Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chey Encounters the Copybot

Is It Live or Is It Memorex?

Written 23 February, 2011

Chey Encounters the Copybot

In my more than four years in Second Life I've never come face-to-face with content theft. The closest I ever came was finding a coat that looked an awful lot like my Duchess Coat from Shai. I immediately IMed Shai Owner Shai Delecroix and cued her in. I've not idea how or if the issue was resolved.

Tonight, wasting time, I took myself to Help Island Public, where a well-meaning ex-mentor gave me and a bunch of other people a folder full of free hair.

When I got home I looked at the folder. The hair was from EDT, with full perms. Hmmmm...

I pulled one hairdo out onto the floor of our Hair of 1000 Pleasures and saw the creator listed as one Jas Ebbage instead of the actual creator, Elikapeka Tiramisu. I inspected the hair and discovered the many prims had all been created within seconds of one another.

For sure this was copybotted hair.

I checked my chat history and IMed the guy who had given me the hair, droppig him a note as well, since he wasn't online. Then I IMed EDT and told Elika about the hair.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Written 22 February, 2011


While Sweetie is coping with 8" of snow in the northern climes, it's been glorious here in Atlanta. For the past ten days or so I've been walking daily around the lake and woodland trails beside my house. So handy! I just log out and go out the door. It's the logging out part that's hard.

There's a lot of wildlife about, which might sound surprising, since my little community is just 10.5 miles from this:

We have a lake full of fish, muskrats, beaver, all sorts of waterfowl, songbirds, hawks, a pandemonium of squirrels, and even deer.

I've been hanging my Canon Rebel digital SLR around my neck and taking it with me, becoming more comfortable with its controls and exploring its many functions.

Turtles love to crawl out of the cold water and sun themselves on trees which have fallen into the lake. I took the top photo on Thursday or Friday.

Over the weekend I remembered I had in my inventory a nice little turtle from Animania. This evening I placed it in the little swamp on Whimsy's eastern shore, perched on a dead tree from Pillow Talk. You can see Mr. Turtle in the second photo, above.

Here's another photo from real life, same day:

Here's the same photo after Sweetie pounded it in GIMP. Big improvement, huh?

See Mr. Turtle in world here.

Chey and Friends

Gone is Gone!

What's Wrong With This Picture?
Written 22 February, 2011

Gone is Gone!

I can't stand Linden Lab's 2.x viewers, and so consequently I use Phoenix. I like it. A lot.

One of Phoenix' more interesting features is derender. From the pie menu you can make any object or person disappear. It's handy when obnoxious people are present; you mute and derender them, and they're just... gone.

Until now crossing a region border or teleporting to a new sim would reset all derendered objects; they would e visible again.

But with Phoenix' latest release-- derender is permanent. Once an object is gone, it's gone, and you can't see it, even with Highlight Transparent enabled. Ever. Again.

I found this out the hard way today. When preparing the last post I derendered the floating platform at the game area.because it kept getting in the way when taking photographs. Later, I derendered some plants at the swamp area at Whimsy so I could grab and manipulate a 100% alpha fog emitter.

This evening I teleported to the game area to play mahjong. When I arrived the table was there, but the platform wasn't.

I relogged. Same problem.

I flew to the marsh to check on the derendered plants there. Didn't see them.

I searched the web and found a JIRA for permanent derender. From there I went to the release notes and discovered derender is now permanent; objects will show only if you remove them from the blacklist.

Great. Where's the blacklist?

Maybe the preference menu... Phoenix tab... Nope... Network & Folders... Nope.

Maybe it's on the hard drive... C:\... Program Files... Phoenix Viewer... app_settings...Nope... llplugin... Nope.

Surprisingly, I found no FAQ on the Phoenix website. I did find an in-world support group and joined. With nearly 9000 members it was not working properly, but repeately typing queries that weren't posted finally resulted in a reply. The blacklist was in the Phoenix menu at the top of the screen.


Problem resolved.

It's Gone!
It's Back!

By Dawn the Bull is Exhausted and Chey's Textures are Scrambled, But She Emerges Victorious

By Dawn the Bull is Exhausted
And Chey's Textures are Scrambled
But She Emerges Victorious
(Click the photo to see the scores)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chey Rides the Bull Late into the Night Trying to Top Kaosu's High Score

Chey Rides the Bull Late Into the Night
Trying to Top Kaosu's High Score
(Click the photo to see the scores)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Rocket Flies!

