Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Year

Feb 29th occurs only once every four years. So in tribute, this pic of a kangaroo av in action.

Cartoon of the Day

Taken at the "Wounded Warriors" on Sunday, was using Singularity as it was more stable. Unfortunately, this is how those in mesh dresses turned out. ;-)

by Bixyl Shuftan

Phoenix Team Leader Jessica Lyon Speaks Out About New Third Party Viewer Policy

Yesterday on Feb 28th, Jessica Lyon made a public appearance to speak about the recent changes Linden Lab announced of their Third Party Viewer Policy. The Phoenix "office hour" took place at the Rockcliffe University area, and was in front of a packed audience with up to 150 residents in and around an auditorium at the intersection of four sims (Rockcliffe I, Rockcliffe Library, Agile 3D, and Rockcliffe Conservatory). Despite delays, sim crashes, a restart, and a troublesome griefer, the meeting went on and most of the people stayed or came back to listen. There was also the option to see the event over live.

Appearing with Phaylen Fairchild, Jessica told the audience she wanted to give her side of the matter, but be objective in doing so. She told the audience that the features showing users of the Phoenix and Firestorm what Viewers others were using and what their online status was would soon be gone. Other than that, the viewers would not be changing, and it was her impression Linden Labs would not be asking for any more.

Jessica told the audience that Linden Lab had first come to her several months earlier asking about the possibility that Phoenix could do away with the feature showing what viewer others were using. They told her there were reports coming in of "bullying" by third-party users on users of official viewers. Jessica stated she then went about with an alt using the official viewer, and had a few encounters that gave her the impression there was some truth to the Lab's claims.

What Jessica felt was the policy change that would have the biggest impact was the one about any further changes to the viewers would have to be approved by Linden Lab for use on official viewers, stating they wanted to preserve the "shared experience" of the residents. "I get it in principle, but," Jessica felt this would have a detrimental effect on further innovation as developers would be less inclined to spend weeks or months on a new feature and have no guarantee it would be approved by the Lab. She stated Linden Lab had the contrary opinion, that they honestly believed that their policy wouldn't affect further third party research.

She brought up the former Qarl Linden's work on a mesh deformer viewer tool to allow users to correctly wear mesh clothing, and how it had been Crowdfunded by donations. She cautioned anyone else interested in crowdfunding a viewer development would be subject to Linden Labs vetoing the project, and "all the money the community paid ... is wasted."

Jessica told the audience they were going to go ahead and do what Linden Lab was asking: submit further developments to them first for use on official viewers and awaiting approval before using the new features on new viewer updates. She felt as in the past year the Lab has been more active in updating new features, there was reason to hope, "We'll see how things go."

Jessica took some questions from the audience. Among them, would they design viewers for other grids. She answered, "Good question," saying it has never really been discussed by the team, but "not out of the question."

She did feel there would continue to be third party viewers and teams behind them, "(Like you) we're residents. We deal with the community more directly. ... I don't think (Linden Lab) will ever truly understand (it's users)."

Jessica gave the audience a number of links they could read about various perspectives on the Third Party Viewer policy changes,"Policy Changes" on the Official Second Life forums, Your Nymph, the Andromeda Media Group, "Stiffle Competition" on the Official SL forums, Inara Pey, Tateru Nino, Nalate's Things, Prim Perfect, Tonya Souther (the Phoenix Mac development leader), Ciaran Laval, and The Torch. Daniel Voyager also posted a number of screenshots of the meeting on his Flickr. Presumably, there will be a recording of the event available soon.

Bixyl Shuftan

*Editor's note* This article was slightly edited later in the day due to the rush job to get the news out due to public demand.

Tales from Podex: Banking on Romance

It was a fairly typical February day at the Podex Exchange, at least typical for the days after Valentines Day. In the week before, the place had been busy, people coming in to buy Lindens to get gifts for their sweethearts. Now, things were a bit quieter, though once in a while someone getting Lindens talked about not having gotten quite the right gift and was getting another.

