The Photography of Prandi Capalini – show opening!

Art opening tomorrow! You should go! Everyone will be there!

The photography of Prandi Capalini

The Photography of Prandi Capalini

an exhibit of the SL photography of Prandi Capalini
at The Small Gallery, Shengri La

Sunday November 1 – Sunday December 13

From his first postcard to Snapzilla 6 months ago, Prandi has provided a unique view of Second Life through the eyes of an old wandering sailor. Saturated monotones and exceptional use of light give his images the feel of a different time and place, and lead the viewer to wonder what story each one shows us a glimpse of. With over 900 images now shown on Snapzilla, Prandi has selected his favourites to be shown inworld for the first time.

The Fashion Research Institute invites you to the opening reception of this exhibit on Sunday Nov 1st from 11 AM – 12.30 PM SL time.

Drop by and meet the artist, and enjoy viewing his work in the tranquil tropical setting of Shengri La.

If you cannot attend the opening, feel free to drop by the gallery anytime and enjoy the exhibit.

Imprudent Emerald Meerkats

Imprudent Emerald MeerkatSo the recent Second Life weblog posting on third-party viewer policies has caused quite a stir in the comments, due in part to one particularly vocal and vehement and misinformed Resident, but due also to some quite understandable concern about the current and future role of third-party viewers in Second Life.

Ever since the Lab open-sourced the viewer, way back in some year prior to this one, there have been third-party viewers available, based to a greater or lesser extent on the main Linden viewer. A bunch of alternative viewers are listed in the wiki; the ones whose logos I’ve snatch for the adorable picture here are Imprudence, Emerald and Meerkat. I’ve used both Imprudence and Emerald, myself; currently Emerald is my favorite just because it has so many nice small features, and they seem to have thought hard about the overall user experience: lots of the little things that I want to do are just that one or two mouse movements and clicks closer to hand than they are in any other viewer.

And of course there are the enhanced avatar physics. :) But I was using Emerald before that feature was added.

I’m hoping that Imprudence, say, will be goaded by a friendly sense of rivalry to make their viewer even more pleasant to use than Emerald. Competition is good. :)

Third-party viewers are really popular on the Grid these days, especially among people who have been around long enough to know they exist and try them out. One nice thing about Emerald is that it can often tell you what viewer other Residents that you see are using (although they can turn that off if they’d rather you didn’t know). The fraction of the crowd using Emerald seems to vary from around 10% in your average dance club, to 40% or higher in places where the people tend to be more oldbie or more clued in general (I’d say it was close to 50% at the Lamplighter procession the other night).

The new policy that was announced on the SL weblog was rather vague and unformed. It said that people using third-party viewers to violate the Second Life Terms of Service would be warned and/or banned, as appropriate; but since that’s true of anyone who uses any viewer to violate the ToS, it doesn’t really mean anything new. It also mentioned that the Lab might provide a registry of viewers known to be nice. And in a letter to the developers of third-party viewers, Cyn Linden apparently mentioned the ability to encrypt chat and IM as a function that is “at odds with” the ToS, something that has left quite a few people scratching their heads.

Toward the end of the comment thread linked above, Blondin asked for people to summarize their thoughts on the subject. Here’s what I wrote:

Always nice to have a chance to summarize. :)

My basic feeling on the general subject is that third-party viewers are a primary source of innovation in virtual worlds technology, and I would hate to see Second Life cut itself off from that stream. This is largely for selfish personal reasons: I think a Second Life that closes in on itself that way would quickly fade from the scene, and re-establishing on OpenGrid or elsewhere my social networks and my reputation (not to mention my collections of nice tank-tops and dark-red hair) would take time and effort that I’d rather spend on other things.

In itself this new policy doesn’t, I don’t think, put too much of a burden on the viewer innovation stream. If the lab publishes a reasonable set of rules for acceptable third-party viewers, and is reasonable about enforcing those rules, that would be fine. The rules should include a ban on functions whose main effect is to enable copyright violation or griefing. If the Lab has some good reason for it, they could also include a ban on end-to-end encryption, but I would really like to hear the reasons behind it. And the rule should not say that the encryption function may not be in the viewer at all; at most it should say that the function should be turned off when connecting to the SL grid.

