Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Scenes From The "Bid The Lindens Bald" Party


By Bixyl Shuftan


On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, the conclusion to the "Bid the Lindens Bald" occurred at 2PM SL time. On March 29, was when the event was announced with twenty-eight Lindens taking part. This would be the first time any Linden had taken part in a "Bid Me Bald" event, let alone so many.


The Lindens involved were split into three teams, Customer Accounts, Concierge, and Land Ops/LDPW. A few, such as Boris Linden, seemed to have gotten unusually hairy for the event. Nuala Maracas commented, "Oh my God! It will take an hour cut Boris's hair." Even Tommy Linden remarked, "Wow Boris, that hair! You need this shave! (laughter)"


Donations were small at first, even though on occasion Lindens could be found at the kiosk area at impromptu parties. and as one can see in the picture above, they weren't above a little funnery. In the last days of the event, thousands of Linden dollars were pouring in.


People began gathering at the area at 1PM SL time. By 2PM, there were a few dozen in the area.


A look at the minimap showed twelve to thirteen Lindens, identifiable by their blue dots.



Besides the Lindens, there were a variety of other avatars at the event.


Including some small ones.


"Resistance is futile."


When the three kiosks that the Linden dollars were donated to were closed, Customer Accounts had a total of 719,182 Lindens.


The Concierge team had gotten a total of 352,485.


And last but not least, Land Ops/Linden Department of Public Works, which had gotten 399,735 Linden dollars. A total of 1,471,402, almost a million and a half Linden dollars had been raised. Trader Whiplash told everyone he was throwing away his calculator, "it's smoking and sparking anyway!"


The ten members of Concierge had come out third place, and thus due to lose their virtual hair. Nuala Maracas told everyone she "brought a case of Turtle Wax  .. I mean head wax .. to polish all those heads." Ami Linden guessed, "Apparently I'm not good at math.. it's 295 days bald (gasp). So that means Thursday, April 8th, 2018 we'll start to see some hairs on the Concierge team again." Tommy Linden remarked, "That is a good long time!" Someone remarked, "That is awesome, almost a whole year (laughter)."


Trader Whiplash of T-1 Radio, and the organizer of the Bid Me Bald event was there.


Solo Linden, to my left in this picture, went Away From Keyboard.


A number of other Lindens, and Moles, dropped by to watch the event.


Governor Linden, who sported a hamster avatar, was the one with the shears for the haircuts. One person asked, "(I) wonder how a hamster is going to cut hair?" "With scissors of course," Trader answered. Someone remarked, "Fangs of Gov. They dangerous." "Governor Linden has the most evil and ferocious looking avatar here," someone else commented. A third commented, "I can't help but wonder what would happen if Governor was actually on the concierge team." Sue Peregrine mused, "If you are all teams, doesn't that mean you have to go bald Governor?"


Whitney Linden was the first to get the haircut, followed by Boris. "For this one you may want to use the katana Governor," someone suggested. Ami Linden asked, "Are those scissors gonna be enough?" But away went his ginormous afro.


Next was Madori Linden, who was sporting a colorful haircut, "Wow what a mowhawk!"


Next was Vix Linden. Despite the name, this Linden's appearance was un-xivenlike. Ami grinned, "Vix! Ready for the barber?" "Hi," he nervously spoke, "I'm here for the victory parade?"Tommy Linden went, "Oh yeah Vix, we got a special victory lined up for you!" Ami Linden asked gleefully, "Who here thinks the beard must go? (big grin)" "The beard must go!" someone answered. "The beard is like 70% of it," concurred another.


And the deed was done. "And there goes the hair!" Ami Linden announced, then mused, Right? Less hair to maintain (big grin). ... Look, now you can go swimming with ease! And you won't feel too warm with summer on its way (grin). ...Who's next? (big grin)"


Bianca Linden was dancing to the music, not worried about losing her hair, or was she? Dee Linden commented "I've been pullin' my hair out for over an hour now! ,,, Wait."


Jadia Linden, not being on any of the teams, was not required to take part in the haircuts, but did so anyway as a shot of support. "Where is this great haircut I'm supposed to be getting?" she asked, and was shown the barber chair, Governor Linden saying, "Have a seat, Jaida (smile)." Tommy Linden encouraged, "Go Jaida! Best haircut you will ever get." Governor Linden asked, "Are you ready?  Do you need something to bite down on?" Jaida Linden answered, "I guess I'm ready, just snatch it out." Jaida Linden then cried out, "Nooooooooooo!"

