Thursday, March 28, 2013

Beep Beep! The Oui Coupe!

Pandora Wriggleworth's tiny Oui Coupe is a riot and a bargain at five hundred bucks.

Henry Ford would be proud that it comes in basic black--

Monday, March 25, 2013

We Love Curio Obscura

Sweetie and I absolutely love Pandora Wriggleworth's Curio Obscura shop. It's full of clever gadgets, priced reasonable, and the shop itself is a hoot.

Most people never realized it, but the old shop was a giant mechanical insect-like creature. Well, spider-like, as it had at least eight legs.


Once upon a time, Enkythings was one of the go-to places for shoes in Second Life. My friend Peter Stindberg took me there and I wound up buying several pairs of shoes.

Now, of course, Second Life is about fake feet and mesh-- and yet while Enkythings no longer seems to be making new products, there's still a store in world, where shoes sell for laughably low prices. The sim, happily, is named Shoes!

If you visit, check out the back wall near the entry. There you'll find several models for sale at just $25L. Demos are available.

A few weeks ago Sweetie and I visited. I was focused on the shoes, but she was appreciating the design of the store. When I tore my eyes from the display I wondered how I had missed it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Linden Endowment for the Arts

The Linden Endowment for the Arts  is a partnership between Linden Lab and the art community in Second Life. Lea maintains twenty-nine sims on which selected artists showcase their work.

I think this is wonderful!

To visit, just open your map, type in LEA in the bottom search box, and teleport. Have fun!

If you're an artist, you should submit an application for the next round of builds.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Danger in Evolution

Before the Mandelbrot sets, Second Life artists Nessuno Myoo and Kicca Igaly had a sim-wide installation called Danger in Evolution.

Unfortunately I didn't keep their notecard, and the work was gone when I returned yesterday, so my apologies if I misrepresent their intent, but they wished to show the dangers inherent in advanced in technology-- atomic power, robotics, biochemistry, and genetically modified foods.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Changing the Mandelbrot Set

Mac Kanashimi was kind enough to rez several of his fractal sets for me. All span the sim, and all use sim's allotment of prims. You can view one above.

Mandelbrot Fractal Art by Mac Kanashimi

Today I teleported to the former site of Danger in Evolution, an art display by Nessuno Myoo and Kicca Igali-- but in its place was a work in progress by Mac Kanashimi called Mandelbrot Fractal Art. This post is about the latter. I'll pick up Danger in Evolution in a future post.

Note the fractal image above. Pay no attention to the black spots, the prims that will go there aren't yet in place there-- I think. I turned my draw distance up to 1000 and still couldn't see anything.

I took the image from directly above the build. Watch what happens as I lower  my camera.

Forgotten City

Visit in world.

Mesh Head


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Prepare to Look Like This

Prepare to Look Like This

Written 16 March, 2013

The Lindens are preparing a revision of their viewer and server software that will feature server side baking of avatars. The code will prevent what is known as bake-fail (you're in bake fail when you're a cloud or when you add or remove clothing and you or others don't see it.

So yay, avatar rendering will be much more reliable, but a big boo because (wait for it!) viewers using V.1 code will no longer be able to correctly render avatars. They'll look something like the photo above, which I caged-- err, borrowed-- from the Firestorm Viewer website.

And so, all those people who use viewers based on older code won't be able to correctly see avatars-- and that will be a deal breaker for thousands of Second Life residents. I mean, who wants to spend time in a world in which everyone looks like a frigging blueprint?

Phoenix will no longer work. Viewer 1.23 (which many people still use) will no longer work. And most other third party viewers won't work.

Implementing the new code will render V.2-based Firestorm unstable. Expect lots of crashes and other craziness when SSB is implemented.

The Firestorm viewer has an energetic and industrious team that is working hard to make the transition smoother-- but quite frankly they don't think they'll be ready when the hammer drops in three or four months.

God knows that the independent single coders who do all the work on their viewers will do. I expect a lot of viewers will just go away.

The Lindens, of course, have a considerable history of being late with rollouts, and revisiting their decisions-- so manbe SSB will be delayed, giving the Firestorm team more time to get ready. And hopefully the Lindens will decide to preserve the ability to render avatars the old way.

