Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cartoon of the Day

Taken at "Yuri's Night" in the Sci-Lands. This lady from Brazil had "Order and Progress" not on a flagpole, but in her pants. Perhaps it's among the most realistic ways one would go about carrying a flag of that size about. But considering it's tucked in her butt pocket, fodder for humor.

By Bixyl Shuftan

VWPBE Conference Statistics Published

The VWBPE website published some statistics about their conference this year. About 3400 people dropped by the event's grounds during the four day time period, with 446 being the highest attendance level. The average attendance for the entire event was 92, slightly less than a hundred. This was their most well attended event since 2009, in which 3600 avatars visited.

Obviously, there is a continuing interest in educational best practices as applied to virtual immersive environments. The numbers certainly bear this out. Each year, VWBPE tries to raise the bar by introducing targeted keynotes, formal peer review, better streaming capabilities, journal proceedings, and more interactive demonstrations and workshops. With CROSSROADS in March 2015, we will work to continue this trend of being one of our biggest and best conferences ever. We look forward to seeing everyone next year.

 The next VWBPE conference is scheduled for March 18-21 2015.

Hat Tip: Daniel Voyager 

Scenes From The VWBPE Education Conference

Across four days last week, the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) conference took place in Second Life. Although always a newsworthy event with some interesting discussions, this time there were two important speakers whom could not be ignored, Philip Rosedale, the former Philip Linden, and Ebbe Altberg , known inworld as Ebbe Linden. Both Gemma Cleanslate and Bixyl Shuftan were there to take pictures, and youtube videos were found of the speeches made by the past and present CEOs of Linden Lab.

See the pictures in Events.

Press Release: Team Sunbeamers Needs Your Help

We need stuff to sell at this years RFL, I personally can build stuff, but I can't script my way out of a paper bag.  So we need ideas for goodies. We need them built and scripted, if needed.  Here are a couple of ideas.

1. Sunbeamer Skunk Doll/Plushie, maybe big enough to lay or sit on?

2. 7 Seas Fishing items (fish, critters, collectables), unique to our area.  The sillier the better.  You can get info at 7Seas HQ on what you need to do.

3. Steampunk items, simple fun stuff, you just need!

Rita Mariner, Team Sunbeamers Captain

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Events This Week April 15 to 21

Easter Sunday is this week, so be on the lookout for Easter-related events, such as Easter Town, and Bunny Night at Club Zero Gravity. Look for churches to have special Easter events too. And there's our regularly scheduled races, book and poetry readings, live and DJ music events, races, and talk shows.

Read more in Events this Week.

Sneak Peek: Land of the Giants

Yours truly has been exploring a little, and not yet finished with other articles came across one worth exploring: "Land of the Giants," at the Random sim along with the Demo Derby owned by the people at "Creations for Parkinsons."

So until I get to writing about the place, here's a link for you to see for yourselves.

Random (125, 248, 4000)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Cedar Creek

Most active Second Life Residents have a place they call home, or at least a favorite place to hang out. For Theonlyjohnny Resident, it's a sim called Cedar Creek. So what attracted him to the place and what got him to stay? Here, he gives his description of the place.

Read Theonlyjohnny's article in Places.

Ebbe Linden Speaks At The VWBPE Conference, Addresses ToS Issue

On Friday April 11 at 1PM SL time, Ebbe Linden (Ebbe Altberg) spoke at the VWPBE (Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education) conference. He spoke to a packed audience, whom had a number of questions.

One can get a summary of Ebbe's speech from Daniel Voyager, a review by Jo Yardley, and a full transcript from Inara Pey. Or see a video by Mal Burns:

(Click here if the video fails to load)

Ebbe brought up a number of concerns, including the controversial Terms of Service issue.

I am working with my Legal Counsel to try to try to figure out how we can make it more obvious – or very obvious – that the creators of the content own the content, and we obviously have no intent of ever stealing your content or profiting off of your content independently of the creators in some fashion.