"I don't like the look of that O-ring."

This is Not Going to End Well...
Written 20 February, 2011

The Rocket Flies!

It's a lot of damn trouble getting something ready to sell on the SL Marketplace!

First, you have to make something worth selling. In my case, it was a teleport rocket. You sit on it and it blasts you off into the heavens and somehow you end up at another location on the sim.

Next, you have to build it. In the case of the rocket, that meant making something that looked more than a lot like a V2 using as many prims as possible. I started with 18 and have it to 16 now, and I think I know where I can save another prim.

Then you have to texture it. People don't buy things that aren't pretty except those who deliberately buy things that aren't pretty. But they're looking for glass jars full of eyeballs and not rockets, so I had to make the rocket pretty.

Then you have to script it. In the case of the rocket that meant making a sit animation, a propulsion system, sounds, and two types of particles, and a long-range teleporter. All of that had to be tied together into a believable and reliable flight package.

So, I had a rocket and it worked. I was finished, no?


I needed to create a way for potential owners to rez the rocket and set its destination.Initially I had one rocket out; when it exploded high in the air it went invisible, transported the rider to the destination, and then warped itself back to its starting position and turned visible. It worked fine for the most part, but occasionally the rocket would hit something on the way up-- like geese-- and go astray, sometimes to other sims. When that happened the rocket would have to be located. And so I wrote scripts so the rocket could IM the owner and tell her or him where it was.

That wasn't a particularly good solution for the long term, so I did a second edition of the rocket that died after its flight. That required a rezzer and way for the owner to activate it. I found up with a complicated series of scripts that talked to one another, allowing newly rezzed rockets to retain the coordinates the owner had set.

To sell the rocket, I needed an instruction manual; simple as it was, owners would still need some hand-holding. And so I wrote it.

It was then necessary to set permissions. Thank goodness the edit menu now features a global permissions option that lets us change all the prims in a linked set-- and their contents-- but it's still easy to mess up.

With all this done, it was time to make a listing on the Marketplace. I did so, setting a price of $750 for my copyable and modifiable rocket. I put the rocket in the Marketplace box, switched it on--

-- and the first person who bought the rocket could rez only one. After it fired there were no more rockets.

I fixed that.

The next couple of folks informed me that the rocket didn't retain its coordinates. I spent a couple of frustrating hours on Saturday morning, with every old friend I know checking in and me unable to find the problem. I finally logged and took a walk around the lake beside my house (the weather was great!). By the time I got home I had figured out what to do. It took me a couple more hours to rework the scripts and get the rocket working properly.

Then I updated the notecard. I put a new copy in the rocket's nozzle and updated the rocket's box with new objects and cards and put them in the Marketplace box-- and then found I wanted to change something and do it all again.

But hey, the rocket now seems to be functioning properly for its purchasers, who unanimously say they love it. I've sold five so far at $795 a pop. A bargain, considering all the work.

To test the Kaboom Rocket and maybe join the Mile High club, see it on Whimsy Kaboom.

To buy the rocket on the SL Marketplace, go here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Written 13 February, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Here's wishing a happy Valentine's Day to all you Second Life lovers out there. Yes, that means you!

Rosie on Her Rounds

Written 13 February, 2011

Rosie on Her Rounds

Here's Rosie, once the Jetsons' robot maid, and now the official nurse of the robot sanitorium, on her rounds. Touch her to get your Robothorazine.

Yes, that's a robot stuck on the electromagnet at upper left. You can operate the electromagnet by pressing a button which cases it to move 60 meters across a beam and drop the robot (well, most of it, anyway) into a trash bin. Pieces of robot do tend to bounce and roll all over the floor. That just adds to the fun.

Lucky Photo

Written 13 February, 2011

Lucky Photo

This one turned out well.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Whimsical Times No. 12

Written 12 February, 2011

Whimsical Times No. 12
< For three years now Whimsy has had its own newsletter. Here's the twelfth issue, hot off the press. Click on the images for higher resolution. IM Cheyenne Palisades if you would like a copy of our ThincBook, which includes all all twelve issues.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Riddle Solved!

