A jaunt northward

So v good friend Chestnut put up a weblog entry about her an’ Zha’s new mainland land, and I thought I’d pop over and look at it, being a big mainland fan myself.

I’d heard somewhere that it was now possible to get from the southern continent (Jeogeot, where my Hughes Rise park is) to the northern continent (Sansara, the original core of Second Life, where’s Ches an’ Zha’s new place is). So having a few minutes free in the middle of the day, I thought I’d give it a shot.

Northward: starting out

There I am, hovering over Hughes Rise on my Personal Flying Saucer, ready to set out. (The saucer was a Hunt prize at SENRIES ; I expect they probably sell them too.)

To start the jaunt, I went overland on the Rise, up to the Linden protected-land right-of-way in the northwest corner (parcel 01 on my map from the other day). Here I am on the right-of-way, passing by Sadie’s Dyke Bar.

Northward: leaving the Rise

There’s a nice long strip of Linden protected land cutting SW to NE through this part of the continent; maybe the Moles will put in an actual road!

Continuing roughly northeast along the right-of-way, here I am passing over a racetrack or… something in Bulgogi.

Northward: Bulgogi

I was in a bit of a hurry, so couldn’t stop to look at all of the interesting things (or even wait for them to finish rezzing completely).

Here’s a nicely-designed office park or something in Muk, with the moon shining over the ocean visible between its levels.

Northward: Muk

Some slightly more chaotic mainland, along the Linden right of way, with big yellow LAND FOR SALE signs, a castle, and a hot-air balloon:

Northward: Chamnamoo

There were various hot-air balloons drifting majestically about in this area, between the Rise and the northern tip of Jeogeot. I got off my saucer and floated briefly around on one. It was relaxing. Here I’m passing over some construction sites (or possibly buildings that haven’t finished rezzing!) in a vaguely urban area.

Northward: Balloon in Shatgogae

(I actually detached the saucer rather than getting off of it. One nice thing about it is that it’s actually an attachment and not a vehicle, which means it’s pretty easy to steer, and I never get knocked off by banlines. A clever idea!)

Shortly after this, back on my saucer, I happened to notice a familiar-looking parcel name go by in the parcel-name bar, and looking down I saw that I was flying over a friend’s house, where I’d been visiting just the other day! I didn’t take a picture of that because, I dunno, I guess because it’s a friend’s house :) but these coincidences are always fun. Huge as the grid is, it’s still a small world.

At the northernmost tip* of Jeogeot, I came to a nice beach area with inlets and rocks and dunes and cattails and poseballs. Here I am gazing northward, out to sea, talking with a woman who was out there sorting inventory.

Northward: Yurim

Flatteringly, she asked me for the numbers for my shape! I gave her everything but my face; that’s mine. :)

I scrolled around on the map enough to convince me that there is in fact no navigable bridge between Jeogeot and Sansara (it’s a long distance!), or at least none I was going to find that day. Time was getting very short, so I said bye to my flattering new acquaintance, and teleported directly off to Marawa.

Northward: Marawa

Ches an’ Zha’s new land is in a lovely area, lots of water, and it looks like a quality neighborhood. I look forward to memorable land-warming parties. :)

Having done some part of what I intended, I TPd home and put the flying saucer away, and relaxed in my giant chocolate donut to get back to RL. There’s no place like home!

Northward: Home again

Although yeah the Rise is not strictly speaking home; that’s Extropia. But the Rise is my mainland home, and I love it there!

Lighthouse, Error

Error Lighthouse

Beyond Blogging: Dancing!

The other evening I held a session at an unconference put on by some virtual-world-savvy IBM types.

The (un)conference was called "Seeking business value from investment in virtual worlds on the 3D internet", aka "Beyond Blogging". My session (the last on the first day) was "Field Trip: Social Aspects of Virtual Worlds". My original plan was to take a bunch of inexperienced AVs out and show them what fun Second Life can be (since, as the abstract says, this is an important part of understanding our potential customers).

But it turned out that most of the attendees were far from newborn, and already knew how to poke a danceball. So I just took everyone up to Indolence and we partied and danced and discussed business models and adult content and stuff. I was fun!

Field Trip 1

And not one person seemed to mind any of the pictures on the walls.

(That’s me in my red Mohawk again. I didn’t wear it to the main conference sessions, but it seemed appropriate for Indolence.)

