Friday, January 31, 2014

Interview with Greenlantern Excelsior (Hal Jordan)

Second Life is a big place, and the Lindens can't be everywhere at once when it comes to troublemakers such as griefers. Fortunately there's a group which can help residents deal with them, the Green Lanterns. Led by Greenlantern Excelsior (Hal Jordan), they act as a kind of "neighborhood watch," informing the Lab about the griefers so they can be dealt with. Recently I met up with Greenlantern, and he talked a little about his group and what it does.

Read the interview in People.

Winter Update

With January coming to a close, and a number of residents tiring of ice and snow, a number of sims are changing from their winter look back to green. But not all places are experiencing an early Spring. Gemma Cleanslate takes a look back at some wintery places she reported on earlier. One of them is planning a Superbowl party.

Read Gemma's article in Places.

Virtual Gettysburg Gets a New Home

Last month in December 2013, the Newser reported on the Virtual Gettysburg exhibit, which at the time was a temporary setup in the Sunset Isle sim. For those who enjoyed the display, there's some good news. The battlefield now has a new home in Redemptions.

"I'm happy to announce that we've moved to a new sim, which will hopefully be a permanent home," Trodden Mills explained to me, "we have more prims now so we will have a chance to expand -- I've got someone working on a walking tour that should be very impressive. ... Something with more information than the balloon tour."

Trodden also explained they will be fixing a few bugs the display had, such as some "holes" in the terrain, "At least we can guarantee no one will fall ..." *grin*

Virtial Gettysburg is now at Redemptions (98, 23, 3965)

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Biggest Battle in Eve Online's Ten Year History, Over $300,000 USD Worth of Virtual Weaponry Lost

People can put some serious money in virtual goods sometimes. For instance, sims in Second Life cost a thousand dollars for a normal one that can handle more than a few people, and about $300 a month to maintain. Have several sims, and that's some serious money invested. But could one imagine the equivalent of these sims invested in a single battle, and possibly lost forever? With this in mind, in the game of Eve Online on Monday January 27, a battle took place that was truly massive in the numbers of players taking part and the value of the ships involved. And the amount the participants lost in terms of real-life cash was nothing short of massive as well.

Read more on the story in Other Grids and MMOs.

Bay City to Hold Mole Day Celebration Sunday February 2

On Sunday February 2, Bay City will be holding it's fourth annual Mole Day celebration. The event will be held at the North Channel sim from 1PM SL time to 3PM, with GoSpeed Racer and Christov Kohnke performing music for the crowd. The event is to "celebrate the good works of the 'Linden Department of Public Works' moles."

North Channel (90/125/23)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cartoon of the Day

If the wyrm was trying to do some easy flying, he forgot to take into account something. ;-)

From Xymbers Slade

The Wulfenbach 2014 Winter Games

On the weekend of Saturday Jan 25 and Sunday Jan 26, several Steamland areas took part in the Wulfenbach 2014 Winter Games, a Gaslamp Fantasy salute to this year's Olympic games in real life, as well as a chance for the residents of the Steampunk communities (and their friends) to have a little fun. There were several events, from fencing, flying, shooting, and others.

More on the story in Events.

Press Release: Hotter Than Air Burnal Equinox, March 28th - 30th, 2014

Hotter Than Air  ---   Burnal Equinox at BURN2 Playa  OPENS MARCH 28TH 12PM SLT
Join us from March 28th-30th in Second Life for a totally different playa experience!

At a time far into our future, the earth has been devastated by a multitude of scourges: harsh climate change, pollution, famine, and war. The playa is one of the last inhabitable places on earth, but toxic fumes cover the ground and rise to 100 meters. The only safe living environment is above the toxic gas at ground levels as the playa’s winds help purify the air at this altitude. Passing through this toxic ground zone is possible, but long term exposure can be fatal.

One redeeming factor of the toxin is that when it is captured, placed into a balloon and mixed with the correct proportion of playa dust, it takes on the form of a very powerful, lighter-than-air gas.  A single five-meter balloon can lift thousands of pounds into the air.  The gaseous concoction has been fondly named Fairy Dust.

