Friday, June 29, 2007

Woo Hoo, Exporting Photos

Written 29 June, 2007

Woo Hoo, Exporting Photos

I've been trying for a week to export photos from Second Life, with no avail. I must have gone through the menus a dozen times.

Tonight I just gave up and IMed my friend Patrice Cournoyer, and she told me. Just open the photo or texture, wait until it rezzes, select Save Texture As, and save it to disk as a TGA. Change the forma
So here is a photo of Sweetie's as it really looks and not as it looks as a photo of a photo pasted onto a prim.

Strange SL

Written 29 June, 2007

Strange SL

Second Life, for all its wonders, can be astonishingly strange.

last night there was a thunderstorm near me and I kept losing my DSL signal.

At top is a photo of Pele. Connection was lost just as I arrived. It's a mini-Pele.

Below are photos of an av who, in my viewer, was spinning around and around as he sat on a dance poseball. I sat at the bar and watched for a while. No one else saw it.


Oh, here's a merry-go-round in first life!

Inventory Organizers

Written 27 June, 2007

Inventory Organizers

I’m constantly struggling to keep my inventory within reason.

Most of the freebies I picked up in my early days in Second Life are packed away in boxes which are inside other boxes which are inside other boxes.

My poses and animations are stuffed inside a free pose stand I picked up at the Animation Warehouse.

And my more than 1000 textures are stuffed inside twenty or so texture organizers I bought from Thinc, Inc.

I have them organized by category. There is an organizer for wood, another for water, another for metal, another for fabric, another for rock, another for terrain, another for glass. When I want to browse, I pull out the organizer for, say, Asian Textures and scroll through panels of textures until I see one I want. I tell the organizer to retrieve it and it sends it to the Textures folder in my inventory. When I’m finished with the texture, I delete it. Way simple.

There are a variety of texture organizers, some free and some expensive, some stand-along and some HUD devices, but I remain impressed with the first one I saw.

Sweetie showed it to me back in December, at K.R. Engineering. I bought their very neat scripted picture frame,and she picked up their texture organizer. She has yet to put textures in it, but from her description it had features the Thinc organizer lacks, so last night I went to the new K.R. Engineering headquarters and dropped a thousand Lindens on their organizer.

It is indeed versatile, and I see why Sweetie has yet to use it—it’s complicated! My first attempts to stuff textures into it, attempted last night while I was foggy with sleep, came to naught. So this morning I opened the instructions, copied them, and pasted them into a Word file which I just finished reading.

I have high hopes that when I get home from work this evening I will triumph over my obstinate, high-prim (48) K.R. texture organizer. High hopes!

The K.R. organizer’s features promise it will be more useful and more versatile than my Thinc organizers, which perform flawlessly and which I’ve been enjoying.

Some features the K.R. offers:]

Stand-Alone or HUD device (The Thinc Organizer is Stand-Alone)
4x4 display (the Thinc has a 3x3).
Variable aspect ration (1:1, 4:3, 16:9)
Pans textures
Assigns textures to 16 user-assigned categories
IMs UIDs of textures
Variable brightness levels

What am I _thinking_? Below I reproduce the K.R. Instruction Manual in full.

I’ll be testing the K.R. organizer over the next week and will tell you, gentle reader, whether I ultimately switch to it.


K.R. Engineering Texture Master v3
by Karsten Rutledge

The best just got better.

The Texture Master is designed to make sorting, browsing and using large amounts of textures a snap. Please keep reading for a list of features.

Available from ??.


- Unlimited texture capacity.
- 17 categories (16 user defined + unassigned)
- Audience Panel: Project what you see on the HUD so that everyone else can see too.
- Built in search function (partial and whole name matching) that hides all except matching textures from view.
- Auto duplicate removal by key.
- 16 panel preview mode, advanced by page.
- Fullscreen mode, advanced by texture.
- 5 zoom levels: 1x, 2x, 4x, 2x2, 4x4. Texture tiles in 2x2 and 4x4 zoom, to show seams.
- Brightness control.
- Aspect control: Show textures as 1:1:, 4:3, or 16:9 aspect in fullscreen mode.
- Panning controls: Zoom in and pan up/down/left/right in fullscren mode.
- Rotation: Rotate texture clockwise or counter-clockwise in fullscreen mode.
- Three texture retrieval methods: UUID (reports the asset UUID for use in scripts), single (selected texture), or category (gives you folders with all the textures in the category)
- Access control: Allow the texture master to be used by you only, your group, or everyone.
- HUD can be 'closed' so that it doesn't clutter your screen, and reopened when you want it.
- Self-updater: Check for and automatically deliver new versions of the Texture Master to you on demand.
- Options to delete the currently selected texture or all the textures in the category.
- Sorting option: Click twice on a preview panel to get a menu allowing you to move that texture to another category.
- Copyable, make as many Texture Masters as you want to store your collection.
- Clean up your inventory! Moving all your textures out of inventory means drastically decreased load times for inventory!
- Instantly add multiple textures directly to specific categories! One step, no menus! Just drag and drop!
- Checkered background behind all textures, so alpha textures don't disappear.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Texture Master can only display textures that you have full permissions on. This is a current limitation of Second Life's programming language.

Quickly browse through pages of 16 thumbnails of all your textures. Optionally click the full screen button and view the selected texture enlarged with five zoom levels and on-screen controls. Switch to 4x4 or 2x2 zoom to see how well your texture repeats, or zoom in to 2x or 4x to see greater detail on your texture. Use the on-screen controls to pan around your texture, rotate or darken.