Once the deed was done, Tommy Linden told her, "Look at you Jaida! You look fantastic!" Governor Linden commented, "Gorgeous!" Vix Linden went, "It's not so bad Jaida," then ran back a distance. Jaida Linden commented, "I guess, laughing one moment, then wondering if she should run home to cry the next. Ami Linden gave her a hug. Sue Peregrine, "You look great Jaida!" Trader commented, "Jaida looks good bald! ... Makes your eyes stand out!" Jaida Linden then left, "Take care, I have to find a hat (giggle)."


"Anyone else?" Governor Linden asked, "You don't have to have been on the losing team." Tommy Linden asked, "Are you trying to convince the rest of us to shave ours too Governor? (laughter)" Sue Peregrine responded, "I think that's a GREAT idea Tommy!" Governor Linden answered, "just saying anyone here can if they wish (smile)." Tommy Linden went for it, "Alright Governor, I will let you shave me, so I can show my support!" Governor Linden commented, "I feel like I need a stepstool to stand on here. ... Ready Tommy?" "It's not like you got much anyway," one resident encouraged.


And soon the deed was done. Trader thanked him, "Tommy, thank you so much!  You put in such an effort!" Tommy Linden answered, "It's the least I can do, at least I have the choice to grow it back!" Trader commented, "Just think you all will get your hair back intime for NEXT Baseball season!"


Then Dee Linden hopped onto the chair. Sue Peregrine encouraged her, "Woot!!! Dee!!" So did Tommy Linden, "Yay Dee!" Governor Linden asked, "Ready Dee?" "Ready!" Dee Linden answered. Then came the .


And Dee Linden joined the shaved heads. Whitney Linden went, "Woot!" "So purty!!" told Ami Linden.


Keira Linden while watching all this had been knitting. Tommy Linden thought it was funny, "Keira, I love that you are knitting while all this is happening, (laughter)."


She decided to volunteer as well. Sue Peregrine went, "Yay Keira!" Governor Linden asked, "ready Keira?" "Ready!" she answered. 



With Keira Linden joining them, there were quite a number of bald heads. "I better get to knitting hats!" she commented. Dee Linden asked, "can you knit me some hair?" Sue Peregrine smiled, "That's what knitters do ." Keira Linden answered, "Right after I knit my own, Dee."

Trader encouraged the group, "I have been bald for a year .. twice! ...  saves time in the morning ! lol  comb with a washcloth! ... No blow dryers!" Dee Linden was keeping a brave face, "fyi, my hair grows really fast." Tommy Linden laughed, "Dee, you using 'Miracle Grow'?" Keira Linden mused, "One less accessory I get  to shop for.  Sorry hair designers!" Sue Peregrine laughed, "but good for your wallet." Tommy Linden mused, "And here I thought this meant more shopping as we try out new styles when it grows in! (laughter).


Sparky Linden headed out about this time, "Later everyone!!! Thanks for all the love and donations for such a great cause!" He then proceeded to perform a move that reminded me of a "Dragonball Z" powerup. Trader wished him well, "Thank you Sparky!!!" Sue Peregrine did too, "Thank you for being here Sparky!"


While some were starting to leave, some such as ZenGardens Resident were joking around, he turning into a tree. That sparked a few jokes and puns, "feeling 'tree'mendous?" "I guess you 'leaf' no one behind?" "Or is your 'bark' worse than your bite?" ZenGardens Resident responded, "Oh boy ... I wood participate in these puns but then I may be asked to leaf."


While there was quite a bit of joking around, there was one stunt that one Relayer didn't think was so funny and requested I post as an example of what not to do at a Relay event: smoking. Smoking, whether it's tobacco or marijuana, can lead to cancer and people are asked to stop.


Before long, more people were leaving. Ancient Mole waved, "Bye everyone! Thank you for that wonderful event!" One resident hoped, "Hopefully this becomes an annual event so we can say this is the first annual shearing." Trader told everyone there would be another event at the location soon, "Don't Forget Relay Stock 2017 Right here Mothers Day Weekend    Fri- Sat - Sun   Featuring Keeba Tammas and the Tiny Maniacs!"

