New random project: Region Mapper

Snapshot of Hughes Rise, as of 2009/03/31So on a complete whim and for no reason that I know of (possibly related to the whole mainland aesthetics discussion), I decided to write a little script that would list all the parcels in a region, in some sort of map-like form.

I had all sorts of techie ideas in my head about little survey ‘bots that would fly around 200m above the ground, communicating to a central controller using llRegionSay() and all, but I was disappointed. :) Turns out llGetParcelDetails() has no range-limit (within the current sim), so a script just sitting under a tree in the Park can see the name and description of every parcel in the Rise.

Here’s the output from my current script (with the longer strings trimmed to fit on the page):

Hughes Rise:
000 000 000 000 001 001 001 001 002 002 003 004 005 005 006 006
000 000 000 000 001 001 001 001 002 002 003 007 007 005 006 006
000 000 000 000 001 001 001 001 008 008 009 007 007 005 005 006
000 000 000 000 001 001 001 001 008 008 009 010 010 010 005 006
011 011 011 011 012 012 013 013 014 014 015 016 010 010 005 005
011 011 011 011 017 018 019 020 014 014 015 016 010 010 021 005
011 011 011 011 017 018 019 020 009 009 022 022 010 010 021 005
011 011 023 023 023 023 020 020 020 024 024 024 024 025 024 002
026 026 023 023 023 023 020 020 020 024 024 024 024 025 024 002
026 026 023 023 023 023 020 020 027 027 024 024 024 024 024 024
028 028 023 023 023 023 029 029 030 031 024 024 024 032 032 024
028 028 033 033 033 033 029 029 030 031 024 024 024 032 032 024
028 028 033 033 023 023 029 029 034 034 035 035 036 037 038 038
039 039 033 040 040 040 023 023 041 041 042 042 036 037 038 038
043 043 044 044 045 045 023 023 046 046 047 047 036 036 036 048
043 043 043 043 045 045 023 023 049 049 050 050 036 036 036 048

000: free resell freebie store full perm: somethings are free , …
001: Computer Land:
002: Hughes Rise :
003: : My first house
004: Galaxy Design: Primland
005: Protected Land: Protected Land
006: Hughes Rise (25,224) Mature 1600m:
007: Galaxy Design real estate – Hughes Rise 6: Flat green land …
008: oms studio 2:
009: The Camel’s Prim Farm:
010: Sadie’s Dyke Bar & Butch Store: Quiet hangout. Dressing room, …
011: Abandoned Land: Land abandoned by My World! (group) on 28-Jan-2009
012: Land ID:21088 (B.O.S) Hughes Rise, Green grassy flat land: Rent …
013: Land ID:21089 (B.O.S) Hughes Rise, Green grassy flat land: Rent …
014: Abandoned Land: Land abandoned by Ash Alecto on 14-Dec-2008
015: Abandoned Land: Land abandoned by Errol Bazar on 09-Oct-2008
016: Himmis Kleines Eckchen ;):
017: Land ID:21087 (B.O.S) Hughes Rise, Green grassy flat land: Rent …
018: Land ID:21086 (B.O.S) Hughes Rise, Green grassy flat land: Rent …
019: Land ID:21085 (B.O.S) Hughes Rise, Green grassy flat land: Rent …
020: Microparadise: Some Land! Woooot!
021: Ad-Vatar and The Question Center: Dr. Destiny
022: Abandoned Land: Land abandoned by Cricket Zipper on 31-Dec-2008
023: Workshop More Prim Farm:
024: Workshop Prim Farm: Workshop Prim Farm
025: Hughes Rise – First Land: Land For The Landless
026: =Hughes Rise=: objects included
027: La’s Tipi: Keep Out
028: Julie’s Place: Julie’s Place
029: Hughes Rise Park, upper section:
030: Dale Inis random Hughes Rise land:
031: oms studio 1:
032: Jilly and om’s Japanese tryst:
033: Bippie’s Home: Bippie and Halo’s home. Friends welcome. IM one …
034: Gray Estates Part Deux:
035: My Secret Hideaway: Sometimes you want to go, where nobody …
036: Sweetwater Retreat (240,232) Mature 1536m:
037: Hughes Rise: Hughes Rise
038: Heavenly Bodies Tattoos & Shapes: Tattoo, Tattoos, Shapes, …
039: Scott’s Seat lowlands:
040: AVATARS AVATARS,Batman,Pooh Bear,Star Wars,Betty Boop, …
041: Hughes Rise (216,145) Mature 512m:
042: DAT LAND:
043: Scott’s Seat: Land in the Mist
044: MeadowSide: Portal to Happiness
045: Workshop: Wherever you go etc.
046: Marqs Gettaway:
047: Workshop Annex: Workshop Annex
048: AI WorkShop: AI Skybox Workshop
049: Abandoned Land: Land abandoned by bWhittl Kips on 08-Jan-2009
050: A Garden : Murasaki Suisei

