Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Veterans Isle Bennefit Raises over 200,000 Lindens

On Sunday March 29 from 5PM SL time to 9PM, Veterans Isle hosted a benefit for the Homes For Our Troops" charity. Frets Nirvana helped to organize the event. He and three other singers, Mankind Tracer, Anek Fuchs and Ganjo Mokeev, performed for the audience at the veterans-themed sim.

Over the course of the four hour event, about 210,000 Lindens were raised.

The benefits are a monthly event, always occurring on the last Sunday of every month.

To learn more about the Homes For Our Troops visit https://www.hfotusa.org

Press Release: Team Strange Journey Castle Contest

2nd Annual Castle Contest
In Support of Relay For Life of Second Life
June 15-21
Sponsored By: Relay D'Alliez, Chung Estates

Come one, come all to a weeklong event featuring castles built by amateur and professional builders alike! Builders sign up and then construct a castle that is featured. Castles are laid out onto the sim and everyone can walk around and take a look at each castle set up!

At the end of the week, seven judges will go around and use a list of criteria to judge their castles. The castle with the best score will win first prize of L$100,000! This prize will go to the team of their choice or to the General Kiosk, supporting the American Cancer Society (which is actually an international organization).

Throughout the week, we will have round-the-clock DJ entertainment, plus various contests and castle parties/dances throughout the week! We will also have many vendors sprawled across the Sims.
We are still in need of more castles. Please consider building a castle yourself-- or if you can't do that, find someone who can! Then, go to this website and read the guidelines and sign up.

May the best castle win... and remember why we're here.
What a strange world..
What a strange journey..


Thank you,

Rowena Dubrovna, Captain
Sidonie Carlberg, Co-Captain

Monday, March 30, 2015

Ithil Ar Giliath

Jamie, once called Theonlyjohnny Resident, is back after a little exploring. He recently took a look at a place called "Ithil Ar Giliath," A Fantasy-Medieval roleplay. So what did he think of the area?

Read Jamie's review in Places.

What A Weekend

Lots of events happened this weekend. The big thing was the "Burnal Equinox" festival, which ended with a bang, or rather a tower burn. But there were other events such as a tank rally in New Bastogne, the "Homes For Our Troops" Benefit at Veterans Isle, the Bacchanalia in the Roma area, and of course the Relay for Life events, which included a mermaid party and a "jail and bail."

More on these later.

Video of the VWBPE Conference Holocaust Discussion

Genocide Survivor Fanny Starr Speaks March, 2015 from Petlove on Vimeo.

After Explorer Dastardly heard about the article we did about the talk her mother Fanny Starr gave at the VWBPE Conference about her experiences of the Holocaust, she sent us a video of the event (Click here if the video fails to play).

Tales from Podex: Eggs Over Squeezy

By Bixyl Shuftan

March had been a good month for the Podex Exchange. As always, people went there to exchange their dollars, Euros, and other global currencies along with bitcoins for Lindens. Often they'd talk to the tellers what they were getting them for. Some were out to enjoy the winter season while there was still winter around. Others were buying them for apparel for the St. Patrick's parties, getting outfits, decorations, and kegs of green beer. Then there was the start of the Relay Season, and people were donating to their teams in various events. And of course, late in the month people were starting to get Easter decorations, which would fall on the first weekend in April.

The tellers were talking about the various goings on, when a certain figure walked in. He was wearing some colorful shorts, had long ears, and was carrying a basket of eggs and chocolates. And there was a sign inside, "Happy Easter."

The tellers looked at him, "Um, can we help you?"

"Yes, I'm the local Easter Bunny around here, and need to hide some eggs. This looks like a good spot."

"You want to hide eggs here?"

"Yes, in the back of the place, in the room you call the vault."

"I think not," the teller chuckled, "Clumsy Cooper, you honestly thought that lame disguise would work?"

"Who's Clumsy? I'm just here to hide some eggs."

"Yeah, right. Just turn right around before we call the police."

"Okay, be that way!" Clumsy then pulled out one of the eggs, "These are actually bombs. Just hand over the Lindens, and no one gets hurt."

The teller laughed, "The only bomb is your act. We're calling the cops."