I've been forced to spend time in Firestorm so I can deal with direct delivery on the Second Life marketplace, so I won't be completely lost when SSB debuts. With the legacy skin, Firestorm looks and works a great deal like Phoenix-- but I hate the damn toasts. Hopefully they'll one day go away. Let us hope.

To learn more about server-side baking see the following sites.

Inara Pey: Avatar Baking "And the Clock Has Started"

Inara Pey: Firestorm: Where Next and Early Looks

Natales Urriah: Firestorm Q&A Meeting Summary

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Overhead View of Crossing Currents

Rethinking my Product Line

My Gold Carnelian Belt with 14 Conchs
Rethinking my Product Line

Written 16 March, 2013

I've been stuggling for a couple of weeks now, relisting my products on the Second Life Market place and repacking my in-world servers. Redoing my Navajo-style jewelry line has been tedious because there are nine items in nine stones, all in both silver and gold. It makes my eyes cross.

I turned in early last night and awoke at 3:30 am with the realization that I should overcome my reluctance to add scripts to the jewelry. Doing so would turn hundreds of products into just eighteen-- and I can easily write the needed scripts.

I don't want to be responsible for hundreds of pieces of jewelry containing scripts, so I'm thinking I'll set the scripts to turn themselves off after a few minutes.

I will be revitalizing and redesigning my Flights of Fancy blog and listing new products and products I should have featured long ago.

Members of the Flights of Fancy group will receive a 20% discount with all purchases from my in-world vendors.

Visit the Suborbital Asteriod Retreat 4000 meters above Whimsy. It's home to the Flights of Fancy store and there are great games in the dirigible overhead. And most importantly, visit again in a couple of months when the results of my hard work will be apparent.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chey Visits the Robot Shrink

So, Doc, It's like this. I'm here because....

Why are you asking me about my neuroses? We talked about my neuroses last week. What, you need to hear it all again?

What do you mean, it's customary to talk about neurosis? I'm here for a special reason.

Look, I'm paying cash. You wanna hear this or not?

Okay, okay, I'll pay double! So-- I've been more active in Second Life lately. I've been a slacker this past year. Now I'm building and scripting again.

Why? You ask me why? That's what I came to you for. Why am I working hard now after months of standing on the sea decks on Whimsy Kaboom and watching whales while listening to Hawaiian music? Why am I busy now? And does that mean my real life is gonna go in the dumper again? Will I stop washing my car and vacuuming and cooking real meals and fixing leaky faucets, or will I be more... balanced this time?

My father?  Why do you bring him up? What does he have to do with this? He's not in world.

Oedipus? I'll need to Google that. Hang on. Okay, a Greek king who killed his father and married his mother. How can a robot doctor even think like that? Besides, I fail to see the relevance.

It means what? You're a sick puppy, Doc, you know that? Now stop spinning your Freudian wheels and answer my question. Will I keep both my worlds more in balance this time?

What do you mean time will tell?


Get psychoanalyzed here.

Links to the Late Unpleasantness

Links to the Late Unpleasantness

Here are links to that tumultuous and terrible time (mid-2007), when Sweetie took on the government of the entire United States.

Teleportation Security Administration
Last Night With Sweetie
The United States of America Vs. Sweetie: I. The Raid
The United States of America Vs. Sweetie: II. The Trial Begins
The United States of America Vs. Sweetie: III. Cheyenne Takes the Stand
The United States of America Vs. Sweetie: IV. Dakota's Damning Testimony, Part One
The United States of America Vs. Sweetie: V. Dakota's Damning Testimony, Part Two
The United States of America Vs. Sweetie: VI. Update from Linden Public Television
The United States of America Vs. Sweetie: VII. The Rakehell's Damning Testimony
The United States of America Vs. Sweetie: VIII. The Incident at the Teleport Hub
The United States of America Vs. Sweetie: IX. A Spy In Our Midst
The United States of America Vs. Sweetie: X. Sweetie Cross-Examines Aldo
The United States of America Vs. Sweetie: XI. Diva's Closing Remarks
The United States of America Vs. Sweetie: XII. Sweetie's Closing Remarks
The United States of America Vs. Sweetie: XIII. The Jury Deliberates
The United States of America Vs. Sweetie: XIV. The Verdict
The United States of America Vs. Sweetie: XV. Notices and Credits

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dixie Ladies MC Ride the Whimsy Train

Dixie Ladies MC Ride the Whimsy Train

Written 13 May, 2013

This evening members of the Dixie Ladies Motorcycle Club came to Whimsy to ride our steam train. I added two extra carriages and away we went!