The map is upside-down, I think, and possibly backwards. And/or sideways. Also it’s numbers instead of some nice visual.

The next thing I’m thinking of is learning enough SVG to produce a more map-like map, with boundaries drawn as lines and all, from the same data (a strictly inworld prim-based version would also be possible, but would probably require quite a few prims). I may or may not ever get around to doing that. :) I might also throw the script into the Wiki at some point, if I think it’s reached the point of non-triviality.

It would also be fun to overlay the parcel map on top of the visual maps that the Second Life API makes available (like the one at the top of the posting there; click through for the API version). Clever SVG might be able to do that also. If anyone knows of anyone else doing anything like any of this, send email or post a comment!

And then I’m still planning a posting about inworld Profile Displayers, which I have a picture all taken for and more or less know what the words will say, but have just not gotten around to. Busy, busy…

More Masks!

My mask at Masks!: 'What Counts'The “Masks!” opening mentioned last time went off great on Sunday; lots of people, lots of fascinatin’ masks to look at, a DJ and a dance floor, only bearable amounts of lag, etc, etc. I could only stay at the official opening for about half an hour myself due to RL things (dinner!), but I came back later to look at things more thoroughly. It was less crowded then, but I ran into Goose Wycliffe (of Da Goose Gallery), and we looked at masks and talked and stuff.

I didn’t have the forethought to take any pictures to speak of (except of my own piece over there, heh heh), but other people have filled in for me: here’s Ahuva, and here’s Soror Nishi.

My own piece, pictured somewhere near these words, is called “What Counts”, for any and all of the reasons you might imagine. All of the number-wheels spin sort of quasi-randomly (it’s just a coincidence that the eyes are on the same numbers in this snapshot), and the pointer in the nose-gear moves continually (and continuously!). It was fun to make, and I like how it came out.

The show’s on for a month or so, I gather, so go visit! It’s also worth wandering around the rest of the sim if you have a chance; Sabrinaa’s really creatived the place up (find the flying mask-bats!). And in general the whole Caerleon island group there is an interesting and look-worthy artist-colony sort of place.

Update: Another weblog mention: Zha at Second Life of my Dreams on the Masks! show.

Opening Sunday: Masks!

some random masks :)
Much as I claim that making random bits of art is one of the things I love most about Second Life, I don’t actually do it all that often; I always get distracted and go off exploring or shopping (or freebie-hunting!) or partying or whatever.

So when Sabrinaa Nightfire told me about the “Masks!” show that she was putting together and did I want to maybe submit something, my first tendency was to say “well, I’m not all that good about actually finishing SL things by any particular date”, but before I could actually say that some more ambitious part of me said “sure!”, and (after a few false starts) I made something that I like, and got it to her before the deadline.