The Texture Master is like 17 Texture organizers in one! Dropping textures into the root of the device puts them in the Unassigned category of the Texture Master by default. You can reassign textures within the device by clicking on a texture on the thumbnail view (after it's already selected indicated by being highlighted in red) and get a menu of categories to assign it to. You can then click on the Cat (Category) button on the right and switch around between 16 user defined categories or Unassigned! You can even rename each of the 16 categories from the Cat button to suit your tastes, such as 'Wood', 'Metals', 'Industrial', etc.

With the Texture Master locked (click the Lock button in the upper left to bring a shield down over your texture viewer) you can hold down the CTRL button on your keyboard and drag textures from your inventory onto the screen cover. The device will automatically move textures to the Unassigned category. WARNING: THIS CAN BE SLOW FOR LARGE AMOUNTS OF DROPPED TEXTURES.

Even better, however, is to switch to the thumbnail view on the Texture Master and do the same (hold down CTRL), except drag your textures onto one of the 16 thumbnail panels, thereby quickly assigning textures to one of the 16 user categories! IMPORTANT: THIS HAPPENS VERY FAST, UNLIKE QUICK DROPPING ON THE COVER.

When in Thumbnail viewing mode (where you can see the 16 squares), clicking the Thumbs button on the right toggles category title flags on/off. When on, the title of each category will hover over it's respective square.

Need a metal texture but not sure exactly which one? Wood? Stone? Click the Search button and search for 'wood' to find all textures within the Texture Master that have 'wood' in the texture name. Automatically searches all 17 categories (Unassigned plus 16 user categories) and notifies you of how many results found in each when finished. You can then use the Cat button to switch between categories and view the results in each! When a category returns search results it will only display the thumbnails of the matching items. You can use the Search button again and hit Clear to clear the results of the search and view all textures again.

Once you find the texture you want, just click the Retrieve button to have the Texture Master give you a copy of the texture, or it's UUID for use in scripts.

Working on a project with a group? Set the access level to GROUP and you and your coworkers can use the Texture Master. Or, set it to All and anyone can use it. Defaults to Owner only.

Move all those thousands of textures out of your inventory and into the Texture Master and speed up your inventory loading at the same time as you make them easier to use!



-> UNLINKING: If you unlink the Texture Master for any reason, chances are it will not work correctly when you relink it together. If for whatever reason you find it necessary or unlink it by accident, you can either rez a new copy of the texture master and copy your textures over or attempt to relink it with the following linking procedure:
1) Select all pieces EXCEPT the fullscreen prim, the root prim and the sixteen preview panels.
2) If HUD version, the invisible prim that contains the floating text should be selected last in step 1.
2) Select the preview panels next, going from right to left, bottom to top.
3) Select the fullscreen prim next.
4) Select the root prim (backdrop in fullsize version, black piece to the left on HUD version)
5) Link. Yes I know it's weird.

-> "OOPS, I DELETED THE SCRIPTS" SYNDROME: Rez a new copy of the texture master and copy the scripts from it to the appropriate place.

Please contact Karsten Rutledge if you have any other problems with the Texture Master. Texture Master owners are entitled to free upgrades and bug fixes.


Q: How many textures can the Texture Master hold?!
A: Unlimited!

Q: How do I add textures directly to a category?
A: The process for adding textures is fairly straight forward, but can be easy to miss. To add a texture directly to a category, which is honestly the best way to do it, you must first make sure that the Texture Master is in thumbnail mode (so that you can see the 16 preview squares). The 16 preview squares represent the 16 categories FOR THE PURPOSE OF ADDING TEXTURES. Adding textures is COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT OF THE CATEGORY YOU ARE CURRENTLY BROWSING. You can drop textures directly into your 'Wood' category even if you're currently looking at 'Stone.' Why? Well, for starters, because it makes more sense and was easier to code that way, but most importantly, when you're sorting out large amounts of textures you don't want to have to keep switching back and forth between categories to drop a texture here, a texture there, it'd be nuts.

So, to add textures to category 1, you'd add textures to the first square (upper left), category 2 is the next square over, category 3 the next, and so on. The categories are left to right, top to bottom. Top row is 1-4, second row is 5-8, third row is 9-12, bottom row is 13-16. To quickly see this for yourself, click on the Thumbnail button again WHILE YOU ALREADY IN THUMBNAIL MODE. Doing this will toggle floating category labels off and on over the 16 squares. Now hold down the CTRL key on your keyboard and drag a texture from your inventory onto one of those squares. Make sure that you keep holding CTRL until you have let go of the texture. At that point the texture will be inside the device.

IMPORTANT NOTE: While you can add textures to any category regardless of the category you are currently looking at, if you are not, in fact, looking at the category you just added the texture to then you won't notice any visible change. Switching to that category should show the texture that you just added.

Q: 'Wood?' 'Stone?' But my categories are all 1, 2, 3, 4.... How do I rename a category?
A: Switch to the category you want to rename by using the Cat button (filing cabinet icon) on the right. Then click on the Config button (tools icon) and there will be a 'Rename' button on the popup menu.

Q: Can I add more than one texture at a time?
A: Certainly! In your inventory window, you can hold down CTRL or SHIFT to select multiple textures, and drag them all at once. You can NOT, however, drag FOLDERS. You must select the textures themselves!

Q: How do I move a texture I've already added?
A: Switch to thumbnail view where you can see the texture you want to move, then click on it. It should be highlighted red. Once it is highlighted red, click it again. You will get a pop up menu asking you where to move it.

Q: Can I rename the Texture Master?
A: Yes! You can make copies of it and rename them to whatever you want.


The Config Menu:

- HELP: Immediately switches to fullscreen mode and displays a quick reference display on the device.

- PANIC: Retrieve a copy of this notecard.

