Thing Envy

So… This is going to be sort of a boring, but maybe a useful (to me, heh heh) posting. Feel free to blip over it entirely if discussions of computer hardware put you to sleep (as they usually do me). I’ll try to keep it short. :)

I use SL from an aging Lenovo laptop with not enough disk space, not enough memory, and a relatively obsolete chipset. It’s been long enough since the OS was installed that it’s suffered from considerable bitrot, and random parts of it don’t quite work right (it only looks for wireless networks automatically about half the time, it hangs if I plug it in while the lid is closed, etc, etc), and for that matter the near-right corner of the case is sort of held on with transparent tape. I use WoW from an aging desktop that also has not enough disk space and not enough memory, and lags horribly in crowded areas. I don’t use The Sims 2 at all anymore, and won’t be able to use The Sims 3 on that machine, because the hard drive is utterly full.

Also I have a big birthday coming up. :)

So I’m thinking of buying a gaming laptop. One with enough disk space to hold SL and WoW and TS2 and even TS3, and enough memory to be able to run them without thrashing, and fast enough CPU and video to run them smooth and lovelyly, and enough extra muscle that I won’t want to replace it for a good long time.

Alienware M17x laptopI’m tempted by the AlienWare M17x. I can design a pretty muscular one that would cost less than (gulp) US$2000. It’s also really cool, having little alien design elements all over it and stuff, and as far as I can tell with some comparison shopping I’m not paying a ridiculous premium for the cool design.

On the other hand (speaking of muscular) the thing is enormous, and really heavy. I’d like to use this for work as well as play, and that means lugging it back and forth every day. And I’d also like to be able to use it while lounging in bed without being crushed.

Alienware M15x laptopSo I’m also tempted by the M15x. It’s smaller and lighter, and a fifteen-inch screen seems plenty large.

The weird thing is that it’s also considerable more expensive! I have to choose a slightly slower CPU and smaller hard drive than with the 17x to get it into a price range that I can even fantasize about. I guess that’s because it’s newer and they have to do cleverer and more expensive stuff to get it all to fit into the smaller case? I dunno.

Sager NP8662And thirdly :) after some Googling around I’m looking at a Sager NP8662 from Factor Gaming, neither of which I had heard of before today, but which seem to be well thought of, and perhaps have the same kinda components as the Alienware ones, but at lower prices (at least a little lower, sigh) due to not having big ad budgets and internationally-marketed brands and stuff. At least that’s the feeling that their website gives me, but it could be Subtle Psychological Manipulation.

And then of course I could be more realistic and look at a more ordinary machine, not designed for total gaming geeks! SL and WoW and TS2 are all pretty lightweight programs compared to the hardcore games that these Alienwares and Sagers are really targetted at. People have told me that a random off-the-shelf laptop that I could get for half the price of these would run SL and WoW just fine, and I don’t imagine even TS3 is all that challenging.

But I have a big birthday coming up (I whine)! And in the long run if I buy something overpowered now, it’ll be that much longer before I feel that I really must replace it. So it’s actually prudent to spend the extra money now. Haha maybe.

Opinions and recommendations most welcome. Do you play SL and/or WoW or TS2 or TS3 on a laptop? How is it? What do you think? Have you bought one lately? Shopped for one? Have random opinions? Comment away! Here, or in the forum thread that I started (which has gone off into a tangent about WoW haha).

The next seven

Having had some very validatin’ feedback on my two previous Calling Card posts, here’s the third. I’m finding riffling through the oldest cards to be great fun, in terms of memory and perspective; I recommend it to all.

Calling cards seem to come in bunches; after Veronica Quackenbush, there are four people that I don’t really recall, although according to my notes I met one of them at a weapon shop, and one came to a rather risible “skybox security seminar” that I held once, the most notable feature of which was a replicating grid attack that happened during it (providing a good excuse for hardly anyone showing up). The other two, I have no idea.

Then there are three people that I definitely do remember.

The second Seminal Event of my newbiehood, following the art opening I talked about last time, happened when I was flying randomly around the mainland, and seeing a single dot on the minimap went over to see who it was. It turned out to be a woman in a Playboy-style bunny suit, building some barstools and spiral staircases for a club. Her name was LadyLutha Harlow, and she was helpful and friendly; she told me that my AV (I was pretty much always a boy at the time, still) was really too short for most SL things (I think I was about 5′ 9″ as a boy then). She showed me some cutting and twisting tricks involved in making one-prim bar stools (this was long before we had sculpties!), and spiral staircases. She showed me (purely Platonically, mind you) my very first Paradise Blanket, which completely blew my mind.