Maybe after the show I’ll post a picture of it :) but for now your only chance is inworld. The show opens Sunday (tomorrow!). Official notice follows (what a great company to find myself in!). And one of the mentioned freebies will be a small wearable version of my own piece, which the large display version will be giving out on touch; assuming that works…

You are cordially invited to the opening of the Masks! Show at Erato of Caerleon. There will be music and dancing and freebies for everyone. The opening is Sunday, March 29 at 1pm SLT. The LM is attached:

Erato of Caerleon (112,186,25)

The artists whose work was chosen for this exhibit include (in no particular order):

Misprint Thursday
Pete Jiminy
Georg Janick
Physeter Nicholls
Sledge Roffo
Rust Aristocrat
Pol Jarvinen
Truthseeker Young
Aristocrates Aristocrat
Pixels Sideways
Buffy Beale
FreeWee Ling
Frao Ra
Sabrinaa Nightfire
four Yip
alial Allen
Artistide Despres
Dale Innis
Blue Tsuki
Miso Susanowa
Alexith Destiny

If you have any questions about this event, please contact Sabrinaa Nightfire.

(See also another random weblog posting.)

Utopia is not a lie

In a recent weblog posting, Prad Prathivi bemoans the condition of the mainland, and calls for more control, saying that (and I’m probably distorting his thesis here) the more or less uncontrolled mainland is so ugly that it proves that when people aren’t controlled enough, they make icky stuff, and so “utopia is a lie”.

This posting (and some of the comments on it) came closer to enraging me than anything I’ve read in a Second Life related weblog posting in quite awhile. :) I may be reading more into it than was intended, but it seem so typical of the whole “freedom is bad because people use it to do stuff I don’t like” thought that it pushed some of my buttons really hard. I wrote a long and probably insufficiently thought out comment, which I’ll reproduce (with the typos fixed) below.

It occurs to me, also, that all of this is strongly related to the thinking in Nozick’s “Anarchy, State, and Utopia”, a book that I’ve always loved (and ought to read again sometime). In that book, Nozick starts from basic philosophical premises, derives a description of the ideal society, and finds that it’s basically anarchy (i.e. everyone can do what they like, including starting non-anarchical societies (like private estates!) within it), with just a few qualifications that it would be very hard to implement in real life: the most important one is the ability to move elsewhere if you don’t like the one that you’re in (including, as I recall, being able to move elsewhere in time to avoid that knife that’s about to sink into your back).

Nozick’s utopia is, sadly, not feasible in RL at our current levels of technology (and Nozick himself backed away from it in a sense in later works, writing about more statists and more practical arrangements of society); but it describes SL almost exactly. People can do what they like, but you can always TP away. If you want to start your own society, go right ahead: buy a private island or a big chunk of mainland, alone or with your buddies, and impose whatever rules you like there. But if someone else, somewhere else on the grid, is doing stuff you wish they wouldn’t, tough luck!

And that’s Utopia for me. :)

Anyway, here’s what I wrote on Prad’s posting. Comments and feedback most welcome.

So let’s see. There are vast areas of SL, the island estates, where there are covenants in place, where parcel owners can build only within the covenant imposed by the estate owner, where things can be just as controlled as people want. There are lots of different islands with lots of different covenants, and people can choose from a wide variety of degrees and types of control.

And then there’s an area, the mainland, where the only covenant is the ToS, and people can do whatever they want within the ToS. Everyone who buys or rents mainland knows this in advance, and presumably buys or rents mainland because that idea suits them.

From this we conclude that mainland is awful and broken and needs to be controlled! It is ugly (i.e. it doesn’t fit my particular taste)! It has things on it that I personally don’t like! People build things that I would rather they would not build! Oh no! It must be cleaned up (i.e. made to fit my personal taste better)! It must have a government! It must be maintained!

Pheh. I’m going to get a bit mean and sarcastic here, because you’re attacking something that I value highly. Apologies in advance. :)

I love the mainland for its anarchy, its unpredictability, its freedom. Most of the land that I own is mainland. My main holding is the park near the center of Hughes Rise (stop by sometime!). Yeah, I’ve had big ugly stores move in next door, and all manner of wannabe clubs, and a “police station”, and some lots with really ugly FOR SALE signs, and all of them amused me. It’s mainland, ffs! That’s how it works! If you want nice clean suburban yards where you get a fine for letting your grass grow too long, go buy estate land.

