Monday, January 31, 2011

Firestorm Preview Interface Customization Tutorial

"A Tutorial video on how to customize the Firestorm Viewer as of January 26th. The viewer will however continue to change as we progress further into development." By Jessica Lyon

Ready or Not Here Come The Teens

Last year, Philip Linden announced that Second Life’s Teen Grid would be merging with the main, bringing in a number of young residents. The news brought a number of shocked responses, some predicting trouble. As this was about the same time as the Emerald controversy, it might have otherwise gotten more talk than it did had there not been other pressing matters.

A bit more than a week ago, Linden Lab quietly announced it was finally transferring the teen accounts over. The news made a few blogs, such as Tateru Nino’s “Dwell on It.” I also observed a short chat about it between SL players on Facebook, the people wanting to welcome the teens. The Betaverse blog suggested making February “Teen Welcome Month.” I was also told by a friend that someone whom lost land from the Interlibber Estate bankruptcy in 2009 was going to provide a sim to help welcome the teens, after they were now out of a place to stay and in need of a new one.

Betaverse mentioned three ten-friendly places:

  • Ozma Malibu over at the Nonprofit Commons reports that they want to help mentor any teens that need help, create a "teen hangout" space on their Eco sim, and provide "informational welcoming posters and a variety of activities coming up, e.g. art with an art professor, various building workshops for the newer teens, more dances & etc. We'll also encourage teens to start their own nonprofits, and can mentor them through that process." Nice!
  • Isla Sonoita is offering a "Teen in Residence" program to creative teens with a space for six months to work on creative projects on their sim. You also get L$ 2,000 to start you off.
  • The Chilbo Community has published a really nice opinion piece about the Teen Grid merger and informs teens about their various spots, including the Town Hall, coffee shop, bowling alley, museum and land for sale.
  • Further down the road, the Virtual Best Practices in Education organizers report that they March 17-19 event will feature a special Teen Fair to involve teens in their conference

Not every resident is expressing such optimism about the teens. The forums are full of comments questioning Linden Labs’ judgment about allowing 16 and 17 year olds on the main Grid, let alone those younger being allowed in if they’re with a sponsor. Chatting with friends, some predicted the arrival of teens would bring a plague of content thieves and griefers, driving paying residents from Second Life. And of course were the old fears of lawsuits on Linden lab and arrests of residents by parents who catch their kids peeping in on private activities. “I asked the Lindens about merging the grid months ago, and they told me there would be no merger!” one frustrated resident told me of Linden Labs’ apparently changing their mind.

Tateru Nino brought up a few details that may help reassure some a little. Of the teens younger than 16 whom could get on the sim of a sponsor, her talk with someone from the lab suggested no sponsor had been approved yet, and the sponsorship system itself might have been postponed. She also reminded that the teens were far less than the adult population. Teen Second Life has always had a small population, adolescents tending to prefer Facebook, MORPGs, and virtual worlds that appeal to them, such as Gaia Online.

And there’s the argument that there always have been some teens in Second Life, the secret adolescents not giving true information about their age. I’ve heard from friends of residents they know confessing they were underage. Linden Lab’s Teen Grid merger simply takes the blinders off people fooling themselves there were no people under 18 in Second Life, more than one person has commented.

So what do the teens themselves think? A meeting a month ago at Global Kids Island suggested most were feeling rather anxious about the merger, feeling their close community was coming to an end. Some felt the 13-15 year olds were getting “shut out completely.” The news of the angry comments from the official forums had reached them, and some felt pessimistic about the welcome they would get if it was know they were teens. Still, a few expressed excitement of the merger, and they chance they would get to show off their talents.

For anyone not wanting teens on his/her land, there's always the option of setting their land to “Mature” or “Adult” to keep accounts of those under 18 off.

So ready or not, the grids have merged, and for better or worse the Main now has these youngsters, at least on the PG grids.

Sources: Dwell on It, SL Blog, Betaverse
Picture from Betaverse

Bixyl Shuftan

Sunday, January 30, 2011

2011 NeoVictoria Machinima Movie Contest Announced

27 January 2011 :: NeoVictoria SIM :: From the 27th of January to the 27th of March 2011, HOUSE OF ASILS, a virtual production company, is organizing a machinima competition to celebrate the NeoVictoria estate in Second Life®. The competition is opened to anyone aged 18 years or more.

The three machinimas to win the contest will receive award money in Linden dollars™. Contest purse begins at $50,000 Linden™ dollars. There is a $1,500 Linden dollars™ entry fee. All entry fees will be added to the Contest purse, so the more people enter, the bigger the prizes. Only one entry per Second Life® avatar will be accepted.

The full terms and conditions for the 2011 NeoVictoria Machinima Movie Contest are published at this webpage:

For additional information on the 2011 NeoVictoria Machinima Movie Contest, contact Asil Ares, read the website at or visit the contest location in-world at

Second Life® and Linden™ dollars are trademarks of Linden Research, Inc. HOUSE OF ASILS and the 2011 NeoVictoria Machinima Movie Contest are not affiliated with or sponsored by Linden Research.

ABOUT HOUSE OF ASILS - A virtual production company creating machinima from dark roleplay, our current focus is NeoVictoria, the steampunk-styled simulation created specifically to support these two forms. House of Asils - Cinematic dreams from virtual worlds.

Sunday Cartoon

Bixyl Shuftan

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Australia Day 48 Hour Benefit Raises Over 300,000L for Flood Relief

In recent weeks, Australia has been hit by record flooding. Thousands were forced to evacuate from towns and cities, three quarters of the state of Queensland declared a disaster area. A wikipedia entry stated the death toll was 35 dead with nine missing. Damage by the floods is at least one billion Australian dollars, estimates as to how high going as far as thirty billion.

Wednesday January 26 was Australia Day, when Australians celebrate the founding of their country. In Second Life, B&B’s in the Utopia and EnGedi sim decided to hold a two day live music event starting that day to raise funds to help those affected by the flooding. Four dozen musicians were participating, such as OhMy Kidd, Gina Gracemount, and the folk band SOAR.

Get set for the Australia Day Concert: 48 hours of fantastic LIVE entertainment from 12:01am on the 26th right through to 11:59pm on the 27th. There is an awesome line-up featuring some incredibly talented performers! You won't want to miss this.

When I dropped in on Thursday the 27th, I was greeted by over a dozen people dancing and listening to the music, led by B&B’s co-owner Bundy Xue.

