Jan 272015
 

Bridge

The City Of Harrison in Second Life is pretty damn stunning. This is an urban roleplay area that spans two regions and manages to pack a hell of a lot in to packed streets which are surrounded by numerous buildings.

City Of Harrison

As with most roleplay regions in Second Life, the trick is to not tag yourself as being into the roleplay if you’re just visiting. City Of Harrison has a very simple way of helping you opt out, there’s OOC tag, there’s nothing to wear, indeed that’s the trick, you simply don’t join their group or wear their group tag. That means you can even join the group, but avoid roleplay by not wearing said tag until you’re ready.

Detailed Streets

So what exactly is going on here? Well this is a good time to head over to their website to find out more :

The City of Harrison is a casual modern urban roleplay environment – that is, we are a modern-day big city aimed at everyone simply living their lives. Unlike many other urban roleplay environments, Harrison does not focus on being “dark” or “dangerous”; rather, we cater to anyone that wants a chunk of a bustling metropolis. Whether you aspire to be a financial magnate or a criminal mastermind – or anything in between – Harrison is the place for you.

There are perks to getting involved in the roleplay, you can rez items and drive around the streets.

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Jan 232015
 

Ok first of all, as I’m a great believer in ethics in Virtual World Blogging I will declare from the outset that I have no connection with SL Go, or OnLive. At the moment, I’m on my iMac, which isn’t new and I’m struggling to find the bloody hash symbol. This reminds me of the time I was in the United States and phoning home and the phone told me to press the pound sign, which confused the living daylights out of me as there was no £ sign on the telephone, eventually I realised they meant the old pound sign for weight, which is #. Aha alt + 3 on a Mac. Ok, so #Theonlywayisethics

Now on with the show!

I logged into SL Go from OnLive for the first time in ages. This is largely due to the problems I’m having with AMD graphics in Second Life. The results, were quite staggering on my mid 2007 iMac. Now, wait, I hear you say. A 2007 iMac won’t have AMD graphics, this is true, but I was downstairs watching Cambridge United v Manchester United in the FA Cup.

Anyway, the first thing I noticed was that my experience of the wonderful Escapades Island was vastly improved because all of the textures seemed to load right away.

Rickety Market

Wait wait wait! You can’t save Snapshots to disk with SL Go! This is true too, the images in this post were taken on my PC with the regular Second Life client, but here’s the thing, whilst I’m waiting for scenes to rez on my PC, I see the textures loading, they turn from grey and lifeless to being filled in. This doesn’t happen when I’m using SL Go.

Escapades Islands

However I do like my snapshots. So the ideal scenario for me is to be able to use SL Go and a regular Second Life or TPV client and I’d imagine a lot of people are the same.

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Jan 222015
 

Regular readers of blog may be familiar with the fact that I’m a big fan of Storytelling and I’m happy to see quite a few storytelling groups in virtual worlds. Some are in Second Life, some go beyond Second Life’s borders but they all have a story to tell.

In this post I’m going to list some of the forthcoming events from The Alexandrian Free Library in Second Life. The Alexandrian Free Library is a community based group, supporting libraries in Second Life and their members come from lands such as :

Caledon, Winterfell, Steelhead, New Toulouse, New Babbage, Amatsu Shima, West of Ireland, Steeltopia, Deadwood, Al Andalus & Constantinople.

With that said, on with the forthcoming events :

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Philomena Public Library
Philomena Public Library Weekly Book Discussion Club
3:00pm – 4:00pm SLT
Where: Philomena Public Library
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Bruda%20Plateau/15/38/57

Description:

A 1903 novel by Frank Norris set in the wheat speculation trading pits at the Chicago Board of Trade Building. Aspects of love, marriage and wealth are included. We get a glimpse of urban life in the early 1900’s.

You are invited to attend the informal discussion. We often assemble in 1900 – 1920 period clothing. We meet over tea and often talk over other topics as well. All are welcome to attend.

