Monday, April 30, 2012

Of Scams & Serenity

The other day I had to answer the phone. Yes, my family makes the mute girl answer the phone. If it is someone we know then the caller understands they that I'll use a simple Tap-Tap code for responses or that they'll have to wait for Mom or my brother to pick up an extension. For businesses and such that don't know me I have one of those keychain voice memo recorders handy with "The person you have reached is Mute. Ask to use the TTY or please wait" ready to play. Often that earns a hangup, but that's okay as most calls to our house are in violation of the FCC Don't Call Registry policy. We report them but nothing much happens.

Enjoy a small repast in the tea house (SLurl). The region is filled with quite a few themed buildings, all marvelously crafted, to compliment the Asian-style Linden Homes near by. Each structure is a joy to explore.
But while you enjoy this photo essay of the rather serene Shareta Osumai Info Hub and Tea Garden, let me tell you about a couple of recent calls that were probably scammers trying to have me set up our computer for open access.

Many sights to see (SLurl) and Free Textures! Like all the Linden Home Infohubs, you can grab a copy of the texture set the Moles used to create the themed areas so you can coordinate your builds with your house. There are also tons of free items, like flowers, masks, foods, and more, in the Shareta buildings. Windlight: [TOR] MIDDAY - Anime Ciel
"Hello, I am from the technical company and we have traced an error to your Windows computer," the caller with a very heavy Indian accent started after what sounded like things being thrown in the background finished. I hung up. We don't have a Windows computer. Someone was trying to social engineer their way into our computer ala Kevin Mitnick (the famous "hacker" was more successful in asking for access when he hacked than in actually breaking encryption codes). That was a few days ago.

Venerate the moles! Whimsey is everywhere, as usual, when you are dealing with the LDPW (SLurl).
The same person called back today with the same opening so I turned on the speaker phone so my brother, CC, (who was sitting with me at the computer as I was taking these pictures of this extraordinary build on the Mainland) could take over. "How did you know I had a Windows computer?" CC asked. "Well, sir," the technician started, "we can see when you access the Internet what sort of computer you have and we can tell there is some data coming from your computer."

"Ah," CC replied sagely. "What should I do?"

"Turn on your computer, sir."

"Its already on."

"What applications do you have running, sir?"

"Safari," CC replied, referring to the Apple-branded Web browser, "and a dictionary app and Second Life." "Very good sir, could you please close them for me," was the response. CC sat back and I kept snapping away and going from place to place with Zyx Resident logged into SL.

Amazing, organic landscape, with all the flora and all the structures arranged in harmony (SLurl).
Windlight: [TOR] SUNSET - Oriental Delight 2
"Thank you, sir, now ..." and he described things to look for on the keyboard, including the Windows key that we didn't have "... then press the Windows key and the R key. What do you see?"

CC was trying hard to not laugh and trying to shush me, because my laugh is sort of a short bark and I would have been heard over the speaker phone. But he managed to control himself. "Nothing, different, actually. The problem is, I don't have a Windows key. And if you weren't so sucky at computer technology or actually had data showing what computer I have you'd know I'm on an Apple computer."

Stunning views everywhere you look (SLurl). The buildings are very functional, too. Most have seating for several people so if you wanted to have a group meeting somewhere unique, this would be a marvelous choice.
 Windlight: [TOR] SUNRISE - Barcelon 1
CC was on a roll, not giving the other party a chance to even breath. "If you did know anything about technology you'd have realized that I've held you on the line long enough to trace this call, find out where you are, who you are, what you are doing, and report you to the police and the FCC. Now if you could hold just a few more moments I'll have your personal information like where you live ..." then paused.

I can't stop taking pictures (SLurl). You can grab a ride in a mole-motivated rickshaw near by. Windlight: Amsterdam 
It was a good 15 to 20 seconds before there were more sounds of things being thrown on the other end of the line but CC said "Keep waiting, I'm almost done" and managed to scrape out another 10 seconds of dead air before there were grunts and the line disconnected.

A fitting end to this photo essay (SLurl). Windlight: Burn
Lesson One: You don't screw with my brother. He's not stupid and he knows people — people you don't want to know. While in this case there really was no trace on the line and no one is being told about the call, CC could contact various people to investigate if he had thought it was a serious risk to our personal safety.