To pass the quiet time, the clerks would swap Valentines Day stories, often of tales of romance gone wrong. Someone mentioned a rumor that "Clumsy Cooper" had gotten the attention of an amourous lady policeman, and the tellers chuckled. If true, that would mean he'd be out of their hair a little longer.

While they were swapping tales, a small figure entered the bank. He was wearing only red shorts, a pair of wings on his back, and a quiver full of arrows with heart shaped tips, along with a bow. The tellers' attention all fell on him.

"If you have to ask," the visitor spoke, "I made a bet and lost. Now I'm stuck like this for a week."

The tellers chuckled and one finally spoke, "S-sorry about that. How can I help you?"

"Well, I don't suppose you have a safe deposit box for chocolates?"

"Sorry Sir, we're an exchange service. We exchange US dollars and several other international currencies for Linden dollars, and the other way around."

"Yeah, I figured. Well, I'd like to buy a few Lindens."

"Certainly Sir." The clerk brought up a form to fill out. Once that was done, it was only a brief while longer before the electronic transfer gave the cupid figure some more cash.

"Thanks a bunch," the visitor told them, "Oh, it's my understanding you've been having a little trouble with some masked man?"

"Clumsy Cooper? Yes, he has caused an occasional scene here. What did he do this time?"

"Well, to begin with the bet was with some chubby little guy whom was dressed like I am now. Seems I chuckled at how he looked, and well … he talked me into betting if he could make a girl fall for someone, I'd wear his outfit for a week. Well, just then a policewoman came by and demanded to see these arrows. She accidentally jabbed her finger with one, and who should walk into the room but that masked guy you've been having trouble with. Well, she forgot about me, and went after him. Guess those stories about those arrows had something to them as while she placed him under arrest, she wasn't acting like it was jail she was going to drag him off too. (chuckle)"

The tellers got a good laugh out of it, and soon the customer was on his way.

The Podex Exchange is located at Moonbeam (26, 223, 34), 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

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Events this Week in Second Life from Feb 28th to March 5th

February changes to March, and it's a whole new week of events. From the Transformation art exhibition to the March Military Expo to the ZZ Studio Bumper Car Tourney and more, there is no shortage of things to do. Plus there are the regularly scheduled music events, fiction & poetry readings, and talk & game shows.

See the list of happenings in Events this Week.

Almost 300,000 Lindens Raised at Wounded Warriors Benefit

On Sunday February 26 at 8PM SL time, there was a Wounded Warriors Benefit Concert at Patriot Island. The event was organized by singer Mandkind Tracer, known as Seth Regan in real life. Mandkind planed to play for at least an hour, with the goal of raising 275 thousand Lindens.

The event was held in a hangar-like building in the center-east of the sim, next to a B-24 Liberator and a WW1 biplane. People began showing up at the event early. One lady who dropped in ten minutes before the start told me it was already starting to get crowded. It didn't take long for the hangar to become packed with over fifty avatars.

Even before the event started, people had been donating. Frets Nirvana announced at the start they already had 106,000 Lindens donated, pointing to two helmet displays on both sides of the stage. Within minutes, the total passed 150,000 then 160,000. And from then on, the amount steadily increased. Both Frets and the head of Mandkind's fan group Kalli "Brandy" Birman continued to encourage people to donate.

To encourage donations, at one point Mandkind began offering a set of three of his inworld CDs to those donating 1500 Lindens, a discount from his normal price. He reminded listeners that one could burn the music onto real life CDs, and listen to his music outside Second Life.

Just before 9PM SL time, the amount raised hit 250,000 Lindens, a quarter million. At 9:07 PM, the total had passed 260,000. Five minutes later, it was 265,000, "So close." Finally at 9:17 PM. Frets Nirvana announced, "Excellent! 275k!" And the audience cheered, "Wooooooot! It's been done."

Even after the goal was reached, people continued to chip in. A total of 288,450L was seen contributed, over 1,100 US dollars. Not everyone at the benefit was American, "I am from Egypt and I am proud to help." Mankind played until about 9:30 when he wished the audience well, and ported out. "Thank you so much, Mankind" one of his fans told him. Some in the audience continued to dance away for a little longer before all went their separate ways.