So as long as this policy is truly just an attempt to limit the use and distribution of malicious viewers, I think that’s all to the good. To the extent that it’s a step toward closing the grid to independantly-written viewers in general, I think that would be a very bad thing for Second Life as a leader, or even a significant player, in its field.

It’s been loudly suggested that the third-party viewers that we have now are a threat to content creators, and I’d like to take a moment to address that issue, because I don’t think it’s true, and I think an artificial conflict between viewer developers and content creators would be harmful to both communities, and to Residents as a whole.

The current third-party viewers include, as everyone knows, various features that are useful to content creators: things like more flexible and precise build tools, and temporary texture caching that doesn’t use the asset servers. (The argument that if users get used to free temporary ‘uploads’, they will come to demand free real uploads is unconvincing to me: one could as well argue that allowing free uploads on the Beta Grid will lead users to demand it on the main grid as well, and that hasn’t happened. Users understand that if they want to store textures on the main grid asset servers, they need to pay the upload fee.)

But as well as features that are directly useful to content creators, third-party viewers also contain innovations that help protect content. Consider a skin creator, for instance. Unless the main Linden viewer has changed since last time I looked, every time someone using that viewer walks into a club wearing a skin that that person created, a copy of that skin is saved in cache on the hard drive of everyone in the club who can see them. On the other hand, if someone wearing that skin walks into a club using the Emerald viewer, with the appropriate box checked (I forget whether it’s the default), the only thing that ends up in all those caches is the fully baked and composited AV texture; the skin itself isn’t sent anywhere.

This kind of feature protects, not the Emerald user as such (who probably doesn’t really care, as a user, about what’s in other people’s disk caches), but the creator of the content that the user is wearing; the content creator gets this protection regardless of what viewer she herself uses. This feature has been discussed for the main Linden viewer for some time, but because the Lab is always busy, and has things that it considers more urgent to attend to, it hasn’t been (at least last time I looked) implemented there yet.

This is the virtue of the third-party viewer system in general: it allows innovation and experimentation with all sorts of features, to the benefit of the Residents using the viewers, the producers of the content that they use, and the grid as a whole, without the burden of the Lab’s review cycles, internal politics, and resource constraints. Malicious innovation is of course also possible, and I think the viewer policy that we’re discussing here, if carefully and thoughtfully implemented, will be a good way of minimizing the impact of that.

On the whole, it’s my feeling that Second Life will stay in the game only if it stays tied to key sources of innovation. If this policy is a way to do that responsibly, that’s a good thing. If it is part of an effort to break that tie, that would be very ill-advised.

It’s always hard to tell what’s going on in the collective mind of Linden Lab. I hope that this new policy will be made sensibly and thoughtfully, and keep Second Life going strong. If only ’cause I have a lot of tank tops. :)

Bumper Snails and other wonders

The official week of Burning Life is nearly over for the year, but I think the sims and many builds will be up for another week, so here’s some more pictures of fun stuff. This time it’s all about things to delight your inner child, courtesy of the SL Kids.

There is a ton of fun stuff to play with, and play in, in and around Inner Child Camp. I went there the other day totally at random from the BL event listing, and saw:

Storytelling _ Inner Child Camp 2009, Burning Life

a wonderfully scary performance of a classic Japanese ghost story by folks from the Amatsu Shima Okiya school.

Then I wandered around finding other neat stuff (and you should, too!), including:

Waiting For Pippin - By Loki Eli, Burning Life

a wonderful house on elephant-back, full of stuff to delight the Inner Kid. (Creator Loki Eliot has a weblog.)

And finally (although it’s only a tiny fraction of the great stuff to find):

Wolveli Kas _ The Ultimate Kid Habitat, Burning Life-Vya

the Lightning Slime Ranch Proudly Presents: Bumper Snails!

Camp by Wolveli Kas (that’s her on the right), wonderful free snails by Flea Bussy of Grendel’s Children.

And there’s a great “Avatar Run” next door, also by Wolveli, with tubes and a maze and an elevator and prizes!

