Jun 222016
 

Stonehenge

Away from Second Life’s 13th birthday celebrations we move into an area that used to be discussed a lot more in the earlier days of Second Life; Transhumanism. Over at The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) Giulio Prisco has a published a post : Paradiso and Inferno in Robin Hanson’s ‘The Age of EM’.

The post discusses a book by Robin Hanson, The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life when Robots Rule the Earth. The topic has long been considered controversial, but it’s a discussion area that was once very vibrant in Second Life. I am surprised we have not seen more of a resurgence in this area of discussion within the Virtual Reality hype cycle.

The blurb from the book tells us :

Robots may one day rule the world, but what is a robot-ruled Earth like?

Many think the first truly smart robots will be brain emulations or ems. Scan a human brain, then run a model with the same connections on a fast computer, and you have a robot brain, but recognizably human.

Train an em to do some job and copy it a million times: an army of workers is at your disposal. When they can be made cheaply, within perhaps a century, ems will displace humans in most jobs. In this new economic era, the world economy may double in size every few weeks.

Giulio, in his post, gives us more information regarding the content of the book :

Robin’s future em world is derived from our world with one – and only one – big change: the arrival of operational and cheap mind uploading technology, sometime in this century. Robin’s methodology is to take our world as it, with all the facts and trends that we can see in technology, society, politics, and economics, and add mind uploading technology to scan living people and copy them to “ems” – software emulations running on suitable computing hardware.

This is very Science Fiction and if you’re not familiar with the topics, you may find this all a bit daunting, odd, scary or all three.

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Jun 222016
 

Meet Ebbe Linden

Today I was reading an article over at the Inquisitr by Cal Jeffrey : No Man’s Sky’ Spoilers: Indie Developer To Revolutionize Gaming After Settling Lawsuit. The article is, as you would expect, about the hotly anticipated No Man’s Sky, which I am very interested in.

The article starts by pointing out that No Man’s Sky will still be called No Man’s Sky after settling a trademark dispute with SKY broadcasting group. This seems to be an absurd claim by the way, I am not sure how SKY had a leg to stand on, but apparently they did. The Sky was here long before the broadcaster, but I digress.

Another part of the article caught my eye :

No Man’s Sky has no plot or storyline. This aspect may be its only drawback, but the move is intentional. Hello Games wants a game where players create a story of their own. In that sense, the game is a bit like the now defunct Second Life. Second Life had no story. Players just logged in and lived their second life. The difference with No Man’s Sky is that there will be things to do in this game and there will be lore to uncover and somehow the Atlas ties into that lore.

I’m used to people saying “Second Life, is that still around?” but defunct? Nothing to do? This in the same week as Second Life is celebrating its 13th birthday!

Doc and Lindens

Today’s event schedule can be found here and again we see a mixture of events including DJ’s, live music, discussion, poetry, dance performances and more. There’s pretty much 24 hours worth of events scheduled.

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Jun 202016
 

SL13B Gift Vendor

The Second Life Community Celebrations to mark Second Life’s official 13th birthday are in full swing and there’s a lot going on, so much going on that for a visitor it may be a tad daunting, but fear not, there are ways of finding out what’s going on.

Your first port of call should be the Second Life Community Celebration Website because this will contain detailed information.

SL13B Welcome Area

The website contains blogs, event information, region information and much more. Now an important thing to note here is that there’s a hell of a lot going on and this is useful to know because it means that if you find a region is full and you can’t get in, there’s a very good chance something else will be going on at the same time and you may very well be able to get into that event.

As an example, Monday’s schedule for 4pm SLT (16:00 SLT) offers :

  • DJ Tarantula Bombastic – DJ Stage
  • Live Reading Of HP Lovecraft – Auditorium
  • Maxx Sabretooth – Cake Stage
  • Retune Resident – Live Stage
  • BubbaC John – Stage Left

So there’s a mix of DJ’s, live music and storytelling at the same time, so plenty of choice.

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Jun 192016
 

Medieval Faire1

The Second Annual Unmasking a Cure (UAC) Medieval Faire opened on June 17th and runs until June 26th. The event is a fundraiser for Relay For Life in Second Life and items will be on sale for that purpose with all proceeds from those sales going to Relay For Life.

Signs and Map

The faire is in the style of a renaissance faire and activities include jousting, en garde, sword play, magic, archery, and horse racing. There will also be entertainment with a dozen live performers and numerous DJ’s entertaining the medieval masses.

Looking For Directions

There are over 50 merchants participating at the faire too so if you want to kit out your avatar or just take a look at the wares available, this may be the faire for you.

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Jun 172016
 

Bear and Dwarfins

Time machine time, back to the annals of history, all the way back to June 23rd 2003 :

Residents and prospective residents,

Welcome to Second Life!

I am pleased to announce that today, Monday June 23rd, we are releasing Second Life version 1.0, and opening the service for general availability.

We’ve been able to reach this milestone through a combination of very hard work in creating a unique new technology and product, and the amazing efforts and engagement of our Early Creators and beta residents.

A ‘ball-drop’ ceremony was held in-world last night to celebrate the release.

Along with the many early residents of Second Life, let me salute our entire team of ‘Lindens’ for bringing this amazing experience to life. It has been a tremendous effort and, well worth it.

Philip Rosedale
aka Philip Linden

With that, Second Life was officially born. This Sunday, June 19th at noon SLT (12:00 PDT I think!) the doors will open for the Second Life Community Celebrations to mark Second Life’s 13th birthday! Hurrah!