- Update: Query the Texture Master update server at K.R. Engineering Headquarters to verify the device version. If a new version is available, it will be automatically sent to you.

- Owner: Set the Texture Master so that only the owner may use it.

- Group: Set the Texture Master so that the owner or anyone in the group the device is assigned to can use it. The group the Texture Master assigned to will be the group you currently have active when you rez the device. To change this after rez, right-click on the device and choose 'Edit...'. If necessary, press the More >> button on the bottom right of the edit window, then go to the General tab. You will see a list of Creator, Owner and Group. Click the Set... button next to Group to pick a new active group.

- All: Set the Texture Master so that ANYONE may use it, INCLUDING RETRIEVING TEXTURES FROM IT.

- Rename: Choosing this option will prompt you for a new name for the category you are currently viewing. You can NOT renamed the Unassigned category, which the device recognizes as category 0. Categories 1-16 can be renamed to anything you like between 1 and 24 characters. As of version 3.0, the Texture Master supports multi-line category names. Do separate the category name into multiple lines, separate lines with an equal sign (=). For example: If you name the category "Wood=Metal' then 'Wood' will be the first line, followed by 'Metal'.

- Delete: Delete only the CURRENTLY SELECTED TEXTURE. That is the texture that is currently highlighted in red on the thumbnail view, or the texture currently being viewed in fullscreen mode.

- Delete All: Delete ALL textures FROM THE CURRENT CATEGORY ONLY.

- Duplicates: Scan through the current category and remove any duplicate textures found. NOTE: This is not 100% reliable, as the script has no way to visually look at a texture and decide if it's identical or not. This simply removes textures that have the same asset key. So if you accidentally put a texture in twice, it'll like show up as 'Texture' and 'Texture 1', running this option will cause Texture 1' to be deleted, but only if it shares an identical key with 'Texture.' It does NOT go by name, so if you have a texture called Wood Planks 1 and Wood Planks 2 that are different textures, they will not be considered duplicates, because their asset keys will be different.

The Retrieve Menu:

- Retrieve: The Texture Master will give you a physical copy of the currently selected texture that will appear in your inventory.

- Retrieve All: The Texture Master will give you EVERY texture in the current category, in FOLDERS, with 100 textures per folder. So if you have 200 textures in a category called 'Woods', it will give you two folders, one called 'Texture Master "Woods" Category 0-100' and 'Texture Master "Woods" Category 101-200'.

- UUID: This will only instant message you the asset UUID key for the currently selected texture, it will not give you anything. This is useful for use in scripts and other projects, where a physical copy of the texture is not necessary.

The Search Menu:

- Search: Selecting this option will cause the Texture Master to prompt you for a new search criteria. As soon as you supply something to search for, all the categories in the Texture Master will begin searching for matches and report how many they find. IMPORTANT NOTE: While you have an active search, ONLY THE RESULTS OF THE SEARCH WILL BE VISIBLE, ALL OTHER TEXTURES WILL BE HIDDEN. Also, only 100 search results will be shown in each category. You should be as specific as possible.

- Clear: Clear the results of a search, making all textures available again.

Learning to Script

Written 29 June, 2007

Learning to Script

I was perhaps three months into my Second Life experience when I realized the importance of scripts.

Scripts are little bits of code that make prims do things—revolve, move, smoke. Scripts power Second Life’s gadgets, weapons, vehicles, and particle effects. Scripts listen and talk and make calculations.

Scripts fit inside primitives, in the Content folder, and run continually unless told not to.

Scripts operate under something called Linden Scripting Language, or LSL, which is, I’ve read, similar to the programming languages Java and C+.

There is a lot of information available about LSL, including a great Wiki, but it didn’t really start to come together for me until Sweetie took me to the College of Scripting, Music, and Science.

The College is a multi-story (at least seven!) building with workstations designed to methodologically teach LSL by example. One rezzes a prim, makes a new script (just hit New Script in the Content tab) and works through the example script, making the prim do all manner of things from changing color and size to talking to you.

It took a half-dozen visits to work my way through the first floor and half of the second, but I’m pretty versed now at setting textures and colors and prim size and characteristics via LSL. Last night I began work on the section on script states; this is the one that will make it or break it for me, since it aims to teach me to make the script jump to different logical locations.

I gave up last night, for it was late and I was groggy and had trouble finding where my typos were by comparing my script against the example. But tomorrow morning I’ll be at it bright and early while my mind is fresh and, hopefully, make that branching breakthrough which will let me say with some confidence that I can write scripts.

Anyway, kudos to the people who build Second Life’s Ivory Towers of Prims and Particle Labs and Colleges of Scripting! You are doing us all a great service!

And next time you see me, I will be a scripter—or not!

Watching Movies

Written 27 June, 2007

Watching Movies

The video controls in Second Life are crude, consisting of on and off buttons and a volume slider. No pause, no fast forward, no rewind.

For this reason, I never thought seriously about trying to watch a movie in Second Life. The viewer seems satisfactory for music videos and other short clips, but not something two hours long. The odds of seeing a feature film all the way to the end seemed small. Surely the movie would burble and restart, or I would crash, or the phone would ring, and all would be lost. Who could possibly watch a movie in Second Life?

Sweetie was particularly skeptical, since her former BF was a hyperkinetic bastard with a gnat’s attention span. She was sure I would fidget throughout and spoil the experience.

And yet we had seen movie theaters in Second Life, and I had even been in a video rental store, so we knew it was possible, if not exactly practical.

To make a long story short, a couple of weeks ago Sweetie and I did a tour of video stores and came home with the newly-released-to-theaters Shrek the Third. The cost was $250L, less than a buck, more than an order of magnitude less expensive than seeing it at ultamegagoogleplex.