Lesson Two: Beware of social engineering. It is easier to get someone to get your passwords from you than to guess it or break it. I can get away with amazing things because of my handicap because people just don't want to deal with me. Same with using my mother's wheelchair to get things done.

Lesson Three: Explore the Mainland. It is far more extraordinary than you would think and it is pretty risk-free.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Mainland Tidbits

Some map hopping today ... open up the map and look for interesting places or randomly double-click.

This is how continents are born, kids! There's an active rift that runs on the seabed from Jurin (SLurl) through Hiwa, and into Katsuo. If you are a mermaid or a diver, check out this bit of fun from the LDPW Moles.

You can catch a ferry boat or rez your own boat in Half Hitch (SLurl). If you ever wonder where everyone is at in Second Life, you can always find some in the Blake Sea regions.

Sometimes you run across a lake on Mainland. Lots of folks make ponds or live along the few rivers, but sometimes a nice lake pops up. I used to think that SL was just tropical islands. This small lake in Pumori is a refreshing change.

Now and then the LDPW Moles go really crazy in the waters. This nice little area was found in Innini. If you ever see giant catfish-like fishes or sea turtles, try sitting on them. Despite the huge variety of critters found here, though, none were rideable.

Degrand is a cute little island and a lovely place for a large sea dragon to find fresh noobies to eat .. erm.. greet. There's a wonderful little light house and some other nice builds on the island. A noob asked me "How do you play this game?" and I replied as I usually do: "Second Life is not a game, it is a virtual world you can explore, like this nice spot, and maybe find some games to play." Then I gave him some landmarks for interesting places to visit and other landmarks for noobie-friendly freebies. I can think of worse places for a noob to start out at than Degrand (SLurl). It's a lovely little place.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

B-B-B-B-Bots All, Folks!

Yes, I cammed in. Take that Ban Lines! But if I can see the name tags from outside the house, what good are the lines?

Wandering about in my dragon avie I managed to run across another bot farm in a Linden Home. These were playing Tiny Empires. Not all were bots as one of them spoke with me when I poked my head through the wall and "rawr"-ed at them, all dragonly. Check out the Linden Homes regions and you'll often find the cluster of green dots on the maps are bot farms. You'll find them in the oceans, too. And herds of bunnies, horses, cats, and other breakables. One house I found was a brothel, a sure violation of the Linden Homes ToS. I don't think that a bot farm would be a violation, though.

The Caturday Dragon

Sure, I normally wear my cat or neko avatars on Caturday, but I just had to try the sea dragon mod on my Seawolf dragon. It was pretty easy, actually, and I spent more time figuring out a good livery than I spent on the actual mod itself.

Checking out the wreck in the Bay of Lesbos. Some tasty fishes here.

My profile feed has a few more pix, some from the Glamoreal Sea (SLurl) where there are hundreds of fishes for dragons to eat. I'm worried, though, that since I did this on Caturday I might be branded an LOLdragon instead of being fierce.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Tough days, too many malted milk balls, and a lack of sleep can lead to "creative" decisions. My big pixy alt Zyx bought a Booshies starter kit — a note card essentially stating "When our product is ready to launch, we'll send it to you."
Booshies a new 'breedable' and game in SL. And I bought the lizardy avatar for from the Relay for Life vendor at Fantasy Faire (SLurl), paying more than the tag value, of course. I may throw away money, but it's often for a good cause..
I spent a fair amount of time looking things over at the display (SLurl) and found quite a bit to like:

  • No land needed as you don't ever need to rez your pet — its all done via the game HUD.
  • Its actually a game! Meeroos came close to being one, but it seems to have devolved into a breeding festival much like those stupid bunnies (okies, confession time ... I loved the bunnies and I made a fortune, but the Head Bunnies screwed a lot of my friends, hurting them deeply. But that's another topic).
  • There's a promise of "adventures" with your pet as an actual companion. When I Beta tested the Meeroos, I longed for one that would follow me as I explored. Even the Meepet ones that no longer breed are tied to a "home" spot and food. Here's hoping I interpreted the excellent Booshies guide correctly.
  • You can play solo or team up for more than just earning "points."
  • Once you have a critter, its free to play. You don't ever need to buy anything. Food for the Meeroos kept me broke since I wasn't selling off the herd.