♯♬♥♪♥♩♥♬♥ Welcome to ♬♥♪♥♩♥♬♥♯
♯♬♥♪♥♩♥♬♥ B&B's ♬♥♪♥♩♥♬♥♯
♯♬♥♪♥♩♥♬♥ FLOOD RELIEF ♬♥♪♥♩♥♬♥♯
♯♬♥♪♥♩♥♬♥ BENEFIT 2011 ♬♥♪♥♩♥♬♥♯

Bundy continuously greeted visitors with a cheerful hello, and kept encouraging people to give to the fund. The goal was to raise 315,000 Lindens, which equals 1250 US Dollars.
Among the people there was noted SL blogger Nazz Lane. Cellandra Zon was also there.

“Bundy is such a sweetheart,” one person instant-messaged me, “She has worked soo hard for this benefit. She lined up all the musicians. She made sure everything was organized. And she has been here to work it too, and greet the people. AND she was here for almost all of the 24 hours! I think she took two 3 hour breaks, and that's IT.”

The event total was 293,000 Lindens when I arrived. Finally at 7:30 PM SL time. Cellandra Zon announced the total had passed 300,000, “THANK you, Grateful! THANK you Rayzer!” As the night went on, the total continued to rise. at 8:50 PM, it was announced that the goal of 315,000 Linden dollars raised had been met, “WONDERFUL WE HAVE CRACKED 1250 US$ Thank you all! (smile)” Dropping by the next day, the total on the board read 363,500 L.

The fundraising in Second Life has not gone entirely unnoticed by media outside the Grid. An Australian news site made a mention of the event:

The event was part of a larger fundraiser, which someone mentioned had so far raised a total of over 7000 US dollars. People wishing to contribute more can visit The Extend a Helping Hand Market, which according to a notecard passed at the event will be around until February 8th, "Money raised will be donated to the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal to assist those affected by the Queensland floods. ... You can join the Extend a Helping Hand Subscription Group to keep updated for the duration of the event, and to receive notifications when vendors release new donation items."

"Extend a Helping Hand is an event put together by Sanura Sakai to raise funds for the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal. The aim is to provide support and assistance to those Queenslanders affected by the recent massive flooding. She started organizing the event when it hit her home-town, and on the very first day of the market itself, it swept through her own city. 75% of Queensland, at the time of writing this, has been declared a disaster zone. Many have lost their homes, and some have even lost their lives.

"To read more about the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal, to which all funds raised by this event will go, please visit You can also donate directly, if you so desire, through the information provided on that site. To provide complete transparency to this process, transaction history for all donations will be provided at the close of the event at Kat Johnston is the real life name of Sanura Sakai, who will be running the event."

Another example of Second Life used to help people in real life.

(edit) The location to the Helping Hand Mall is Aiden (27, 64, 1025)

Bixyl Shuftan

Pathfinder Lester ex Linden Interview on Tonight Live Feb 23rd 2011

"This is an excerpt from Tonight Live With Paisley Beebe 23rd Feb Show 2011. Pathfinder Lester was Laid Off from Linden Lab owners of Second Life in March 2010. He Joined Reaction Grid an Open Sim Virtual World in October 2010. In this interview he discusses his time at Linden Lab, the Education Discount discontinuation, the new CEO of Linden Lab Rod Humble, the direction Linden Lab need to go now, and interoperability between Virtual Worlds. Watch the entire Show at"

Friday, January 28, 2011

“Virtual Tonight with Sam Nightfire” First Episode Online

Virtual Tonight's First Episode finally went online a few days ago. Sam Nightfire interviewed a number of guests, notably Jessica Lyon of the Phoenix Viewer team whom had a few things to say concerning her group's past and present. For those wanting to read more, Click Here.

Syzygy's Last Winter Party

Grijandomore Greene, “Gri” to his friends and neighbors, hosted the last winter party of the Syzygy community last Saturday afternoon. The snow has already stopped falling, and the ice will soon melt. The residents wanted to enjoy the ice one more time before the spring thaw. So Gri constructed a wonderful crystal party house on the ice near his property at Syzygy Corvus (74, 131, 21).

The party was a great event. Elric Anatine, Erin Fensen, Samantha Glume, Kulta Hannu, Celtic Infinity, BW Jinxing, Ashe Bellic, Bixyl Shuftan, and Grey Lupindo attended. For over 2 hours the partiers danced and chatted to the music of Abney Park, White Apple Tree, De/Vision, Scissor Sisters, Ladyhawke, Kaiser Chiefs, Shiny Toy Guns, Goldfrapp, the Beatles, Broken Bones, the Greek duo Marsheaux, BT, and others.

Samantha Glume pointed out that the Syzygy community is now two years old. Ms. Glume herself had recently turned four, Elric Anatine will be turning four soon, and BW Jinxing will be five later this year. These milestones were celebrated, which led to a lively discussion of “ancients” and youngsters in SL.

Syzygy has enjoyed a great winter season. Two special highlights were the appearance of an Aurora Borealis in the northern sky and recognition in SL’s Showcase for its winter skating, decorations, and whimsy. Many SL residents visited the community as a result of the publicity, and one couple chose it as the location for their wedding. The Aurora will be fading soon, but there are rumors that it may reappear at random times during the summer months. If you want to visit Syzygy in winter, you have to hurry. The thaw will begin the first week of February.

Grey Lupindo

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Look at the 2011 Sci-Fi Faire

This Sunday Jan 23rd, around Nooon SL time, the 2011 Sci-Fi Faire in Second Life began. Taking place in the Overtambo sim, it described itself in its press release as “a combination artist's alley and recruitment center displaying imagery and providing information about various science fiction groups.” The event also is raising funds for the American Cancer Society.

Some of the exhibits at the Faire were familiar, such as the Star Trek Museum’s Klingon House with a roasting targ inside, and Dr. Who. There were a number of less familiar ones as well. Among which was one of “The Awakening,” a science-fiction show which Doc Grun (in costume) told SL Newser would be on, “14 episodes slated so far ... It will be the first of its kind episodic drama filmed in a virtual world. ... all of our avs and props are original builds, and sets are being built as we speak on 3 different sims.” The show had a team of about 50, scattered “in a dozen different timezones.” Doc's friend Cyndi Laville told me that Doc was another journalist covering goings on in Second Life.