(If you’ve never seen a Paradise Blanket, you should. It looks like a nice picnic blanket, complete with basket, that you and a friend sit on. But then you get a menu, and on command the blanket will transport you high in the sky and rez an entire room or landscape around you, chosen from a potentially quite enormous list. You can then get up and walk around and stuff, and when you’re done picnicing you sit again, choose from the menu again, and the surroundings vanish and you return to the ground. It’s quite astonishing! Especially if you’re like a week-old newborn.)

I think that serendipitous visit with LadyLutha was also the first time I had a sim go down around me. We got the “this region will be shutting down in five minutes” messages, and laughed and decided to stay around and watch the world end. I think she was also the first person that I gave one of my little sparkling fairy companions to (I really ought to revisit that script sometime and fix it up in light of actually knowing what I’m doing now!), because she admired it when I brought it out to show off.

LadyLutha also gave me a landmark to the club that she was building, and that leads to the next Calling Card in the list: Sugga. That’s her in the picture there. :)

Sugga was an aspiring dancer at the club, and I met her (and two or three others that I think are going to appear in the list a little later) when I followed LadyLutha’s LM. The club wasn’t actually open yet, but people were moving around setting things up, and dancers were auditioning and figuring out the dancing devices and tipjars and stuff, and people were dancing and having fun.

Sugga was one of the shyer dancers as I recall, and it’s funny that she’s the one that shows up first in my Calling Cards. But we talked alot and went exploring a bit together. I went back to the club several times, and it became my second-favorite hangout after Gypsy’s. I remember partying there as a girl, with rave-sticks and particle storms and stuff, and everyone being amused by and approving of my gender ambiguity. I’ve been so lucky in my SL career! :)

We were all newborns then (the oldbies were a sort of mythical race of deities, occasionally glimpsed from afar). Sugga pretty much always wore the skin pictured here. I forget the name of it, but it’s apparently now (whether it was then, I don’t know) a popular freebie, maybe even full-perm, and whenever I see it on someone with even vaguely the same face I’m reminded of Sugga.

At about the same time that I vanished from SL for a week (have I ever told that story here?) Sugga also went off into RL, not to return. We’ve exchanged a few emails since, but she is mostly just a fond friendly memory.

And the last Calling Card for this entry, right after Sugga’s, is one of my very bestest friends ever, Zha. Zha and I go ‘way back; our typists shared an office back in the Triassic when we were both summer students or something, and both Zha and her typist (along with other people that we haven’t gotten to yet) were wonderfully supportive during and after the eventful week that I vaguely alluded to above. And way back when, we were SL newbies together (can’t find a picture of her in that freebie pointy-hat hair, darn!).

She’s technically sharp, solidly realistic, and much much better at avoiding the temptations of SL and Internet drama than (for example) I am. It has also been said that she has more of a fashion sense. :) And the lucky thing even has a day job that to some extent involves SL. (Although it was hard work, not luck, that got her there.)

So those are some more of my Calling Cards, and my friends, and my history. Aren’t they great? :)

Why I tend to wander off…

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t tend to go to big Linden-run events, or to other huge events like the Hair Fair. Part of it is my impatience with lag, and the feeble video on this aging laptop. But another part of the problem is that somehow I often just don’t Get It.

I stopped briefly by the Land Expo, landed at the landing points, waited (and waited and waited and waited) for things to rez, read a few signs which were breathlessly enthusiastic about… things related to land, I guess, wandered about a bit, and then left. I guess really one was supposed to attend Scheduled Events, but I’m never organized enough to make it to many of those.

I pretty much ignored the SL Fifth Birthday stuff, but a couple of friends have builds in the Sixth one (SL6B!), that I’ve been helping with some scripts and beta testing, so I’ve been wandering around there a bit. This morning I TPd over at random, took a random teleport from the arrival area, and found myself at the Second Life Time Capsule. Sounds cool!

So there’s this sign about how in June of 2003 various Residents put their most treasured possessions and journal entries into this capsule for future Residents to see, and how now the capsule has arrived here for us all to enjoy. Great stuff! So I walk over and there’s this capsule, and it’s sitting there, and it’s a capsule and… it doesn’t do anything at all. I go into Edit on it, and see that it has all sorts of interesting stuff in its contents, but it doesn’t respond to touch…

Cool!  Now what?

… or to being sat on, or otherwise offer me any access to any of the stuff it holds.

So I have no idea and I wander off. Later on I happen to run into Phaylen Fairchild, who is big in SL6B, and I ask her about it, and she says oh yeah all those things in Contents are going to be on display tomorrow afternoon.