It really bugs me that people can’t stand the idea of having *any* part of the grid be free and open to anything within-ToS. Does every square meter of the grid have to be under the control of some finger-wagging controlling body? Is anarchy really all that terrifying and unbearable? It’s not like people are really in physical danger in the seedy areas. It’s not like someone’s going to trash your car if you leave it parked on the mainland (at worst it’ll be returned to your inventory).

For me utopia is a place where people can do whatever they want, with reasonable and minimal limits to prevent violating the rights of others (i.e. the ToS). Yes, this results in anarchy, in ugliness and in beauty, in chaos and unpredictability, and creativity and squalor, in stuff I love and stuff I don’t. That’s what’s wonderful about it! Managing it, controlling it, cleaning it up, would ruin it. Yes, the mainland is Utopia, and it’s not a lie at all! It’s just something that seems to enrage and/or frighten some people, for reasons I really don’t understand.

“Yet Mainland needs a good clean up – I want to see Mature content moved away”; why do you think that your wants should be the law? “but I don’t see that happening at all.” And a good thing, too. :)

end rant…

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.

R U Kidding?

So I tried Twinity the other month, and am still on their mailing lists, and I get the occasional email from them. The frequency isn’t often enough to be annoying, but the content pretty much invariably reminds me that I am not the person that their marketing folks have in mind. The latest:

Dear Dale,

R U HOT? is looking for Twinity’s hottest avatar!

Spring arrives in Twinity! The best conditions to stroll through 3D Berlin’s streets and show off your avatar’s perfect appearance! If you would like a little extra hot topping with it, we have a special offer for you: R U HOT? in Twinity!

At our first model contest you can watch stylish Twinizens parading down the catwalk showing some virtual skin. Be one of the first to see the hip outfits and hot beach wear for 2009!

Where’s that gagging-spoon?

‘course it isn’t just Twinity; Plurk also seems intent on driving me away screaming. Unfortunately they haven’t yet succeeded…

A fond farewell to PIER

‘Way, ‘way back in The Day, I used to hang out at Elbow Room (SL’s most popular 96m2 club) quite a bit. Carys Dahlstrom was one of the more friendly and outgoing bartenders there (as I recall, an ER bartender combined the function of Host and DJ in larger clubs, there not being room for both). She once IMd me asking if I’d like to be a bartender; I replied that if I didn’t have a strict policy against having to be responsible and show up on time and stuff in SL, I would have jumped at the chance.

The then-owner of Elbow Room was a somewhat mercurial character, and on one of the occasions when he fired the entire staff, word went out that everyone was gathering at “PIER”, a club owned by Carys, until things calmed down at ER. At that time, PIER was a very nice medium-sized build I forget where, and a fun place to hang out. Eventually PIER got its own sim (called “PIER”), and there were some nice little rental houses and shacks available, and I rented one.

My Pier Shack

(Click through for the renormous size.)

I forget exactly when this was, but it was a long time ago as SL things go; I’ve been renting ever since, through the various interesting events that’ve occurred there. For awhile I paid no rent, because Carys is extremely generous and let me earn my keep with the occasional informal scripting or tee-shirt making project.

There was that day when the entire region except for my shack was behind banlines (I never really did figure out what was going on there), various other renters coming and going, the creation of the Sub Club (a grunge-themed underwater club space contrasting with the clean seabreeze-swept PIER club itself), the Jazz Club, the marina, the poker room upstairs, the drum-circle islet. PIER features in various postings to this weblog, particularly Where I Rez; my PIER shack has been my SL home location for a long long time also.

As time went on, things changed. There was a great live-music series at one point. Carys bought ER, and got involved with a boy :) and suddenly had less time for PIER. Various long-time staffers left for one reason or another and new people came in. After a long quiet time without much going on, a new management team came in (and we worked out that I would actually start paying rent, which was fine with me), and there was talk of new stuff starting to happen again. I got a couple of new renter neighbors on the islet next door. But then apparently something went wrong (and I’m sure I don’t want to know all the details!), and a group notice came through that PIER was shutting down. The farewell party is, I’m told, on the 20th.