Ride the train here.

Whimsy Wildlife

Whimsy Wildlife

Written 5 March, 2013

It's a Black and White Virtual World

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sexism in Video Games and Misogyny in the Real World

Sexism in Video Games and Misogyny in the Real World

Written 10 March, 2013

Over at New World Notes Hamlet Au has taken time off from his countdown to Second Life's death from sim attrition to write about the work of Anita Sarkeesian-- and specifically the first part of Damsels in Distress, her new series of short films about sexism in video games. You should watch it and, if you're interested, view some of the other videos at the feministfrequency YouTube channel. The messages are important.

You'll notice Sarkeesian has disabled comments for her video. That's because misogynists of the troll subspecies launched a campaign of harassment, ridicule, and death threats in response to her work. Below, see what she has to say about it-- and click through to YouTube and look at some of the videos made in reaction to her. This guy is far from the worst-- but ain't he a peach? Look at the comments, too-- full of troglogytes.

Viewing Sarkeesian's films and seeing the reaction to them, I couldn't help but think about Second Life.

Unlike most of virtuality and the near-entirety of Planet Earth, females are equal to men in Second Life. They're more numerous than men, they drive the virtual economy, and they are as strong as men. They have equal economic and physical status with men, and, unlike the real world, they  can't be physically harmed or, if they know how to work the user interface, intimidated by men. Because their real-life identities are anonymous they can say what they want and do what they want, and they don't have to put up with shit from anybody. They don't hit glass ceilings; they build their own economic empires. They can express their sexuality any way they want. They can't be flung into doors or pushed down steps. They can't be choked or kicked-- not unless they agree to be When male avatars go all macho, it's not dangerous like it is in the real world; it's pathetic.

This doesn't mean there's not sexism in Second Life. There is, and plenty of it, most from males, but some, sadly, from female avis.

It doesn't matter that some of SL's female avies are controlled by real-life men. Anonymity is the great leveler-- and besides, except for the walking sexual stereotypes, most of the women in Second Life are women in real life, too. That's been my experience, anyway.

Because their real identities are shielded, women can compete equally with men, and they need not fear them. Consequently, Second Life is, I would argue, a remarkably level playing field, a place where not only women, but people of color and LGBT people and  people with disabilities are equal under the eye of the pixel.

And guess what? Men here aren't disempowered by the equality of women. They build their own empires. They can't be bullied, either, provided they know how to ban and mute and derender.

There's a great deal of play here around issues of freedom, dominance, and submission-- but no one here is complelled to participate. It's cheaper than, and I suspect more beneficial than therapy.

Here we don't have to be princesses caged in towers. We're not murdered and stuffed into refrigerators. Second Life is safe space for women, which is without a doubt why there are so many of us are here.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Marketplace Frustration

Marketplace Frustration

Written 9 March, 2013

Quite a few months ago the Lindens sent a notice to avatars with products on the Second Life Marketplace, warning us that magic boxes containing product lines would eventually be phased out. I ignored it.

This month I received a second message saying all 388 of my products would be removed by mid-April if I hadn't migrated them to direct delivery..

The alternative is to re-list everything using direct delivery. That requires the official Linden viewer, or, happily, Firestorm.

I downloaded Firestorm, installed the Phoenix skin, and tweaked things until I was able to stand it. (I hate, hate, hate the damned toasts!) and went to work on the marketplace.

On the surface migrating items is fairly simple. One puts everything in a folder (subfolders are allowed), and right clicks and selects Send to Marketplace. A box pops open and you click a second button and the folder is transferred to one's store at the Marketplace. There you can quick fill using an already existing product as a template.

Sounds easy, doesn't it?

The monkey wrench in the engine is the horrible performance of the Marketplace website. About half the time items sent don't arrive. You never know if they actually did arrive or if the Lindens are just telling you they did-- so you might find five or six copies in the unassigned box when you visit the website.

About half the time attempts to start a listing for a newly-migrated item results in failure. The website is that horrible.