More dancing:

Field Trip 2

Ahuva was too tired to dance (she was one of the clever people behind the (un)conference); so she just came along and rested on the rug and talked and I suspect dozed off a bit now and then. :)

Field Trip 3

A good time was, I think, had by all. And I got to see Indolence again (I just recently took it back out of my pocket after having it packed up for some time), which was very nice. I should have more parties there.

(Note that this was a conference session and not a party, so don’t be miffed that I didn’t call and invite you. :) )

Fishin’ and Cruisin’

Just a lil innocuous weblog post about having fun in SL.

Fishing At Edloe

Since Ahuva taught me to fish, I’ve kept half an eye out for places to do it more (have to get a top to go with the bikini bottom that I caught that day!). So when I was walking around Edloe Island the other day (the domain of Crap Mariner, briefly noted in an old flickr snapshot) and noticed a barrel sitting by the water whose description text said something like “Allows fishing within 50 meters”, I sat down on the nearest object and cast out a line.

Didn’t catch much (just a couple of common fish, I think), but with the mist and the rainbow and the general relaxing, it didn’t really matter.

And speaking of generally relaxing :) I had a lovely two-level suite on the absolutely enormous cruise ship S. S. Galaxy (it takes up three entire Regions in SL, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was the largest “single thing” (whatever that means) on the Grid), for a week and a few days. (Why I had it is a long story, involving a coupon that I got a long time ago and decided to use and then misinterpreted the terms of, etc, etc, etc in painful detail.)

When the rental was about to run out, I spammed the group IM of my favorite shopping group with an announcement of an ad hoc open house and cruise party. Not alot of people came by (everyone was busy, like, shopping I think), but those that did were high quality.

Galaxy Party

From left to right, Phinn, an’ me, an’ Michele. A couple other ppl of obvious taste an’ discernment came by, too, but I didn’t get pictures of them. :)

And, as comes as no surprise anymore, lounging about on the deck of a simulated luxury cruise ship and talking with friends turns out to be huge amounts of fun, and soothing to the soul.

The Fire Next Door

V good friend Michele and I were wandering around the Hughes Rise Park, and went over to the mall next door to see how it was doing. It’s a relatively new mall, and it’s been mostly empty, with a few gambling machines for awhile, and now a place selling pretty neat-looking hoverboards. As we approached, I got an unsolicited group invite from a stranger, which I ignored by reflex. The mall was empty, except for a rather generic woman named Emma sitting behind a desk. She was a bot.

How do I know she was a bot? Well, she’s the one that sent me the group invite, and her profile says “I am the group Manager Only DO NOT TALK TO ME OR IM ME i will not ancer”, and she didn’t say anything when I asked her if she was a bot, and she didn’t say anything when Michele and I perched attractively on the back of her chair:

The Friendly Neighborhood Bot

and she didn’t even say anything when her desk was suddenly engulfed in flames!

Fire, fire!

Fortunately Michele and I were wearing our protective goggles, and we went pfffff at the fire alot, and were able to extinguish it before any damage was done. Michele got a great shot of bot Emma sleeping through the whole thing.

Note that no actual AVs were griefed in the making of this weblog entry; don’t try this at home, kids!

More Art and the Park

It’s been suggested that I haven’t posted much in my weblog lately. Without admitting any wrongdoing, here I am posting to my weblog, in the form of some pictures with text describing them, about some stuff I’ve been doing.

Here I am, still in that hair (recolored to my favorite darkish red), at the opening of the Evolution Gallery.

Dale at the Evolution gallery

Congrats to Sabrinaa Nightfire and Alan801 Eclipse for a great opening event! This was like two and a half weeks ago :) but I expect the show is probably still going on if you want to stop by (and you should!).

I ran into Botgirl Questi at the opening, which was fun.

Evolution gallery (Dale and Botgirl)

She was/is on hiatus from her usual full-on content creation, and seemed to be enjoying being inworld to just wander around.

A wider shot of the Evolution Gallery, showing the big scrolling logo sign and some of the huge colorful pieces of art:

Evolution gallery (wide shot)

I liked this show very much; unlike some recent openings where the art has been small and detailed and complex (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) the works here were more huge and simple and exuberant. I like exuberance. :)

And speaking of art, here’s a snapshot of the new back garden of the Hughes Rise Park (I think I’ve moved some stuff around since then, but it’s still basically the same).

