Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Morning Machinima

Sunday Morning Machinima, 28 February, 2010

Today we feature the Second Life tutorials of Torley Linden.

Look here for a comprehensive list of Torley's great tutorials.

These featured tutorials taught me things about which I had no clue-- after being in world for more than a year!

Here's a single video that includes information for perhaps six of Torley's early videos. Some of the things he mentions (like setting darkness of the night) no longer works, but there are lots of gems in there nevertheless.

Here's another early video. Watch to learn how to do extreme closeups and wide angle shots.

Torley's tips cover all sorts of things. Here's something I never thought about-- if you have a Linden plant in your coalesced objects, you can rez it only on your own land.

Torley's videtuids are helpful for advanced Second Lifers...

Here's his vidtuit on planar textures.

And beginners. Here Torley explains how to sit.

Torley is funny, and his short films are entertaining. If you watch them you'll be bound to learn things you'll wish you knew a year ago.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Newbie Training

Written 25 February, 2010

Newbie Training

A few weeks ago, while flying about, Sweetie and I came to a place where real-life construction workers are taught safety skills in Second Life.

Then these pictures started rolling in. These were all taken and captioned by Sweetie.

I'm still laughing.

Bob the Bozo, Can He Get Hurt? Bob the Bozo, YES HE CAN!
Or Hands Inside the Guard, Bob!

This Looks Like a Good Place to Stand
Or Da Da Dummm! Arrrgh!

It's Only a Flesh Wound! Come Back Here and Fight!
Or If I Weren't Tethered to This Scaffolding You'd Be in BIG Trouble!

Look at the Men Happy to Be Going Over For Their Hard Hats!
Or Daydreaming About His New Freenis

Oh, No, a Dangerous Congregation of Newbies!
Or Fence 'em Off Quick Before They See the Freenis Vendor and Stampede!

Okay, Let's Review That Footage One More Time and Learn
What Bob Could Have Done to Protect His Freenis

Port-O-Potties! Do We Really Need Port-O-Potties?
Or Where You Go to Attach Your First Freenis

Synchronized Ladder Diving
Or The Crowd Hushed as the Amazing Garbanzo Brothers Prepared Double Backflips
With a Twist Off Construction Ladders, Difficulty 10.0

Was I Too Harsh?

Written 26 February, 2010

Was I Too Harsh?

I've settled down a bit about the new Second Life Linden viewer.

I still hate it, but I'm calmer about it.

I don't hate the new features, mind you, they're great. It's just the implementation that sucks.

To help me simmer down last night, Sweetie showed me a series of tutorials by the irrepressible Torley Linden. Torleys vidtuits are always great! I discovered some of the things I thought were missing were still there, albeit in new locations-- and, I hated to admit, made more sense in their new places.

I discovered I could get the top window to show region coordinates and land settings and could turn off friends online/offline notifications and my group tag (thanks, Whatcha!).

And I found I could turn off the screen-munching double-thick chat lines.

And I found I could remove the camera control and movement buttons from the bottom of the screen (unfortunately, I couldn't add useful things like map, build, and the mini-map).

So perhaps there's hope for this monstrosity. So here are my big gripes. Every one is a deal buster; that is, I won't be caught dead using the viewer until they're fixed somehow:

* Readability. The new viewer flat wears out your brain and eyes, and in a very short time.

* Opaqueness of pop-up and tear-off menus. They cover a lot of screen space, and, unlike 1.23, you can't see through them when they're deselected.

* Short chat line. This is horrible for anyone with eyes over 30 years old and anyone who want to type actual English instead of Twittering How R U?

* That horrible behemoth on the left side of the screen. Not only is it big and frigging opaque, it scrunches the world over when it rolls out. This, as one person said on the forums, detracts from the immersiveness. It's jarring.

* Pairing of First and Second life profile windows. This is a clear move to turn by the Lindens to turn Second Life into Facebook, and I resent it. I hate Facebook.

* More on Profiles. When you click a profile, you want to see it, and not just the first two or three lines. This is just bad design.

And there's other stuff, but it's late, so I'm just going to hit the Publish button.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Scary Profile Changes in Viewer 2

Written 24 Feburary, 2010

Scary Profile Changes in Viewer 2

James Au, in his New World Notes, was quick to pick up on the way the new Second Live 2 viewer puts the second life profile into juxtaposition with the usually ignored first life profile

Au uses this profile of ColeMarie Soleil by way of illustration:

Notice how the first and second life panels are next to one another.

This is no coincidence; it's clearly a move toward Linden Lab's hopes we avatars will use our real names. 

Sweetie found it so scary she removed her real life photo from her profile. I don't blame her.

Second Life Viewer 2.0: First Impressions

Written 24 February, 2010

Second Life Viewer 2.0: First Impressions

This morning Marianna McCann IMed me to tell me Linden Labs' new 2.0 Second Life viewer was out in beta version.

