Friday, August 1, 2014

Rita Mariner and the History of the Sunweavers

While some communities in Second Life live a quiet insular existence, the Sunweavers, led by Rita Mariner, have been doing anything but. Since their beginnings in 2007, the Sunweavers have made their presence felt, attracting some talented residents to join their numbers, creating great clubs and hangouts such as Club Cutlass, and of course being the community behind two top teams at the Relay for Life, the Passionate Redheads and then the Sunbeamers. So just how did the Sunweavers get started? I met up with Rita, and she told a little of the community's orgins and history.

Read the article in People.

Commentary: Hackings On the ADI Combat Group

Since writing about the ADI combat sim in June, Theonlyjohnny Resident has continued to frequent the sim, engaging in a little first-person-shooter gaming with other residents. Unfortunately, the group has been the subject of some suspected hacking attacks. In his article for today, Theonlyjohnny expresses a few thoughts on the matter.

Read Theonlyjohnny's article in Extra.

Press Release: Astronomy Discussion at University of Hawaii

By Dr. Gary Davis
Friday, Aug 1st at 9:30 PDT
Institute for Astronomy - U. Hawaii Astronomy Ampitheater: Astronomy Ampitheater:
Alliance, Chaminade University (49, 205, 4002)

In a continuation of the British presence in Hawaii, two of the telescopes on Mauna Kea are owned by the United Kingdom: the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope. Opened in 1979 and 1987, respectively, both telescopes observe the heavens using forms of light which cannot be seen with the naked eye. In this talk I will describe why we do this challenging type of astronomy, why we come to Maunakea to do it, what we have achieved here over the last three decades, and the imminent withdrawal of the UK from Hawaii. Along the way I may also reflect on the importance of astronomy and why science is such a powerful approach to understanding the world in which we live.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Game Review: Saints Row IV

Nydia Tungsten is back with another gaming review. This time she writes about Saints Row IV. The fourth game in the series, the characters have grown from humble orgins as a street gang to high profile public heroes. As part of the game's over-the-top plot, the player and his team and allies now have to contend with an alien invasion. So what did Nydia think of this crazy game?

Read Nydia's review in Other Grids and MMOs.

Press Release: Jamm for Genes at The Pocket from 12 AM Friday August 1st

Since 2007 Jamm for Genes in Second Life has raised over $10,000 for the Children's Medical Research Institute - an Australian Charity with global benefits.In  2014 Jamm for Genes in SL we will hold fund-raising concerts throughout the first weekend in August, supported by the generosity of over 50 Second Life musicians who will perform while all tips are donated to the fund-raiser.

Our official target for the fundraiser is $A1,000. We made our 500,000 Linden  SL target last year again for the first time since 2009, and we are hoping we can reach $L500,000 (equating to about $2,000 Australian)  again this year. We have official approval approved (Sanction 000196) to raise funds for donation to the CMRI through the "Jeans for Genes" charity,

Jamm for Genes in SL will begin at 12 am on Friday 1st August -  Jeans for Genes day - and continue throughout the weekend with a lineup of top class live musicians including regulars from The Pocket, B&Bs and Lacey's Place as well as artists from all around the grid who care about raising funds to solve the puzzle of genetic illness and make a better future for kids.

Jamm for Genes is  part of the annual Jeans for Genes fund-raiser by the Children's Medical Research Institute - see these web links for more information.

For free Jamm for Genes in SL supporters gear see the SL Marketplace at

All times and dates are Second Life time (USA PDT)

Tales From Podex: In the Black, and White

By Bixyl Shuftan

It was a day in late July at the Podex Exchange. Customers came in as usual to purchase Linden dollars for whatever means they wanted. Some chatted with the tellers a little, talking about getting some swimwear for the beach. Others talked about the big event this month, the Relay for Life Weekend. People from across the Grid would be gathering at the over forty sims around the American Cancer Society area, with numerous exhibits up. Between clients coming in, the tellers talked amongst themseves, some saying they too would be checking out the Relay area after the weekend when most of the people were gone.

It was while they were talking that someone walked in. He was dressed only in a simple pair of shorts, but his appearance wasn't so simple. His hair was white, with his body covered with a coat of fur. It was mostly black, with a white chest and stomach, but his large fluffy tail was mostly black with two distinct white stripes going down it's length.

The tellers stared at him. "Stinky the Skunk?" one finally asked.

The monochrome visitor chuckled, "I'm not him. He's slightly shorter, has a higher-pitched voice," he paused, "and doesn't wear pants. I get out a bit more, and some places require them for anything with opposeable thumbs."

"Oh, well, what can we do for you?"

"The same as everyone else who comes here I imagine, getting a few Linden dollars."

"Certainly," spoke another teller, "As a Linden exchange service, we offer reasonable rates. Have you been a resident of the Grid for less than thrity days?"