The Faire did look a little simpler than a couple previous science-fiction conventions in Second Life. SL Newser ran into Ntanel Swordthain, the man mentioned in the press release as the one to contact for questions, who explained why. “No issues thus far,” he told of how the Faire was going, “Since it goes on all week, people will have plenty of time to gather info on these groups and check out the micro-booths. All of these groups did great with the limited resources.” He explained they were testing a new model for conventions, seeing “if shoeboxing/limiting resources brings about better results,” planning to use it for a larger convention if it’s seen to work, “We cannot remove lag all together, but we can try out best to reduce it. As of right now, the lag here is from individual avatars and not the booths, so we have done rather well with the limitations.”

The Faire will continue to Saturday January 29. For a LM, Click Here.

Bixyl Shuftan

Australia Day Fundraiser

Australia Day will be one to remember, as B&B’s sets the stage for back-to-back live music every hour of the day from 12:00am on the 26th of January right through to 11:59pm on the 27th. That’s 48 hours of incredible LIVE music!

Here's your landmark: B&B's, Utopia and EnGedi (195, 164, 21)

And here’s the current line-up:

Wednesday 26th January

12AM - Prowess Rayna
1AM - Leeon Fang
2AM - Marky Helstein
3AM - OhMy Kidd
5AM - TerryLynn Melody
6AM - Mar Biddle
7AM - Clairede Dirval
8AM - Quinton Whitman
9AM - Russell Eponym
10AM - Gina Gracemount
11AM - Tommie Scorpio
12PM - Tim Anadyr
1PM - Cailidgh Spires
2PM - Sid Slade
3PM - Richie Woodland
4pm - Zed Essex
5pm - Surreel Skizm
6pm - Bowie Bravin
7pm - FacelessApe Mefusula
8pm - JavaJoe MacIntyre
9pm - JoeSatriani Feden
10pm - Senjata Witt
11pm - Spike Luckstone

Thursday 27th Januray.

12am - RoseDrop Rusty
1am - TBA
2am - Floorboard Stradling
3am - Tpenta Vanlten
4am - TBA
5am - TBA
6am - TBA
7am - boney Mosely
8am - Hazideon Zarco
9am - MommaLuv Skytower
10am - Orangelife Holmer
11am - Sioux Nikolaidis
12pm - Ytzejam
1pm - REALLYMAD Morpork
2pm - LaidBack Celt
3pm - Geos Copperfield
4pm - Caoilte Skytower
5pm - KevinMThomas Carpool
6pm - Kitzie Lane
7pm - Gregg Huet
8pm - Charndon Kass
9pm - Breamer Lowtide
10pm - Artel Brando
11pm - Pippa Exonar

Later Today

Later today, Second Life Newser will take a look at the 2011 Sci-Fi Faire in the Overtambo sim.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cartoon of the Day

By Bixyl Shuftan

Using the Loo - A Fisherman's Tribute to the Greenies

The inventiveness of the fisher folk of SL never ceases to amaze me. Seven Seas fishing is great fun and the contests even more fun as the banter goes on among the fishers. I attended a fishing contest in Fish Soup Sim at Boldee Gardens. It was my first time there.

I found my self fishing in the private toilet bowl in the private loo! There were fish in the toilet and the sink. Some fishers took a chance and went swimming in the toilet. I heard some flushes while I was there too. The toilet paper roll is where we could keep track of the leading fishers. In a fishing contest you if you win you get some money and you also get a trophy if you are a leader . Of course, here the trophy is a miniature toilet!

The loser has to stay behind and clean up, but gets a crappy last place trophy: a plunger with poo!

Everyone had a crappy time!

Bold Baddingham and Deesue Parks created this fantastic place at the time the Greenies left SL to commemorate their loss. They are getting ready to move soon to a new sim and I will be waiting to see their new creation!

Gemma Cleanslate

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Future Medicine in Second Life

Despite Linden Labs dropping it's discount for education-themed sims, some universities continue to keep a presence in Second Life. Reporter Any1 Gynoid checks out the UNCP campus, where college students use the Grid to telecommute to class on courses in nursing.

Check out the story in Extra.

Events this Week in Second Life from Jan 25 to Jan 31

It's the last week of Janurary, and this week has it's share of events. Going on is the 2011 Sci-Fi Faire. Also, January 26 is Australia Day. And of course, there are a number of DJ and live music events, plus literature readings.

Read the article in Events.

Monday, January 24, 2011

SL Groups Raised to 42, But Your Viewer May Not Show It

A bit more than a week ago, FJ Linden announced in the official blog that the group limit of 25 per account, long the source of complaints by residents, was finally raised to 42. There’s just one slight hitch ...

Linden Labs says you need to be using Viewer 2 to join more groups.

To add groups beyond the previous limit of 25, you must be using Viewer 2.4 (or a more recent version). And if you’re still using Viewer 1.23, or a third-party viewer based on Viewer 1.23 code, then you can add more groups in Viewer 2.4 and they will still be accessible when you switch back to Viewer 1.23.

Viewer 2 has always gotten mixed reviews from Second Life residents. With improvements, some people adopted it. But even after a year, the majority of residents still use other viewers most of the time. This includes yours truly whom relies on Snowglobe. The last few times I tried Viewer 2.0, the result was a cloud instead of an avatar, and finally the latest version would not work at all on my computer. And from what I’ve been hearing, some people trying to use it crash frequently.

So does this mean we have to use a buggy viewer to join more groups?

Not necessarily.

When I stumbled across a “click to join group” poster recently, I decided to give it a try, and went ahead and clicked to add myself. And it worked! So apparently, other viewers also get the new group limit, even though they still say you have a maximum of 25 groups.

Hamlet Au also did an article on the subject, and his readers commented on various viewers. It seems Viewer 1.23 and all third-party viewers based on it can also be used to join more groups. It’s just when *starting* a new group that you’ll need Viewer 2.

In the official blog, there were numerous replies of thanks for the group limit raised. There were some who did bring up the issue of Viewer 2.

On another note, the blog post mentioned improvements for teleporting and sim crossings, saying on average they’ve dropped 40%. Yours truly hasn’t noticed much of a difference.

For the Linden Blog post and comments, Click Here.

Bixyl Shuftan

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Second Life Youtube: Singer Debi Latte

Second Life singer Debi Latte at a recent performance in Cascadia Music Park, footage by Robert69 Little.

Next Sunday January 30th, Debi appears at the Queen of Hearts club at the Mystery sim.