The current terms might indicate that we might somehow have some plan to steal people’s content and somehow profit from it for ourselves, without benefitting the creator, and that’s obviously not our intent at all. It would be very damaging to our business if we started to behave in that way because this whole platform is all about the content you all create. And if you can’t do that, and trust that it is yours, that’s obviously a problem. So I’m working on that, and I can ask you right now to trust us that we’re not going to do what the current clause might suggest we’re going to do, but we’re working on some simple tweaks to the language to make that more explicit.

We also have no interest in locking you in; any content that you create, we feel you should be able to export, and take and save and possibly if you want to move to another environment or OpenSim, that should be possible. So we’re not trying to lock you in either. Obviously, it’s very important to us to get content both in and out, so I just want to put that right out there. 

These words were much more of an answer than the vauge answers given to the United Content Creators of Second Life group when they pressed the Lab for answers. So it seems finally the Lab, or rather it's CEO, has answered.

Different residents had differing views. In a UCCSL group chat I observed, those who had heard the speech were overall pleased, but, "He didn't say a clear position." Talking to some residents of the Sunweaver area, the opinion seemed to be cautious optimism to neutral. One commented the Lab had made promises before and failed to follow through, so would wait for more actions before deciding whether or not Ebbe was any different.

Time will tell whether or not this was the start of Linden Lab regaining the trust lost in the Terms of Service controversy.

Image from Gemma Cleanslate

Bixyl Shuftan

Press Release: The Raglan Shire ArtWalk

The Raglan Shire ArtWalk 2014 opens Sunday May 4th, displaying the works of over 100 artists over four sims in an outdoor setting.  The show runs from May 4th through May 25th. Artists gridwide converge to exhibit their RL photography and art and SL photography and sculpture in this annual arts festival, hosted by the tiny community of the Raglan Shire sim cluster.

"When I first opened these sims for tinies, I started ArtWalk in 2007, inspired by the ArtWalk of Seattle, Washington," said Zayn Till, Magistrate of Raglan Shire. "We want to give artists a fabulous opportunity to exhibit both RL and SL works. Over the years it has grown into one of the biggest art festivals in SL."

2D art of all kinds is exhibited along the hedgerows in the central area of Raglan Shire sim. SL sculptural works are exhibited among the trees and along the shores of the western half of Heron Forest in Heron Shire sim, in the parks on Morning Shire and Raglan Commons sim.  TP kiosks to the display locations are throughout the grounds of the festival.

"It is always exciting to see so much talent and art as exhibited by artists of Second Life,"  said Karmagirl Avro, Artwalk Director, herself one of the exhibiting artists.   "Talented artists, both big and small, make May one of my favorite months in Second Life!  Nothing better than wandering around the Shires enjoying all the fabulous paintings, sculptures and art!"

Avatars of all shapes and sizes are welcome to visit the show during May and enjoy wandering these enchanting sims dedicated to tiny avatars.

For more information, contact Karmagirl Avro, Dagmar Klaar or Liandras Jameson.
Visit the Raglan Shire website at

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cartoon of the Day: Relay For Life Jail and Bail

Covering the Relay for Life isn't completely without it's hazards. While at one on Saturday April 12, I ended up "getting served" with a warrant. I was bailed out after about forty minutes.

Bixyl Shuftan

Remembering Dirk Talmasca

Last weekend, Second Life held a memorial service for a resident whom passed away: Dirk Talmasca. Dirk had been a big presence in Second Life over the years as both a land owner and mentor, and over time had made made friends. At the Linden Memorial park, people gathered to both honor him, and look back on fond memories.

Read more in Events.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

SL Video: "Time Travelers Episode 6 - Baby Universe"

(Click Here if the video fails to load)

The sixth, and final, part of Pooky Amsterdam's "Time Travelers" series. With their teammate captured, the remaining two of the team turn to an advanced computer program for help. Events soon lead to a showdown between the opposing forces, one out to enslave humanity, the other to save it. Starring Rebecca Borrer, Marc Cholette, and Sonya Cerdan as the Time Travelers.

"Time Travelers" is an award-winning series by PookyMedia productions, started in 2010.

"The final episode - for now, brings together our Time Travelers and the Meks, with Zanzibar's capture of Maria. We will experience what the Time Travelers, with the help of the advanced AI Sebastian must do to stop the Meks and their leader using every resource in their power. The opening of the Baby Universe becomes a trap. Whose future will win out, are we running out of time to Save the Future?

