Saturday, June 28, 2014

How Do I Love Thee?

One of the less truly useful features of the My Second Life microblog is the "Love" option on each post. What does it really mean? Maybe if I used MyFace or FacePlace or something like that I'd be able to answer my own question. Perhaps I should explain how I use the "Love" option.

Take this post (shown above) by ZZ Bottom (AKA Foneco Zuzu) from the Live Stage at SL11B (SLurl) featuring staff member Ruby Vandyke. I clicked "Love" because I know Ruby. She's not a close friend. She's not even on my Friend list. But we've talked often during the Second Life Birthday so I liked the picture. If "Like" had been an option then, yes, I would have clicked that. Strength of feeling doesn't usually matter when I "Love" a post or not.

My usual criteria to click "Love" are ...

... do I know the subject?
... is it a really nice picture?
... is Toples Tuesday the topic?
... exploration pictures would rate "Very Loved" if that was an option.

What sorts of posts do I NOT "Love"? Generally, serial pictures of people at parties or events or dancing. Posts that are likely controversial and I'd rather not be in the way of constant "Someone replied ..." notices tend to go un-Loved.

I certainly don't expect people to "Love" my posts unless they really want to do so. There are a few who I know don't "Love" my Topless Tuesday pix and I understand their reasons. Fine. Not a problem. I'd rather have a discussion going on a post than see a "Love" notice. That tells me that people are more involved in what I post. Yes, I'm guilty of not doing that myself, but I'm working on it.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

SL11B - Embargo Lifted!

The official Second Life 11th Birthday blog has published more than a few sneak peek pictures of the event in the building stages as have quite a few Residents on their blogs and on their MySL pages. Many of the pix from the latter forums turned out to be more than carefully cropped previews, but no one went all Snowden on the event. Some of the mystery is preserved. I held off until today and here are some of the images I've been collecting since I was given access last week. These and more can be found in my SL11B Flickr album. Many more will be posted directly from the Second Life "Share" viewer I'm testing. The event officially opens June 22 at Noon SLT.

My job this year was to be Doc Gascoigne's body guard.
Whenever he was AFK I'd protect him with a tub of lime Jell-O®.
Pygar Bu created a lovely stage complex for the Auditorium. The detailed, bucolic setting has paths to explore, prep stages for presenters, and a spacious main stage.
Did I mention there were snacks? (SLurl)

On rehearsal day at the Auditorium I watched Hamayu Andel and a Modern Chinese Ballet go through their act. Clear your calendar for June 26th at 6PM SLT to see this amazing performance. Amazing music, gorgeous sets in brilliant colors, and a great story, too. Must See! (SLurl)
These next three images are of the Bay City exhibit (SLurl) crafted by Marianne McCann. It has a very 60s vibe to it and is a good reflection of corporate promotional style. Be sure, as with many of the exhibits, to have Advanced Lighting active to see the intricate details that Mari has added. This is the future of Second Life, people. Get used to it.

The Cake Stage (SLurl) is another amazing build. Loki Eliot is always pushing the envelope in everything he crafts and this venue is no exception. Again, use Advanced Lighting when you can.

Multi-region bridges connect all of SL11B to the Cake Stage, with lights pulled right out of the Tron movies pulsing, swirling, and flowing. Fly around out side and you'll see some cool sculptures, too.
Inside the Dome. It would be a crime if you attended an event in the Cake Stage and didn't fly into the dome. Imagine this picture in 3D and moving.
Look for the VIP boxes. There be gifts hidden in them. Plus, look a the stuff near the seats on the dance floor and click the white buttons. Heck, click everything!! Loki is a master of details.
Just wandering the regions is fun, too. Here is a typical scene. Just like Mainland SL you'll find jarring juxtapositions and harmonious habitats so wander around on foot for at least some of your visit. Many buildings are very tall so do some flying, too.

Just a street? (SLurl)
One of the Time Capsules near the Welcome Area (a treat in itself) (SLurl)
Above is one of my prides and joys, the Time Capsule for SL7B. That year I won the design contest so I have a lasting presence on The Grid. Each year some of the past Time Capsules and select items donated to these repositories are set out to show people what Second Life looked like in years past. Go here to read about this year's contest.

Lastly, a reminder to look up. Not all you can see is at ground level. Cam, climb, or fly and you might see ...

Somniatis - Ascension of the Digital Consciousness (SLurl)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Topless Tuesday Again?!?

Yes, it seems all I do is blog about Topless Tuesday.  I've blogged nothing since last Tuesday (though the pic from then was highlighted on Busted Magazine's blog) but it wasn't from lack of trying. Okay, it was partly from lack of trying. But I've started a semi-secret job at Second Life's 11th Birthday (SL11B) and pix are under an embargo right now. That also means that a chunk of my otherwise free time has been taken up so I have less time to ...