Woot! :)

Lighting the Lamps

I love the idea of the RL Burning Man. And when I dream about going to Burning Man, I often dream in particular of going and being a Lamplighter. I’m not sure why; I think it’s in my nature to want to be one of the people who bustles around making places work, rather than one of the creatives on the front-lines. :)

But anyway! So when a call came over the Burning Life Access group IM the other night saying that the Lamplighter Procession in Burning Life was about to start, I was delighted, and I zipped right over (well, eventually; I had alot of script editing windows to close and stuff). Nice friend Michele was hanging around being tolerant of my scripting at the time, and we zipped over together.

I figured that not being in the actual Lamplighter group we could just sort of tag along on the outskirts, but the Lamplighters were extremely open and generous, and were handing out The Official Clothing to everyone that wanted it.

Lamplighter! _ Lamplighter Village_ Burning Life-Fly

I love the outfit. :) The fire-fans I’m waving around there are from the standard BL Greeter box.

We played the drums and talked to the nice people, and eventually the procession started out, heading north from Lamplighter Camp to the Temple, lighting lights along the way. I got called out to RL somewhere in the middle (naturally!) and when I got back the procession had moved on (except for Michele, who was kind and stayed behind for me).

We started flying northward to catch up to everyone, and we passed all sorts of cool stuff on the way.

Lamplighter, bugs! _ Yoa Ogee - Friends are everywhere, Burning Life

That group there is in Yoa Ogee’s amazing "Friends are Everywhere". And they are indeed!

A bit further along, we came to this:

Lamplighter, Petal Stage _ Burning Life, Burning Life-Jungo

First, notice the amazing colors and general breathtaking beauty of the Petal Stage. Then look a little closer, and notice the amazingly realistic statue of a naked female spirit of some kind that rotates in front of it (there are several similar figures around the build). Not AVs: really really well done sculpted and textured prims. Incredible!

We eventually got to the Temple :) and there was everyone, dancing around and drumming and having a great time:

Lamplighter, Temple _ Burning Life-Hardin, Burning Life-Hardin (1, 6, 24)

I’m not entirely certain where I am in this picture. Probably flying and on fire and stuff! I can find myself much better in this image, where I’m the flying on fire one at center right; and I think Michele is on fire on the ground below me.

So that was an extremely fun spontaneous evening. And while it satisfies some tiny part of my dream of lighting some lamps at the RL Burning Man, it also makes me dream of it even harder…

In other news, here I am in a rocket, and I won a spot at Busy Ben’s Vehicle Lot in the lottery! Woot! :)

Get Your Bling On!

I still feel a little guilty for having been so mean to Twinity. So on this latest newsletter announcement thing from Metaverse, I’ll let the big graphic speak for itself.


Yay “BLING“! :)

/me exits, stifling giggles.

Burning Life 2009

As previously noted, I tend to avoid big Linden-run Grid-wide celebrations, on the theory that they are likely to be laggy and disappointing. Two years ago I helped out slightly at the VAA build in Burning Life 2007. Last year I apparently completely ignored Burning Life 2008.

But this year, maybe because I have a fast lag-busting machine, or because so many of my friends have builds, or whatever, I’ve been paying more attention to Burning Life, and have a few million pictures of it, a random subset of which I’ve saved to disk and uploaded to flickr. (See Chestnut Rau’s NWN posting for pointers to the Official BL Info stuffs.)

Here I am riding a unicycle beneath a couple of fire-juggling Stilt Bitches. (A camp based on one at the RL Burning Man.)

Stilt Bitches _ Burning Life, Burning Life-Nightingale (67, 185, 24)

The Steel Racoonfish circling my head is from some earlier fishing. :)

Here I have found my own fire-sticks to juggle, and monocycled up to the top of a spiral ramp in a build adjacent to the Stilt Bitches.

Firesticks _ Si 's challenge , Burning Life-Nightingale (75, 195,

Shortly after taking that picture, I fell scenically (is that a word?) to the gritty ground.