"We are all of us connected, none more so than the Teen Time Travelers who must fight to escape the danger of the approaching Meks. As they jump through time and again meet their future selves, the stakes escalate around the future as they must follow their present destiny. Game on!

"The award winning series, Time Travelers, is an animated adventure series about the future. The series showcases future careers in science such as geoengineering for alternative energy, nanobiolology and neuroscience for learning and health care.

"Time Travelers was sponsored by the leader in education financing SLFC and iHelp committed to helping students achieve their educational and career goals. For over 30 years SLFC has been a pioneer in enabling students to realize their dreams for the future through education. SLFC's support made Time Travelers a reality.

"Time Travelers will be seen online, at International Film Festivals and throughout the nation at FutureLab: The Innovation Expo"

See Episode 5 Here, Episode 4 Here, and Episodes 1-3 combined Here

"Cinderella" By The Pitter Patter Dance Group

Last weekend I saw the Don Quixote Ballet which I reported on . This week I found myself at a presentation of Cinderella. It was a fundraiser for the Relay for Life performed by the Pitter Patter Dance Group,
who say this of themselve,s “ We is tinies an' we dances.  We duz good shows."  *Nosebeep*
It  was a hysterical version of Cinderella, a pantomime, such fun!! The music was a riot and the dancers amazing little critters.  The audience was composed mostly of tinies also , with some adults sprinkled in , and the chat  was great! A new take of the Cinderella story ... she only wants to play soccer... the prince needs money for dad and mom ... and  the footman? Well,  big part of the story. The ad says, “ You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll throw rotten eggs.  Your life will be changed! Never will you look at Cinderella in the same way again.” 
I spoke with Aminata Potez , one of the principals in the group who told me it will be shown again on these dates and at these sims, always at 3:00 PM SL time , Saturday the 19th in Vortex, Thursday the 24th in Rainbow. You can contact aminata Potez for landmarks.

There will be a showing at the Isle of Gazoo today at 3:00 if you can get there.

Gemma Cleanslate

Friday, April 11, 2014

Don Quixote

Ballet isn't for everyone in Second Life, but for those in the virtual world with a taste for culture and the arts it can be quite entertaining. Gemma Cleanslate recently attended the last showing of "Don Quixote," a performance by the LP Ballet Academy. She also got a chance to talk to it's coordinator, Guy Wardell.

Read Gemma's article in Events.

Press Release: "Mid-Century Life on Mars" Talk at University of Hawaii

Wondering what life might be like for Mars settlers?

Join in on a talk on "Mid-Century Life on Mars" by science fiction author and regular journalist, Doug Turnbull. Second Life audience members can ask questions. The event will be live streamed to/from the University of Hawaii.

When: Friday April 11th, 2014. 9:30 PM PDT
Where: Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii Aquaculture Program/48/85/26

About the Talk:

Since the late 1800s, and the discovery of "canals" on Mars by astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, science fiction and science fact have come together in a productive, though hotly debated, symbiotic relationship driving both curiosity and progress toward our understanding the Red Planet. Most recently, a similar fact versus fiction debate emerged in the news surrounding the lack of space science realism in the hit movie 'Gravity.' As a writer of 'hard science fiction,' Doug Turnbull has successfully balanced elements of astronomical fact and fiction in his novels, novellas, short fiction and science publications. During his interview by Alan Boyle, NBC News Science Editor, Boyle noted that science fact and science fiction are an "interesting intersection." Boyle compared Turnbull's more realistic approach to "the John Carter on Mars stories that Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote," saying that given the plentiful information provided to us by orbiters and survey robots like Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity, that "fanciful views of Mars...seem so old fashioned nowadays" as readers count on science facts to ensure the believeability of science fiction.

Doug's talk, 'Mid-Century Life on Mars' will be based on his Op Ed article that had over 40,000 readers and became the subject of great debate, with more than 230 specialist comments on LinkedIn groups like 'NASA,' 'National Space Society,' and 'Science, Technology & Innovation Policy.' His discussion will present a variety of real efforts currently underway designed to reach Mars, prepare astronauts for living on Mars, and speculate upon the challenges that will be faced by Mars astronauts. Throughout the talk he will explore--both fictionally through his characters and factually with completed and concurrent atmospheric, radiation, and geologic studies--the possibility of humans living on Mars by the mid-twenty-first century.

