Jul 042015

Back on June 16th Xiola Linden posted a blog entry, The “What Second Life Means to Me” Video Share Project :

We’ve been having a lot of fun with no end in sight to the good times – but you can’t turn 12 without a little pride and reflection. Second Life has been going strong for a dozen wonderful years and there’s a ton of things happening to celebrate. You’ll see more to come here in the Featured News Blog – but we wanted to stop and ask – “What is the meaning of Second Life?” To you – that is! This question may sound daunting – but the truth is, tapping into what makes “SL” so special to us as individuals and communities is a really amazing exercise in retrospection and self-discovery. This is your world – so what does it mean to you?

Whether you just got started, have been onboard for the full dozen years, or fall somewhere in between – we’d love to see a glimpse of your story in the “What Second Life Means to Me” video project.

Since then people have been creating short videos and I have noticed that the playlist on YouTube has now hit the 30 mark. There are a variety of styles applied, some people share more of their real self than others, some are shot entirely inworld, some have no voice. This mix is what makes this project so interesting.

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Jul 032015

Crestwick Petrol

Just a small town Dwarfin, living in a lonely world.

I decided to take a trip to a small working class region of Second Life by the name of Crestwick Island and I was totally blown away by its gritty beauty.

Crestwick Street

The actual parcel description states :

Crestwick Island is a small working class town situated on an Island in the middle of a beautiful bay. The streets are lined faux businesses and shops as well as parks, marsh land and other surprises including a giant hill that supports an observatory.

This is a location that works really well, although it’s a shame that the business on the streets are faux because the record store looks really funky!


Crestwick Out Of Town

The creators of this wonderful location are Ciphertazi Wandin and Isa Messioptra, who also doubles as The Mayor, although I don’t know if she was democratically elected.

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Jul 022015

Hamlet Au recently blogged – Linden Lab Declines Comment on Continued Sale of Racist Confederate Flag Items in Official Second Life Store. In that post Hamlet said

I’ve e-mailed Linden Lab three times about the sale of Confederate flag items in its official Second Life Marketplace (which I blogged about last week), but have still not received any kind of reply. At this point I’m forced to conclude Linden Lab is declining to address the issue — either publicly, or in the Marketplace itself, where Confederate flag items are still quite easy to find and buy, both through searches of “Confederate” and “rebel flag”.

Whereas Linden Lab may have declined to comment, it does seem that they are taking action. In a post on SLUniverse, Second Life content creator Amigo Uriza writes :

Yesterday and today, I got all my outfits with the rebel or confederate flag delisted and deleted from the marketplace.

I always supposed that flags were never copyrighted or trademarked … that’s why I decided to used them. Actually It wasn’t me, but my deceased partner that created those “rebel” items a few years ago and I have been selling them since then. I haven’t created any other since then.

According to Linden my items have been removed for “Listings for harmful or disruptive content”. They are just outfits with a flag on the chest or the back. Nothing else. Some of them have been removed for “Post, display, or transmit Content that is obscene, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable”

First things first, Amigo admits that English is not his first language, so he may very well be unaware of the more sinister meanings behind the Confederate Battle Flag. I say this as someone who does have English as a first language and I didn’t understand how deep the negative symbolism of this banner went. I have put this down to the fact that it is widely seen on Film and TV where it’s not always in a context of racism. This is a different scenario to which people generally see the Nazi symbol, with some exceptions in Asia and even then, those of us in the west raise eyebrows when we see the symbol.

However the commentary and news stories surrounding the Confederate Battle Flag in recent days have pointed out loud and clear how much a symbol of hatred it can be. This therefore has definitely put Linden Lab in an uncomfortable position.

Amigo’s post is backed up by the fact that a search of the Second Life Marketplace no longer seems to return obvious items emblazoned with the Confederate Battle Flag.

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Jun 302015

Electrobit City

Yesterday I was highlighting how Loki Eliot has been making good use of Experience Tools in Second Life and today Linden Lab blog Experience Tools Available Now For Premium Members! Coincidence? Most definitely, but that’s not the point!