Nuala Maracas told everyone, "Thank you for your generosity to support the American Cancer Society !  You have  helped fund part of a Research Grant !!      Thank you to all the Lindens for their time and great sense of humour"

And so, the "Bid the Lindens Bald" event was over. It's unknown whether or not there will be another such event next year. But it is hoped this is not the end of Linden participation in the Relay for Life.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Kristin Linden And The "Bid The Lindens Bald"


By Bixyl Shuftan

"Bid Me Bald" events have been going on in the Relay for Life in Second Life for a decade, in which someone pledges to have their avatar go without hair for a certain amount of time if a certain amount of cash is raised. Over the years, there have been some interesting twists, such as "Bid Me Tiny," furred avatars doing a "Bid Me Human," "Bid Me Purple," people promising to go bald in real life, and more.

But this year comes something new. While Linden Lab no doubt has been proud of the Relay, highlighting it and being of assistance for the sims on the Relay Weekend Walk, they themselves had not taken part in the event, until now. On March 29, it was announced that twenty-eight Lindens would take part in a Bid Me Bald event. They would be split in three teams, Concierge, Land Operations and LDPW, and Customer Accounts. Each would have a kiosk in one corner of the Relay dAlliez sim. And on the afternoon of April 19, the totals would be tallied and the loser getting shaved.

Among the twenty-eight taking part is Kristin Linden of the Customer Accounts team. She has been with the Lab since at least March 2013. I had the chance to meet up with her at one impromptu event at Relay dAlliez. While no one generally thinks of Lindens as being typical, there's a stereotype that they have ordinary avatars. This wasn't the case with Kristin as hers was a skeleton sporting a red wig. "... look.. it's Skeleton Linden," Rowena Dubrovna, the tiny otter of the Relay exclaimed upon seeing her, "SkeleLinden."

Kristin was going through a few IMs, "My apologies, I am multitasking." but greeted me and hoped I was doing well. I asked her, "can you tell me anything about where the idea for Bidding the Lindens Bald came from?" Kristen answered, "Unfortunately I don't have any information on that as I was not a part of the planning. I was told about it and encouraged to participate. I thought it was an awesome idea, so I figured I'd bring my luscious hair along (smile)." "Is that a favorite hairpeice of yours?" I asked her. Kristin responded, "I think it accentuates my cheekbones."

I then asked her about her appearance, "Is this the avatar you're usually in, or were you at an event earlier?" Her answer was it was her usual look, for now, "This is my usual avatar for the time being. I wanted the outside to match the inside." "It's rather .... unique." I stated, "Where did you get the idea for it?" She answered, "Honestly, I just thought it was a cool idea. Plus easy to maintain. Don't have to worry about having a face....or clothing...or much of anything really. (grin)" "Like being bald would be?" Trader Whiplash asked her. "Don't have to worry about skin care that's for sure." Kristin answered. I then asked about the jokes others had made about the avatar, "I take it you've heard a few?" "Some have hit my funny bone for sure,"

Kristin wryly answered. "Can you give some examples?" I asked. "I can't remember any specifics off the top of my head," she answered, "Though I get offered food a lot." "I take if people call that your low-lag avatar?" I asked amusingly. She answered, "I fell asleep at the blood drive." There were a few chuckles and groans, Fuzball Ortega saying, "I like this Linden."

Although Kristin had been a Linden only since 2013, she had heard about Second Life much earlier, "I believe I heard about it around 2007...ish..give or take. I've been in the industry for a while and there was an opening, so I took it (smile)." "I take it your first days were interesting?" I asked. She responded, "Every day is interesting." Someone asked, "How do you get to be a Linden?" She answered, "You apply for a position/job like with any other company. Our current open positions should be available on the Careers section of the Linden Lab website."

I asked Kristen, "What inworld experiences stand out besides taking to the guy with the biggest hair in Second Life, and talking to a fox reporter? (smirk)" Kristin answered, "Any time I get a chance to hang out and interact with Residents is always a pleasure."

Someone soon asked, "Kristin, may I have one of you adorable mustache bears?" Most Lindens have teddy bears they give out on request. Some have unique features, Kristin's being green with lip hair. The bony Linden answered, "Of course!" "I love that one (laughter) Thank you (smile)." "You're welcome (smile)."

The Linden reminded everyone, "And feel free to spread the word! We do have a post about the event on the forums as well: https://community.secondlife.com/forums/topic/404561-bid-the-lindens-bald/"

Eventually, the crowd for the impromptu event thinned. And Kristin had to go Away From Keyboard to take care of some matters.

The Bid The Lindens Bald event ends on April 19. There will be further Bid Me Bald events. It is unclear how soon Linden Lab will get involved again.

