Aug 282015
 

Country Festival

This weekend, 29th – 30th August, Romea have organised a Country and Folk Festival featuring live musicians and DJ’s. The festival will take place of the Manifesto region, which definitely has a country feel to it.

Country Music

The lineup for Saturday is :

Saturday 29th August 2015

  • Live Singer – Jeffah24 – SLT 10 PDT/ 10 AM – Europe: 19:00 / 7:00 PM
  • Live Singer – Jade Berry – SLT 11 PDT/ 11 AM – Europe: 20:00 / 8:00 PM
  • Live Singer – Clyde Barrow  – SLT 12 PDT/ 12 AM – Europe: 21:00 / 9:00 PM
  • Live Singer – Nance Brody – SLT 14 PDT/ 2 PM – Europe: 23:00 / 11:00 PM Live Singer
  • Live Singer – Zoree Jupiter – SLT 14 PDT/ 2 PM – Europe: 23:00 / 11:00 PM
  • Live Singer – TUKSO OKEY  – SLT 15 PDT/ 3 PM – Europe: 24:00 / 12:00 PM

There’s more on Sunday.

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Aug 282015
 

The Band

Strings by Cica Ghost is a delighful art installation in Second Life. The premise is straight forward :

In the courtyard of an ancient villa, set amidst a surreal landscape, a band of musicians performs for onlookers and visitors.

The delivery is impressive to say the least.

Balcony Viewers

What makes this impressive though is that beyond the initial premise you can explore the homes in the area and get a glimpse into the lives of the people watching and observing the entertainment. This leaves much to the imagination, but that’s the beauty of it.

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Aug 272015
 

The Taxman’s taken all my dough and left me in my stately home, lazing on a sunny afternoon.

In a pleasing but rather bizarre announcement, Linden Lab have blogged; Cheaper Monthly Premium & the End of VAT Charges. First of all let’s take a look at those cheaper monthly premium charges :

Now, we’re reducing the standard cost of a monthly Premium subscription to just $9.50 a month. Enjoy all the benefits of Premium Membership for less!

The price of a monthly Second Life premium membership has been reduced by 45 cents a month, down fro $9.95 to $9.50. The quarterly plan remains $22.50 for three months and the yearly plan remains $72.00 a year.

On a month by month comparison the quarterly plan works out at $7.50 a month and the yearly plan works out at just $6.00 a month, so they both offer better value than a regular monthly plan but some people prefer a monthly fee, there’s a good choice for different use cases here. The rates and other Second Life related costs can be found here.

Premium Membership in Second Life offers some perks, including :

  • A personal and private home or free 512m tier if you want to buy a plot of mainland.
  • Expanded support, including Live Chat.
  • Exclusive Experience: Magellan’s Grid Hunt.
  • Exclusive Activites: Dune Buggy Racing in Racer’s Gulch.

For more details on Premium Membership perks in Second Life, go here.

Where the blog post gets bizarre is with the next part of the announcement :

We will also no longer charge VAT for Premium subscriptions. If you live in a region where VAT applies, this means an effective savings in some countries of more than 20% below what you would have previously paid!

I’m not sure what exactly Linden Lab mean by this. Are they really saying the aren’t charging VAT or are they actually absorbing the VAT? Let’s go into speculation mode and look at a couple of scenarios.

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Aug 262015
 

YouTube Gaming Second Life

YouTube Gaming has officially launched and Second Life has its own channel. I hope that link works, the URL is rather convoluted, if the link doesn’t work then just do a search for Second Life from the main YouTube Gaming page.

The about page of the Second Life channel tells us :

Second Life is an online virtual world, developed by Linden Lab, based in San Francisco, and launched on June 23, 2003. By 2013 Second Life had approximately 1 million regular users, according to Linden Lab, which own Second Life. In many ways, Second Life is similar to MMORPGs; however, Linden Lab is emphatic that their creation is not a game: “There is no manufactured conflict, no set objective”.

The virtual world can be accessed freely via Linden Lab’s own client programs, or via alternative Third Party Viewers. Second Life users create virtual representations of themselves, called avatars and are able to interact with other avatars, places or objects. They can explore the world, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, build, create, shop and trade virtual property and services with one another. It is a platform that principally features 3D-based user-generated content. Second Life also has its own virtual currency, the Linden Dollar, which is exchangeable with real world currency.