Park Progress

The pink tree with green waving tentacles at left is from the aforementioned Sabrinaa Nightfire; to the right of that is a lovely armillary sphere by Honour McMillan (which she gave me in return for some time-related scripting). The orange fireball to the right of that is elros Tuominen’s "A kind of fireball I am building", on loan from Honour’s own collection. Nearly invisible in the center, there’s me standing by a lovely meditation station that was a holiday gift from Chestnut Rau. (I never did do a posting about all the cool stuff that arrived over Solstice, did I?) And in the background looming over everything (including the junkshop next door) is an Aetheric Flux Storage Tower (v2) by CoyoteAngel Dimsum, which I vaguely recall having found sitting around free-to-copy in Caledon or somewhere once. It’s large!

More recently I went to the opening of Phinn Boffin‘s “Changing Hues” show at Second Arts; it was a great time. (That’s me on slide 24; I can’t figure out how to link right to it.) I bought a framed copy of the gorgeous Maria Maria (and one of the more, erm, scantily-clad ones).

I take most of the credit for Phinn’s having this show, because the other week she was showing me yet another lovely picture, and I said “You ought to do a show!” and here in the very same year she did one. Of course Morris Vig and Second Arts get some credit, too, for actually putting it on. :)

So that’s that! I also have a number of Spennix pictures queued up, so you may get those before too long. (She’s level 75, yay!) I continue not to have any opinions about Pressing Issues of the Day in Second Life that are just bursting to get out, so you may be spared any of those for awhile longer…

Meanwhile, back in Second Life…

Park Maps, Hughes Rise

I’ve put up a couple of new signs in the Hughes Rise park (click through to flickr for access to larger sizes). On the right is the very nice (and magically self-updating) New Citizens Incorporated map of the Linden-owned continents of the Grid (available free, along with maps of I think the first two continents, at their Fisherman’s Wharf build (and likely elsewhere)). On the left is a lovely freebie region-map device, which can be set to display a map of whatever region you like (mine is of course set to Hughes Rise). I’ve stuck little “You are Here” prims on each one (the red arrow and green diamond), so people can see where they are.

Due in large part to early mentoring from the amazing Veronica Quackenbush, I’m a great believer in educating residents about the shape and geography of the world. We TP around so much that it’s all too easy to forget that the world has an underlying structure, and therefore to miss out on all the fun involved in, say, going from your house to a favorite club via road or helicopter rather than just zapping direct, and potentially seeing interesting things and meeting interesting people and having noteworthy adventures along the way.

Take a walk along a road today! You never know what you might run into. :)

More evidence of the target audience for WoW

Big guns:

Big Gun

and hot women:

Voldrune Woman

(Spennix has a bit of a crush on the latter (well, on both really), and is considering a “Women of Voldrune” pinup calendar. The main challenges are that (a) the ladies would immediately attempt kill the photographer if they spotted her (part of their charm,really), and (b) I’m not sure there are actually 12 of them. And no, I don’t know why there’s an animal skeleton strapped to the gun, but doesn’t it look awesome?)

Among the Legends

A recent drama storm around the OpenSim-based Legend City Online (LCO) reminded me that I haven’t tried one of the public OpenSim virtual worlds for awhile, so when SL was being weird the other night I headed over (using the Second Life viewer, rather than their recommended Hippo, because I didn’t want to download a Whole Nother Thing).

Turns out I already had an account over there; here I am as Dale Mullins (in a pretty radically unattractive shot, now that I look at it), helping one of the Legends (roughly the equivalent of Lindens in SL, I gather) adjust a sit-ball on a park bench at the default landing space:

Lounging among the Legends

(That’s me on the right, the Legend on the left: a very nice woman, with an adorable shape and skin, and a million-watt facelight.)

There are some very nice builds in the parts of LCO that I wandered through, and there are enough bits of free clothing and shapes and stuff that I was able to make myself more or less my familiar self without much trouble (although those glasses are Not Realy Me; I will have to make some myself).

The underlying server software, though, is pretty clearly still pre-beta. Things I noticed:

  • Inter-sim teleports and sim boundary crossings were quite risky, relatively often resulting in disconnection, infinite uncontrollable flight into nowhere, and/or appearing at one’s destination but being unable to move,
  • Even just standing around is somewhat risky; I got logged out a few times when I was doing nothing notable at all,
  • Once one has crashed or been logged out, it typically takes two or three or more tries to get in again; lots of message about already being logged in, or having been disconnected from the region, or whatever,
  • Scripted attachments are odd: I made myself a little invisible attachment with a hovertext title and some decorative particles just for fun, and found that if I went to a different sim it would be sort of half-off (the title would be in black, and I couldn’t see any particles although sometimes others could) until I detached it and re-attached it.

It’s possible of course that some of these problems were due to using an Unsupported Viewer; I ought to try Hippo next time if I’m not too lazy.