Yah. I was tired. But it still looks pretty good. Whether it turns out to be bogus or brava, I'll post something. Leave a comment if you joined (the pre-order period ends with the Faire, I think) and let me know what you think.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Grid Yuck & Insurance

Today's prolonged Grid Yuck (of which I fortunately missed the bulk of the "fun" as indicated in my previous post) generated quite a few blog posts (like from Snickers Snook and Glorf Bulmer) and a discussion in the Second Life Bloggers group, including a mention by me of my occasional campaign to have property insurance for when the Grid's problems cause an Inventory loss. I've written a couple times about this idea (see here) and it's time I make the call again ...

Nocciola the dragon, resting on my shoulder at the Lydia Rose Memorial Park (SLurl). I haven't replaced all the dragons I lost to Grid Yuck years ago, but I do have a few and I still think they are some of SL greatest pets.
The Lab should make available property insurance, perhaps as a Premium account benefit. Read anyone's Terms of Service and you'll see that no provider — be it a cloud storage company, a game publisher, or whatever — can guarantee 100% safety for a user's data (and our Inventories are just that: data). But if I'm willing to pay more than a base user pays, why shouldn't better data integrity be a benefit? Regular backups on Linden Servers could even be a revenue stream.

Stress Relief

Don't expect any terrific thoughts or profound pontification for this post. I'm just dancing away at The Airstrip on Lesbos for a bit of stress relief. Today was a long, hard endurance trek as I attended to my mother's needs while she had some out-patient surgery. As events unfolded they became worse than expected so everyone's stress increased proportionately. Fortunately, she wasn't at the local hospital where the incompetence is usually so high that I'm often the one to change her dressings, fetch and empty bed pans, and provide meals. We merely had to deal with bad news following bad news all followed by more bad news until a solution was found.

At various points during the day I did wonder how my SL wife was doing (Finals week at her Uni), why Friendly's restaurants are closing left and right (I was gonna get a treat there at lunch), and if folks might consider designing doctor offices in Second Life so they could see if the @#$%^ doors were conveniently situated for wheelchair access. Mom's new wheelchair, while expertly pushed by me today, managed to get almost as many scrapes as I did trying to maneuver through what amounted to an obstacle course. You'd think medical facilities would be more friendly to the differently-abled. The vestibule at one place was barely able to accommodate just the chair, let alone the chair and me. I had to hold open one door with my leg while opening the next and push mom along just to get into the building.

And that makes me think that everyone should check out the Resource Center at the Cape Able Art Gallery (SLurl) and Virtual Ability Island (SLurl) in Second Life. If more people did then perhaps more places in Real Life would try to accommodate the differently-abled, people chronic illnesses, and psychological challenges.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Shop Local

Our family — like most, I'm sure — is no stranger to shopping online or via the TV shopping channels, but whenever possible we prefer to shop locally, such as at the hardware store a few blocks away, rather than take our custom elsewhere. This supports the local economy, builds trust with frequented shops, and is actually more convenient in many respects.

Without consciously thinking about this, when I logged into Second Life for the first time today and wanted to look for some particle scripts, I immediately proceeded to Outy's in Nangrim (SLurl), my home sim to shop "locally" ... and then it hit me. That's not really a "local" shop for several reasons, not the least of which is that there seems to be one every few hundred meters on any SL roadway. That makes it a "national" chain and not a local "mom and pop" store. And the Mainland isn't all that big anyway, if you were to outright measure it (as seen here) so everywhere is "local" if you think of it.

The real comparison, I suppose, brings us back to shopping online versus going to a "brick and mortar" (or prim and physics-defying principles in virtual terms) shop. Many merchants have left their in-world shops to sell their goods only on the Second Life Marketplace since that requires little at all (or now with Direct Delivery, no land). This has got to affect the economy much as it would in Real Life. Residents are ditching their private estates, huge tracts of land lay empty, often abandoned, on the Mainland. My friend Daniel Voyager keeps track of this sort of thing (he's very bright and never seems to sleep) and just recently had a post on his blog noting that total region count (and thus land area) has dropped yet again.