PIER was a great place. The build was nice, a very laid back seaside atmosphere, a nice PG club with an outdoor wood-plank dancefloor and a cozy lounge, couple danceballs but no poles for strippers, a long boardwalk around the back with vendor stalls (that seldom had any shoppers), islets with houses and drum-circles and all, lots of open water, a couple of wooded fingers of land with hidden cuddlespots and fires to sit by. Nothing NPIRL or incredibly unique, just a nice place. It was unique as a community because of the people; lots of nice people coming and going, only a moderate amount of drama. I liked it alot.

I’m wistful about it closing, sort of nostalgic in advance, but not really sad. I’ll take away all my objects, I’ll have all my pictures and memories. People are talking about where we’ll hang out once PIER closes, and I imagine I’ll stay in touch with some but not others. I’ll change my home to the Hughes Rise Park, or maybe my myPod in Extropia, I’ll find a nice place for the kitty to live, and places to show whatever bits of artwork from the shack that I don’t want to just leave in inventory. And I even bought my own copy of the shack! It’s a Barnesworth Anubis prefab, with lovely open windows and a feeling of light and air.

Things change, the world moves. We always carry the past with us, and the pieces of PIER that I’ll take onward with me will be some of the bits of the past that I’m especially fond of. Happy thanks to everyone that’s contributed to it.

(Update:someone said at Tiphares last night, while we were all reminiscing, that the Elbow Room is actually only 96m2. Disbelieving, I just went and measured it, and indeed it’s 8m x 12 m. Smaller than my shack! Shows what can be done in even a tiny space…)

Adults to be banned from Second Life mainland


Sigh! I’ve got so many things already queued up to post about, why did they have to do this now? But for a change I feel pretty strongly about some Important SL Issue Of The Day, so I ought to strike whilst the iron is hot, eh?

What’s this all about?

Linden Lab have just announced that all “Adult” content will be removed from the existing parts of the Second Life mainland, and moved to other places: private islands whose owners have tagged them “Adult”, and a new “Adult Continent” which will be a peer of, but not directly attached to any of, the existing mainland continents. These other places will be accessible only by people who have “age verified”, by giving LL some reason to believe that they are probably 18 or over.

Are they really going to do that?

I think the most likely answer to that is yes, they’re going to do just what they’ve announced. In the past they have on various occasions (the whole Open Spaces thing for instance) announced something Draconian, gotten lots of negative feedback, and done something milder instead; this either represents admirable flexibility to the opinions of the Residents, or (for the more paranoid) represents a conscious strategy of pretending they’re about to do something awful, so that we’ll complain less when they then do the slightly less awful thing that they were actually planning all along.

That’s not necessarily the case, of course. They might fall back to simply applying the Age Verification stuff that they began to put into place awhile back; where naughty places have to be marked Adult, and only age-verified people can go to those places. We’ll see. But my bet is on them actually going through with this (at least officially; see somewhere below).

Why are they doing this?

They say that it’s all “about enhancing Second Life for all Residents by giving them greater control over their inworld experiences”, but that’s just the kind of painfully chirpy positive spin that LL is for some reason addicted to. Residents already have all the control they could possibly want over their inworld experience; if they want to avoid adult things they can stick to “PG” parcels and Abuse Report anyone who does anything naughty there. And if they really just wanted to allow people even stronger abilities to avoid naughty things they could (as many of us have suggested on the forums) create a new Non-adult continent for those people, and leave the rest of us alone.

I think it’s most likely that they are doing this because they’ve concluded that they must prevent people who aren’t age-verified from seeing the naughty stuff, whether those people want to see it or not. PG parcels don’t do this, and a Non-adult Continent doesn’t do this (unless they restrict all un-age-verified people to it, thus cutting them off from virtually all of the grid), but the Adult-banishment that they are planning does.

Why do they feel that they need to keep the non-verified away from naughty stuff? Two possibilities spring to mind: either because they really are going to start letting non-adults onto the grid (merging / eliminating the Teen Grid), or their lawyers have just concluded that otherwise their exposure to lawsuits in some jurisdiction or other is unacceptably high. (It may even be that some government body somewhere has informed them that if they are not taking reasonable steps to keep minors away from naughty things by a particular date, they will be indicted; who knows!)