There weren’t a whole lot of people in the world, but the dozen or so that I saw seemed to be your typical early-adopter type and therefore above average conversationally; so that was nice. LaLa Legend herself, who I gather runs the place, was also hanging around at the entrypoint; something you don’t see in SL. I don’t know how positively she would have responded to challenging questions about the current drama of course. :) And the Legend in the picture up there (I apologize for not recalling her name; for some reason the viewer wasn’t logging chat while I was in LCO; I probably forgot to check the box) gave me 250 of the local currency so I could (for instance) upload the texture for my famous Noob Tee Shirt, which I then handed out randomly.

It’s fun to play around in such a young world, and to see how things are being worked out in them compared to mama Second Life. On the other hand the infrastructure is still wonky enough that I doubt I’ll be there regularly. It’s worse than my first week in SL (and that was pretty bad!). But it’s coming along…

Solstice in Extropia

Extropia threw a fantastic twelve hour long marathon Solstice party yesterday. I went over somewhat late, expecting to find maybe a couple of people still around, coming and going. In fact the joint was jumpin’, and full of fascinating people, and apparently had been since the very start. I took a whole mess of pictures (I was apparently in the mood), but have downloaded only a few of them for flickring. Here they are (click through to flickr for a few words about each):

Michele an' Phoebe an' me (Extropia 2008 Solstice Marathon)

Argent (Extropia 2008 Solstice Marathon)

Eleanor (Extropia 2008 Solstice Marathon)

GoSpeed (Extropia 2008 Solstice Marathon)

Sophrosyne (Extropia 2008 Solstice Marathon)

Soph again (Extropia 2008 Solstice Marathon)

Truthseeker (Extropia 2008 Solstice Marathon)

Zha (Extropia 2008 Solstice Marathon)

And Happy Solstice to All! Ppl keep sending me cards and presents and stuff inworld; I really ought to make something and spam it out to my friends. Maybe a nice little card, and a special Solstice version of the sun-time clock, or something…

Flying machines

Today’s picture is of me (if you can find me) up in the air above Shengri La somewhere, playing around with some of the more interesting flying machines I found in inventory:

Flyers

(Details best viewed at larger sizes.)

Despite how important and wealthy this pictures might make me appear :) most of these were either free or very modestly priced. The survey:

Across the top, left to right: red balloon is very nice Cubey Terra Wind Rider (lotsa features; I bought it the other day when I realized all my Cubey Terra things were submarines rather than flyers), next three things are the two versions of Carrah Rossini’s lovely Steampunk Dreamliner, with the Phoebe (also Carrah Rossini) sitting between them (see previous post for where those came from). The two-balloon craft at top right is Barney Bloomslang’s Airship Bloomslang from Steam & Magic; I seem to have a full-perm version, so presumably it was a marketing freebie.

Just to the right of the red balloon is a flying teacup, an ancient freebie by one illume Skallagrimson; the cute stubby thing to the right of that is the tooterplane, from Tooter Claxton (don’t remember where I got that). The grey cylinder just below the Airship Boomslang is a decorative “Danger, Hazardous Chemicals” tank available free-to-copy at Terra Aeronautics Bay City.

The hi-tech thing at lower left is the C-Tech F2050 anti grav ship, that I got free somewhere (I think) a zillion years ago. Just to the right of that is a cute stubby Hoverpod I bought somewhere in New Babbage I think. More or less in the center is the semitransparent (and VERY fast) Mitt’s Airplane, by Mittandra Su, that I found sitting free-to-copy in a field once.

Below that is Hoverfan 17 by v talented friend Lightwave Valkyrie (that I think is given out at Lightwave’s airstrip), and finally to the right of that is Cubey Terra’s very sweet two-seater Futura hovercar (which I bought at the same time as the Wind Rider).

(That’s it for the vehicles; there are also two sitting-balls that I was adding some physics to for the creator, and a framed copy of Sysperia Poppy‘s “The Bridge of Man” that you can’t really see.)

And where am I? Oh, there I am, in the basket of the red balloon. Hi, me! :)

(Note that these are all flying things made by others, because they were selected partly for prettiness and partly because I wanted to play with them. My own things (the nonphysical one- and two-seater Hoverdiscs, the physical one-person Zoom, etc.) aren’t particularly pretty, and I already know all about them.)

A Bloomin’ Mole!

