Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Virtual Ability Tours With Andee

Virtual Ability is known for a number of events and activities. One such activity are the weekly tours, run by Andee Coope. In her article today, Gemma Cleanslate describes one tour done recently, which looked at The Lost Unicorn and Big Sur. So what did she see?
Read Gemma's story in Places

SL20B Update

 It's less than a month until the Second Life Twentieth Birthday celebrations. On the map, a search for sims with SLB in their name turned up this collection of regions, far south of the main group of the Grod's sims.

There was no one single landmass of SLB sims, but they were in several groups, the largest sixteen in size. While there will be a separate area for the adult-rated sims, there were none that I saw which had that rating. And the SL19B symbol was still on the map. So clearly, more work on the sims is forthcoming.
As for the exhibitors, on May 26, those still in the Second Life Birthday Exhibitors group from last year, at least those who were still there, got the following message from Missy Mole:
If you are still in this group then you have applied and been accepted to build an exhibit for SL20B. Congratulations! We are just about finished setting up the regions for you to come in and start building. Information about your parcel size and location will follow over the weekend. It is safe to say that 99% of you received the parcel size you requested.
But unlike most years, setting up the exhibits will not be happening in May. On May 30, Missy Mole had another message.

... I almost have the parcels all assigned for those of you that filled in the acceptance form. I was hoping to have the regions open today but I am going to say we will be open by June 1 now. I know people are very anxious to get onto the regions and start building but you will still have two full weeks to finish the exhibits. I'm sorry for the delays but hopefully everything will be perfect when you get onto your parcels 

Stay tuned for more information

Bixyl Shuftan

RFL Announcement: "A Child’s Journey Through Cancer: The Musical"

A Child’s Journey Through Cancer: the musical

Monday June 5, 6:30 PM

Our show is the story of a child’s journey through cancer told in music and dance. It takes us through the fear, joy and hope experienced in a cancer journey.

It was conceived and choreographed and is directed by Patty Flow with musical assistance from Kayla Flow.

Our cast includes the entire Flow family, our good friend Sienna Thor and the singing voice of MrMikie String.

Heroine: Patty Flow
Her friends: Arie Flow, Belle Flow, Cin Flow
Mother: Alison Flow
Doctor: Sienna Thor
Nurses: Ren Flow, Kayla Flow
Special song recording: MrMikie String

Our story takes place in 4 locations.

Act 1: Children having fun in the park.
Music: Girls Just Want to Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
Cast: Our Heroine and her friends

Act 2: At the doctor’s office.
Music: The Luna Sequence - Whitewash Currents
Cast: Our Heroine, her mother and the doctor. Separately, our heroine’s friends.

Act 3: In the hospital.
Music: Celebration - Kool & the Gang
Cast: Our heroine, her mother, her nurses, the doctor and our heroine’s friend.

Act 4: Back to being a child again in the park.
Music: Impossible Dream - MrMikie String
Cast: Our heroine and her friends

We would like to thank MrMikie String for providing a special recording of "The Impossible Dream' just for this show. We are thrilled to have this unique performance as part of our show.

We would also like to thank aunty Sienna Thor for providing the venue and the cookies for today's performance.

We hope you enjoy the show.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Events This Week at the Sunweaver and Montecito Bay Clubs, and Furry Fashion Lounge

Here's what's going on at the Sunweaver and Montecito Bay clubs, and the Furry Fashion Lounge.

Club Cutlass: Heavy Metal, Swimwear, Fabulous 60s

Happy Vixen: Ears and Tails, Modern vs Medieval, Beach Party, Barely There, Madkatt Mashup, SL Newser Anniversary, Old Avies, Class and A**-Ladies' Revenge, Blue & White

Club Zero Gravity: Domestic or Wild

Bouncing Bunny Beach Club: Hooved

Xanadu: DJ Jesse

Club Squeaks: DJ Squeaks 
Montecito Bay:  CAYA, After Dark

Furry Fashion Lounge:  Video Games, Pink, Disney, Beach Party, Late Night, Scalies

Read the schedules in SL Clubbin'

Relay Track Sneak Peak: Meli's Maniacs

 Taken at the Meli's Maniacs camp at RFL Hope. Now who could that fox in the fedora and camera be?

By Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, the day in which Americans honor those veterans who passed away. One noteable memorial to them here in Second Life is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial high above the Heavens Sunset sim.

"All gave some, some gave all."

Have an honored Memorial Day.

Team Sunbeamers Reach One Million Lindens, Beach Party With Roos With A Dream

 On the late afternoon/early evening of Friday May 26, the Relay for Life's Sunbeamer team reached a big milestone in it's 2023 fundraising season. It had crossed the one million Linden mark in the total amount of cash raised, and thus was Emerald level fundraising.
 And with the team reaching a million, a couple team members were called on to own up to commitments. For a certain reporter, it meant the return of the "Rita clone," which first appeared in 2017, and for the past few years was my offer to appear in for a week if the team reached Emerald.

This year, someone else had offered to be something else as well. Foxy offered to be a landwalker shark for a month if the team raised a million. And with the news came his finny look. As someone commented, "Just when you thought it was safe to come out of the water." It was also mused this would mean more tuna fish caught for the team.

Far from resting on their laurels, the following day the 'beamers hosted a "Beach Party" event jointly with the "Roos With A Dream." There would be two DJ sessions, the first with DJ Cynthia. The second one was with "DJ Kayla and the Roos." Following the event there was a volleyball competition and a boat race. Rezzdarnnit was the winner of the ball game. The fastest run in the boat race was from Liska, with a time of 166 seconds, who won a motorboat as a prize.
The event would be followed by a Memorial Day event at Club Cutlass with Cynthia Farshore once again DJing. At the close, Cynthia, who had done most of the building and organizing for the Relay event, logged off to get some much deserved rest.
The Sunbeamer and Roos Beach Party raised a combined 36,410 Linden dollars for both the 'beamers and Roos, getting the Sunbeamers to past 1,020,000 Lindens and Roos With A Dream to almost 800,000. Someone among the Sunbeamers commented it was no longer enough to reach the top ten, but to help out a few other teams along the way.

Go Sunbeamers! Go Roos! Go Relay!

Bixyl Shuftan

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Cartoon of The Day: Trolling The Fanboys


Taken at Club Zero Gravity, the punchline based on actual dialogue. For those who don't know, the Twi'lek's are a race in Star Wars, who wouldn't know of Starfleet, or anything else in Star Trek.

By Bixyl Shuftan

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Beverly Montgomery's Memorial Service

NCI Kuula - New Citizens Incorporated has a number of people behind it to help newcomers. Sadly one of them, Beverly Montgomery, passed away last month. On Sunday May 21, the people there held a memorial service for her, which included real-life family. There were problems covering the event, but thanks to a couple people it was done.

Read the story in People.

Six Thousand Days

 The other day, someone pointed out my account was exactly six thousand days old, congratulating me. And so, here's the picture.
That's quite a lot of days. A few sad. A few with not much done. Most having fun with friends, covering something for the paper, or both. 

May you make the best of your days.

Bixyl Shuftan

SL Video: "Mature Military Veterans in Second Life with Stacy Maracas"


 From the Ageless Mind Project on May 21, "Stacy talks about how Echo-vets assists mature Veterans with resources and navigation of the VA system while in Second Life."

Friday, May 26, 2023

RFL Announcement: Sunbeamer & Roos With A Dream Beach Party


You're invited on Saturday May 27th 9am to 5pm to a beach party with music performances by DJ Cynthia of the Sunbeamers playing 9am till 11am then it’s DJ Kayla and the Roos at 11am to 1pm.  From 1pm till 5pm a volley ball contest will be conducted with L$500 and a trophy for prize. The volley ball court will be open for practice before the contest. During the beach party a boat race will be going with the boats provided. The person with the fastest time by party’s end will receive a Drack Motors Barracuda Boat. The Sunbeamer Bumper Cars are back! Be the winner of each contest and win a trophy to show you actually lived!