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, April 6, 2017

April Fool's In and Out of Second Life


By Bixyl Shuftan

For those who love a good joke, or even a lame one, April Fool's Day is a day to look forward to. It gives one a chance to play a few jokes or pranks (harmless ones). The idea of a day for jokes and merriment goes back at least to Roman times. April Fool's Day as we know it has been around for a few centuries, supposedly it started when the adoption of the Gregorian calendar (the one used today) moved New Year's Day from April 1 to January1, and that those whom still celebrated New Year's on April 1 were called "April Fools."

Besides people playing jokes, newspapers and other news media have also done some foolery of their own with joke articles, one famous example being a BBC TV show about "spaghetti farms." And so the Newser has been doing an April Fool article every year, our foolery this year being that Linden Labs pushed back Sansar over a year due to a Windows 10 update, and was working on a third dinosaur-themed virtual world. Last year, we joked Donald Trump had bought Second Life. In 2015, Michi Lumin of Luskwood was in on the joke, us saying she had been hired by ABC News as their technology news anchor. In 2014, the joke article was Linden Lab was doing away with last names in older accounts. Our first one in 2011 was of Linden Lab announcing it was about to shut down Second Life for six months as glitches were about to make it so laggy as to be unplayable.

But the Newser wasn't the only one pulling April Fool's stunts. The Furry Fashion mall was temporarily sporting a new look on the roofs. The owner Amethyst Crystal gave me a picture of the new aerial view of the place, "We also changed the sim terrain texture to a picture from the 'Bee Movie.' That is a bit of a meme on the Internet. So we changed the sim terrain for a April Fool joke." She didn't tell me how long the prank paint job would "bee" up.

But this wasn't the only joke. The staff of Furry Fashion played a joke on those frequenting the place by replacing their display names with temporary ones based on the store owner's nickname: Ame. "It's an April Fool thing," Amethyst Crystal explained, "Many people try to say staff are my alts. So some of us have all changed our names to be like me." She then gave me a list of those in her staff who made the change in their names.:

Never be the Ame again (Amethyst Crystal)
The Ame with the D (RickGuyy)
Ame the Crux (LabMadeCrux)
Ultraviolet Crux Ame (TonyBurk)
Maybe Ame (Skyler Glasswing)
Disney Ame (Becky Doulton)
Amethyst (Strype Puddlegum)
Always Ame (Sugalite Silverfall)
Say my Ame Say my Ame (Caelia Bailey)
Not your Ame (CaeliaAmethysia)
Noob Ame (VileNik)
Distracted Ame (f2004w)
Could be Ame (Alexiel Magnolia)
Ame that could be Ame (Becky Nosferatu)
Is It Ame (Klomonx)
Violently Ame (LemonPledge)
I Can't Believe It's Not Ame (MoogaSpectrum)
Oh look its another F-ing Ame (ScratchMusikatt Sprocket)
That one Ame in the corner (TatteredTwilite)
Famous Ame-us (VesperBloodwing Parx)
Aim (xdakafallx)

The Furry Fashion Lounge would have an April Fool-themed event: "April Fool/Memes." The group notice for halftime went, "Thats right we are here and having fun this April Fools Day!!! Come Join In the fun !!! all you need to enter the contest hosted by Amethyst get some silly outfits or fashion nightmares mix and match or jester outfits on and come to Furry Fashion Lounge! DJ I Cant Believe its not Ame, has the ABSOLUTE BEST music to help us have fun today. And we have 1300L Up on that board!" People were encouraged to bring their funniest, craziest, goofiest looks. Ukli Resident had a particularly strange appearance (pictured left), "I'm laughing at my own avatar!" Feline avatars were also encouraged, "Cats are made of memes." There were a number of funny tunes played, and a few that had become memes themselves such as the "Rick-Roll" song. The contest was won by Emorald Resident, with Ukli coming second.

Furry Fashion wasn't the only place to have an April Fool Event. Grendel's Children did as well. Toady Nakamura had the following announcement.

Sixth annual!!! April Fool!  The ANNUAL April Fools event from your friends at "Frog-n-Cat productions" is back, this time in a yuge castle!! ... No fooling. !!   :)  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Avaria%20Tor/133/135/305  Ride the Rocket where you arrive to get to the Castle!!  More than 164.5 gifts all over -- in things or in gift boxes -- and ready to go home with you!!