Hairy Hippo Fun Land

The brief version of the schedule is :

  • Sunday, June 19, noon SLT: Opening Day
  • Thursday June 23: The Birthday
  • Sunday, June 19 to Sunday, June 26: Sims open with performances
  • Monday, June 27 to Sunday, July 3: Sims open for viewing, no performances
  • Sunday, July 3: Staff party
  • Monday, July 4 to Wednesday, July 6: Breakdown
  • Thursday, July 7: Sims go offline

However that’s a very brief version of a celebration that will involve DJ’s, Live Music, Panels, Entertainment, Interviews and much much more.

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Jun 172016
 

Danger

Whilst reading last week’s Highlights from The Second Life Destination Guide I noticed a place called Plagues of Egypt. The blurb informs us :

Explore this Egyptian-themed build representing the Egyptian plagues circa Moses and the 10 Commandments.

So I decided to go and take a look.

Plague

The location is a parcel named Xiao Tiangang on a region called Devils Mind. This is certainly an atmospheric parcel and I found myself sliding my feet on the street, bending my back, shifting my arm and then pulling it back.

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Jun 152016
 

Christian Petersen over at ArtSlant has published a great interview : The Wednesday Web Artist of the Week: LaTurbo Avedon. This is an interview with digital/virtual artist, LaTurbo Avedon but what makes the interview great for me is that it goes beyond artwork and delves into areas of avatar identity, creative spaces and much more.

I speak a lot about how good Draxtor Despres Drax Files : World Makers series is, because it gets to the real physical person behind the avatar, but Christian highlights another way of how avatars can evolve and how lines between the physical and virtual world can blur :

The artist LaTurbo Avedon may be a computer-created avatar but she is very much alive. Her identity has been created through very real experiences and interactions over numerous websites, social platforms, and gaming consoles. The notion that there is a “real” person behind the avatar becomes increasingly meaningless as the division between all of our online and IRL identities blur and dissipate.

That’s a fascinating way of looking at how avatars can evolve. LaTurbo Avedon has evolved via many platforms but she has deep roots in Second Life which go all the way back to 2006 and in her time in Second Life LaTurbo built and ran a club, which exemplifies a strong engagement with the environment because running clubs, even in the virtual world, is not as easy as some may think.

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Jun 132016
 

Casper Warden

Linden Lab have blogged;  Casper Warden of CasperVend Collecting Donations to Support Victims of Orlando Shooting :

In light of the tradegy that struck Orlando nighclub, Pulse this past weekend, Casper Warden of CasperVend has set up a kiosk in his mainstore to collect donations for the GoFundMe set up by Equality Florida to benefit and support the victims of this horrific event.

When I visited, Casper was actually there, but I didn’t want to bother him, he was doing something with the sign in the picture, which also acts as a collection kiosk.

Pulse Nightclub Fundraiser

Casper plans to donate the funds raised to the Equality Florida GoFundMe page. which has been created by Ida Vishkaee Eskamani, a Development Officer with Equality Florida, she resides in Orlando, Florida.  People can of course donate directly on that page if they prefer, rather than inworld but you want be able to donate Linden Dollars on the GoFundMe page of course.

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Jun 112016
 

Kevin With Guitar

Last night I visited High Fidelity to watch Kevin M Thomas perform live. Kevin is not new to performing live music in virtual worlds, he has been performing in Second Life since 2007, see my previous blog post for more details.

Arriving at the location I was informed by way of a pop up that my LOD settings had been reduced due to the complexity of the scene, which is a nice touch. LOD means Level Of Detail, which will dictate what I can see and from how far away I can see objects.

Live Music In High Fidelity

I had not had to mess with my LOD settings for a while in High Fidelity so it took me a while to find them and this is exemplified in the image above, Kevin’s Guitar does not appear in this shot. I would advise people to stick with the reduced LOD settings in general in a situation like this, but I wanted to take some snapshots so I wanted to tweak those settings.

What we can see in the above picture is Kevin’s avatar and on the screen, the actual band, who were all in a room together to perform. This provided an excellent perspective to what exactly was going on here and highlighted the fact that real people were very much involved in the performance.

The Real band

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Jun 102016
 

Kevin M Thomas is a name that should be familiar to fans of live music in Second Life. Kevin has been performing in Second Life since 2007 and has an inworld group with over 7,000 fans.

Being a musician of course is a portable skill and Kevin is taking advantage of that portable skill by taking his performances to other platforms. Today Kevin will be performing at a music jam event at 15:30 PDT in High Fidelity at hifi://open. That’s 23:30 British Summer Time … I think!

Kevin recently spoke to Caitlyn Meeks, Director of Content for High Fidelity and Caitlyn has posted some of that conversation in a blog post : Live Performance in High Fidelity.

There are some great points in this blog post and one of them is an issue I’ve raised before, the potential for Worldwide reach in virtual worlds, Kevin says :

Performing in VR requires incredible energy as a performer as you do not normally get the fan feedback as you would in real life, however the payoff is greater as you can build a much larger fan base in VR as no one is limited by where they live to attend a show.

Worldwide reach doesn’t just cover musicians, back in March I blogged : Comedian Sami Shah Exemplifies The Advantages Of Virtual World Reach. Storytellers, artists and film makers can all build reach via Virtual Worlds and as we move forward, more immersive Virtual Reality environments.

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