Relay Track Camps Open to Builders

Earlier today, the campsites at the Relay Weekend track sims were opened up to builders (and one reporter designated one). This includes the Sunbeamer camp, which team captain Rita Mariner showed off the marker.

For the 'beamers, things will be a little different this year. They will be sponsoring a sim: RFL Advocacy.

The sims are mostly empty now. But it won't be long before they're full of builds as the various teams fill up their campsites. The Newser won't show pictures of incomplete sites, but we can and will show "teasers" for small glimpses of what's to come.

Go Sunbeamers! Go Relay!

Bixyl Shuftan

Sunbeamer "Bid Me" Update

Following their performance at the Relaystock, the Relay for Life's Sunbeamers have continued to do well. On Saturday May 20 at 8 PM, the "Bid Me Otter" fundraiser, of which Snowy HunniBunni Lefavre (Skylark Lefavre) was the volunteer, came to a close. Team captain Rita Mariner would announce the results.

Snowy's Bid Me:

Keep Me Bunny - 1,000L

Bid Me Otter - 10,750L

Snowy goes OTTER for 3 weeks, until.JUNE 10.
So the loveable bunny DJ, who also manages the Happy Vixen and BBBC beach clubs, will be "otterly cute" for a few weeks.
While Liska's "Bid Me Skunk" fundraiser ended on Saturday May 6, she continued to be the purple fox for a while. She had been continuing the time from her previous Bid Me event. On Saturday May 20, she started the time for the skunk Bid Me. So now she reflects the sweet smell of successful Relaying.

So now there's one "Bid Me" fundraiser still ongoing: Mattie Carlton's "Bid Me Purple." It will last for a few more days, with the total raised made final on Saturday May 27 at 8PM and the announced soon after. For those wanting to make donations, head to Club Cutlass at Sunweaver Bay (114/117/757), and look for the kiosks. How long will things be going "grape" for the Relay DJ, we'll soon see.

Go Sunbeamers! Go Relay!

Bixyl Shuftan

RFL Announcement: ACTS Gypsy Dance Party

 Costume Dance Party  - open to everyone - Wear your favorite Gypsy Outfit - prizes for the best ones.

Vote for your favorites using the assigned RFL kiosks.

This Saturday at The Science Circle

Saturday, May 27
    At 10 AM PST   

    Bugs and Babies:  Endosymbiotic Embryogenesis in Carpenter Ants
    By Dr. Mary Anne Clark
    The Science Circle (72,129,30)
    At 9 PM PST   

    Places in Second Life
    By Jes Stannard
    SC Meeting Spot
   The Science Circle (72,129,30)
    NOTE: Non-members required to register once
    IM Jes Cobalt or Nymf Hathaway

╚══════════════════════════════ The Science Circle (72,129,30) ═╝

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Scenes From The Relaystock

At the Relay for Life's Relaystock, the Woodstock tribute that ran on the weekend of May 12 to 14, there was a lot of fun to be had. While there might not have been sex and drugs, there was plenty of rock n' roll and general funnery as only the Relayers can deliver. On Saturday May 13, the Newser's Bixyl Shuftan was there to report on the goings-on of the team of the Sunweaver community, the Sunbeamers, and they, along with Roos With A Dream, raised quite a bit of cash for the American Cancer Society, and had a lot of fun doing it.

Read the story in Events.

Press Release: 3rd Annual Homes For Our Troops Fundraiser

What: 3rd Annual Homes For Our Troops Fundraiser

When: 27 & 28 May, 2023 10am-11pm both days
DJs & Live Performers both days

We have some AMAZING sponsors lined up this year, SEVERAL of them joining us for the first time for this fundraiser.  THIS year, we have NOT ONE...BUT TWO bikes (L$3,000 value each) from Turlaccor Custom Bike that we'll raffle off, a Catamaran Sailboat (that's a boat with TWO hulls, for you landlubbers) from The Mesh Shop, Eagle from Rezz Room, and MORE!