That’s my theory, anyway.

So what will happen?

All sorts of things, very few of them good.

Many adult institutions will be destroyed. Either because they can’t afford the hassle and possible expense of moving (LL hasn’t said anything about how the mechanics and economics of the adult exile will work), or because they are focused on or otherwise depend on customers who are not age-verified. And that latter doesn’t mean just children sneaking onto the Grid; depending on who you listen to, there are either a few or lots and lots of people who can’t age-verify because the age verification mechanisms don’t work in their country, or require RL resources that they don’t have, or require disclosing RL information about themselves that they don’t want to disclose.

Others will go underground. When LL banned gambling from the Grid, many gambling places shut down, but others just moved, or disguised themselves, or took a week’s vacation and returned under another name. It’s not hard to find slot machines and other supposedly banned games of chance on the grid; some are disguised as games of skill, others are ‘way ‘way up above the clouds, and so on. These places can’t advertise (except very carefully), but I imagine word of mouth works pretty well. I think this would in general be a bad thing for adult places; being driven out of the light tends to lead to unhealthy development in the dark.

There will be no clear definition of “Adult”. As people have pointed out in the forums, it’s ridiculous to expect that Linden Lab will be able to come up with a clear unambiguous acceptable definition of “Adult material”, when the world’s courts have tried for generations to do that same thing and failed.

The Maturity Ratings FAQ, which seems to be the official policy document for purposes of the banishment, defines “Adult” very broadly, to include for instance any “publicly accessible Region” that “advertises, makes available, references, or displays… genitalia, whether or not photo-realistic… [or] Photo-realistic nudity”. Under those words, a gallery with a reproduction of Michelangelo’s “David”, or a private home with a realistic nude portrait on the wall, is “Adult”. And that’s ridiculous. It also clearly includes nude beaches (where genitalia are of course displayed).

Now in the forums various Lindens, including Blondin and Cyn, have assured Residents that that page doesn’t really mean what it says at all, and that nude beaches are okay as long as they aren’t sex-clubs, and that anything at all in a private residence is okay, and artistic-type art galleries are okay. And that, in general, it’s only the very “explicit” and “extreme” stuff that will be banished.

So we have an official policy that says one thing, and the people who will be enforcing the policy saying something else. And what does that mean?

Enforcement will be unfair. It means the policy will be enforced unevenly, based on the well-intentioned whims and subjective judgements of whoever happens to be manning the Banishment Desk that day. It means that some maybe-Adult places will exist on the non-adult mainland in a state of uncertainty, keeping their heads down and self-censoring. It means that our culture’s prejudices will inevitably creep in, and gay places will be judged more strictly than straight places, and classical art will be given more slack than edgier modern art, and people who are well-regarded by the Lindens will be able to get away with more than people who are less well connected, or who the Lindens don’t like. This isn’t because the Lindens are evil or sinister or anything; they’re just human, and humans always do things like this when they’re called on to subjectively enforce bad laws.

The mainland will be less interesting. If this goes into effect, all of the adult establishments will (perforce) move to the Adult Mainland, and few or no non-adult establishments will move there (since they don’t have to, and if they do they will lose all of their un-age-verified customers). So exploring the normal mainland will be less interesting, because there will be nothing adult there. And exploring the adult mainland will be less interesting, because it will be all adult.

People will get even whinier. I’m not a huge fan of slippery-slope arguments, but I think there’s a pretty plausible one in this case. If it “enhances Second Life for all Residents” to banish adult stuff to their own continent, why not banish anything else that someone doesn’t like? Banish political speech to its own continent; I come into SL to relax, not to hear about politics! Banish all drinking establishments to their own continent; alcohol is against my religion! For that matter, banish all religious establishments to their own continent; religions besides my own offend me! Give each religion its own continent, for that matter! It will “give them greater control over their inworld experiences”! How wonderful! The mainland will be completely devoid of anything that anyone doesn’t like, and we can all hang around just with people exactly like us!