Modern manufacturing no longer exists. Everyday items are scavenged from the remains of abandoned buildings.  Humans have learned to survive by creating with their own hands. They build platforms supported by balloons filled with Fairy Dust. These floating platforms are the hosts for a new civilization above the ground.  The citizens of this floating city commute by building lighter than air vehicles. They are powered by whatever means can be found and lifted into the air by balloons filled with the Fairy Dust

Every Spring the residents of this community celebrate a renewal of life. Balloons have been the savior of this city. Residents design and decorate their lifting balloons as part of the Equinox celebration. This tradition has been carried down from their ancestors from when the earth was plentiful. They celebrate this event in hopes that the earth will renew itself. They celebrate the clean air that still exists high in the clouds. They celebrate their existence on earth, as different as it might be from their ancestors. They are ALIVE!

Become a citizen of this Playa City in the Sky and celebrate Burnal Equinox by creating a build on one of our 32x32x40 floating platforms!

Please read the Builders Guidelines and then submit an application that will be entered into the lottery for selection for the event. The deadline for the build application is Feb 17, 2014. All builders will be chosen by a lottery system.  Good luck and have fun!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Events this Week January 28 to February 3

It's a week full of events in Second Life as January moves to February. Check out the London City SPring Festival, or the "Sleepy Snail." And of course our reguarly scheduled DJ music events, story and poetry readings, church sessions, races, and talk shows. Starting this week, we're including events from Luskwood.

Read the list in Events this Week.

Cloud Party Bought By Yahoo, to Close

While Second Life residents delt with the surprise news of Rod Humble resigning as the CEO of Linden Lab, there was an announcement concerning another virtual world: Cloud Party. They announced on their blog that they had been acquired by Yahoo.

We’re excited to announce that the time has come for the Cloud Party team to start our next adventure. We are joining Yahoo! The last two years have been an incredible experience for everyone here. We’ve been continually amazed by your creativity and the worlds you’ve built and shared with us.

Cloud Party will close on February 21st.

The Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWPBE) has annouced because of this, they will no longer be part of their conference. Daniel Voyager speculated this could mean another virtual world could be taking it's place there.

Sources: Daniel Voyager, Prim Perfect 

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, January 27, 2014

Be a Noob, Just Don’t Look Like One – The Hipster Fair

DrFran Babcock has another installment of her new Fashion collumn "Be a Noob, Just Don't Look Like One." This time, she heads to the Hipster Fair, where almost every shop has a freebie or near-freebie. If you're a newcomer, or like shopping on a pinch-penny budget, this is a place to check out. So what did our intrepid reporter find?

Read DrFran's article in Fashion.

Press Release: Astronaut Remembrance Day

Monday, 27 January 4-6pm SL time
(immediately following our regular weekly meeting)

Join our Astronaut Remembrance Day commemoration with the National Space Society in Second Life. We'll discuss the tragic Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia incidents, others lost in space-related tragedies, and the risks inherent in space activities, ending with a discussion of what that means to future space activities. Ad astra (to the stars!)

NSS, National Space Society (103, 124, 3005)

Commentary: Rod Humble / Rodvik Linden as CEO of Linden Lab

When it was announced in late December 2010 that Rod Humble would be Linden Lab's new CEO, the reaction from Second Life residents was overall positive, from some even enthusiastic. The year before had seen a number of setbacks for Linden Lab and the Grid. A third of the company's staff had been laid off in it's "restructuring." Popular personnel such as Blue, Teegan, Pathfinder, Qarl Linden and others were shown the door. Overseas offices were closed down, rerouting all calls for technical help to America, which gave some residents from outside the US the Lab was turning its back on them. The fifty percent discount for nonprofit and educational areas was suddenly ended, despite Philip Linden and Linden Lab long touting Second Life as a place for learning. It was announced the Teen Grid would be closing down, and people worried that this would soon mean censorship or residents getting arrested in real life due to angry parents. These and other moves caused the morale of residents to sink. Rumors floated around Linden Labs was looking for a buyer. Some thought Second Life was headed for collapse, one publication saying the virtual world was on it's "death throes."

Rod Humble's resume was an impressive one, having worked for over twenty years in the computer gaming industry. Among his roles were his work on the Everquest multiplayer online game, and working on "The Sims." In 2009, Edge Magazine listed him as #2 of its “Hot 100 Game Developers.” Philip Rosedale / Philip Linden, whom had been acting as interim CEO after the unpopular M Linden stepped down, stated, “Rod is a great new leader for Linden Lab. ... With Rod's fresh insights and deep experience in creating and leading the development of fun, intuitive, immersive entertainment experiences that have attracted massive audiences of loyal users, he's the right leader to understand what makes us special and bring the next level of growth to Second Life."