Quick fill is annoying because it doesn't migrate the photos that illustrate the product. That means you have to dig up photos you might not have seen for five or six years-- or capture new images.

Deleting an object from the product list can take a full minute-- and there's no way to select more than one at a time. Idiocy.

The real nightmare begins when you try to delete the old magic box items. Before you can delete them from the website you have to remove the item or items from the magic box, then go to the old SL Exchange website and update the box, because updating from the box itself no longer works. It can take as long as five minutes before the update is finished; meanwhile, the SLEX site is unavailable. Then, from the website, you syncrhonize the web contents with the boxes (happily, this doesn't take long). THEN you can delete the items from the Marketplace.

We all know the Lindens are horrible with databases. Look how long search has been broken! The only thing they seem to be able to keep up with (thankfully) is avatar names and (usually) inventory. I'd give anything to have SLEX back.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Bitchy Profile

Bitchy Profile

Written 5 March, 2013

I like the jewelry at Uzuri in Second Life, and I absolutely love my Hanu dress, in brown, but I'll no longer be shopping there.

Why? Because of creator Bella Bombast's profile.

The sentence that lost me to Uzuri products is just below the text that shows in the About box. It reads:

MALL OWNERS & MAGAZINES: forget me!!! You all grow up on creators head. I don't need you.

Keeping one's products out of malls might make sense, but Second Life's fashion magazines have an avid readership of fashionistas who spend big money on couture. They promote designers, both by way of advertisements and by featuring a creator's work and the creator him- or herself-- and they don't ask the creator for money. It's a symbiotic, win-win relationship. It's just stupid to consider it parasitic.

Which is probably why the Uzuri store is no longer in world.

Karma can be a bitch.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Our Seventh Valentine's Day

Our Seventh Valentine's Day

Written 5 March, 2013

February 14, 2007 was my first Valentine's day with Sweetie. I had been in world less than four months and I had no clue what I was doing, but I managed to make her a giant rotating crystal heart with an arrow sticking through it and comfy seating.

Since then it's been cards and jewelry.

We broke the tradition this year. Since I'm always talking about her deadly swordsmanship, I bought her a scripted katana.

That Horrible Stumping Sound

That Horrible Stumping Sound

Written 7 March, 2013

I just hate that stumping sound avatars make when they cross obstacles higher than about .5 meters. Don't you?

Here's a short little script that will squelch that collision sound. Just put it in a script and drop it in the root prim of any linked set-- and no more sounds.

// Simple Stop Collision Sound by Cheyenne Palisades

        llCollisionSound("", 0.1);

In a comment, Handy Low suggested limiting the script so collision will be re-enabled. I suppose there would be instances when one would want the lack of sound to be temporary, but I don't ever want to hear STUMP STUMP STUMP when walking up steps. Here's a slightly revised version.

// Simple Stop and Start Collision Sound by Cheyenne Palisades

        llCollisionSound("be582e5d-b123-41a2-a150-454c39e961c8", 0.0);

Interestingly, setting the sound level to 0.0 (as opposed to 0.1 in the first example) suppresses collision particles as well as sound. So yay!

If you ever want to turn collisions back on, set 0.0 in the above script to 1.0. If you don't want to turn collsions off later, you can safely delete the script.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

View Through Windows

Rethinking a City

Rethinking a City

Written 5 March, 2013

Earlier this year I took a commission to make a full-scale version of a nonmodifiable model.

The client wanted an exact replica, which was of course impossible without modify permissions, but I came remarkably close, as evidenced in prior blogs.

The client, who was on the spectrum, wanted a huge city exactly like the original, including flaws, and that's what I made for him. As we had agreed, I made an exact copy, and flaws were considerable. It was, after all, a model. Prims were misaligned, there was texture flicker, the walkways were camera traps, and most of the textures were placeholders, some as small as 32 x 32, making them a blurry mess even on the model. In the end the client refused to pay because he didn't like the flaws he had insisted upon. I was smart enough to not give him the city.

When our business was concluded I just couldn't stop without making the build right. And so I have spent several weeks tweaking it. I gave the buildings a granite texture, got the proper window texture, thanks to the kindness of Alia Whitfield, changed the unworkable roofs and walkways, and added round windows to some of the buildings. Here's what the build looks like now. I call it Metro City.