Reading Schedule:
January 25th: Chapters VII and VIII
February 1st: Chapters IX, X and Conclusion

A copy of the book can be found in the Town of Philomena Public Library.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Philomena Public Library
Philomena Public Library – Oral Reading
4:00pm – 4:30pm SLT (immediately following the weekly Book Discussion)
Where: Philomena Public Library
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Bruda%20Plateau/15/38/57

Description:

Skilled Sage and Bard Big Red will continue reading from Jules Verne’s “Master of the World.” This is a serialized book and will end with a cliff hanger each week. Red will also read a personal letter written by his uncle during the first world war circa 1916 – 1918.

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Jan 202015
 

Group Picture

There’s an interesting article over at The Wall Street Journal : Practice Personalities: What an Avatar Can Teach You. The article by Robert Lee Holz highlights research from the likes of Stanford University to suggest that not only can our avatars and inworld interactions change the way we behave, they can also be used to change the way we behave via role-playing in areas such as corporate diversity :

As digital experiments in identity, our personal avatars mingle real and virtual worlds in ways that scientists are only beginning to analyze. While data is scarce, emerging technology such as 3-D virtual reality goggles and more immersive computerized experiences promise to make avatars more common. Scientists and psychologists are finding new uses for avatars, including role-playing for corporate diversity training, for business conferences and for teaching.

I’ve seen this discussed before but there is a theory that people often create an extension of themselves when they create an avatar for a virtual world or game experience and that in many ways the customisation choices available reveal far more about a person that they realise. I’m not 100% sold on this theory as I’m often a Dwarf, Drow or Wizard. I would also like to be an Orc … actually some of the powers of those characters would be beneficial outside the virtual world, maybe they’re on to something :

American Scientific Blogger Jennifer Ouellette is quoted as saying :

Your brain will start to incorporate your avatar into your sense of self, the more strongly you bond with that avatar, the more it will impact your behavior in the real world.

Jennifer is very familiar with Second Life and is involved with Virtually Speaking Science, a podcast that takes place in Second Life. I’ve covered Virtually Speaking Science a couple of times.

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Jan 202015
 

Sometimes you see a news item or a blog post in a stream and you wonder if it’s something that has been rehashed from many moons ago. That was my first thought when I saw the story I’m about to blog about, however after delving further it looks like the real deal.

BCM Momentum, the blog for Baylor College Of Medicine informs us : Online program aims to aid in weight loss for women with physical limitations. The program addresses a very serious issue, as Margaret A.Nosek PHD explains :

If you really want to see something rarer than a vegetarian at a rib cook-off, try looking for a woman in a wheelchair at Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, or 24 Hour Fitness. Why are we such rare birds in these environments?

The answer is simple – these programs don’t really understand what it’s like to try to lose weight when exercising is simply not an option.

Therefore there’s a need for women with physical limitations to share ideas on how to lose weight and of course a good way of doing this is to meetup in small groups to discuss methods that may work. However there are times when physical limitations are problematic for people who may benefit from meeting up in a central physical location, so what better way to address this than via a virtual world :

We are now testing this program with small groups of women who have mobility limitations, but instead of making them deal with all the hassles of coming to one location, we hold our meetings in the virtual online world of Second Life.

Whereas this program is aimed at women in the Houston area, it still shows the power and benefits that a virtual world can bring.

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Jan 172015
 

Linden Lab’s continued excellent promotion of The Destination Guide alerted me to the Timekiller Goth Festival. Alas this also alerted me to the fact that the festival is running between January 9th – 18th, which means if you want to visit, you’re almost out of time!


Timekiller Festival

The slGoth Timekiller Festival is a gothic and dark alternative event. This festival features a whole host of content creators, daily concerts, movies, live storytelling and more. There’re even free gifts from vendors and slGoth Magazine.

Visit in Second Life

The festival is taking place on the parcel of SL Goth Magazine, whom I didn’t know existed. This is another good reason for holding events or getting yourself in the destination guide.

Goth in SL

The event is supported by a host of creators, whom I shall list from the SL Goth Magazine website :

Black Arts – BYRNE – Biscuit Clothing – Cute Poison – Cherished Memories Wedding Store
Dark Passions – DEADPOOL – Devae – Galactic Wunder Nails – Ghost Story – Howling Asylum – ImmateriA – Morphe Inc. – PIXEL BOX – Stargazer Creations – Thanks for All the Nebulae and more!