Looking around from the entrance at Grendel's, it didn't take long to find the rocket to ''Catsel Bufo." Inside, there was a shopping area were one could get discount items, such as an underground tunnel kit, as well as a freebie dragon. Going further, there were a number of fun exhibits (be careful about bumping the dino skeletons). Finally getting back outside, there was a "Munchman" game (a Second Life Pac-Man spinoff game).

And then there was the "Everfest" event in Bay City. For three days from Thursday March 30 to Saturday April 1 Bay City celebrated the life of their late noted resident whom passed away three years ago, one noted for her quirky sense of humor.

"It went quite well," Marianne McCann, Bay City's most noted resident, told the Newser, "Chaos and frivolity rules, with quite a focus on sharks this time out. Ever did like her shark fancy dress costume, so I s'pose that's no surprise. What struck me is that the events tended to go much, much longer than expected. Folks had a blast bowling, and the dance party was going strong an hour after it officially ended. There were a number of residents who never had the chance to meet Ever, but I Hope some of us who did know her were able to help share some of her spirit."

Marianne also pulled an April Fool stunt that was apart from Everfest. She posted an update on her SL page, "END OF AN ERA: after 10 years in Bay City, it's time for a change. Traded my land with a Kama City landowner. It's time to shake things up in Zindra. ... I hope to be opening "Lirp Aloof's Home for Wayward Child Avatars" in the Oritz region soon!" There were responses of "Oh noooooo!" Before she finally admitted it was a joke. "I got quite a few folks with my April Fool," she stated, "I don't know if I should be happy or dismayed that I actually did fool quite a few."

In the past in the world of gaming, there have been some noteworthy April Fools stunts. Blizzard, the maker of World of Warcraft, made an announcement early in the game's history they would be introducing a panda-like race: the Pandaren. But the joke proved so popular, Blizard eventually brought them into the game for real. And there have been some playable April Fool's stunts, such as War Thunder's "My Little Pony" fighters. But this year, there was a surprising lack of April Foolery in the games yours truly checks out. Elder Scrolls Online had a "Jesters Festival." That was pretty much it. No special games in War Thunder, World of Tanks, or World of Warships. The ships game did have an unplayable submarine added to it's players' rosters, which turned into a free slot when the stunt was over, So at least there was that. No joke announcement in World of Warcraft either. Star Trek Online made a reference to "Contact Day," which made me wonder if the game was saying the day the Vulcans had chosen to make contact was April 1. It wasn't. Perhaps that April Fools Day fell on a Saturday and not a weekday this year was the reason for the lack of gags this time. Ark Survival Evolved did have a major update that put severe limits on flying mounts and boats that frustrated many players, Nydia Tungsten's Furry Gamers group included. But this was no April Fool, and no one was laughing.

So in the world of gaming, in which Second Life residents sometimes step into for a break in the routine, there would be no chuckles. But here on the grid, there were a number of examples of residents cracking jokes and having fun.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, March 31, 2017

Scenes From the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Press Day


By Bixyl Shuftan



The Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) Conference is going on this week. Last week on Sunday March 19, the Newser was invited for an early peek on the Press Day.


The theme for this year's conference: "Legacy." It had been ten years since the first VWBPE conference in Second Life. And so the people of the organization want to celebrate their past successes in addition to looking forward to what the future will bring and what the present has to offer.


"The more things change, the more they stay the same." This wasn't just a theme, it would be the theme of one of the discussions on the first day of the conference.


Noted blogger Strawberry Singh was there. She would do her own article about the VWBPE.


There was a press badge giver we could pick up one from.


And there were souvenir sailor hats one could also get.


One could teleport to various spots using the interactive maps in various spots.


One spot we were shown was the Legacy area, still under construction, that looked back at the previous nine years of the VWPBE.


 We would be shown other areas.


 Including the auditorium



 Then came the place that was named the Social Area.



At one point, we were directed to some stairs leading down (hold your breath).


The stairway led below to an underwater area, of plants and fish around the remains of an ancient town.


 We then headed inside the Social Area building.


 Inside was an opening to the water below, and an underwater scooter.


After the tour was done, we were invited to take rides on it (the scuba gear was my own, not provided by them).


 Back down into the watery underwaterworld to explore






Stay clear of the tentacles.





Back on the surface, I had a little more time to explore the Social Area building before events called me away


Saturday April 1 is the last day of the VWBPE conference. There is much to see and some to hear. So if you have some spare moments, have a look.

Bixyl Shuftan