Rod Humble looked forward to the job, "Joining Linden Lab is a very exciting opportunity, ... . Second Life is unique: it sits at the intersection of virtual worlds, avatars, and human contact. The Residents and developers of Second Life have built something very special, I am honored to join the talented team at Linden Lab to help expand this new frontier." A few residents questioned if someone from the gaming industry was truly the right choice, Second Life being a "sandbox" which was open ended and most games having fixed parameters on what one could do. But most were happy with the Linden's choice for new CEO, feeling he could deliver Second Life a shot in the arm and not only halt it's decline, but set it on course to growth again.

Rod Humble, who became known as Rodvik Linden, gave the impression of wanting to connect with the residents. He spent some time inworld, building a little, and on some occasions interacted with residents, such as his appearance at the Second Life Eighth Birthday, and more recently his trips to Bay City and 1920s Berlin. He also strived to "put the Lab back into Linden Lab," and Second Life's grid would see a number of developments with the goal of improving user experiences, such as "Project Shinning." He also had Linden Lab both acquire and develop several products, such as the Minecraft-like "Patterns" and the kid-friendly "Blocksworld." Probably their most important acquisition was "Desura," a distribution platform with a focus on smaller games from independent companies, or "indie" games. For better or worse, Second Life would no longer be the only product in Linden Lab's line-up. While residents on the whole understood how a diverse platform would mean a more stable financial footing, some worried this was a sign of the Lab leaving them behind.

Residents were generally happy during Rodvik's first year, although some felt the Lab was slow to act on the Redzone controversy. But in 2012, some actions (and non-actions) began to raise a few eyebrows. Official Linden events such as the "Kiss a Linden" on Valentines Day and the "Winterfest" with its "Linden Snowball Fight" were gone. Even the Second Life Birthday was no longer being sponsored by Linden Lab, the statement from the company suggesting the various communities should hold their own celebrations. To residents, it seemed like the Lab was distancing itself from the residents, only occasionally emerging from it's "bunker" to make reports with no name attached. Third-party viewers found themselves under pressure from Linden Lab, ordering them not to include features not on the official viewer, even if it was being researched in beta, what some viewer developers saw as the Lab saying "screw you" and people worried some teams would leave Second Life. Indeed at one meeting when one viewer team member hinted about leaving, a Linden answered "don't let the door hit you on the way out." Project Shinning, while approved by those with newer computers, those with older machines often complained their inworld experiences were becoming slower and laggier, not better.

In 2013 came two changes to the terms of service that raised not just concern but alarm. In spring, Linden Lab ordered third party Linden exchange services to cease operations, saying only their Lindex could buy and sell its virtual currency. Residents expressed alarm, some saying the Lindex often took a long time to make its transactions, and some overseas would not or could not use it, and there was some talk among some people leaving. Linden Lab would partially reverse course, saying third party exchangers could sell Lindens, but only Lindex could buy them back. Then in the Fall, with no other announcement than residents being asked to sign the Terms of Service upon logging in, it was noticed that the ToS had changed in regards to content creators, some interpreting them as to say the Lab could sell residents' content at any time without any input from the makers or offer a cent in compensation. At least two texture websites stated their goods could no longer be used in Second Life. Some content creators stopped creating and stated they would make no more until the terms would change. A few would move to other virtual worlds, such as InWorldz, which between Project Shinning and the ToS controversy saw people from Second Life getting accounts, and raising it's membership to 90,000 on paper. Second Life now now had small but growing competition from other virtual worlds. Residents repeatedly asked Linden Lab to change this part of the ToS back, but although Linden Lab issued a statement saying they regretted the confusion, they would not alter the few lines that had caused so much trouble. At least one resident commented Rodvik was partially to blame, saying his experience in the gaming industry made him inflexible in dealing with a product in which his company did not own most of the content.

It seemed the man whose arrival was greeted with cheers was now being seen, at least by some, as part of the problem.

In the midst of this were stories going around of some henious griefing incidents, such as the sim-crasher attacks on the Junkyard Blues club, with Linden Lab doing next to nothing about them. Indeed there were rumors that the dismissal of one Linden was because a griefer had complained, and so others were afraid to act. Fortunatetly later in the year, the Lab appeared to be doing more about griefers.