A really long time ago (weeks and weeks!) when Gypsy of Gypsy’s Midnight Club was still on the grid regularly and I was a regular there (both as customer and dancer), there was one of those Second Life Accidents, and much of the club (including most of the walls and ceiling and floors and some of the artwork and accessories) got returned to the inventory of the original builder, who as far as we know never comes into SL anymore. Gypsy was (understandably) upset by this, and I jumped in and rebuilt the place more or less sort of approximately like it used to look in time for the events that night (and no one seemed to hardly notice the changes at all!).

One of the things I rebuilt was the platform outside the main door to the club, that you walk across to get to the adjoining mall; I was in a hurry and just threw down a couple of megaprims, not noticing that they slightly overlapped the protected land road right-of-way that ran past the club, since there was nothing there anyway.

Then the other day I got an IM from Bloomin Mole, asking if I could come and move those prims so they didn’t jut into the right-of-way anymore. I TPd over to Gypsy’s, and discovered to my pleasant surprise that there’s now a very nice road running through the right-of-way, complete with signage, and a cute little mole was working on landscaping the roadside.

Bloomin Mole

I talked to the mole a bit, adjusted the megaprims so they stayed on the Gypsy’s parcel as they should have in the first place, and then thinking how nice it was to have a road going past I fiddled with things so that there are ramps connecting the road-level to the club and the mall, just in case anyone drives by. (I should really put a sign of some kind down there, too, but we’re really short on prims, especially with this cast-off 28-prim collar that someone left lying around; maybe Gypsy will peek inworld sometime long enough to get rid of the primlitter.)

So but anyway. That was fun. :)

The Expedition comes upon a Floating Island of Ice

This is actually a “how much fun I had on my second Rezday and how wonderful ppl in Second Life are” posting, but the title goes so nicely with the picture that I couldn’t resist.

The Expedition comes upon a Floating Island of Ice

My Rezday itself (last Saturday) was great fun. I spent most of it party-hopping (no, not Rezday parties for me, just random parties that the fates had decreed should happen on my rezday), starting out with the Giant Snail Races in the morning (sitting on the “Yay Amber!” bench), and later on the Night Flower opening (which was wonderful fun, all sorts of great SL people, Plurkers and otherwise), and sometime after that the Triumvirate opening (a lovely dark erotic gallery show by Sysperia and Calli and someone I don’t know, all of whom do amazing work), and finally (I think it was finally) a Hollywood themed party in Amicitia, featuring the best and brightest and most wisecracking of that sparkling community.

Along the way, one wonderful friend gave me one of Carrah Rossini’s amazing airships (the Steampunk Dreamliner pictured first in that NPIRL post, in fact) for my Rezday, Shenlei of Shengri La gave me one of her amazing frocks (which I haven’t yet been a girl long enough to try on!), and at the Triumvirate opening one of the artists said “which of these do you like the best?” and gave me one of the (limited edition!) copies of a really striking artwork.

The Dreamliner is a really incredible device / craft / artwork / living space; I am completely in love with it (I think I can even put the rezday artwork into the picture mode of its built-in TV screen if I do it right). On Saturday I’d left an IM for the creator just saying “You’re a genius”. On Sunday she IM’d me back and we had a nice conversation about building and creativity and inspiration and RP standards and stuff, and when I mentioned in passing that the Dreamliner had been a Rezday present she gave me a copy of the Phoebe as a gift.

People in Second Life are so generous!

Also on Saturday, as another lovely rezday gift, another friend invited me to the Black and White Ball at the Crown and Pearl on Sunday; it was a marvelous opportunity to dance and be silly in a crowd of smart witty silly other people, and to wear (at least the black and white parts of) my fancy Rfyre suit. Later in the day I took the friend that had given me the Dreamliner up for a ride in the Phoebe to show it off :) and while we were jetting around Shengri La an artist friend that I had dropped a script on earlier in the day sent me a mysterious something, saying only “be sure you have lots of space when you rez it”. Since we were like 300m above Shengri La at the time there was lots of room, so… see picture above. :)

The mysterious something turned out to be a lovely ice-pavillion (with sculptie icicles), so we tethered the Phoebe and explored it for awhile before heading back down to land.

All in all a marvelous Rezday weekend; I continue to be in awe of the kindness and generosity of both my Second Life friends and for that matter of Second Life total strangers. Oh, and thanks also to all the folks who sent good wishes in IM and on Plurk; and anyone else that I forgot to thank here! Some of the festivities were late at night, and I don’t always retain those memories very well. :)

Just five more minutes…

Five More Minutes?

One of the lovely things about SL is that you can always spend five more minutes in bed in the morning. (Not to mention that you cal sleep in your pearls without getting all tangled, or the strand breaking.)

