC:

You have been teleported by the object 'Destination HUD v1.1' on the parcel 'Norbo's Nipples, Leather Wear, Clothing, Animations and more'.

Hitting the Home button in the upper tool bar landed me at the Braunworth Infohub (SLurl), same as yesterday's test avie. It was very crowded so I turned on Always Run (Ctrl-R) and got out of there to relive my noobie experience.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Surprisingly, I don't have much in the way of St. Patrick's Day decorations, so I bought a couple items tonight and added them to what I have so folks who visit the Isle of Lesbos don't think I'm a total slacker.

Yah, still kinda pitiful. But ladies who visit can grab a box of freebies ... follow the huge, glowing shamrocks to the box about 10m from the landing spot (SLurl). It's all stuff for women that might look a little funny on the guys. Sorry, gentlemen. I'm sure you can find some nice freebies elsewhere.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Being ignored

Anyone who has worked as a greeter or as security or in some way that puts one in the position of talking to folks newly arrived at a location probably knows that a lot of ignoring happens. Such has been the lot at the Isle of Lesbos for the many years I've stood, sat, or danced (or done other things *blush*) at the region entrance. My usual "Welcome to Lesbos, [name here]!" and a wave is ignored more often than not. In fact, quite a few girls pop in, stand for a moment, and leave, without any indication that they've actually been to the Isle.

Caitlin O'Poultry of Galway waiting to be ignored at Lesbos. At least the cat talks to me.
Just tonight, though, a thought occurred to me ... "What if someone is replying, but in Voice, and hasn't noticed that I don't have the Ghostly Dot of Verbosity over my head?" A girl had popped in and immediately started to wander about so I guessed she had a pulse and an un-interrupted Interwebs connection. When I greeted her she did stop and turn her avatar toward me, reasonably obvious sign she knew I had "said" something. But then nothing. No typing animation, no Instant Message, no chat text for a couple minutes before she walked a hundred or so meters to the beach and left the region.

/me sighs and wonders if she should leave Voice on though she doesn't use it 99.9% of the time, even in large groups such as the Isle's wonderful events.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pay Ben Linden (!?!)

Look what I found in the Balance region (SLurl), a Linden-owned vehicle sandbox:

Maybe this is a test build, especially since it is in a sandbox. And maybe it refunds any monies paid, though I haven't tried it to see if that might be true. But paying a Linden for content? Besides, there are nicer motorcycles for less money available, including some on the SL Marketplace. Quickly found is a full-perms "street racer" for L$19 (click here) plus quite a few L$10 bikes and choppers from Black Widow Motors (click here).

For my use today, I grabbed at L$10 Bug Mobile from the near by Busy Ben's Vehicle Lot and Rezzing Area (SLurl), a Linden-owned parcel where in-world creators can market their wares, like the Bug Mobile (see below), cars, planes, boats, and the motorcycles priced from L$50 for a basic sculpty model and on up to spendy, very nice ones.

Later I popped over to the race track in the Georgean region (SLurl) and grabbed a free Linden Mole-made hoverboard. Remember, the Moles love you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Modesty Hair

My new "Sebastianne" hair from Wasabi Pills (SLurl) means I'm legal in G-Rated regions even when I'm topless, right? I wanted one color out of the "reds" pack and one color out of each of the "fun colors" packs, but there is no pic and choose, so I just got the former. I wish all creators would have a "Basics" colors pack for hair with blonde, brunette, red, black, and a "fun" color.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Home Changing Home

Every now and then my brother, CC Columbo, gets an urge to play in Second Life. Usually it is with strange avatars or flying in some WarBug airplanes (SLurl), but lately he's been buying land in our home region and doing some landscaping. Yesterday he tore out a recently added pond and added a beautiful pre-fab gazebo and meadow, building some steps to connect it to the land with our treehouse. He asked me to add some particle stars at the gazebo and some Linden trees to my 1/5th of the whole parcel. Just now I finished up that request so I took these pictures as I relaxed on the steps:

You can visit the new area with this SLurl.