In contrast to M. Linden's departure, Rodvik's announcement was greeted with surprise, and maybe a little sadness. That there was no announcement for a week until Rod Humble himself told others did raise a few eyebrows, but the big news was that the head of Linden Labs for three years was gone. On a thread in the official forums, residents time and time again wished him well with whatever endeavor he was headed to. Of his performance, some thought he did great, a few thought he did poorly, the plurality seemed to feel he did an overall good job with some setbacks.

I think he did a good enough job considering the circumstances and the state of SL when he took over. When he was hired I would not have believed he would take the company as far as 2014. For a while there he seemed to breathe a bit of life and drive back into LL even if it was partially focused on products other than SL. Unfortunately LL and SL in particular needed someone to do more than just a "good enough" job. SL needed a visionary that would revitalise, if not revolutionise the whole product in order to regain the mass appeal we experienced during the boom years. Rod completely failed to deliver there. I wish him the best of luck.

And so Linden Lab's third CEO heads off into the sunset, leaving behind a virtual world no longer on the brink, but whose long term problems remain.

Other Comments: Daniel Voyager, Inara Pey

Bixyl Shuftan

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cartoon of the Day

Picture taken at Builders Brewery

By Bixyl Shuftan

Meanwhile, Back in Azeroth: Hellscream's End

In the game "World of Warcraft," I reached a milestone. Finally, months after hearing about them, I'd finally made it to the Seige of Ogrimmar Instances, via my Level 90 Pandaren monk Weynil (Wen-Li). The last one was "Downfall, and the final boss of that one, the tyrant whose actions had driven most of the Horde to rebel against him, was at the end: Garosh Hellscrem. And after a hard fight, he finally went down.

Here's a picture of her looking over the defeated foe, responsible for so much ruin, whom saw himself as ruling the world. And now, beaten.

Not sure what I'll be doing with Wen-Li next. But I still have other characters in WoW. And a few friends in a few servers.

Bixyl Shuftan

Saturday, January 25, 2014

SL Video: " The Green Lanterns of Second Life Recruitment Video"

(Click here if the video fails to load)

A cartoonish video made by Second Life's Green Lantern Core, which acts as a "neighborhood watch" over the Grid, aimed at attracting new members, "The Green Lanterns of Second Life: An elite group of protectors... species / avatars from different worlds; with unique skills from combat to diplomacy, was secretly created within Second Life. Comprised of smart, highly adaptable individuals, it is their teamwork and expertise that allows them to move faster than any other anti-griefer group within Second Life. They work to overcome disadvantage and turn griefing conflicts into victory; our "Lantern Units" accomplish great things, and we do so together."

For more information, check out the Green Lanterns' blog at: 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Breaking News: Rodvik Linden Leaves Second Life

After more than three years as CEO of Second Life, Rod Humble, known inworld as Rodvik Linden, has announced he will be leaving his position and departing Second Life. The date in which he left was sometime last week.

On Facebook, Rodvik wrote, “Its been a great 3 years! All my thanks to my colleagues at Linden Lab and our wonderful customers I wish you the very best for the future and continued success! I am starting-up a company to make Art, Entertainment and unusual things! More on that in a few weeks!”

Rodvik Linden is gone from the Linden Lab's staff page at . It is not yet clear who will replace him.

It was announced on Dec 2010 that Rod Humble would be assuming the role of CEO of Second Life. He took the position a month later. At the time, he was known for being a success in the gaming industry, such as "The Sims."

Details are still comming in on this stunning news.

Image Credit: Marianne McCann

Two Festivals This Weekend: ROMA Paganalia and the Wulfenbach 2014 Winter Games

This weekend will have not just one, but two fun-filled festivals taking place over Saturday and Sunday. In ROMA, the Paganalia celebration takes place. This salute to the ancients features crocodile races, sword fights, and roleplaying of ancient rituals. In Steelhead and Caledon, there's the Steampunk salute to the Olympics, the Consulate of Europa Wulfenbach 2014 Winter Games. In this Gaslamp fantasy part of the Grid, look for steam powered flying carpet races, fencing, and a Monster Hunt to rescue the North Pole from disaster.

The first Paganalia event, the ritual to honor Ceres, takes place Saturday Jan 25 at 10AM SL time at ROMA Vinovium (206/18/31). Shortly afterwards, the Winter Games kickoff starts at 11AM at the Dragon Amphitheater (pictured) at Caledon On Sea (161/35/3076).