I immediately downloaded and ran it.

I was able to stay in the new browser for only about 15 minutes-- and ten of that was spent in trying to locate the radio and media controls so I could turn the music TF off. I never found them.
My overwhelming first impression was one of claustrophobia. There were just too many totally opaque intrusions on my screen space. And far too much room was lost on the bottom and top of my screen.

My second impression was 2.0 was Second Life for dummies. There were buttons for stupid stuff no one uses like turning and moving one's avi and changing the camera view, but all the useful buttons were gone. Most functions (inventory, map, seemed to have been relegated to the pop-out menu on the right side of the screen. The menus up top took up twice as much space in order to fit in a favorites bar.

The sim coordinates were gone, too; seeing your position required clicking on the information tab at the top of the screen. In a world that lives and dies by three-dimensional navigation, how stupid was that?

The pie menu was gone, replaced with much less intuitive text in a box. I wasn't able to find the mini-map, either.

Preferences had been dumbed down as well. I'm not sure how many settings had been disappeared, relegated, perhaps, to the debug menu. Gone are two I use. Now I can no longer turn off my group tags-- and worse, until I find out where tf the setting went I have to watch those horrible friends online/offline notices that pop up every five seconds. Damn the Lindens for hiding that one!

And sweet Jesus, why can't I right click and rez a prim? What is WRONG with you folks???

By the time I had processed all the above I was so frustrated and disoriented I closed the program.

Tonight I reloaded 2.0 and looked at the release notes. I worked past the description of the interface and decided to try the much-vaunted URL on a prim. Once I figured out how to do that simplest of simplest operations-- rez a prim and put Google in the media tab and applied the land media texture (which I had to manually find, as search in inventory wasn't working), nothing happened.

Reading the release notes made me sad. Simple information that was on the interface (land permissions, for example) now require digging in menus. It will be most frustrating to teleport and have no idea of the build, script, fly, push, damage, and voice settings of the land.

View Admin Options seems to be gone. That means there will be no flying in no fly zones. That alone will keep me away from 2.0.

And argggh, the keyboard shortcut for snapshots seems to be gone-- not that it's worked properly in a while. What, are the Lindens getting rid of the stuff that's broken and calling it a new interface?

It seems we'll no longer be able to drag objects, photos, and other things onto nearby avatars; instead we'll be forced to open their profiles. I hate that.

I could go on, but these are first impressions. I'm sure I've missed some shortcuts-- but my first impression is my first impression: this sucks-- majorly

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Does This Serve a Purpose?

Written 23 February, 2010

Does This Serve a Purpose?

I love steampunky stuff like this.

Here this sits on top of a building with no clue about what it actually does. Is it a generator to provide wind-driven power? Heat? Air conditioning?  Or is it just for show?

A lot of steampunk engines are functional; you can actually see what they are designed to do. With this, I'm not certain. But it's cool nonetheless!

Her Bling Arrives Before She Does

Written 23 February, 2010

Her Bling Arrives Before She Does

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Morning Machinima, 21 February, 2010

Sunday Morning Machinima, 21 February, 2010

I found the machinima Silver Bells and Golden Spurs long ago. The photoreal faces of the two main characters are creepy, and the narration is straight out of Robert Service (in fact, it may well be a Service Poem), but the primwork is outstanding. So, too, are some of the effects.

Advertisers have been slow to realize how inexpensive videos made in Second Life can be. Take a look at this Doritos ad from Silver and Goldie:

A few years ago The Electric Sheep Company made this video for an episode of CSI:

Second Life was featured on the show and there was a big influx of first-timers coming to world to visit the CSI sims.

And here's a video of the Four-Eyed Monsters podcast:

Add Image

The podcasters are promoting a Sundance Channel video, but be aware, the sim they're talking about no longer exists.

That's all for today, kiddies.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Posing for M Linden

Written 18 February 2010

Posing for M Linden

Sweetie has taken me twice to Shareta Osumai, a new infohub built adjacent to the new Linden homes.

She was quite impressed with the quality of the build. "If there had been a place like this when I was new..." she said.

Yeah, but then she might not have met me!

The sim features a series of pagodas on a hillside and a variety of new Linden plants. Sweetie was enraptured by a Linden Mole-built dragon that was wrapped around a tree.

I guess that dragon stuck in her mind, because last night she wanted to fly around the area as a dragon.

Great, I said.

Oh. She wanted me to become a dragon, too.

I did, and I'm glad I did, for as soon as we arrived I spotted some avatars at one of the pavilions. I flew down, and there, of all people, was a Linden.

And not just A linden, THE Linden-- M Linden.

Yeah, THAT M Linden, Mark Kingdon, the CEO of Linden Labs.

M asked to take our photo and of course we said yes. And I took his (see the above shots).