Written 11 February, 2011

Riddle Solved!

Well, it didn't take long for someone to figure out where on Whimsy the picture (in the post before this one) was taken.

It was the guy who lives in the lava who got it.

Baja Mekanic rezzes in Pele's lava pool. She must like him, for she puts up with it.

So understandably, Baja knows his way around our volcano.

The photo shows a little cave from which a sizable stream of water flows down to the sea. I took the following photo of Baja when he found it.

Congratulations, Baja!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Can You Find This Spot on Whimsy?

Written 10 February, 2011

Can You Find This Spot on Whimsy?

Sweetie took this photo on Whimsy. I'm betting no one can figure out where it is.

Monday, February 7, 2011

That Stumping Sound

Written 7 February, 2011

That Stumping Sound

Don't you hate that stumping sound when steps have too much rise? Don't you just love going Bump! on every step of a 100-meter-tall Aztec Pyramid, or bump bump bump as you walk up the stairs to your bedroom?

Well, guess what? You can turn that bumping sound down, replace it with a more pleasing sound, or turn the bumping sound off altogether!

There's a scripting command called llCollisionSound. It's easy to slip it into an existing script in your prims or into the default "Hello, Avatar!" script.

Here's a simple script that will turn the sound off. Just copy it and paste it into a new script in your noisy prim:


// Simple Collision Sound stopper by Cheyenne Palisades

        llCollisionSound("", 0.1);
    touch_start (integer x)
        // Here you can make the script do stuff when it's touched, if that's your inclination


By experimenting, I discovered the script must remain in the prim in a running state to suppress the sound, so keep in mind it's not like a cleaner script that rids your prim of particles and looping sounds. If you take the script out, the bumping collision sound will come back to haunt you.

To substitute another sound, simply drop it in the prim with the script and type its name (or better, the sound's UUID) inside the quotation marks. Best to copy and paste the name, as any error will make for difficulties. 

The number that follows the name sets the loudness; you can change it from 0.0 (silent) to 1.0 (maximum loudness).

The wiki notes that setting the volume to 0.0 will disable collision particles. I didn't even know there WERE collision particles! I left the volume set to 0.1, which is very low.

You can see the script in action at the Whimsy Sungate. When you step up onto the round viewing platform or from the platform down to the walkway there's no sound-- even though there's a rise of more than .5 meters.

No stump, stump, stump! Imagine that!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Concurrency Up?

Written 4 February, 2010

Concurrency Up?

Over at New World Notes, Hamlet Au is still being pessimistic about the future of Second Life. He continues to see our future in social networks, and especially Facebook. Meanwhile, he continues to be strangely optimistic about the virtual world Blue Mars, despite the recent announcement by Avatar Reality (the parent company) that they're ending development for PC and Macs and working only on software for hand-held devices like the iPad. I guess that means the invasion is cancelled.

Hamlet compares SL metrics for 2010 to 2009 and concludes, based on slight declines in user hours and such that even establish users are spending less time in world. He then suggests, using the increase in sales of virtual goods on the SL Marketplace last year, that Linden Lab should be spending more time and money on web-based virtual sales.

I see a rosier future. Linden Lab's efforts to improve Second Life's infrastructure are paying off with better performance and stability, and (this is based solely on my experience), concurrency is way up the last quarter or so. The Lab seems to have stopped, at least for the time being, dumping on residents (although the recent decision to end land discounts for nonprofits and educational corporations was inexcusable).I know my own attitude, which was dour this time last year, has improved. I suspect others are feeling more optimistic as well? Readers, your feelings? I've love to hear them.

Despite Hamlet's been going on about Avatar Reality's repurposing-- what was it he called it? Sidestepping? Going back to the drawing board? Admitting you screwed up? Oh, yeah, he referenced a post by Grace McDunnough, who called it pivoting. He continues to suggest ways for Second Life to "pivot." Become Facebook. Become Minecraft. And now, become a seller of virtual goods.

You know, when and if Linden Lab ever "pivots," abandoning its responsibility to its landowners and residents and in consequence ruining my in-world experience, that's when I'll pick up my prims and move to the OS Grid.