Details will be added to the "Events Next Week" section later.

Gull’s Wing Sailing Club

By Grey Lupindo

    I recently had the chance to visit Gull’s Wing Sailing Club, which is Second Life’s newest private sailing community.   Located at Gull's Wing Sailing Club, JadeSnake Island (47, 205, 22), Gull’s Wing is a beautiful mix of private residences and open water.   It is one of the most serene and picturesque communities in SL.   The community spans four private sims, with shared access to three others.   Gull’s Wing is limited to sailboats, kayaks, canoes, and small motor boats.  There are no noisy airplanes allowed.   Best of all, there are over five sims of open water and no ban lines!

    The creators of Gull’s Wing are well known to many Second Life residents.  Dearest Myrtle and Toby Howton operate ArchiTech Designs (AD) and Toby’s Juke Joint.  They are joined in this new venture by Avery Saxena and Bob (Unclesamoriginal), who are the Harbor Masters.  They are all dedicated to helping residents have the best possible experience in their new club.  I had some issues due to SL hiccups, but both Avery and Bob were very supportive and patient. They even gave me a personal tour on Bob’s sailboat. Bob and Avery live on-site, too, so they are personally interested in maintaining the quality of this up-scale, private club.

      The landscaping, for which AD is well known, is beautiful.  Currently the site is in autumn colors, and they plan to do seasonal changes for spring and summer.  The land gently rolls and offers plenty of parks, trails, and picnic areas.  There are many coves and inlets to sail and explore, waterfalls and ponds to enjoy, and nautical themed shopping is planned.  Bob also plans to set up a 7Seas fishing area soon.   

       At the entrance to Gull’s Wing is a beautiful lighthouse that serves as a welcome center for visitors as well as a meeting place for residents.  Currently on the ground floor there is information about living and sailing opportunities and an office area for the Harbor Master.   You can even pick up a free Nemo sailboat here.

       Inside the lighthouse there are areas for events, a bar and dance club, and a Greedy game.  My favorite area was the wrap-around deck on the second level.  I met a few of the residents here.  Surrounded by beautiful flowers, we enjoyed a glass of wine and a great view of the water while we chatted.   

         I learned that Gull’s Wing has three types of membership: Day Sailor, Live Aboard Sailor, and Resident Sailor.   For less than the cost of a cup of coffee in real life, a Day Sailor can rez his or her boat and sail on Gulls Wing Harbour, Owls Cove, half of JadeSnake Island, and across waters owned by ArchiTech Design, Crossworlds Sound, and into and around Toby’s Juke Joint for an entire week. 

          One of the best ways to get to know an area is to talk to the people who frequent it.  I was able to chat with two members of the sailing club, Jez Feral and Sydney Mantell.  Jez, who has been a Second Life resident for a year, rents a dock here.   She told me she thought she was going to have to give up sailing when she and her partner moved into a non-sailing community.   Fortunately she found out about the opening of Gull’s Wing Sailing Community.

          “It was Kismet....I had just planned on packing up the sail boats,” Jez said.  “And just a day after we moved, I got notice from Toby and Dearest and Bob and Avery that they were doing this sailing sim.”  Smiling, she added, “It was perfect timing.  In fact, so well timed that I had to think it was meant to be.  I wanted to be able to continue to sail.  So we have a home elsewhere, and I can come here to sail.” 

           Although she says she isn’t a “serious” sailor, Jez owns a lot of sailboats.   She’s even thinking of getting another, even faster one, because she likes sailing here so much.     When I asked her what she likes best about Gull’s Wing, she said the open water that is barrier-free. 

        “I used to get hung up on property barriers and sim crossings on the other sailing sims,” Jez said, “so it made it really hard to let the sails out and fly.”  Although she also enjoys the ambiance here, especially the sounds of the water and the gulls, she likes the space the best.  “I really haven't seen another sim with so much room to sail, and that's a treat.”

        Residents who want to be able to walk outside their door and onto their boat will want to check out the cottages.  There are over 30 cottages for rent in three sizes and price ranges and in different locales.   Residents who like quiet, private spots will want a cottage tucked away in a cove.  Second Life residents who like action and visiting with neighbors can find cottages that are set in the heart of the community.   There is something for every taste and pocketbook.  All of the cottages, however, are located on the water and include a boat dock.