Patriot Island is owned by the US Military Veterans Group. It is in part a memorial site, a replica of the Tomb of Unknowns in the center, so visitors are asked to be respectful of the fact: no firing weapons and no partisan activity. The Wounded Warrior Project is a nonprofit group devoted to "honor and empower wounded warriors" of the US Military. The Project "began when several individuals took small, inspired actions to help others in need. The resulting objective was to provide tangible support for the severely wounded and help them on the road to healing, both physically and mentally."

"God Bless Our Troops." "Thank you all for coming tonight. Hope you all had fun, and hope to see you next month."

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, February 27, 2012

Avatrian Central Sim, Home to Last Shuttle Launch, Osama's Compound, Gone

Second Life Newser got a tip from the Cub Scouts at Camp Kawabata this weekend when some tried to go to the recreation of the last Space Shuttle launch at the Avatrian Central sim. The build had remained there since the event on July 8, 2011, but when they tried to head to the scene to show freinds, they found it was gone.

Avatrian Central is also the home to a recreation of the Abbotabad Compound used by arch-terrorist Osama Bin-Laden to hide out until his killing last year. It's a small irony news of the sim's vanishing comes at the time the real-life compound is being demolished.

The Avatrian blog has been inactive since the shuttle launch. It's unknown what happened to the group.

Bixyl Shuftan

Reader Submitted: Meta Body

If you are looking for some terrific new avatars that are avant garde and free take a peek here at the Delicatessen: Petrified in Porto. Meilo Minotaur and Capcat Ragu have a new project.

The virtual experience of the body is not exactly an experience of the flesh. These sensations, albeit having a physical sensorial aspect, continue to be experienced in our bodies behind the screen, not in our avatar body. The virtual body is a metaphorical body, all language, therefore open to experimentation and possibility.

In this new project, Meilo Minotaur and CapCat Ragu invite us, once again, to rethink our bodies through our avatars, making available all kinds of skins, shapes, body parts, clothes, etc. All these items are fully modifiable, shareable and copyable, thus challenging the audience to become creators and also share their derivative work with us, in the All My Independent Women exhibition. While the avatars are available in the Second Life Sim Delicatessen (, the pictures and machinimas of the derivative work will be displayed at VBKOE, Vienna, giving us a glimpse of the new creative flux, beyond the concepts of author and work of art, happening online.

Pooped Foxy

It was quite a weekend, and saw a number of things worth reporting. Unfortunately, I stayed up a bit late covering one event to write much about it.

Some current news will be mentioned later. Until then, yours truly needs a recharge.

Bixyl Shuftan

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cartoon of the Day

By Bixyl Shuftan

Creative Fiction: Second Life’s TV Commercial

It's been something of a wild week with sim closing and coming back, then another sim set to close, still another apparently having quietly faded away (more on that tomorrow), and finally Linden Lab's move on Third-Party Viewers that's raised more than a little alarm. So maybe it's time for something to inspire both a little brainstorming and maybe a few chuckles. Tateru Nino recently asked her readers "how would you advertise Second Life." That got me thinking of a story I wrote for Dana Vanmoer in my days at Second Life Newspaper. The section it was in closed when the paper did, so here it is again in the Newser.

Read the editor's attempt at fictional writing in Extra.

Linden Lab Changes Third Party Viewer Policy

On Friday, Linden Lab announced some changes to their Third-Party Viewer policy. The reason given, the Lab stated there were concerns about privacy issues, and they wanted " to be clearer about the sorts of innovations that developers should work on for their particular Viewers" saying they didn't want users of other viewers to have different experiences than those using the official ones.

Here are the new sections of the policy:

2.a.iii : You must not provide any feature that circumvents any privacy protection option made available through a Linden Lab viewer or any Second Life service.

2.i : You must not display any information regarding the computer system, software, or network connection of any other Second Life user.

2.j : You must not include any information regarding the computer system, software, or network connection of the user in any messages sent to other viewers, except when explicitly elected by the user of your viewer.

2.k : You must not provide any feature that alters the shared experience of the virtual world in any way not provided by or accessible to users of the latest released Linden Lab viewer.

Linden Lab stated they still want the Third-Party teams to innovate improvements with viewers, but in partnership with them.