M soon had to leave to do whatever CEOs do at 7 pm (play putt putt in their offices?) and we resumed our exploration of the area.

Sweetie's favorite Linden houses-- and mine-- were the Asian ones-- but the first time she smacked into a red fence, she was done.

It's our opinion that the builds will be a mess once all the privacy fences go up. What a shame!

Here are some pictures of the area...


Can you see Sweetie waving?

Here are the Asian Linden houses...

And here are a few photos of our dragons:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Log and Load

Written 14 February, 2010

Log and Load

Four our fourth Valentine's Day together, Sweetie and I had a wonderful time. We celebrated the holiday all weekend!

We didn't wait until Sunday to exchange presents. When Sweetie logged in Saturday morning I jumped to the Karoastoff sim, home to K&R Engineering (texture organizers, Greedy Greedy and other games) and Capalini Designs.

This time, it was Capalini Designs that drew me. I had seen some nice music boxes on my last visit, and I was a woman with a purpose.

"Stand by to receive your present," I said. "I'm trying to decide whether to get you the romantic one or the steampunky one that will excite your imagnation."

"I can't have both?" she asked.

So of course, she got both:

I teleported Sweetie to Karoastoff to see the beautiful railroad terminal that wasn't there last time we visited. That resulted in a frenzy of picture-taking-- well, perhaps frenzy isn't the proper word, since Sweetie gets lost for long minutes composing a single picture. Me, I just point and shoot, point and shoot, point and shoot and occasionally get something worthwhile.

When we got home Sweetie unpacked and played with her music boxes. Then I took a quick jump to deposit money in an XStreet termiinal and ordered her third present:

Yep, log and load! You might lock and load in real life, but in SL it's log and load.

It was a matched set of Colt pistols, cleverly scripted and beautifully primmed and textured.

Soon she was blazing away at a pair of targets I stuck on the wall of our shower.

The uh, glass wall.

I may one day come to regret arming Sweetie so heavily. She is a GOOD shot. Check the holes in those targets!

What's what? Oh, that! That's a very well made tarot machine we found on Sunday on Intemporel Arkham, where I took this photo:

By the way, Sweetie took me to Virrginia Tombola's store on Caledon Eyre and bought me this great flying bird (it was created by Virrginia and Ilsa Munro):

It took a while to figure out how to get the bird to go. (It turns out you must sit on its head rather than its back).

I flew Sweetie all over Whimsy. My computer was running so slowly I got no photos, but Sweetie took this great shot:

On Sunday we went horseback riding.

I've posterized a portion of the following photo to preserve Sweetie's secret identity.

We wound the weekend down by watching a performance of Ballet Pixelle on the IBM sims. Here's is a photo I took:

And here's a much better one taken by Sweetie:

We did lots of other things, too. We played Greedy Greedy with our friend Dalton and when he began playing his electric guitar we turned ourselves into bandbots and became an orchestra. We watched a TV show online. While horseback riding, we got kicked off of a sim by someone who didn't even own property there (I went back after a few minutes and determined this). On Saturday we went dancing while listening to live music. After one good concert, Sweetie did a dozen jumps before she found a second musician she felt was worth listening to. "He just said the next song is about addiction." Jump. "Banjos aren't really appropriate for Valentine's Day." Jump. "I think that's the real life Tony Bennett!" Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. We finally found a nice musician and danced until we were both ready to go to bed.

I"m sure we did a hundred other things, but this post is already too long!

We had a wonderful weekend together separately (we were 850 miles apart). We both have new fun toys to play with, and we were both worn out by Sunday's end. It was a great V Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sunday Morning Machinima, 14 February, 2010

Sunday Morning Machinima, 14 February, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day, ya'all!

My first thought was to post videos about Valentine's Day in Second Life. I found some, but they were far too corny to inflict upon my Constant Readers. So instead:

Spies don't get to stop their work for Valentine's Day:

Richard Dawkins
is author of The Selfish Gene, a treatise on the gene-centered theory of evolution, which holds that the individual organism is a contrivance built by genes solely for the purpose of perpetuating themselves.

More recently, Dawkins has written The God Delusion, in which he argues that belief in a god is wrong, and more than wrong, is dangerous. I bet that makes him popular with the Baptists!

Here's a video of Dawkins, who admits he has been in Second Life very little (I doubt he has at all, since he's not sure if people in SL can fly), speculates about Philip Linden as god for a bit, then about the future of virtual worlds.

I just discovered this video, I Live Another Life on the Web, from the True Life series on MTV. It follows three young women, one of whom is immersed in Second Life. I can't embed it, so just follow this link.

Happy viewing!

I'm going to stop here, as the last will take a while to view.

Ya Learn Something New Every Day!

Written 13 February, 2010

Ya Learn Something New Every Day!

I can't believe I've had this blog for more than three years and only yesterday figured out how to drag the photos larger!

Jeez Louise!

Friday, February 12, 2010