Monday, February 25, 2013

Traveling Circus in Tombstone

By Gemma Cleanslate
 
 
Saturday at 1:00 SL time, I was invited to a traveling circus in Tombstone sim. You recall Deesue Parx story of Tombstone, an 1890‘s role play sim of the old west in Arizona: http://slnewserplaces.blogspot.com/2013/01/reader-submitted-tombstone-roleplay-in.html 
 
 
The big top was filled with jugglers, high wire performers, lion tamers, dancing bears and more. 
 
 
The town kids were there having great fun and eating popcorn. I grabbed some too. 
 
 
The mayor, Adrian Wise, did the announcing. There was Deesue hanging by her teeth! Pet Karu was the lion tamer. 
 
 
The Sheriff of Benson sat on one side and I saw an outlaw in the other corner. Many Native Americans attended also.  
 
 
 
 
The performers had to put up with a lot of lag but did well!  
 
 
I took some pictures of the circus acts for you to see!  It was great fun! 
 
Gemma Cleanslate
 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mardi Gras Parade at New Toulouse


By Bixyl Shuftan


On Saturday February 9th, "Fat Tuesday" came to Second Life a little early. At the New Toulouse sim, there was a Mardi Gras parade with a number of floats going down it's streets.  The parade started at Noon SL time, and the sim was crowded with over forty avatars present. There was also at least one balloon.






New Toulouse describes itself as "a private estate community based on the American City of New Orleans" from the years 1900 to 1925. The sim has a number of shops and clubs, in addition to a few vampire and magic role-players.


The floats this reporter witnessed were from one of the clubs, or referred to zombies or vampires. SL personality Holocluck Henley was among those in the parade. People around were dressed for the occasion in period clothes, as well as wearing festive masks.



With so many avatars present, there was quite a bit of lag. And so the progress of the parade was slow at times. And this reporter crashed a few times while there. But the people were in high spirits, celebrating Carnival as only Second Life can.





Mardi Gras is celebrated mainly in Catholic countries. Originally called "Carnival," it is the last day before the season of Lent begins. So "Fat Tuesday," as it came to be called in French speaking areas, was the last chance for people to eat fatty foods before having to give them up when the Lenten season started on Ash Wednesday. Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mardi_Gras

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Super Bowl in Second Life


By Grease Coakes

Every year people throw parties order pizza like mad cheer and shout for an American event every year. No one can deny its place in American culture or in other countries it might be a big party too. But in the digital realm of Second life it was still a major event even on the small screen of your computer monitor. 
 
This year the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers duked it out for the Vince Lombardi trophy. Watching on the small screen was difficult however. Usually my Exodus viewer plays nice when I watch a movie in Second life (Like Shock’s movie night I reported on earlier). But watching a live event on TV at the Aero Pines Park along with a lot of avatars like myself the TV signal was garbled. A few people complained to Cindy Bolero the owner of the Aero Pines Park which she did not appreciate. Eventually the signal did stabilize and I was able to watch the game and commercials pretty well. However I admit I was part of the problem as my wings and tail was scripted which add to the lag. When Dalton Prock imed me he asked me to remove my lion tail and wings I did and that did help improve the TV signal on my computer.
 
Cindy Bolero: "Not my fault, and I should not be treated that way after spending over 200 dollars and 20 hours on that party." Cindy also added the reason the webcast wasn't stable was because the whole internet was bogged down by the annual event of pushing the envelope of social networking. Next year Cindy will prep more to withstand the high volume of avatars on her Aero pines sim. But the compliments outnumbered the complaints. People were amazed overall.
 
I myself had a fun time watching the commercials like I made fun of the "Fast and Furious 6" commercial saying "Fast and Furious 7" will star Cloud avenging the death of Aerith as Fast and Furious and Final Fantasy are the same acronym. I remember the Taco Bell commercial was funny with the elderly pranksters. The go-daddy.com commercial with the model and the go-daddy tech kissing each other provoked awkward feedback.
 