The Linden Lab forum post can be read in entirety Here.

Following the official post, naturally there were replies on the forum from the residents. While some were accepting, one resident saying this was to "preserve individual privacy, and ... begin to standardize viewers to a common visual experience." "The differences of experiences at the moment are way too big due to too many different features per 3rd party viewers compared to LL's program. It distroys homogenenity and the differences are so big that it can come to very serious misunderstandings between residents." Others were skeptical, "The SL default viewer is a sub-par experience, poorly programmed and tremendously laggy and cumbersome. By hindering third party viewers, LL is ensuring that they will alienate a large number of users." "Just as I was starting to have a little faith in Rodvik and LL, you have to go and pull this."

On the Phoenix website, Jessica Lyon stated those features in the Phoenix and Firestorm viewers that are now policy violations will be removed in the next updates. She stated she would discuss in depth what these policy changes mean for Phoenix and Firestorm Tuesday February 28th at 2PM.

One can also check out the SL Universe forum for the comments there.

Others have also commented. Tateru Nino called Linden Lab's policy change "the power of veto. ... If Linden Lab likes your feature, but hasn’t yet gotten around to releasing it in a non-beta viewer, well, people still aren’t allowed to use your viewer to connect to Second Life until Linden Lab gets through the process." In Prim Perfect, "one of the features that users of the TPVs love is their ability to respond and develop with flexibility. Long term residents have voted with their feet, and headed for new viewers, partly because the universal dislike there was for the original Viewer 2, which gave a massive impetus to the development of TPVs." Inara Pey wrote, "There is a very real risk that this policy change will completely stifle Viewer innovation – or even drive it away from Second Life entirely. " Daniel Voyager had a list of these and other commentators, including Tonya Souther, the lead Mac developer of Team Phoenix, who felt Linden Lab's message to Third-Party developers was "screw you!"

With their announcement, Linden Lab has created quite a stir, and made a number of people worried. Like so many of their previous announcements, time will tell what their intentions are.

Bixyl Shuftan

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mardi Grads Scenes in Second Life

Tuesday February 21st was Mardi Gras, also known as "Fat Tuesday," Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day, or Carnival in some places. The event is associated with costumes and parties, and in Second Life where people will sometimes use any excuse to party, naturally the day was reflected here in places.

See more in Events.

SL Machinima: "Ladies' Men"

From Pooky Amsterdam and Draxtor Despres, the latest "Flufee on a Meshion" machinimas. Looks like the Flufster has some girl trouble.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Look at Egypt, One Year Later

It was one year ago this month that the "Arab Spring" took Egypt by storm, with demonstrations against the Mubarak regime that had ruled for many years. They were reflected in Second Life at the Egypt (All Arab) sim, with people making demonstrations of their own, both Arab and not, calling for democracy. And when they won, there was celebration in the streets of the sim.

Fast forward a little more than a year later, the layout of the sim has changed a bit, a river dividing the place, but the general theme of a hangout for Egyptains & friends with games and clubs, plus an ancient Egypt theme in places to attract tourists, remains the same. I arrived at an hour when most of the Egyptians were asleep, but did run into a couple whom were happy to have visitors dropping in, especially someone spreading word about the place.

Unfortunetly, the hopes from the Arab Spring uprising have not come to pass for Egypt in real life. The country remains under the control of the military, and the opposition has come to be dominated by Islamist parties calling for law based on their interpretation of Sharia, women to be restricted to more traditional roles, and an end to the treaty with Israel, which would technically bring the country to a state of war. And more recently another troubling development: the regime has been going after Americans, charging them with "anti-government activities."

Bixyl Shuftan

ISTE Island to Close, March 1st

Some sad news for Second Life's educational community.The International Society for Technology in Education will be losing it's ISTE sim in Second Life. February 28 is the last day the sim is due to be up.

Following the end of Linden Lab's discount for non-profit sims, a task force was formed to look into options. They met up on the island on Tuesday Jan 24 to make their decision, and because of the lack of finances, the organization wanting to spend no more than $500 a year, the decision was made to stop payments to the Island.