Who am I kidding. I'm lazy. Here's your picture:

Click to embiggen or see other sizes and more pix from other Topless Tuesday revelers on Flickr.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Topless Tuesday is a Beach

Once again lacking in creativity I went to a beach for my Topless Tuesday picture this week. You'd think I'd find some clever way to pose in lingerie or undressing or anything but what I usually do – go to a beach. Maybe next week. Until then ...

Click to embiggen or visit the Topless Tuesday in SL Flickr group.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Ever's Tiny Island

Still vandalizing despite circumstances, it looks like Ever Dreamscape struck again yesterday, this time marking Tiny Island in Bay City as hers.

Ever's Tiny Island (SLurl)
Of course, locals have long referred to the spit of land as "Ever's Tiny Island," or at least since the combined King Kong and shark attack one day last year or the stranding of tourists before that. Or were there fires? Probably. Anyway, most of Bay City could be considered hers as that is how she thought of it, without question.

Ever Dreamscape, Evola Courtois, and me during a fun photo shoot involving
Ever's Tiny Island on July 23, 2013.
We were running in SloMo as part of the Bay (City) Watch team. Or was it lag?
Hard to live a day in Our Fair City without seeing something that reminds me Ever and it is nice that should these other reminders go away, we'll still have Ever's Tiny Island. Many thanks to the "real vandals" Marianne McCann and Sylvan Mole for adding this treasure.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Long Story, but Kennylex

Long story but I'm just gonna say Kennylex Luckless, Second Life's premier Prim Doodler. He's always experimenting with prims, textures, and the texture-enhancing Materials feature. I was at his freebie shop in Minna (SLurl) again and took some pix for another purpose and I'm publishing them here for a reason not terribly important to anyone. All are unedited and feature standard Windlight (except the first one).

This is the Old Watermill in Minna, a really cool structure that Kenny built to hold his freebies and experiments. Pretty sure he lives here, too, but I don't poke around (wink wink).

Turn on Advanced Lighting and you see this ... projected light and prims you can almost feel.

Turn off Advanced Lighting and it is like SL was rolled back two years.
Turn on Advanced lighting and the magic happens.

Turn off Advanced lighting and you see the most basic of textured prims again.
Kenny's experiments often become freebies in a little shop plus you can grab items that will help you learn his tricks and techniques. I've learned so much from Kenny and he alway brightens my day. Visit Minna to see what I mean.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Model for My Second Life

Just yesterday esteemed Resident Vick Forcella pointed out on MySL that according to a Grid Status report the Profile feeds are undergoing maintenance and he further notes that this notice was opened in September 2013 but has never been closed. This probably means that someone forgot to update the status of this post. Regular watchers of the Grid Status page will tell you that other instances of maintenance on have been opened and closed since giving credence to the idea of a forgotten post.

Or maybe it never was closed for a reason. Perhaps MySL is dead and we haven't been notified of it, another in a long line of projects started and abandoned. "The Feed" was born from the Avatars United purchase by M Linden then Rodvik Linden killed it by "gutting the team" as a friend in the know put it last night.

The Feed no longer needs maintenance. It is beyond that. The system needs to be replaced. I'm not a programmer, but I did find a model that would might work.

Or at least some of the features in the iOS 8  flavor of iMessages should be adopted. And I have some other suggestions (please add yours in the comments).

  • Tired of receiving a generic Notification every time anyone responds to an unidentified thread? You should be able to opt out of a thread's Notifications without going through entry-by-entry deleting your contributions.
  • Attachments and in-line preview of same. I would say that almost a quarter of the messages I see posted have a link to YouTube but I really hate clicking on said links unless I have an idea (other than "oh, another moody song") of what to expect. Other residents post links to Flickr or Snapzilla or Marketplace pages. 
  • Why does clicking the Visit Location link on a post generate another browser tab/window? Just have it pop up in the Viewer (if it is running) or as an in-line map (if the Viewer isn't running).
This isn't a call for something dramatic like file sharing (but imagine being able to post your custom Windlight file for all to use!) or a stand-alone application for just messaging (might as well just buy Plurk if that's gonna happen). This is a call for replacing a broken-beyond-hope system that was thoroughly inelegant to start with and improving the end experience in the process.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fitted Mesh Meme

Thus far I've missed all the previous What’s your Digits? memes from Strawberry Singh. Not sure how I did it as I love the idea, but it happened nonetheless. What am I talking about?

Meme Instructions: Share your avatar’s digits and/or answer the following questions about Fitted Mesh and what you think the future holds for our Second Life avatars. If you decide to share your digits, feel free to add your image in the Digits Flickr Group.