That’s unlikely to happen of course. But once we start down this slope, people will want it to happen, for the particular things that bother them, and they will moan and whine and point at the Adult banishment, and ask why they don’t get that same level of control over their inworld experiences. And that will be annoying.

So you’re not too crazy about this idea?

I’m not! I don’t necessarily blame LL for doing it; they may have no choice. In their usual LL fashion they are presenting it as a fait accompli and being all syrupy and chirpy about it; they always do that; it seems to be in their genes. They may be just putting the best (“best”) face on something that they didn’t actually have much choice about. But it’s still a bad thing.

It rewards people and governments who have stupid and destructive ideas about bodies and sex, it punishes with banishment people who have done nothing wrong, it harms people’s sense of responsibility for their own lives (and for the upbringing of their children), and it will make Second Life a less interesting and more annoying place.

So pheh.

Next time I will post about something less depressing.

Dale is…

Woot memes!

Dale is player 2.
Dale has been banned.
Dale needs a Valium.
Dale looks like an adorable goonda.
Dale says Yes!
Dale thinks democracy could be a populist ace in the hole for the Alliance.
Dale wants a nap.
Dale does wonderful work.
Dale hates social networking.
Dale asks Ten Questions about the US election.
Dale likes life on the dark side.
Dale Eats Wasabi for $30.
Dale wears a Hawaiian shirt.
Dale was arrested for public intoxication and retail theft.
Dale loves cookies.

Yum, cookies! … hic … :)

More Phunny Physics

As I’ve mentioned before, having actual physics (with gravity and friction and collisions and stuff) in a virtual world (especially one with dynamic and unpredictable content) is really hard, and Second Life has compromised by having just enough physics to make some common things (falling, driving vehicles) work well enough to make us happy, and leaving much of the rest of the physics pretty strange and random. So except for AVs and vehicles and a couple of other narrow examples, very little of what we see in SL is actually subject to physical law.

It occurred to me the other day that one fun physical thing to make would be a simple chain. So I did.

Experiment with Physical Rings 1

“Look,” I am saying to myself up in my unwalled sky-laboratory, “I have made a chain of rings!”

The top chain in the picture is nonphysical, so it stays just where it’s put, floating there. The other four are physical, and they swing freely.

A few days later:

Experiment with Physical Rings 2

“Egad,” I say to myself, “the physical rings are gone! How can this be? Where have they gotten to? Perhaps I should have done this experiment in a ground-level laboratory that had walls!”

I get out a hoverdisc and an object-scanner, both of my own devising, and go ring-hunting. I find the first one quickly:

Experiment with Physical Rings 2b

It is sitting down below my sky-laboratory, right next to the 100m flagpole that leads up to it, hovering motionless in the air, and no longer physical. Don’t know how it managed to get detached, or what could have turned off the physical bit.

I continued hunting, and two of the others were also non-physical and also in midair, somewhat lower down, apparently embedded in a neighbor’s banline wall.

I eventually found the last one, maybe 100m away horizontally, lying on the ground on someone else’s parcel, still physical.

Very very odd!

I have nothing very profound to say about this, except that one should obviously not expect things held together by mere physics to stay together, even if they are (for instance) a set of linked solid rings. I don’t know how long it took them to uncouple, or what did it. They were as far as I know not subject to wind pressure, nor were they set to “allow anyone to move” which might have allowed a passerby to give a good stiff yank. Although I suppose someone simply flying into them at high speed could have imparted enough energy to defeat physics engine and unlink the rings.

Should have left a videocamera going…

Is Second Life too little?

In one of those fun crotchety-old-timer posts, the renowned Prad asks Is Second Life too big?, and I reply, in my usual Polyanna way, that it isn’t.

And then I decide to make a whole weblog post out of it! :)

Yeah, I would definitely suggest doing more grid-hopping and exploration, and saying Hi to more random people! I do alot of both, and it’s great fun.

I don’t think Second Life’s too big. I do expect that there’s some slight effect where early on the people coming into SL were very heavily weighted toward early adopters, the curious, the confident, the creative. We’re still pretty heavily weighted that way compared to RL, but probably not quite as much, so there are maybe a few percent more “normal” people than there used to be, and a few percent more people who are *different* enough from you that you maybe will have to work a little harder to get on with them.