We plan to have TWO days pack full of DJs, Performers, singers, and great times!

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Cartoon of The Day: Victoria-Victorian

 Taken at Club Zero Gravity. With the variety of fashions in Second Life, sometimes you get some interesting contrasts next to one another, such as this lady wearing something skimpy next to someone in Victorian-era fashion. Eventually this punch line came to mind.

By Bixyl Shuftan

A Fun Busy Weekend

Gemma Cleaslate did quite a few things this weekend. Besides a fishing event, she went to the Bay City Anniversary Party.  Then a party at Virtual Ability followed by the Cultural Diversity party. And then came some sky jumping at Yosemite High Sierra. She had quite a bit to write about.
Read Gemma's story in Extra.

The Raglan Shire Artwalk

In the Raglan Shire community lands their annual Artwalk is taking place. Over much of the area, numerous artworks are up for display. The bulk of it is on the hedgerows in the Raglan Shire sim, much of it on the tree platforms, which the locals sometimes call "art on a hedge." In Morning, Heron, and Athen Shire are some sculptures and other 3D artworks. 
Much, if not most, of the paintings one can buy a copy of. Many of the works are from artists who make their home in the Shire, but there are a number from other places in Second Life as the event has been open to all artists.

Due to the General-Audience rating of the sims, there is no adult artwork available for display. But there is humor, fitting in with the often whimsical-nature of events that the Raglan tinies like to show. At one place, I found an "Art-O-Matic 3000" which when sat on will do a "painting" of your profile picture as you watch. But that last step is a doosy.
The Artwalk started earlier this month, on Sunday May 14, and it will go on until Sunday June 18.
To get to Art Area 1, head to Raglan Shire (80/144/58). There are teleports to other art display areas, but feel free to walk around.

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Events This Week at the Sunweaver and Montecito Bay Clubs, and Furry Fashion Lounge

Here's what's going on at the Sunweaver and Montecito Bay clubs, and the Furry Fashion Lounge.

Club Cutlass: Furs of Evils, Uniforms, (Memorial Day ?)

Happy Vixen: Corsets and Suits, Leather and Latex, Domestic vs Wild, Nude, Madkat Mashup, Western, Scary and Sexy, Memorial Day

Sunbeamer Moon Dance
Club Zero Gravity: Uniforms

Bouncing Bunny Beach Club: Digimon and Pokemon

Xanadu: DJ Jesse

Club Squeaks: DJ Squeaks
Montecito Bay:  CAYA, After Dark

Furry Fashion Lounge:  Creepy VS Cute, Rainbow, Barely There, Wings, Sexy

Read the schedules in SL Clubbin'

Reader Submitted: The Privateers Ball Hauls In A King’s Ransom!

Among the events held by the Relay's Team ACTS every year is the Privateer's Ball. On Sunday May 21, it was held in the Rosehaven sim. So how much did it take in? Cynthia Farshore was there, and in her words, it took in "a king's ransom."

Read Cynthia's reader submission in Events

Monday, May 22, 2023

Reader Submitted Pictures: A Last Look At The Sunbeamer Relaystock Camp

Kamida Delec and Cynthia Farshore sent over a couple pictures of the Sunbeamer camp at the Relaystock grounds shortly after the "Bid The Lindens Bald" event while the camp was still up before the takedown. Kamida's picture showed a view from above.

 Cynthia's picture was from the side, showing the sky, and the balloon.

Go Sunbamers! Go Relay!