First things first, what are experience tools? There’s a good knowledge base article but basically it’s a means by which a lot of the interaction notifications for a location can be agreed to in one foul swoop. So for example if you’re on a sim where scripted objects want to teleport you, take control of your camera, animate your avatar, attach a hud to you etc. this can be done in one step. For example I visited Electrobit City this evening, as I hadn’t been there before and I was greeted with this :


So basically, if I say yes to this, I’m agreeing that whilst in ElectroBit City scripted objects can :

  • Act on my control inputs
  • Animate my avatar
  • Attach to my avatar
  • Track my camera
  • Control my camera
  • Teleport me

As you can hopefully see, I have a choice in this matter. Another thing to note, is that if I change my mind, I can revoke these permissions. Now to make sure I have full access to all these options, I’m using the latest version of the official Second Life viewer, which is available from the downloads page. The current version is

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Jun 302015

Tabard Inn

Literature Alive! have had a presence in Second Life going all the way back to 2006, their goal is :

The goals of Literature Alive! are to help faculty create ethical and immersive learning environments that provide “added value” to students in composition, professional writing, and literature courses: to help students use the resources of a 3D world to add to the depth and breadth of understanding literature; to foster a community of open access educators dedicated to the sharing of teaching content; and, finally, to promote a lifelong love of learning through a lifelong passion for reading.

Personally I’m a big fan of learning and a big fan of reading, so I like the cut of their jib. Literature Alive! currently have a couple of exhibits in Second Life. One is a virtual pilgrimage of The Canterbury Tales and the other is Edgar Allan Poe’s House of Usher.

We’ll start with The Canterbury Tales. The starting place is Tabard Inn and being a Dwarfin I can’t resist a good inn! There’s also a mini game here, which if you complete you will be able to claim a free meal … that definitely appeals to a Dwarfin too!

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Jun 292015

Loki Eliot's Exhibit

Whereas the performance schedule at SL12B is over, the exhibits are still open and one exhibit that is really worth a look at is Loki Eliot’s Childhood Dreams. The reason it’s worth a look is because this exhibit makes really good use of experience tools to tell a story and move you in the right direction.

Traditionally in Second Life, when you want to interact with an object, you click it. Whereas Loki’s build does still include some clicking, it’s largely related to the HUD that automatically attaches itself to you when you accept the experience tools.

Experience Keys

To put this simply, you click the hand to progress. This makes for a pretty seamless experience.

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Jun 282015

Cake Stage SL12B

Today is not quite the end of Second Life’s twelfth birthday celebrations, but it is the last day of the performance schedule. This is a shame and it all seems to have finished far too quickly.

DJ Stage SL12B

Today’s highlights included a particle show from ChangHigh Sisters. However if you’ve missed that fear not, there’s plenty more entertainment planned for today including  JueL Resistance at the Main Stage at 4 pm. and Laz Dresler doing Lady Gaga meets Katy Perry for a big happy birthday at the Cake Stage starting at 10 pm.

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Jun 272015

Meet The Lindens featuring the interview with Ebbe Altberg is now available on youTube for your viewing pleasure. The interview was conducted by Saffia Widdershins and Jo Yardley and runs for around one hour ten minutes. I covered it in an earlier blog post : SL12B Meet The Lindens With Ebbe Altberg, No Scoops, No Bears, But Plenty Of Chatter. However this video is the full kit and caboodle and I heartily recommend it.

As for SL12B itself, it continues at an amazing rate of knots with entertainment and festivities galore. Today’s highlights include The Follow, a powerhouse trio, who are making their first appearance at a Second Life Birthday bash since Sl8. They will be performing on the Cake Stage at 8 pm SLT.

Beyond that we have the second day of the Linden Lab sponsored music fest.

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Jun 272015
An Image Should Be Here

Second Life Official Twitter

Second Life’s official Twitter account has changed its icon into a heart shaped rainbow and added a new banner with “Love is Love” emblazoned across it as same sex couples hold hands. This appears to be part of a promotion of Second Pride, which is celebrating a decade of pride in Second Life with an event that runs until tomorrow, so you still have time to visit. I say appears to be because I haven’t asked Second Life if this is the reason, but it does seem rather obvious!

A Decade Of Second Pride

The Second Pride event has been running since June 19th and ends tomorrow, June 28th.

Second Pride Entertainment

There’s an extremely busy festival schedule that today started at 8am SLT with DJ Kendra on the East Stage and runs all the way through until the 10pm – midnight slot with DJ ZeroZero on the main stage.