The rental was supposedly for a week, but Shrek was still working ten days later. I copied the URL from the Media tab in About land to make sure I had the URL, in case the movie’s box was on a timer, but it has to date shown no sign of expiring. Hmmm… if the company was smart, they would move the URL every few days so the box won’t be able to take you to the stream... Yeah, that’s how my mind works, beat the system—and come to think of it, all of this couldn’t possibly be legal, since it’s highly unlikely Dreamworks is making Shrek the Third available as a stream this early in its history.

Anyway, back to the viewing experience.

I pulled out the box, clicked it, and, after a hesitation of about 30 seconds, the movie started.

Woo hoo!

Sweetie and I hit pause, counted to three, and restarted the movie (more or less)

And watched Shrek the Third all the way through on House of 1000 Pleasures’ five-meter-wide movie screen.

The sound quality was good and the picture okay, although fast action made the image blur a bit. Still, it was fun to watch.

Last weekend I rented another animated film, Cars, and we screened it on a video cabinet I had just completed. Again we made it all the way through. And we were talking on Skype throughout.

Woo hoo again!

It’s a great pleasure to watch a film with someone you love while chatting in RL and eating virtual popcorn.

Do you suppose Casablanca is available?

Two Builds

Written 27 June, 2007

Two Builds

I’ve built two things lately.

The first is a television cabinet which I built in the Pele Gardens. It’s now installed in the House of 1000 Pleasures. It’s equipped with a roll-up cover (courtesy of Outy’s Curtain Drop Script). I even added a nifty light industrial sound to it so it sounds rather like a garage door opening.

I favor hanging a huge screen on the wall, but I understand perfectly why Sweetie prefers a cabinet. I modeled mine more or less on a cabinet we saw in a furniture shop priced at $450. The original has doors that slide open to the left and right, but I was too lazy to figure out how to reorient the curtain script. I can live with a rollup.


Sweetie and I are both big kids. If you can swing on it, bounce on it, revolve with it, climb on it, or slide down it, we are soooo there.

When I showed Sweetie the West Greenwich Village sim (which is home to our friend Kat) we wound up at the park there, spending more than 15 minutes (which is like half a day, Second Life time) on the slide.

After that I looked at playground equipment, but it was all sized for children—and worse, butt ugly. I’m still hoping to hear from one of the makers about the possibility of getting a modifiable slide, but I decided to begin work on my own kiddie toys.

My second piece of playground equipment (I consider my little balance my first) is a merry-go-round—it much like the real life model pictured.

It was easy enough to throw together the prims for the form and link them and add a rotation script. Then I added four pose balls for sitting and modified the script to start at a touch and play (at low volume, so those not actually on the slide won’t hear it) a little tune.

The merry-go-round starts out slowly and gradually picks up speed until it’s really flying. Finally it winds down and stops.

It sits five avatars.

For a while I had the merry-go-round say, as it reached its peak speed, “I’m sorry, Captain Kirk, I canna get more than Warp 7 out of this rustbucket,” but for now it’s commented out.

Sweetie wants me to script the MGR to throw avatars off when it hits its peak speed—sort of like our well of death. So far I’ve resisted, probably because I’m not sure how to do make it do that.

But I am finally learning to script. Film at eleven.

This is Major Tom to Ground Control

Written 25 June, 2007

This is Major Tom to Ground Control

I’m in general opposed to the use of weapons in Second Life, but when I’m on my own land, I expect appropriate behavior from my guests.

When I don’t get it I ban or orbit them.

I’ve done it five times lately.

The first time was when Sweetie brought a guest to Pele after meeting him in the Furnatations, where we had gone to view a dragon’s head made of sculpted prims.

There were quite a few avatars present at the viewing, but the one she brought home _had_ to be the one who was showing off his erect sculpted penis (it WAS furrytown, but _still_). He put his sculpted phallus away before his visit, but his furry av arrived at Pele naked and equipped with nonsculpted, uncircumcised penis and scrotum. I didn’t like that much, but said nothing.

Nor did I say anything when Sweetie introduced me as my lover and he responded with something like “Avatar looks harmless and innocent,” which telegraphed his intentions as anything but. But he was Sweetie’s guest, so I held my counsel.

I finally spoke up when he insulted me. We were talking about particle effects, and I mentioned that mine (generated by my Mysitool) were pink and gold. He responded that human avatars (meaning me) all looked like Barbie.

I thought that was quite uncalled for, since we (he and Peter Stindberg and Sweetie and me) had been talking about particles and not appearance, and I responded by bluntly saying I had the right to look TF like anything I damn well wanted to look like. He didn’t quite apologize, but he backed off, and I was happy to let the matter rest.

Then, when we were showing him our Well of Death, he pounced Sweetie.

Now, the pounce is furry foreplay, and I considered it an advance, but it was all in good fun and he was, after all, Sweetie’s guest, so I watched and laughed as his naked, furry, penis-equipped av pounced Sweetie, who was in the guise of a little robot.

But then he pounced her again. He had no reason to, as the first pounce had worked perfectly (sometimes the avatars don’t quite line up), and why she accepted the animation I certainly don’t know, but when he offered the second pounce I typed /1 orbit Avatar in Chat and the instant he began his leap toward her, I hit Enter. Thanks to my Mystitool, he was instantly gone.

He arrived back at the well five minutes later a bit disgruntled and armed with anti-griefer devices (as if that would have stopped me from banning his ass, had it come to it), but he minded his manners and the rest of the visit went without incident or rancor.

He even came back to Pele later with his lover and rode the little green train.