So what am I thinking about this morning? I’m trying not to think too much about the flamewar I let myself get drawn into yesterday; it was fun in a way, and I felt like I couldn’t let the original insult go unchallenged, but these things always leave me feeling karmically dirty. (Where do I go to add “karmically” to the wordpress spellchecker?) Lying in bed half-awake, I fantasize that maybe Prokofy Neva is really somebody reasonable (I don’t know; Crap, Ordinal, Nika, Desmond, Dale?) who just needs a place to completely let go sometimes, and unload whatever irrational spiteful lunatic bile has accumulated in their system since last time. It would explain alot (including why the ideas behind the incredible hostility are sometimes actually plausible). But other evidence is against it.

I’m thinking about the next few thousand words of the November novel. (Someone said on Plurk that they wanted to read it, so here’s a snapshot that I’ll with any luck remember to update as I go along.) I’m thinking maybe a Wikipedia entry for DomWatch, the weblog that keeps track of the alien or aliens that has taken over some number of villages in rural south Asia, where the people seem to worship it (them) as a god or something.

I’m vaguely trying to get myself to think about work, or at least trying to get myself to feel guilty that I’m not thinking about it. My RL self reports that the work email client is all upset again, and I’m unable to send mail, and someone wants a copy of something urgently in the next hour and a half or so. But that’s ninety minutes, so spending just five more minutes in bed here (listening to the surf outside the propped-open windows, breathing the sea air) won’t hurt anything, surely.

I’m being all amused and proud of myself again for my great public service in producing an accurate transcript of Crap Mariner’s marvelous The Death of Vinnie Linden (you must go listen to it if you haven’t yet; I know I’m generally anti-audio and anti-video, preferring the lucidity of text, but in this case…) for Vint Falken’s weblog. Not sure exactly why I did that, but it doesn’t lose its appeal on repeated listening.

I’m thinking about World of Warcraft, where I’ve been spending entirely too much time playing my brand-new Death Knight in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Someone asked on Plurk the other day why WoW is so addictive, and got various somewhat useful answers. I play WoW when I need (or want) mindless entertainment, when I don’t want to be social, when I want there to be nice clean doable goals (always another quest to do, another level to conquer, another kind of bandage to learn to make), where I want to be pretty sure that a modest amount of effort will lead to clear and measurable success.

I used to be a programmer in RL. Programming is like WoW in general: you know that a modest (or sometimes an immodest) amount of effort will lead to clear and measurable success. Where there didn’t used to be a program, there is now, and you wrote it, and when it runs it does what it was supposed to. That’s why I like scripting in SL also. I’m not so much a programmer in RL anymore though, now I’m more into strategy and technology outlooks and things; predicting and shaping the future. And there the effort and the rewards are all much less well defined. I make some PowerPoint, or write a whitepaper; big whoop. They don’t do anything. Maybe what I say is presented to people who make important decisions, maybe it influences those decisions. Or maybe they would have made the same decisions anyway. Maybe the decisions are good, maybe not so good, but you can’t actually tell. The results can be bad (or good) due to bad (or good) luck, even if the decision was good (or bad). So it’s all very tenuous.

Gosh, this must be boring for you. :) Apologies. But it’s my five minutes, and that’s the sort of places my head is spinning right now.

Oh, and yesterday I meant to download and try out the Imprudence viewer, but I didn’t get around to it. Maybe tonight. If I get up to at least thirty thousand words (preferably 30,500) first.

Aw well, stretch yawn, better get up and get the stupid email fixed. Coffee?

Happy Birthday Extropia Party!

So Michele mentioned the other day (I don’t know, some previous day in the not-too-distant past) that there was going to be a birthday party for Extropia that night, and for a wonder I remembered and actually went inworld for it (a good excuse for NaNoWriMo procrastination), and I IMd Rebel about it because she was on and I hadn’t talked to her in ages, and she brought Snowflake, who I hadn’t talked to in even more ages, and it was great and I took some pictures. I didn’t get any pictures of the Founders of the Feast due to a bit of cloudiness an’ lag, but here’s some that I did get:

Dolly Michele -- rowr!

Dolly Michele -- rowr!

Deebrane and Zada

Deebrane an' Zada

Rebel and Snowflake

Rebel an' Snowflake

Ravin!

Ravin'!

Peer is tickled!

Peer is tickled!

Typical nice friendly SL party; highbrow discussion, lots of silly jokes, and an anthropomorphic pink bunny strapped to a tickle-torture machine. A good time was had by all. :)

UGC FTW!