Relay 2023 Season Hits 100 Million Linden Mark

Over the weekend the Relay for Life's 2023 fundraising season hit a milestone.  On Saturday May 20, just after 6PM, the combined efforts of all the teams, mega-events, and general fundraising all put together crossed the 100 million Linden dollar mark, or $400,000 US dollars.. 
Cynthia Farshore captured the moment in the Relay for Life Volunteers group when it happened.
[06:42 PM]  Elayne Diavolo: there we go, another 500L to team ES from me
[06:42 PM]  Kentar Vendetta: Team OD kicks in 900L more
[06:42 PM]  Elayne Diavolo: woot!!!
[06:42 PM]  Trader Whiplash-Ballinger (Trader1 Whiplash): 6500
[06:42 PM]  Gem Sunkiller: woot, it's coming down......get readdy everyone!!!!!
[06:43 PM]  Elayne Diavolo: here we go!!!!
[06:43 PM]  Gem Sunkiller: Give up a couple fatpacks......those shoes, Starbucks for a couple days
[06:44 PM]  Trader Whiplash-Ballinger (Trader1 Whiplash): Here it goes
[06:44 PM]  Elayne Diavolo: just mere minutes folks, the power of relay in secondlife!! never forget YOU are the power!!!
[06:44 PM]  Trader Whiplash-Ballinger (Trader1 Whiplash): 3500 to go
[06:45 PM]  Abigail XOXO: One more light just beat their last years total! We just hit over $9,000USD!
[06:45 PM]  Elayne Diavolo: wootttttttt Abi!!!
[06:46 PM]  Cynthia Farshore: ACS TOTAL
L$: 100,000,590
USD: $400,002.00
[06:46 PM]  Vixen McGregor: WOOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!!!
[06:46 PM]  Elayne Diavolo: wootttttttttttttttttt
[06:47 PM]  Abi  (Abigail XOXO): woohooo!!
[06:47 PM]  Abi  (Abigail XOXO): One Team One Dream!
[06:47 PM]  Kentar Vendetta: that's huge
[06:47 PM]  OldeSoul Eldemar (OldeSoul Resident): isn't that pretty-
While much has been done with the Relay season, it's still far from over. With the Fantasy Faire and Relaystock over, the teams are doing their final events, and getting ready for the big one: the Relay Weekend, Saturday June 10 and Sunday June 11.
Go Relay!

Weekend in Brief

 A number of things happened this weekend. Bay City would celebrate it's 15th Anniversary with a parade followed by a party with DJs and live musicians. The Raglan Shire Artwalk is talking place. The Relay for Life's fundraising season hit the 100 million Linden mark. Sadly, not all of the events were happy ones as among them was a memorial service for Beverly Montgomery's memorial at the NCI newcomer area.

Stay tuned for more about these events, and more, as time permits.


Sunday, May 21, 2023

Cartoon of The Day: Skunkutaur

 Taken at the Happy Vixen. "Skunkutars" were one created race in the Chakat stories. Though one thing I wonder if they put up with are the jokes.

By Bixyl Shuftan

From Fairelands Chat: The Late Passenger

It has been weeks since the mysts reclaimed the Fairelands. We have found a new passenger lost in the  aether. After taking her aboard, We got her steeled and comfortable. "I missed the Faire, I tried but it was too late."  The poor dear is on the verge of tears. 
I sit with her "You may have missed the Faire, however not the FaireLanders. Come here, there are wonderful places and events that we shall travel to. The people are still here and you will meet them."I look at the bundled girl and smile. "Care for a waffle?" She looks around and sees the waffle tree and giggles. 
Fantasy Faire Radio still plays from the ship's radio. "Is that the sound of the f-Fairelands?" I nod. "It's beautiful....." We set sail to meet other Fairelanders and an event so the young one can see that Hope does live. People do care. She is  not alone. 

Pookie Wolfsong (Helixer Resident)

Saturday, May 20, 2023

SL Video: "Coming Home - Fantasy Faire 2023"

From Caitian Tobias on April 28, "My submission to the Filmfestival Film Competition 2023 for the Fantasy Faire 2023 in SecondLife"

Friday, May 19, 2023

Linden Lab's Social Casino (And Controversy About)

 For those looking for a little casino action, Linden Lab now has a "Social Casino" where one can play slots and blackjack. However, the move is not going well with some residents.

The news was announced in both the "Shop and Hop" group by Strawberry Linden, and on the Second Life Twitter by the Lab.