Clumsy reacted by taking the egg and hurling it at the teller. But it didn't hit him. Instead, it hit the counter, bounced off, and hit him square in the forehead, "Owwwww!

"Get 'im!"

Realizing his plot was foiled, Clumsy turned around to bolt away. But while he had been confronting the tellers, someone had stepped inside the exchange after him. From the waist down, she had a serpintine, snakelike body: a naga. Clumsy yelped and tried to get around her. But she whipped her tail out at him, and tripped him. He tried to scramble up, but found her tail winding around him. "Ahhhhhhh!" He yelped again, trying to break free, but the naga's tail was just too strong. Clumsy was tighly bound.

"Lemme go!" the burglar begged.

"So ya can rob this place again?" The naga asked.

"Heeeellllppp!" Clumsy looked frightened.

"How long can you hold him, Ma'am?" one of the tellers asked.

"How long does it take to get the police here?" She answered.

"Not long. You want anything while we wait."

"Nah, I'm fine. He's actually kinda cute. I just wanna give him a nice big squeeze."

Clumsy felt the coils around him get a little tighter. He wasn't sure who to be afraid of more, time in the slammer, or being a little too close to a phobia of his.

"Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?"

It wasn't long before the SLPD arrived. Clumsy Cooper was arrested and charged with attempted griefing.

But even if Cooper's scheme had worked, there was no way he could have gotten away with any ill-gotten gains. “All our exchanges are done through electronic transfer,” a teller later explained to the SLPD, “He wouldn’t have walked away with a single Linden.”

The Podex Exchange has a record of being one of the safest Linden exchange services in Second Life, the data processing done outside the exchange, and has a record of thousands of satisfied customers. Transactions can be done at their website, or their location inworld at the Coda sim at (45, 218, 61).

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

By Bixyl Shuftan 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Reader Submitted Pictures: WoW Selfies

"World of Warcraft," the largest of MMOs, has been continuing to do well with it's latest expansion, "Warlords of Draenor." Recently came their latest patch, 6.1, which involved a few fixes and updates, including a Garrison quest for a certain gadget, the S.E.L.F.I.E. camera (video).

The game has always found ways to sneak in elements of pop culture for chuckles and fun, though this is less subtle than most. It's also a way for some players to have a neverending source of chuckles, though others groaned that not even WoW was immune to the selfie craze.

One can take pictures next to some important folk, such as King Varian Wrynn in the picture above. Or perhaps for a Worgen, a picture under a full moon would be appropriate.

And who might this charming lady Worgen be? None other than Alleara Snoodle. A highly skilled Second Life content creator whom was once involved in the Metanomics SL TV show and the Chilbo community, she later withdrew from both due to real life events. Although not appearing as often on the Grid as she once did, she still does, in addition to other places.

Besides the SELFIE camera, there have been other hapenings in WOW, such as the sale of a special pet goat of which the money went to the Red Cross.

SL Video: "Baa Baa NAS Misfits - Episode 1"

(Click here if the video fails to load)

Filmed Feb 2015, from SL Premiere Magazine, starring Cahuet, Diana, Dsnipe Hotshot, Florence Philly, Klaus Von Rictor, Mojo Greywolf, Mr. Pilot Sinn, and Trans Sands

Friday, March 27, 2015

Holocaust Survivor Speaks at the VWBPE Conference

Last Friday March 20, Holocaust survivor Fanny Starr (FannyStarr Hilltop) spoke to an audience at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference about her experiences during her ordeals from the Lodz Ghetto to the concentration camp of Bergen Belsen. She was with her real-life daughter Explorer Dastardly onstage, who helped with the discussion. The people there had a number of questions for them about the atrocity, and some related issues.

Read about the event in People.

Burnal Equinox Opens

The springtime Burn2 spinnoff event "Burnal Equinox" has begun. This art and music festival will take place all weekend until The closing event on Sunday 9PM SL time.

A number of DJs and musicians will be performing. This includes Grease Coakes tomorrow on Saturday at 10AM SL time.