(That’s “User-generated content for the win!”, or “it’s good to let people make stuff”.)

flickr picture with lots of user-generated SL content that it's hard to imagine the world owners ever getting around to making themselves

This is another in a series of posts in which I take some stuff that I wrote sometime in the past as a comment to someone else’s weblog or something, and post it here, so as to expose it to more of my readers, and to get easy content for the weblog and add to my worldwide fame without doing much additional work.

The following little rant was originally posted as a comment to this digado posting, which started out as a discussion of whether browser-based virtual worlds were going to take over, was dragged (by me) into the issue of whether “browser based” is actually a property of virtual worlds at all, and eventually ended up on the question of whether it’s important (for the success of the world) that a virtual world allow ordinary users to make stuff. I strongly believe that it is, but in the course of the discussion (and of a very similar discussion that took place around the same time inside my company’s firewall) I realized that my favorite reason for believing that (the first one given below) is in practice not early as important as another reason (the second one below).

Discussion and comment and the general spreading of my worldwide fame is most welcome. And now, the actual content.

I think that user-generated content is very important for a successful virtual world that wants to be a general-purpose virtual world rather than just a MMORPG like WoW or whatever. And it’s important for two reasons:

First and I admit somewhat idealistically, I think that everyone wants to create, and will create if we make it easy enough and foster a culture that encourages creation, and that everyone will be richer and happier as a result. It doesn’t have to be the creation of the shapes of virtual objects (”3D phtotoshopping”); it can be that, but it can also be textures, or music, or design specifications for an object that someone else will actually build, or room layouts in a building, or text and writing or all kinds, or sound effects, or the mechanism of a quest game, or a set of jokes, or a new way to organize a committee, or a script to power a funny hat, or… But in any case empowering people to be creative in these ways in the VWs means providing User Generated Content.

Second, and much more practically, user generated content is important because without it the owners of the platform are a bottleneck for every single stupid thing that anyone needs built. Someone wants to open a store to sell either real or virtual goods, and they want the store to have a distinctive look rather than being just Generic Store #3, they have to file a petition with the platform owners and hope someone gets to it. There’s a craze in RL Korea for skirts with huge flower-shaped ribbons, by the time the VW owners notice (unless they’re in Korea themselves) and provide the corresponding virtual content, the craze will have been over for a week. A corporation wants a conference room structured around the basic principles of their new Seven-Sigma Continuous Improvement Business Innovation for Stakeholder Success Philosophy, they aren’t going to want to queue up behind the people who are badgering the platform owners for custom houses done the Dark Elvish style.

UGC frees the economy. We know that the way an economy produces the right goods and services is by way of a price system and a free market (modulo market failures, externalities, rights violations, and so on). We know that central planning of the means of production doesn’t work in the real world. Why should we expect it to work in the virtual worlds? Why would Linden Lab be any better at predicting what ought to be designed and created for its residents than the Supreme Soviet turned out to be for theirs? UGC puts the decision-making power out in the user community, where imho it belongs.

And note that this isn’t just about the people who want to create stuff. Even if my idealistic idea is wrong, and some people really are born to be passive consumers who only want to buy, never create, UGC is still the right way to make sure that the stuff that they want to buy is available. A vibrant economy will do a pretty good job of making that happen; a bunch of people sitting in a room at Linden Lab trying to decide what objects to add to the world next will do a very bad job of it.

End rant. For now. :)

End of actual content. Oh, and props to Ahuva, who was I think the one who most clearly brought out the “it’s good for non-builders, too, ’cause they can tell their builder friends what they want” idea in the internal discussion.

Feelin’ Groovy

Here I am, just Being, in my little piece of the SecondStock sim, where they’re doing a recreation / celebration of the original Woodstock festival. One of the organizers TPd me over and convinced me to rent one of their little stalls. I made some Tshirts and some books, put them out as freebies, and put out a tipjar. Grooviness!

Common Goods Snapshot

(Click through to flickr for access to more detailed larger size.) Books (not counting the Hobo bookcase) include Dharma Bums, Be Here Now (and see also the Be Here Now carpet), The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment (my favorite obscure hippie philosophy book), Hippies from A to Z (lols), and (on the ground slightly under a crate) the first annual Swimsuit Edition of High Times. Various T-shirts in the T-shirt vendor, two classic Arcadia Asylum freebie vendors with very cool (if high-prim) hobo things, a lovely colorful mushroom by Sabrinaa Nightfire (who was kind enough to let me give that away too), a couple of meditation balls, and a freebie psychedelic chair. What more could one want? Well, drugs of course, but there are lots of those in the other booths nearby. :)

Note: I seem to have been in SL quite a bit less lately (there may even have been a day when I didn’t get inworld at all!). Not taking a hiatus or anything, and definitely not a reflection on any of many beloved v good friends there. Just feeling a sort of early-fall hibernating mood, I think, and also a huge unpaid sleep debt. :) I imagine I’ll be back to more or less my old ways before long. So don’t worry!