Sunday Cartoon

By Bixyl Shuftan

Saturday, January 22, 2011

CEO Rod Humble/Rodvik Linden “Getting Immersed in Second Life”

Some of you may remember when Paisley Bebee observed many Lindens didn’t seem to have much of a clue how to go about Second Life, not knowing how to change their avatar’s clothes or shop for them, let alone build something. Taking a look at the recent blog post by CEO Rod Humble, or Rodvik Linden as he’s known in-avatar, he is determined not to be part of that problem.

One of my highest priorities, over the last few weeks, was spending as much time as possible exploring inworld (with an alt and now Rodvik Linden) to better understand the product experience, your needs, and the culture of Second Life. I have discovered so much. I am amazed on a daily basis by what you have created. Over the holidays, I enjoyed many winter landscapes and seasonal activities. And, more recently, I have been playing around with vehicles and animals.

He’s also been doing a little landscaping, and building, the blog pictures showing a simple log cabin, and a river raft, “Getting immersed in Second Life is the fun part of the job and I can see why you love the world that you’ve created.”

Considering that Linden Labs has so often appeared without a clue, especially in the past several months, it’s refreshing to see the new boss not just cheering the new product, but being shown using it and getting to know it's users, whom he recognized as "customers." Hopefully this is an example of times to come, not just with Rodvik, but other Lindens.

Another thing I noticed, his choice of clothes. He was wearing a toga. Perhaps he had been visiting a Roman-themed sim, such as SPQR. Or maybe as Hamlet Au wondered, dropping in on a fraternity party. ;-)

Welcome to the Grid, Rodvik. We hope you keep on coming back.

To see Rodvik's post, and the comments below, Click Here.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friends in Second Life and Azeroth

The Sunweaver Group, the group for both residents of the Sunweaver Estates and friends of, has it's own guild in World of Warcraft. This Alliance guild was started some time ago, but with the recent expansion has been seeing more activity, and more players joining (along with new alt characters created).

It's obvious who the Worgen hunter on the right is. The Draeani mage to the left is one of my good friends in Second Life. My pet fox I named after one of the pranksters in the neighborhood. ;-) Here, we take a moment between quests, and resource gathering, to enjoy the scenery.

On the Grid, and in Azeroth, having a little time with friends.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cape Able Gallery

Gemma Cleanslate checks out Cape Able Gallery on Virtual Ability Island. She finds a selection of moving pictures, in a place aimed at promoting the efforts to aid the disabled.

Read the story in Places.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hearts and Flowers!!!

Can you believe it! We just finished clearing out all our Christmas and New Year d├ęcor and it is time to plan for Valentines Day! I took a tour of the Geo Dome at Corner of Relaxation and you need go no further. Three floors of gorgeous pieces to put at your home or place of business. Best of all it is free for the taking.

Sweetsister Silverstar has put so many sweet items for you. There are trees and signs and cards. A sweet gazebo for sitting and hearts galore! You have to go to see it all! Take a TP up to Sweetsister’s and you will find some more goodies at a very low price. You can get to Saucy Loire’s place on a tp also. Just don’t miss it!

Relaxation (87, 170, 41)

Gemma Cleanslate

“Virtual Tonight with Sam Nightfire” Launches

On Sunday January 16 at 8PM Second Life time, Sam Nightfire hosted the first episode of the “Virtual Tonight” talk show. The show was taped in front of a live audience in a skystudio high over the Virtual World Network sim. About 55 were in the sim.

For this first show there were several guests. First was Ray Hoffman, a builder and architect who owns the Envision Design and Envision Design & Architectural University, as well as the one who build the studio for Virtual Tonight. Also were Vista Coba and Nesto Quatro, the owners of the Virtual Realty Football League. The League had several teams, and to answer Sam’s question, yes they are still hiring cheerleaders. The musical guests were Automotive Quandry and the Automatic Band. The band had volunteered to do the theme song for the show.

The most noted guest was Jessica Lyon, the head of the Phoenix Viewer development team. It didn’t take long for the Emeraldgate issue to come up, and Jessica told Sam and the audience that her staff had learned a number of lessons from the scandal, and had set protocols in place to make sure nothing like that would ever happen with Phoenix. Unlike Emerald, Phoenix was devoted to transparency, she stated, so all changes to the viewer code would be published on the website as they happened.

Further tapings will be every Sunday evening at 8PM SL time at Virtual World Network (49, 58, 1010). The show “will have an array of topics ranging from current events and cultural trends to politics, comedy and more, all while bringing viewers closer to their favorite celebrities and notable public figures with revealing, compelling interviews.” It is owned by Virtual World Network, and produced by Ishelwood Studio. The shows will later be up for viewing on the Virtual World Network website, “sometime in January.”

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cartoon of the Day

Indiana Jones in "Raiders of the Lost Grid"

by Bixyl Shuftan

Tron Legacy Adventure

Although it did mediocre at the box office, the 1980's movie Tron became a cult classic among computer nuts. Even some Second Life terms like "grid" and "rez" come from the movie. Recently, it's sequel "Tron Legacy" has finally hit the theaters. And inevitably someone was inspired to bring the action to Second Life. Grey Lupindo reports from the Vixens Isle sim, where people can race lightcycles and engage in games from the movie.

Read the article in Places.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Events this Week in Second Life from Jan 18 to Jan 25

For those who wonder, "What's to do today?" it's a week full of events in Second Life, from talk shows, to club parties. And here's a list with happenings every day.

To check out the article, go to Events.

Steampunk Writing Competition

Sharpen your pencils! Steampunk Adventures is hosting a SL writing competition for short stories and poetry. The goal is to take any Grimm Brother’s Fairy Tale and give it a Steampunk edge, theme, or twist. The winning entries will be posted at The web site has information about some SL steampunk sims. Complete rules can be found there as well.
The competition organizers said, "Don’t be afraid to come up with something new, different and provocative. You can rewrite the story from a new perspective, provide a new ending or even just take some of the themes of the classic tale and rework them into a new one." Grimm Brother's Fairy Tales can be found at
The only guidelines are that the entry must integrate the essential elements of Steampunk and meet the word count criteria. Short stories can be up to 8000 words, and poetry can be up to 40 lines. In addition to being published on the blog, the orgnizers are planning an ebook anthology of Steampunk Adventures best stories, nonfiction, and poetry.

The competition deadline is March 1, 2011. Submissions should be emailed to

Monday, January 17, 2011

PookyMedia: Time Travelers Episode 2 - The Future Will See You Now

This Machinima from PookyMedia is a continuation from Part 1. "The Time Travelers find themselves in a future where they see their part, the pattern and the plan in it. Join them for Episode 2 of this fantastic new animation series."