I love this next picture. Somewhere after the Stilt Bitches, I think while hanging around with Ava an’ Corwin, I changed shape and clothes, and then I went off and visited Sabrinaa Nightfire’s Peace and Love Oasis. She has a lovely area where you take a danceball and go swimming through a series of translucent hearts (and I did one of the scripts that powers it!).

Heart Dancing _ Peace and Love Oasis by Sabrinaa

The fish is a nice subtle touch in that shot, eh? :)

Somewhere in here friend Michele joined me and we went exploring about at random.

Snapshot _ Soul Heaven, Burning Life-HIgh Rock (23, 159, 43)

We’re somewhere down there, dancing around in your typical “dance club set in the clouds above a grungy urban vacant lot”. Very SL. :)

And here we are in another typical BL09 performance area, set on a giant’s table among the food:

Dancing on Food _ _-_Ladonna and Ocram Music stage

(Somewhere in there I turned my hair bright green and added some glow. Note to Blue Mars: any virtual world in which I can’t do that kind of thing on a whim is just not in the running.)

With my draw distance turned up a bit, looking out over some of the odd and intriguing things scattered around the playa:

Looking out _ _-_Ladonna and Ocram Music stage, Burning Life-Paiu

The camp to the right there is ArtCrash Exonar’s; great spikey sculptures. The one to the upper left I don’t think I ever got to. So much to see!

AM Radio’s camp is small but amazing. Not only can you get an on-fire version of AM’s classic bundle-of-sticks attachment (and a free wheatfield!), but you can also draw graffiti on the side of a train!

TrainPaint _ AM Radio - Among Other Things, Burning Life-Jung

I drew that silly face there. :)

(I’m not completely sure how that works, but my drawing is also on flickr, whence one might find some clues as to the mechanism.)

This next picture, at Veronique Wellesley’s “Dream of Water in the Desert”, is out of sequence; I think it actually comes just after my visit to Sabrinaa’s camp. Or something.

Veronique Wellesley's _Dream of Water in the Desert_

Anyway, it’s lovely and soothing, a cool blue oasis in the desert, with original poetry and lots of running water.

(Rezago Kokorin has a nice oceanic build also, that I don’t seem to have downloaded any of my pictures of. I should!)

And then I took about a billion pictures at Poid Mahovlich’s “Cabaret of Flame” camp. I’ll only burden you with a few of them here :) but it was a lovely build, a great crowd, and a really fun time.

Fire 3 _ )'(  ----_    [ Cabaret of Flame, Burning Life-Rabbi

(That’s Michele to my right bein’ a scantily-clad fire worshipper. And the sky is, I think “[TOR] Commie Sky” from the Sky Settings Editor Thingie.)

Different part of the same camp, with a different sky preset, and draw distance set high enough to show another camp sizzling in the middle distance:

Fire 5 _ )'(  ----_    [ Cabaret of Flame, Burning Life-Rabbi

The central tower of the camp, seen from above in natural playa-light.

Above _ )'(  ----_    [ Cabaret of Flame, Burning Life-Rabbi

Really gorgeous! I’m always amazed by what visual types can do in SL.

And finally (for now), the camp’s dance area, natural light set to midnight:

Night _ )'(  ----_    [ Cabaret of Flame, Burning Life-Rabbi

I am just visible in center left due to my green glowing hair. :)

The Aetherist Bodger

Yay cheap weblog content! Thanks to hba.

Your result for The Steampunk Archetype Test…

The Aetherist Bodger

27 Swashbuckling Engineer, 31 Crazy Clockwork Tinkerer, 7 Charming Noble, 17 Roguish Pirate, 15 Mechanical Fian and 83 Aetherist Bodger!

The aether carries the information, the aether is information. You are one of the few who know the ins and outs of Aether Terminals. You can access information across the Aethersphere, tapping into the Aetherpipes of anyone you want and stealing the information stored in their datatanks. Some think of you as a myth, a legend created to scare people. You are no myth or legend, you are quite real and you are currently reading the Queen’s AetherMissives.

Take The Steampunk Archetype Test at HelloQuizzy

Game! Three Colors!

I made a game! It has three buttons, and five lights! Look!