Alternate Boy Dale

I keep mentioning that although I have lots of good hairs and skins for Girl Dale, I have only two of each that I really like for Boy Dale, and I keep not showing the other boy set. So here it is. :)

Alternate Boy Dale Outfit

I got the skin really cheap somewhere, and I hope it’s not ripped off. The Tshirt is by me (it’s an in-joke with some folks at work, but also a pretty nice Tshirt). And the toolbelt is one of my favorites…

(Click through the image to the flickr page for exactly this same content on a different website! Woot!)

Oh, and the unusual background is because I’m standing on the sandy seabottom on PIER. Why not, after all?

Throat Lozenges and Science Fiction

The other week I met SL artist Sabrinaa Nightfire while she was working on the Identity Circus with Botgirl Questi. We got on very well, and did the usual fun artist stuff of showing each other our favorite pieces and all (she’s got the coolest house!).

We were talking in IM the other day and I mentioned that I had a sore throat (and I still do, although it’s slowly slowly going away). A little while later I got some blue dropdowns informing me that she’d sent me a couple of objects called “Throat Lozenge”. They turned out to be a little large to swallow :) but they look good sitting as a temporary installation in the Hughes Rise Park.

Throat Lozenges

I love the gifting culture! :)

And speaking of Sabrinaa, she pointed out one of her builds to me and a few days later I found the time to explore it. Here I am, as a tiny little dot near the center of the shot:

Science Fiction Museum

The lovely wild build here houses the Science Fiction Museum (direct teleport), with inneresting exhibits by Kueperpunk Korhonen. I close with some tantalizing text that a robot in one of those bubbles greeted me with

They are gone.
They have vanished.
They have been our fathers, and our mothers.
Our ancestors…well somehow.
They didn`t create us. But they made those who made those who made those who made those who made those who made those who made us…
It was many generations, before we came here.
Thousands of years after they dissapeared.
Humans…
Biological lifeforms, small, fragile, sensitive…
Agressiv, conquering, selfdestructive….
They are gone.
We want to know, what happened to them. May be, it was war, or disease, a catatsrophe or they just left the galaxy.
But one thing is unique about them : their imagination…
They could imagine things, befor they actually existed.
They called it Science Fiction.
And we think,the answer to the question what happened to them, can be found in their Science Fiction.
Come and see, what we found…

Spontaneous collaborative building FTW!

I was wandering around with v nice friend Michele the other day, shopping in a vague way for a nice marble or stone or something pool or bath or water-thing for lounging around sybaritically (oooh, there’s a word that the spellchecker doesn’t know (haha and “spellchecker” is another)). She found one that was almost right, but it was a little pricey, and it had these like sculpted cherubim pouring water out of jugs that were a bit much for the use-case.

And suddenly I remembered what universe we were in, and I said “you know we could just go over to the land and build one, and it would be free and wouldn’t have like cherubim and stuff”, and so we went over to the land and did that:

By the pool

I did the prim-wrangling, and Michele did the “wait, that oval cutout looked good” and the “it needs vines” and the “wait go back to that last texture” part. And in I dunno half an hour or something we had a very nice little pool, just 18 prims including lights and the mist and the various freebie sits around it, and some of her cushions and pillows and things tossed casually around, and I could float on my back looking at the stars while we talked about the meaning of life or whatever.

(It took a little more than half an hour to get it really right, because the water and the vines need to be phantom and the rest of it needs to be non-phantom, which means it needs to be two separate objects, but that’s a drag, so now there’s a control menu that lets you “empty” and “fill” the pool, which derezzes and rerezzes the water and the vines as desired. I also added the occasional passing butterflies (upper left) and soft fireworks (not pictured) after the main build. And ouch look, that closest pillar isn’t perfectly aligned; have to go in and fix that! :) )

This is one of the greatest things about SL. Not that I’m against commerce, and don’t have plenty of bought objects myself. But the ability to sit down with a friend and just make something on the spur of the moment (or for that matter with days of advance planning; that’s great too) is so amazingly wonderful…

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