But on the whole I think those are good things. :) It might take a bit (just a bit, I think) more effort to meet new people, but imho the increased diversity is well worth it.

One tip: if you want to hit it off with a new person, you don’t have to just say “Hi” out of the blue. You can read their profile, see what they’ve chosen to present to the world about themself, and then you can say “That’s a great profile pic, where did you take it?” or “Hey wow, I’m a huge Allman Brothers fan too!” or “what kind of art do you do?” or whatever. Not only does this give them an easy and natural way to enter into a conversation if they’re so inclined, it also shows that you’ve gone to the trouble of finding out a little about them, and are a bit less likely to be a random beggar.

And for the last new person that I struck up a conversation with, who had nothing much in her profile, one of the things that I said (not instantly, but early on) was that she should put something interesting into her profile, ’cause it would make it easier to meet new people.

When you did that search for “British”, did you really find *no* places that looked like they’d be good prospects for socializing? Even with “show mature” turned off? I’m sure there were alot of malls and clothing stores and iffy-looking venues in the list, but I’ll bet there are one or two that, if you were a newborn today and found them on the list and went there, would offer some very nice first-week experiences meeting new people.

And in terms of, say, being able to find a group of Italian-speakers, or Allman Brothers fans, or train enthusiasts, the Grid is probably *more* inviting to a newborn now, exactly because it is bigger, and has groups and communities and venues for an even larger set of interests and styles than it did N years ago.

“Rarely will we just go around “grid -hopping” to explore and see new places… we avoid most people, fearing them to be psycho sex-seeking, lolcat-English emblazoned stalkerish noobies…”

The power is in your hands! :)

(These thoughts may or may not be related interestingly to my recent other thoughts about styles of “Hi”.)

I like my inventory.

So v good friend Ahuva taught me to fish the other day, and weblogified all about it over on her weblog. As well as the Dirty Biker hair she mentioned, I liked the whole outfit I was wearing that evening.

I Like My Inventory

Dirty Biker hair (part of a full-perm collection that I hope isn’t like stolen), nice one-piece swimsuit from Pixel Dolls, short shorts from I forget where, spiked choker from Nanogunk (it was the first gift anyone gave me in SL, back when I was still proud of not having spent any Lindens yet, and I used to wear it all the time). And I thought just my usual glasses but they look darker in this picture for some reason hm.

I saved this snapshot as “I like my inventory”, because I do. :) Lots of people complain about their inventories, and I do too, saying how it’s 28,000+ items in no particular order or organization to speak of. But really I love it; just sitting around riffling through inventory, trying things on, deleting things called “Object”, discovering projects that I started and then forgot all about… it’s great. Of course before long I generally get to a point where I really like what I’m wearing, and then I want to go out and show it off while, say, learning to fish!

And speaking of fashion and inventory, here’s some boy :)

Grim Dale

wearing some stuff from the fantastic Grim Bros (this store in particular; see also their flickr stream). The used tee shirt is a freebie, the bag and the belt I just couldn’t resist, and the glasses are beautifully detailed and the texture on the right eye animates perfectly (so I couldn’t resist those either).

Such creativity there is!

(Oh, and the Benelli of Grim Bros is also the Benelli of the utterly incredible Bogon Flux, speaking of creativity. omg omg)

Bright Amber Art

So okay, the art isn’t actually amber, and is only in some sense bright, but I couldn’t resist. The artist is good friend BrightAmberG, and the art is on XStreetSL (which used to have some other name but doesn’t anymore). Turn on the “let me see grownup content” thing to see all the pieces she has up.

Here’s Amber standing by one of my favorite ones:


Some of her other pieces (not all of which are up on the web there yet) are weightier, with an intriguing mixture of religious and bondage symbolism; but I like simple. :) The mahogany cradle is a favorite, too; great for rocking to sleep in.

Update: according to the xstreetsl pages, she also has an inworld gallery. I should go look at it!