       Sydney Mantell invited me over to see her cottage.   She has a great view of the sunrise from her dock.   As we relaxed in her rocking chairs, we enjoyed the great view and talked about her experiences here.   She has lived in other sailing communities, but she chose to move to Gull’s Wing because of its owners.  “I knew the esthetics would be perfect - with Toby and Dearest it was guaranteed to be lovely,” she said.   She noted that she likes the New England look of the community.

     “Secondly,” she said, “I love Toby's Juke Joint.”  Laughing, she added, “And I like being in the area to see who comes and goes because I'm nosy!”  

          Sydney also enjoys the outreach sailing program that Bob runs.  In addition to providing free boats, sailing lessons are offered to help new sailors.  “I think many people get stuck in 'just dancing',” Sydney said, “Helping others to get started in experiencing other areas of Second Life is a good thing.”  She told me the owners are recruiting tutors to help teach sailing.

          We swapped some sailing stories, including some adventures on other Second Life seas.  One of the things she likes about Gull’s Wing is that its size, while huge, is also manageable.   She can enjoy sailing and its exciting adventures yet still be able to sail back to her dock at the end of the day.

         Although Gull’s Wing helps newbies, it hasn’t forgotten experienced sailors.  Racing buoys are set up for regattas, and sailors have the ability to change wind settings for added challenges.    While we were sailing with Bob, Avery pointed out that the course was designed to help you become a better sailor.  “Some parts are easy,” she said, “others more challenging.”

          At the end of the day, members can enjoy a jazz club, a bar, dancing, games, and other entertainment events. Toby's Juke Joint is nearby, easily accessible by water, and it has new docks for community members.

         Membership in Gull’s Wing Sailing Community is limited to 200 so that the best Second Life sailing experience can be enjoyed by its residents.  Sydney offered this advice to SL residents, “Better hurry to get here - I am sure it will fill up soon!”

Grey Lupindo

Introducing Katzu

Becky "Sha" Shamen, before coming to Second Life worked on some animation shorts with a dragon character named "Katzu Kwattle." After seeing a recent avatar review by Xymbers Slade, she had the idea of bringing the character here, and got the dragon avatar he wrote on. So what did Becky have to say about the new scalie walking about the Sunweaver Estates?

Read Becky's article in Extra.

Getting a Luskwood Avatar In InWorldz

Yours truly has still been making occasional trips to InWorldz. Things have been well overall, though there have been some small issues. Among them, my appearance. While the Wingless Red Fox allowed me to be "foxy" there as well, it still wasn't the same look I was known by in Second Life. But there were no avatar companies set up in the smaller Grid ... or were there? I soon found a solution, and got my familiar look back.

Read more in Other Grids and MMOs.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Podex Expanding to Inworldz

After some negotiations with it's support team, the Podex Exchange, known for it's longtime service in selling Lindens in Second Life, is expanding to InWorldz.

Jacek announced the news on the InWorldz forums, "Hello InWorldz avatars! I am really proud to introduce Podex entering InWorldz with our currency exchange and other financial product, like prepaid VISA cards. Some of you could possibly (have) heard about Podex in Second Life, some hear about us for the first time, so let me drop a few words of explanation. Podex Exchange started as third party exchange of linden dollars in Second Life, but we soon developed our business offer. We are listed on the official list of resellers by Linden Lab, we also run our business in Avination, Virtual Highway and now we are happy to start in InWorldz."

Elenia Llewellyn confirmed the announcement later in the forum thread, "This has been in the works for quite some time now between InWorldz and Podex. InBiz has also been offered this same ability, just to clear that up right away. Podex has met with us and has voluntarily decided to follow FinCEN guidelines in regards to transactions for cashouts, which is a big deal for us. They are also willing to accept all fraud liability that results from their system, and they are very aware of what to look for in transactions to alert to fraud."

Podex cal sell InWorldz currency, known as I'zs (or Izzies), for the following: the US dollar, the Euro, the Polish Zloty, the British Pound, the Swedish Crona, the Czech Koruna, the Japanese Yen, and the Bitcoin. InWorldz does not yet have the authority to purchase I'zs, but is negotiating to be able to do so.

"Transactions effected by us are rendered secure by Dotpay,, Western Union or PayPal payment systems. All information exchanged to process the payment is encrypted using the SSL protocol. These data cannot be detected, intercepted or used by third parties, and are not kept on our computer systems either, what makes Podex one of the safest services of currency exchange in virtual worlds."