Timekiller

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Jan 142015
 

When I was a lad in Second Life Linden Lab used to publish statistics galore. They still make plenty of statistics available in terms of the economy, you can find those over at Tyche Shepherd’s Grid Survey site : http://gridsurvey.com/economy.php

However along with the economy stats Linden Lab used to publish statistics on age, gender, country of origin yadda yadda yadda. They stopped doing this some time ago. A report published in April 2008 by Janet Lo, Law student, University of Ottawa, commissioned by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada contains some statsics :

Age Of Users

  • 13 – 17 (Teen Grid) – 0.96%
  • 18-24 – 24.50%
  • 25-34 – 35.43%
  • 35-44 – 23.35%
  • 45 or older – 15.25%
  • Unknown – 0.51%

That’s quite a vast age range of users. Gender was also quite interesting :

Gender Of Users

  • Male – 59.02%
  • Female – 40.98%

I seem to recall seeing a statistic where the gender balance was a tad closer, something like 57% – 43% but I can’t find a reference to this. I’m not sure why Linden Lab stopped publishing these statistics, they were good talking points and in today’s climate where diversity is a big thing, they may well be interesting. However as Linden Lab’s published statistics were, well, statistics, many people argued that we were in lies, damned lies and statistics territory. However that’s part of the fun of statistics!

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Jan 122015
 

This is an odd one. Skrill, an online payment company, released a press release last week :  Skrill Connects with Linden Lab to Expand Payment Options for Second Life:

New York, NY – 8 January 2015: Leading digital payments company, Skrill, today announces a collaboration with Linden Lab to integrate the Skrill Digital Wallet as a payment option for users of Second Life, the Internet’s largest user-created virtual world.

I’m not going to copy the whole of the press release, follow the link for the full information, but it does contain a quote from Linden Lab’s CFO, Malcolm Dunne :

At Linden Lab we are constantly looking for new ways to provide exceptional service to our customers. By integrating with Skrill, we’ve expanded the options for Second Life users to process their online payments, which is a critical piece of our product. We’re excited to offer this new functionality, giving our customers anothersecure, quick, and convenient way to participate in the Second Life economy.

The reason this is all a bit odd is that there is no announcement from Linden Lab about this. There may well be many reasons for this, such as Linden Lab haven’t decided on how to intergrate this or that they are waiting for technical solutions to deliver the service.

At this point, some of you may well be wondering what the bloody hell Skrill is? Skrill is an Online payment system and from their about page they tell us :

Our worldwide payment network lets businesses extend their reach globally with over 100 local payment options. We already meet the needs of over 156,000 businesses with everything from a simple one-step integration to a fully-tailored payment solution.

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Jan 102015
 

Notre Dame Cathedral

Paris in Second Life is quite an impressive location, spanning four sims and two centuries it portrays the French capital in a very good light. There are a number of visitor attractions and they include : Theatre Sarah Bernhardt, Moulin Rouge, Eiffel Tower, Maison Victor Hugo, Carousel 1900, Grand Roue Ferris Wheel, Moulin de la Galette windmill, Notre Dame Cathedral, The Champs Elysees, Arc De Triomphe, The Louvre and The Gallery Of Machines.

Art And Attractions

Most of the sims have an early 1900’s feel to them with vintage cars and people wearing Edwardian era style clothing, the people in this case being models rather than bots but they do help to add to the ambience.

There’s quite a lot to see and do. Shopping, Art galleries, theatres and tourist attractions being some of the main activities. Part of the income to pay for these sims comes from renting out shop and room spaces.

Taxi

Four sims means there’s a lot of legwork to do to see it all, however there are options on your mode of transport. Taxis, which are populated at various points being one means of transport that can take the weight off your virtual feet.

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Jan 092015
 

Virtual Paris

I’ll be doing a more in depth post on Paris in Second Life in the near future, at the moment, not at all surprisingly, it has a theme related to real life events about it and even in virtual worlds there’s a sense of mood. However it is a rather stunning build and contains a historical 1900’s theme in parts.


Eiffel Tower

Visit the Eiffel Tower and other famous Paris tourist spots in France.

Visit in Second Life

Obviously The Eiffel Tower is a central focus point and here you’ll find people gathering around, some with placards, some with Mesh avatars I can’t see due to the AMD drivers not playing nicely with Second Life. However there’s much more to this location than the Eiffel Tower.

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