In his blog, Scott Merrick posted that at it's height, the ISTE held four separate sims in Second Life. It apparently has been very popular with educators on the Grid. The "In a Strange Land" blog read, "ISTE has long been a major player in the SL educational community, and it provided a popular orientation spot for new student and faculty avatars seeking to avoid the freakshows of the public welcome areas."

So what is the ISTE planning? There was talk of moving to a smaller area at the Eduislands 9 sim, as well as discussing moving to the Jokaydia Opensim-based grid. It appears they will be doing both. They are still listening to ideas.

Monday February 27 will be the last planned event on the island, a good-bye party for the island. To get to the island, go to ISTE Island (109, 66, 30).

"Thanks in retrospect for all you have shared with all of us at ISTE Island over the years. Thanks in advance for your sharing over this next month. Keep the Faith, whatever it is for you."- Scott Merrick

Sources: Daniel Voyager, OhVirtualLearning, In a Strange Land,

Bixyl Shuftan

Eye on the Blog: "Sneak Peek at Pathfinding"

In the Official Second Life Blog earlier this week, Linden Labs offered a "sneak peek" of their experiments with "Pathfinding."

Pathfinding is a new set of LSL calls and Viewer tools that allow for smoother and smarter movement for non-player characters and objects in Second Life. These new tools will allow Residents to create objects that move around corners, climb inclines and cross region boundaries. Newly created functions such as “pursue,” “patrol,” “wander,” “evade,” and go to a specified point — all of which are particularly useful for pet, NPC and enemy behavior — will allow for non player movements and behaviors never before possible in Second Life.

Pathfinding is efficient because it allows creators to place a much larger number of moving objects in a particular area without affecting server performance. Because the algorithmic complexity is on the server side, Residents can easily script with short and intuitive LSL functions that make creating a pet that follows you around as simple as rezzing a box.

As part of the pathfinding project, Linden Lab will also introduce new Viewer-side tools that will allow Residents to more efficiently create, visualize, test and debug Pathfinding-enabled characters. These tools are not required to create pathfinding behaviors but are particularly useful to builders and experience creators in second life.

Additional pathfinding tools, and the ability to generate your own pathing data, will be put in Beta in the coming weeks. Linden Lab will begin releasing these tools to all Residents in the next several months. You can try out the new LSL functionality in select regions for which we have prepared pathfinding data.

Sneak Preview: Pathfinding in Second Life .

A video done by Lorca and Stinson Linden showed some details of Pathfinding. In the film, Lorca razzed a cube, inserted a bit of pathfinding code, and the prim proceeded to follow him around. That is until he put an obstacle between it and himself on a path up in the air. The Pathfinding-enabled cube promptly changed course and took an alternate route to get to him. Stinson Linden talked some about how Pathfinding works. Which routes a Pathfinding-enabled object travels depends on the "navigation mesh." How wide or the size of steps in a stairway alters the mesh, and determines whether or not Pathfinding takes that route to get to someone or an object, or not. Controls can put "holes" in the navigation mesh, making areas inaccessible to Pathfinder objects, or mark some objects as "dynamic obstacles."

Among the comments after the video was one referencing the changing path after the obstacle was placed in the Pathfinding object's way, "this is a gaming technique not even the most popular MMORPGs seem to know how to get right, and you guys managed to pull it off flawlessly. In games like WoW if you shoot a mob from a rooftop, it walks up the wall after you, rather then trying to find a logical path."

To check the Linden Blog entry, Click Here.

For more on Pathfinding in the Second Life Wiki, Click Here.

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Abbot's Areodome up for Sale

According to Daniel Voyager, Abbot's Areodome, which was saved from disappearing from the Grid last August by a purchaser, is now up for sale. The reason, the owner is unable to hold onto both of his sims.

Those interested in buying the noted airport, contact the owner.

The entrance to Abbots Areodrome is at Abbots (163, 147, 71).

Spaceport Alpha/International Space Museum Is Back

Good news for space fans in Second Life. The Spaceport Alpha sim, home to the International Space Museum or ISM is back online after having been closed for a few weeks. There had been some concerns that the return of the place would be further delayed due to Linden Lab asking for both the back payments and a purchase fee for a new sim. But they were laid to rest when on Wednesday February 22nd the sim was back online for all to see.