This has to effect The Lab's bottom line as land rent is probably their main source of income (I could be wrong since they also have commissions from the Marketplace and premium membership fees as revenue streams, though I don't know which might be larger). But what about in-world merchants? If shoppers rely more and more on buying from the Marketplace, trips to in-world shops will decrease and the land will become less economical to keep.

See a cycle starting? Makes one want to shop local more often.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Fantasy Faire: Macro Avie

Earlier today I let Zyx Resident bounce about the Fantasy Faire for a quick visit and despite grabbing one of the very, very nice free Low Lag avatars that are provided, she still crashed often and hard. It was an experiment as I figured to go still later in the week to avoid lag. But she did see all the regions and emphatically urged me to visit and photograph The Tides (SLurl) right away when "I" could log in. Despite all the regions being gorgeously landscaped and decorated, it was The Tides that struck me as "I'm home!" Simply stunning.

Also stunning when I showed up was Ceri Quixote in a "macro avie" so stunning that I didn't mind her blocking my intended shot. Without further ado ...

A quick word with Ceri and I learned that she will be selling a smaller version of this custom avie, though I didn't ask how small. If you'd like to keep an eye out for it, head over to Blistereen (SLurl) sometime.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day & My Rules

A rainy day here in Maine, USA as a Nor'easter approaches to drench us tonight so it isn't the most exciting of Earth Days in Real Life. While I'm struggling to figure some nice connection with the special day and Second Life, Honour McMilan is taking the high road and writing about her rules for Second Life blogging to compliment nicely Earth Day-ish pictures. Go ahead, Honour, and make the rest of us again look like hacks. Sheesh.

Svarga (SLurl) is a fine place to celebrate Earth Day in Second Life.

I don't pretend (much) to be a journalist so I really don't follow rules outside the AP Stylebook or the grammar tips I get from the A Way With Words podcast. To put it another way, I watch how I write more than what I write. This is a blog. I'm beholden to none because I really write more for my own amusement than for any other reason. If I manage to entertain, impress, or inform anyone else in the process, it is purely by accident though pleasing nonetheless.

Dating back to 2006, Svarga is (or was) home to a very early experiment in virtual artificial life, with plants propagating on their own with the help of bees (as food for carnivorous plants and to pollinate others).

As I write, though, there are some personal guidelines that I do try to keep in mind ...

It is perfectly okay to bite the hand of the people who own the world I play in, but I try to not go so far as to alienate them should the opportunity to be an LDPW Mole come up or that I might get another chance to appear on the official blog again. Fair, well-reasonsed criticism — positive or negative — founded with documented facts is healthy. For this reason I've kept pretty silent on the recent news that there will be no Linden-sponsored Second Life Birthday celebration like there has been in the past. I don't know all the internal politics or finances and it would be unfair to speculate.

A L$25 donation to Taras Balderdash for the charity Modest Needs earns a note card with your fortune, just pay the orb in this underground chamber below what looks like an empty marketplace.
Pure speculation and opinion is also perfectly okay, but should be clearly identified as such. It would be one thing to claim that The Lab hires only satyrs for staff since the fall of M Linden, but proving it would be another thing even if I had a reason to spread such rumors. Not that I follow drama if I don't have to anyway. Life is too short and if I really want drama, I'll rent a movie. Or see another psychiatrist.

Focus, focus, focus. This is primarily a Second Life blog so I try very hard to not write about anything else, especially Real Life. You may have seen posts about Lego Universe and my Apple iPad and other seemingly random, off-topic posts, but they do tie back to Second Life in some (usually highly tangental) fashion. Since changing the subtitle of this blog to "Real Me. Digital Life. Virtual Spaces." I've opened up the possibility of expanding post topics but have more or less avoided doing so.

Very little has changed in Svarga since 2006. The shop is gone, as is the giant sea serpent and a nice cuddle hammock. You can still pay L$1 to feed the birds but you can no longer rez the seeds you get so don't bother. Somewhat recently a Stargate showed up but it looks entirely appropriate.