Meanwhile, I'm cautiously optimistic.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Things Quietly Get Better

Written 3 February, 2011

Things Quietly Get Better

Yeah, I know the grid is rife with rumors that Linden Lab is setting itself to be purchased, and I know that could easily happen.

Still, some things are quietly getting better.

I hardly ever crash any more. I attribute that partly to the good folks at Phoenix, but partly, too, to the Lab.

Textures rez far faster these days. This is due in part to Phoenix, but due also to new data-handling algorithms of the lab.

While they still leave a lot to be desired, sim crossings are fastr and smoother these days. This is because of new data compression techniques instituted by the lab. This may be why I sometimes get an error message when crossing sim lines on Whimsy and have to relog; if so, it's just a growing pain and should soon go away.

I've not seen one of those Please Don't Rez Prims warnings lately.

I can think of a dozen more small improvements that make my Second Life experience better.

Thank you, Phoenix people.

And thank you, Linden Lab.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't Sit in the Geyser!

Written 1 February, 2011

Don't Sit in the Geyser!

I just finished another project.

On Whimcentricity are three tiny humps of land, connected by Japanese-style bridges. Each features a geyser. The center geyser fires off regularly at a quarter till the hour, and the westernmost erupts at 7 and 31 minutes after the hour. The third geyser erupts when it damn well feels like it. We call it Gary because the name just seems to fit.

I just finished a project I started a year or so ago. Woo hoo, for closure!

An invisible rezzer prim sits a couple of meters above Gary. In rezzes a prim that appears just at Gary's mouth, with hovertext that reads "Don't sit in the geyser!"

I've placed a construction barricade on the walkway with a warning sign that reads "
Caution: Renegade Geyser." Smaller print below says "Do not sit in geyser!"

Just visible above the top of the barricade is the poseball. Of course people will sit on it!

Upon sitting (or left clicking), the avatar is thrown into mouselook. Gary begins to erupt, building pressure. After a few seconds there's a popping sound and the avatar is tossed hundreds of meters into the sky. Silly. And fun.

Of course, the geysers are sight to see in themselves. Come to Whimcentricity and experience them. Remember, the biggest geyser goes off at a quarter till the hour.

And remember-- Gary is ready when you are.

Ride the Leaf

Written 1 February, 2011

Ride the Leaf

A while back, Sweetie picked up a ridable leaf  at Pandora Wriggleworth's great Curio Obscura store.

What can I say-- Sweetie is a fool for silly gadgets and absurd means of transportation. Which, I guess, is why she likes my Kaboom rocket.

Her leaf has been hanging several hundred meters above the seat platforms on Whimsy Kaboom, high enough so only she and I knew about it.

Today I made a little platform to stand on placed it alongside the leaf.

I made a sign in GIMP and placed it at what has become the Whimsy Kaboom teleport center, here.

I added my teleport script, set the destination for the platform I'd just build, and voila! Now the leaf is accessible without having to fly up and search for it.

Chey rides the leaf. Note the humpback at  bottom left.

The Kaboom Rocket is Finished!

1 February, 2010

The Kaboom Rocket is Finished and For Sale!

I'm happy to say my little rocket is complete and for sale.

It's essentially a teleport device, just one with a NASA pedigree. The avatar sits on the rocket, which counts down and blasts off in a plume of blue flame and thick black smoke. The rockets cut out at three or four hundred meters; as apogee nears, the rear nozzel is ejected and falls away. The rocket tips back toward earth. Then, just when you think you're going to plunge those final seveal hundred meters and smash in the ground the rocket explods. A second alter the rider finds him or herself at a destination previously chosen by the rocket's owner.

I have to say I've ridden the rocket several hundred times. Some of the trips were to tweak settings, but just as many more were done purely for fun. With mouselook set and my camera directed toward the ground I get to see the earth drop away just like in those old NASA videos. I just don't seem to get tired of it.

For those who would like to ride the rocket, it's at sea level on Whimsy Kaboom. Here's the SLURl. Ride as    often as you'd like.

The test rocket on display will teleport you back to the sea platform where the rocket is to be found-- but the rocket can TP its rider anywhere on the sim, up to 4100 meters.

I've decided to sell the Kaboom rocket for $750L. If you would like one of your own, you can buy it from the sign leaning against the rocket's launch pad. The rocket is modifiable (prims only, not scripts) and copyable.