Schedule of events: http://www.burn2.org/calendar

List of exhibits: http://www.burn2.org/BE2015-artistbuilds

Burning Man-Deep Hole (224/92/25)

Japanese Dance at the Fashion For Life

There's more going on at the "Fashion for Life" Relay event than just fashion shows. On Saturday March 21, there was a troupe performing a number of Japanese dances.

Among the dances was, " 'Soran Bushi'-a traditional Japanese dance from the northern most. It is fisherman's dance, representing the process of catching herring. This powerful dance uses one's entire body to express hard work."

"Fashion for Life" goes on until Sunday, March 29. The event is coordinated by Frolic Mills.

Bixyl Shuftan

Press Relase: Sunweaver Easter Egg Hunt

Easter Egg Hunt! Farshore Field March 28th

It's that time of year again and with it comes the Easter Egg Hunt. Once again Shockwave Yareach has devised a search for little treasures. Yes treasure eggs just what every Sunny Pirate wants. Course such will not be on a shelf for you to grab, oohhh nnooo! You must search low and high and AVAST no map! On the date of 28th of March be it a Saturday you must voyage to The Puddle Jumper store on the Pacific Waters sim The Puddle Jumper, Pacific Waters (51, 86, 31) there upon it's counter you will find a chocolate bunny and the start of your search. Simply touch the bunny and us basket cases will send you a basket and a note card instruction.

The entire sim is yours to hunt and granting a little mercy I shall tell you a hint. Thy shall not the need to search in the clouds though high it may be nor does one need to be a fish though close it may come.

Pacific Waters (51, 86, 31)

Cynthia Farshore and Shockwave Yareach

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Team Firestorm Says " 'Restore to Last Position Needs You' "

Presumably if Team Firestorm and Linden Lab have a disagreement about how things on the viewer should appear, it gets quietly resolved. This time they called out to their fans about a certain feature that the Lab is planning to do away with: "Restore to last position."

In a recent meeting, LL mentioned that they are considering blocking the  “Restore to Last Position” functionality at the server level. This is because it results in permanent content loss if it fails when using it on no copy items. Since version 4.6.7 Firestorm prevents the feature from being used on no copy items as a simple measure to prevent loss, but the underlying issue here is that LL doesn’t understand the feature’s value to residents who use or rely on it.

Kicking, screaming and calling foul will not save this feature, nor will criticizing LL or anyone else for not understanding the feature. In fact actions like that will speed up its demise. What WILL save it however is a well structured set of use cases that demonstrate clearly and concisely how useful and valuable this feature is to you.

If you use this feature and would like to see it stick around please leave a comment on this post detailing how you use it and why it is valuable to you. In a week’s time we will extract the best use cases and formulate an email to LL that will demonstrate both the feature’s value and its usefulness.

One can view the comments here: http://www.firestormviewer.org/restore-to-last-position-needs-you/#comments. As of the posting of this article, there are over 350 of them.

Press Release: "Homes For Our Troops" Benefit at Veteran’s Isle This Sunday

Frets Nirvana and US Military Veterans Group announces the March 2015 benefit for Homes For Our Troops in Second Life! 

Frets Nirvana, the premier guitar and songwriting artist in the virtual world Second Life and the US Military Veterans Group announce the the second benefit in 2015 in Second Life for the Veterans Support Organization, Home For Our Troops . 

Frets Nirvana states:  “HFOT is a privately funded 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization building specially adapted, mortgage-free homes nationwide for the most severely injured Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of these Veterans are multiple amputees, paraplegic, quadriplegic or suffered severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).  These homes restore some of the freedom and independence our Veterans sacrificed defending ours, and enable them to focus on their family, recovery, and rebuilding their lives. Since its inception in 2004, over 90 cents of every dollar spent by Homes for Our Troop has gone to directly support Veterans. ”

Home for Our Troops benefit concerts feature premier Second Life talent monthly at Veteran’s Isle.  The concert on March 29, 2015 is scheduled from 5-9 PM PST.  Featured artists will be Anek Fuchs, Ganjo Mokeev, Frets Nirvana and Seth Regan (Mankind Tracer).