We opened up a new Social Casino in Second Life where you can get free chips to play if you login daily. Check it out, it's called Helios Casino & Lounge, landmark is attached:

Please feel free to share any feedback with me directly and let me know how you like it!
Heading to Helios Casino (78/121/23), I was greeted with a HUD coming up, giving some basic directions, and announcing I was being given 500 free chips, plus would be given an additional 120 chips for every day I came back. Examining the place, it was made by various moles, with a "Social Casino Linden" listed as the owner.

Taking a look around, there were just two types of games. There are the slot machines, which pretty much rely on "dumb luck." And then there are the blackjack tables, in which a skilled player can win more often. There are variations in the slot games. And the blackjack tables are a bit different, with some offering different stakes and faster/slower paced games, than others. 
If you tun out of tokens and don't want to wait until the next day to get more, you can buy some from an "ATM" by the Lab. These tokens cannot be exchanged back into Linden dollars, and cannot be given/traded to other players.
While worth visiting, the place lacked the variety of games of (legal) casinos I've see in the past, such as 777 Studios. But it did seem cleaner and lacking the seedy air of a few such places. 

This might have been the end of the story, but as some might imagine, especially considering the history of gambling in Second Life, the news of a Linden Lab casino has not gone well with everyone. One person started a thread on the forums, asking why the Lab had banned gachas a few years ago if they were too close to gambling and was now opening an actual gambling casino, "Are you drunk, LL?". There would also be a second forum thread "Is Gambling Back?" The Twitter post was full of comments, and a picture from Sheree Honeyflower of a few people holding signs with a gambling problem helpline phone number, "If you're going to provide gambling, you may as well permit gacha.
The comments have been mostly negative, filled with charges of hypocrisy, and calls for the Lab to install some safety measures, or do away with the casino entirely. One commented, "... the decision to actively promote this one is rather, Unclever.  And highly unethical... it's only to prey on the ones having problems with addiction because no sane person drops 5k plus on something that is set to lose anyways."
What lies ahead can only be speculated on. Linden Lab may put a cap on the number of tokens that can be bought, do away with the option of buying them, or perhaps do nothing and hope that the issue is forgotten. What is clear is that if they expected little to no criticism, they were mistaken. For now, the Social Casino remains at the Helios Casino sim.

Bixyl Shuftan

"Bid The Lindens Bald" Results


 On Wednesday May 17, the closing party of the "Bid the Lindens Bald" Relay for Life fundraiser took place. Hosted by the Relay Rockers team, the event took place in the Relaystock 2023 sim south of American Cancer Society. A number of Lindens and Moles volunteered to put their looks on the line, and were divided into several teams, with the one who raised the least to get the barber's chair.

While the party wasn't to officially start until 2PM SL time, people were arriving much earlier.  The place was packed with over 100 avatars present at times.
Team Three, the one with Mini Mole, Kit Linden, Chioni Linden, Lilith Linden, and K B Linden, was the one that raised the least money. So Mini and Chioni got the barber chairs, Along with Derick and Sequoia Linden and Justa Mole out of sympathy, and then came the haircuts courtesy of Patch and Milli Mole. 

The event raised 736,000 Linden dollars, including 100,000L thrown in by Patch Linden at the end. This catapulted the Relay Rockers past the two million Linden dollar mark, and into Diamond level fundraising. 

Special thanks to Kamida Delec for the pictures (and record of the chatter)

Bixyl Shuftan

This Saturday at The Science Circle

Saturday, May 20
    At 10 AM PST   

    The Benefits of Getting Back To Nature
    By Phil Youngblood
    Part of the Healthy Aging Conference
    Inspiration Bay
    Inspiration Bay (210/123/21)
    At 9 PM PST   

    Milanchovich Cycles
    By Jes Stannard , Keith Eric Grant
    SC Meeting Spot
   The Science Circle (72,129,30)
    NOTE: Non-members required to register once
    IM Jes Cobalt or Nymf Hathaway

╚══════════════════════════════ The Science Circle (72,129,30) ═╝

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Sunbeamer Moon Dance

A slight "oops" on our part.