The second incident was a ban. I was working in the Gardens when I noticed a strange av on the land. I checked his profile and learned he was a gay male escort. I was triggered a bit—not by the gay part of course, but by the escort part; sex workers often scout out build-enabled residential areas to which to take their tricks.

When he walked by me without saying a word I said, “Hi,” and when he didn’t respond to my Chat and an IM, I typed /1 ban Avatar, and he was bounced. I chased him from parcel to parcel, banning him, and he never said a word.


The third incident began when Sweetie and I met a newbie at a Bill and Pam Havercamp concert in Barcelona. Sweetie’s avatar had gone AFK and I suggested she had had passed out after one too many drinks; after that she had a great time pretending she was tipsy and I was her designated teleporter.

After the concert we took our new friend to Pele and showed him around.

He—I’ll call him Spider, since that’s my nickname for him—had been looking for a pair of glasses like the ones worn by a character in a graphic novel. Sweetie’s brightly said she would make him a pair, and asked me to take him on a tour while she worked on them.

While we were idling about, Spider lamented that his avatar was built rather like Ken. I told him he could buy a unit for himself, and, when he said he was broke, I gave him two. I specifically asked him not to put them on until he was in a private place.

When we returned to Sweetie at the Gardens, I told her of the transaction and added that of course Spider would not be showing us his new acquisitions. Then I turned around and of course he had one on, erect and pink and sticking out.

/1 orbit Spider

I told you not to wear it, “I said in IM.

“I was just showing her!” he said, as if she hadn’t seen one before. What is it with male avs wanting to show Sweetie their units?

Later, Spider said the orbiting experience was rather like Major Tom to Ground Control. He promised to behave, and has, to date.


Last night, just as Sweetie and I finished watching a movie in the House of 1000 Pleasures, I got an IM from my friend and renter Melissa Yeuxdoux; a naked guy was hanging out by her house, bothering her.

I flew down, said, “Goodbye, motherfucker,” and typed /1 ban Avatar. End of story.


Sweetie is more tolerant of rude behavior than I am, but she has her limits too.

Case in point, an avatar I called my depressed German.

And no, not you, Peter!

I vaguely recall telling this story before, but hey, it’s _my_ blog! I’m telling it again.

When he first chanced upon Pele, I had a nice chat with my depressed German, who was out exploring, and we became friends. After that, he would ask to come to visit and I would suffer his mostly benign presence.

I could sense he wanted to hit on me, and I’m sure he would have if I’d given him any sort of an opening, so I gave him absolutely no encouragement.

When he would IM, I would be polite, but distant.

“I’m fine, thanks. Working on a fog machine for the Dragon Skybar. Sure, you can come and watch me work.”

And he would come over and we would chat while I worked.

Whenever he would start a thread I felt was a search for an opening, I would squelch it.

“No, I don’t feel a need to go exploring. I’m happy working on this fog ball.”

How well I held the line is demonstrated by the fact that throughout the weeks in which he visited, he never felt he had the go-ahead to make an advance. And so he never made one.

He did cross the line once, but in another way—he gave me an object that promised to be something nice but scrambled my avatar. I told him “not funny” and threw it away. After that, I refused to accept objects from him, which bothered him.

Sweetie wasn’t unaware of my depressed German’s visits, and at some point she became uncomfortable with his presence. The fact that he gave her the same “present” certainly helped her feelings along.

So she had a word with me, and I had a word with him, and he’s not been back. Not banned and not orbited, because that wasn’t necessary, just no longer invited. In fact, I’ve not heard from him for nearly a month.

Good, because his depression tended to make me feel depressed, too.


In real life I’m remarkably tolerant of rude, impolite, and boorish behavior, but in my second life, strangely enough, I don’t seem to be. When I’m in public, I mute offenders, set movelock or go nonphysical so I’m not affected by their bumps and projectiles, and, if harassment continues, report the abuse to the lindens.

On my own land, though, I’m less patient. When I’m uncomfortable with the behavior of others, or when they make my Sweetie uncomfortable, I’m quick on the draw.

Those with good manners need not be concerned.


Ground control to Major Tom
Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you. ...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sweetie's Art: III. Sweetie's Art Show

Written 26 June, 2007

Sweetie’s Art

III. Sweetie’s Art Show

We will be having an art show on Pele. Sweetie will be the curator.

Time and Details TBA.

Sweetie's Art: II. Sweetie's Art

Geisha at Rest

Chey Jumping Off Another Perfectly Good Structure

Notre Dame Cathedral

The Future Gardens

Written 25 June, 2007

Sweetie’s Art

II: Sweetie’s Art

Sweetie goes off into builder’s haze at the strangest times—not only when we see something awesome like an (there are more than one in Second Life, so I say AN instead of THE) Eiffel Tower, but while we’re standing on the beach talking, and even in intimate moments. She requires me to stand absolutely still (difficult when my avatrar insists on looking around and shifting its weight) for long minutes. But the result is worth it.

Sweetie takes STUNNING photos!

Using SL’s built-in switches in the CLIENT menu (check out Wireframe!), shots taken through glass filters, and sometimes positioning the camera in her own head, Sweetie is able to capture unuusal and beautiful images.

Sweetie’s camera control is awesome. It puts mine to shame, and I’ve gotten so good I’m often three or four sims over, checking out what the neighbors are wearing. She can move her camera anywhere, even inside her own head!

I can only say that with her artist’s eye, Sweetie needs to get out into the real world with a good digital or 35mm camera and make some art.

You go Sweetie!