ABOUT HOMES FOR OUR TROOPS  - HFOT builds homes as a departure point for Veterans to rebuild their lives, and once again become highly productive members of society. Despite their life-altering injuries, many Veterans have embarked on new careers, completed their college degrees, or started families. Empowered by the freedom a mortgage-free and specially adapted home brings, these Veterans can now focus on their recovery and return to their life’s work of serving others. Many have embraced their roles as motivational speakers, sharing their messages of persevering through tragedy with groups and classrooms around the country; others take to a national platform to promote awareness of veteran suicide, homelessness and PTSD. Their incredible stories are the driving force for the work for HFOT.

To learn more about the Homes For Our Troops visit https://www.hfotusa.org

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cartoon of the Day

From the "Bahama Beach Club," by Rory Langdon and Scratchmusikatt Fox, in 2009.

By Bixyl Shuftan

The 500 Word Snatch

When a favorite writing event of his at Book Island came to an end, Grease Coakes was disheartened as he liked the chance to exercise his skills. Fortunately, he heard about another event, The "500 Word Snatch." So what did he think of this new creative writing meetup?

Read Grease's story in Events.

Tonya Souther On Latest News of SL 2.0

Tonya Souther, the head of Firestorm's Apple Client team, recently had a few things to say about Ebbe Linden's recent talk about SL 2.0, or "Next Gen" as Linden Lab prefers to call it. Of their plans to not make the new virtual world open source, "possibly never," Tonya expressed her disappointment on her blog.

"... it doesn't speak well for their openness to NIH ('not invented here') ideas on the new platform. Basically, they're saying 'we know what's best for you, so shut up and eat your Brussels sprouts'. We've been here before. Remember Viewer 2? Yeah, me too. There's a reason that Firestorm has the overwhelming majority of users on Second Life, and Viewer 3 (the descendant of Viewer 2) is in third place: LL's viewer does not fail to suck. Users told LL all about that, loud and long - and LL didn't back off and didn't listen."

Toyna went on to say she could understand why Linden Lab was keeping their viewer closed - gaining control of their platform. Not being in control of it with Second Life  put them in "a very unenviable position for a business." But given their track record of listening to their customers with their first virtual world, how well does this bode for their viewer for the new one?

"... there has to be a happy medium there somewhere. I'm disappointed they're not even trying to find it."

For Tonya Souther's in it's entirety, click here.

Facebook Insists No "Games Character" Names

Earlier this month came two developments from social media that were less than welcome news to Second Life users. For residents who use Facebook and Twitch, those services just became a little less friendly.

For Second Life residents who use Facebook, one constant complaint is that many would rather have an account under their avatar's name than their real life one, while Facebook has insisted that only real-life identities should be used. The result was that Facebook accounts named after Second Life avatars were sometimes suspended or banned. When it was revealed that Facebook was altering their policy somewhat in regards to drag queens, some Second Life users were hoping that this would soon mean a change in it's policies to avatar names.

But when Facebook recently clarified their policies on names, they clearly stated they would have none of it, insisting on "authentic identities. ... If you want to create a presence on Facebook for your pet, organization favorite mocit, games character, or another purpose, please create a *page* instead of a Facebook profile." But as New World Notes commented, "A Facebook page has less functuality than a Facebook account, so some SLers are unlikely to find this acceptable."

So does this mean Second Life users of Facebook have no choice but to bite the virtual bullet and say goodbye to having their virtual personas' names on their social media? Not necessarily. Singer Mankind Tracer (Seth Regan in real-life) in the "Second Friends" group on Facebook suggested there were ways to reduce the chances of winding up suspended.

Becaaue many SL'ers post SL avatars as their profile pictures, Facebook looks at SL Fb accounts partially as "inactive" or as "Fake Accounts", as others have also corroborated and I've seen 150+ "Likes" on SRM simply VANISH in a day! We all lunderstand the anonymity that SL affords. But please, don't get yourself on Facebook's BOOTING sights. Post a real life photo or two, also make sure you post once a day for the next few days at least. This will help you to not be booted.

Yours truly has kept his own Facebook profile under his Second Life name for over five years without incident. Possibly because he's already been doing what Mankind suggested, posting most every day, and having a real-life picture among those in the profile. So maybe there's something to this advice.

Sources: New World NotesNew York Times 

Bixyl Shuftan