Now make sure that you take note of “Linden Lab is emphatic that their creation is not a game“, part of this before complaining that Second Life is not a game so what is it doing in the gaming section of YouTube. The fact of the matter is that virtual worlds end up in the games section because there’s no other category that is more suitable.

I should actually rewind a bit here, because some of you may be wondering what on earth YouTube Gaming is.

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Aug 252015
 

Festival Of Sin II

Festival Of Sin II in Second Life opened on August 22nd and runs until September 5th. This is a shopping extravaganza with a side order of Gacha with themes based around the seven deadly sins of Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Sloth, Vanity and Wrath, well if we’re being technical it should be pride rather than Vanity, but Vanity is a better fit for a shopping event!

Greed and Lust

The sponsors for the themes are brands such as Decoy, Essenz, Noodles, Katat0nik, Junbug, Haste and Exposeur.

Wrath

There are well over sixty merchants selling their wares here and on top of that there are over twenty who are also taking part in Gacha.

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Aug 242015
 

A couple of Avatars have ran foul of Facebook’s real name policy, which at first glance might not sound unusual, but in a bizarre twist on the naming policy, the couple concerned actually have a last name of Avatar.

Madison Malone Kircher published an article on Tech Insider; This guy claims Facebook has banned him from using the site until he proves his unique last name :

A couple in Arizona claims that Facebook has banned them from using the site until they verify their unique last name: Avatar.

Earlier this week, Balizar Orion Avatar claims he tried to log into Facebook and discovered that his account had been deleted, KTVK reported.

Avatar is recently married. His wife, Audry, says she has not been able to change her last name on Facebook, though her account remains active.

The reasons why Avatar is ringing alarm bells are almost certainly due to the film of the same name, but according to Tech Insider, there may be another source of concern for the name being flagged :

The Cameron movie isn’t the only reason Facebook tends to flag “Avatar” as a fake name. Digital communities like “Second Life” refer to people’s characters as avatars. For this reason, it’s one of several names that the site flags as potentially fake, a Facebook representative told KTVK.

I should say at this point that I can’t see any quotes in either of the linked articles that actually seem to quote a Facebook representative suggesting Avatar is flagged due to Second Life. Indeed if Second Life names were being flagged then “Resident” would be a more likely cause for concern.

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Aug 222015
 

Giant Octopus

The good news for those of you who haven’t yet visited the H.P. Lovecraft inspired LoveFest 2015 in Second Life is that it runs until August 23rd. The bad news is that if you’re planning to travel by sea you will have to ensure your captain steers a tidy path away from a Giant Octopus!

Welcome To Hell

Things wind down tomorrow in terms of events, but today’s calendar includes :

  • The Elysium Cabaret Dancers delight with a repeat performance of their burlesque spectacle!
  • Cordie and Beth’s creep show where they will delight with their combination act of dance and standup comedy! This is a Voice event!
  • The Carella Ross Hour, singer  Carella Ross (http://carellaross.com/) has prepared a selection of her music, Hosted by F尺モれ乙ㄚ.
  • Cabaret Sybarite Finale, Music After Dark with DJ Fitch Lekvoda, the DJ entertains with her choices of music dark and gothic in this, the final act at the Cabaret Sybarite!

So plenty of entertainment choices, otherwise you can explore, shop or talk to people!

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Aug 212015
 

Glimpses Launch

Today between 2-5pm Pacific Time there will be launch party for an ambitious collaboration between Swedish Techno sound architect, Cari Lekebusch and Second Life artist Thoth Jantzen.

The event is part of the collaborative work for an album that features 13 tracks :

Lekebusch Musik proudly presents “Glimpses – Chapter 1” (verses 01-13), an extraordinary audio/poetry album produced by Swedish Techno sound architect, Cari Lekebusch. Created in collaboration with writers and voice over artists from across the globe, the album features audio poems written by Bob Johnson, G-Tech, Mantis Oh and C-Blast, merged with electronica soundtracks and the voices of NushiOne, Persia Bravin and KorpGud.