Blue Mars “Restructuring” from PC Viewer to iPhone/iPad App, Company to Shrink

In a post on their community blog, Avatar Reality, the company behind the Blue Mars virtual world, announced that the company would be “restructuring in order to concentrate on bringing Blue Mars to portable touch screen devices like the iPhone and iPad.” Blue Mars Mobile will concentrate on “avatar style and rankings” with plans for Facebook connection, and a clothing store “in the next few months.”

As for their PC viewer, the company stated bug fixes aside, there were no plans for further updates.

With our focus now clearly on mobile, updates to the PC version of the software will likely be restricted to bug fixes for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, we will no longer charge our current City Developers for the monthly city hosting service. The servers will remain online, city updates and uploads will continue, and shop and residence rentals will still function but technical support for the user client will no longer be offered.

As with Linden Lab’s “Restructuring,” Avatar Reality stated that their staff would soon be getting smaller. CEO Jim Sink announced he was among those leaving.

Blue Mars is a fairly new virtual world, appearing in “open beta” in September 2009. Compared to Linden Labs’ grid, Avatar Reality designed the place with more restrictions on content creation. Unlike some virtual worlds, there was no viewer for Macintosh computers. When it was new, it was seen as being a potential serious competitor for Second Life, showing pictures of cities with crisp graphics. It got the attention of some residents of the Metaverse, including the people of Caledonia whom set up a place there. Hamlet Au, the editor of New World Notes, was part of Avatar Reality for a time, and regularly did articles of goings-on in Blue Mars in both his main online newspaper and the Blue Mars official blog (called Blue World Notes for a time).

Of Avatar Reality’s latest move, Hamlet Au responded only that he was “very interested to see how Blue Mars Mobile develops.” Most other comments observed were more pessimistic in tone. Aeonix Aeon concluded the virtual world was virtually broke, and was gambling what was left of its capital on mobile app software that he felt was a doomed venture, “Most PCs short of monster gaming rigs have a hard time using the Crytek Engine, and to assume that a mobile platform would be more capable than a high powered personal computer (whether an Apple or PC) is simply ridiculous. ... I’m not aware of a mobile provider that can or will support 1 GB of data transfer per hour on a data plan, and of those who may allow such a thing, the ‘unlimited’ plan would surely be brought to its knees fairly quickly, causing massive overage charges to the user in question.”

Tateru Nino was about as blunt. It had failed to lived up to the hype to begin with, she commented, with much worse lag and a confusing interface. And now, it was being reduced to “sort of like Google Lively on an iPhone” (A gigabyte an hour she thought would quickly be cut off by the mobile's service providers) that would be bleeding money. Gwyneth Llewelyn felt the hype over Apple’s products would keep investors “happy for a few years,” but still questioned about the idea of “a dumbed-down version of Blue Mars running on an iPhone” making more money than it’s PC business model.

The general consensus is that Blue Mars will soon go the way of, much to the sadness of both it’s residents and fans of virtual worlds in general. At it’s beginning, it was a sign of new possibilities. It’s retreat from the realm of PCs is seen by some as a sign of trouble for the future of virtual worlds where the content is made by residents instead of the owners.

Sources: New World Notes, Blue Mars Blog, Andromeda Media Group, Gwyneth Llewelyn, Tateru Nino, The Metaverse Journal

(Picture by Aeonix Aeon)

Bixyl Shuftan

For the Cartoon Fans

For those reading our list of Second Life cartoons who reach the bottom in June and want more, we now have a link to those cartoons published by Second Life Newspaper. For those whom would rather not read down the whole list to get there, click Here.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Cartoon

By Bixyl Shuftan

Invitation to Taping For "Virtual Tonight with Sam Nightfire" New Talk Show in Second Life

You are invited to be in the audience of 'Virtual Tonight with Sam Nightfire', which is a late night entertainment talk show taped 'live, in front of a studio audience' every other Sunday beginning Jan 16, 2011 at 8pm - May 1, 2011 (1st Season) in Due to on-going construction, the sim will not be open to the public until one hour before the show.

Our first show debuts with a live audience on Jan 16, 8pm SLT. The slurl is . There will be a teleporting board at the landing point. You want to go to Studio 1500, the Virtual Tonight set. Please walk upstairs to the building. Virtual Tonight is debuting online (after post production) at

Owned by Virtual World Network, Produced by Ishelwood Studio Virtual Tonight with Sam Nightfire, is an entertainment, variety talk show that uses the Secondlife platform for its productions. It is aimed at U.S. Demographics and streamed world-wide on the internet 24/7.

Virtual Tonight with Sam Nightfire will have an array of topics ranging from current events and cultural trends to politics, comedy and more, all while bringing viewers closer to their favorite celebrities and notable public figures with revealing, compelling interviews. For guest appearance, please contact Sam at or email Subject: Virtual Tonight Guest.

Our guest for the evening of Jan 16, 2011 are:

Ray Hoffman, Master Builder, Architect, Professor and Mentor who owns the Envision Design & Architectural University

Jessica Lyon, the spokesperson for the Phoenix and soon to be released Firestorm 3rd party 3d Viewers.

Vista Coba / Nesto Quatro, VRFL owners and developers of the Virtual Realty Football League HUD of SL. Their mission is to become second life’s premier league for American football.

Musical Guest: Automatic Band, that hails from California has been rockin' the local club scene since 2008. Their unique blend of indie, classic, and avant garde rock gives them a wide appeal.

Comedy, entertainment as well as important info will be our focus for our shows.

Hope to see you there,

Sam Nightfire (should be up by Monday Jan 17, 2011)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Reader Submitted: Thank You from Ocean View Medical

Hello Grey Lupindo,

My name is Vendet Portland, and I would personally like to thank you for the news article you did on Ocean View Medical Center. I am one of the two owners of the facility, with my wife Caramel Luminos.

I first heard of you coming in the day after you had, from Dr. Inglewood (Geena Inglewood) & she said that you were very kind and considerate. Honestly, I had forgotten about your visit until today, a man by the name of Jacek Shuftan came into my clinic.

He was bringing his wife in for a cold & was very concerned for her safety. I saw him making nervous movements in the lobby, so I decided to try to talk to him, to help ease his tension. He ended up telling me how he really thought the hospital was excellent on a roleplay perspective & how he heard about our medical center from SLNewser.