The game itself was exciting to watch with Ravens scoring touchdowns left and right early in the game while the 49ers having a tough time getting any rhythm or mojo to move the ball for the first half of the game. The halftime show featured Beyonc√© with Destiny’s Child and it was fun to watch. The second half of the game was very exciting to watch.
 
Early in the third quarter half the lights shut down in the Superdome due to a power outage which lasted a ½ hour.  John Harbaugh was enraged by the power outage as he felt as his Ravens were robbed of their drive and game rhythm. He was right as the 49ers’ starting getting their drive into the game and the 49ers answered back with several touchdowns and were within striking range of beating the Ravens score wise.
 
In the very end the Ravens were backed up against their own goal line and ate up the clock with running plays. They had a slick play of a fake punt with the punter eating up even more time off the clock by scrambling and let himself be pushed out of bounds for a safety. The 49ers had all of 4 seconds left to score 3 points or more to tie or win the game.
 
In the last 4 seconds 49ers could not convert and the Ravens won 34 to 31.
 
All in all it was fun watching the Super Bowl on Second Life hearing commentary and cheers for both teams and meeting new people. Second Life is expanding every day meshing with real life events with live singers movies from real life and more. Cindy expanded to the Super Bowl which is big in the US and across the world. Who knows what will come from real life into second life next?
 
Grease Coakes

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bay City Mole Day 2013


By DrFran Babcock (who does not write for those who have a short attention span)

Long-winded Introduction

I was listening to the Metareality Podcast (http://metarealitypodcast.com) the other day, and I was struck by something Qarl Fizz said, while speaking about Linden Lab’s advertising efforts. He was talking about the funny, new video about the LL acquisition, called Blockworld: “They made fun of themselves. That is something that is completely lacking in Second Life’s advertising—it is utterly humorless.”

The Moles of Second Life could be a door to the future of Second Life if only Linden Lab would grab hold of their stubby little tails and make their work more apparent. The Moles are responsible for the infrastructure of the Mainland, and their hard work is evident everywhere. That said, it’s well known that hard workers like to play hard as well. The Moles could attract folks to Second Life, if only the Lab would promote them and their fun ways.

Mole Day on Bay City

Thus, the annual event of Mole Day took place on Saturday, February 2nd (Groundhog Day, of course) in the Mole-created neighborhood of Bay City. The event was held to honor the remarkable work of the Second Life Moles in creating a world that is a wonder to behold.

The event was organized by Marianne McCann and Ever Dreamscape, and was held on the Fairgrounds of Bay City. The turnout for the event was impressive—at one point I counted about 37 residents on the sim. The guest list was impressive, and many Moles did show up, including their boss, Michael Linden.

 GoSpeed Racer spun tunes, and the whole group just danced, chatted, and exhibited the best of what Second Life can be: A place where folks from all around the world can gather and interact, a place where people can create their dreams, and a place where thanking folks for the good they do is just common practice.

The only sad note on the proceedings was the memory of the recent passing of Hyper Mole, noted by our esteemed Editor: Bixyl Shuftan: (http://slnewser.blogspot.com/2012/11/hyper-mole-noted-bay-city-resident-dies.html).

While I could write about this forever, it probably is best that you check out the many pictures that I took at the event. Truly, this was one of the best events I have been to in a long time.  You can still come to the Bay City Fairgrounds (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/North%20Channel/130/134/28) and grab landmarks to the Mole builds on the Mainland, look at some pictures of their builds, and pay homage to Hyper Mole at her memorial.

About The Moles
There is a lot of information out on the Internet about the history of the Moles. They were formed from some resident super-builders, and from a group of individuals hired for their building, scripting, texturing, or other skills. Under the supervision of Michael Linden, the Moles have been responsible for the creation of roads, bridges, canals, and other forms of the underpinnings of this beautiful world. The Linden Department of Public Works (LPDW) is deservedly proud of the textures and builds they have added to the grid. If you would like some great, Mole-made freebies, hope a SLurl to the Mole Mart (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Leafminer/199/142/35).