Checking back for myself, the place was fully restored, rockets and all. I thought I noticed a few exhibitions I hadn't seen before, but perhaps they were recent additions I missed on my last trip over.

While at the sim, I ran into the Director, Kat Lemieux. She was happy to have the place back up and running. Just why did the place go offline? "Yes, the person who was in charge got sick, and didn't tell anyone, and ... Well, it was a big mixup. But we're going to make sure that doesn't happen again. ... It was pretty scary for awhile, there. We thought it was all gone for good."

Of the demand that the ISM group pay a sim purchase fee, "The Linden support person who took it down wasn't totally clued into LL policy, but once it was brought to the attention of the right people, it got straightened out. ... that was a low-level staffer. Once somebody higher up with some authority found out, it got taken care of. I understand many of the new support staff aren't very knowlegable about SL, which is too bad, but what can you do?" She thanked the Second Life newspapers and blogs that publicized the sim closing for their help, "those who were vocal about (the ISM), commenting on the blogs, helped make sure it came back. Linden Lab does pay attention to public opinion."

Asking Kat what were the plans of the ISM, "Well, the planning group will resume regular meetings, then we're going to start revising exhibits, and putting on events again. First up is a party!"

They will be having a new exhibit up soon, and plan on having Cypress Rosewood perform over sometime in March. Later on at one of their meetings, they may have a author of "military science fiction."

Kat and I talked on for a while. She pointed out exhibits such as the Apollo Program Saturn V rocket, and the HUGE Vehicle Assembly building, which in real life holds the record for being the largest building in volume on the planet. She told me she had spent much of her childhood living near Cape Canaveral as her father worked there, saying her school would have extended "fire drills" whenever there was a launch, "the country administrator wouldn't call off classes just for 'some clown' in a rocket." She moved before the Apollo Program, but made trips over to see a few shuttle launches. When asked about the people who saw shuttle launches and landings televised at the ISM up to the last one, she grinned, "They got a better view."

The International Space Museum has numerous exhibitions, plus a gift shop where one can buy souveniers, which help fund the sim. There are also various donation jars one can chip in. Spaceport Alpha is one of the Sci-Land sims which are devoted to news and adult education about sciences, especially astronomy and related sciences. The ISM gets no funding from NASA, nor are any of the members of it's group from the government.

To check the ISM blog, Click Here.

To get to the ISM, Click Here to go to Spaceport Alpha.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday Forehead Cross Freebie

It's Ash Wednesday, and taking a look at the Marketplace, there was this item: freebie ash forehead crosses.

Ash Wednesday is observed by some denominations as the beginning of the time of preparation for Easter. A cross made of ashes may be placed on the forehead, perhaps with the words, "Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return." To the best of my knowledge, the church clip art from which these crosses are derived are public domain. If this is an error, please notify me (Edd Thor). Please distribute these as you wish throughout the Second Life communities.

It item can be found here on Marketplace.

Cartoon of the Day

By Bixyl Shuftan

Pinewood Derby at Camp Kawabata

Gemma Cleanslate recently headed back to Camp Kawabata, the home of the Second Life cub scouts. The occasion: a pinewood derby race. So how did this event come to be and who won this day? Gemma has the details.

Read more in People.

Huge "Macro-Ran" Billboard Rezzed Near SL Newser Office

The residents of HV Community, where the Second Life Newser office building is, got a surprise on Tuesday February 22nd. Someone rezzed a giant billboard in the likeness of one of the community leaders, Ranchan Weidman (aka Amaya Heart-Aeghin).

In group chat, people alternated between joking about the build, "I'm going to parachute from the top," to wondering in amazement who could have set it up. No one recognized the name of the builder, who could easily have been an alt. Despite the size, the macro-sized build took only two prims.

Ranchan herself shivered upon seeing the giant image for herself, "it's ... a slightly disturbing concept. But ... I don't have hair like that, or a dress like that. and I don't have a kani dog mod like that. Yet ... the overall look is similar."