Sweetie's Art: I. Sweetie, Artist

Femme Quintet 2
Written 20 June, 2007

Sweetie’s Art

I. Sweetie, Artist

Back in December, when Sweetie and I first hooked up, she gave me an image on a prim, a sexy shot of her reclining on a couch.

I hung it on the wall of our House of 1000 Pleasures, but it made her a little nervous, so I took it down.

Last weekend, Sweetie participated in an art show. When our friend Boofhead Oh told her about a sim-wide exhibition, she staked out a spot and thew up a backdrop and posted photos she had made of the Eiffel Tower in the Paris 1900 sim—and, more significantly, some beautiful arty shots of us making out.

The photos hung for a week, coming down only on Monday.

Me and Sweetie as art! In public! Undressed! (If filtered through yellow glass).

What a long way we’ve come!


Written 20 June, 2007


Unfortunately, hardware makes a huge difference in the Second Life experience.

In fact, a lot of people can’t get online at all—those without broadband, for instance, and those whose video cards aren’t up-to-SL-snuff.

A lot of people can get on, but just barely. They can be on the grid only for limited amounts of time because of bandwidth limitations set by their ISPs, or they can see only gray blobs because their video cards lack horsepower, or they crash frequently because they have only 512mb of RAM.

(At 512mb, one can’t even think about trying to start a program like Skype while SL us up and running.)

I wonder how many people have given up on Second Life because of hardware and bandwidth limitations?

My Sweetie’s view was severely hampered for months. She was on a steampunk era Mac laptop that, despite a fast connection to the internet, showed her the Second Life world as gray blobs. She could see textures only when she stood still and looked in one direction for a long time.

She never even saw me clearly. And what a waste that was!

I sent Sweetie’s RL human the 256mb AGP NVidia card from the PC I blew up last fall while trying to add RAM (I was lazy and didn’t unplug all the wire and pull the box out and lay it on a table like I should have, instead fishing around though the connectors to do the install, and the DIMM didn’t get firmly seated, and I smoked some stuff, I’m a dumbass), and she put it in her desktop PC, and that helped her view, although low RAM made her crash a lot. Then she punched the 512mb in her PC up to 1.5gb, and suddenly she was flying.

And now she has a new Mac laptop. Sweetie is gold these days!

When I blew up my Athlon System last November, I went right out and bought a Sony VAIO with a dual-core processor. And, after 15 years with Mindspring (now Earthlink), I switched ISPs because BellSouth (now, suddenly, AT&T again, why won’t trusts stay busted?) offered faster throughput.

So my own SL experience has been pretty good, hardware-wise.

Still, I wasn’t quite happy. My attachments were always getting stuck up my butt when I teleported (someone at Live Help, back when there _was_ Live Help_ told me it was probably my video card [and, fool that I was, I believed them]). And the 128 mb PCI Express NVidia card I bought for $79 at Frys wasn’t quite to my liking. It needed to be just a FEW frames per second faster, and to snap into focus those few textures that didn’t want to rezz in.

And yes, of course, I keep the video sliders all the way to the right and the draw distance set to 450+ meters and particles all the way up and I have every effect turned on from local lights to ripple water, and animasotropic (sp?) filtering is activated. I may lag, but I _will_ see clearly!

And so, two months ago, I bought a 256 mb video card and, because my 17” CRT monitor was aging, a big wide-screen Compaq LED monitor. And even more RAM.

I put the RAM in right away (I’m running 3.5 gb with it installed), but I held off on installing the video card because it wanted just a little more power than the VAIO’s power supply was putting out and because the 600w power supply I bought wouldn’t fit into the Sony’s proprietary case.

I thought about buying a superduper monster case, but I sort of got that out of my system with my previous computer, the Athlon, which I built from scratch. I just wanted the Sony to work. Most of all, I didn’t want to knock myself off the grid.

On Saturday, however, I would wait no longer. I put in the video card and installed the monitor. And it worked!

Woo hoo!

I moved my old monitor to the left, and suddenly I had two screens—a wide one that showed SL in far more detail than before (so well, in fact, that my avatar looks a little more cartoony), and a square one on which I can keep non-SL windows open—my e-mail reader, Word, Quicken, PaperPort, a graphics program, and Opera (my browser), usually.

Now I don’t have to close the SL window or even make it smaller to view other programs or open something on the desktop.

Woo hoo!
The new video card rips along as fast as 20 or 22 frames per second (and reaches 40 fps on occasion), and SL lag situations that would have slowed my old card to 3 or 4 fps slow it only to 7 fps or so. And while it still takes the SL servers a while to get textures to me after a teleport, they snap right in when they do arrive.

But my shoes, my hair, my Mystitool?

Up my butt.


Whenever I jump.


Stop Looking at Me!

Regrettably, I Didn't get a snap of Sweetie's prim head.
But just imagine this box covering her face. 

Written 20 June, 2007

Stop Looking At Me!

One of Sweetie’s more endearing traits is her shyness. When it strikes, she is entirely aware of her body, which, of course, makes me even more aware of her body. So I consider it a good thing. (even if her body is nearly a thousand miles away).

When Sweetie is in a shy mood, she doesn’t want me to look at her. “Stop looking at me!,” she says.

At such times, she may pull a prim over her head to restrict my gaze—and, being Sweetie, not just any prim, either, but a tastefully-textured, tweaked, and finessed prim. That’s just Sweetie’s style.

Instead of her face, I get to see a series of textures dance across the surface of the prim that is covering her head.

But Sweetie is overcoming her shyness.

For six months months now, she and I have been chatting in Skype and over the telephone. What a joy to hear her voice when I first awaken, and just before I fall asleep!

And now I can see Sweetie as well.

That’s because her new Mac laptop has a webcam built in. Skype very kindly shows me a video of her.