Next time you see a Mole—and they don’t always hide out underground—say hello, and thank them for their contributions to Second Life.

Resources for Mole Information:

Linden Department of Public Works: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Linden_Department_of_Public_Works

Uccello Poultry gets humor: http://poultryreport.blogspot.com/2013/01/ldpw-alien-tech-examined.html

DrFran Babcock

Friday, February 1, 2013

(Dis)Ability in Second Life Research


by DrFran Babcock
This week I had the pleasure of attending a presentation at Virtual Ability, and you can see it as well. Details will be given at the end of this article. 
Most Second Life residents either know or have heard of Gentle Heron (pictured left), who runs Virtual Ability, a group of sims, an organization, and a philosophy (http://www.virtualability.org  ). As Gentle says: Virtual Ability is committed to accessibility. I will have more to say about Gentle at a future date, but I would like to tell you about the aforementioned presentation:
Ambrosia108 Azalee (pictured below) is an Masters student in Educational Technology at Concordia University, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In voice and text, she told the assembled audience in her interest in the meaning of Second Life for individuals who have physicial disabilities. She is conducting a qualitative research study, as her Master’s Thesis, in the lived experience of Second Life.
For those of you who are wondering what I am talking about a brief discussion of qualitative research might be necessary. Most of us are used to research that generates statistics, like: The percentage of women in Second Life who are actually men, or, What countries are most active in Second Life? Questions such as these are best answered by mathematics. However, to answer the question of what it’s like to be a person with a disability in a virtual world, math just won’t do. Ambrosia108 understands that, and that is why she wants to interview people about their experiences as an individual with a disability in Second Life. As Ambrosia108 says: “I think it's important to ask big questions and dig deeper to find out the benefits and limitations of a technology, and the impact it might have on social justice, inclusion, ability, education, and so much more. Yes, I've always been a bit of a rebel. ;-).” She understands clearly the benefits of essence over numbers when one is studying human beings.
Ambrosia108 explained how she started becoming interested in disability in Second Life. When she joined in 2009, one of the first people she met was someone who had been in SL for many years. They later revealed that they were a quadriplegic, a fact Ambrosia108 would never have known if she had not been told. “As I tried to imagine this person behind the computer screen, I began to wonder how people with real physical disabilities experience having a virtually able body, no sign of disability, and a whole virtual world to explore?”
There are two research questions that Ambrosia108 wants to explore:
1.     How do people with physical disabilities experience learning about themselves and others through interacting in virtual worlds
2.     What do people with physical disabilities learn about themselves and others through interacting in virtual worlds? 
Ambrosia108 is asking participants to be interviews three times over the course of one to two weeks. The interviews will focus on broad topics of history and background and move to questions about the meaning of Second Life for the interview√©.  The interviews can be in text or voice, according to the needs of the participants. If you are interested:
You are invited to participate and take this opportunity to share and voice your personal experiences within Second Life.  If you are interested in participating, please read through the consent form and provide the researcher with your Second Life information in the following link:    Consent form and information:  http://fluidsurveys.com/surveys/slresearch/participant-recruitment/ If you have any questions or would like to contact the researcher, please contact Ambrosia108 Azalee in-world, or by email at: sl.pheno.research@gmail.com
Finally, the point of this whole endeavor, beyond earning a Master’s degree for Ambrosia108, would be to support her real agenda, which is to demonstrate the usefulness of and necessity for virtual worlds for individuals with disabilities. “Second Life is not a game!” she declared. I could not agree more.
The event will be repeated this Saturday, February 2nd, at 8:00 am, SLT at the Sojourner Auditorium: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Virtual%20Ability/53/172/23  Don’t miss it, especially if you are interested in participating.
DrFran Babcock