Okayyyyyy… :)

They might have mentioned that somewhere. Maybe they did and I missed it. Or maybe everyone but me just intuits better.

I ran into Phaylen, btw, at an intense live guitar performance at the Synchronicity Auditorium on the SL6B grounds.

Johnny99 Gumshoe and his flamin' guitar

Now this, I understand…

Happenings!

Posting a weblog entry for no particular reason (well, and I’m waiting for someone to answer a piece of email at work).

Boy Dale in Stereo:
Boy Dale in Stereo

Inspired by Lillie, but mine doesn’t seem to have worked as well. Which maybe isn’t surprising considering that I did it all by hand and pretty haphazardly. :) But perhaps my poor effort will inspire others. And maybe I’ll try again sometime!

(Original (larger) size may work better for some people. Or worse. :) )

Drop me a line or leave a comment or something (or don’t!), if you make one of these yourself. Or if you want me to explain the dead-simple method I used to create this one.

My very own posting at Second Thoughts!

Explaining what a [expletive] I am, not to mention an [expletive] [expletive]. I haven’t been putting much in here about the ongoing Prokofy Neva drama, ’cause I feel y’all might not be all that fascinated. But Prokofy is like the one person in SL (in the world?) that I know of who really dislikes me, and it’s really hard for me not to try to fix that. The fact that I have no idea how it might be fixed apparently does not deter me!

The Rogue Nation of Enormous Frogs!

Followed a link to NationStates while catching up on the rest of Second Thoughts, and created my very own country! So far it’s a libertarian loony-bin. I should create a socialist loony-bin also; are you allowed to have two countries? (I note with some fright that in the ten minutes that my Rogue State has existed, I’ve gotten three (make that four) different “telegrams” from “regions” asking me to join them. I suppose I ought to find out what a “region” is, and what it means to “join” one. In my copious free time haha.)

And now Jennifer Government is on my Amazon wishlist…

More gold

Yesterday’s post was such fun to write, in terms of personal reminiscence an’ nostalgia an’ all, that I think I’ll continue riffling forward in time in my Calling Cards folder, and see what comes up.

The next Card after tree Sprawl’s belongs to Gwenhwyfar. (I’m giving last names or not in these postings pretty much on whim, with no particular rhyme or reason to it.) Gwen was at the time a dancer at a club that I newbied into more or less at random, and she friended me I suspect because I was a little more articulate than the average newborn. Or maybe she just friended everyone who walked in, I dunno! I’ve heard from her a few times since, mostly mass-announcements to her friends list about places that she was dancing or DJing or similar.

It occurs to me that the number of dancers mentioned in this posting might give you a certain impression of my early days in SL. I assure you that that impression would be really quite accurate. :)

Poison!After Gwen there are four random folks with mostly blank profiles whose names I don’t particularly recognize, and then comes one of the high points of this part of the Calling Card folder: Cyanide Seelowe!

Cyanide is the founder of the Virtual Artists’ Alliance, which does various shows and the Photohunt and the Haiku Speedbuilds and related, and all sorts of other cool stuff. She’s also a really fun and cool person (and not at all stuck up). And while she isn’t a dancer per se, there was that one time she TP’d me over for a naked dance-a-thon at a beach club… :)

We became friends on 3 December 2006, which was probably that very crucial day in my SL life when (and I’m sure I’ve told this story somewhere before but can’t find it right now) I tried to go to an SL fashion show but the sim was full, so I went to an art opening instead, and met both a bunch of artists (including Rez Kokorin and Cyanide), and joined the VAA, and also (at that same art opening) met Lynn, a dancer from Gypsy’s who we haven’t gotten to yet, who invited me to look the place over sometime; and both the VAA and Gypsy’s (of which more shortly) have had enormous (good) effects on the way my Second Life in general has gone.

After Cy there are three more random folks that I don’t remember, and then there are Tusk and Sherri and therefore Gypsy’s. Tusk was a dancer at Gypsy’s Midnight Club, a nice little dive in Specter (not Spectre), which I went to explore shortly after Lynn gave me the landmark at Rez’s art opening. Sherri was also a dancer, I think, or at least a regular who would get up on a dance pole now and then. (Gypsy’s is very informal that way; one of the things I loved, and love, about it.)