Second Pride Stores And Gardens

The about page of the Second Pride website provides us with more information :

Second Pride was born around 2005 in small gathering of LGBT groups in the LGBT region of Province Town in Second Life. Back then the participants were almost all from the same few groups and it is only later that it grew when they decided to make their celebration event available to all of SL by making it much bigger.

Beginning in 2007, the Second Pride Committee has chosen a Real or 1st Life charity to designate as the recipient of proceeds raised above and beyond those required for the “business” of organizing events leading up to the annual Second Pride Festival as well as the Festival itself. Over the years, Second Pride has raised thousands of dollars in support of these Real World organizations whose mission and goals dovetail with our own.

As Second Pride moves into a new era we will be supporting “in-world” Second Life groups and organizations that share our interest and concern and further LGBT causes through the donation of space on the Second Pride Sim — a community center space where where in world non profit groups can have presence, meeting and event space. Surplus donations beyond the operating costs of Second Pride will continue to be donated to Real World organizations whose mission and goals dovetail with our own.

Our governing principles, objectives and goals can be found in the By-Laws of Second Pride.

The concept and idea are similar to the well-known Gay Pride Celebrations held around the world. The Second Pride Festival, however, is about an international gathering of LGBT people in the virtual world of Second Life ® created by Linden Lab ®.

Since it”s beginnings, Second Pride has raised and donated in excess of US$25,000 to various charities and causes.

This sounds like a very noble venture.

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Jun 262015


Meet The Lindens with Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg took place this evening and after a delay for technical issues, burst into life with a very enjoyable Q&A session. Jo Yardley and Saffia Widdershins posed the questions, Ebbe Altberg provided the answers, but he brought no super scoops with him and he also admitted that he was not bearing bears either!

A video will appear in a few days time and there were Lindens in the audience transcribing the meeting so if you want the full, 100% real McCoy version you will have to wait for that to appear. However if you want my version, which did not include short hand and was created in the midst of several crashes, read on. I will do my best to make a fair and accurate representation of some of what was said. I hope I haven’t made any blunders as once again, I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumours.

Ebbe admitted that he is proud that the relationship between Linden Lab and residents is much better than it was when he first started working as CEO for Linden Lab. He was talking about communication here and I wholeheartedly agree with him. I complained quite a lot about the Lab’s poor communications in the years before Ebbe became CEO. Ebbe felt that the relationship was a bit tense, I just felt the relationship needed a lot of counselling sessions, but things have undoubtedly improved.

Ebbe is also proud of performance and quality improvements. I do think Rod Humble’s reign also saw performance and quality improvements but Ebbe has certainly been CEO during a period when Second Life has seen some impressive improvements and developments. I’m thinking of things such as the content delivery network here.

Ebbe also talked about how when he arrived the focus on products was a bit scattered, now there is more focus on four core products. The products being Second Life, Blocksworld, Project Sansar and Compliance. I was disappointed that Linden Lab let Versu go and I was happy when they allowed new life to be breathed into it but hearing Ebbe speak like this explains why Linden Lab took those decisions over some of their products.

Now if you’re wondering if Compliance is a top secret virtual world that you’ve never heard of, it isn’t. Compliance is Linden Lab ensuring everything is above board, that they can convince the banks they are working in a responsible manner and that they are working to prevent fraud and identity problems. This explains why Linden Lab have been pushing for people to identify for tax and account purposes and whereas some of the communications regarding that weren’t conveyed as well as they should have been in the early days, it’s clear to see there was a purpose behind the moves Linden Lab made. This also means that when Linden Lab launch Project Sansar, they will be well ahead of a lot of other ventures who want to deal with real money transactions.

Ebbe also touched upon trust, more than once. One area where he talked of trust was with regards to faster cash outs. Linden Lab are looking at ways to make it possible for people to cash out within 24 hours for people who pass a trust threshold.

Another area where trust got mentioned was with regards to Project Sansar. People wondered whether people would need payment info on file to sell in Project Sansar. Ebbe suggested that no final decision had been made but they are looking at a system whereby the more Linden Lab trust you, the more you’ll be able to do in Project Sansar. However in another area of trust Ebbe was brutally honest. Whereas Linden Lab can do a lot to stop content theft, they simply can’t stop it full stop. Ebbe pointed out that DRM on films and video games doesn’t stop content theft and that people always seem to find a way. However don’t take this to mean that Linden Lab won’t take measures to try and stop content theft in Project Sansar, it’s just that the cold harsh issue is that they can’t guarantee they can stop it.

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