Game!  Three colors!

It used to have only two colors of lights (red and green), but the game was too easy. So now there are three colors of lights (red and green and the new yellow!), and it is not as much too easy!

Each button is connected randomly to two or three of the lights. When you push a button, it changes the colors of all the lights that it is connected to; if the light was red it turns yellow, if it was yellow it turns green, if it was green it turns (wait for it!) red.

If you get all the lights to be green (and the lights are started out in a pattern that ensures that it’s possible), the game makes an appealing noise, lets you admire the green lights for a couple of seconds, and then rewires all the buttons to new random lights, and scrambles the colors of the lights to start a new game.

Isn’t that incredible? :) Copies of the game are available from the author upon request! Many thanks to beta-tester Michele!

Bouncy bouncy!

Yes, the most recent version of the Emerald viewer has a preference checkbox called “Enable enhanced physics for avatar breasts”.

Yes, if you enable it, and you’re a girl, your bewbies will bounce (quite subtly and realistically, unless you slide the associated sliders) when you move.

Yes, at least half of the Plurks and group IMs I saw yesterday were related to these facts.

And that’s all I’m gonna say about that. :)


Carousel _ Immersiva by Bryn Oh, Immersiva (150, 206, 20)

You should really really go if you haven’t. And go back again if you have! Just sayin’…

Twinity achieves new heights of… something

I occasionally think about trying out Twinity again, but then I get an email newsletter from them, and that invariably dampens my enthusiasm.

Delicious avatars in their finest clothes!The latest one announces a party at “Twinity’s first yoga & wellness lounge”, to mark “the launch of its new designer jewelry collection” (because every yoga and wellness lounge needs a designer jewelry collection!).

I am urged to “come along to the party dressed in your finest clothes and take part in the most delicious avatar contest”.

And apparently to illustrate a delicious avatar wearing the finest clothes, we have the memorable image shown here.

Now maybe this is horribly lookist of me and I should be ashamed of myself, but… ewww!

Grainy image, awful pose, dumpy clothing, and a necklace that looks like it was drawn onto the skin with a sharpie. I dunno what they’re thinking here.

Normally I wouldn’t bother being mean to them about this, but the other awful thing in this particular newsletter makes me want to impose some sort of punishment.

It’s this:

Jacko is alive & has been spotted in Twinity! Get a snapshot and win globals – be there at our “Paparazzi Time” on Thursday at 15:00 CET!

I don’t think one has to be a Michael Jackson groupie to find this horribly offensive. Let’s simultaneously exploit our customers’ greed and the image of a recently-dead celebrity! Woo woo!

Epic fail much?

(I replied to the newsletter pointing out how utterly disgusting it was, and got a “relay access denied” failure. Not only is their marketing department tasteless, but their IT department can’t configure an email server.)

Playing the silent harpsichord

I went to Pathfinder’s office hours!

Pathfinder Linden's office hours, 2 Oct 2009

There is me providing entertainment on the harpsichord! Which is completely silent! :) I prolly should have cropped this some (note that the original is really frappin’ large).

That is of course Pathfinder a bit right of center (and right of me), Mo Hax below me an’ to the left, Daniel Voyager on the sofa to the left of there, an’ people that I don’t know scattered about. Pathfinder’s office is quite cool!

I asked him various questions about the Community Partnership Program, which still creeps me out. He reassured me it will be fine, and I should talk to Blondin if I have more questions. Poor Blondin!

To save you the trouble of a forum visit, here is what I wrote:

Heh. I don’t know quite why this curdles my blood so. I mean, I know y’all at the Lab are well-intentioned and all, but…

Isn’t it supposed to be *our* world, and *our* imagination? Is there anything wrong with just keeping the grid running, and letting us Residents decide what to do with it?

Why do you feel the need to offer special privileges and benefits to those groups that apply to you in attractive enough ways, and fit well enough into your own ideas about what the world should be like? Do you not trust us to get it right on our own? I think Philip did, but maybe I’m just idealizing the Old Days.

I mean, it’s well within your rights. But it feels really creepy to me.