Presumably, the build was soon taken down, and still no word on who erected this prank.

Ranchan Weidman owns the land the Second Life Newser's office building is on.

Image credit: RuaWhitepaw (Resident)

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Events this Week in Second Life from Feb 21st to Feb 27th

It's a week full of events in Second Life. Valentine's Day is gone, but it's time for Mardi Gras. For some, it's a last chance for some enjoyable things. For others, just a good party. And one can find Mardi Gras parties on the Grid, such as at New Toulouse.

Read more in Events this Week.

Story Reading at the World's End Inn

On Sunday, I went with a friend to the "Worlds' End Inn," at Suilven (64, 242, 102), at the Isle of Wyrms.

Being a dragon area, many of those showing up were in dragon avatars, albeit small ones. I think hatchlings or "hatchies" is what they're called around here. Some of the place never seemed to rez. I was using my Singularity Viewer due to Phoenix being unstable again, so maybe much of the place was mesh.

The dragons, and dragon fans, read various stories, including one about the orgins of one's RP character, and even a song in voice from one lady, "Dragons can Talk."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Syzygy Communuty Expands and Celebrates

Grey Lupindo's home sim of Syzygy has been going through eventful times. First came new areas following an asteroid impact. Then on Sunday the 19th was the Winter Festival. Although the festival is over, the displays and vehicles will remain up for a little while longer.

Read more in Places.

Linden Lab Acquires Game Studio LittleTextPeople

On February 16th, Linden Lab announced they had bought the game studio LittleTextPeople, a maker of interactive fiction adventure games. The press statement informed, "Linden Lab will grow its digital entertainment offering by launching several new stand-alone products this year. Now part of Linden Lab, the talent and technology of LittleTextPeople will support the development of these new forms of interactive entertainment"

“It’s an exciting time to join Linden Lab as they prepare to roll out entirely new types of social experiences and products,” said Emily Short, Chief Textual Officer of LittleTextPeople. “We look forward to building tools and technology that will allow people to create their own stories in interactive mediums that have never existed before.”

“LittleTextPeople brings a depth and breadth of AI and interactive story development expertise that is a great fit for Linden Lab as we launch multiple new products,” said Rod Humble, CEO of Linden Lab. “The result of this investment will be a new type of digital entertainment that modernizes the novel as a shared story-telling experience.”

LittleTextpeople was c0-founded by Emily Short and artificial intelligence specialist Richard Evans. Evans was on the team of the Sims 3 game, and worked on the game Black and White, "LittleTextPeople explores the gameplay possibilities of nuanced social interaction. The company’s core technology is a simulator able to model social practices and individual personalities. Combine the simulations with the expressive freedom of fiction and the result is gameplay that more closely resembles the rich emotional dialogue of a novel, rather than a fight scene in an action movie."

Blogger Tateru Nino, a fan of Emily Short, commented, "this is actually where I start bouncing up and down and going “squeeeeeeeeee!”" stated, "Humble’s smart move to diversify the company shows his understanding that the world is not the same as when Second Life launched almost a decade ago. ... the mobile and social game ecospheres have evolved, which while less flexible than the Second Life sandbox are drawing the attention of legions of gamers." Hamlet Au thought this acquisition was what Rod Humble meant in December when he talked about Linden Lab branching out into new products, "What this means in terms of actual products to come from the marriage of Linden and LittleText is still unclear (and insiders were mum when I asked them last year), but given the background of Evans and Short, I think we are bound to see some very innovative products soon." Of Richard Evans and the Game "Black and White," Hamlet wrote about them after the game came out.

So just how soon will Linden Lab come up with these new products? Time will tell.

Sources: Linden Lab,, New World Notes

Bixyl Shuftan

Valentine's Day Gift

Thank you the readers for the Valentine's Day gifts you sent over. Among them was this little artistic goodie from Crap Mariner.