"Well no, would there be a problem if I was?"

"Newer residents, those whom have been here less than thirty days, are limited to 25,000 Lindens of purchases per week."

"Oh, well it's not quite that high."

"Just fill out this form then. You'll need to chose which of several international currencies you intend to purchase the Linden dollars with."

The client filled out the forms, and soon the transfer was made.

"Great, well, onto the Relay."

"So you're headed to the Relay for Life?"

"Yeah, that's why I needed the Lindens, to support my friends there. I'd offer to be a builder, but my construction skills, well, they stink."

They had a good chuckle, and the visitor went about his way.

The Podex Exchange is located at the Code sim at (45, 218, 61), with a website at Jacek Shuftan is the CEO.

Note: The preceding is a fictional story, written for the dual purpose of advertisement and entertainment.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cartoon of the Day

Taken at the Relay for Life opening ceremonies, there were close to a hundred avatars there packed in a small area in two sims. The result for my computer, even though it's less than a year old, was lots of grey avatars that took a long time to rezz, or in this case, a prim hairpiece.

By Bixyl Shuftan

Brahma Yoga Class Still Going On In Second Life

It's been two years since Pramiil Magne, the Guru of the Brahma Yoga class inworld, departed Second Life. For many groups, it's often the beginning of the end when their leader leaves. But Brahma Yoga continues to thrive at it's location at Airtol Hill. Grease Coakes recently went to the location to talk to it's new leader Stjohn Noyes and a few others about how they remember Pramiil, how they've been since joining the group, and more.

Read Grease's article in People.

Whatever Happened to AM Radio?

Longtime Second Life residents may recall AM Radio, the artist known for his creative builds such as "The Far Away," in addition to his unique look, dressing like an old-time chimney sweep, all in black with a stovepipe hat. In 2011, he announced his places would be coming down, and quietly departed from the virtual world.

So what happened to AM Radio? James Wagner, known in Second life as Hamlet Au, went to find out. As it turns out, in real life he's Jeff Berg, a tall, bearded man in his 30s. He first came to Second Life at the suggestion of his boss. The avatar, it turns out, was made to resemble Berg's father as a young man. And indeed much of his family's history was an inspiration for AM Radio's artwork.

Second Life ended up changing the man behind the avatar. He admitted having problems with low confindence before coming inworld. As people told him how much his work was admired, he began to feel more esteem in real life and found it easier to interact with people and express his opinions, "Being AM Radio absolutely got me past a barrier."

But he began to wonder if his time in Second Life was causing him to neglect the people around him in real life in addition to his photogrpahy and painting. Plus the university that owned the virtual land where his work was placed was shutting down it's presence inworld. While some people offered to host them, "the terms and the timing never worked out." AM Radio never made any backup copies, so most of the works are truly gone. Fortunetly Ziki Questi was able to take ownership of "The Far Away," where it still lies in Dreamworld North at (220, 130, 22).

Although Second Life is behind him, Berg continues to do well, having gone back to real life paiting and photography, and becoming one of his company's leaders. He was the head of a team that won a Webby award in 2013, and he was at the ceremony to accept the trophy, "I was on the same stage as Jerry Seinfield and Kevin Spacey." One man on stage remarked of Berg, "I didn't know Shannon Hoon was still alive," and the audience laughed.

Of the virtual world, he feels it still has a future, saying it reminded him a little of Apple Computer managing to hang around in the days before the iPhone. His advice to virtual artists, "Welcome new mediums, but don't let yourself be guided by them. ... Avoid showcasing a particular technological capability, but instead, build experiences that remind us how human we are and have always been."

To read Wagner's story in it's entirely, Click Here.

Image Credits: ZIki Questi, James Wagner

Bixyl Shuftan

"Skill Gaming" Deadline Postponed One Month, One Game Maker Reacts

On July 9, Linden Lab announced they were updating their policy on "Skill Games," games that offer a prize of Lindens and require a number of Lindens to play but are not technically considered gambling by Linden Lab. Originally, the new rules were going to go in effect on August 1st. On July 29, the Lab stated they were extending the deadline for the makers and owners of the games to comply with the new regulations by a month.

... we are changing the date that the changes described in our previous blog post go into effect. Instead of starting on August 1, the updated Skill Gaming Policy will go into effect on September 1, 2014. The original blog post and the FAQs will also be updated to reflect this new deadline.

The Lab stated they had "recieved many applications" from people wanting to be approved to build and set up the games. But one "Skill Game" manufacturer and owner, Foxyfurman Kumaki, the avatar behind PI Games, had a statement given out by notecard at his Fishbowl Games gaming hall that informed people he would not yet be ready.