With all this in mind, I freely pillage Honour's rules and steal "Rule #5; Don’t take yourself seriously. We’re bloggers not gurus" for myself. If I ever appear to be more than I am, I expect and appreciate when someone takes me down a peg or three. While I grudgingly (or not so grudgingly, at times) agree with those who tell me I write well, I freely admit but sometimes forget that there is always someone much better than I am at any task I set myself or any activity I participate in at any given time. Having a blog doesn't make me an expert at all. Anyone can blog. Only in the last few years has the community of professional journalists acknowledged that this free-form, un-regulated forum often can and does contain proper reportage and punditry.

I'm not a professional like Hamlet Au, but as you can see, I try to keep at least some guidelines to my writing, if not actual rules conforming to professional standards.


From the bee tour: "In European mythology Svarga or "Heaven" is the residence of the god Svarog."

# # #

Windlight Sky: [TOR] Sparz puft
Water Preset: Glassy
No Shadows or post-process re-touching

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fantasy Faire 2012

It looks like the Fantasy Faire for 2012 is now open! Visit the Official Web Site for official information such as maps, lists of vendors, and of course, vital information about the charity, Relay for Life.

I'm not an official blogger, but I'll try to post my favorite sights and purchases. Don't forget to check my Second Life Profile Feed now and then for some pics with direct teleport links, too.

Remember, everybody, this is for fun and for charity. Let's make this a big win for everyone!

Happy Caturday!

Location: Ghairdin Teaghlaigh (SLurl)
Model: Uccello Poultry
Post-processing limited to the decorative triptych "frame"

Friday, April 20, 2012

Retro SL: BSD Archer House

Who doesn't remember wandering Help Island as a noob and marveling at Our World and the idea that you, too, could have a fabulous Free House? Well, anyone who didn't go through that part of Orientation, actually, as so many relatively recent Residents can attest. But you can still visit any Help Island Public and pretend to be a Noob again and grab such a house (SLurl).

The BSD Archer House, as seen in the historic photo included with the house itself. Note how the land refused to rez clearly. Back in the day that was a common problem. The windows change opacity via touch script and the door is lockable. You can mod this build all you want and re-use the scripts in your own builds.
This classic of Second Life architecture, the BSD Archer House, weighs in at 39 prims as boxed and is a size just right to fit on what was once known as First Land, a parcel of 16m x 32m. It was built by Bill Stirling in December 2005 with scripts and some bits for the scripts made by Jo Sartre (no longer in-world, it seems).

If you visit the BSD Mall in Cranberry (SLurl) you can see what Bill is up to today either through his current selection of homes to buy or checking out pictures of his in-world projects. One such is the SS Galaxy, a luxury liner so big it needs three regions just to rez it all (SLurl).

A portrait of the SS Galaxy hangs in the BSD shop. Click it for a landmark to the ship itself or use the SLurl above. According to the ship's Website, it is the largest build in all Second Life. You can see the BSD Archer House history in the ship as they share some textures, such as the railing and the ship's decking is this house's ceiling.
The ship is an example of what I've called Deja Visit (Web) as I remember visiting the ship when it was new back in 2007, but here I run across it today during my serial exploration, starting with the Retro SL house. We live in a very big world that acts very small at times.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Nangrim Pond & How to Build

Yesterday my brother and I traded some land parcels and sold others in our home region, Nangrim, which left me with a wee bit less land in my own name, but in a separate parcel not connected with the land where our home is located. Sure, it is within a stone's throw, but it is like a little oasis.

The big empty behind me in this pic is the adjacent region of Sokri.

I had toyed with selling the land and getting another Linden Home, those wonderfully economical pre-fabs made by fine Moles and Mole associates. I liked the idea of having more prims per square meter than on typical mainland since the home itself doesn't count against the parcel prim limit, but there's something about an empty piece of land that makes a girl landscaper go squeeeeeee. I put in a pond (yes, there are two at my near by home already) and some nice trees before I let my giant frog loose from my Inventory. Its been a while since he has had a place to hop about and it was good to see him squat down and make him self at home.

In the far background is the treehouse I share with my brother. There is an empty-ish parcel between here and there.  The Nangrim Pond is adjacent to a cute little cabin owned by someone I've never seen. Fortunately it compliments my build.