I asked him for the link, because I was shocked that it went through. To be honest, I was a little skeptical about your visit, not ever hearing of SLNewser before, and having competition with other clinics, I thought as a possibility you were just trying to get ahead of the competition.

I clicked on the link and was brought to the exact article & I read it thoroughly. I really enjoyed your post, and I really appreciate the time you put into writing it for the clinic. I have bookmarked the website and will refer to it often. SLNewser has very good reporters.

Thank you Grey Lupindo,
Ocean View Medical Center
Tender Heart Sim

Friday, January 14, 2011

“The Creation Story” Christian Group in Second Life Performs “Broadway Style” Onstage

This January, a group of Christian artists are performing every weekend onstage. "The Creation Story - From the Angels' Perspective," by Unity Productions, is a unique example of performance art in Second Life. I recently had a chance to talk to Pet Karu who heads the group, and some of the others.

Read the story in People.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Xymbers Slade: Second Life Fortune Teller and Online Writer

Xymber Slade, whose Medieval-looking Dragon's Lair is near the Second Life Newser office, has an unusual occupation here: fortune telling. He offered yours truly a reading, and talked a little about both his work online, and a collection of stories he was working on.

Read the story in People.

Presentation on the Disabled at Virtual Ability Island

Representation of Disability in the Virtual World
Presenter: ZiplockedGoldfish Twig

Thursday, January 13, 2011
8:00pm SLT
The Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island

ZiplockedGoldfish is a student of Media at a major US university. This presentation is based on the findings of her research as an in-world anthropologist; in which she questioned the representation of disability in virtual worlds – through the lens of personal, social, and cultural expectations.

She seeks to define ‘virtual disability’ and to debunk the falsities regarding virtual disabilities expressed in the writings of a predominant Second Life theorist, Tom Boellstorff.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cartoon of the Day

By Bixyl Shuftan

UWA Art Challenge

Several times I have visited the University of Western Australia in SL to see works by artists who are my friends. Every month there is a building contest for entries that challenge builders to create 3D art that is creative and original, something,”that will take our breath away," in their words. The prize is a pool of 1,000,000L.

Each artist may submit 2 entries per month. The works that show up each month are really breathtaking. The winners and all the submissions are displayed for up to a month after the judging takes place. The judges come from varied groups across SL and there are many with very recognizable names as master artists in their own right.

This month the winner of first place is Cherry Manga’s IL PLEUT SUR MON COEUR COMME IL PLEUT SUR LA VILLE (It's raining in my heart, as it's raining in the town). Her second submission, FALLEN ANGEL, also took the BOSL prize. Second prize of 7500L went to Anley Piers for TRAVEL IN THE SHADOW OF TECHNOLOGY, and 3rd prize to Misprint Thursday.

All these and so many more can be seen at the UWA in SL. You can also find information on the January challenge at the entrance. Take a walk around the whole area and enjoy the beauty of the many pieces. You can see some of the former winners of 2010 by flying over to the next sim.

See the latest here at the UWA sim (69, 128, 249).

Gemma Cleanslate

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Events this Week in Second Life from Jan 11 to Jan 17

Something happens every day on the Grid in Second Life. Game shows to poetry readings, and always a party somewhere. We can't find them all, but we know of a few.

Read the list of happenings in Events.

(edited Thurs Jan 13th due to event cancelations)

Starbase 11 - Classic Star Trek Sim

For science-fiction fans who like the original Star Trek, a sim recently opened for them in mind. Starbase 11, built in the style of the groundbreaking TV series of the late 1960s, has much to offer Trekkies with a planetary surface, starbase, the USS Enterprise, and even a chance to rent a Trek-themed living area.

Read the article in Places.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sci-Fi Faire 2011

Do you like science fiction, but are not keen to the whole convention scene? Well, we have a little something for you. From Sunday, January 23 to Saturday, January 29, 2011 you can check out dozens of science fiction groups and vendors in one place on the island of Overtambo.

The Sci-Fi Faire is a combination artist's alley and recruitment center displaying imagery and providing information about various science fiction groups. There are even vendors on hand to apease your inner sci-fi fan. While the faire's booths are contained in a single area on the island, there are many groups and vendors that make Overtambo their home. Overtambo is not called Sci-Fi Island for nothing.

American Cancer Society kiosks will be on hand for donations. This event is sponsored by The Federation's Sci-Fi Alliance.

The website for the event can be found: Here.

Have a science fiction group or vendor who is interested in booth space, contact "Ntanel Swordthain" on Second Life.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Another Look at Inworldz

A few months ago, I tried getting into the virtual world of Inworldz without much success. More recently I tried again, and the results were much better.

Read the story in Extra.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Youtube: The Kansas To Cairo Project Part #3

I found this on Second Life's Facebook page. An example of students from two societies getting together through Second Life. In the course of the Youtube, the foriegn group travels to the United States. With recent inconveniences for airplane travelers, such as the full body scanners and the body searches, such get-togethers will probably be less likely to happen in the future. So in a way, virtual worlds have become more important for communication.

Podex’s Jacek Shuftan on Buying Lindens

Second Life Newser recently got in contact with the owner of the Podex Exchange, Jacek Shuftan. He had a few things on his mind. Notably among them were a few bits of advice on how to purchase Lindens safely. “Finances are not the sexiest part of Second Life,” Jacek admitted, though reminded a little knowledge in the area is helpful and convenient.

Jacek’s observation was that most residents on the Grid, “think it is not legal to sell Lindens, which is not true. And they think banks are illegal ... media (stories) make people scared (smile). So let’s start with the bank ban, that the majority of people think that banks are illegal. This is not true. What is illegal is to take deposits and offer (interest). Exchanging Lindens, ie, buying and selling, is legal. Linden Labs allows it. The catch is, it can be risky. But there are ways to minimize the risk.”

“We can describe buying Lindens and the risk with it as a pyramid,” Jacek commented, one with levels of safety, “At the top us Linden Lab, there is no risk buying from them. The next level are third-party exchanges. They are usually registered real-life companies with real-life addresses and telephone numbers, operating on the market. There is a tiny risk as they are not Linden Lab and not as large as they. However, most do not have prices as competitive as Linden Lab, as it depends on the currency rate. Their advantage is they have a larger limit on transactions, if they have limits at all, and a wider range of payment methods. Not just credit cards or Paypal, but they also take traditional money orders, in both buying and selling Lindens.”