In accordance with Linden Lab’s new Skill Gaming Policy and its accompanying new TOS regarding skill games in Second Life, PI Games will not be an Approved Creator of games by the maker Foxyfurman Kumaki and consequently will not be issuing public Reasoned Legal Opinions in reference to games by the maker Foxyfurman Kumaki.

We want to be clear that as of September 1st 2014, games made by Foxyfurman Kumaki will NOT be compliant and therefore not allowed in Second Life due to Linden Lab’s new Skill Gaming Policy and its accompanying new TOS regarding skill games in Second Life, and accordingly, we cannot support or endorse the continued operation of these games in any form.

To be very clear if the object OR the scripts have Foxyfurman Kumaki as the Creator, the item is NOT compliant and cannot be allowed to run as of 9/01/2014.

Pi Games LLC, is in the process of considering and developing a free to update solution to the solo owned games currently on the grid that will meet the requirements of Linden Lab’s new Skill Gaming Policy and its accompanying new TOS regarding skill games in Second Life, including the requirement and necessity of pro-actively complying with all applicable Federal and State law, and anticipates having a release to the general population within 120 days.

Contacting him via IM, Foxyfurman Kunami stated he knew at least one other game maker whom also would stop operations of it's games. He stated he would inform the Newser if and when his games received approval by Linden Lab.

And so, Linden Lab's new policy on "Skill Games" is already resulting in people in the industry suspending operations, at least for a time.

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"The Pocket" to Close Until 2015

On Friday July 25th, the Australian club "The Pocket" held what is likely to be the last of it's regular events at least until next year. For some years, the venue has hosted live music events every Friday night in Second Life. On this final night, musicians such as GregEllisToronto Resident, Beth Odets, and OhMy Kidd performed the crowd. OhMy was not only one of the musicians, but also an owner of the club.

Chatting with OhMy via IM, he stated events in real life were making it unable for him to continue to keep holding regular events at the club. He hoped that he would be able to resume normal operations in early 2015.

"The Pocket" was at one time co-owned by the late Delinda Dyrrsen, whom was one of the staff at the noted "Tonight Live" talk show, and was a coworker of Second Life Newser's editor at SL Newspaper.

*  *  *  *  *

July  will be the last month of regular scheduled Friday night shows at The Pocket. The Pocket is as successful as ever with great music, great audiences, and great fun so we are going out on a high!

In August we will hold the 7th Jamm for Genes in SL raising funds for the Children's Medical Research institute. Last year we beat our target of L500,000 - can we go higher in 2014?

Our final concert on Vahalla will be in December, rounding off the year with a concert to congregate, celebrate and commemorate the people, players and punters from seven years of The Pocket.

We will maintain a stage at the original location of The Pocket in Fendahl , and continue to support Jamm for Genes in SL as an annual event, and to support other SL fundraisers, awareness raisers, and worthy causes.
I must take this opportunity to thank bundy for her visionary creation that made The Pocket possible at Vahalla, Freestar for her generous support of The Pocket at Freestar Bay, Delinda for making The Pocket dream come true in the first place, and to the Roo Wranglers, especially Autumn, Cellandra, & Mayo.

I cannot thank the musicians enough  - I do hope that someday you will get paid what you are worth!

Peace and Love
OhMy Kidd

Press Release: "An Invitation to Bid Me Bald - Trader Whiplash & Nuala Maracas"

From July 27 through August 10 we will be participating in a BID ME BALD Fundraiser to support The Relay For Life of Second Life & the American Cancer Society on Behalf of Hands, Hearts & Hope.  We would be honored if you would make a donation on our behalf to help. As a BID ME BALD participant we am offering our hair to help find a Cure For Cancer.

BUT THIS HAS A TWIST ...............

Bid Me Bald Challenge..

A  'Shaved" Head to Head Competition Pitting 2 Relayers in a Fundraising Race!

Here's how it works.. Two Relay Volunteers - Sebastian and Bailey -  place Kiosks Side for 2 weeks and challenge their friends to donate. Each $L5000 earns 1 day without hair, but here comes the twist!

On Haircut day the totals of BOTH Kiosks are combined to determine the number of days without hair. The days are then assigned to the participant with the LOWER Total!

*Note.. In the interest of fair play and chivalry either challenger can declare they will accept the bald days regardless of totals. (All Bribes to be paid to the Kiosk!)

We are challenging all our friends to come and donate  to our special kiosks and  BID ONE OF US BALD! Our goal is to raise at least $L50,000 each (20 days of baldness).

Kiosks will be out from July 27 thru 4.30pm on August 10 @ (SLURL)

Make Your Choice! Who will be combing their hair with a towel?

Please come and help!  We all know that cancer patients have no choice when their hair falls out during treatment, but we do, and through Relay for Life we can do something to help those people, our loved ones and ourselves, by joining together to FIGHT CANCER!

$L1000 equals $4.35!  A Small amount to anyone! Please Consider a Bid of at least that amount, but remember, every single linden makes a difference!