While the Sunbeamer Moon Dance has been going on every week this spring, we didn't include it in SL Clubbin' as it wasn't at an actual club. A couple readers have requested we "make it so." And so we'll be listing the Sunnie's weekly dance on the lunar surface as part of SL Clubbin', at least until the Relay Weekend after which the Moon Cannon goes silent, until next February.

Go Relay!

Thursdays, 6PM, Sunweaver Space (108/113/50)

Press Release: Cultural Diversity Day



Essentially, cultural diversity is about bringing people together from a diverse set of backgrounds and cultures, then creating an environment that not only recognizes the differences between those cultures and backgrounds, but celebrates them. It helps create a space for people to be authentically themselves.

International Cultural Diversity Day is a day set aside annually to celebrate and appreciate the different cultures and backgrounds of people all over the World.  Everyone should be respected and included no matter where you're from, the language you speak, what your beliefs are, the color of your skin, your age, your disabilities or gender.

SecondLife is a platform made up of people from many different cultures, traditions and beliefs so for us, this day will be a time to recognize the beauty of our uniqueness from within our continents, to mainland and even to the grid in general.

Crowne Heights Community is a community themed in the 1950s. Our diversity event will be held in the streets of that location. We invite and encourage all backgrounds of people to come and explore, visit and celebrate with us.  We will hold social events and gatherings throughout the year to help bring people together to celebrate as one.

For more information on Crowne Heights Community, visit us at 

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Cartoon of The Day: Skunky Firepower

 Shion Winkler sporting high-tech body armor and a chaingun. So why would a skunkgirl be sporting such firepower? I could think of one reason.

And yeah, she'd need the powersuit as the recoil on a gun like that would be just brutal.
By Bixyl Shuftan 

Facebook/Meta Quietly Leaving Virtual Worlds Behind

Last year, Facebook/Meta was really harping itself as the future of virtual worlds. It was touting it's Horizons as the up and coming brand new virtual landscape that the masses would want to join and experience. This year, they've been quiet about it. CEO and owner Mark Zuckerburg has gone from repeatedly promoting Horizons as the must be-in place online, to having stopped.
So what happened? Well, Horizons turned out to be a big money loser. Zuckerburg invested billions in his company's virtual world, only to get very little return for it in comparison. 
The number of people signing up was far short than the half million expected, and most didn't stay after their first month. It seems the "lack of realism" on the avatars, notably having no legs, was one of the big reasons. Of it's virtual worlds, only a handful were visited by more than 50, most not visited by anyone but it's creator. And unlike Second Life, which continued to do very well, Facebook/Meta workers didn't enjoy using the place on their free time "because it's riddled with bugs and other quality issues."

For all the money invested, Horizon's returns are small in comparison. It brought in 727 million USD in 2022, 17% less than in 2021. The result has been huge loses, losing nearly 24 BILLION dollars in 2021 and 2022, 13.7 billion in 2022 alone. Considering their overall income was 32.1 billion, the company had been continuing to spend and invest heavily after initial small returns, and was getting even less. So no wonder Facebook/Meta is cutting its losses.

Fortunately for Zuckerberg, technology tends have allowed him to quietly leave virtual reality behind: AI, which in recent months has gotten more attention thanks to programs like Chat GPT. An article on "The Street" stated in an announcement, he announced, "We're creating a new top-level product group at Meta focused on generative AI to turbocharge our work in this area. We're starting by pulling together a lot of the teams working on generative AI across the company into one group focused on building delightful experiences around this technology. ... In the short term, we'll focus on building creative and expressive tools. Over the longer term, we'll focus on developing AI personas that can help people in a variety of ways."

So it seems Horizon is being left behind, joining the ranks of the virtual worlds such as There and Blue Mars that had gotten plenty of talk but ended up falling short, while Second Life and to a smaller extent VRChat, continue to flourish.
Sources: The Street, Kotaku, PC Gamer

Bixyl Shuftan