The next and bottom level, Jacek explained, are individual avatars not connected to any company, “Let me repeat once again, it is LEGAL to buy and sell Lindens from and to normal avatars. Usually they have good prices, as they are often (content ) creators who sell their Lindens. But it is also the most risky way. If you buy fraudulent Lindens, are are at the biggest risk as they will be taken back from your account, and you can be given a fine 150 percent the amount, not to mention the possibility of a ban from Second Life, as you can be suspected of cooperation in fraud.” With third-party transactions, Jacek stated, there was no risk of fraud.

It was possible to lessen the risk from buying Lindens from individual avatars, “the best idea is to use your logic. If an avatar is one day old, and is offering to sell a hundred thousand Lindens, there’s a 99 percent chance it was stolen. So my humble advice, check how old is the avatar. It is also a good idea to ask how he earned the Linden dollars. He sells, so he should tell it. Check to see if he really has a shop or company/ If an avatar owns an island, he probably does not want to cheat you for twenty Euros.”

“To limit the risk, you can always send him half of the money, then he will send you some of the Lindens, etc. And never buy a big sum as your first transaction with an individual. Try with a thousand Lindens or less. If all is okay, buy more in a few days. Avatars dealing in fraud are usually banned in a few days. Do NOT trust avatars who sell Lindens at extremely low process, like half of Linden Lab’s rate. Why wouldn’t they sell it on the Linden Exchange? You can ask them yourself. Ask the seller to put the Lindens on eBay or any other auction portal which needs registering data. It can always be a fake account, but it needs some effort, so then you can verify him.”

“Ask your friends for recommendations. If someone bought Lindens and wasn’t cheated, you probably won’t be cheated as well. If you pay the seller by post office money transfer, ask him for full details with the address, pretending your bank needs it. You can also ask about telephone numbers, to talk with him personally. Anything that verifies the seller is good for you. If he hides something, that should make you worry. Legal sellers have nothing to hide. Check to see if the seller has a verified account in his profile, and CC connected. Thieves usually do not do it.”

A question that I had for Jacek was with non-US currencies, how does he figure out the exchange rate? “(I) calculate it manually or with script,” he answered, “but US dollars is always a base for calculation. And because of the difference between currency rates, Lindens can be even cheaper from third party transactions than with Linden Labs when you buy in your local currency, as Linden Labs charges in US dollars.”

Jacek Shuftan’s Podex Exchange is in the Moonberry sim at (26, 223, 34), and exchanges Lindens for several world currencies.

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cartoon of the Day

In his article about the Amaretto/Ozimals legal dispute, Hamlet Au decided to have a little bit of funnery using one of SL Newser reporter Shellie Sands' photos from an article on the horses from some months ago.

Guess Hamlet's been "horsing around" with our pictures. ;-)

Judge Issues Amaretto Temporary Restraining Order Against Linden Lab in Legal Fight With Ozimals

The horses won, at least for now, in their battle with the bunnies.

In late December, Ozimals and Amaretto were heading to court over Ozimals’ claim the scripts for Amaretto’s horses had segments copied from their bunnies. On December 21, the judge over the case issued a temporary restraining order against Linden Lab, saying they could not impose a DMCA on the horse company, at least for now.

“... software copyright protection does not apply to functionality. Thus even if (Ozimals) was the first to come up with a virtual animal that requires ‘food’ to ‘live,’ and copyright it has does not prevent another company from marketing virtual animals with similar traits provided, essentially, that that company did not copy (Ozimals’) programing. Because, among other things, (Amaretto) has submitted declarations supporting the conlusion that it did not copy or otherwise ‘steal’ (Ozimals’) code (and that (Ozimals) knew this to be true when it filed the DMCA takedown notification). ... “

Eric Goldman, a law professor, had a few comments on his blog. He questioned why the ruling was made against Linden Lab and not Ozimals, saying this raised First Amendment issues of the Linden’s ability to edit the Grid. In any event, the restraining order lasts until January 11, when the court holds further hearings on Amaretto’s case.

On another note, Hamlet Au noted the judge in the case, Charles R. Bryer, was an assistant special prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, which took part in the case that caused the sole resignation of a US President in it’s entire history, “Wonder how he feels in the twilight of his legal career adjudicating a dispute between virtual bunnies and horsies?“

Sources, New World Notes, Eric Goldman Tech & Market Law Blog

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cypress Rosewood to Appear at the Odd Ball

Those familiar with the music scene of Second Life are familiar with Cypress Rosewood, noted for his smooth ambient tunes, and Tuna Oddfellow, whose "Odd Ball" is a stunning visual experience that is one of a kind in Second Life. Normally Tuna and his partner Shava Suntzu take care of the music themselves from recordings. But on Wednesday January 5th at 7PM SL time, someone will be actively making the music: Cypress Rosewood.

Shava called Cypress their "special musical guest ... we're talking about doing one a month. ... It's fun, although it takes a bit more logistics. I wouldn't mind having a guest original artist every show, pretty much, if we could find good matches who were interested."

Shava would have talked more, but was getting busy getting ready for a show.

The Odd Ball is at Research Center (123, 135, 651). The event with Cypress will last from 7 to 9 PM SL time.

Bixyl Shuftan

2010 in Review in Second Life

2010 is behind us, and with it an eventful year for those of us in Second Life. It was a year in which we found our virtual world tested as never before, with the Restructuring, the Emerald controversy, and other problems. But just as there were problems, there were many happy developments as well.

Two events dominated the news in Second Life. One was the Emerald Viewer controversy. For months, Team Emerald were the makers of the most popular third-party viewer, highly respected, even adored. But in August, their fortune changed. Following the departure of one developer saying the team was deliberately making their viewer vulnerable, a rival of Emerald was subject to a mass denial-of-service attack caused by computers using Emerald, hijacked to cause the attack. The controversy went on for a few weeks, ending in some of the team leaving and developing a new viewer: Phoenix, and the viewer and some of the key team members banned from Second Life.

The big news from Linden Labs itself in 2010 was the layoffs of one third of their staff. Many of those let go had been popular with the residents, such as Blue and Teagan Linden, and some were saddened to see them go. Before the mass layoffs, a few had been let go such as Pathfinder Linden, and after a few were continued to be shed such as Qarl, whom was noted for his enthusiasm for Second Life.

The Restructuring was not the only move by Linden Lab to make the news. In January, they bought the social networking site “Avatars United,” a move seen as an attempt to compete with Facebook, which was attracting the attention of the general public far better than virtual worlds. It didn’t catch on with residents, and in September Linden Lab closed it down. In February, they published a policy on third-party viewers that was confusing and poorly written. It was replaced within weeks. They also officially released their Viewer 2.0, though people complained it was still buggy and not easy for older residents to adapt to.