I also added a really nice cuddle hammock that anyone may use and some fishes, too. There are two of my 87 total prims left (the parcel is is only 385m2) but I'm happy with what I have done. I think the best way to learn building and landscaping is to work within pretty tight limits. It is like when I was learning photography. All the other kids had zoom lenses and flashes, but I was told that I had to master using only a 50mm lens (a "normal" lens on a 35mm camera) and selecting the right film for the situation before I could get fancy. I grumbled at the time, but in looking back I'm glad that I stuck to it, not sneaking any of my brother's lenses out when I really wanted to, because I learned to stretch my imagination. Building on a small parcel is much the same experience. By conserving prims through the use of Linden plants (which are really pretty good) rather than reaching for sculpted prim trees, I could afford having a high-prim frog out and the high-prim hammock.

Yes, I'd like to have 117 prims again, like in a Linden Home or "standard" parcel, but I can keep an eye on the local real estate and pick one up eventually (there are a couple abandoned lots available for cheap right now, but they are well on the other side of the region). For now, I'm cozy in the Nangrim Pond and invite you to visit whenever you'd like to get away sometime.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Social Media Woes

Sitting with my brother at our home in Nangrim (SLurl).
This snapshot is why I'd like to be able to have my Profile Feed work with my Blogger account blog (the one you are reading at this very moment, just to be clear). I would have been able to quickly post it from in-world without having to first copy it to my hard drive or a cloud drive. Anyone know if Wordpress or Tumblr can take the SL Profile Feeds directly? I'd serious consider changing platforms.

This problem has been on my mind for a while, but just the other day a conundrum with Pinterest popped up. Since The Lab suggested that social media option in their SL9B announcement I fancied joining that network so I could share my in-world pictures. However, to join someone also has to have a  Facebook account (something I refuse to own) or a Twitter account (something I don't want).

Aren't the Interwebs a Freedom Of Choice thing. If there was a fee I'd understand, but why should I possibly risk my personal information by using Facebook or go through the process of starting another service I don't want? Summarizing the Pinterest response: "Oh, it's only a minor hassle to start an account on one of those services to join ours then cancel those other accounts because you don't need them to use ours."

I'm dumbfounded. Well and truly dumbfounded. This is what happens when corporations rule the world, virtual or not.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Lab Directs Your Life

*Generic Pointing System
If you land in Safe Hub - Arapaima (SLurl) and don't know where to go once you tire of ... of ... whatever it is that happens there, look for an arrow in the water on the eastern side of the building. It directs you across the nearly empty Whorelbow sim to the Zindra continent. I say "nearly empty" because there are several more direction arrows and on the sea floor among some some sparsely place plants is a landmark giver. Touch it for a landmark for called "Reserved for future development" and would take you a few dozen meters away from the landmark giver. The parcel name, by the way, is "GO EAST 500 M TO REACH THE SHORE" — yes, seriously.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Second Life History

Here's some Second Life history for you ... The first Lucky Chair!
  • Chair Design by Funaria Moose, created on January 4, 2006.
  • Converted to a Lucky Chair by Shep Corvin on January 5, 2006 (modified until Jan 29).
  • Sixteen prims and one script (a Lucky Tribe game script was added later).
See it for yourself in the LapGirl store in Broadwater (Adult; SLurl). You can buy a modern Lucky Chair and other familiar merchandising products at the Lucky Designs store (SLurl). You can try all the products and maybe win some cute little prizes. If you see Shep at either location be sure to thank him for starting an important and pervasive part of Second Life culture.

SL9B: Is this the theme? [Update]

The Lab posted "Help Us Celebrate Second Life's 9th Birthday!" and the picture shown above on the Official blog today. Maybe its just a teaser, but the phrasing makes me think that the theme is Community Events. Residents are given a link to the Destination Guide and encouraged to submit information about event and party information. There are also links to the various social media sources The Lab relies upon (more than the Official Blog, IMHO).

It might stretch the boundaries of the celebration's No Commercialism policy, but in-world communities such as Virtual Ability, Luskwood, Relay for Life, and others could stand to benefit greatly from focused exposure at such a large event.