Wracking My Braaaiinn for inspiration.
My Digits are dull. I use the so-called "Standard Mesh" shape in the medium size and I'm 6.09 feet (1.86m). My prim boobies skew the shape and my prim feet/hands don't matter in this respect. So skipping forward with the challenge at hand ...

1. What are your thoughts about Fitted mesh?
Many thoughts: A work in progress. I have far too many clothes as it is. The medium "Standard Mesh" shape is okay with me (an alt is a large and another is an extra small). If I need something to wear and it is "fitted" I might give it a try. Certainly in no rush.

2. Have you tried any of the new fitted mesh avatars released by Linden Lab? What do you think of them?
Yes, I have tried The Lab's new starter avatars and they certainly have some challenges, not the least of which is an automatic backlash from established Residents, a group well known to not just resist change, but to actively fight it. Very few of the clothes and none of the accessories (or items like hair) work well on traditional avatars without seriously reshaping the body. The surprise hit for SL photographers has been the pair of zombie avatars. Well made, versatile, and they look great with Advanced Lighting. Some of the most creative pictures I've seen in a while have included this gruesome twosome.

3. Have you tried any fitted mesh avatars/bodies created by residents?
Fitted mesh bodies for women seem to be popping up everywhere and almost every week I hear about a new one, but I have tried a demo of only one. Meh. Of course, the idea is still being fleshed out (if I may pun) so for an early effort I'd say it looked pretty good. I'm holding out for increased quality. In the meantime I have a lot of system layer clothes I still like to wear..

4. Have you tried a mesh head? What are your thoughts about mesh heads?
The SLink mesh head demo that I tried was of good quality, but even with changes in skin and makeup I couldn't personalize it enough to look like "me." Perhaps Second Life is on it's way to cookie cutter avatars like other virtual worlds have so standard faces will be the norm. Perhaps we need to wait for Avatar 3.0 or the fall of Second Life to have avatars that don't need all these body attachments.

5. Do you foresee a lot of changes to our current Second Life avatars because of fitted mesh?
No, but then again I haven't given it much thought.

Topless Tuesday in the Wild

Sometimes when one is roaming the wilderness you have to take pictures fast and the results may not be optimal. I had this in mind when I dropped my Topless Tuesday pic into Pixelmator and started messing with filters. Some light leak to simulate lens flare (still figuring out how to make that since there is no specific filter), a bit of zoom to imply motion, and a bit of poor exposure should all add up to a quick, off-the-hip picture. How'd I do?

For more Topless Tuesday pix take a look at the Topless Tuesday in SL Flickr group.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Let's Fix the Marketplace

Some time has passed – long enough, actually, that I can't tell without looking – since The Lab surveyed Residents to learn about how the Second Life Marketplace might be changed for the better. Let's review the results.


It is time now to fix the Marketplace and as The Lab takes a commission on sales, it is certainly worth their while. Errors, usability issues, and general maintenance all need to be examined. Here is a brief list of mine just off the top of my head:

Fix the "Cannot Add" bug. It happens some nine out of ten times I add something to my card and yet the item is actually added. Quite often if you hit the Add button again, everything seems normal. How many of us have bought two of one item because we didn't thoroughly check our Cart.

The service often lags harder and more often than Bay City during a big event. Amazon and other shopping services operate on a much larger scale and yet have swifter page loads.

The Lab needs to inject some elephant memory DNA into the system so it can remember my preferences. True, there really is only one preference to set – how many items to display on a page – but it is not remembered between sessions and often not when simply loading another page. The DNA upgrade could also make for a far more efficient Favorites list.

Speaking of which ... at least something never forgets. Items will remain in your Favorites even if they are no longer for sale. This list needs to be dynamic, reflecting not only the item's availability, but any price fluctuations or product updates.

A Wish List would be a great addition to the Favorites list. Or call it a Gift Registry. Any list where others could see items that I would like to own but for some reason or another I have not purchased.

Only two items listed per page of Reviews? Don't be silly. And your place in the sequence will reset if you click on any other tab. Say you are reading a review on page eleven of twenty and you wish to check the Features to investigate something the reviewer wrote. Click Features, read, click Reviews and you are back on page one.

On the topic of the Features tab ... it should be the first up when a page is accessed. Let the Details tab be second for folks who need more information.

A larger font, please, or the ability to control fonts. I'm 8 years old in SL and that means my eyesight is failing in my dotage. Oh, and lots of Residents have vision impairments. Sure, there are nice viewers like Safari that allow folks to easily enlarge portions of a page.

Lastly (for now), a true nit-pick: The interface is just so last century. Time for a refresh.