Except when she’s in a “Stop looking at me” mood. Then she turns the webcam off. But that doesn’t happen very often.

Sweetie has been looking around her apartment for a webcam she has stashed somewhere, but for two reasons—first, because I think she should install it on her own PC, which has no webcam, and second, because I know the condition of her inventory in Second Life (think 1000 objects in the Object Folder, all named “Object”)—I began to think about buying one.

One day last week, while we were chatting, I idly looked on eBay, and there it was—a Logitech webcam, zero bids, opening bid. $.25, S&H $8 US, closing in less than one minute.

I signed in as fast as I could and placed a bid for $5. Then I refreshed the screen and woo hoo, I owned a webcam! I had snagged it for a quarter.

I paid immediately through Paypal, $8.25.

When I got home from Monday, Brown had left a package on my front stoop. And yes, it was the webcam.

I installed the software, plugged in the camera, and suddenly I was looking at myself. And 30 minutes later, Sweetie and I were smiling at one another in Skype while we breezed around the grid.

I’ve never had my image streamed live before, and my usually imperturbable demeanor was perturbed.

I was aware that I was doing my own “Stop looking at me!” with gestures, resting my head on my fist and covering my face with my hand every few seconds.

And even if I hadn’t been aware, I soon would have been, for Sweetie gleefully pointed it out.

By Tuesday, though, I had grown blissfully unselfconscious and more or less ignored the little window showing me as I smiled at the bigger one with Sweetie’s visage.

Such a pretty visage, too!

Sweetie, live, thanks to the Internet!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Artist Formerly Known as Prince

Written 16 June, 2007

The Artist Formerly Known as Prince

I was bopping about the grid today and saw this gentleman. Mr. Purple Rain himself.

Unfortunately, Elvis had left the building.

GL Intercept

Written 13 June, 2007

GL Intercept

Back in the day I was something of a software pirate, defeating copy protection on floppy disks and cartridges for my VIC-20 (and then Commodore 64). I had hundreds of programs I and my friends broke and then never even loaded.

It was fun matching wits with the software companies, figuring out how they protected their software and then unprotecting it and giving copies to my friends.

Most recently I’ve been bypassing Symantec. It started when I renewed my anti-virus protection and it didn’t “take.” Symantec was absolutely non-responsive to my pleas via e-mail, telephone, and U.S. mail first to activate my protection and, later, to refund my money, so I decided to hack them. After all, I had already paid!

It took like five minutes. All I had to do was download the latest virus definitions to my desktop; set the clock on my computer back to a time when my protection was current; run the file installing the definitions; and then set the clock back to real time. Makes you wonder how much their virus software is really worth, doesn’t it?

I’ve been doing it to Symanec for years and telling others how to do it, and fuck you, Symantec. I wouldn’t have done it if you hadn’t ripped me off and then ignored me.

I no longer have quite the cavalier attitude toward intellectual property rights I had in my early years, but I have my limits, and when they’re surpassed, my pirating instincts are activated.


Recently I read about something called GL Intercept, which is code that captures textures displayed to the screen in video games and even in Second Life. It consists of a set of files you place in your Second Life folder. When you run SL, GLI begins its work, capturing textures.

Or so they say.

Well, not exactly. I know it works because I tried it.

A couple of weeks ago I went to a new and for the most part empty island owned by my friend Aldo Zond, rezzed a Mystitool platform high in the sky, set out some prims and texturized them, logged off, and logged back on with GL Intercept activated. The frame rate was abysmal (think .5 fps), but I wasn’t there to walk around. I set Busy and walked away from the computer to clean the house for a while.

When I looked at the Images folder later, it was filled with thousands of files.

It would have taken forever to look at all those files, so I sorted them by size and killed those smaller than 64x64. Then I spent fifteen minutes highlighting and deleting blocks of files that were either empty or looked like images from the SL interface. With that done, I made another folder and dragged the interesting-looking files to it.

When I looked at that folder later, I found copies of the files I had pasted onto my prims—and of the grass and rock from the Mystitool platform—but I also found images of the Second Life moon and clouds, the body tattoos and body textures from my avatar, and even files of my eyes and jewelry (clothing textures would have shown up too, I’m sure, but I was doing this experiment sky-clad at 700 meters on an empty sim inside an opaque Mystitool platform.

GL Intercept had certainly been thorough!

The files were saved in .png format, with the images upside down (but not, for some reason, backwards as well). Some were as large as 2048x2048, reflecting the density of the originals. Files tended to be saved at different densities (128x128, 256x256, and 512x512 being the most common). I think this is because textures tend to rez in at progressively higher densities, and because (I seem to remember reading this somewhere) far-off textures are read at a lower density than those that are close by.

I trashed the images. I mean, most of them were my test textures, I already had the Mysti platform textures, and most of the rest were images from Second Life for which I had no particular need. My skin is modifiable and copyable, so there was no need to save the body tattoos, either, although I was tempted because the skin images were complete with nail color, which comes off whenever I wear socks or gloves.

I am, however, tempted to use GL Intercept in earnest.

I don’t plan to go hang out at Textures ‘R’ Us and rip them off, or at Bliss Gardens to grab the neato terrain textures.

Rather, I have a few textures for which I paid good money, and which are No Modify (some are even No Copy, which renders them perfectly useless!).

No Copy textures are a pain because they don’t show in the menu under textures. You apply them by dragging them directly onto one side of a prim. This causes the texture to shout out in surprise and pain. Since the texture must be applied to each and every side of every prim, it makes for a lot of screen spam.

How nice it would be to capture all of my No Modify textures! I could put them into multi-texture organizers (I’ll blog on that soon) and apply them to prims in conventional ways.