For more information, check out the Podex of InWorldz page at:, or head to Podex's location in the Inworldz sim of Vulcan (218/212/23)

The Podex Exchange is a sponsor of Second Life Newser.

Bixyl Shuftan

Press Release: Help Out the Red Cross at ArtFest

To all my Second Life Friends I hope 2014 is beginning well for you. Unfortunately there are many who have had to deal with disasters that are out of their control and are relying on the Red Cross to supply them with their basic needs.

I was invited to participate in this years ArtFest. ArtFest is a Charity art competition to raise funds for disaster relief.  100% of the $L raised with ArtFest is converted to real-life money, and donated to the Red Cross/Crescent (Via their Everyday Heroes program).  The Red Cross was chosen, as it is an organization that helps around the globe without discrimination (

An entire (mature) sim (Eclectic Diversity) is devoted to this competition. In the past it has attracted all types of artists and all sorts of categories are covered.  Each category will have two forms of judging, that is done by secret judges and the popular vote where people show their appreciation for the works by donating lindens to the tip jars at each entry. All tip donations will go to the charity.

I have entered a build called "Time Heals All" and invite you to come visit it and the other art installations on the Sim.  I encourage you to tip as much as you can to my tip jar. All of these linden tips will go to the Red Cross. All I get from it are your votes! And though I love all of my fellow artists on the island. I want to Win!!!!

Thank you in advance for your support and generous donation to the Red Cross.

Leroy Horten

Home of the Tail Weavers
Electic Diversity (123, 58, 47)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cartoon of the Day

Taken at Builders Brewery

By Bixyl Shuftan

Science Discussion Tonight at the Exploratorium

5 PM slt tonight Jan 22 - Jennifer Ouellette talks with Dave Goldberg about "Ask a Physicist" & "The Universe in the Rear View Mirror."

Join the studio audience at: Exploratorium (147/52/26).

Listen live or later at .

New Feature – Be a Noob, Just Don’t Look Like One

Today our inventive reporter DrFran Babcock starts what could be a new feature, depending on reader feedback, "Be a Noob, Just Don’t Look Like One." DrFran offers a few tips on how to get one's avatar to look stylish with a few quality freebie goods.

Read DrFran's article in Fashion.

Avatar Review: 1st Act Mesh Werewolf

After finding a fancy mesh avatar, Xymbers Slade decided to look to see what else was out there. Already thinking of replacing his old werewolf avatar, he came across a company that had recently replaced it's were made of prims with a mesh model. So was the new av worthy of a few visits by Little Red Riding Hood, or was it fit only to be the omega in the pack?

Read Xymber's review in Design.

Rocket City Mall to Close

Rocket City is a furry community in Second Life noted for two things. One is it's connection to the Rocket City Furmeet, a Fantasy con that meets every year in Alabama every Memorial Day Weekend. When I first came to the place in 2007, the place had a recreation of the hotel the conventioneers met at. But it was removed in 2009, and the land became much more forest and ground. The second thing is it's avatar mall (or dealer's den as they're sometimes called) named the Vendor Jungle. It is owned by Koterie Itoku, and is located on a large skybox. Before 2009, the shopping mall was accessible from the Rocket City motel lobby, and resembled a higher floor. It currently looks much like the title suggests, in the middle of a jungle. It offers a wide selection of avatars from a number of companies, in addition to accessories, and all products have to conform to the PG rating standards of the community.

However, the mall will not be around for much longer. There was an announcement that at the end of March, the mall and it's vendors will be taken down.

Hi everyone. The time has come to make a difficult decision that we've seen coming, but have been putting off for a few years now. Our Vendor Jungle will be closing at the end of March, 2014. Please, please, please do not get upset at Koterie. She has worked many long and hard hours for years to keep the Vendor Jungle going. The Vendor Jungle would have been closed several years ago if it wasn't for her efforts, and I owe her a lot of gratitude for all the hard work she put into it.

To answer the question you are most likely thinking right now, Rocket City itself (the region) is not going anywhere for now. There was a brief period of time around 2007 when the Vendor Jungle did fund 100% of the costs of our sim, but it didn't last long. The percentage of what its funded has decreased by a huge amount over the years. I'm not sure what the percentage it's at today, because, to be honest, I haven't looked in a few months. I just didn't want to know. (In essence, we have been paying almost the entire cost of the sim out of our pockets for a while anyhow.)