Philip Rosedale returned to Second Life as “Interim” CEO two weeks after the Restructuring, the previous head of Linden Lab M Linden stepping down. Many residents reacted with glee. M Linden had never been as popular as Philip, and was easy to blame for Second Life’s recent ills. Some held parties and parades in celebration, others were more reserved, reminding things weren’t perfect when Philip was previously in charge. But the majority was hopeful things would get better for Second Life.

But controversial moves would continue to be made. In August, Philip Linden announced a merger of the Teen Grid and the Main Grid of Second Life. This sparked a debate that would have remained vocal longer if it wasn’t for the Emerald controversy days later. But at the end of September, Linden Labs announced that besides those from the Teen Grid 16 and 17, those 13-15 would also be allowed in, albeit restricted to lands owned by groups they were in. Despite this restrictions, and that older teens would be limited to PG/General lands, a vocal minority of residents expressed worry that Linden Labs letting in the adolescents was a huge mistake that one day residents would be paying for, either in the form of stifling new restrictions that would take the fun out of Second Life or arrests of residents by angry parents for accidents.

Linden Lab would also cut more than just its staff. In October, their office in England was closed. Following the closing of their office in Amsterdam, this was the end of their physical presence in Europe, and any phone calls from Europe would have to go to America. There were comments that this was a sign of how Linden Lab regarded it’s European clients. Also in October Linden Lab announced that their fifty percent discount of Educational and Non-Profit land tiers would come to an end at the end of the year. This doubling of prices was a huge shock, especially as Philip Linden once promoted Second Life as a place for education. Now, Philip and Linden Lab seemed to be turning their backs on what they once believed in. To further confuse matters, Philip Linden announced he was stepping down as interim CEO a couple weeks later (exactly one day after the results of a contest for his new look).

Some residents wondered if the Lindens were suffering from “corporate ADD,” that they were unable to see how their decisions would affect Second Life in the long term, or if they cared. Others thought these were signs of a company setting itself up for sale, and in October rumors floated around that Microsoft was interested in buying Second Life. Some residents became increasingly discouraged, wondering about the future of the grid. Detractors were saying it was headed for collapse. “The Herald” went as far to say Second Life was in its “death throes.”

A few people had already been heading to other virtual worlds such as OpenSim and Inworldz before 2010 out of curiosity or frustration with Linden Lab. When Rezzable announced they were closing their classic “Greenies” sim on June 15th, the timing after the Restructuring certainly looked to some that more creators were losing hope. And after the Educational & NonProfit discount ended, some educational groups began making plans to move out of Second Life, or at least were seriously discussing it.

But the majority of residents seemed to be taking a “wait and see” attitude. And near the end of the year, Linden Lab’s choice for a new CEO, Rod Humble raised some hopes Linden Lab was starting to straighten itself out. Humble’s background in gaming was seen as an encouraging sign by some Second Life could be seeing some more technical developments (and fewer bugs) soon.

Not everything done by the Lindens drew hackles from the masses. The development of Mesh was seen as a potential breakthrough for the creation of content in Second Life. It’s initial appearance was a bit puzzling, as it required users to log into a separate Mesh Grid with a Mesh viewer. Still, the majority were fairly optimistic about its future.

Breedable virtual pets continued to be popular in 2010. Ozimal’s bunnies took the grid by storm early in the year, and for some months sold very well, people willing to pay tens of thousands of Lindens for rare breeds at auctions. But by summer, the market for the bunnies crashed. Of the new breedable pets, horses from the Amaretto company proved to be the most popular. In December, Ozimals and Amaretto ended up in a legal fight, the Ozimals claiming the makers of the popular horses had ripped them off and filing a notice with Linden Lab, and Amaretto filing a counter-notice and copyright lawsuit. Amaretto itself called it a sad development for fans of breedable pets. Despite the suit, the market for virtual pets in Second Life continued.

Besides the Ozimal/Amaretto dispute, Second Life had other legal situations. In November, Linden Labs was urged by Universal Studios to remove content with the names of it’s “Battlestar Galactica” show, saying it infringed on it’s copyright to them. Also, the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum closed down, with plans to reopen later under a new name, after the estate of the famous late architect ended their licensing agreement and issued a cease-and-desist order.

Second Life had a number of farewells in 2010. As mentioned before, a number of Lindens found themselves looking for another job, and the noted Greenies sim closed. Loco Poco Island, the charming island owned by the Tiny avatar company was closed as the business was put up for sale. Tragically, some resident passed away as well. Most notably was Delinda Dyrrsen who died suddenly at 32. A lady who devoted herself to giving music in Second Life exposure, numerous musicians honored her in tributes.

But Second Life had new things to show, as well as some returns. Tyrehl Byk wowed numerous residents with his highly colorful “Particle Phantasmagoria” that impressed some who had earlier thought they had seen it all. The hit movie Avatar inspired people to recreate the planet of Pandora within the Grid for both visitors to admire and a roleplay (it also inspired an advertisement campaign by Linden Labs). There were other fascinating new sims, from the whimsically cartoonish Lunamaruna, to the steampunkish Nemo, to the historically grand China Tang. And one sim which had vanished made a return to Second Life: Svarga. The sim built years ago as the first one with a working ecosystem of sorts that disappeared to the sorrow of fans, the rights to the content had been purchased by Linden Lab, and the sim restored.

Second Life again and again proved to be a worthwhile place to raise funds for charity. Autism Awareness in January raised over 200,000 Lindens for Autism research. As the year went on, there were more events for charity. The Haitian Earthquake and Gulf oil spill sparked a number of events, but disease and illness attracted the biggest fundraisers. And the biggest among them was the Relay for Life for cancer research, with the high point being the Relay Walk in July. Other events included the Diabetes Bachelor/Bachelorette Charity Auction.

And for us in the newspaper, it’s been a year of transition. We started out as employees of JamesT Juno and Dana Vanmoer at Second Life Newspaper, but regrettably real life matters demanded the full attention of both of them, and after wishing their friends farewell closed the paper. But we were given enough advance notice to make plans, and so we made the decision to continue under a new name: Second Life Newser.

And so 2011, our first full year under our new banner begins. We began just in time to cover some of Second Life’s biggest stories. And whatever happens this year, we’ll bring it to you.

Bixyl Shuftan