Guess he counts as a lover of space travel. ;-)

Bixyl Shuftan

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cartoon of the Day

By Bixyl Shuftan

Looking Back: SLN Auxillary Office near the Lava Pit

While looking for pictures of the ISM, I came across this picture of an auxillary office of Second Life Newspaper. Longtime readers will recall before Second Life Newser, there was JamesT Juno's Second Life Newspaper, or SLN as it was called sometimes. One of James' favorite locations early in it's history was the Lava Pit Club, which happened to be next to the building James made SLN's first office. It would move soon afterward. Flash-forward a few years, and the Lava pit was getting a makeover. So this auxillary office was set up next door. We never held a meeting there, so it's main practical purpose was advertising. But James always had a soft spot for that club. Guess one never forgets his old hangouts.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Book Island Update

There's been a few goings on at Book Island. For one, there's an art show going on.

"Micca Hedrick's iPad Art is still being displayed in the Pirate's Cove. This is its first week of being hung, and it will be there for a few weeks to come, hopefully. It is quite the display! It’s reckoned that forty to fifty people saw the show while the artist was attending the opening. Many more came afterward."

The exhibit is at Book Island, (217, 249, 21)

Five of the shop spaces were currently available earlier this week. To ask for one, contact Selina Greene.

There's also some transportation available arond the place, the Tourways (renamed from Segway), and a few bikes. The Tourway pictured here at the Pulitzer Plaza takes one to the Writers' Wave Venue. The bikes are slower, but take you most anywhere on the ground.

And of course, the weekly schedule of events, with something happening most every day. Either join the Book Island group to get weekly updates or check the Newser's "Events this Week" section.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Battlebeast Breedables

Xymbers Slade recently came across a new kind of breedable pet on the Grid, the Battlebeasts. Like their name suggests, these are pets with the ability to engage in matches. They're also rideable, allowing the owner to take them into the air. So how well do these pets live up to their claims? Xymbers found a few details that surprised him.

Read more in Design.

Spaceport Alpha/International Space Museum Sim Goes Offline, But Will Return

Some sad news hit Second Life recently when Spaceport Alpha, the home of the International Space Museum, went offline. On the Grid since 2006, the place was a favorite of space fans. However, thanks to some help, the sim may not be gone for long.

Read more in Extra.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Game On" at Linden Realms

Gemma Cleanslate recently took a look at the new Linden gaming area, "Linden Realms." There, she found not only an exciting game with dangers seemingly at every turn. She also found a way for newcomers to earn a few Lindens.

Read more in Places.

Spaceport Alpha/ISM Sim Closes

Some sad news for space fans. According to Daniel Voyager, the Spaceport Alpha sim, the location of the noted International Space Museum has vanished from the Grid.

Details are still coming in, so stay tuned for more.

Moulin Rouge Party at Steelhead

Last Friday February 10th at 7PM, the Steelhead region held a "Moulin Rouge" event. The dance took place in the Steelhead Shanghai sim. The building it was held in had a basic Asian design, like others in the sim. There were a couple neon designs had been set up near the entrance, but they weren't of dancing girls. They looked more like dragons.

Inside, Fuzzball Ortega, normally acting, as Sheriff, was spinning the tunes as the DJ. I happened to go in just as the signature song from the Moulin Rouge movie was playing, "Can! Can! Can! Can!" About a couple dozen residents were dancing away, as normal for Steelhead parties mostly in period costumes. Most of the dresses were a bit long to do a "can-can" pose in, which might have mildly disappointed a guy or two coming in. But no one was certainly acting disappointed, as the dancers, male and female, cheered the DJ and danced away.

One Mesh dress did appear like a purple box to incompatible viewers, which might have caused a few chuckles. Another lady, looking artificial, had strings attached to her coming down from up somewhere. And for online comic fans, Baron Klaus Wulfenbach was also there.

There was also a huge stuffed pachyderm nearby, but no one paid attention to the elephant in the room.

A number of things were talked about on the dance floor. This included the upcoming Relay for Life season, of which Fuzzball Ortega is the captain of Steelhead's team, the Steelhead Salmons. Later on, I heard Fuzzball would be heading a pre-season RFL meeting sometime in the near future, possibly next week on Sunday.

The Steelheads will be having another event this Friday. Drop in to see what this bunch of mad scientists are up to (someone has to keep an eye on them).

Bixyl Shuftan