[Update 17 April 2012 12:19PM]
STOP! Go read "Building Community in Second Life or Not" by Honour McMilan NOW. It seems there will be no SL9B at all in the traditional sense. The Lab wants us to celebrate their birthday without them.

The Cat Is On To Me

50 Thousand Plus

Uccello the Owl swooping in to catch some squirrel prey for her Inventory.

Last night after doing a little bit of Inventory maintenance I was pleased and dismayed to see my total item count was just over 50,000 pieces nearly 51,000 pieces. Mind you, my least used Alt has a mere 3, 205 pieces in her Inventory, nearly 10 bird avatars being the bulk of her acquired-since-Rez Day additions. Quite a difference, but some things really need to be noted:

  • My wee pixy Alt has been accumulating items for landscaping so my total inventory is actually much larger.
  • The bulk of my textures are not in viewers.
  • My Building folder is filled with stuff — raw materials, if you will — such as columns and arches and furniture bits and .... you get the idea.
  • I've been fairly good at but I could be much better at keeping Uccello's Inventory organized by boxing backup copies of most everything that had Copy perms and boxing up unused items such as 20-something shades of a particular hair style when I really wear but five at the most.
  • Landmarks and Note Cards I don't frequently use are deleted almost immediately.
  • Calling Cards count toward your Inventory total so if you remove a friend, remove their Calling Card (especially since every time a friend logs in or out, your entire Inventory is scanned so your experience slows).
  • I keep too much stuff out of sentimentality.
  • Too many items I've collected were picked up for "I might need this some day" reasons.

All this was on my mind when I was making lunch today and listening to Episode 24 of The Ihnatko Almanac podcast, "The Big Edit," which focused heavily on keeping only things you can't really live without by editing your complete collection of stuff. Like do you really need all those comic books (the host's example) or all those Legos you don't play with (my example). Or those ten pair of boots you have in your Second Life Inventory just because you had to have them for particular outfits you don't really wear any more. Yes, I really need to do some editing, if only more boxing of things I don't use much and don't want to lose.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Barney's Bay

Zyx Flux was bugging me again to give her a travel writing assignment, so I sent her off to Barney's Bay (two regions, really; SLurl to the main region), a Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW) build that I found in the official Linden Parks and Recreation Directory. Its the tourist-centric remnants of a quaint old sea-side fishing village and a beautiful place to visit. Here is Zyx's report:

The square at Barney's Bay is a lovely spot and I imagine it is even more beautiful on a sunny day. 
Barney's Bay, established in the mid- to late-1800s by most accounts, is a very quiet place, perhaps because I visited on a very overcast day, the sky just begging to be allowed to let it's pent up rain loose below. Seagulls circled overhead waiting to pounce on treats dropped by absent tourists while shop signs squeakily swung in the light ocean breeze. Occasionally a fog horn sounded from the island's light house, adding to the lonely feeling that permeates the village. The Holiday homes around the perimeter are empty but freshly painted and well-maintained, awaiting the trourist season to begin. I'm sure that on sunny days in warmer weather the shops and square are busier and people head out into the docks for some sailing (in a nice rezzable Linden sailboat) or fishing (7Seas compatible, but bring your own gear and bait).

The beach is small but it is likely festooned with umbrellas and chairs and towels in warmer months.

Surely at its peak Barney's Bay was a thriving fishing village with a considerable population. Today the main square is bordered by shops for tourists including one for souvenirs, one for flowers, several shops for sweets such as ice cream and cakes, a coffee shop, the Mole & Mole Travel Agency, and the Hog's Head Tavern, where you can quaff a pint of Sweaty Old Mole and other select lagers.

The sea was calm today, a portent that the heavy weather would soon grow worse. Two different sailboats are available, including one that uses the region winds (and thus actual skill) for movement. The superbly made fishing trawler at the edge of the region is worth a look and should be a good place from which to cast your fishing line.

From the statue's plaque:
Bernard "The Navibator" McShnott
Captain of the HMS Besott when it ran aground at
Barney's rock. He was locked in his cabin at the time
after confiscating a sailor's "periodical" when he
earned his nickname.