While there is another furry avatar shopping mall, Northstar, it has a number of adult-oriented products that may intimidate some shoppers. Whether another PG rated avatar mall will come to take Rocket City's place remains to be seen.

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Events this Week January 21 to January 27

It's a week full of events in Second Life. Head on over to the Reality Check Cafe, and find out how much exercise it takes to burn off that order of cheeseburger and fries without it going to waist. And don't forget the Grid's regularly scheduled events from DJ and live music parties, book and poetry readings, races, talk shows, and church services.

Read more in Events this Week

2nd Annual "One Billion Rising" Event on Feb 14th

It was announced that there will be a "One Billion Rising" event in Second Life this year. The event will take place on February 14th, and last 24 hours. There will be a four sim area set up just for the event where 200 avatars can participate at once.

ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE is a global call to women survivors of violence and those who love them to gather safely in community outside places where they are entitled to justice – courthouses, police stations, government offices, school administration buildings, work places, sites of environmental injustice, military courts, embassies, places of worship, homes, or simply public gathering places where women deserve to feel safe but too often do not.  It is a call to survivors to break the silence and release their stories – politically, spiritually, outrageously – through art, dance, marches, ritual, song, spoken word, testimonies and whatever way feels right.

In Second Life, we will be marking the occasion (as we did last year) with a twenty-four hour one day event that will allow women and men to gather. There will be music, there will be art installations and exhibitions, there will be poetry sessions,there will be dancing – and there will be information kiosks that will share information about organisations devoted to promoting justice for women across the globe, and stories of events that will be happening around the world.

For further details, check out the OBR 2014 website at: .

Steelhead's "Snowball's Chance in Hell" Party

On the night of January 17 high over Port Harbor, the Steelhead community threw a snowball, or rather their "Snowball's chance in Hell" party.

 It was a night of fire and ice with some detailed and imaginative costumes.

The music was provided by Willow Leafstorm for the event.

 The event was mixed with a building contest. Who could build the best snowman in theme with the event?
The first entry was from Blue Lacroix, a melting snowman under a sun, with a rose and a smile, with a sign, "I melt for you."

The second entry from Dhughan Froobe was a snowman in a rowboat over flowing lava. He's struggling to keep his boat afloat, the title being "Oh Hell, need moar duct tape."

It's unclear who won, but like other Friday Night bashes, the Steelheaders had lots of zany fun.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Oldbie Project – Stroker Serpentine

DrFran's most recent interview was that of someone whose reputation is known even outside Second Life: Stroker Serpentine. For better or worse, his designs and developments helped made the Grid's more adult activities what they are today. Following an eventful career inworld which included going to real life court to protect his designs, he took a hiatus for a while. Recently, he came back to Second Life. DrFran Babcock was able to get in touch with Stroker and arrange an interview for her Oldbie Project as an early resident of this virtual world.

Read DrFran's interview in People.

SS Galaxy Art Exhibits

Gemma Cleanslate recently made a visit to the SS Galaxy, the massive three ship vacation liner. She wasn't there to relax on a lounge chair in the sun, or take a casual stroll through it's current port of call at Dublin though. Right now, the ship is hosting three art exhibitions. Gemma got aboard the ship, and took a look.

Read Gemma's article in Design.

Newser Crew Beach Party

On Sunday January 20, the reporters of Second Life Newser and some of their friends met at Cova's Cove for a beach party.

The place was a private beach island, owned by our friend Convadonga Writer, whom some of us worked alongside with at JamesT Juno's old SLN. She plans to join us when real life matters permit. But in the meantime, she loves having us over at her place for parties.

Among those showing up were KariaKae KariaKae (Kariakae Karu) of the Second Life Coast Guard, shown above dancing, our friend Any1 Gynoid, Annie Brightstar, Lanai Jerrico of the Second Life Enquirer, and others.

 Skylark Lefavre appears with Kiwi and Recoyote Mindes, doing a little "horsing around" with pony avatars.

Grey Lupindo shows off her grass skirt, which got complements from fellow writers Gemma Cleanslate, DrFran Babcock, and Joshua Xavier.

At one point, Joshua changed to a dragon avatar Xymbers Slade had written about earlier. Xymbers himself wasn't able to make the party in-avatar, but it could be argued because of the dragon, he still had a presence around. The results were jokes along the lines of, "hey, I came to have a picnic lunch, not end up a pincic lunch!"

A fun time was had by all