Gaming Room Holding a Wildlife Fundraiser.

Gaming in Second Life can be a controversial issue, due to various state laws about gambling online, and differing opinions among Second Life residents about it. But one game room, Fish Bowl Games, is giving back some of it's earnings to a wildlife charity.

Talking to Foxyfurman Kumaki, the owner of Fish Bow Games oh Thursday, he told me he was "hoping for 500K, halfway there. ... Mother foxes take bigger risks feeding little ones and as a result sometimes end up leaving orphan fox pups. It is that time of year they need food and medicine, and all you have to do is PLAY (smile). Everything on the donation board will go to Fox Wood Wildlife Rescue, Inc where the CEO lives eats and sleeps animal rescue and makes a whopping ZERO off of donations. ... We are giving a percentage of every game played."

Foxyfurman told me he donates to the charity every spring, "I always just donate but I got the idea to include more people, and everyone who plays at fish until Friday are caretakers of our woodland creatures."

Fishbowl games is at Fish Bowl (219, 129, 21). One can find out more about Foxwood Wildlife Rescue by checking it's website here:

Bixyl Shuftan

Happy Rezzday Tantari Kim

Last weekend on Saturday April 5th, long time Second Life resident Tantari Kim celebrated a milestone: her tenth rezzday. Grease Coakes, whom had interviewed her at about the time of Second Life's own tenth birthday, took her to "The Ark" club to celebrate.

They, and others, had a blast that day.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Philip Rosedale Delivers Keynote Address at VWBPE Conference

The Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) conference started yesterday on April 9. The event was opened by none other than Philip Rosedale, the former Philip Linden. As one can see, he's gone a long way from his days of an avatar with a spiky hair and mustache, "Rocky Horror" T-shirt, and a technicolor codpiece. He talked about virtual worlds, his company High Fidelity, and the Oculus Rift viewer.

Daniel Voyager has an outline of Philip's speech (here).  Geo Meek recorded the event on Livestream, which can be watched (here).

Image credit: Daniel Voyager

Press Release: Brendan Shoreland's Upcoming 1,000th Second Life Live Music Performance

The Drunken Drow in Elvenshire is scheduled to host Brendan’s 1,000th performance at 10.00 am PDT on Saturday 3rd May 2014.

Folk musician and singer/songwriter Brendan Shoreland has delivered live music performances in Second Life since November 2006 (when he was known as Washburn D12N Davies). Now he approaches his 1,000th performance, which is scheduled to take place at The Drunken Drow from 10.00 am PDT on Saturday 3rd May.

Brendan said, “I’m delighted that it will be at The Drunken Drow. Raredread Nightfire, the owner of the venue, has supported me throughout my Second Life music career and has watched me grow and flourish as a musician.”

When asked how he knew that it would be his 1,000th performance, he replied, “From the first performance it felt like the professional thing to do; to keep careful track of where and when I performed. I developed a spreadsheet on which I keep all the records and it has proved to be a valuable management tool.”

On the subject of his music, Brendan commented, “I was schooled in the folk music world, where you’re expected to deliver a quality performance with the minimum of technology, fuss or ego. I’ve never created or used a backing track and I utilise a mixer that doesn’t even have a reverb unit! I want to tell a story, simply and well. For me, that’s what each and every song is about.”

Additional information
Brendan Shoreland’s human is called David Walton and lives in Plymouth, England. His email address is

Brendan’s music can be heard at
and at

He has also created a web site at which features a full playlist and a current schedule of forthcoming.

Crew Meeting

 On Saturday April 5, the Newser crew had it's monthly meeting at its office in HV Community. Those present were Gemma Cleanslate, DrFran Babcock, myself, and Theonlyjohnny Resident whom had recently rejoined us.

We talked about a few topics, including real life cutting into the time of some of us. But there were also some whimsical moments. DrFran shows off a lock and key she got from a gacha sale.

Bixyl Shuftan