I’ve never been all that attracted by the idea of strip joints in RL; I guess a really classy one might be fun, but they have all these connotations of exploitation and sleaze and performers who don’t actually like the customers. On the other hand in SL, or at least at Gypsy’s, the dancers were there ’cause it was fun, and they liked the customers (at least the regulars; the occasional jerk was of course still a jerk). And they were very friendly and helpful to a penniless newborn. :) I think Tusk and Sherri have both pretty much left SL, but Tammy (who we haven’t gotten to yet either) still holds the occasional event at Gypsy’s, and even though they’re pretty late at night my time I try to get there sometimes. (I should really do a whole entry about Gypsy’s sometime.)

Speaking of being helpful to penniless newborns, after one more random person that I don’t remember, we get to Adrianna. I met Adrianna when I threw a “Tentacles!” event, mostly just to try out the Event system. I found a piece of special Linden land (’cause you could only schedule Events on special Linden land or land that you own, and I didn’t own any) where it was possible to rez stuff, and I put up an Event via the Events web page with the title “Tentacles!”, and some nonsense description that in some way involved tentacles (in a clean sort of way). I of course had these tentacles in mind.

So like three or four people actually showed up, mostly fellow newborns as I recall, and we talked and laughed and did random things. Someone (less newborn) showed up in a fancy flying car and showed it off for awhile. And then these two other people showed up, and one of them was a disembodied head in a jar. I hadn’t until that moment realized that you could be a disembodied head in a jar, and I was fascinated.

As well as being unusual, the head in the jar was friendly and helpful, and we even became friends. (I forget who offered, but I assume it was her, since I’ve always been very very shy about offering friendship, and hardly ever do it, on the assumption that I Am Not Worthy.) And that was Adrianna. I’ve seen her a few times since, and she’s still friendly and helpful and funny, and likes to play with odd objects (like things that cause you to be a head in a jar).

VThe next person on the list really deserves her own weblog entry, and maybe I’ll eventually write one. Veronica Quackenbush, or more properly Veronica Elizabeth Roxanne Iris Taryn Almaaz Samantha Quackenbush, was also a dancer at Gypsy’s, and also one of the dancers in charge of hiring new dancers, and a big part of the reason that Gypsy’s was such a great place (and why so many of the dancers were either PhDs or PhD candidates).

Veronica loves vehicles, and back in the day she would sometimes invite any of the dancers and regulars who were still awake enough when the club closed, up in one of her rocket-sleds or whatever for exploring and/or nude skydiving. She also knows a huge amount about the history and geography of the Grid, and would entertain everyone with stories about the names of the continents and roads and landmasses, when a particular bridge was built, whether the railroads were running. She taught me that it’s good to know where you are, and where you are relative to other places, even if you can instantly TP from place to place without knowing those things.

She’s still into transport and vehicles, even if I haven’t seen her at Gypsy’s in ages; she’s one of the founders of the Okema, Nakiska, & Southern Railway. Look it up in Groups, check out the railway, join, contribute money and/or right of way and/or train skillz. Trains are great! :)

And wow this has gotten pretty long, hasn’t it, and there are probably about 275 or so calling cards to go. That should be worth at least two or three more posts!

One is silver and the other gold.

For today’s obligatory posting, I’m going to dip into the Calling Cards section of my inventory. Which is roughly like dipping into the Friends list, except that you can have Calling Cards for people that aren’t on your Friends list, either because they’ve just given you a copy of their Card (using the extremely obscure “Give Card” choice on the AV pie menu that no one ever uses), or because you were once friends but aren’t anymore. Or perhaps for other mysterious reasons. And also a Calling Card has some useful information on it, most notably the date that you acquired it (i.e. typically, the date you became friends with the person). See?

Calling Card Properties Sheet

As a structuring trick and a way to reminisce, I looked at the very bottom of my Calling Card folder, sorted by date. Some interesting dusty stuff down there! Including ol’ Royal Coronet, above; we’ll get to him in a minute.

The very last item in my most-recent-first Calling Card folder is for Dun Lubezli. It’s an odd Card, in that its acquisition date is “Unknown”, and the description field says “A friend you invited to Second Life”. I don’t remember ever knowing anyone named Dun Lubezli, and Dun’s profile is completely blank. My best guess here is that it’s someone that I know in RL that I told about SL, and that when they signed up they gave my name as the name of the Resident that referred them to SL or something (is there a field like that when you sign up?), and that generated this Card. Too bad I don’t get a cool mount or anything as a result. :)

The next item (up) in the folder is my very first actual Friend in SL, Thi Flossberg. We became friends on 23 November 2006, the day after I first rezzed. Unfortunately I have no memory whatever of Thi, and Thi’s profile is completely blank. This was also before I knew about writing stuff on the Notes page in profiles, so that’s completely blank too.