So one night soon, sky-clad at 700 meters inside an opaque Mystitool platform, I may be running GL Intercept.

Just to make my second life a little bit easier.

Sculpted Steps

Written 15 June, 2007

Sculpted Steps

My friend Peter Stindberg is quick with a URL. My Mystitool catches them and throws them on the screen. Symbiosis.

Yesterday Peter gave me the address of a set of sculpted steps. I downloaded them, gave him a copy, and we put the sculptie texture on prims.

I had trouble getting the size right, but Peter was good enough to give me his size and orientation coordinates, and I soon had steps.

I applied temple stone textures and put them in place on the last leg of the hike to the Pele temple, replacing a lava flow.

Way cool. Five prims and a whole flight of steps!

Thanks, Peter!

(I took this spider web down when Peter told me he was arachnophobic.)


Written 15 June, 2007


Well, the Wednesday update has come and gone, with new software to download. No Windlight skies. No voice. Friends online indicator broken. Attachments getting shoved up my a** every time I teleport. People getting Ruthed. Pose ball malfunctions. Lag (I especially hate it when I get scrambled in a teleport and drag a rescue folder onto my av and wind up bald and naked). Naked is okay. It’s the bald part I have trouble with.

I understand Windlight is off First Look and on the beta grid and voice is off beta and on First Look.

On the positive side, it’s been a while since local water last disappeared.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Zip Line

Written 14 June, 2007

Zip Line

Paris 1900 has a zip line that runs form the top of the Arc d'Triomphe to the street. Way fun.

Here are photos of Sweetie in action on the zip line.

I would sure love to have one of these on Pele!

Future Gardens

Written 14 June, 2007

Future Gardens

Last week Sweetie and I met a young man in Paris 1900; he took us to a place called Future Gardens, which is filled with intricate prim sculptures.

Our friend, whose name is Oren, said the guy who made the place is a professor of mathematics who has developed scripts to make recursive objects likes the ones shown here.

The sculptures were beautiful.

Pele Postal

What Can Brown Do For You?
Written 13 June, 2007

Pele Postal

I had occasion to send Sweetie a package in RL last week.

It was sort of a geek survival package—a flash drive with hot pix of Sweetie and me together, a headset to facilitate our late-night phone conversations, and a little day planner I had picked up for her at Frys for a song.

Even with relations between the United States and the Nation-State of Pele being what they are these days, I was surprised the USPS wouldn’t take my package. They I saw the sign on the wall—“Postmistress, state of Dreamland (the 51st state!), Imsonotadiva Bartlett.”

OMG. Diva is now overseeing our mails! Guess she got demoted.

And so I pulled out my trusty freebie UPS truck (yes, the one I’m always blowing up) and Browned the package to Sweetie.

Here’s a copy of the packing slip I enclosed. I knew Sweetie would get a kick out of it. And she did!

Shoes Up My Butt!

Written 13 June, 2007

Shoes Up My Butt!

I’m REALLY tired of my attachments coming loose when I cross sim borders. And the problem is still here with today's update.

More often than not, I arrived to find my hair and my shoes shoved up my ying-yang, and a lot of the time my jewelry too. My HUDs disappear, too—I don’t even want to THINK about up which body part they’ve been shoved.

When it first started to happen, I spent a lot of time chasing the various items I wear. Then I got the bright idea of putting everything into a single folder which I can drag onto me when I get scrambled. That works reasonably well, sometimes, although at other times things just won’t attach.

You know, local water is no longer disappearing. One would think the Lindens could find a way to fix this much more annoying problem.

Meanwhile, I need someone to help me extricate my shoes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tiki Man

Written 13 June, 2007

Tiki Man

Sweetie had the bright idea of putting a tiki man over the tunnel into which Pele's little train dives when it leaves the Gardens and dives into the Forsaken River. She made a mouth, complete with tongue and teeth, making the descent majorly scary as the train disappeared into the incipient Tiki man's mouth.

Then Sweetie got frustrated with making the rest of the head and I had one of my rare bright ideas; I created a cylindrical prim and skewed the top at about 30 degrees. That gave Mr. Tiki Man a rakish, tiki-like 'tude and made it easy to add eyes, ears, and a flat space to sit on top of his head.

Then Sweetie tweaked my work by giving Mr. Tiki Man mascara and a big copper earring with bling, and suddenly he was complete!

Kill the Wabbit!

Written 13 June, 2007

Kill the Wabbit!

The first two times Sweetie and I journeyed to Paris 1900 we didn't make it to the Moulin Rouge.

The third time was the charm.

I dressed appropriately for the period, I think (Photo 1; note the bored look!), even wearing a big hat.

In fact, the hat was so frigging big it was scary. Check this perspective! (Photo 2).

The M.R. was fabulous. Empty, but fabulous (Photo 3).

Sweetie being a performer, nothing would do but she get backstage.

Unfortunately, the way backstage was blocked by a "security device."

I won't embarass the maker by naming them, but they should be ashamed. All it was was a huge prim turned alpha.

Sweetie and I simply sat on the prim (Photo 4; Sweetie's true identity has been concealed), and then stood up and we were in the interdicted area.

Once backstage, it was me who was strangely affected. Overcome with the urge to perform, I whipped out the Athama I bought from Robin Wood and, making facial expressions with my emoter, began to perform Wagner (Photo 5).

Or, rather, Warner Brothers' spoof of Wagner from the old Looney Tunes cartoons.

You know, "Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit!"

In my best Elmer Fudd voice.

"Hehehe. Be vewy, vewy quiet! I'm bweaking into the Mouwin Wouge."