A truly excellent Mole-made village bicycle is yours for the taking, just click for a copy. Then rez it from your Inventory — yes, anyone can rez any prims they want here — and take a ride around the village.

The central water well must be purely decorative and a later addition, however, as any well deep enough to draw water on an island such as this would pull up brackish water, at best, and even seawater under the right conditions. Still, it is beautiful and really enhances the quaintness of the village.

Inside the sweet shop you can get a free lollypop with a click, but the other candies are securely locked up. The jars hold a couple dozen varieties including two kinds of gobstoppersBarney's Squishy Bottoms, and Barney's Aniseed Mole Balls. Click everywhere in the other shops for some freebies, but be ready for disappointment. Only t-shirts are available in the souvenir shop despite a plethora of wonderful collectables set out on display.

The Mole & Mole Travel Agency is a warm spot on a cold day (fireplace not pictured) and you can can click the nearly two dozen "brochures" for landmarks to other wonderful LDPW builds.

Even in the off season Barney's Bay is a fun place and I was glad to spend most of the day there today. I don't keep many landmarks, but I'm certainly saving one for this location. My congratulations to all the Moles and the entire LDPW for another fine build.

# # #

Exterior Pictures: Windlight set to Lost; Water set to [TOR] Impure
The region standard seems to be typical for Mainland, but an occasional fog would fill the docks area for simulated weather.

Interior Pictures: Windlight set to Default Noon

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friends Online

If Second Life really wants to get into the Social Networking game, I suggest they look a bit more closely at the Google+ model of using Circles to help Residents keep track of our Friends list. I don't use Google+, mind you, as what few people I do associate with in Real Life really aren't computer users. Most don't even have mobile phones. And try to get any doctor's office to use email for anything — you might as well pound your head on a wall.

But at any given time there are about 20 people of about 170 from my Friends list in Second Life online at any given time. The word "Friends" is a euphemism, of course, for "People I need to keep in contact with for one reason or another." Like anyone, I guess, some people really are friends, others are more like family, and the rest filter into other mentally organized groups. But looking at my Friends list, there are only two groups: Online and Offline.

What I'd like to see first is to rename the list as "Contacts." Then some organization, if not like the Google+ Circles, is at least some way to group my contacts by type.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blogging a Profile Feed

Another busy day in Real Life meant very little time in Second Life. For quick blogging on days like today, the Post to My Profile Feed button in the Snapshot pane is very handy. I just wish there was a way to publish that feed here on the Blogger platform. I don't know if Wordpress or other services can do that, but I've not found any reliable way to do that here.

And then peeking at the feed as it is, I wonder how the Adult Verification system affects feeds. For example, can a G-rated noobie see explicit pictures in other people's profiles? My pictures there are borderline since no bits are showing, but someone would likely see this as an issue. Oh, my goodness .... what about my child avatar friends? *blush*

A quick comb through of the Terms of Service and the Community Standards don't have any specific information about maturity ratings and Profile Feeds that I can find, but I think that one picture just might be a bit too personal.

*/me looks at the Delete Snapshot option in the feed*

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Riverwalk at Caledon Ahavah is No More

On April 4th I posted "Caledon Ahavah River Walk" with several pictures from one of the most beautiful builds ever in Second Life and today I'm very sad to report that the build is gone. My brother had his alt out to run the Caledon Quest and arrived to find a big empty. The region is still there, but all that I fell in love with had been removed.

Click here to see "the past glory." CC's Alt hovers in the foreground as he IMs the Quest people to find out what he should do for the rest of the hunt (Word is things will be patched up in a day or so).

A new structure has been erected and a clever memorial lies inland from the river. The railroad and airship infrastructure remains. A lone synagogue sits trackside and a shop anchors one end of the region on the opposite side.

The Riverwalk is gone. Alas, the build owner, Yenta Bernheim, has to spend an extended time in Real Life soon and cleared the build so the region owner could rent to a new tenant. My brother spoke with her (I was sitting with him to help him with the Quest) about the circumstances and of course, Real Life comes first. The region will be completely cleared on or before May 1st to make way for something new.

Wishing you all the Best, Yenta, and a swift return to Second Life to share more of your visions, please.