This is an interesting concept and the art at the event site is extremely pleasing on the eye.

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Aug 192015
 

An exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, will feature a blog based on an artist’s experience in Second Life. The exhibition entitled Open Call – Web Based Art, will run from August 21st to September 13th.

The exhibition is described as :

For the 2015 edition of Open Call, ICA Miami invited artists to submit original and engaging works of digital and web-based art. Digital art circumvents the traditional dominance of the gallery and museum system, delivering new forms of aesthetic experience while inquiring into contemporary systems of vision and distribution. The works selected for Open Call examine the structures and operations inherent to digital mediums, exploring the continued importance of traditionally interactive and de-materialized work.

Two hundred and seventy submissions worldwide were made for the exhibition and a jury have picked a final ten to be part of the exhibition. One piece of art will be selected by the ICA to be part of its permanent collection.

The art based on Second Life is by AdrienneRose Gionta, who hails from Brooklyn New York but now resides in South Florida. The work is a blog, which was published in 2013 and covers 58 days of AdrienneRose’s experience in Second Life. However I do have to say at this point that the subject matter and title of the blog may lead to some raised eyebrows, to say the least. The work is entitled; My Big Fat Summer As A Skinny Hot Chick in Second Life. The linked blog contains adult themes so please proceed with caution.

Indeed the title made me pause before even writing this blog post, there’s a lot of potential here for this work to be patronising, insulting and shabbily done. However what made me publish this post was reading AdrienneRose’s words and thoughts about the project. The About page on the blog tells us more :

The MY BIG FAT SUMMER AS A SKINNY HOT CHICK in SECOND LIFE project begins on Friday, June 28 2013 as a documentative performance of a BBW (Big Beautiful Woman) on a self imposed super inexpensive summer vacation in virtual reality as a Hot Skinny Chick with major swagger. As a sexy confident BBW in the “”real”“ world. It gets exhausting while hoping for the world to just accept & love us as we are no matter how damn AWESOME we may be. Of course I wonder how different life would be without all of this extra weight on my body… but I’m not sure I am ready for all that action. Second Life provides the perfect opportunity to play out these thoughts as a visual mapping for a future me that could be, while exploring what it’s like to be there already with a brand new body, hair & attitude.

Being someone or something else is a use case for virtual worlds, many people do this.

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Aug 182015
 

Image for Bright Canopy

Bright Canopy, seen by many as the successor to the SL Go from Onlive, have announced that they will be officially launching on August 29th :

After much work and preparation and tremendous help from the community testing our offering, we are proud to announce the launch of the full Bright Canopy service.

LAUNCH DATE: August 29th

EARLY BIRD PRICE: $17 per month*

BRING A FRIEND: Sign-up a friend and both you, and your friend, earn free time.

EAST COAST CLOUD: We will also be adding a brand-new, US. East Coast cloud, for faster ping times!

The asterisk next to the price is important, because the pricing will initially be experimental.

Bright Canopy

In the blog post, Bill Glover explains :

Our early bird price is going to be an experiment for 90 days. If you’ve been following the blog, you know we’ve seen price fluctuations on the back end, and we still need to watch actual usage of the service. $17 is a sustainable price if the instance costs return to their typical, historical values. It is not a sustainable price with the current spike in instance price. We may need to get creative with how we split instances, or we may need to raise prices. We intend to remain transparent as always and will keep you posted. Our goal is to continue to maintain a sustainable, affordable service.

The transparency here regarding the pricing is something to be admired. Pricing has been seen as the big barrier to streaming services such as Second Life. Pricing was something that SL Go from OnLive struggled with and it’s something that even the Lindens have admitted is tricky when it comes to offering streaming services.

At SL12B Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg was asked about Linden Lab providing a streaming service, his reply put the issue of pricing firmly at the heart of the discussion :

Streaming (render on the server) is interesting but the issue is cost. The day will come but we’re not there yet. Between nVidia, Amazon, Microsoft etc. hopefully the competition will drive pricing down soon to make it something we can offer at a price that users are willing to pay to make it worthwhile.

Therefore the approach from Bright Canopy is most definitely a sensible one.

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