Thi, if you’re reading this, give me a buzz. We’ll do lunch!

My second actual Friend, made the next day, is someone I actually remember: Royal Coronet. That’s the person in the Properties box above, there. We met in the Help Island sandbox, where he was walking around wearing the “partycules” freebie thing, and so was surrounded by this like ten-meter-diameter sphere of glowing dancing red, yellow and green particles. I thought it was the most amazing thing ever (hey, I was still new), and so did the three or four nubile newborns following him around admiringly. (It’s a great name, too: “Royal Coronet”!)

He gave me a copy of Partycules and we talked a little and apparently became friends. I don’t recall having any interaction with him since, but his Calling Card definitely has sentimental value.

(And I still use variously-recolored versions of Partycules for various holiday celebrations and similar occasions to this day.)

Then there’s a bunch more people that I don’t remember and didn’t take any notes on and who mostly have blank profiles. There’s also Steve and Kleber, who I remember better, if not vastly better. I hung around Warmouth Infohub alot back then; it wasn’t my first stop after Help Island (that was some crowded and hard to navigate infohub whose location I don’t actually recall), but I made it my home pretty early, ’cause you could rez there, and it had some interesting neighbors.

I ran into Steve and Kleber at Warmouth, I’m pretty sure. We were all newborns together, trying to figure out what was going on. You could rez at Warmouth in those days (last time I visited that had been turned off) and it was quite the chaotic place, full of HippyPay vendors and BananaPhones and people wearing full-sized battleships on their heads and all. Great fun! For some time Steve and/or Kleber would IM me semi-comprehensibly, or send blind TPs. Steve had a little store at once point, where he was like selling slightly hollowed spheres with freebie textures on them for 5L or whatever. Haven’t seen either of them in quite awhile, either, although Steve’s profile today says that he’s an Event Manager, so he may have graduated beyond spheres (as I suppose I have, if only just heh heh).

Skipping over a few more folks that I’ve pretty much forgotten, we come to the first actual friend-Friend in the collection, Eleanor Fanwood. Hi, Eleanor! Although her RL’s been very busy lately and I haven’t seen her for a bit, she’s still in SL and still definitely a friend. Of course I’ve known her forever in RL also, so she has an unfair advantage. :) There are a few pictures of her in the ol’ flickr stream, spanning quite a span of time. How far we’ve come!

Eleanor’s Card is the twelfth one in the folder. Lucky thirteen is tree Sprawl (another great name), who I also haven’t seen for ages, but who I also have fond and grateful memories of. Her profile suggests that she is primarily a Tringo player, but I remember her because when I was snooping around the Grid completely at random, thinking about maybe I would get some of that “First Land” (back in December 2006, when there was still First Land), I for some reason stumbled onto a little park she had on the mainland, where she was dancing by herself among some stone arches, and she said Hi and we talked, and she showed me her little 512m2 plot of First Land that she’d started with, and she also introduced my to her boyfriend, and bought me a pair of skates, and showed me how to ice-skate.

She said she enjoyed helping newborns, and I certainly enjoyed being helped! I’ve benefited over the aeons from lots of devoted newbie-helpers (and probably not done enough to fully pay it forward, but I try now and then). I could keep going through the Calling Cards folder and we’d find quite a few more, but I think I’ll stop here for now. Don’t want you to get bored. :)

What I Would Do With My Sim

Well, it’s still Wednesday somewhere! :)

Yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) BBBC suggested topic was:

You’ve been given a sim of your very own to use for free for one year. However, there are 3 rules. It cannot be residential, it cannot be commercial, and it has to be open to the public. What do you do with it?

And I kind of like that, so even thought it’s Wednesday or perhaps Thursday I’ll use it.

Potential

I think I’d spend the first month just playing around with all those prims, and with a sim that I could disrupt and lag and crash without bothering anyone, having a good time and making replicators and self-rezzing objects and so on. Maybe the first two months. :) Using it as a personal sandbox, that is, although of course open to the public (that being the terms of the lease). They can come and watch me do weird things.

Then I think I’d divide it into nine sections (three by three), reserve the middle one for myself, and find eight creative friends (who maybe don’t have sims of their own) and offer them the chance to do whatever they want for the rest of the year on their part of my sim. I’d make them the owner, and give them full rights to do stuff (never having owned an estate I’m not sure exactly what this means, but I would figure it out and do it).

And then I’d hang around fiddling with my own 1/9 region, watching what my friends were doing on theirs, maybe calling for informal parties, having fireworks shows, and so on, for the next happy nine or ten or eleven months.

It would be great!

What would you do with yours?