                                            Please accept our Challenge and
                                                           BID ME BALD!!!
Until There's A Cure,
Nuala & Trader

*Bid Me Bald recognizes, with honor and respect,  those for whom the choice was made, not by themselves, but by Chemo and other cancer treatments.

We have the choice and we choose to sacrifice our hair to honor these Survivors and to help the American Cancer Society find ways to fight cancer, support survivors and their caregivers and help us all celebrate more birthdays.*

The Beach At Arinultra - LEGENDS Classic Rock , Arinultra Cay (179, 28, 23)

Monday, July 28, 2014

DrFran Gets Furry – The Quest for Cover Hunt

After taking a break to concentrate on the Relay, DrFran Babcock is back on the shopping hunt scene for Fashion articles. She finds one aimed toward furry shoppers, the "Quest for Cover." So what quality freebies did DrFran find on the hunt?

Read DrFran's article in Fashion.

Bergson Bowling Center : Let’s Get Bowling in Second Life

Do you like a game of bowling?  In his article for today, Wesley Regenbogen writes about the Bergson Bowling Center. Here, one can take a bowling ball and try to get a strike. So just how does one bowl in Second Life? Wesley describes how it works.

Read more in Design.

Holocluck Henley DJs from the Scifi Con

On Friday Night, Holocluck Henley performed a DJ session while his real-life self was at the SciFi con in real life. Instead of from his Starship Diner, he held the party at his TARDIS way above the sim of Hydrangea. Instead of tips, he set out a Relay Kiosk

The TARDIS is party ready! Hearts & Souls presents an encore of DJ Cluckey's 3rd annual Time & Space set from the SciFi Con. It starts at 7pm SLT. All tip donations go into the kiosks around the control room!

It was a fun dance in a "Dr Who" setting. We couldn't think of "Who" wouldn't have fun there.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cartoon of the Day

And the coffee cup from the Relay Weekend gets more use.

By Bixyl Shuftan

The Moon Landing Anniversary in Second Life

Forty-five years ago last Sunday, July 20, Man landed on the moon. Although the anniversary got scant attention in the media, in Second Life members of the National Space Society took a little time to celebrate. People were invited over to take a few freebies, read some information, look at some builds of NASA moon objects, and hold some conversation with fellow space enthusiasts. Getting there was just "one small step for an avatar."

Read more in Events.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Relay Winds Down

With the Teardown postponed for a day, the Relay for Life Weekend's track saw more activity as people took the time to both visit builds they hadn't yet seen up close, and to hold impromptu parties. Individual teams held small gatherings at their camps, which sometimes attracted well-wishers dropping in. Plus there was the event held by T-1 Radio on Wednesday afternoon.

At the Relay station's record player build, Trader Whiplash played the tunes while the Relayers danced away. People talked and joked and cheered one another, congratulating one another for a job well done.

Thursday was The Teardown. While a few builds remained up until late in the day, most were down or were in the process of being taken down by the time some American Relayers were getting home from work.

Hey folks!  As we move in the wrap-up of Relay Weekend I want to take a moment to say thanks for making this year's track such a success and so easy to maintain!  I barely had to ask anyone to move their items back onto their parcel!  YAY!  I'm tearing it all down now so be advised I will be returning items on the track to their owners.  Later tonight, we will return any builds that have not been removed in order to prepare to return the regions to Lindens and hopefully, be ready for next year!  Thank you!

I was able to see some members of Team Aether Chrononauts making an event out of their teardown, taking parts of their build, hoisting them into the air, unlinking the prims, and letting the pieces drop. But usually camps were taken down quietly without any announcement.

And so comes the end of another Relay season. While technically it won't be the end until the official wrap-up party in August, for most Relay volunteers this is the end of the long event. A few were talking about the Relay in the InWorldz Grid, or the Christmas Relay Expo.

The Relay wasn't all fun and games. There was a griefer incident involving "sim crashers," which was quickly squashed. There was also a protester against the American Cancer Society mentioned in Relay chat, but witnesses were saying he wouldn't offer any evidence of his rants. A couple teams also told me of nerves getting frayed and tempers flaring a little as the Relay Weekend approached and it was crunch time, but differences were patched up.

But for just about everyone, the 2014 Relay was a happy time, which left happy memories, and will be missed. At least we have records of it.

The Newser will soon have it's show of scenes from across the track. For now there are other links one can go to. (DrFran Babcock)

The Relay Weekend was the last event of it's size in Second Life until Burn2 in October.

Bixyl Shuftan

SL Video: "Wipe Out"

(Click here if the video fails to load)

Nydia Tungsten does it again with a tribute to a classic surfer tune, "Thank You Rita, Mato, Skylark Ice, Val Brandi and everyone else that helped with this one, I hope you all like it. "