I want to live in a virtual world created by its residents, not a virtual world created by a handful of people at Linden Lab, with help from those residents that are approved into “partnership” programs.

See my recent weblog posting on this general issue for more.

I hope it’s not an omen that I just signed up on ReactionGrid yesterday…

And here’s the relevant parts of the OH chat transcript:

[12:19] Pathfinder Linden: so does anyone have any specific questions for today?
[12:20] Dale Innis: Can I say how creepy I find the Community Partnership Program, so you can reassure me it’s all okay?
[12:20] Pathfinder Linden: Dale, creepy? what’s creepy about it?
[12:21] Dale Innis: It seems like the Lindens are playing favorites so much. Blessing certain groups, who will then have an advantage over everyone else.
[12:21] Dale Innis: This worries me somehow.
[12:22] Pathfinder Linden: Dale, well, I honestly don’t see it that way. I see it as a way to help facilitate groups of different Residents who are all trying to improve the Mainland.
[12:22] Dale Innis: But then the people that *don’t* get to be partners with you are less able to improve things, aren’t they?
[12:23] Dale Innis: I’d much rather you did things that helped everyone, than take applications for certain people who will have special access.
[12:23] Dale Innis: I know, I probably worry too much. :)
[12:23] Pathfinder Linden: everyone in SL can improve the Mainland. we’re just looking for specific situations where we think folks could use our help and where we think the net effect will be positive for everyone in SL.
[12:23] Dale Innis: So theh Program is mostly about the mainland?
[12:23] Pathfinder Linden: Dale, i understand why you’re worried
[12:24] Pathfinder Linden: yes, it’s focused on the mainland
[12:25] Dale Innis: I guess I like to think that the mainland is shaped by whatever people who buy land there want to do. It worries me that the Lab will pick certain groups to give extra privileges to.
[12:27] Pathfinder Linden: Dale, I completely agree with you in that the mainland is shaped by the people buying land there. we’re just looking for opportunities where we see folks trying to do something innovative on a large scale that would shape the mainland in a hugely positive way, and help them achieve that.
[12:27] Dale Innis: Okay, Pathfinder, thanks. I guess I am just worried that people will game the system to, for instance, get advantages over their competitors.
[12:28] Dale Innis: I can’t really think of anything besides maybe roads that really require Linden action to accomplish.
[12:28] Dale Innis: But i guess we’ll see. :)
[12:28] Dale Innis: ouch someone closd the harpsichord on my hands! :D
[12:29] Pathfinder Linden: if folks have lots of COmmunity Partnership questions, you should definitely synch up with Blondin. that’s his project.
[12:29] Dale Innis: heh heh, okay :)
[12:29] Pathfinder Linden: he has office hours.
[12:29] Pathfinder Linden:
[12:29] Asterion Coen: poor blondin
[12:29] Dale Innis: He gets all the tough ones. :)
[12:29] Dale Innis: I think he must have droawn a short straw.
[12:29] Asterion Coen: at every linden OH, they all say, “you whould ask to blondin” :)
[12:30] Xaria Mistwallow: blondin just would love you for that one path :p
[12:30] Luisa Bourgoin: didn’t he made stuff like sl6b ?
[12:30] Xaria Mistwallow: he is run over by residents each week and a lot more coming like this :p
[12:30] Dale Innis: not to mention taking forum heat on Adult Exile :)
[12:30] Pathfinder Linden: The biggest opportunities for success are always “tough ones” in my experience.
[12:31] Pathfinder Linden: yes, Blondin also handled the Zindra work.
[12:31] Dale Innis: ( Yep biggerst opp for success are usually also the biggest opp for failure. :) )

I should probably do a whole posting on the Community Partnership stuff. For once I mostly agree with Second Thoughts on the subject (although I don’t know about all of the hub-related stuff he refers to there). This seems like another rather strong action by those in the Lab who are on the “Linden Lab as privileged content creators and partnership-makers” side of the whole issue. And while it’s certainly nice that Pathfinder says he understands my concerns, it’s not clear that he actually shares them to any extent. :)

But at least now I’ve expressed them to a Linden; maybe that will help…